I Was Here


Daily Prompt: I Was Here – by Krista on December 26, 2013 –You are the first astronaut to arrive on a new, uncharted planet. Write the note that you leave to those who come after you. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/prompt-here/

What a great tie-in to genealogy! Isn’t this what we are doing right now?

Leaving notes for those that are our descendents.

What do you want them to know about you, about your ancestors, or about themselves as they read it? Are you writing to your great great grandchild that is not even a twinkle in their fathers eye yet? But you want them to know something about their ancestors, perhaps it is something that you would have liked to known yourself.

I often wonder with all the changes in technology, if I leave a video will they be able to view it? If I leave a DVD will they know what it is and will there be any equipment or knowledge on how to use-will they be able to view it? Should that stop us from making a video, a DVD or even a film recording of what we want to show them or tell them?, Of course not!  Do it, and do it now. If you don’t have access to those or don’t know how to work them yourself, get a neighbor or friend to help you with it. Check out the local library for someone who could help you. Or write it down in your own handwriting so they have something that you held in your hands and they have your handwriting to see. The same emotions would be had with a video or DVD or film too.

It is that connection we are leaving behind for those who come after us. It is that connection we have made with our ancestors and that we are making with those who are our descendents. Connections that bring us together, that let us close a chapter in our lives, that give us the opportunity to open or close doors that have been left swinging on their hinges.

Who do you want to connect with by leaving a note about uncharted territory you have had to encounter?


Family Ghosts on Roots Day


Weekly Writing Challenge: Ghosts of December 23rds Past

Today I learned that today is Root’s Day!

  • Every one has a past, whether it is a few minutes, a few months, a few years or a whole lifetime.
  • Everyone has a present and
  • None of us know what is in our future, near future or far future.

1> What would your ghost of Christmas past show you?

For me, I can think of family getting together, at home, at a relatives, traveling to or from a relatives, even at a neighbors house.Once I was sick with the flu, most were happy times, some were so so.

Now would be a good time to take just 15 minutes and write down a Christmas memory to pass on to your family. You don’t have to tell them about it this Christmas nor do you need to let them read it this Christmas. Perhaps you have a box in a drawer, or a trunk, or a chest, or an envelope you can put it in for later discovery.

2> What would your ghost of Christmas present show you?

For me, this year we didn’t decorate, didn’t put up lights, we are waiting for 3 kings day. Each of our kids are celebrating with the ‘other’ families, 🙂 and I mean this with a smile. So instead of trying to cram in 3 Christmas dinners and all in one day, we are going to Celebrate 3 Kings day, it’s 12 days after Christmas. A time to represent when the 3 wise men came and gave presents to “the young child”. Our grandkids will come over on Saturday night, (since they have school on Monday we have to do it Saturday and Sunday)  they will put out carrots and water and 3 boxes of hay for the camels. In the morning the ‘wise men’ will have left 3 presents, small, medium, and large for each of them.

3> Now, What would your ghost of Christmas future show you?

Well we all know the saying about Death and Taxes and most of us have seen the show, “The Christmas Carole”, but what are your hopes and dreams for the future?

Yesterday afternoon, I mustered up my courage and called a cousin I haven’t talked to since I was a young child, he is 74 now and I introduced myself and told him who my parents were and we began to talk about family. He had some genealogy of my grandmothers family and had turned it over to a Historical Society. I left the genealogy as a starting point and didn’t push for a lot of information. Once I learned he didn’t have it there and he told me how to get a hold of it and to also call his brother, we then spent the next hour sharing memories and stories and what was going on now in our lives and what we were looking forward to in 2014. We really enjoyed talking with each other.

So to you I say, Merry Christmas, Happy 3 Kings Day and May your New Year be full of great family finds and great family times!

Oogway: One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it.
Po: Maybe I should just quit and go back to making noodles.
Oogway: Quit, don’t quit? Noodles, don’t noodles? You are too concerned about what was and what will be. There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the “present.”

where I heard about Roots Day – No I am not Jewish, but I do enjoy learning about differences in each of our lives


Secret Life – Random Act of Kindness



Today’s Daily Prompt for writing a blog states:

Daily Prompt: Random Act of Kindness by Krista on December 20, 2013 Tell us about the time when you performed a secret random act of kindness — where the recipient of your kindness never found out about your good deed. How did the deed go down? Photographers, artists, poets: show us SECRET.

