52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy: Week 1

It’s the first week of the new genealogy blog prompt series 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy, and not only am I barely squeaking in a post, but I’m breaking the rules already. Here’s the prompt:

Week 1 – Blogs: Blogging is a great way for genealogists to share information with family members, potential cousins and each other. For which blog are you most thankful? Is it one of the earliest blogs you read, or a current one? What is special about the blog and why should others read it?”

I’m simply going to talk about a blog that I love and it’s not even really a genealogy blog. Streets of Salem is a treasure that I follow in Google Reader. I don’t always remember to check it (since it’s not under my Genealogy tab in Google Reader), but I’m always glad when I do.

The blog is written by a history professor in Salem, Mass. (a town that I adore from having visited several times when I lived in New England). Her posts cover just about anything (food, art, home furnishings) that she might see around town. So how does this relate to genealogy?

The blog is very thorough, delving in-depth into each topic. As a genealogist, I can appreciate that. Sometimes, she captures simply a moment in time (holiday decorations around town last month) and in others, she reveals the way a certain topic was portrayed in years gone by (see her recent Calendar Girls post).

These observations add color to the dry data we often conjure up about our ancestors using census and other records. If you have an ancestor from Salem or its surroundings, I highly recommend you check this blog often.

PS — Thank you, Amy Coffin, for this new series!

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

It’s my two-year blogiversary! Has it really been that long? This has been such a fun two years, getting to know all of the other genealogy bloggers out there, posting and learning about my family, and helping others (hopefully) with tips and projects like the Friends Album. I’m currently looking for more projects like the Friends Album about which to blog. If there is anything you’d like to see more of here at Bayside Blog, speak up in the comments below!

My 99 Genealogy Things

I found this list on Tonia Kendrick’s blog, Tonia’s Roots. I love lists (and memes!)!

Key:

Things you have already done or found – bold type

Things you would like to do or find – italics (NOTE: my blog renders itals as bold and red. Go fig.)

Things you have not done or found /don’t care to.

