Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!!

     Or is it??? When asked the proverbial question, "What does Christmas mean to you?", what are the first thoughts that come to your mind? Do you still have the courage of heart to wish strangers you see on the street each day a "Merry Christmas" without worrying about being "Politically Correct"?  

In today's modern fast-paced age of technology, the internet, television commercials filled with all the cool electronic gadgets and toys that you and your kids can ever dream of; how much plastic will it take to make those dreams come true, and fill up the space under your tree? What has happened to the past two generations? What have we become, and what will the "Spirit of Christmas" mean to our future generations?
     Yes, the holiday times are upon us all, and though the World Economy of 2012 is so sadly mirrored to that of the Last Great Depression,  

parents will entrench themselves in such a mass of unspeakable debt, just to attempt to satisfy the distorted, materialistic view on what the holidays are all about. Digital seasonal music will be blasting from every stereo and computer, homes will be flickering with bright LED lights that cover every square inch, yards will be filled with every type of blow-up animated object that can be found on the store shelves, parties will be planned, families will gather together, menus will be organized and tons of food will be prepared and served, shopping will be done, and presents will be wrapped and beautifully adorned with bows and colorful ribbons. On Christmas morning, children everywhere will tear through all those packages faster than a heat-seeking missile flying through space in search of its' prey.  

     Those of you who are old enough to take a trip down your very own personal memory lane, and dust off those old family albums filled with the photographic evidence of a lifetime of holidays, and Christmases spent, should take some time again this holiday season to re-visit your past in those albums. 

     Turn off the electronics, lock your children in the house, collect their cell phones and put them away for a couple of hours. Make your kids sit down with you as you flip through the album pages, and share your memories in great detail. I challenge you all this year, and each year going forward to actually re-create some of the old fashioned holiday practices and family traditions with the young ones. This will serve a two-fold purpose. It will teach them the importance of keeping traditions alive alongside creating new ones for the future. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Most Remarkable Woman- Aunt Bev

On Thursday, October 11, 2012,  the final chapter in the life of Beverly T. Martin was written. She passed away peacefully on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 surrounded by her loving family at Wesley Nursing Home in Saratoga Springs, N. Y. I am dedicating this post to pay my everlasting respect to a very remarkable woman, who in my eyes will always be deserving of much love and adoration. Though her beginnings in this world were most humble indeed, Bev lived her life with gusto, never shied away from a challenge, and always found the positive side of even the worst negative situation.
To strangers, she was just your average country hard working family oriented woman, raising a family with good old fashioned values, and enjoying what life had to offer. When she wasn't busy with her home and family, she babysat many other children, donated her time for years as a den mother for the local Boy Scout Troop, was a fixture at the local church, and even found time for a weekly card game with friends. The need for family connection was so deeply instilled in myself and all my cousins thanks to the annual re-union parties that Aunt Bev organized and held. It is my fervent hope that the future generations of our maternal line will continue this time honored tradition so as to instill the same need in their children and their grandchildren and so forth.
When I first began my odyssey to discover and document my family history, the first person I turned to for information on my maternal line was Aunt Bev. She proved to be a deep well of valuable information providing names, dates, places, events, etc. If it were not for her amazing memory, and continued appreciation for my efforts to delve into answers behind family photos, and many documents that were uncovered during my research, I would have never been able to fulfill a promise made to her, which was her very own personal family history book. I was thrilled when my cousin Susan shared a picture with me on Facebook of her mom looking at her new book. Now, it is safely guarded at the home of the eldest child, Teena. I will always miss the phone calls, where I would either ask Bev a question, or update her on a new piece of family information I uncovered. I will also miss sending her cards, sometimes enclosing a fresh printed copy of an ancestral photo to share with Bev. She is at rest now. Her life's work is complete. She was a woman of many accomplishments. She made a difference in this world, and left her mark on each and everyone of us. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

