Saturday, September 20, 2014

Family History Library, Here I Come!

Actually, the title should probably be "Ready or not, here I come." 

I am heading to Salt Lake City early in the morning for 5 days of unencumbered research at the Family History Library.

I've been there many times before.
But this is the first time I've gone without a clear research plan and extensive preparation.
I just haven't had the time and don't have access to my file cabinet and boxes of materials on my primary families.
But since I desperately need a break from this summer's never-ending medical maladies, I'm going to SLC anyway.

In the early days--1980s and early 1990s--I would do flight "stopovers" in SLC on my way home from business trips. I'd use the nights of those business trips to prep for my 24 hours (or less) in SLC and be at the Family History Library every nanosecond they were open during my stay. In the olden days, that was 7:00 AM until 10:00 PM, I believe. I would not leave the building for anything, grabbing snacks from the vending machines and maybe two potty breaks in 15 hours. Ah, the good old days.

Lately I've been managing to get to SLC about once a year, though usually not for a full week. Often I have my husband in tow, which is not conducive to doing serious research. But I'm certainly not as obsessive-compulsive about spending every available waking moment in the library. I actually go out for lunch and dinner. Once I even went to a concert after dinner instead of returning to the library. What a shocking experience!

I'm hoping that the family histories are back on the shelves by now. They weren't there the last three times I checked. Very frustrating. Most aren't available on microfilm or in any other form. Why the "powers that be" felt they needed to sweep the shelves of half of the family histories and spirit them off to unknown locations for multiple years is beyond me. I was told they were being prepared for digitization, but they hadn't gotten permission to digitize them yet. So why remove them from the shelves? Very strange for a library that is usually very customer friendly.

Anyway, wish me luck with whichever family I end up researching. I'll let you know of any genealogical breakthroughs in a week or so.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

SNGF: ImageChef Creations

Randy Seaver has come up with yet another Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge on his Genea-Musings blog tonight. We are to explore the ImageChef website and create a few images.

I'm not feeling very creative tonight, but managed to come with three images to share:

I can see how playing with images on this site might get addictive!

Thanks for the challenge, Randy.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Thoughts on Grandparents' Day

Today is apparently Grandparents' Day.
It's not a day I've every celebrated.
I'm not a grandparent and never lived near my or my children's grandparents.
But as I read other people's accounts of their grandparent memories, I feel a huge hole in my heart.

I never met either of my paternal grandparents.
Never heard their names spoken.
Never knew anything about them.
My father left home to join the Army while still in his teens and never looked back. Apparently he never even wrote to his parents or siblings.

When I was in high school I had an assignment to create a family tree. I started asking my Dad questions about his family and carefully recorded his answers. Amazingly, my Mother saved that project and I found it after she died. The information my father had provided was incredibly inaccurate. Whether he really didn't know his mother's maiden name, where his parents were born, any of his grandparents' names I have no way of knowing. But he sure didn't share the correct information with me back in 1965!

My Dad died at age 60 in 1978, just two months after the birth of his first grandchild, my daughter, who he never met. Ironically, his mother died two years later. Since his mother died without a will, his siblings had an attorney track down my father. They found my mother and she signed away any interest in my grandmother's estate. One of my father's brothers made a trip from Texas to Florida to meet my mother and tell her about the family she never knew. She never told me about this visit or the scribbled family tree he left with her. I found it after she died in 1996. By that time three of my father's six siblings had died. I did manage to speak to my father's only sister, my aunt (after whom I might have been named), one time, but haven't been able to track her down since. I suspect she's in a nursing home somewhere in the Houston area. One brother is apparently also still alive (the one who visited my mother) in the greater Houston area, but he's no longer listed in any telephone directories I can find.

Will I ever meet any of my SHARP relatives? I have no idea. Someone in the family has posted a tree on Ancestry, but won't respond to my messages. Maybe someday I'll get to Houston and look up some of my cousins....if I can find them. But there's absolutely no chance I'll ever meet either of my Sharp grandparents, Harold Herbert SHARP and Virginia Corinne MELDRUM.