Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Bonjour, I'm A French Model!

Bonjour! I'm a French model. It must be true, you read it here on the internet. Right? Right. I love the point this State Farm television commercial makes. A point that is relevant to any genealogical research done on the internet. The moral of the story is that you and your work are only as good as your sources.

Who cares, and who should care?

It seems that the "genealogy community" hobbyist, expert, professional discussion is back. Everything old is new again. I gave an example of the discussion as it was in 1887 in an excerpt from a genealogy book I posted here on Facebook. The present discussion made the rounds of the blogs in 2007, and again in 2011. Nothing much has changed since then.

My opinion.

I am a genealogist. We are all genealogists who study or trace our ancestry. All. Period. Some would like to attach a level of competence to the individual person. Those names are, but not limited to, hobbyist, expert, professional, etc. What does any of that mean? We do not have a generally accepted definition of hobbyist, expert, or professional as it applies to the world of genealogy. We all have an opinion as to what the definition should be, but no generally accepted genealogical community definition.

Why don't we label genealogists well-known, known, and unknown. That could also define individual genealogists. Just as meaningful. Many of you will argue that the BCG standards are our guide. But they are only a guide to a genealogist's expertise if that genealogist has voluntarily been tested by those standards. Have you seen a list of those who have tried and failed their standards?

When it comes to the definition of hobbyist, expert or professional work product, we are again faced with no generally accepted definition. We do have standards of genealogical research and presentation of that work. And we do have opinions. So many opinions.

First, let me ask, "Why does it matter so much to you?"

Before you answer, may I say that I think I understand. I have several law degrees. I cringe when I see people online give a legal opinion or legal definition who have zero legal education. Then when I stop gritting my teeth I remember a simple truth. Their opinion is of no value to me. And if you are so quick to accept those opinions without investigating their credentials, shame on you. I am not going to waste my energy turning them in to the bar or the Attorney General for practicing law without a license. And I'm certainly not going to recommend them to anyone seeking legal advice. More importantly, I will investigate and form my own legal opinions.

What about you? You work hard on your genealogical research. You adhere to genealogical standards. Do you feel that your work is diminished by those who have no standards because they too call themselves a genealogist? Their standards are of no value to you and your work, and if you are so quick to accept their conclusions without investigating their sources, shame on you. Don't waste your energy turning them in to the Genealogy Police or the Citation Police. Don't recommend their work. You are only responsible for the standards of your own work.

Now if you want to change the fact that we are only responsible for our own work, come up with a definition, a guide, a standard, a license, a law,  something for levels of expertise! I think you will find it isn't as simple as you thought it would be.

In a 2011 post, Kimberly Powell of Kimberly's Genealogy Blog on asked:

    "How do we as genealogists strike a balance between encouraging sound genealogical standards and practices without discouraging family history newcomers who find themselves quickly discouraged by those same standards, which they often don't understand and find unnecessarily complicated? Isn't there room for genealogists of all viewpoints and varying skill levels? Can't we find a way to educate and encourage without beating people over the head with our genealogy ideals?"

These questions are as important today as when Kimberly Powell first asked them. Can we move on to solutions?

What do you think?

It's not as easy as it looks on TV.

 ~ Rosie O'Donnell ~

Who Do You Think You Are?

Monday, April 7, 2014

How To Write The History Of A Family - 1887

I found this book so interesting that I thought I'd share an excerpt with you.

It is evident the perception of the Genealogist/Family Historian hasn't changed much since 1887.

However, I have always thought that through education programs that set standards for research, writing, and production; and that teach the skill sets necessary to achieve those results, we will improve not only how others view us, but how we view ourselves. Seems my ideas aren't new either.
In this little volume it is scarcely necessary to vindicate the study of genealogy against those who assert that it is but an idle pursuit, for it may be presumed that those only will consult it who are already persuaded of the utility of preserving their family history. The reverence which is almost universally shown toward ancestors is but an extension of the commandment. "Honor thy father and they mother." All races of men seem to possess an instinctive feeling that a line of honorable ancestry is a subject for legitimate pride.

"Who are these graves we know not,
Only know they are our fathers."

But though many affect to jest at what they call "pedigree-hunting" there are few who do not feel more or less interested in knowing something of their own family history, however humble it may be; and that this is so is shown by the increasing number of those who now take some pains to trace it out and place it on permanent record.

