Blogger Recognition Award

Belated Thanks

Three weeks ago, I came down with a nasty case of pneumonia. Which, of course, got me thinking about and wondering how our ancestors ever survived this scourge in the past without modern antibiotics (according to some of the death certificates I’ve looked at, many didn’t).

But I digress.

While I was sick, I received a sweet comment from Linda Stufflebean, blogger at Empty Branches on the Family Tree, nominating me for the Blogger Recognition Award. Honestly, I didn’t know these awards were even still going around, but Linda really made my day. 

So, this post is my belated thank you to Linda for nominating me. Thank you, Linda! 😊

Following the Rules

 Apparently there are a few “rules” for those who accept the award:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated me.
  • Write a post to show the award.
  • Write a brief story on how my blog started.
  • Share two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
  • Nominate seven other bloggers for this award.
  • Comment on each of their blogs to let them know they have been nominated for this award and provide a link to this post.


How I got started as a blogger

I have been blogging for 9 1/2 years and have written many times about how I got started as a blogger. The short version is that I began as a mommyblogger but was terrible at it and turned to genealogy blogging once I discovered that it was a “thing.”

If you want to know more, you can read the longer version here.


My advice to new bloggers

  1.  Don’t be afraid – just jump in. We were all new bloggers once, and sure, it’s a bit intimidating to get started. But you can do it! Write what’s in your heart and mind. Ask your readers for assistance when you need it. For help and inspiration, consider joining the GeneaBloggersTRIBE.
  2. Be YOU, Boo. Read other blogs for inspiration and ideas, but keep your blog authentically YOU. There is room in the blogging community for everybody, and you don’t have to blog like anyone else. Plus, you will have a lot more fun with it if you keep it “real.” 😊

Passing It On

Here are my 7 nominees (in no particular order):

All of these bloggers have different personalities, perspectives, and styles of writing. Some have been around for a long time; others are new(ish). And if you aren’t following them already, you will definitely want to start!



The July Genealogy Blog Party: DNA Discoveries

The July Genealogy Blog Party: DNA Discoveries


This month, we’re talkin’ DNA!

One of my favorite TV shows started it’s fifth and final season last month: Orphan Black (currently airing on Saturday nights on BBC America).

For those of you who haven’t seen it, Orphan Black tells the story of a young woman who grew up an orphan (obviously) with no knowledge of her biological family. After witnessing the death of another woman who looks exactly like her, she goes searching for answers and eventually learns that she is one of many human CLONES! 😮

Watching Orphan Black got me thinking about DNA and genetic genealogy and all the incredible things it can tell us about ourselves and our ancestors (not that we’re clones, I hope).

So the question for this month is:

Q: Tell us about an amazing DNA discovery you have made.

➡ Have you found new cousins?

➡ New ancestors?

➡ Broke through a brick wall?

➡ Or something even juicier? 😉

Let us know what you did and how you did it!

Haven’t jumped into the gene pool yet?

No problem. There’s an alternate prompt for you!

Alternate Prompt: Tell us about your clone

Q: Who is your CLONE?

In other words, which ancestor are you the most like?  Examples include similarities in:

  • Appearance
  • Personality
  • Sense of humor
  • Occupation
  • Family composition
  • Location where you live
  • Be creative! 😊

When you’re ready to join the party, click the blue “Add Link” button at the bottom of this post to add your link. 

Have you made any DNA discoveries yet? Join the #Genealogy Blog Party before July 31! Click To Tweet


📌 Each post must include at least one image.

📌 Not a blogger? Send your story to me, and I will share it as a guest post.

📌 Previously published posts are acceptable. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to participate.

Party Etiquette (a.k.a. The Rules):

  • The July Genealogy Blog Party: DNA DiscoveriesBring a Friend – Tell your friends and followers about the Genealogy Blog Party by using Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or whatever type(s) of social media you use. Social media sharing buttons are located at the bottom of this post.


  • Visit and comment on at least 3 other links in the party (more is better). Parties are meant to be social events, and we can’t be social without talking to each other!


  • Follow me on social media. Links are below this post and in the footer.


  • Subscribe to the NewsletterNewsletter subscribers receive advance notice of Genealogy Blog Party themes and other information. 

More Information:

Read past Genealogy Blog Parties
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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Saving My Family History: Digital Files & Videos

Saving my Family History: Digital Files and Videos


Custodians of the family history

As family historians, we are the Keepers of the Memories. We track the movements of our ancestors through time and place: their births, their relationships, their deaths, and hopefully a bit about how they lived their lives.

In many cases, we are also the Keepers of the Stuff. The family group sheets, books, and documents collected by previous family historians. The scrapbooks, the photos, the family movies. Even ephemera like dishes, cookbooks, clothes, and other household items.

Whether they came to us by purpose or by default, these items have been entrusted to our care. And we must preserve them for future generations.

I still have quite a lot to do as far as preserving my family history is concerned, but today I will share what little I have already accomplished, and why.

