About Me

My photo
Lake Mathews (Perris), CA, United States
Born in Illinois, I grew up in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago. I have one sibling, an older brother. I am married, for the 2nd time now, to Butch & got 4 children in the deal. They have gone on to make me grandmother 25 times over & great-grandmother to over 20!. After many years working in industry, I got my bachelors and masters degrees in speech communication, & was a professor in that field for 13 years. I retired in 2001 & returned to school & got my doctorate in folklore. Now I meld my two interests - folklore & genealogy - & add my teaching background, resulting in my current profession: speaker/author/entertainer of genealogically-related topics. I play many folk instruments, but my preference is guitar, which I have been playing since 1963. I write the "Aunty Jeff" column for the Informer, newsletter of the Jefferson County NY Gen. Soc. I work in partnership with Gena Philibert-Ortega & Sara Cochran as Genealogy Journeys® where we focus on educating folks about Social History. More about that: genaandjean.blogspot.com. More on our podcasts: genjourneys.podbean.com. More about my own projects: Circlemending.org.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - 28 September 2010 - Rosannah Stuyvesant Wilcox

Rosanna M. Stuyvesant Wilcox, b: 11 November 1832, Watertown, Jefferson, New York; d: 30 September 1894 (116 years ago this week), Decatur, Van Buren, Michigan. Buried: Prospect Hill Cemetery, Paw Paw, Van Buren, Michigan.

Married to my great-great-grandfather's brother, Calvin Wilcox, on 26 October 1851, Watertown, Jefferson, New York.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Singalong with Circlemending - waterways

It is time to share a song. I am listening to some sea chanteys while I write this so my mind immediately goes to that as a theme. Sometimes sea or waterway songs can give a person a sense of peace; sometimes the story is one of stormy seas and peace is hardly an aspect.

I have a fondness for Bill Staines's song "River" - it makes me want to find the closest river and just sit on the bank with my feet in the cool water, feeling the smooth rocks, and watch the sun go down. Do you know it? It's on YouTube (of course): Aileen & Elkin Thomas (one of my favorite musical couples) performed it with him at the 1987 Philadelphia Folk Festival (how I would have loved to have been there).

Or just read the lyrics.

Do you have a favorite waterway song? Share the title, some lyrics, or link to an MP3 or YouTube performance. Don't forget to tell us why it is a special song to you.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Music: the passion that holds our family together

I enjoy reading Orson Scott Card's weekly column in Mormon Times. Some people will be familiar with Mr. Card's writings in the field of Science Fiction and his award-winning Ender's Game, a great series, particularly designed for youth. I am not a big Science Fiction fan, but Mr. Card's work is not limited to that genre and his inspiring column often gets me thinking. Such it was this past week.

The column of which I speak is titled "Who are we as a family?" (Sept. 11, 2010). In it he addresses the issue of how families distinguish themselves from one another through various characteristics unique to them. He mentions his own family's love of the theater and involvement on both sides of the stage; all the children are active in some aspect of the field of drama. Mr. Card mentions another family he knows that has the same preoccupation with sports, and yet another whose members are all involved with video gaming.

I can think of families whose uniqueness is defined by their love of travel, boating, fishing, mountain climbing, etc. But it didn't take me even a half second to identify what our family's passion is: music (you thought something else?). But instead of looking at who is under our roof right now (that would be two adults and two dogs), I can look at each of our "kids" (all adults now, of course) and most of their children as well.

Our oldest daughter, Patty, and her daughter Miracle are heavily involved in a local choral group where they have weekly rehearsals and frequent performances. It binds them together as mother and daughter while challenging them in their singing. Miracle also plays the flute, has played the piano, and just announced that she also wants to learn guitar (Grandma is so very proud!!). But Miracle's younger sisters are also musical and when the three girls sing together it surely must make the angels stop to take notice. One of the girls plays piano and the other is about to begin learning violin. Patty herself has been involved in music probably since she began to talk. She instilled that love of music into her children (she also has six children from her first marriage plus two step-children). All of those kids were involved in singing at church, but two of them - Emily and Amy - attended a performance-based high school so singing, instrument-playing, and drama were a major part of their adolescence. The oldest of the Patty's offspring, Kirbi, was accomplished on the violin and then graduated to the viola when she was growing up. After leaving her school years behind, she continues in her musical interests, often being asked to sing in church. It is no surprise that she met her husband on a stage and his profession - a professor of music and drama - brings music into the household virtually daily (we visited them in August and were treated to Joe's wonderful piano playing, but missed hearing a song from Kirbi). When the two perform together you know that they are bound by a deep love of music. What a blessing. Patty's other children also enjoy music, but have not pursued it to quite that same degree - they have other, just as valid, passions.