Genealogy in the past was chiefly confined to tabular pedigrees, more remarkable for an imposing array of names and titles than for any just claim to be termed history. Still, a few family memorials worthy of the name were compiled as early as the seventeenth century, such for example, as the splendid history of the "Lives of the Berkeleys, written by John Smyth, of Nibley, about the year 1618. The independent family memoir, however, is a product almost exclusively of modern growth and though some valuable examples have been issued in England, it is in the United States that they are most numerous.

The necessity of accuracy and method is specially insisted on, and the reader's attention is drawn to the advantage of uniting the narrative with key-tables by means of a definite system of cross references, a combination which hitherto has been too much neglected by genealogists.

W.P.W. Phillimore, M.A., B.C.L.
How To Write The History of a Family
A Guide for Genealogists

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Congratulations Randy Seaver!

Photo courtesy Flipboard Magazine.

Congratulations, Randy Seaver, on the 4 March 2014, Flipboard Magazine blog post, "A Mother's Life, Remembered on Flipboard."

The article author Todd Lappin wrote, "To familiarize himself with magazine-making on Flipboard, genealogy enthusiast Randy Seaver curated photos and articles about his mother into a Flipboard magazine. Then he wrote a blog post about it."

Great job, Randy!

The Flipboard Magazine Article can be found here.

Randy's Article can be found here.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Is it a dead body?

Today, is my son's birthday. I've put my feet up, had a cup of tea and reflected on the little boy I raised. Not the man he has become, rather the child who made every day an adventure.

Like the afternoon I came home from work and found Raymond and Ken (his best friend) waiting for me in the driveway. They swarmed the car before I could get my door open. They were talking over each other and so fast the only words I could make out were "dead body."

"Alright," I raised my voice. "Slow down. I can't understand a thing you're saying." I herded the excitement into the house and attempted to get to the bottom of what looked as if two twelve year olds were about to have a coronary.

They tried to sit still, but for the most part it didn't work. The story was punctuated by the two of them popping up and down like that annoying game at Chuck E. Cheese. The story, as they told it, was that they had found a dead body in a green garbage bag just over the hill. They wanted me to come look in the bag before we called the police. Just in case. To all mothers of sons I'm sure you know why I went to look in the bag before calling the police.

I changed into my best investigative jeans and loaded the car with the two not quite under control twelve year olds. We lived at the top of the mountain. The bag with the dead body was apparently hanging off the mountain just below our house on a dirt road. The boys directed me to the spot.

I parked the car at the side of the road, got out and walked to the edge. I leaned over and looked down. It was quite a drop, but there was the green garbage bag. Just where the boys had said it would be. A tree was jutting out from the side of the mountain and the bag was under one of the branches.

I told the boys to stay put while I slid down the hill to the tree. I climbed out on the tree branch and hung upside down over the bag. The smell was disgusting, disgusting! The boys and I were going to have a conversation when we got home as to what they were doing down the mountain and up that tree in the first place.

I ripped a hole in the bag and looked inside. There was a body in there. A decomposing body. I could see a section of the skull and other bones. But I couldn't tell if it was a human body, never having seen a decomposing human body before. And I was not going to take anything out of that bag. I was not going to touch the body or drag part of it out of the bag. This was long before CSI and the knowledge by the general public of destroying evidence. I wasn't going to touch it because it was disgusting not because I might destroy evidence!

I shinnied back down the branch, up the tree, and climbed the mountain to the waiting boys.

"Is it a dead body? Is it a dead body? Is it a dead body?" greeted me. "Yes, it's dead." I answered. "I just don't know what kind of body it is. We'll call Dad. He'll know a dead human body when he sees one. If it is one."

As this was BCP, before cell phones, we drove back to the house to get in touch with my husband. He was highly skeptical. While I was talking with Mr. Maven the boys had gotten two mixing spoons from the dishwasher and were practicing interviewing each other for the TV cameras.

Disappointment soon quelled the excitement when it was determined the dead body was a deer that had probably been poached, the carcass shoved in a green garbage bag, and the bag dumped over the little used dirt road down the mountain. (Only a twelve year old boy could be disappointed the dead body wasn't human.) This was followed by the appropriate discussions and admonitions regarding the boys' conduct.

To my son, I hope you are lucky enough to have a child just like you. Every day will be an adventure and I can picture you sliding down the mountain, up the tree, out on the branch, and opening the bag. Even when you don't quite buy the story. Happy Birthday, sweetheart!!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

'Twas The Night Before GeneaChristmas!

Another tradition! A version of "Twas The Night Before" has been posted by footnoteMaven every year since December 24, 2007. The only changes have been to include advances in technology and now, social media. So as you wait for Santa, please enjoy!

Twas the night before GeneaChristmas and from coast to coast,
every GeneaBlogger had penned their last post.

Had told Christmas stories both merry and bright
while blog caroling old favorites on YouTube all night.

There’d been last minute Tweets, facebooking and song.
We’d shared Christmas memories, all played along.

Nothing’s left for us now but to track Old St. Nick;
New Jersey, Missouri, Seattle, he’s quick.

Before this night’s over his reindeer’ll alight
on the roof tops of GeneaBloggers to right

The wrongs of the census, transcription, and fire;
to give each of us our one true heart’s desire.

Please, one missing ancestor, one smashed brick wall,
then dash away, dash away, dash away all.

I’ve not been naughty, I've tried hard to be nice.
Collecting old photos my one proven vice.

Reward me dear Santa I’ll promise you this;
the year 2014 will be one not to miss!

And I heard him exclaim ere he drove out of sight.

Merry Christmas To All and To All A Good Night!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Said the footnoteMaven to the Bloggers all
Do you hear what I hear?
Ringing thru the web, Bloggers all
Do you hear what I hear?

A song, a song
With a Christmas Ring
Why it must be Blog Caroling
Why it must be Blog Caroling 

Thank You All For Keeping This Tradition
It  is better late than not at all.
And sharing is what Christmas is all about!
I enjoyed each and every one of your carols
I listened to each beautiful arrangement
and I loved them!

Merry Christmas!

Come Blog Caroling With Us
Songs, songs
sung by a choir of
Genealogy, Family History and FaceBook Angels,
Blog Caroling!

Let The Blog Caroling Begin!  
Select the name of the Blog to view the carol.
Bill West, of West in New England blog carols The Wexford Carol, my personal favorite. Yes, Bill, great minds!

Vickie Everhart of BeNotForgot carols "From Christmas Day 150 years ago . . . I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day . . ." Thank you Vickie! So good to carol with you.
Carol - Reflections From the Fence says Here is mine, Merry Christmas fM. Celebrating the reason for the season, again, yep, the threepeat! Well, if it's good enough for a threepeat it must be special. Merry Christmas Carol!
Denise Olsen - "Over at Moultrie Journal we're Decking the Halls with a bit of Geneablogging Christmas goodness past . . ." This is a can't miss.

Here's mine - it's a Huron Indian Carol which all Canadian school children learn. From  Lorine McGinnis Schulze of the Olive Tree Genealogy blog comes T'was in the Moon of Wintertime. In the Huron Language it is Jesous Ahatonhia. I have provided the YouTube video of it sung in Huron, French and English.What fun!

Heather Wilkinson Rojo - Nutfield Genealogy caroling Si Me Dan Pasteles said..."Thanks for hosting the blog caroling again this year! Merry Christmas!" So glad we could all get together! Merry Christmas to you!

Linda McCauley of Documenting The Details recommends we listen to a Christmas Carol on a steel drum. Oh, Linda, I like it!

Kristin carols along with Carol of the Bells on Finding Eliza -Unique, clever and oh so entertaining! Go see this one.

From Susan Clark, "Merry Christmas! We are caroling at Nolichucky Roots, singing an anthem from long ago choir days. Sing We Noel sparks many memories." Everything's better with a little history, especially Christmas!
Jacqi Stevens raises her virtual voice - "After a bleak year, A Family Tapestry is Adding A Hopeful Voice to Blog Caroling with the Gloucester Cathedral Choir's tender offering of Gustav Holst's setting to Christina Rossett's poem, "In the Bleak Midwinter." Merry Christmas, footnoteMaven, and thanks for once again hosting this charming digital tradition." I know a little something about bleak Jacqi so thank you very much for taking the time to carol with us this year. Merry Christmas and may your New Year be bright.
Debra Newton-Carter of In Black and White : Cross Cultural Genealogy says "I hadn't thought of it this year until I saw your post...thanks for the invitation! This isn't a true carol in the musical sense, but it is a favorite Christmas song. I hope you enjoy it: Mary Did You Know." I enjoyed it very much! 
Cheri Hudson, Carolina Girl Genealogy, gives us her Father's memory of his Mother. Her contribution -Jolly Old St. Nicholas. A 1949 rendition. Oh, I like this!

