Wordless Wednesday

Chaos in Waiting

Well, I picked a fine time to start a new project when I decided to start this blog. Shortly after my last post, my life was thrown into chaos. I previously wrote about my "awesome job." Well, my awesome job is about to get colder. My job is taking me to Alaska!! So, as you can imagine, my life has been in a constant state of confusion, learning, chaos, and (as the title suggests) waiting. Waiting?? Have I mentioned that I am in the military?? Well, I am and sometimes the military doesn't necessarily work on the same time line that its soldiers do. I have been waiting for my orders for the last 2 weeks now. So I am in limbo until they finally call on me to go up there. So in the meantime, we are preparing our house for sale, packing up what things we cherish (so as not to leave them in the hands of the military to move for us), and saying goodbyes to our families (because it will be more difficult for visits both ways). And to top it all off, I have been in a state of office/genealogy/computer cleaning and purging. Getting rid of redundant files and pictures and programs and whatever else. My friend (who is more computer literate than I) has been helping me save critical files and links and reformatting my computer, which all turned out to be a bigger project than I had originally anticipated. So with all the recent activity my blog has had to take a back burner as I prepare myself and my family for this new adventure into the last frontier. However, I am anticipating more spare time with this new position and I hope to continue with this blog with more regularity. I am also going to attempt to chronicle my family's trip to the frozen north. So stay tuned!!

A Beginner's Library

So, here I sit. Listening to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. About to write my first blog post that will be entirely based on a genealogy topic. I've been wanting to write something about this for quite some time. Partly because when I first started my family history, I had a hard time determining which books I should buy. In fact, I still have that problem. The other part is hoping that someone will read this and suggest even more books that will be a good addition to my (or any other young genealogist's) library. However, as I become more experienced, I find it easier and easier to choose the books to add to my personal collection. But any insight or advice from those more experienced than me is greatly appreciated.

My collection of genealogy books is somewhat small. But there are a number that I use rather often and I feel could be beneficial to anyone's collection.

The newest addition to my collection (purchased 3 weeks ago) is Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills. I know that anyone that has spent more that one day in the genealogy field is familiar with this book or at least they should be. Honestly, I am slightly embarrassed that it has taken me so long to buy this book. As one that studied history in college and is now involved in genealogy now, I fully appreciate the need to cite sources and I find Mrs. Mills approach to this extraordinary. Not only does it tell and teach how to cite sources, details how to best analyze any evidence that may cross a researchers path.

And with products, such as RootsMagic 4, basing their source templates on those found in Evidence Explained, I feel that it is one of, if not the most, essential book for the library of genealogists of any experience level.

The Organized Family Historian by Ann Carter Fleming is a book that I bought when shortly after I realized that I was gathering more research information that I could effectively organized. I wasn't quite sure how to organized all that mess so that, first, it was understandable to me and, second, so that it was understandable to those that I would inevitably share it with.

This book comes with a companion CD containing different forms and worksheets to help organized your research and findings. Most of it is included in most genealogy programs, but this book explains how to use all those forms in a way that any beginner can understand.

I must admit, however, part of the reason for my buying this book was to find a filing system that I was comfortable in using. (The filing cabinet on the cover sucked me in!!) And although Mrs. Fleming's ideas on filing systems is sound and it is probably effective for many people, I found that it was not what I was looking for. I am still searching for that "perfect" filing system, or at least one that I am comfortable with. So, if anyone has any ideas or has a filing system they would like to suggest I try, please, let me know.

Probably, the first serious genealogy book I bought, Everton's Handybook for Genealogists has probably been the most useful. I own the 10th edition, however, I understand that there is an 11th edition that includes a companion CD. I have not seen or used the 11th edition and was not able to find a link for it. I have used my 10th edition very regularly, whether it be to find the address for a local county clerk's office or to determine the existence of particular counties in different time periods. I even used it to search for societies or repositories in Alaska, which is where I will be moving to in about 2 months.

The Handybook for Genealogists has allowed me to find birth and marriage information for my mother's family that I was not able to find elsewhere. And because this book covers every state it will be invaluable to those researching multiple family line (or the same line) in multiple states.