St. Ann's Parish Church

From this view, the image above appears to be just your typical small town family place of worship. But, once inside, that viewpoint drastically changes. I had the pleasure of visiting St. Ann's Parish Church on 10 July 2008, while on a mission to not only stand in the same locations as some of my paternal ancestors, but to try to capture images, and a sense of connectedness. St. Ann's is located on Rte. 11, the main road that runs through the very small town of Mooers Forks, Clinton County, New York. I requested and was given complete autonomy to take not only exterior, but also many interior shots. The church was empty on that day, so I was alone with my camera and my thoughts. Even now as I gaze upon this picture, I remember, almost hearing the voices and sounds of family and community coming together in good times and bad for many generations. 
In fact, many of the families that attended St. Ann's, can be found buried in the cemetery bearing the same name, also located in Mooers Forks. Though simple in stature, and construction, the old wooden doors open up to a beautiful, but humble interior. There are elegantly framed Stations of the Cross lining the walls, and the back wall has a glassed-in case that displays engraved plaques of many longtime family parish members. As I walked quietly around the inside, I felt honored to be descended from a place and time where family and traditions and beliefs were respected.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The French In Me

While exploring my french heritage, I have naturally discovered some of the original french documents that tell the story of the lives of the many french ancestors; both maternal and paternal, that I am tracking. Though it is both wonderful that these documents still exist in archives, and have been discovered and digitized; it presents new hurdles. The first of course, is to be able to become a handwriting expert in order to perfectly read them. Once that is accomplished, then I need to get them properly translated, so that I can do a thorough interpretation of the document. So, being just your average family historian, and a bit lacking in the proper funds to hire all these professionals, I embark on my own personal mission to re-visit learning the french language. Thanks to a wonderful woman who is actually a "genealogical cousin", I have begun that process by using the gift of "The Rosetta Stone". The above image is actually two sides of the book containing the birth registrations from St. Philippe Church located in La Prairie, Quebec, Canada. It spans the years of 1823-1830. The page on the right side lists the birth record for my paternal 2nd Great Grandfather, Bernard Menard, in the 3rd entry down on the page.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Universal Online Family Tree????

With all the technology there is available today to publish and maintain online family trees, I beg to ask the question, "Why not a family tree at 1 universal genealogy website, that accepts the attachments of documents, files, and sources from ALL search locations??" Am I being too naive to expect that ability at this point in time? Everybody wants our $$$, and to have our family trees posted at their websites. They all claim to have the most, best, access to a multitude of records. However; they ALL fall short on both aspects for the family historian who truly wants to dig deeper to the core of their roots.
I have even tried to ask this question in an email to another amateur genealogist who is also a daily blogger; no response. After searching several major genealogy sites, I discovered that none of them have a mailing list or message board to even address this issue. I believe there has to be an answer out there somewhere! I will continue to seek for the solution! I also invite all comments, and tips to point me in the right direction, if you know, or know someone who has the answer.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Travelling to France with Google Earth

For this blogpost, I have decided that it was time to share my "Woo Hoo" moment when I had located and visited my paternal Pipe`, (Andre` C. Guerin)'s town of birth in France. He was born, 21 June 1889, in the small farming town of Chauffour-les`-Etre'chy. I had previously come to learn how intertwined family history research is with photography and old family photos. Even though I had begun to play around with the Google Earth program, it had not dawned on me in the least bit, how cool it would be to locate and map out some of my ancestor's addresses! So, lo and behold, I needed to be struck with the perverbial "epiphany"; to advance to the next level of my family's journey.
Below, in the next few frames, you will see the result of each phase of my search for Andre`s home town.

This first image shows an overall view of the area in France. His town is located immediately to the right of the yellow push pin.

The next image is zoomed in to show you the basic landscape of the region.

The 3rd image, above brings you closer to the community, and you can now view the individual homes and various buildings, along with some foliage.

The 4th image here, though a bit out of focus, gives you a better idea of each individual property. While I was viewing these images at Google Earth, I remember thinking to myself, how awesome it would be to be able to travel back in time using this program to view our ancestor's hometowns as they were during their life!