How do you photograph a Random Act of Kindness? It is random – meaning it was not scheduled ahead of time, it is usually spur of the moment. The person ahead of you in line is 26 cents short of having enough cash, so you put 2 quarters on the counter. You pay for the other travelers on the little ferry one day, just because. You leave your coins in the tray for the little children in the line behind you to pick up, like it is a prize. You hold open a door for someone who is taking packages into the post office, or for someone just because.You smile even if you don’t feel joy yourself. The person sitting next to you dropped something out of their pocket or left their jacket behind, so you let them know before they leave. Did you say, “Merry Christmas” because you mean it and no one hardly ever says it anymore.

Perhaps you are taking pictures in the park and you see someone pick something up for someone else who didn’t realize they dropped it … and so you take a quick snapshot.

Maybe it is just the random act of the kind heart of a child giving a great-grandmother a flower.

What has all of this to do with genealogy?

What did your ancestors do?, you parents, your aunts and uncles, your grandparents? My grandfather was known to say, “I have never met a stranger, only a friend I haven’t known before”.

The thing that happens but no one wants to talk about


The inevitable, like death and taxes…

What happens when a loved one ‘passes on’? What is it that family and friends want more than money? I was actually surprised that money was way down on the list of what people want.

They want something that brings back instant happy memories of their loved one the moment they look at it. Something they can tell others about, a life story, a life memory, but here is a website that tells it better than me. I am not supporting the selling of anything on this site. I was shown this site and I think it has some great merit in how to prepare for and deal with what will happen in our lifetimes.


Your Heirs Want This Even More Than Your Money

It’s never about the money, it’s always about the heirlooms






Every family tells about a relative that did this, or a time that thing happened, or when I was a kid. What are the stories in your family? As I was growing up, I heard so many stories about things my great aunts and uncles did, and now, I couldn’t even begin to tell about one of them. I heard them and loved them, and enjoyed hearing them again and again. I guess as a child, I thought the stories would always be there, that there would always be someone to tell them. Now that I am the same age as those who were telling the stories, I understand the importance of writing them down. It is so very important to write them down, impress upon yourself, your children or grandchildren the importance of writing them down… What to do now?

Now, is the key word here. Right now, write down the stories that come to mind. Go ahead, stop reading long enough to jot down a few lines of a story you are remembering right now…

Aha!, this is where another spiral notebook comes in–write down the thoughts you have about stories. something as simple as: Oh, I did just remember a story about my uncle driving and my grandmother. You could call it your ‘Remember the time that – ‘ story book. Jot down the quick thoughts and then later as you go back through it, you can elaborate on those thoughts.

If you have a hard time writing things down, but can say it out loud, this is a good time to use a digital recorder or the voice recorder/speech recognition on your laptop or tablet.

A good way to recall a family story is to start talking to someone in your family right now. Start with something simple like, Do you know how tall great grandpa was?  Where did grandma live when she was growing up and what was it like?

This morning I was trying to think of what to tell my grandchildren when I write to them next. (I actually followed my own advice from my last blog and wrote a letter to my grandchildren about their grandmother. It was her birthday). I began to think in terms of what they could understand at their young age. I thought about the extra cold weather system we are having right now. What was it like for my parents, my grandparents even my 5th great grandparents to live through a winter.

I thought of how in my last letter I talked about my mother’s hands, drew an outline of my hand, asked them to draw an outline of their hand and then I thought, what about our feet? That brought to mind my grandfather’s long feet, of how tall he was and how short my grandma was. I thought of how all the men in his family are tall and most of hers were not. Then that brought to my mind the time I met my grandmothers siblings and how thrilled I was that they were shorter, like me, and how they laughed and told stories on each other and were so happy to see us.