99 Genealogy Things

  1. Belong to a genealogical society (Not counting the national ones, I belong to the Upper Shore (Md.) Genealogical Society and the Historical Society of Talbot County. Hoping to join more societies relevant to my own ancestry — in Texas and Virginia, for example.)
  2. Joined a group on Genealogy Wise.
  3. Transcribed records.
  4. Uploaded headstone pictures to Find-A-Grave or a similar site
  5. Documented ancestors for four generations (self, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents)
  6. Joined Facebook.
  7. Cleaned up a run-down cemetery.
  8. Joined the Genea-Bloggers Group.
  9. Attended a genealogy conference.
  10. Lectured at a genealogy conference.
  11. Spoke on a genealogy topic at a local genealogy society/local library’s family history group.  Would do this before attempting No. 10.
  12. Joined the National Genealogical Society.
  13. Contributed to a genealogy society publication.  Not yet, but I will.
  14. Served on the board or as an officer of a genealogy society.
  15. Got lost on the way to a cemetery.
  16. Talked to dead ancestors.
  17. Researched outside the state in which I live.
  18. Knocked on the door of an ancestral home and visited with the current occupants. 
  19. Cold called a distant relative. (Does cold-messaging on Facebook count?)
  20. Posted messages on a surname message board.
  21. Uploaded a gedcom file to the internet.
  22. Googled my name (and those of ancestors)
  23. Performed a random act of genealogical kindness.
  24. Researched a non-related family, just for the fun of it. 
  25. Have been paid to do genealogical research.
  26. Earn a living (majority of income) from genealogical research. I’d love to be able to do this, but haven’t found the right formula!
  27. Wrote a letter (or email) to a previously unknown relative.  Okay, I’m counting this as the same as No. 19.
  28. Contributed to one of the genealogy carnivals.
  29. Responded to messages on a message board.
  30. Was injured while on a genealogy excursion.
  31. Participated in a genealogy meme.
  32. Created family history gift items.  But I have created house history gift items!
  33. Performed a record lookup.
  34. Took a genealogy seminar cruise.
  35. Am convinced that a relative must have arrived here from outer space. – Ha-ha — yes, several.
  36. Found a disturbing family secret.
  37. Told others about a disturbing family secret (but not all of the secrets).
  38. Combined genealogy with crafts (family picture quilt, scrapbooking).
  39. Think genealogy is a passion and/or obsession not a hobby.
  40. Assisted finding next of kin for a deceased person. I would love to do this, but need more time in the day.
  41. Taught someone else how to find their roots. Would love to teach a course someday.
  42. Lost valuable genealogy data due to a computer crash or hard drive failure. Thankfully, no.
  43. Been overwhelmed by available genealogy technology.
  44. Know a cousin of the 4th degree or higher.  Thanks to dabbling in DNA!
  45. Disproved a family myth through research.
  46. Got a family member to let you copy photos.
  47. Used a digital camera to “copy” photos or records. Always
  48. Translated a record from a foreign language. Will need help doing this someday with German records, I’m sure.
  49. Found an immigrant ancestor’s passenger arrival record. Not the immigrants, yet, but several native ancestors have traveled abroad and I’ve found their records.
  50. Looked at census records on microfilm, not on the computer. 
  51. Used microfiche. Just did this today!
  52. Visited the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
  53. Used Google+ for genealogy.  I’m on there, but I’m not really using it…
  54. Visited a church or place of worship of one of your ancestors.
  55. Taught a class in genealogy.
  56. Traced ancestors back to the 18th Century.
  57. Traced ancestors back to the 17th Century. I have not, but others before me have (thank you!)
  58. Traced ancestors back to the 16th Century. Ditto, No. 56.
  59. Can name all of your great-great-grandparents. I wish. I’ll get there!
  60. Know how to determine a soundex code without the help of a computer.
  61. Have found many relevant and unexpected articles on internet to “put flesh on the bones”.
  62. Own a copy of Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
  63. Helped someone find an ancestor using records you had never used for your own research.  Since my research business is based in an area where I have no ancestors, this happens all the time!
  64. Visited the main National Archives building in Washington, DC. I have home field advantage on this one.
  65. Have an ancestor who came to America as an indentured servant.
  66. Have an ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 or Civil War.
  67. Taken a photograph of an ancestor’s tombstone.
  68. Can “read” a church record in Latin.
  69. Have an ancestor who changed his/her name, just enough to be confusing.
  70. Joined a Rootsweb mailing list.
  71. Created a family website.
  72. Have a genealogy blog.
  73. Was overwhelmed by the amount of family information received from someone.
  74. Have broken through at least one brick wall.
  75. Done genealogy research at a court house.
  76. Borrowed microfilm from the Family History Library through a local Family History Center(s).
  77. Found an ancestor in an online newspaper archive.
  78. Have visited a NARA branch. Only the main one!
  79. Have an ancestor who served in WWI or WWII.
  80. Use maps in my genealogy research.
  81. Have a blacksheep ancestor.
  82. Found a bigamist amongst my ancestors.
  83. Attended a genealogical institute.
  84. Taken online genealogy (and local history) courses. ProGen counts, right?
  85. Consistently (document) and cite my sources.  Lesson learned!
  86. Visited a foreign country (i.e. one I don’t live in) in search of ancestors.
  87. Can locate any document in my research files within a few minutes.
  88. Have an ancestor who was married four times.
  89. Made a rubbing of an ancestor’s gravestone.
  90. Followed genealogists on Twitter. Follow me! @baysideresearch
  91. Published a family history book.
  92. Learned of a death of a fairly close family relative through research.
  93. Offended a family member with my research.  Hope not!
  94. Reunited someone with precious family photos or artifacts.
  95. Have a paid subscription to a genealogy database.
  96. Submitted articles for FamilySearch Wiki. Maybe someday…
  97. Organized a family reunion. No, but I plan to attend the 85th CORLEY family reunion in Illinois in 2012!
  98. Used Archives in countries where my ancestors originated.
  99. Converted someone new to the love of all things genealogy.  I think I’ve passed the bug on to a few.

Tuesday’s Tip: YourList

A few months ago, I posted about a site called SearchTempest.com that allows you to search across eBay and CraigsList by geographic area and topic. Recently, a reader commented about a different site of the same ilk: YourList, which searches local classifieds and other shopping listings.

I was intrigued by the fact that YourList recognized my location as soon as I brought up the homepage. You can change the location from the homepage as well. A search for “genealogy” brought up two listings in my area, including a yard sale offering “40 years’ accumulation of stuff!”

I haven’t tried it out with any surnames yet, but I thought I’d post about this resource to see if anyone else has had luck with it!

Hurricane Irene: The Finale (Day 5)

Read about Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4

Sunday, August 28

I woke up at 4:30 a.m. because my bedroom door was rattling. Now I could hear a really strong wind, which had shifted so it was coming from the south (correction, west; I’m notoriously directionally challenged) and hitting the window behind my bed. I could tell it wasn’t raining as much. I’d apparently slept straight through the worst part of Irene.

I got up to see what was going on in the rest of the house. A very damp smell hit me when I opened the bedroom door and walked into the dining room (where the basement door is). There was still water in the basement, but the leaks appeared to be slowing. The attic leaks looked to have stopped completely. The wind was rattling the exterior cover of my bathroom vent quite loudly. Thankfully the power was still on.

This led to a comedy of errors though because I had turned on the overhead light in my living room so that I could see. It’s operated from a remote control and though I was able to turn it on, the remote then stopped working. I tried using a remote for a similar fixture in the dining room. That turned on the dining room light, but then it also stopped working. Now I had two blazingly bright lights on in my house at 4:30 a.m. and I just wanted to go back to sleep. I plucked a third remote from the wall in the guest room and removed its battery, swapping it out for those in the other two remotes in turn, which then allowed me to turn off those lights.

