Monday, November 25, 2013

Revisiting Boot Camp

A few days have passed allowing me time to reflect on Hack Genealogy’s Boot Camp for Writing Family History. Saturday’s webinar was divided into two parts.

Boot camp began with Lisa Alzo of the Accidental Genealogist: speaking on crafting a compelling family narrative.  I came away with a few pearls of wisdom beginning with:

“The Five P’s”
Plan     Prepare     Plot     Produce     Publish

Publishing seems years perhaps decades away. So I focused on Planning and Preparation. As a blogger, I find it fairly easy to write short posts. The challenge for me is writing a longer, complete narrative. Lisa suggested brainstorming ideas such as mind mapping and storyboards.

I have been working on my Uncle Dick’s life story for a very long time and it is time for me to PRODUCE! So, here is my plan per Lisa’s suggestions:

  1. Organize all photos and information into one central location.
  2. Purchase index cards and create a storyboard.
  3.  Use photos to help tell the story.
  4. Write daily.

A sample of my first attempt to write using photos

 A Joyous Moment Frozen in Time
Hugs for mother and son reunited following Dick's return from Boot Camp. Dick arrived home just in time for his sister’s wedding. Life was good for this mother and son. I am so glad the moment was captured on film. Can’t you feel the love?

Thomas MacEntee of Hack Genealogy and Geneabloggers (, and presented the afternoon session, “Ten Secrets You Should Know About Microsoft Word.” It never fails, whenever I learn something new I discover how little I know.

Several years ago I took Boston University’s online genealogy course. It was intense and I spent hours and hours creating genealogy documents for class assignments. After listening to Thomas I realized how much easier the class would have been had I understood Microsoft Word.

Today, as I write this post in Microsoft Word, I write with my Show/Hide button on. I can see my spaces and paragraph returns. I also know that there is a widow and orphan in my document. I just wish I could recall how to correct that.

There is another P for you!
Practice     Practice     Practice

Hope you are having a beautiful day,


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hack Genealogy

Thomas MacEntee has started a new genealogy site called Hack Genealogy at Today he is offering two webinars on writing your family history.

Just finished the first session with Lisa Alzo at Her topic of discussion was  “Writing A Compelling Family History Narrative From Start to Finish.” She offered valuable suggestions in every aspect of the writing process. Can’t wait to implement some of her suggestions.

Time to tune in for the second session, “10 Secrets You Should Know to Survive Microsoft Word,” being given by Thomas MacEntee. Here we go!

Talk to you later,


Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Lovely Turkey Memory

It is the time of year when my thoughts turn to turkey. As I placed the order for a Thanksgiving turkey I am reminded of this lovely memory of my mother.

Back in the 1960’s and 70’s “Turkey” was a slang term for a person who did something silly or foolish. So in our household of teenagers and one grade schooler, the label turkey was meant to tease a sibling who did some crazy thing. The word “Turkey” frequently flew around our house.

     We may have said, “You are a real turkey!” or "You Turkey!"

              My mother in her effort to get with the times uttered 
the following sentence.

Don’t be such an eagle!”

Well, mom managed to silence the room and stop us all dead in our tracks with that declaration. What was she talking about?

It’s a turkey, mom! You mean a turkey not an eagle!”

While I can only speak for myself,  this little story remind me of how perfectly imperfect we all are and how grateful I am for moments like this. Perfection is such hard work. Embracing my many imperfections seems to be the only logical choice for me. Exactly who is perfect anyways?

Do you have a memory where you or someone you love did something silly? Would you like to share it? I would love to hear your story!

Here’s the “Eagle” in all of us.

Have a Happy Day!


My Brick Wall

Now here is a brick wall for you! No one got by the imposing walls of Komainham Gaol in Dublin, Ireland. The notorious 19th century prison played an important role in Irish history. Leaders of Irish rebellions were imprisoned and some executed here at the sight of the cross. Komainham Gaol Prison Museum opened my eyes to the Irish struggle for freedom.

The walls of Komainham Gaol that held in the poor Irish people captive, remind me of my genealogy brick walls. Secrets of my New England ancestors seem to be locked in formidable brick walls such the walls of this prison.

Friday I volunteered in my library’s genealogy room and met a gentleman searching for information about his illusive grandfather. A grandfather who left the family appears in records with a variety of names. As an outsider his research path seemed clear to me, but for him his brick wall was as high as the walls of Komainham Gaol.

Needless to say, I was intrigued by his research and motivated me to revisit my brick wall. I spend Saturday, rehashing my 4th great grandfather, Silas W. Cobb and his wife, Sarah Hawks of Moretown and Montpelier, Vermont. Was there something I missed?

Theories abound, but yet not one real piece of evidence has materialized to break through or even crack this brick wall of mine. Who were their parents? This question burns in me because this line is my link to the American Revolution!

So for now my brick wall remains intact. 

Please, just get me out of here!

Prison Cell in Komainham Gaol.
Happy Hunting!


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Sibling Saturday

Remember those photo booths of long ago where you cram into the small booth and let it shoot away. Here are two of my sibs in that booth many moons ago!

Friday, November 1, 2013

November 1, 1916

Life’s treasures, the most special ones, have a way of surviving generations. My maternal grandmother, Henrietta Danker, wrote her Aunt Emma and Uncle Oscar Solum. The Solums lived in Chicago and the Dankers lived on a farm outside of Chicago. Emma was the younger sister of Julia Duntemann, mother of Henrietta.

Emma and Julia saved the letters, which were passed to Henrietta. Upon Henrietta’s death the letters passed to her only surviving child, my mother. Upon my mother’s passing the letters came to me. All Grandma’s letters closed with variations of this closing:

Thousands of kisses and hugs from momma and I