Our son Quentin learned to play guitar when he was young, but he discontinued that when he went into the Navy. But he never quit his love for music - it has only grown and changed. His music tastes touch on everything from hard rock (or whatever it is called now) to classical. But, when he met his lovely wife Mary Jane, he was introduced to Country music (about which, in the past, he had been less than complimentary). Now it is just as likely that a C/W song will be playing in his home as a classical piece. (Well, with two young boys, it's most likely that the songs on the stereo will be from Sesame Street! And Quentin, who has an amazing voice, will probably be singing right along!) Quentin's older children, now adults, also are music lovers. Jenifer played oboe when she was growing up and became quite proficient at it.

Sandi, our daughter in Georgia, brought lovely music into our home when she took up residence with us when she was in high school and continues to do so in her home near Atlanta. She married a music lover, too, who enjoys playing guitar and banjo, accompanying Sandi and their children for some family music time. Sandi's children all sing (a year ago when they were here for Christmas they made a family holiday CD - the "children" - two will be graduating college this next year - have grown up harmonizing together). Three of Sandi's children have been in competitive choirs and her daughter Kati has been involved in an a cappella choir in college. They are all natural performers. I cannot imagine what there house would be like if music was banned from the earth.

Our youngest son, Max, has taken his love of music into a completely different direction. As a child he sang in the school choirs and often was featured as a soloist. But as an adult he let his interests take him into the world of providing music for others as a DJ. He is getting known in Austin, where he lives, and is frequently booked to do weddings and private parties. He is as comfortable with music from the 1980s as he is with that from today or his father's childhood. His is another home where music is often heard. His young step-son, Zack (age 5), is already showing a musical talent and enjoys singing and dancing.

So it appears that I am correct in saying that the passion that binds our family members together is music. But it can also be traced back to those whose legacy we carry on. My husband, Butch, has nurtured his enjoyment of music, having been taught to appreciate it at the knee of his grandmother. How far back in his line the music gene goes, I am not sure. Of course, my kids are all my step-kids, but how much is nature and how much is nurture? My music roots extend into both branches of my family. My mother's maternal grandmother had been raised in a household where musical performances were frequently part of the evening's events and the family had a conservatory in the house (in Bohemia) where entertainment was commonplace. My father's maternal grandfather was a musician and he passed that talent on to my father, who was truly a genius on the piano and organ (and any other instrument he elected to pick up). He had perfect pitch and was very particular about the sound that was emitted by whatever was being played. It made performing in his presence somewhat intimidating, but, looking back, that was not necessarily a bad thing. Unfortunately, my mother was tone deaf, though she loved music and even tried to sing along (until my dad would ask her to stop). Nevertheless, our family get-togethers almost always included some music time (and, yes, much of it was recorded).

Now in our home, with two adults and two dogs, music is just a natural part of most events. Whenever we have a gathering, music is generally at the center. I like it that way, though some may see it as strange. When we celebrated our 30th anniversary, Patty and her family were here, along with about 25 or 30 of our closest friends, and after about two or three hours of music (we sat in a group on the porch taking turns singing and playing folk music), my granddaughter Mikayla crawled into her dad's lap, sitting next to me, and said that she finally figured it out: "This is a music party!" (I think she was waiting for some other part of the party to start!) I told her it was the only party we knew how to have and she nodded and agreed that she liked it.

Thank you, Orson Scott Card, for reminding me of the passion that has been in my family long before I came along and that I have taken the responsibility of passing on to the next generation and the one after that. Is there a passion that has bound your family together from one generation to the next and the next?

Friday, September 24, 2010

California Family History Expo Countdown - 2 weeks and counting

I cannot believe that there are only 2 weeks left before we have our genealogy reunion in Pleasanton, CA. That's one of the things I like the most: getting together with friends and cousins to network, reminisce, learn, and create new memories. I truly love this group of folks and am honored to be in their midst.

But what if you are new to genealogy? Will you feel out of place? Will there be anything for you? I know that sometimes there is an assumption that everyone knows the basics and some of the speakers can approach topics as if everyone knows that an "M" on a census record may stand for "Male," "Married," or "Mulatto," depending on which column it is in. Sometimes, as speakers, we forget to be clear. Please, if that happens and you are confused, ask for clarification (ideally, wait until the end of the presentation, but if it's something that will make the presentation meaningless until it's clarified, speak up, especially if the presentation is advertised as being for "beginners").