Jill Ball, Genius, tells us she's "I'm in with another Australian favourite. So appropriate today in Sydney where the mercury has hit 95f. You can find The three drovers at the Geniaus blog. Merry Very Warm Christmas to you and the Mister, Jill.

Shelley of My Genealogical Journey greets us with, "Compliments of the Season to all. We are blog caroling again this year with Jingle Bells From Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Nights." Try it, you'll love it! Why, I'd be sleepless in Seattle for this carol.

Nancy says, "Oh, footnoteMaven, I was afraid you weren't going to lead the choir this year. I'm so glad you've invited us to carol with you again. I'm singing at My Ancestors and Me and other relatives too. Thanks and Merry Christmas to you and yours." Yes, Nancy love, late but in the spirit. And a very Merry Christmas to your family, ancestors and other relatives too!

From Fran Ellsworth, Branching Out Through The Years, "Merry Christmas! Learned something this year reflected in While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks." It's always good when you can put genealogical finds to good work Caroling! Merry Christmas!

Lisa, A Light That Shines Again, really has the spirit! "Hello dear footnoteMaven! I've joined you for some caroling once again. This time it's "The Twelve Days of Christmas". I've shared the lyrics (in Irish and English) and the back story about the song's hidden meaning within my article "God in a pear tree: The hidden meaning behind 'The Twelve Days of Christmas.' A very Merry Christmas to you, your family, and all of your readers."
And one more for you from, 100 Years In America, in which I share my favorite Christmas song ("O Holy Night") and some special memories of Christmas Eve.
And I couldn't resist: just one more! "'Don't blow the tall white candle out...': A song for Christmas Eve, from Small-leaved Shamrock."
Merry Christmas Lisa Love, your Christmas joy and enthusiasm are infectious! Sing on!
And too adorable to miss is our own Missy Corley, Bayside Blog, singing her way through Christmas for all her friends! "My Holiday Recording Debut!" Oh Missy, I'm so glad you gave us this peek into your childhood. Adorable!
Kellie Reeve Griffith, The People In The Pencil Box, gives us a television tradition. "For 27 years, Darlene Love has been a special guest on the Late Show with David Letterman for his last show before Christmas." This is a real treat! Thank you Kellie.
My dear friend Becky Jamison of Grace and Glory joins the Caroling with Joy To The World. And with all this joyous noise, at such late notice, it proves there is real 'Joy In The World."'

LisaMary Wichowski of Taphopolis (say that twice), carols with Lulaby To Jesus and sends blessings to us all. And to you LisaMary a very Merry Christmas. May all your research wishes come true.

Denise Levenick, The Family Curator sends us a "Merry Christmas to You and Yours! With love from Penny D. - Still loving "Silent Night," especially this version." Oh, PennyD, it would not be Christmas without your post.

From our very own Dear Myrt, Where Are You Christmas! Pat Richley-Erickson, tells us; I pray for the peace and love, tenderly sung by a girl of tender years. Though we come from all walks of life, with different religious beliefs, one thing rings true -- the desire for peace and love among family and dear friends.

Merry Christmas, dea
r, dear fm, and Mr. Maven. It's been rough, but we are glad to see you are both on the mend. May the new year bring additional miracles of health and strength. And to quote another "tiny person", Dicken's Tiny Tim, "God bless us everyone!"
Oh Pat, how I do love you! Merry Christmas to you and Mr. Myrt from the Maven Mansion. Where Are You Christmas? You're in our hearts this time of year!
And From My Friends On Facebook:

Jo Graham I'm being lazy - "Child in a Manger" "AKA "Leanabh an Aigh" or just plain "Bunessan", after the village on the Island of Mull where Mary MacDonald who wrote it lived. She died in 1872 and as a Gaelic-speaker, she never learned English, but many English versions can be found online. It's sung to the tune of "Morning has Broken". Enjoying the carols, Footnote Maven, better (and more meaningful to us genies) than the radio can come up with! "So true Jo!
Libbi Powell Crowe sends us a beautiful Angels We Have Heard on High!  Words: Tra­di­tion­al French car­ol (Les Anges dans Nos Cam­pagnes); trans­lat­ed from French to Eng­lish by James Chad­wick in Crown of Je­sus, 1862. Music: Gloria (Barnes), French car­ol mel­o­dy; ar­ranged by Ed­win S. Barnes. Thank you so, Libbi, for making this a real Christmas!
Skip Murray (Kim Place) says "I pick the same favorite Carol every year, it really is my fav. No time to blog this year, but can't resist an opportunity to join in a sing a long. This year, I present for your listening pleasure, a modern version of my fav, instead of the traditional large choir version. Enjoy! No matter what Holiday you celebrate this time of year, I wish each and everyone of you Love and Joy!" I can't thank you enough for taking the time to carol along from the comfort of faceBook. A very Merry Christmas, baby!
Doris Irene Buckley Haskell "My favorite is Joy to the World. Merry Christmas!" I love that one as well. Merry Christmas to you!
And my own, Good Bloggers All This Christmas Time - The Wexford Carol.