Why worry about preservation?

I believe that this subject is of particular importance to family historians, which is why I selected it as the topic for this month’s Genealogy Blog Party and “Makeover Your Memories” Giveaway.

To be honest, I began thinking about it long and hard after doing a really stupid thing earlier this year: dropping my iPhone into the washing machine. 

The worst part of this story isn’t that my phone was destroyed. The worst part is that I lost ALL OF THE PHOTOS I had taken over the past 2 years. 😭

Why? Because iCloud had stopped backing up my photos (and everything else, for that matter), and I was too cheap to pony up for the extra storage. Instead, I was using an app to manually back things up to my hard drive… but that took time out of my day, and I wound up procrastinating for much too long.

And then, POOF!

My photos were gone in the blink of a rinse cycle. I still cringe to think about it.

Backing up the backups

From that point on, I vowed to make sure that everything was not only preserved and properly stored, but in the case of digital files, backed up redundantly. In other words, in more than one place, and in more than one format:

  • My iPhone is backed up directly to my main computer’s hard drive from iCloud (I try to check at least once a week to make sure that everything is working).
  • My internal hard drive is automatically backed up to an external hard drive.
  • My internal hard drive is automatically backed up to a Backblaze cloud storage account.

I’ve also done a “dump” of photos to private folders on Flickr, just in case any of the aforementioned precautions fail. Flickr is a free photo-sharing website that offers 1 TB of storage. It’s not only useful for storing your photos, but also for sharing with friends and family members.

Additionally, I’m considering uploading my photos to Amazon Prime Photos. Amazon recently began offering free, unlimited photo storage to Prime members, and there is an app that will upload photos directly from your mobile device. I discovered that my descendant is already uploading Minecraft photos that she’s taken with her Kindle, so at least I know that it works

I’d love to hear what digital storage options are working for you! 🙂

Moving 20th-century films into the 21st century

For many years, I have had several cans of reel-to-reel films in my possession and no idea what was on them. I have also amassed a good-sized collection of VHS tapes, as well as Hi8 tapes that were used in my old video recorder.

What these media have in common is that NONE of them are watchable any longer, owing to the fact that we don’t have the equipment on which to watch them. 

Oh, and they’re all deteriorating. Especially the VHS and Hi8. tapes, which, as I’ve mentioned before, are rapidly demagnetizing. I really don’t want to lose these memories, and I want my descendant to have them in the future (despite her current lack of interest). 😬

Old Videos Have Been Digitized Onto DVDs

So… I sent the unwatchable media out to Legacy Republic to have it digitized. I had done my research before selecting this company and was I was impressed by their showing at RootsTech in 2016. I was so happy with the results!

What I got back is more than just DVDs.

I logged into my Family Legacy account (free online media storage) by accident one day and found my films were already online and digitized before I had received them back in the mail. I’m not sure if it was the unexpected shock of seeing the videos or of seeing the faces of my mother and other lost loved ones, but I sat and watched those videos for 2 hours… with tears streaming down my face. 

Below is a little trailer created from a 55- year-old reel-to-reel film that I found in my mother’s hope chest. The footage was from my parents’ wedding reception, as well as a couple of vacations they had taken with my aunt and uncle (love those curlers, Mom!). 

What’s important to note here is that I had never seen ANY of this footage before.

And the truth is that I would never have seen it if I hadn’t sent the films out for digitizing.

On another note: the Hi8 cartridges contained videos of my daughter’s first days and months of life, including one of my favorite moments: her first-ever bout of the giggles (she had finally noticed the dog). I Saving My Family History: Digital Files and Mediaam embarrassed to say that my daughter had never seen any of these videos before because we no longer had the equipment on which to play them.

The moral of this story

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to bring your old media into the 21st century. Even some of your 21st-century media probably need to be updated (i.e., Hi8 tapes).

Don’t let them waste away for another generation. Have a Family Movie night and enjoy them now!

Next time, I’ll share how I’m preserving my genealogy research and our family photos. Spoilers: progress is slow. 🙄



Enter the “Makeover Your Memories” Giveaway!

Enter the "Makeover Your Memories" Giveaway

Do Your Memories Need a Makeover?

If you’re like me, you probably have a closet full of VHS tapes, reel-to-reel films, slides, negatives, photo prints, scrapbooks, and other types of old media. I even have a few Zip disks in my garage, if you can believe that! 🙄

Sadly, many of these media formats are obsolete now, and my family can no longer enjoy the memories we — or our ancestors — made with them.

In some cases, time itself is destroying the media. Did you know that VHS tapes only have a life expectancy of 20-30 years? Basically, the magnetic layer responsible for recording and storing the sound and images will eventually lose its magnetic properties, a problem referred to as The Magnetic Media Crisis.

