Sunday, December 26, 2010

The day after Christmas 2010....

I hope all of you had a wonderful and blessed Christmas. I know I did. Ashley, Becky, Jason and Watson and I had a fabulous day together. Getting us all in the same place at the same time is rare so I truly appreciated it.
This is my last day off for Christmas vacation and there are many things I still want to accomplish today: organize finances, clean a few rooms, relax, read, write and prepare some presentations. Will i get it all done? I doubt it, but it doesn't bother me. I will take it in stride.
I know I will get to the essentials and I am fortunate to have a four day weekend around New Year's Day. And, that is when I will really cross items off my to do list. Here are the top family history things I want to do today:
1) Make my hotel reservations for the AHSGR annual convention in Salt Lake City for next year.

2) Review my three workshops for at Changing Hands Bookstore and two at the Family History Expo in Mesa.

3) Play with my new Kindle (thank you, Becky) and see what family history books I can download.
If you feel like me and don't want to accomplish everything on your family history list today, start to make some plans for the New Year. We have all of 2011 ahead of us and if we set our sights now, think of what we can accomplish, hour by hour, day by day.
And, don't forget if you want to win free tickets to attend the two day Family History Expo in Mesa, send me your best genealogical or family history story of 400 words or less. Photographs and/or scanned documents are welcome to tell your story.
Entries will be posted to this blog and a winner selected on January 2, 2o11. Please email your story to with "I want to Attend the Arizona Family History Expo" in the subject line.
And, have a relaxing, restful and blessed day after Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

An Early Christmas Present...

I received an early Christmas present when the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia sent me the winter newsletter. It is always packed with good information but this one was very special.

On page eleven, the article entitled "Visit to Mariental (Sovetskoye) Russia- April 2010 by Ray Rohr was my present. I met Ray in Medicine Hat at the AHSGR convention and we had an opportunity to talk about our ancestral village. During our chat, I learned Ray, who lived in Canada, spent winters in Sun Lakes, Arizona which is pretty much right next door to my home in Chandler, Arizona.

His report on his travels gave me new insight into what it is like to travel to Russia. I know Ray, who is a pilot, prepared as best anyone could with the short notice he had.

Ray and I knew we must be related since we both descended from one of the original Mariental settlers, Nickolaus Herman. I emailed Ray and thanked him for sharing his experiences. I also asked if he was in Canada or Sun Lakes. Turns out he is heading to Sun Lakes after Christmas and we will find a way to get together this year since he does not have to plan for a trip to Russia.

I love how these connections make all of the research and time and effort pay off. It is a great Christmas present for me to build on the Mariental story.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Plan to start the New Year right--Win Two Free Tickets to the Family History Expo!

The Arizona Family History Expo will be held January 21 and 22, 2011 at the Mesa Convention Center in Mesa, Arizona. And, you could win two free tickets to attend!

As a blogger of honor and a speaker at the expo, I receive two tickets to give away to readers of my blog. Again, I will sponsor a contest for people to write a short 400 words or less explanation of their best genealogical or family history discovery. Photographs and/or scanned documents are welcome to help tell your story.

Entries will be posted to this blog and a winner selected on January 2, 2011. Please email your entry to me at with "I want to attend the Arizona Family History Expo" in the subject line. And stay tuned to read all of the entries.

BTW, my two workshops at the event are: WRITE to the Heart of the Matter for Genealogists and Discover Your German Russian roots. More details on the expo will follow over the next few weeks.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

I'm Caught between Two Christmas Worlds

so it must be time to write my annual Christmas letter. I use Facebook, twitter, blogs and e-greetings. Call it nostalgia or whatever, but I can't resist buying new Christmas/Holiday/Kwanzaa stamps. I went to the post office last week to mail my Christmas packages. The clerk asks, "Do you need stamps?"

Now I really don't need stamps and yet I answered, "Can I see the holiday stamps?" Like a novice, I bought one set of each.

There is a bit of history on my stamp fascination. As a child, I collected stamps. I loved the artwork and the designs. The color? Just unbelievable. When my oldest sister, who worked in Los Angeles at Carte Blanche at the time, shared with me some of the foreign stamps which came to her office, I was hooked.

Stamps are almost like family history. I can page through my collection and remember things about times and days long forgotten. Years are erased when I view how neat and organized my collections is.

So, because I love stamps, I will continue both e-greetings and snail mail Christmas cards. I love the art, I love the tradition. My Christmas letter is in the final editing stages. Fresh ink is in the printer. And, despite being caught between two Christmas worlds, I believe I have the best of the celebration and tradition. Mailbox, here I come.