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.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday Singalong with Circlemending - The Senses - Touch

After a week + with a cold and bronchitis, I finally am back among the living. Just in time for the Sunday Singalong. Continuing on the subject of the senses, it occurs to me that there are a large number of songs dealing with touch. Whether it is a loving touch, a hug, or touching something, rather than someone, we are constantly using our sense of touch. And singing about it.

I have loved the old song "Bold Soldier" that can be found in some obscure music books (it's in an ancient Burl Ives pocket-book of songs that I have had since I was a young teen). The phrase, implying touch, "Hold your hand," is repeated a couple of times. It actually means to stop a moment, but sounds as if one is being physically held back. Of course, the song also involves a physical altercation - another type of touch. The Burl Ives version of the lyrics can be found here. But my preferred version is sung by Pernell Roberts and a YouTube of his photos, with "Bold Soldier" playing in the background, has been posted on the Internet.

Your song need not include all the lyrics - just the one about touch. Or make it a link to an MP3 file or YouTube video. Or just a title. Do tell why the song is one that you like. Remember, my grandkids have access to this blog, so keep it clean, folks!

Your turn.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday Singalong with Circlemending - The 5 Senses - Hearing

Last week we looked at songs that used references to sight or eyes (tackling the 5 senses over the next few weeks). How about hearing? I can think of a lot of songs that emphasize sounds - what about you? They don't have to be songs that our ancestors sang, but that's always a nice idea, reminding us that many of our songs have been part of our families' lives for many, many years.

A number of years ago Phil Ochs took the poem "Bells" by Edgar Allen Poe and put it to music. You can hear his singing of it on YouTube (though it is taken from the recording, not video of a live performance).

How about you . . . can you think of a song that emphasizes sound? I know there are a lot of Christmas songs that include that theme (just to give you a hint). Post the lyrics, just a verse and/or chorus, the title, or a link to lyrics or a performance of the song in MP3 form or on YouTube.

Have fun with this!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Dominoes

We still use this set of dominoes . . . but have transferred them to another container to preserve the box. I love the graphics from this set, which has been in the family for close to 100 years!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday Singalong with Circlemending - The 5 Senses - Sight

Well, I got another idea for a theme from listening to The Village on XM Radio on Friday: Songs about the Five Senses (to go on for the next few weeks). We will start this week with the sense of sight (references to seeing things, watching, or eyes). The older the song, the better (considering what our ancestors sang), but more contemporary pieces will work as well.

Share some of the lyrics, a link to the lyrics, just the title, or a link to an MP3 or YouTube.

My offering is found on the Traditional & Folk Songs site (with a MIDI file): "Copper Kettle" by Frank Beddoe. The chorus includes the phrase "Watch them jugs a-fillin', in the pale moonlight." I have fond memories of singing this song with friends and, while I am a definite non-drinker, I find the lyrics and melody to be soothing. Some of the history of the song and its meanings, along with links to recordings of it, can be found on Wikipedia.

Your turn.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ancestral folklore challenge - are you game?

What a great idea: locate poetry or music - the literature of our ancestors - that was from the geographic area of the forebear of your choice. Where is this contest to be found? On the blog of Bill West. I'm in for it (now to select the ancestor and the geographic location). We have until mid-November to find the entry, but let's not procrastinate. I can't wait to see what people come up with.

Let the hunt begin!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Card Carried by Charles Lindbergh

"Miss M. Hollander" was my grand-aunt, Mary (Maria) Eva (AKA Mamie) Hollander.
What the circumstances were behind the acquisition of this card, I have no idea. It was among the Hollander estate items that ended up filtering down to me.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Froggy the Gremlin

Do you remember Froggy Gremlin, and the opening phrase "Plunk your magic twanger, Froggy!"? My husband and I have argued about whether it is Froggy Gremlin or Froggy THE Gremlin, but, according to what I'm finding on the Internet, my husband is correct with his addition of the article and THE wins out (I hate when that happens).

When we were kids, my brother and I obtained this rubber Froggy toy (located at a rummage sale, where the large abundance of our toys originated). Problem: my mother bought it and gave it to her 2 children, 6 years apart in age (Bob is the older). When we were children living in the same household, this was not a problem, but when we grew up we needed to determine ownership (of this as well as a large number of books, records, and toys). The books were fairly easily "divvied up"; ownership of most of the stuffed animals was also fairly easy to assess (one or the other of us was usually given the animal originally and though we had "traded" stuffed animals throughout our childhood, we decided that original ownership would be the determining factor); most of the records had been purchased for my brother, so he got those, with the understanding that all would be recorded and we would each have recordings of everything; but Froggy was a problem. He had literally been given to both of us. So we decided he would make the journey between Illinois and California on an annual basis, taking the trip each Christmas. We'd each have custody for a year, then he'd get to move to the other household.

In about 1978, my brother sent Froggy to me with a note that he could no longer handle the travel stress and that he was to stay with me. By this time, his rubber body was feeling the wear and tear and was rotting in places, most notably, his left foot. So I got him a little protective "display case" and there he stays, enjoying a spot of honor in our "frog room."

