About Me

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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.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mesa Family History Expo Countdown - 6 weeks

It's time again to start counting down to a Family History Expo. This one is taking place in Mesa, Arizona. It's the third time they have held one there and I'm proud to have been asked to present at all three. I am looking forward to being involved again, not only because it is an honor, but because it is my husband's home state. He was raised in Tempe, a descendant of some of the first settlers of the region. Every time we go back, he tells me where the city "used to" end and what had been in place of the freeways and sky-scrapers when he was growing up! I've heard it all so many times that I think I can run a tour now. Speaking of that, I thought I would let you know what other sights await if you plan to attend the Expo.

I don't know how many times I visited the Phoenix area before we finally took a trip to the zoo. What a great place! This is especially nice if you are a genealogist with family members who don't care to spend their day learning how to dig up the dead. They can leave you at the convention center and head over to the Phoenix Zoo, one of the 5 most kid-friendly zoos in the country. Take the Safari Train around the grounds to get the lay of the land, then exit wherever you want to focus some time (this zoo is too large to properly visit in just one day).

A few years ago we had a family reunion in Papago Park. What a great place! Providing the weather is being nicer than it was last year, this is a wonderful location for a picnic, hike, and visit to the botanical garden. Read some park reviews here.

Every year we attend a folk festival in March, held at Sahuaro Ranch Park Historic Area in Glendale (just outside Phoenix). The grounds are amazing - sort of a pioneer town with all sorts of exhibits and historical information. This is a kid-friendly place that is bound to be interesting (with all sorts of birds wandering around the orange groves that surround the property). Visiting is free. Check here for information and exact location.

If you are into shopping, Scottsdale is a wonderful place to just wander and browse (but watch your pocket-book, some prices are steep). There are some art galleries there that have some incredible pieces, especially featuring Southwestern art. Frank Lloyd Wright wintered in Scottsdale, so you can bet there is some of his work to view. Check this site for more information.

What if the weather is "normal" for January (rainy, cool, blah). No problem, there are other options. Since you are at the base of the Superstition Mountains, why not learn about the history of that area. It is not recommended that you take off for a hike in those mountains, unless you are an experienced hiker, but the next best thing is the Superstition Mountain and Lost Dutchman Mine Museum. Learn about the early legends of the area for a very minimal charge and no danger of falling or getting lost.

More Arizona Museum links can be found here: youth-oriented exhibits, natural history displays, modern marvels museums, etc. Even if the weather is a bummer, your visit to the Phoenix area need not be.

Hungry? Well, that happens. This is a college town, you know, so there are plenty of fast food joints, bistros, health food eateries, and specialty cuisine restaurants. Over the years we have found ourselves drawn to some of the same locations repeatedly. My husband's favorite (and it was his favorite when he was a child growing up), is Bill Johnson's Big Apple (if you see us at the Expo, be sure to ask him the stories behind it). There are now 5 locations in the Phoenix area so there's bound to be one near where you are staying! We also have come to enjoy Monti's La Casa Vieja Steakhouse in Tempe - the food is not cheap, but they give you a ton of it. Plus, you can split a meal and, if you pay $5 extra, they'll provide you with a second soup/salad, side dish, and bread serving for the second person - that is a good idea that I wish more restaurants would adopt!

So join us at the Arizona Family History Expo - click on the image below - and find out about "Old Dogs Learning New Tricks"!

1 comment:

  1. I hope we make it down to see you. Depends on the snow. That stuff comes down at the most inconvient time. I am so proud of you! You are amazing!!


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