One of the next books that I bought was written by George C. Morgan of the Genealogy Guys. The book, How to Do Everything with Your Genealogy seems to expound on the principles of genealogy that Mrs. Fleming only hinted at in her book. He also goes into more detail on research techniques and where to begin looking for information.

I own the first edition (pictured right). It covers just about any topic that you can think of. However, if you are thinking of more current topics like DNA research then you may want to look at getting Mr. Morgan's second edition (linked to the title above) which has just recently been published. Either edition is sure to expand your genealogy tool set.

The next two books that round out the favorites from my collection are probably not books that EVERY researcher needs in their collection. However, they should have one (or more) similar to them.

Years ago, when I took my first family history class at college, one of my assignments was to find out as much information as I could from immediate family, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. While speaking to one of my aunts, she mentioned that she had received a booklet from an individual that had compiled some information on my Sheeley family line. She offered to send me the pages that pertained to my direct ancestral line. When it arrived, I was shocked at the amount of knowledge that was contained in the envelope. And this was just and extract!! Unfortunately, once the assignment was complete, this information was put in a box and forgotten for a number of years. When I finally decided to restart my family history research, I came across these pages. On the last page was the address (then a number of years old) of the compiler. I wrote to him in hopes that he was still at the address. I asked for a full copy of the compilation that had been in the possession of my aunt. Luckily, he was still at the address, but he informed me that he no longer had any copies of that original compilation, BUT if I was patient he would send me the second edition of his work which was nearly complete. I was anxiously patient and a couple of months later received Seven Cow Tails, One Hair. This book contains the descendants of Johann Nicholas Schiele, the first person in the Schiele/Sheely/Sheeley family to come to America (in 1739). This book contains 486 pages of births, marriages, deaths, histories, and pictures of 12 generations of descendants. (Unfortunately, no source citations) So, I guess you could say, an awesome amount of information was placed in my lap.

The second book is similar in nature. Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah by Frank Esshom, is a compilation of photographs, genealogies and biographies of men that traveled to Utah "by wagon, hand cart or afoot, between July 24, 1847, and December 30, 1868, before the railroad" and of men that held prominent positions in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that traveled to Utah "after the coming of the railroad." This book is the only book (so-far) that I have in electronic format. The book itself came to my knowledge back in that family history class in college. I was doing research on my father's maternal grandparents and found some of that line in this book. Again, that research was put in a box for a number of years and I recently found it.

I had also just recently read Dick Eastman's blog entry "Converting My Personal Library to Digital". One of the comments suggested a website, http://www.archive.org/index.php, for locating out of print books. So, on the slim chance that it was there, I did a search. To my surprise, it was there. I downloaded it and I am still finding links to ancestors in this book.

In both cases, I found (and continue to find) additional information that initially I missed. With these books close at hand, I am able to cross reference other names that may come up in my research to see if the are related or if they link to other nuggets of information that may be contained in the books. I feel that compiled genealogies are essential to any genealogists library.

There they are. I hope this post is useful to anyone that may read it. I encourage those of you that are more experienced to suggest any titles you feel should be in the library of any genealogist. (Also any filing tips would be greatly appreciated as well.)



I have been following Randy Seaver's genealogy blog for quite some time now. In fact, it is one of the links located in my blog list located at the right. And, to my surprise, he recently commented on my last post which was posted almost 3 weeks ago. Every Saturday night, Randy comes up with a fun little activity and tonite I decided to participate. Randy's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun can be found here. Below are my results to his directions.

2. A carpet installer decides to take a cigarette break after completing the installation in the first of several rooms he has to do. Finding them missing from his pocket he begins searching, only to notice a small lump in his recently completed carpet-installation. Not wanting to rip up all that work for a lousy pack of cigarettes he simply walks over and pounds the lump flat. He decides to forgo the break continues on to the other rooms to be carpeted.

At the end of the day he's completed his work and loading his tools into his trucks when two events occur almost simultaneously: he spies his pack of cigarettes on the dashboard of the truck, and the lady of the house calls out 'Have you seen my parakeet?'

