Sunday, February 28, 2010

PREDICTION: Women and Genealogy make this the most exciting March ever

I may be going out on a limb here, but I predict this will be the best March ever for women and genealogists. Just look at what is happening this month and everything we can look forward to.

1) On March 5, "Who do you think you are" premieres on NBC. While the show features the ancestry of celebrities, the discoveries should prompt everyone to consider their own ancestry. With the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker, Spike Lee, Lisa Kudrow and Matthew Broderick, its the perfect inspiration for everyone to begin or enhance their family history research. After all, what story could be more important than the story of how you became you?

2) Faces of America continues on PBS and while much has already been written about this show, it is wonderful to know if you missed the shows, you can catch up on

3) March is Women's History month...and for us seasoned genealogists we know that celebrating our female ancestors can be difficult. We can encounter roadblocks when tracking women in public records due to name changes, multiple marriages, and scarce documentation in comparison to men who may have owned property, paid taxes, etc. Their contribution to our families can't always be measured in public documents, but most of us realize they were the glue to keep families together. Let's use this month to blast through some of those obstacles and share what we do know about the important women in our families with the next generation.

4) Family History Expos continues to meet throughout the United States for the remainder of the year. The Mesa Expo was excellent and you can expect the same degree of excellence at the future sessions.

5) And, if that is not enough for the month, consider the $20,000 Ultimate Family History Journey Sweepstakes offered by The trip offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel to your ancestral homes, meet with professional genealogists. Enter daily through April 30 and make your research dreams come true.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My long absence explained...

It's been nearly a month since I posted here...very unusual for me. But, as you know, life takes unexpected turns sometime.

On the evening on February 5, my mom was rushed to the hospital. And while I will not bore you with the details, hours, concerns of her stay there, I want to share a part of my experience which is critical to genealogists.

I know my mother's birthday like the back of my hand. Yet, when the paramedics asked me her date of birth, I answered "May 4, 1925." I didn't realize until a few minutes later that I replaced her year of birth with my father's year of birth and quickly corrected it for the record. Then off in the ambulance to Mercy Gilbert Hospital.

At the hospital, I overheard someone in ER say, "The paramedics wrote the wrong birth date. They wrote May 4 instead of May 7." Oh boy, despite all of my outward calm, my 911 response training and support, I messed up both the year and the date. I used my daughter's birthdate which is three days before my mom's.

I share this story because it is so easy for genealogists and family historians to accept dates at face value. Yet, here I was, presumably in control of the situation, with full knowledge of my mom's birthday, and I messed it up. Imagine what could happen at more crtical times. A big part of our role as researchers is to question, question, question and verify!

The good news is mom is back home with me. We arrived home just before half time of the Super Bowl and she well on her way to recuperating. Thanks to all of the folks at Mercy Gilbert Hospital (which, according to my sister, looks more like a resort than a hospital) for helping my mom on her way to recovery. And, thanks for the reminder that no matter how much you know about your family history, you need to be careful to share the right information at the right time.