Not only is time a problem, but natural disasters can (and do) occur… fires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes. And then there are the accidents and other “unfortunate events” like hard drive failures and home burglaries

Most of my recent photos and videos are back up to the cloud (several clouds, actually), but I sure don’t want anything to happen to the older ones.

I want my descendants to be able to enjoy them in the future.

So, how Are You Preserving Your Precious Family Memories?

To celebrate the launch of My Descendant’s Ancestors, and to go along with this month’s Genealogy Blog Party theme of preserving your precious family history for your descendants…

I am giving away a Memory Makeover Kit from Legacy Republic (a $100 value) to help YOU save your memories! 🎁

What You Will Get

  • A Memory Makeover Kit (click for video) containing durable packaging materials to use for sending your media items to the Legacy Republic Memory Factory for digitization. The Shoebox Kit will hold 4 items of your choice which could be any combination of the following: one 4″ or 5″ reel-to-reel film or two 3″ reel-to-reel films; one videotape or miniDVD; or 50 each of slides, photo prints, or negatives.
  • A DVD of your digitized media.
  • A FREE Family Legacy online account where you can securely view and share your digitized memories, anytime, anywhere, on your computer or on your iOS or Android mobile device. Easily add video clips directly to your FamilySearch family tree, or create beautiful family keepsakes for yourself or to give as gifts directly from your account. (Keepsakes are not included in this giveaway. Additional charges apply.)

Your DVD and your original media will be returned to you, safe and sound, approximately 4 weeks after sending in your kit.

🔅 NOTE: The safety and security of your cherished family memories are of the utmost importance. Click here for a video tour of the Legacy Republic Memory Factory.

About Legacy Republic

Legacy Republic offers premium digitization services and products, making it possible for you to enjoy your irreplaceable memories stored on old media. Powered by YesVideo, Inc., the largest and most trusted home movie digitization company in the world, Legacy Republic puts the same love and attention into their services as you put into making your memories.

I first learned about Legacy Republic while at RootsTech in 2016, when their one-of-a-kind Studio technology for the digitization of scrapbooks took 2nd place in the Innovator Showdown. After spending a bit of time chatting with company representatives, I was impressed with their products, as well as their business model, and I decided to become one of their independent consultants.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Makeover Your Memories Official Rules (abridged):

  • No purchase is necessary to enter or win.Enter the "Makeover Your Memories" Giveaway!
  • The My Descendant’s Ancestors “Makeover Your Memories” Giveaway begins on 21 June 2017 at 9:00 a.m. PDT, and ends on 29 June 2017 at 12:00 a.m. PDT. No exceptions.
  • This giveaway is open to legal residents of the United States who are at least 18 years of age (I apologize for having to include the residency restriction. Future giveaways will be open to all).
  • Enter online by using the official entry form (above).
  • One (1) winner will be selected in a random drawing from among all eligible entries received throughout the promotion period and will receive a Memory Makeover Kit (Shoebox size; approximate retail value or “ARV”: $100).
  • The winner will be notified by email at the email address provided in the entry Information within 3 days following the random drawing. Winner must respond within 7 days of notification.
Click here for the complete list of Terms & Conditions.


Good luck to all! 🙂


Relive the Summer of Genealogy Love

Jamstoock '09: Relive the Summer of Genealogy Love

It was the Summer of Genealogy Love

2009 was the 40th anniversary of a very famous event called The Woodstock Festival. You youngsters out there won’t remember this (neither do I, for that matter), but Woodstock attracted over 40,000 attendees over what was supposed to be a 3-day period, but actually wound up extending for a 4th day.

Why am I telling you this?

Because like many of you, I was not able to attend the Southern California Genealogical Society’s Jamboree this weekend. And I’ve been feeling a bit melancholy about it. 

For those of you who have never attended, Jamboree is not only loaded with outstanding presentations and events, but it is well-known for being one of the most fun conferences. It’s a great place to catch up with old friends, make lots of new friends, and generally hang out with people who get you.

Back in the Summer of ’09

It was 2009, the Summer of Genealogy Love, and the Burbank Marriott was rockin'. Relive the fun in this 7-part parody series, JAMSTOCK '09.Since I was not able to attend this year, I decided to re-share a series of posts I wrote during the 2009 Jamboree. 

As I mentioned, 2009 was the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. Since everybody else who was blogging about Jamboree was doing it from a straight reporting standpoint, I decided to go in a different, slightly twisted, direction: a parody of what was actually happening, from a Woodstock-ish perspective. 

I called it “JAMSTOCK ’09.”

Yes, it was silly. But it was also fun. And I hope you enjoy reading it now as much as I enjoyed writing it back then. You might even see yourself in some of the pictures. Or video. Which I was finally able to recover from Blogger, so if you thought it was lost, think again. 

And yes, I know the actual “Summer of Love” was in 1967 in San Francisco, and not 1969 at Woodstock. But the Summer of Genealogy Love was in 2009 in Burbank. Because I said so, that’s why.


Read the Whole Series:

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