Your date of conception was on or about 4 November 1977 which was a Friday.
You were born on a Friday under the astrological sign Leo.
Your Life path number is 6.
Your Native American Zodiac sign is Salmon; your plant is Raspberry.
Celebrities who share your birthday:

Sally Struthers (1948)Jim Davis (1945)Rick Wright (1945)
Bill Bradley (1943)Phil Proctor (1940)Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1929)
Rudy Vallee (1901)Beatrix Potter (1866)

If you are able to achieve the potential of your natural expression in this life, you are capable of much human understanding and have a lot to give to others. Your personal ambitions are likely to be maintained in a very positive perspective, never losing sight of an interest in people, and a sympathetic, tolerant, broad-minded and compassionate point of view. You are quite idealistic, and disappointed at the lack of perfection in the world. You have a strong awareness of your own feeling as well as those of others. Friendships, affection, and love are extremely important.

If any of you care to do this and would like to share please post as a comment or as a link to your own blog post.


Cool Name

Okay, so I showed my wife the opening post to my new blog. And she began to laugh. I said, "What's so funny?" She tells me that it is funny that I will not give my name. Especially, since the only people that will initially read it already know who I am. I'm not going to lie to you, but right now I am a little embarrassed at my short-sightedness. BUT I WANT A PEN NAME.....you can't take that from me!!!

So, as I've contemplated what cool pen name I would like to give myself, I have debated many options. I first looked at my family history database to see if there were any cool names that called out to me.......no. Then I searched my personal library, trying to determine if there were any cool character names that came to mind........no. I then thought "JACK BAUER"....... definitely cool, but........no. So then, sitting here at work, bored out of my mind, I did a google search for "cool names" and I went to COOL Baby Boy Names and searched their list. And I found one......TALON. For those of you that know who I am, you can probably guess the connection I have to this name. If you can't guess, or if you don't know me, well, that will make for a good story later.

For those of you that are here for the genealogy content.....I promise I will get to that. Just bear with me while I go thru the fun of setting this thing up before I get down to the nitty gritty of providing useful family history insights. But let me leave you with this......"Are you a hunter or a gatherer?" Take that in any context you wish and leave me a comment describing what you are and why!!


Getting Started

Yeah, so as it says, I am getting started. "Getting started with what?" you ask your monitor. Well, it is misleading on a number of fronts. But before I help your monitor answer the question that is at the front of your mind, let me expound on myself a little bit and the purpose for this blog.

I am not going to tell you my name.....yet. I have this overwhelming desire to give myself a pen name. I haven't thought of anything intriguing or cool yet. So the unveiling of the pen name will take place at a future time and believe me, you'll be the first to know. Hopefully, I can come up with it in the not-too-distant future. But until then, you can call me whatever you like. That being said, I am not really going to tell you all about me. That will leave things for me to talk about at later dates (when I can think of nothing better to talk about). I will tell you.....I have an awesome job. A job so awesome, that not telling you is killing me. In fact, it is stereotypical for those in my profession to talk about nothing else. So, be proud of me.

Besides having an awesome job, I have an awesome wife. And the most awesome thing about her.....she loves hearing me talk about myself and my job!! We have 4 awesome kids. They all range in age from 2 to 10 (except my wife, she's a bit older).

So, now about "Roots, Twigs, and Berries." I have a hobby. A hobby that isn't very popular with my age group. I was first introduced to it the first time I went to college. (Yes, I said first time) Oh, did I forget to mention, I am currently a full-time student working on a second bachelor's degree? So, I stay pretty busy.....too busy sometimes. Anyway, the first time I went to college I majored in History. I took a class on family history, or genealogy. Which, at the time, I just needed a class to fill my schedule and that's what I chose. I don't really know why, but it just seemed to call to me. Since then, I have been hooked.

"So, ______, why 'Roots, Twigs, and Berries'?" you ask your monitor. (You should stop talking to your monitor. People will think you are crazy.) The answer......."DearMYRTLE" was already taken (just kidding, Pat). Seriously, imagine a tree, if you will. We'll call it "family tree." Roots are the heart of family tree; roots give it life; roots are family tree's foundation. Twigs (and branches) are what give family tree breadth and substance. And the berries......okay, trees don't have berries, they have fruit. But "Roots, Twigs, and Fruit" just didn't have a ring to it. Either way, berries (or fruit) are the tiny morsels that make family tree interesting. And that's what I hope to give to you through this blog (foundation, substance, and interest), centered on the discovery of my life and the lives of my ancestors.

So, from here, I am just........."Getting Started."