Those are my stories to tell and that is why I am writing to my grandchildren today. I think that today I will tell them what I just told you. How tall my grandfather and his sons were. How short my grandmother and her siblings were. My grandfather’s long feet and cat’s tails and my grandfather not having any teeth and he could put peas on a knife without honey and they wouldn’t fall off when he ate them. How he was at my cousins house and she had music playing and he danced a jig at 87 years old! How he nearly always wore bibbed overalls, he and my aunt and uncles Adams apples.

Start with one thought about a relative and let it take you down memory lane.  My family tells me I chase butterflies, because I can have so many thoughts trigger from one thought, and I can head off in a number of many directions. (As you just discovered in this whole blog today. For me it is a discipline to put blinders on and stay on one path).

Another thought – what if you don’t have any children or grandchildren to leave the stories to? Do you have any nieces or nephews? Any cousins? You have a treasure of memories to share. Share them.

Identifying people or places in those old photos


Identifying people or places in those old photos

Family Photograph

So you have these photos of the 1800’s that look like they might be related, you are not sure, you think they look like photos you have of some people that are older.
What to do?

First, see if you can identity where the photo was taken. The one above was in a studio it seems. Some studios have their name on the backs of the photos, some have the photo in a frame and then their studio name and the city, state is on the frame itself. >It is important that you keep the photos in these frames<  if you have to remove the photograph, take a photo of the photograph in the frame -the front and back- and then a photo of the photograph itself -the front and back- this will help with identifying it and knowing where it came from.

Some photos will have the name of the photographer or studio. Finding out information about the studio, if there are any archives may help you in identifying where or when the photograph was taken.

You may notice that many older photos are on post cards. This was really popular in the early 1900’s. This fact will help you identify the time the photo was taken, and here is a link that may help you identify your photo postcard itself                                                                http://www.playle.com/realphoto/

An unmarked photo is much hard to identify. There are a few things you can do:

  1. the best thing to do is to contact living relatives who might be able to identify the people and perhaps tell you about their lives – for example we have one aunt that lives in another state and I will snail mail her a copy of the photograph and call her in a few days to make sure she received it and has had time to identify it.
  2. If you have an idea of what city or county or state the photograph may have been taken, you could contact a librarian, historian, genealogical society, or newspaper in the area. Tell them all that you know about the photo and ask if they know of anyone that could help you identify it. – for example, I think the photo above was taken in Illinois, possibly the county of Logan.
  3. post the photo on a social media site where others are actively seeking their ancestors too – for example some of my relatives are on Facebook and we share photos to help each other identify them.
  4. Another example is a family tree site where participants post photos they have ask others to help identify the time it was taken or if they recognize any of the people or buildings in the photo – for example, I posted another photo and a complete stranger is helping me find out information and has already sent me a link that I didn’t have before.
  5. search on a family genealogy site for a similar photo. If you know the family name the photo is related to – for example, I think the photo above is related to the Clarke family because it was in with other family photos that we did recognize. I will log in and search other family trees for similar looking people in the photo or a similar photo.
  6. take a photo of it with the other photographs or items it came with or was found with, then put it in an envelope, write on the envelope any information you have about the photo – for example, on the envelope for this photo I would put these labels and then underline the response/answer:
      • what is the family name associated with this photo _____

      (in this photo, I know it is the Clarke family)

      • who I think it might be ______________
      • where I got the photo _____________
      • what other photos were with it _____________

      (this was in with my grandfathers photos)

      • what year(s) you think the photo was taken, _________
      • today’s date ______________________  It is important to put the current date on the envelope, this will help with researching it later.

It may take some time before you get your answers. Be patient.


had to share this insightful website about motivation.


In between the chicken soup, frozen juice pops and coughing: Fighting a winter cold, and when you don’t feel like doing anything, sometimes you can take brief moments to share a little bit. Maybe write a little in a notebook, jot down some notes to do when you feel better.

Here is one teachers tips to motivate students and maybe this can apply to ourselves as well:


I thought it was interesting to write letters to your grandchildren, mine are very young, but they enjoy getting snail mail too.


and here is the link for age appropriate genealogy, very informative



General Mercer and Battlefield at Princeton

and if you are wanting to avoid a cold, or are fighting one now, I found this interesting site about foods to eat: