Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm a little late joing Julie Cahill Tarr's Thanksgiving Meme, but it's never really too late to be thankful. I'm thankful for many things, including the continued health and safety of my family.

I'm also thankful for my job, as I was fortunate enough to survive a 33% workforce reduction last month. I'm thankful for our CEO who, when it became apparent in March that we were facing a potential reduction or even extinction, built in a generous severance package for anyone laid off and a retention package for those who waited out the storm and survived the transition. This type of thing is basically unheard of in the human services field, so it goes a long way that she worked so hard to take care of her employees.

I'm thankful for Izzie, my dog who rescued me more than I did him. I'm thankful that he's out of the puppy mill that calls itself a rescue organization, and I'm thankful for the other dogs who have been lucky enough to find homes.

On a more materialistic note, I'm thankful that my couch finally arrived last night so I don't have to make the furniture store one of my stops in my morning shopping trip!

In addition to being thankful, I'm also sending Thanksgiving wishes to all those who have lost their jobs, both at my aagency and around the country. I'm sending wishes to all families that are hurting in any way, that healing may come. I'm sending wishes to all animals living in shelters or worse, puppy mills and abusive/neglectful homes. And I'm sending wishes to all my geneablogger friends, whose hearts are generous and spirits are kind.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

8 Things to Know about OMcHodoy

I've been tagged by Apple to share 8 things about me and then tag 8 people to respond with their own post. Actually, she tagged my Oracle blog, but I'm responding here :).

Here are the Tag Rules:
1. Each player starts with eight random fact/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. A the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their name.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged and to read your blog.

So here are my 8 facts:

1. Most already know this. but I'm so obsessed with my dog that he has his own blog!
2. I'm a die hard Buffalo Bills fan, even if they have blown it for another year!
3. Along that same line, I LOVE the NFL. I know more about the game than many men, and watch the games on Sundays and Monday. If I had to do it all again, I think my life goal would be to be the first female commentator in the MNF booth. Girls didn't aspire to that type of career when I was young.
4. My motto is "From Niagara Falls, NY to Tucson, AZ: From where hell freezes over to where it's hotter than hell".
5. I'm a very fussy eater, and I rarely try new things.
6. Along that same line, one of my life's goals is to get through life without ever cooking a turkey. I will do a turkey breast, but am terrified to try the full bird.
7. I insist that my horrible penmanship is physiological in nature, and no amount of "practice" will help.
8. I am practical to a fault. I don't care if you use the right fork for the salad or if you don't put out spoons when there's nothing on the menu to require one. I can't stand inefficiency, which has gotten me in trouble more than once in my career!

Okay, now to get busy tagging!

1. Cat at Diggin' Up Dirt (hope she reads this, I couldn't comment on her blog as I locked myself out of WLM)
2. Elyse at Elyse's Genealogy Blog.
3. Julie at GenBlog
4. Judith at Genealogy Traces

Okay, I'm horrible at tagging, so I'm cutting the work in half! If you wish to participate, consider yourself tagged!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Confessions of A First-Time Conference-Goer

Goodness, am I tired! But I've had one of the best week-ends I've had in a long time. I took a little road trip. I saw some long-time friends. I became better acquainted with a few online acquaintances I'd met once before. I met some people IRL (In Real Life) with whom I'd been blogging for a couple of years now. I learned a lot. I gained some much-needed motivation. I got great advice. And it all happened in 4 days of beautiful, 80° weather!

This weekend I drove the 115 miles to Mesa, Arizona from Tucson to attend the 2008 Family History Expo, put on by none other than This was my first ever genealogy conference/expo, and I'd say it was a smashing success. In this post I chronicle the adventures of a first-time genealogical conference-goer. At the end I get to tell you the biggest shock of the entire trip!

On Thursday November 13, at approximately 10:00 a.m., I dropped off Izzie at my friends' home, as they would dog-sit while I was gone. This was the tough part, as I am admittedly a bit obsessed about my dog! From there, I hopped on I-10 west-bound and headed to the East Valley of the Greater Phoenix Area. I hadn't actually been north/west of Tucson in about a year and a half, and I was pleasantly surprised by the widening of I-1o to Marana, and only a bit dimayed at the construction towards Picacho Peak to widen that portion. Traffic slowed just a little so no real time lost.

Upon arrival in the Valley, I stopped at the store to pick up some flowers for a visit to the cemetery. I wound up choosing cattails, of all things! See, we had cattails in Western New York where I grew up, and to me they represent very happy times. Unfortunately, in the 30 years that I've lived in Central or Southern Arizona I'd forgotten about the MESS these things make! Let's just say my car is now a mess! Anyway, after picking up the cattails, I headed to the Queen of Heaven cemetery in Mesa to visit the grave of the most influential person of my life:This date, November 13, 2008, marks the 20th anniversary of my mother's death. I cannot believe it's been this long already. Somedays the sadness is as strong now as it was then. Funny, though: On this day, visiting her gravesite, I wasn't sad at all. Well, I wasn't sad at all until I actually LOOKED at the headstone and realized they didn't put her dates of birth and death on it! FOR SHAME, dad, FOR SHAME!

I spent the rest of Thursday window shopping at the Superstition Springs mall and then having dinner with my hosts, friends from Tucson who'd moved to east Mesa almost 2 years ago.

Friday morning I arrived at the Mesa Convention Center, where the keynote address was held outside. Take a look at what kind of weather greeted us:

Most were wearing short-sleeves. It was colder inside the buildings than it was outside!

After the opening, there was time to visit some of the vendors. They had a little game going where visitors got a stamp or signature on their vendor cards as they visited the booths, and at the end of the conference, one was drawn for a grand prize! (I didn't win).

I was able to see many new services, products, and companies. I can't wait until all the emails start coming in! {koff}.

The first workshop I attended was hosted by W. Todd Knowles and it was entitled:

Well, the title didn't come up so clearly here, but it was entitled "Basic Irish Research". On the second picture, the presenter is in the white shirt in front of the screen. This was a very good workshop.

The biggest complaint I had about the Expo was that most of the rooms were set up with connected chairs in rows: No tables. Now, you all don't know this, since you only see my typing. But I am notorious for my horrific handwriting. And it's horrific when I have a table to write on. It's worse when I don't:
After each lecture it was back to the exhibit hall to visit more vendors!

Photoloom is a photo sharing site of sorts that I just may have to sign up for! Below is what I thought was one of the most clever booths I'd seen. I loved the sign to the left. In case you can't click to enlarge and read it, it says "How will she know about Grandpa...When he is no longer around?".
I also attended workshops on Immigration, where I got to meet Kathryn Lake Hogan of Loooking 4 Ancestors She lectured on finding the point of entry of immigrant ancestors.

Unfotunately, I did not get a picture of Kathryn, but I did get to chat with her a bit at the presentation of another Geneablogger,

Janet Hovorka of The Chart Chick and of Generation Maps.
I'm amazed at what Janet can do with a chart!

I also got to meet Lisa Louise Cook of The Genealogy Gems Podcast and Dick Eastman of Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter (eogn).

Don't worry; I'm not finished yet! I was also fortunate enough to meet DearMyrtle. Yes, folks, DearMyrtle in person. Not only did I meet her, I had a chance to sit down with her for a little brick wall chat. I even managed to test her patience, I think! See, I was explaining that I was trying to find a passenger list that would show who I believe is my great-grandfather Edward HODICK arriving in St. Kitt's. I have a list that shows him on the ship Pennland in 1885 (some information added today as I didn't have it with me. Another feaux-pas!). However, I was trying to find a source on St. Kitt's end to see if I could find him on a ship TO that port. As I was chatting with Myrt, a FHL consultant, Baerbel Johnson, walked by and Myrt nabbed her to assist. As Baerbel started speaking, Myrt grabbed some paper and wrote down the email address of a woman from the next booth over who stated she had a friend who was the ultimate source on St. Kitt's. DearMyrtle then handed me the paper so I could write down the suggestions Baerbel had for me, including checking Census records for naturalization dates and any other information on immigration, seeking marriage records, etc. The problem here was, I wasn't writing anything down! I was so busy listening I just couldn't tear my eyes and ears from the consultant (having worked with deaf people for many years, eye contact has become vital in my own communication). DearMyrtle, being the dear that she is, grabbed the paper from me and began writing for me! I was eventually able to multi-task and take over the note-taking, but it must have appeared rather haphazard for me to not be taking notes! Below is a shot of DearMyrtle hard at work!
The last picture, below, is one of David "Dae" Powell of GenTrek fame. With Dae are myself and fellow GenTrekkers Kathy and Joyce, who I'd joined a few years back for a research session at the Mesa Family History Library.
Well, that about sums up my Expo Experience. I know it was a long post, but I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventure.

Oh, and just what was the big shock I'd received at the Expo?

The difference in pronunciation of the word "Genealogy". Webster and I pronounce it "Jeannie-alogy" while most people at the conference pronounced it "Jennie-alogy".

You say Jennie, I say Jeannie (then again, my mother went by the name Jean or Jeannie!).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A New Branch Sprouted

Genealogists are a lot like parents in reverse:

Parents are ecstatic to learn they're becoming parents, and they are ecstatic when the new life is born and they get to see the face of their child for the very first time.

Genealogists are ecstatic to learn the identity of that long-dead woman in the weird clothes from the photograph ca. 1895. They are ecstatic when they find a long-lost dead ancestor and they can finally say from what country they hailed.

Tonight, I share an ecstatic post announcing the pronouncement of Nan Qi Qing of the city of Maoming in the province of Guandong in southeast China as the new daughter of Joe and Donna of Arizona, to be reanamed Lauren Elizabeth. Joe and Donna have waited a long, long time for this day, and I urge you to hop on over to their newly christened site, Loving Lauren, and set your eyes on the most precious thing to touch my eyes since I laid eyes on Izzie ;).

Congratulations, Donna and Joe. Here's to one more generation to add to your family tree.