The 5th and final image brings you right down to street level, and you can easily maneuver down some of the same streets as your ancestor did, right in their very own childhood town! This particular view is of Grande Rue, which is just one road that winds through Chauffour-les`-Etre'chy.
So, now I am on a personal mission to travel to all of my ancestor's locations right from the comfort of my own office.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Ancestor I Would Most Like To Meet-Maternal Family

Here is my 2nd Great Grandfather from my maternal Nelson Family line. His name is, (and it's quite a mouthful), Bradley Moulton Richardson Nelson. He was born Sept. 24, 1831 in Wheelock, Caledonia, Vermont. By the age of 19, BMR (as he was known), was already a driven young man, with a strong determination, and a growing sense of smart business savvy. He would continue to expand in every direction, while reaching for the stars. In 1859, he made a decision to move to Barton, Orleans, Vermont, and his life would never be the same.
BMR began on a small scale, buying cattle and other stock on a commission basis. In 1861, he would marry Martha Eliza Boody, and work the family farm while slowly building his future empire. He made great business contacts, and grew his circle of friends in the community. Besides being known as a very successful broker in livestock; he made wise investments in real estate. One of those investments would later be donated to the town to build Northern Vermont's very first major bank. It was named "Barton National Bank", and BMR served as the director for 20 years, then was named as the vice-president.
Though he was very busy in the business sector and in the community, he still made time for the 3 children that he had with Martha. My head spins sometimes when I think about all his accomplishments throughout his life! He was very much loved by all of Barton's townspeople. The proof is in the large family memorial stone that was placed at the cemetery later. Donations came pouring in from everyone in Barton. It was their personal way of paying tribute to a man who provided so much to the town that he loved!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Our Future Family Historians

What will you leave behind after the sands of time have run out of your hourglass? Will there be mysteries to be solved, or secrets to uncover? Will you perhaps leave a few tantalizing crumbs in a hand-written journal? Have you taken the time as you grow older, to consider if you even have a child or grandchild who will remotely show interest in uncovering what your life was about? Even for the current generation of younger people in my family, it will be an extremely tough decision to make; as to whom is deserving enough and responsible enough to carry the torch of our family history! As genealogists, we take great pride in our research, (those of us who are serious), and like a set of fine family jewels; we consider it a legacy to pass on.
I myself have begun writing 2 separate life journals. One to my son, and one specifically about my life. I have been testing some younger members of my family for responsibility levels, and commitment. Thus far, they have not proven to be reliable. I am hoping that one day before it is too late, they will step up to the plate. Otherwise, I will be making a different decision, regarding all family history research. When and if they do, they will receive a wealth that has no monetary value. It's value goes beyond that of any paper or coins!
As we live our lives, and go through the mundane daily chores and appointments that take up much of our time; it is easy to get caught up in that daily routine. It is very hard to take out even a few peaceful minutes of solitude to have for our very own! Those of us who enjoy the creativity of writing, will keep a notebook handy to jot down a passing thought, or a simple message. There are no rules to writing a journal. Keeping dates help to remember when we wrote each entry. It also helps the reader later on, to determine when at any given point in time, we experienced each thought. Have some fun with it. You never know who might come to read it in decades to come!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What Is A Mom?

Yesterday was my mom's birthday, 4/16. Today's blogpost is written in her memory. She died in Sept. 2005, from cancer. Many mixed feelings come to mind when I think of her. Books, poems, and songs put mother's high up on a pedestal. Oftentimes, writer's tend to forget that mom's are just humans, complete with all the flaws that come with being a member of the mere mortal race. They are all given the same set of tools and roadmap of life that the rest of us have had, let's face it, raising children can be dauntless at times!
Yes, my mother indeed had her moments, as we all do. I even ask myself sometimes, would I have done it any differently being in her exact pair of shoes? That is a question that will go on without a definite answer. Growing up, we tell ourselves that when we become adults, that we will do everything different from our parents; because don't forget, in our eyes, they did it all wrong. We tell ourselves that we will NEVER be like them! But as we grow into that scary time of life known as adulthood, and parenthood, we suddenly hear ourselves speaking in terms that were drilled into our heads by our parents! Oh my God, did I say that?? Yes, when all the dust has settled, and we take that long look in the mirror, we realize that fate has stepped in, and we HAVE BECOME OUR PARENTS!! But, would we have it any other way??? I leave it to you to decide....

