About Me

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Riverside County, California, United States
I am a native of Illinois and grew up in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago. I have one sibling, an older brother. After dropping out of college, I moved to California in 1973 with my first husband. I married my present husband, Butch, in 1977 and got 4 children in the deal. They have gone on to make me a grandmother 24 times over and a great-grandmother of 13. Three years after I married Butch I returned to school. I got my bachelors and masters degrees in speech communication and was a professor in that field for 13 years. I retired in 2001 to return to school and get my doctorate in folklore. Now I meld my two interests - folklore and genealogy - and add my teaching background, resulting in my current profession: speaker/entertainer of genealogically-related topics. I play a number of folk instruments, but my preference is guitar, which I have been playing since 1963. I am a Board Certified genealogist and more information on all this, as well as direct contact info, is on my Circlemending website.

Friday, February 25, 2011

National Archives, Pacific Region, Riverside County, CA - How to Find Microfilms in the Facility

I am beginning a new series of blogs, dealing with the microfilm holdings at the Pacific Region of the National Archives in Riverside, California, located near Perris at 23123 Cajalco Road. There are a number of microfilms (many with material that would be helpful for genealogists) housed at that location, but people are not aware of them. Here I will discuss some of them in detail, but first, let's look at how to find them.

Step One - Log onto the NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) website. The new home page looks like this:
Scroll down on the page to the bottom:



And click on "Genealogists" in the far left column. That will take you to:

From that screen, go to the lower right panel:

And click on "Online Research Tools."
That will take you to:

And you want to click on "Microfilm Catalog" (misspelling above may be fixed soon). The top of the resulting page looks like:

And you want to click on "Advanced Search" to get to:

Click on the "Viewing Location" and you get this drop-down menu:

Select the Pacific Region:

And click on "Search" at the right of the page:

The 1143 listed microfilm groups are provided with a number of ways to have them listed (by record number, record group number, or alphabetical by title). (Note: not all the microfilms available at the Pacific Region have been added to the list, so if you have any questions about a particular film, contacting the facility directly is recommended.)

Select the film you are interested in and click on it to get to this page:

On the right-hand side, is this window:
Notice that the film under consideration is at the NARA Pacific Region (Riverside):


Before running to the archives to view it, click on the "Finding Aid" - a PDF information document that explains about the film:

That will lead you to a document that explains the microfilms (note: there are 2 films for this particular selection):

The document gives a background of the organization and/or circumstances about the existence of the film(s):



And also includes the Contents of the films (note: for films listing people, the Contents will identify what people are on what film, e.g., Abel - Collins, film 1, etc.)

With this basic information, locating the films on the archives site should be fairly easy. In future weeks we will look at the specifics about some of these films.

Countdown to St. George Family History Expo - 0 weeks/0 days

We are here! I am spending time at the Blog House with other Bloggers of Honor, sharing the virtues and joys of blogging with those who have questions or are otherwise interested in this peculiar form of networking.

If you are at the St. George Family History Expo, come by and say hi. It's going to be a great weekend!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Singalong with Circlemending - Presidents' Day

Happy Presidents' Day! OK, it isn't until tomorrow, but Lincoln's birthday is already passed and Washington's is on the horizon. Let me guess: You don't know many songs about Lincoln or Washington, right? Hmm, that is a shame.

Of course, with my studies of the Civil War, I have learned a number of songs that mention, directly or indirectly, the President of the time. I won't mention them here, leaving them for others to suggest. But let's open it up a little further: how about all the Presidents? I know, I can really be opening things up for some negative stuff as many protest songs have been written about various Presidents (especially during particular time periods), so I am going to request that we remember the purpose of Presents' Day: to honor our Commander in Chief (believe me, I could come up with about 2 dozen negative Presidents' songs). So, now that I have really taxed your brains, let me share one that I have on a 45-rpm record that I have never forgotten. It was written in about 1959 for the campaign of John F. Kennedy, sung by Frank Sinatra (there are actually 2 songs on the record, but I'll just put in my favorite here): "Everyone wants to back Jack, Jack is on the right track, 'cause he has high hopes, high hopes . . ." Check the YouTube version with slides of campaign ribbons, etc.