That said, let me make some suggestions for beginning researchers to "fill your bill" of genealogy presentations:

Friday, 10 am - "Genealogy for the First Time" - Laura Best

Friday, 11:30 am - "Google Search" - Lisa Louise Cooke

Friday, 1:30 pm - "Best Strategies for Searching Ancestry.com" - Ancestry.com Staff

Friday, 3:00 pm - "FamilySearch 2010 and Beyond" - Gordon J. Clarke

Friday, 4:30 pm - "What Can I Learn from the United States Census?" - Debbe Hagner, AG

Saturday, 8:00 am - "Clue to Clue: Tracking a Family across Time and Miles" - Jean Hibben, CG

Saturday, 9:30 am - "How to Use Your Family Tree to Improve Your Health" - Jordanna Joaquina

Saturday, 11:00 am - "Facebook for Genealogists" - Thomas MacEntee

Saturday, 1:00 pm - "Using Timelines and Historic Maps in Genealogy Research" - Laura Best

Saturday, 2:30 pm - "How to Find Your Ancestors on Ship Passenger Lists" - Debbe Hagner, AG

Saturday, 4:00 pm - "Kiss Those Brick Walls Goodbye! Research Success Stories" - Holly Hansen

Please note: these are general ideas for beginners. If you are particularly interested in working with FamilySearch, then I would recommend you attend more of their programs; if you are working on finding an ancestor from a particular culture (Irish, Scottish, German, etc.), check out the offerings for those beginning ethnic research endeavors. Click on the image above to access the full schedule of the event to select what is perfect for you.

Next week I'll talk a little more about the blogging that will be part of the expo.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Iron dogs

Do you have one of these doorstops? I know that no self-respecting door would ever dare to close with one of these standing in the way. How did I end up with two? Well, they may have been separated at birth, but they were reunited out here in California about 15 years ago.

The first one (the one closest to the camera) is the one I grew up with - he stood in the cottage where my mother's family stayed in the summer. It was on the shore of Beaver Lake and I have fond memories of "playing" with this pup (good thing the floor was very solid). He used to have a leather collar but soon after I inherited him, it just rotted off (maybe it couldn't handle the change of climate from the humid midwest to the arid state of California).

Soon after moving to California I found myself spending most holidays with my first cousin, once removed (my dad's cousin) and her family in Riverside. There, at her fireplace hearth, stood an iron dog. I remarked about how similar it was to the one I had inherited from my mother's side of the family and when my cousin moved to Oklahoma, she called me aside and gave me the dog.

So now I have 2 iron dogs (neither one is relegated to door stop duty - they both stand guard on my hearth), one from each side of the family. Two more things to dust. Two more things to remind me of loved ones who have gone on to the next life. Two cherished pups.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - 22 September 2010, Knoetgen/Strasser family

Strasser Brothers



Photos taken in early 1900s or late 1890s, Teplitz, Bohemia.
My first cousins, 3 times removed, related through the Knoetgen family of Teplitz and Bilin, Bohemia.

Their mother:
Fani Knoetgen Strasser, my great-great-grandaunt, died between 1896 and 1899 in Teplitz.

Would love to find living relatives.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Singalong with Circlemending - weather

The seasons are changing. Or so they tell me (living in Southern Calif., the seasonal differences are not as pronounced as in the area where I grew up in Illinois). Nonetheless, we know that we are moving into fall just because our temps have dipped below 100 degrees!

Do you know a song that speaks of weather (changing seasons, specific weather conditions, a discussion of all types of climatic situations, etc.)? Share the lyrics or maybe just a verse and chorus; or provide a link to the lyrics on line (or maybe an MP3 or YouTube video). But don't forget to share why the song is significant to you (or why you zeroed in on that particular one).

My offering:

While I enjoy fall, I hate to say goodbye to summer. I love how summer days go into the evening (I hate to say goodbye to Daylight Savings Time). It reminds me of the blues song "Summertime." My husband loves to play saw to that song and it lends itself to that instrument. George Gershwin's lyrics can be found at this site, where you can make it a ring for your cell phone. Or check out Ella Fitzgerald's version on YouTube.

When I Googled the song, I was amazed how many different people have recorded this song - and in so many styles! I guess the feeling is essentially universal - "Summertime, and the living is easy." Ah, summer, I shall miss you.