Saturday, April 14, 2012

"Who Do You Think You Are?"

The past 2 weeks have been filled with excitement and anticipation with the release of the 1940 Census. We as family historians, have waited eagerly 10 long years to dig into a whole new set of records. But, what would we actually find in them? One thing I have to constantly do mental battle with, is the strong temptation of going into a search with long-held preconceived notions of who my family is, and choices that they made. I am an avid follower of the television show "Who Do You Think You Are?", and I see that same look in the celebrities eyes for every episode. They are no different than me, with a set of hand-me -down family beliefs, and the astonished look of surprise when the evidence before them bears out an entirely different family history.
When I began my 1940 search for my dad's family last week, I made a surprising little discovery. All the family members were still accounted for and living in the same household on the Guerin farm except for one. My Uncle Albert, age 21 by then was missing. His soon to be future wife and her family, Doralice Demers, were living right next door. Albert and Doralice would be married the following year in November 1941, at St. Ann's Church in Mooers Forks, New York, and he would be working for one of the railroads that ran through Clinton County. My next thought in searching for Albert was to look in the other surrounding towns located within Clinton County where the 2 major railroads were located. Thus far, no such luck. I will set aside my quest to find dear Uncle Albert for now, as I do have a lengthy list of maternal family members to locate. When the time is right, I will find him, and hopefully find the answer as to why he was living elsewhere.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Next Generation of Guerins

When I look at this picture of my cute, adorable 3 year old nephew, Caleb Robert Guerin, I can't help but ask the question; "Is the world going to be ready for him, when his time comes?". Each succeeding generation seems to think that they have all the answers, and the one before it has screwed things up. Our Guerin Blood runs strong in our veins, and brings with it many positive attributes, like an appreciation for hard work and a job well done. We Guerin's also have a very intense stubborness or tenacity that prevent us from even considering the very idea of giving up. Instead, we persevere, even while struggling, until we prosper to a positive outcome! Though we, as the older generation have a responsibility to share our knowledge with the young ones; I am looking forward to the freshness of new ideas or new takes on old ideas that our Little Man Caleb will bring to the table of life. We should never be so set in our ways, that we can't have an open mind to learn something from the next generation to come after us! Young Caleb will never have the opportunity to meet his Pipe` Guerin, but I will make sure that he learns all about him.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In Search of My Guerins

Today's post is about my re-newed search for my paternal family, my Guerins. Now that I have very successfully completed my first family history book for part of my maternal family side; I am on a new quest to further persue my dad's family. His picture is seen here at the top of this page, and his name is Armand Rene` Guerin. My younger brother is proudly named after our dad in memory of him. My dad was part of the first generation of my Guerins to be born in the United States; as his father immigrated here from France in the very early 1900's. No, he did not pass through Ellis Island, like so many others did. Instead, he arrived through Quebec, Canada along with hundreds of other french citizens. My pipe`s (pronounced pip-ay), which is french for grandpa, name was Andre` Cyrille Guerin; and he made the journey here alone, at the age of 21, leaving his family behind in his hometown of Chauffour et` Treschy, near Paris. Thanks to the wonders of Google Earth, I was able to pinpoint the exact location of his hometown, and even take a small tour of it at street level!
My next hope is to locate Andre` and his family in France, and track their movements to identify his siblings. I have both of Andre`s parents names from his Social Security card application. They are Narcisse (Nelson) Guerin and Matilda Fueilleret. Hopefully, this will not be a big stumbling block or brick wall; since foreign countries document their citizens quite different than what we do in the USA. Wish me luck as I am sure that I will need it!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Health Benefits of Doing Your Family history