Well, by now my friends there have been enough bells ringing for each of us and those we love to be wearing wings. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and the very best of new years!


carol. French carole. Originally a song to accompany dancing,
but later, by common usage, it came to refer to old,
Christmas-season religious songs.

Caroling, also known as wassailing, actually began in medieval times as a pagan ritual. The wassail, a hot beverage usually made with hot ale or mulled cider, was a ritual honoring the apple and fruit orchards in the dead of winter. Farmers went from farm to farm pouring wassail on the roots of trees while making a lot of noise to scare off the bad spirits responsible for making the days shorter and colder. Eventually the custom of going door to door singing and drinking became a Christmas tradition. (This is one of the many versions of the story of caroling, but all agree it is rooted in pagan ritual.)

Carols were formerly sung at large Christmas feasts and family dinners, in the open air on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, and at the time of public worship in the churches on Christmas Day.

You will note as you travel around caroling that the women singers far outnumber the men.

Perhaps this explains why:
In Pasquils' "Jests," an old book published in 1604, there is a story of an eccentric knight who, at a Christmas feast which he had made for a large number of his tenants and friends, ordered no man at the table to drink a drop "till he that was master over his wife should sing a carol."

After a pause one poor dreamer alone lifted his voice, the others all sitting silent and glum. Then the knight turned to the table where the women sat, and bade "her who was master over her husband" sing a carol. The story says that forthwith "the women fell all to singing, that there was never heard such a catter-walling piece of musicke."

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Good Bloggers All This ChristmasTime

The Wexford Carol
("Good People All, This Christmastime")
(Enniscorthy Carol)

carol. French carole. Originally a song to accompany dancing,
but later, by common usage, it came to refer to old,
Christmas-season religious songs.

To Blog Carol I have selected probably the best known of Irish Christmas songs (and my very favorite carol), "The Wexford Carol." The Wexford Carol has roots reaching back to twelfth century Ireland, traceable to the proximity of the County and town of Wexford. The Wexford Carol was included in The Oxford Book of Carols and tells the story of the birth of Christ.

It is interesting to note that Christmas carols were rare in Ireland, but County Wexford has a 300 year tradition of handing down carols from generation to generation. Families in the area were each entrusted with a carol and with sharing that particular carol with the generations. During Christmas the carols were sung in the homes of these families and in the church by the choir. The choir consisted of six men who sang the carols unaccompanied.

Please sing along with this beautiful rendition; YoYo Ma and Allison Krauss performing The Wexford Carol.

Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done,
In sending His beloved Son.
With Mary holy we should pray
To God with love this Christmas Day;
In Bethlehem upon the morn
There was a blest Messiah born.

The night before that happy tide
The noble virgin and her guide
Were long time seeking up and down
To find a lodging in the town.
But mark how all things came to pass:
From every door repelled, alas!
As long foretold, their refuge all
Was but a humble oxen stall.

Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep;
To whom God’s angels did appear
Which put the shepherds in great fear.
“Prepare and go”, the angels said,
“To Bethlehem, be not afraid;
For there you’ll find, this happy morn,
A princely Babe, sweet Jesus born.”

With thankful heart and joyful mind,
The shepherds went the babe to find,
And as God’s angel has foretold,
They did our Savior Christ behold.
Within a manger He was laid,
And by His side the virgin maid
Attending to the Lord of Life,
Who came on earth to end all strife.

Merry Christmas

I hear you singing, my friends.
How I love Blog Caroling!!
What a joyous noise we will make
when we all come together to sing-along.

Remember, you have until midnight in
Hawaii, Today, to sing-along!

We will assemble Monday, December 23
to tour all the Caroling Blogs!