Your turn.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

"America's Heart and Soul" - Disney movie

When you think of the "heart and soul" of America, what comes to mind? Some will mention jobs, others will bring up values, family, religion, freedom, etc. I think that some people will consider the vast differences in geography as one travels from one end of the country to the other. In fact, when we made our most recent trek across country, I paid special attention to the changes in weather and terrain as we went from west to east and back again. We could start a day in the desert and end in the plains of Texas; we went from mountains to flatlands in the space of a few hours. There was a lot of constant in the temperature (most days were over 100 degrees), but the change in humidity was dramatic from the beginning days of the trip to those in the middle.

However, how many of us think of the different types of music that are prevalent in the different geographic areas? Last week I saw an amazing movie (sort of by accident - just channel surfed and there it was): "America's Heart and Soul" (released in 2004). If you require your movies to have a clear plot and segues, this one won't be your cup of tea, but if you are interested in variety, types of people, a look into lifestyles, and (here is where I was hooked) a glimpse at different musical styles, this is just the film that you should see. No, it's not for everyone: there is no sex or violence or offensive language (can we really see an entire movie without any of that? What a shock!). For those of us who want to get a break from all that "normal stuff" we are bombarded with every day, then check this one out. This video can be purchased from Amazon.com (there's even a classroom version).

Why I liked it: the music. From New Orleans jazz to family and friends gathering after a hard day's work to swap fiddle tunes. The message that I took from it is that music is part of a normal life; it may not be the main focus of people's lives, but it has a role in making the hard stuff easier to take and the good times that much more enjoyable. And people don't have to play the instruments to enjoy them. So it continues to promote what I've been saying all along: music and families (those alive as well as those who have gone on before) are connected.

A less than complimentary, but very comprehensive review, can be read here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

California Family History Expo Countdown - 3 weeks and counting

I think it's time to promote what I will be doing at the Family History Expo in Pleasanton in 3 weeks (Oct. 8-9). I will be teaching 3 classes, 2 on Friday and 1 on Saturday:

# 3 - 10am Friday - County Websites: An Overlooked Resource

Here we will examine some of the information available on the websites set up for genealogical research within the different County sites as well as how to determine what county a city is in (and was in) and how to find the sites themselves.

#33 - 4:30pm Friday - Shaking the Myth: Proving/Disproving Family Stories

Here we will discuss a method by which anyone can get an upper hand on determining the truth or falsehood of a family legend. It's both fun and educational.

#38 - 8:00am Saturday - Clue to Clue: Tracking a Family Across Time and Miles

This is one of my most popular programs; it is a case study of a family with descriptions of the methods I used to find them as they went from state to state over a period of about 50 years. There's a lot of humor in this one.

Plus, Butch and I will be doing period music (and maybe a few original pieces) during the lunch hour in the exhibit hall. Our CDs will be available for purchase from the Family History Expos Booth (#67-69). So come to the event, say "hi," and have a great time! (Click the logo below to get to the event website.)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Lotto game and story playing cards

The Lotto game from my family's game collection. One person pulls the numbers and people put the little glass squares over the numbers that match. What makes this game particularly interesting are the playing cards (there are enough for at least 12 players). Question: Can you figure out what story is being told on each card? (Note: the stories are irrelevant to the game itself, but the graphics are great & the tales are timeless, thanks to the Brothers Grimm.)

1 -
2 -
3 -

4 -
5 -
6 -

Good luck!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Singalong with Circlemending - Home Sweet Home

There's no place like home, right? On this 9th anniversary of the attacks on our "home" (9/11/01), we may feel even more connected to whatever represents home and security to us.

Having recently returned from a cross country trip, I recognize the comfort of having "home" to return to. Meanwhile, some of those reading this may have lost their homes - storms in the Central US, fires in the Rockies, and other disasters can take away that home and place of sanctuary in the blink of an eye. My heart goes out to them.

While we were traveling with our "home on wheels," we experienced a bit of homelessness when our vehicle broke down. This meant that our mobile comforts were temporarily lodged at a Chevrolet dealer in Nashville, while we had to find other accommodations. How wonderful that our dear friend Betty Joe Gentry opened her home to us to give us sanctuary until we could get our own "digs" back. The warmth of her bungalow in Tennessee was a perfect example of Southern Hospitality. We felt that comfort even while we were in our own distress, with various issues confronting us; home, no matter whose it is, can be balm to soothe the stressed soul.

Maybe when you hear the word "home" you think of the place where you grew up; perhaps you focus on the building or the group of family that makes up your current homeplace; or possibly you think in a broader sense: the city, state, or country that you call "home" or your ancestors considered their "home." Whatever the word "home" means to you, here is a chance for you to share a song that represents that concept.