It has been 2 weeks since my last post. Alot has happened in my family since the last time I visited my blog to write. It is a very sad time for my family right now. We lost a very beautiful young woman last Friday to a terrible disease, known as Cystic Fibrosis. She was a bright shining light, who always had a smile on her face, and an amazing amount of courage. She fought a lifelong battle that very few can truly understand. I am dedicating this post to honor her memory.
Even though we, as humans cannot predict our future, as far as our health is concerned; it is indeed very helpful to have an insight to hereditary diseases carried or introduced by our ancestors. With the current advances in medical technology, scientists are slowly discovering that there are spcific genes or cells that will identify particular diseases. Stem cell research is still in it's infancy, but in time, the hope is that, cures will be found.
Through my several years of research, collecting family death certificates, I have been able to trace some of the many serious health problems to specific family lines. When we visit our doctor's and they ask us for our family medical history, we do the best we can, providing what we have been told verbally. However; if we can be more detailed, and specific in that information, it can only benefit us and the next generations that follow.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Be My Valentine?

Today is Valentine's Day. Was love in the air for you, or did it leave you gasping for breath while you read through an old love letter or two that was discovered in your grandmother's personal belongings? I have yet to discover such a precious item as that; but back in those days, as tough as the times were for some couples, they still found time for good old fashioned romance. Words like spooning, courting, beaus, and chastity come to mind. Love letters were written, and emotions and hearts were pure and true. There was a love song that used to play on the radio called "Sealed with a Kiss". When a young girl or woman wrote a love note to her beau, she would literally seal it with a kiss. She would put on her favorite color of lipstick, and gently press the page to her lips. Some would even lightly spritz a bit of her perfume on it as well. The idea of romance is a lost artform, that is fading faster than time itself. Today's generation could definitely use a course or two on the subject; if one was given. I am making a solemn promise to myself, beginning tonight, I intend to re-discover the lost art of writing love letters.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Family History & New Technology Walk Hand In Hand

I am very happy to report that my personal experience from the RootsTech2012 conference was one of unabashed excitement about all the upcoming technology changes and updates. I believe in my heart that when all the new software updates are released, and I am able to implement several other new features, that it will bring my family history to a whole new level! There will be new Gedcom file programs, a new world of Cloud Storage, which is still in it's infancy. Mobile applications to enable us to take our family trees with us; plus there are many free genealogy podcasts available to watch, and as of January 2012, if we insert important keywords in our blogposts, our blogs will be searchable for others. I for one plan to take full advantage of as many of the podcasts as time will permit. My hat goes off to everyone who worked behind the scenes to put this annual conference together, and who were gracious enough to freely stream many of the presentations.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

RootsTech Conference 2012

Todays post is to report that I won't be writing any regular posts this week, due to a very imortant genealogy conference that I will be attending on-line. It is called RootsTech2012, and will combine the very best of the latest in technology and genealogy. I hope to learn much from the pros, and will report my findings in my next post as they apply accordingly. Until then, keep going through those family photos, old home movies, and family Bibles, letters or journals!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Where Did You Grow Up?

Where did you hang your hat as a child? I chose today's post to be about this famous picture of the log cabin that my Burnum grandparents lived in for a few years with all their children you see lined up. This is an edited image naming everyone from left to right. As per the date at the top of the image, this picture was taken in August of 1940. Amazingly enough, this very same log cabin is still standing today, and is located on West Shore Drive, Grand Isle, Vermont. It has also been labeled as the 4th oldest log cabin structure for Vermont's Historical Society. I have also been informed by a cousin that a descendant of the original family who built it is currently residing in it part time; using it as a studio. He had heard about this picture being taken, and asked my family's permission to screen print this image onto t-shirts to sell to tourists. I hope to own one of these shirts someday. My challenge to you today is to pick a family photo from your album, and write a story about it. In years to come, you will be immensely glad that you did!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

We Are Family.....

