Friday, July 31, 2015

Personal Digital Archiving

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2014

There are many questions lately about archiving our work, our photographs and our documents. I thought this was a good place to get started for people who are struggling to learn about what they can do.
Personal Digital Archiving
from the Library of Congress

Friday, July 24, 2015

Where Did My Hobby Go?

Photo by Midge Frazel, 24 July 2015

Coloring Away Stress
As you know, I am the Highly Caffeinated Genealogist. The amount of energy I need to be a researcher, writer and social media devotee increases each day. Even in these early days of retirement, I find myself working every day.

Wait! Didn't genealogy used to be my hobby?

I was eight years old when I learned about ancestors. I was one of those little girls who carried around a tote bag filled with things to keep me amused while the grown-ups talked. I was an only child and only grandchild. I kept coloring books, sewing, crossword puzzle books, my stamp collection and something to read in my bag. Oh, yes, and a notebook. It became a journal as I got older. I wrote down notes about what my parents and grandparents talked about when they talked about the old days. I developed my own code in case someone read it. During the week it lived in my bureau at my grandmother's house or apartment. Jacks, dolls and jump ropes lived in that drawer too. You'd be surprised at how little attention people pay to a quiet, busy child. They gossip and tell stories about people. They didn't notice when I asked a question, like this: 

My grandparents toasted to the Pilgrims. My head snapped up, "Pilgrims, they are family? Which ones?" They didn't know but I found out much later, they were both Mayflower descendants.

When I became a teenager, I moved the notebook to the box I kept my stamp collection in my closet at home. It did look the same as the "stamp" notebook, I kept with which ones I wanted to get. I took it to the Providence Public Library when I read the genealogy books, the reference librarian held behind the desk for me. I thought of genealogy as just another hobby. 

I recorded births, deaths and marriages in a separate book in my desk. I took them with me when I working on learning about my paternal grandparents that came from Scotland. I developed my own pedigree charts, family group sheets and oral interview pages. My father and his family thought it was cute until I asked questions they couldn't answer. Then, things got serious. The genealogy books were right. I was going to have to keep asking questions.

Those two things and a 3 ring notebook moved with me when I married. My in-laws gave me information and some photos of hubs family. I kept asking questions.

MacWorld in Boston had a booth for their Mac software Reunion. It was expensive. I saved up my pay for it. In 2001, when Family Search went live online, I was ready. The librarians referred people to me to help them. I became the tech lady that did genealogy. 

But, where did my hobby go? I sure miss it. So, I have taken up coloring. How did I find out about this? I read an online article about an artist in my hometown

At least, I can finish these pages. Isn't it annoying that genealogy is never finished. Look, here is something I completed.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Baby Locket

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2015
Dainty and short necklace length, this gold locket was given to me when I was born, by my maternal uncle, Evans Stewart, Jr.  Sadly, he died before he could see me wear it.

I have big plans for the story of Evans Stewart, Jr., my maternal uncle. I will be collaborating with my fellow genealogist, Lisa Alzo, who speaks and writes about working with unknown females to tell the story of finding my uncle's wife.

Stay tuned...

Monday, July 20, 2015

MIlitary Monday: Master Sargent Evans Stewart,Jr.

Evans Stewart, Jr, photo from the family collection of Midge Frazel
Master Sargent, Evans Stewart, Jr. (1917-1951)

On April 15, 1941, my maternal uncle, Evans Stewart, Jr. enlisted to serve in World War II. He was my mother's only sibling. This photo was a professional cart-de-viste taken by Bachrach portrait photographers in Providence. When my mother died, we found a huge portrait that is this exact photo in the back of a closet. As my mother worked for Bachrach during the War, I have several really large family photos that no one will want to keep.

This is one of only two records I can find about his service. His story is long and complex and I am going to write it in narrative form. For now, I am gathering information. Notice that the top of this record from Family Search puts the "Jr." in between his first and surname.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Let Others Do the Work!

Dryer Hedghogs by Midge Frazel, 2015

Meet Luigi and Guiseppi, my dryer hedgehogs. They are "working animals". They are designed to be put in the dryer to separate and "fluff" up my laundry. I have a front loading washer and dryer and I am cutting back on fabric softener and dryer sheets. My towels are stiff and scratchy and although I tried that method of washing them in vinegar and baking soda, it sure was time consuming and really didn't work all that well.

 Remember, my family owned a laundry and dry cleaning business and although that was a long time ago, I am aware that it takes a lot of time to do household tasks and that takes away from my time with researching and writing.  Social media is helping me find people who can help me with places my ancestors lived. That's my hardest task, right now.

What would you rather do, wash clothes or learn more about your ancestors?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Love my Tablet Pillow

Lap Gear Lap Desk  with hubs Kindle paperwhite, photo by Midge Frazel, 2015

I love small technology and find it more useful everyday for my genealogy and for relaxation. Yes, I know that you don't think I relax but my Kindle holds many genealogy books including genealogy fiction.

Tired of the paperbacks my hubs was hoarding, I bought him this Kindle and made him switch to electronic reading. He doesn't like holding it as he is scared he'll drop it, so I bought this small pillow with the lip that holds the device. I bought this in the markdown bin at Bed, Bath and Beyond for about $10. But, I wanted one too and because I knew the brand name (Lap Gear), I found it at 

Mine is "girly pink" and has cool pockets on the side. I love it so much, that I ordered another one. They come in black, pink, zebra, aqua and black. I left the over-wrap on it for making this blog post.

My iPhone 5s is too heavy for the side pocket because I have an Otter Case on it with belt clip. So, I put in the pockets my Ink Joy pen with stylus end, a tiny notepad that just fits (and looks like a phone which is a big coolness factor) and my fuzzy finger wiper for cleaning the screen. It is perfect for my iPad mini 3. As phones and tablets merge, I think this will be a "must have" for organized genealogists or avid readers.

Midge's iPad mini 3 Lap Desk, 2015

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Enemy, The Stairs

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2015
Sometimes obstacles in genealogy seem insurmountable, don't they? Making a research plan with plenty of time to tackle tasks is a basic first step.  Right now this is the enemy to my research plan, and it is the staircase in my condo. 

My office is upstairs but at least I have been smart to keep my iPad mini and my MacBook laptop downstairs. I put small items in the stair-step basket to go upstairs and there is a basket at the top for items to go downstairs. That's my management plan. I am trying not to go up and down too many times a day as I get older. My knees, back and hip are the "real" enemy and that's why it seems impossible to manage. But, it can be an obstacle to my research and writing.

Using "the cloud" helps me meet my goal of not going up and down stairs, however the stairs are good exercise. Management is harder than it looks.

I'm very glad these stairs are not brick.