An interesting addition to this story: in 1979, my brother came to California and visited me. We went to a swap meet and there we found, low and behold, a king-sized Froggy Gremlin (at least twice the size of the little rubber guy I had). My husband (who loves to barter) bargained the seller down to $25 to get the toy for my brother. Now we each have a Froggy and many great memories of the TV show and how we used to watch it together.

Were you a member of the Buster Brown Gang (radio & TV) or Andy's Gang (TV)? Well, then, "Hiya, kids; Hiya, Hiya!"

(Note: all links provided above are to different bits and pieces of Froggy the Gremlin history, for those desiring to wallow in nostalgia.)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday Singalong with Circlemending - Place Songs

Another week has sped by! I was pleased to be a featured speaker at the Chula Vista Family History Seminar yesterday, Oct. 2 (see Randy Seaver's blog for a full report on the lectures presented - mine and others).

On the way home from the seminar I listened to The Village (on XM radio) and a themed program of songs about places. I thought that would be a great idea for a theme for my own Sunday Singalong, so I am suggesting that you consider the many songs of geographic locations that you have learned over the years. Songs about places are not new - our ancestors wrote about the places they loved just as many do today (consider "Home on the Range"). The subject can be about a town, a state, or a general area (including a country or continent).

Most of us have a soft spot in our heart for a location that means "home" to us. I am from Wilmette, Illinois and was raised there from the ages of 1 to 20. No matter where I go, when I think of "home," I think back to those tree-lines streets (which were brick, back when I was growing up). But your selection need not be about your hometown (to the best of my knowledge, "Wilmette" figures into only one song - a piece by Chicago musician Steve Goodman, author of "City of New Orleans," who snuck it into the chorus of a song called "Lincoln Park Pirates" - well, there are 2 place names, though the former refers to a train, not the city).

Is there a song about a place that sticks in your mind? If so, share the lyrics here, or maybe just a verse and chorus, or just the title; or you can provide a link to an MP3, on-line set of lyrics, or a YouTube recording. But do tell why the song is special to you.

So here's one of my absolute favorites, which covers them all. It's by Lou & Peter Berryman who are known for their humorous songs that touch on subjects that most of us are familiar with but that we would never expect to find put to music. It is called "Your State's Name Here." I have been unable to locate a YouTube recording of it, but if you click on their website link here or Google them, you can find a number of other YouTube recordings they have done. Sure to make you smile, and that's one reason I love their material!

Your turn.

Friday, October 1, 2010

California Family History Expo Countdown - 1 week and counting

This is it . . . the last week before we gather in Pleasanton at the Alameda County Fairgrounds to network, learn, share, and have a fabulous time addressing the topic of Family History. An entire two days of this . . . what more could we ask?

In the last couple of weeks, I have discussed the topics of things to see between So. Calif. and the Expo, what is free for those not interested in attending classes, what I will be doing there, and what topics will be good choices for beginners. Today I want to share some of the things that will be included in the exhibit hall. To read everything, check out the link on the image below, but to get my recommendations of exhibits to visit, scroll down further here . . .

FamilySearch: Need I say more? But there is so much . . . there are so many changes happening and about to happen at FamilySearch that this booth is a must if you want to understand all that is going on. Of course, they will also be sponsoring lectures on their resources, always available for free to the public. And there are always FREEBIES at the booth, so you must stop by this one!

Ancestry.com: Another booth and company that has a reputation that should not require additional explanation. Its recent acquisition of Footnote.com will surely be explained, especially for those of us with subscriptions to both. And did you know that Ancestry has a website with more to search than just census records? I just found an ancestor's passport application on Ancestry. How can anyone get very far in their research without Ancestry? And, of course, their representatives will also be giving presentations to help you navigate their website. (They also usually have some fun FREEBIES at their booth, so check that out, too.)

RootsMagic: This is my personal favorite software when it comes to organizing my ancestors in an easy-to-use method. Bruce Buzbee provides personal attention to RM users. He will walk you through one-on-one or instruct you in the lectures he will present . . . either way, there is no excuse for not becoming a self-sufficient RM user in short order. (Check out his FREEBIES, too . . . there's usually something fun that he passes along.)

While those are my favorite ones, there are so many others that will help you manage your family trees, network with other researchers, and add to your genealogy education that I cannot possibly list them all here. I will be spending some time in the Exhibit Hall, helping at the Southern California Genealogical Society booth and doing music (during lunch) in the concession area. Also, my CDs will be available for purchase at the Family History Expo booth, so be sure to check them out too (they have some marvelous t-shirts, genealogy-oriented stamps, and other fun goodies to tell people "I am a genealogist").

And don't forget to check on the door prizes that are always part of the Expos . . . watch for your name to be drawn!

Lots to see, lots to learn, lots to buy . . . see you in Pleasanton where my next blog in this series should originate!