One  thing I have discovered in my adventures into my past, is the frequency of what I like to call "Inter-familial Marriage." Back before there were laws to prevent these types of marriages from occurring, it happened on a fairly regular basis. First and second cousins marrying each other, and in some cases, an uncle would marry his neice! Historically, the upper crust of society, those having royal or blue blood as they referred to it, would practice that idea of a family member marrying another family member with the thought in mind of "keeping the bloodlines pure". Later, history would prove that it was not such a good idea, as bad genes were created, and diseases were introduced to the line. so, I have asked myself, what were they thinking, when I found evidence of that practice occurring within a few of my family lines! It reminded me of the perverbial red-neck joke, "I would like you to meet my wife and sister", and there is only 1 woman standing there. It's no wonder, that our family is literally riddled with several hereditary diseases that have been passed down through the generations.How about an instance where a brother and sister choose to live together as husband and wife, and even produce children from their relationship?Could they have been considering a possible approach to the Mormon lifestyle? What if your siblings or children were to do that? How would you feel?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Job Well Done!

As of today, I have just finished packaging up my very first Family History Book; which I call "The Book of Bev-Maguay". It is the fulfillment of the second part of my dream, to actually create books telling the history of my family. This first book was named for my favorite aunt to whom I have dedicated this book to. As I have stated in the closing of the book, I had made a promise to her a few years ago, that she would receive the very first copy. If it were not for her, I would not have been so successful so early on in my research. I raise my glass to you in a toast to a most wonderful woman!
I managed to complete this book in the span of six months. It covers 4 generations in my maternal Burnum & Cootware family lines. I am extremely proud of this accomplishment! I put every ounce of my being into it, and gained a new respect for just a hint of what professional authors go through! If I am patting my self on the back, or tooting my own horn, then so be it. It is not something I do often enough!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Paper Trails

Have you ever wondered about the mountain of paper evidence we create just by being alive? Even when we die, the paper is still generated! You cannot escape it!!
The keepers of family history will forever be grateful for that fact!! It is amazing what you can learn from a simple birth certificate. I have even uncovered 2 different birth records for the exact same person, listing 2 different birth fathers!  No wonder my family seems to be so confused. The first birth father was a stranger; and the second birth father listed was a family member. How does that old saying go? "Oh what tangled webs we weave, when first we practice to deceive?"
The resulting child never did take on either of the fathers' names. He just kept his mother's last name. Perhaps next time I will begin rattling some chains!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Name Game

It has been said many times throughout history, that we are all related, or connected to each other. What started out as a simple search for my family tree has grown by leaps and bounds to become a forest of trees with infinite branches and twigs and leaves! It is therefore, quite easy for the family historian to get led astray from their main purpose, to follow another lead, another clue, which will in turn lead to more names! We must fight hard to avoid those temptations. Afterall, we will not live forever! Time is limited and must be spent wisely! That being said, I will present the following partial list of family names, both paternal and maternal that I am researching.
Guerin, Bulriss(Bulnes, Burliss, Boulerice), Fueilleret, Manor(Maner, Manard, Menard), Burnum, (Burnham, Bunum, Bonnette`, Burnam, Bonin), Bodah(Beaudin), Nelson, Cootware(Courtois, Coutware), Blow(Bleau), Monbleau, Cinjeux(Coryea, Carriere), Forest(Forrest), Wheeler, Lagrenade, Dalcour(Dalcourt), Bushey, Pigeon, Richardson, Boody, Barnes, Wiggett, Thompson, Downing, Hebert, Lavoie(DeLavoie), Tremblay(Tremble), Landry, LaRoche, Lafetier, Dupuy(Dupuis), Demers, Duval, Phaneuf, Farnsworth.
I wish you all happy hunting with your family names and all their variations!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Getting Started & Organized