The "rules": write a comment/post that includes a verse and/or chorus of the song, the entire lyrics, or just the title; or give us a link to an MP3, YouTube video, or lyrics of the song. But also state why the song is your choice for this week's Sunday Singalong.

My offering: "Who Will Watch the Home Place" by Kate Long. Many attribute the haunting lyrics to Laurie Lewis, whose recording is the best known, but Kate wrote these words that express the emptiness that is prompted when one has to sell the family home. There was a time when I was unable to sing it, having just cleaned out and sold the house I grew up in in Wilmette, Illinois;

but I have been able to reach beyond the emotional reaction and now enjoy sharing this song at various gatherings. It seems that, as we get older, the inevitability of having to experience this heartbreaking activity becomes more and more likely and many who listen to the lyrics nod and even shed some tears as they think of what is to come, or remember what they have, or a loved one has, gone through. Click on the title, above, to read the lyrics, or the house photo to hear Laurie Lewis's rendition of it.

Your turn.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A beloved uncle, a war, and a Dobro

(Links embedded in the text below give the reader more information about the Dobro as an instrument and a piece of history.)

Once upon a time, a young man fell in love with a young woman and they planned to marry.

This love story was interrupted by WWII, changing the course of history in general, and those young lives in particular. That young man, Curtis Lee Hudgins, is buried in Normandy.

But just before he left for his tour of duty that took his life, his beloved Dorothy gave him an instrument - a Dobro - that he cherished and played before he went overseas.

Curtis's niece, my friend Betty Joe Gentry, told me that the Dobro had been part of her family's household for as long as she could remember: her mother, Ila Hudgins Gentry, ended up with the instrument following the death of her brother Curtis. Betty Joe's "Uncle Curtis" was memorialized in their home because that instrument remained a constant reminder of his existence and the family's love of the fallen soldier.

Curtis was remembered in other ways, as well. Ila named her only son after her beloved brother (sadly, Curtis Gentry died just a few years ago and, like his uncle, left a grieving family behind).
And the United States government also acknowledged Private Hudgins's ultimate sacrifice:

I first met Betty Joe in 1973 when we both lived in or near Chicago. I was invited to her family's home in South Wilmington, Illinois (not far from Chicago, near the Indiana border) where I immediately noticed the Dobro, a 1935 collector's item, and asked who played it. Ila told me that, though she had played with it at one time, no one used the instrument any more; that it remained on display in the home in memory of her brother. I told her that if she ever decided to sell it, to let me know. She assured me that that would never happen.

Betty Joe and I lost touch after I moved to California and she left Chicago for other areas before settling in South Wilmington, where she was on hand to assist her mother when Ila needed help in her old age.

Through the wonders of the Internet, Betty Joe and I found each other again, about 25 years after our last visit. One of the first things I asked was whether her mother still had, and cherished, the Dobro. I was assured that it was still a fixture in her home (and she still was not interested in selling it). There it stayed until Ila was done with her journey on this earth, leaving Betty Joe and her sister to settle the estate. I got the call: Did I still want the Dobro? I assured my friend that the instrument would have a special home in my house where I would restore it and play it in my genealogy music programs. And so it has become one of my cherished instruments.

I have a tendency to "name" all my instruments; this particular one is no exception. Its name: "Curtis," of course.

But Betty Joe has not forgotten her uncle, or his namesake. She has a special memorial in her yard, with stones for all of her family members whose graves are not local to her new home in Cookeville, Tennessee (where she moved after her mother's passing). I spent a few days with her this summer and got photos of that memorial:

And Private Curtis Lee Hudgins's marker in particular:

Our ancestors (and many of their possessions) do not die when their bodies do . . . they continue to be part of the legacy which makes up our heritage.

(To hear the Dobro's unique sound, check these YouTube videos: Jerry Douglas, Martin Gross, and Ivan Rosenberg. These three musicians demonstrate completely different styles - blues, "old timey," and bluegrass, respectively. Enjoy.)

Friday, September 10, 2010

California Family History Expo Countdown - 4 weeks and counting


In four weeks, we'll be up in Alameda County, reconnecting with a number of "old" friends and making new ones. For those who are interested in blogging in the field of genealogy, this is a great place to get tips, instruction, and information on why a blog may be something you should consider. (See booth #66 in the Exhibit Hall.)