Then I flopped back into bed.

Just little branches fell on our street.

I awoke again at 7:15. Very strong winds were once again causing my bedroom door to rattle. The screens in the windows were rattling too. I chanced a peek outside and saw lots of small branches were down in the street.

I got up and once again surveyed the various parts of the house. I took the big floor fan I’d purchased out of its box and set it up to start drying out the basement. I also set up the canisters of DampRid. Then I took the tower fan out of my bedroom and set it up downstairs as well, for good measure.

Once it stopped raining and I saw folks venturing outdoors, I went out and picked up the largest limbs from my front yard. I took a quick walk around our block — the old oaks had dropped tons of small branches.

Tree broken in half on Dover Street.

I came back to my house and grabbed my phone and set off for a longer walk. It was still quite gusty. I took several pics of large limbs down along the way. A large tree in front of the Inn at 202 Dover had broken in half.

A large limb down on South Harrison

Large limb down on Goldsborough.

When I got back to the house, I decided to use Febreeze in the living room and dining room to try and combat the damp smell. I emptied the cooler that had been storing ice, which was now mostly melted.

Downstairs, I opened a small window to let still more air into the basement. It caused the basement door to rattle whenever a strong gust blew through.

I began emptying the large plastic drawers filled with water that were in the tub. Then I folded the tarp in the living room and started moving my scrapbooks and documents back into the office, which fortunately did not leak.

Blue sky!

At 1:30 p.m., I spotted the first hint of blue sky since Friday. Shortly thereafter, the sun was out. I pulled my car out of the garage and then I went out back to get my composter out of the shed and wrestled it back into its frame. I re-hung the flag out front.

After a trip to the gym, I was pleased to discover that the house no longer smelled like a swamp when I walked through the door. I’m contemplating returning the un-opened sub-pump and hose. Surely if the basement didn’t flood after nearly 9 inches of rain in less than 24 hours, I’m not going to need it, right?

Later in the afternoon, all the neighbors were in their yards raking up the branches and leaves that had fallen. I opened all my doors and windows to let as much fresh air as I could into the house. I made another sweep of the sidewalk to get still more sticks out of the way. Everyone was saying how lucky we were that it wasn’t worse, even though we’d all prepared for it.

I took another walk into town and noticed quite a bit of the damage that I’d seen before was already cleared away. Talbot County Schools are closed tomorrow, but everything should be back to normal after that (at least in our part of town). Good riddance, Irene!

Prep for Hurricane Irene, Day 3

Read about Day 1 and Day 2.

Friday, August 26

Clouds creeping into the area on Friday night.

I worked from home and took breaks to get still more things squared away for the hurricane. One of the first things I did was head back to Target at 9 a.m. because I realized I hadn’t gotten enough C batteries for my radio. Well, they’d since been cleared out. I picked up a couple other items and then headed to Lowes, hoping for better luck.

Lowes had a huge battery display near the registers, but there weren’t any Cs there. I did find a few packages at the customer service counter. I bought enough batteries to power my radio two times through. I also bought DampRid canisters in anticipation of a soon-to-be-damp basement. I contemplated picking up a high-power fan too, but decided I’d return for that later (my hands were full).

Upon returning home, I plugged in both my personal and work laptops and began charging my phone off of the personal laptop. I figured that if the power went out, I could continue to charge the phone from both laptops. I also emptied my ice maker into my cooler for the first time. I brought up my cleaning bucket from the basement to fill with water later.

Around lunchtime, I moved all of my dear-to-me scrapbooks out of my office (an old porch I was afraid would be more prone to leak), along with my fire safe and important papers. These I arranged in the middle of my living room floor to be covered with a tarp later.

Basement-drying supplies.

After work, I went back to Lowes and bought a huge floor fan, a sub pump, a 50-foot hose to drain from the basement to the street using the sub pump, and said tarp for the living room.

While I had my provisions in case of a power outage, I needed some real food too, to get me through until the power was out. So, next I went to the Amish market. The bakery was completely wiped out. I bought one of the remaining two bags of hot-dog buns for the bbq I purchased for dinner over the weekend. I bought some snacks as well — yogurt and kettle corn.

While I was pulling my purchases out of the car, I chatted with some of my neighbors. One of them was pulling his tomato and pepper plants (in pots) into his house — they were all bearing fruit that would have been ruined (not to mention the plants themselves could have become missiles in the wind). The other neighbor had moved a boat normally parked by his house around the corner, where it wouldn’t be as close to trees. His kids seemed excited by the upcoming storm. Everyone was upbeat but somewhat resigned to whatever was coming our way.