Okay, so I wanted to start researching my family history. But, where do I begin?? Living in Florida, with no family in close proximity, I needed some advice from hopefully a seasoned pro. Thankfully, I found some very friendly staff members at the local library in their research room. The year was 2001, and all I had to start with was some family names, and places of birth. I knew that I wanted to begin with my paternal side because my Pipe`, (grandfather in english), had immigrated here from France. I had his name, Andre` (Andrew) C. Guerin; and was always told growing up that he came to the US to escape the war. Not much to go on! With some help, before my first visit to the library was up, I had located him in the 1930 US census, and found his WWI draft record!  Needless to say, right then and there, I had been infected with the genealogy bug!
From that point on, I knew that I could not rest until I found more information, more records. I became insatiable! The more I learned, meant the more I wanted to know. Then, there is all the printing of records. Before you know it, you have an armful of paper that needs to be organized in some fashion. Which method to use?? Oh, there are literally hundreds of options available to store & organize all your findings. What you choose is determined by your personal preference. There is no right or wrong way. Even the experts state that. You can even take a class on organizing your records. Since I had previously been employed for years in an office environment, I chose what was comfortable for me; binders and files. I soon learned, that if I wanted those paper documents to hold up for any length of time, I had better use good quality sheet protectors.
It is now 2011, ten years later, and my family history has taken over my half of the office. No surprise. So now, I have made a decision that the next time  we move, I will need my own office!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Who's in your photos?

One thing that I have learned throughout the whole process of my family research is how extremely important it is to preserve and protect all those family photos that are lying dormant in a dark closet, either in shoeboxes or in those very ancient photo albums. How terrible would you feel if God forbid, one day there was an unexpected disaster and they are all destroyed? Once lost, they can never be recaptured! Yes, it is an overwhelming process to sort them all out, scan them in, organize them in files & save in a digital format. Plus, as we get older, how well are we going to remember everything about those pictures? I will always be eternally greatful to my Grandma Martin for diligently taking the time to write notes on the backs of most of her pictures. If you have some like that, don't forget to scan in the backsides too. Secondly, I will address the proper method to store those photos and one of the best methods for attaching notes. I am not an expert by no means, but in the past several years, I have learned a thing or two. I also make a point to subscribe to a few online newsletters written by experts in the field.
No, before you ask, it is not a major investment that will break your piggy bank. The following list of items can be purchased for the most part even at your local Wally World. Here is what you will need.

  1. Acid free or Archival quality photo albums or boxes
  2. A stack of 3X5 note cards
  3. Acid free ink pens
  4. Photo safe scotch tape
See, that wasn't too bad. When you are ready to put short notes to go with your pics, first write the info. on the note card using the special pen. (These pens contain archival quality ink that will stand the test of time, even up to 50 years!) Then, it is your choice whether to tape the notecard to the back of your photos, or place them beneath the photos in the album, facing out on each page. 
Would you like to know what happens to our treasured family photos after we are dead and gone? With no clue as to who the people are in our pictures, they end up either in the trash, or donated to antique stores or thrift stores. It won't be your children who do it, but your grandchildren or their children. There are many people who have come to understand the importance of the family connection and their ancestral pictures. They rescue the pictures, scan them in and post them to websites in hopes that someone, somewhere will be searching, and will recognize them.
By the way, the photo I posted at the top of this page, was taken at the 2-family house that my parents shared with my Aunt Alice & Uncle Victor (from my dad's family). It was the summer of 1957. From L-R, Aunt Alice Guerin, my mom-Joan Guerin, and me about 18 months old.

Monday, January 2, 2012

What was your life"s dream?

When you were young and growing up, what did you dream about for a lifetime goal? Did you give up on those dreams as you entered adulthood; or did you position yourself in life to fulfill and realize your dreams? When I was a young child, and my parents would bring us to visit our grandparents, I would hear the adults begin speaking in a foreign language. This would be a language that would not be shared with us kids. As I grew up, I would ask myself WHY at least a million times. Were there deeply held secrets to be kept from the next generation?
I started to ask questions of the adults, but was not taken seriously. Shame on them. So, I waited, stopped asking questions, grew up. Then one day, after I did my tour of duty with the husbands and kids, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands and revisit my destiny. Thus began my journey into the past, to seek the answers to all my questions.