Another special opportunity at this event is to get some special one-on-one help in breaking through one of your brick walls. (See booth #39 in the Exhibit Hall - email your request in advance to CaliforniaConsultation@fhexpos.com.)

My husband, Butch, & I will also be doing some musical entertainment in the Exhibit Hall during the lunch periods on both Friday and Saturday.

While I encourage folks to come and support the Expo (it's only with the financial support that these events are able to continue and spread throughout the country - the next after California will be in Atlanta in November), I have to add that the Exhibit Hall does not require Expo registration to enter; all the events, displays, access to vendors, etc. are FREE.

Also FREE is the keynote address, which will be given by Beau Sharbrough (title: "Let Your Light Shine"). Check out the rest of the schedule, registration information, and the many exhibitors by clicking the logo below.

In the upcoming posts I'll discuss some of the presenters and some of the exhibitors. Hope to see some of my blog readers up in Pleasanton next month!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - the Toy Shelf

Remember any of these? These sit on the shelf in the "frog room" (the kids' room) at our house - nice and high and away from little fingers. Ah, memories.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Singalong with Circlemending - Work Songs for Labor Day

For our Sunday Singalong this week (and I apologize for the omission of the last couple of weeks . . . we were on the road & I just had no energy to do much blogging), I thought we should recognize the holiday weekend: Labor is our theme. Know any work songs? Or songs about particular professions? Or just about working in general?

Share a song about this topic - a verse and chorus, all the lyrics, a link to lyrics, MP3, or download, or just tell us the title and reason it is a special song in your mind. Our ancestors sang about their jobs a great deal, even when some of those jobs were pretty rough and one would think they would prefer to forget them after a long day's work. I can think of songs about railroading, farming, whaling, and others. Personally, I have a fondness for songs about mining, and a particular appreciation for the song "Sully's Pail," about a coal miner who gave his life for his friend and work companion. It was written by Dick Gibbons (originally incorrectly written as Dick Giddons) and was recorded by Tom Paxton back in the 1960s on his album Ain't That News (now available on CD). I sing it as he did: a capella. It is one of those songs that, when you hear it, it sticks with you.

The lyrics, along with the updates re: author, background, and terminology, are provided at To hear it sung, with Tom Paxton's tune, by ThreeLegsoman, check Youtube:

Or check Tom's recording of it at (purchasable download).

An interesting thread about this song, its misinterpretations, and past wrongs being righted is detailed at Mudcat Cafe:

Your turn! Celebrate Labor Day by sharing a song of labor!

Friday, September 3, 2010

California Family History Expo Countdown - 5 weeks and counting

I cannot believe I have not attended a Family History Expo in over 6 months . . . no wonder I feel withdrawal symptoms! I missed the summer events because of other obligations and distance, but I'm ready for this next one - and here, in our own state! California will have its own Family History Expo on October 8-9. For those of us in Southern California, the drive to Pleasanton (don't you love that name?) in Alameda County may seem like a bit of a trek, but the summer heat will be gone by then (at least I'm counting on it!) and the heavy traffic of the holidays will not yet have begun. From our house it's just over 400 miles (hey, we drove more than that in a day coming home from back east), and there are a lot of diversions that can break up the drive (enough to make it a 2-day trip, for those who want to venture off the I-5 and maybe go into the Gold Rush Country to check out that gorgeous part of the state . . . lots of really cool cemeteries to visit there . . . better add a third travel day if you plan to do that).

The actual location of the expo is 4501 Pleasanton Avenue, Pleasanton, CA and it is located just north of San Jose (ah - the Winchester Mystery House - another favorite of mine) and across the bay from San Francisco (the wharf, cable cars, and so much more). The expo is being held at the fairgrounds, which I think is a wonderful idea since fairgrounds have their own RV parks with full hookups (yay!) so you know where we will be staying!

So here is my first hype for the upcoming Family History Expo in Alameda County, California, just over a month away. If you have not yet registered, do so ASAP (unfortunately, it is too late to still get in on "early registration" - that ended on Aug 31, I am sorry to say). Check out the schedule, the exhibitor information, etc. at the link below. Hope to see you there!

Check back each week and I'll be filling you in on things to do in the area as well as what to expect at this amazing event.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Insignia for the USS Holland

My husband turns 72 years old today. He designed this for the USS Holland, a submarine tender, back in his Navy days. We have it on our wall (the larger version is somewhere else . . . Butch was part of the commissioning crew for the Holland; his son Quentin was part of the de-commissioning crew for the same vessel so who knows where the plaque would be now!).

Happy birthday, Butch.