What do you remember of a song that promotes or honors a President?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I've got them "Virus in my Computer" blues

I have spent the month of February in a virtual limbo. It began with my email deciding to take a vacation. After much fiddling and trying plans B, C, D, etc., my dear husband finally figured out that my computer and the latest version of Thunderbird were not happy together. He reloaded the prior version and all my emails miraculously returned. But, in the interim, I had been reading (and trying to answer) them on my Evo - Sprint Android phone, which was quite unsatisfactory. And because my husband was experimenting with the phenomenon on various household computers, my email was getting downloaded on the desktop computer, his netbook, and my backup laptop, which rarely goes on line. Now I had emails spread throughout the house. I am sure I missed some, though we did try to get them all rounded up (yee-haw, get along little emails!). If I missed something from you, please forgive me an resend. I did find that Facebook made a rather efficient backup system, though archiving the emails is much less convenient.

Once the emails were back up and I was on the road, I contracted a mean, nasty virus. And I mean one with fangs! Good thing: I have a habit of backing up my materials on a regular basis so all my latest things were safely tucked away on an external hard drive in case we needed to have the laptop wiped clean. Yay, that wasn't necessary, but my "baby" had to spend a week at Staples being disinfected. And boy did they do an amazing job (and for a more than reasonable price . . . glad I wasn't paying them by the hour). The laptop is home again. I run a virus scan on it more often than ever, and I am being extra careful. I am sure I opened something that let the bug lose in my machine, and it could have been at any time (some of them have "time bombs" so that when they are released, it is days or weeks past the time they were initially downloaded).

So, after about a month of singing the "I've got them virus in my computer blues," I am now singing a happier song, but working on more lyrics for something to unveil at a later date. I hope my friends in cyber-land proceed into the rest of this year virus-free and backing up their data over and over on various forms of media and in various locations (if your house catches on fire and takes your computer and all the backups with it, where are you then?). I use 2 external hard drives, flash drives, and an off-site service.

Tomorrow: I shall share an old campaign song.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Countdown to St. George Family History Expo - 1 Week




In a week, I will be nestled in with the bloggers at the Blog House in St. George. I wonder what I will have to share from there. I know that I will be asking a bunch of questions as I am still in a quandary about how to use Twitter in my business and personal life. I also look forward to sharing ideas with the other bloggers, most of whom have blogs dealing with genealogy. This is a wonderful way to share information on genealogy tips, finds, warnings, etc. And, guess what: IT'S FREE! (Yes, I did mean to shout.) These amazing people are interested in helping other genealogists (even the earliest of beginners) set up their own blogs to further their research on contact with others. So if you plan to attend the Expo in St. George, come to the Blog House for blogging hints & helps.



Now, if you want to attend the event but are not interested in the classes (hard to believe, but some people wish to network and shop), the entire exhibit hall is FREE! (That's my favorite price.) And some other experiences there will also be without cost. Here, for those who share my love of free, are some examples:

RootsMagic will be there demonstrating all their products and running "mini-classes" in the exhibit hall (no charge). The staff there will also do one-on-one help if you are having any problems with your RM program. A more helpful group you will not find anywhere, plus the products are absolutely amazing! Come learn.

FamilySearch will be there with many computers that you can personally access and get one-on-one assistance to learn all the latest and greatest from that FREE resource. If you have not been on FS in over a month, I promise you that you have many exciting surprises awaiting you.

Ask the Pros will again be available - a chance for you to get individual help for your particular genealogy problems. Stop by their booth to see what times the various experts will be available to assist you . . . for . . . FREE!

Confused about how DNA figures into your family history research? Come check the DNA Consultants booth and ask your questions. This could be just the way to go to break through the brick wall. Of course testing costs, but asking questions of their experts is FREE!

Many local and regional genealogical and historical societies will also be on hand to acquaint you with their organizations (another great way to network is to join these groups).