Before leaving, I had begun backing up my laptop. While I waited for that to finish up, I did the dishes in the sink and ran the dishwasher. After that finished running, I did two loads of laundry and then unplugged the washer and dryer. On the advice of a friend, I started filling large ziploc bags and tupperware containers with water and these I started stowing in my kitchen freezer and my chest freezer downstairs. The idea being that the more full your freezer is, the cooler it will stay if the power goes out. I also filled two thermoses with filtered drinking water and put them in the fridge to cool.

Finally, I packed a backpack with a change of clothes and toiletries. Just in case…

(to be continued)

Sunset Friday night.

Prep for Hurricane Irene, Day 2

Read Post 1 here.

Thursday, August 25

Rainy/fiery sunset on Thursday, Aug. 25.

The warnings became more dire and Ocean City (about an hour away from me) was ordered evacuated by 5 p.m. Friday night. On my way home from work, traffic heading west on Route 50 was heavy, but it also was slow eastbound, which I chalked up to folks driving to the coast to check on properties before the storm. I saw extra MTA buses heading to Ocean City to aid in the evacuation. I also saw idiots headed in the same direction with bikes and kayaks strapped to their cars.

I still had more provisions that I needed (mostly of the non-food variety) so I headed to Target. There, I bought:

Nuts (I meant to buy these the night before, but forgot)
C batteries for my radio
A solar/wind-up flashlight
A battery-operated LED tap light
Trail mix (there’s a particular variety sold at Target that I really like)
Baking soda (in case the items in my fridge and freezers spoil; might be needed to combat odor later)
Duct tape (FEMA recommended it; wasn’t sure what I would need it for, but sounded like a good idea)

Target was out of 1- or 2-gallon jugs of water and I hated the idea of buying so many small bottles. I went back to Railway Market, where I’d done my food shopping the night before, and bought 3 1-gallon jugs. They say each person needs 1 gallon per day and they recommend a 3-day supply.

When I got home, I noticed my neighbors pulling in items from their backyard and started doing the same in mine. I pulled my empty garbage cans into the garage, leaving room to pull in my car later. I also took down a flag and pole hanging from my front porch and stowed these in my shed.

Then I had my composter to deal with. I thought it would be a simple matter of dragging it into the shed too, but the handle I use to spin the bin made it just too wide to fit through the door. It was starting to rain at this point (not hurricane-related yet). I ran inside to grab a wrench and pliers and started to disconnect the bin from the frame. Luckily, the bin wasn’t anywhere near full, so I was able to lift it into the shed and then the frame fit in easily after that. I did acquire a massive bug bite in the process.

Left to do:

Protect my important documents (personal records, house-related papers, scrapbooks, etc.)
Laundry, and then unplug the appliances (they’re only a couple inches off the ground in my leaky basement)
Start stocking ice in my little Playmate cooler
Backup at least my laptop
Move my office PC out of my office (a converted porch that I’m not entirely convinced won’t leak)
Mail bills before I became homebound
Pull the car into the garage
Fill the tub with water and also a bucket (could be used to pour into the toilet to make it flush, if needed)

(to be continued)

Prep for Hurricane Irene, Day 1

Wednesday, August 24

On the heels of a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that was felt here on the Shore and in D.C., our area was warned to prepare for a major hurricane. Irene was to arrive over the weekend. Wednesday is sale day at my local organic/all-natural market, so I decided to stock up on the requisite 2-3 days worth of food they recommend that you have on hand for such emergencies.

Here’s what I bought:

A package of individual-size applesauces
2 cans of tuna (pull-tab lids)
1 box of crackers
1 carton of raspberry green tea in cans
1 carton of coconut milk
1 chocolate bar (almond-sea salt flavor)
1 box Clif Z bars (s’mores flavor)
toilet paper
paper towels

Normally, I don’t like to buy packaged food like this, but there’s really no other choice under such circumstances.

I saw gallon bottles of water there, but decided to wait. I wanted to buy those two-gallon jugs with spouts instead. Should have bought them while they were on sale… (to be continued)

I Hate to Be a Wet Blanket, But…

Jeez talk about bein' a wet blanket
It’s Mother’s Day and a lot of genealogy bloggers are doing tributes to their mothers, grandmothers and other female ancestors on their blogs. Just be careful and think about the information you are putting out there for others to find and, unfortunately, potentially use against you.

Your mother’s maiden name is one of the most commonly asked security questions when you fill out an online profile that requires a password. Have you used this option in the past? Maybe think twice before putting your mother’s and even your grandmother’s maiden name out there.

Dick Eastman has written on this issue before and suggested that you not use this information when signing up for online profiles. All good and well, but if you *have* used this information in the past, be sure to protect yourself and not make such information too easily available in the public sphere.

For more information on protecting your personal identity, read up at the FTC web site. The Washington Post has some good resources and advice too.