How about organizing and displaying your family history? Are you confused about how you might go about that? No problem! Just check the many options there in the exhibit hall (in order to avoid missing any of these, I will just suggest you click on the image above and then go to the exhibit hall listing). There are so many options to choose from and here you have a chance to compare them virtually side-by-side, and ask questions as you do so (something that could take hours or even days if you relied on going to Internet sites and emailing your inquiries). Here you can do it in a fraction of the time and all for . . . F*R*E*E!

Other exhibitors are going to be on hand to show you their services and products. Suggestion: while advice and consultations are free, those wares are not, so be sure to figure your budget in advance! For me, it's like being a kid in a candy store!

And don't forget to stop by and say "hi" to me . . . I'll be at the Blog House a lot!

Friday, February 11, 2011

St. George Family History Expo Countdown - 2 weeks

Only 2 weeks and genealogists from all over the country will be converging on St. George for the Family History Expo. As at the Mesa Expo last month, I will be accompanied by a couple of friends who are expert at translating German (current or from centuries ago) and they will be there to assist people in understanding documents, letters, or other German records.While they can only do short things at the Expo for free, they will be able to take longer documents with them to do later and then email them to folks wishing their service. Their rates are reasonable and their skill and thoroughness is amazing! If they aren't at the "ask the pros" table, find us over at the Blog House.

Links for the Expo are on previous blogs (my computer, with all my graphics, etc, is at the computer hospital so I am writing this on my husband's baby computer with its keyboard that is missing three keys - good thing I learned the "touch system" in typing class in Junior High).

Hope to see you in St. George and tell your friends!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Countdown to St. George Family History Expo - 3 Weeks






My turn. A little self-promotion never hurts. Today I want to cover what I will be presenting at the St. George Family History Expo on Jan. 21-22. On Friday, I'll be discussing Music and Our Ancestors and On Saturday I will be presenting Clue to Clue and Who is That? Here are the details:

Friday, 4:30-5:30pm, Class #50, Sunbrook C -
How the Music and Instruments of Your Ancestors are Relevant to Family History Research

Most people don't think of the entertainment activities of their ancestors as being relevant in genealogical research, but it certainly is for those who want to delve into family history - learning the various aspects of the family dynamics. Just as music is important in our lives today, so it was for our multi-great-grandparents. What music was common in certain regions? What types of instruments were played and songs were sung? How does one find out about these things? Is there a way to learn about your ancestor's music life even if no artifacts remain (i.e., no instruments have survived)? This program will answer some, if not all, of these questions; give the researcher new things to search and look for; and shed some light on that other part of the ancestors' lives. Researchers of all levels are welcome.


Saturday, 11:00am-noon, Class #81, Sunbrook C -
Who is That? Why Did Your Ancestor Associate with Apparent Strangers?

I examine those "other" people who seem to appear on records with our ancestors. This includes people on census reports who live in the same home as our forebears, people who sign as witnesses on various documents, and people who are buried in our family plots. Why are they there? Were they related? Friends? Or just people who ended up associating with our families? We will consider different ways to research these people and learn how/if they are connected. These research processes can often shed light on other family members. Good for most levels of research, especially if this has not been a method you have used before.

Saturday, 1:00-2:00pm, Class #91, Sunbrook C -
Clue to Clue: Tracking a Family Across Time and Miles


I examine the step-by-step process of researching a single family as they moved from place to place throughout their lives, from 1828 through 1893, and covering 1500 miles in their moves from New York to Michigan to Iowa to Tennessee to Texas. Using a variety of records, including census schedules (Federal and State), city directories, church documents, interviews, land records, cemetery records and tombstones, newspaper articles, County websites, and more, those in attendance should go away with some new research ideas, even if their ancestors did not live in any of those states. This is good for beginning to intermediate researchers. We have a lot of laughs as we look at the different records, comparing them to family stories, etc.




So there you have it - my offerings for this special event. Click on the icon above to access the full schedule of all there is to learn. In the next weeks we'll look at what the exhibit hall will include and some specifics about some other presentations.