Wednesday, April 29, 2015

View from the Porch

My front porch, late April, 2015, photo by Midge Frazel
View from the Porch

As I prepare for warmer weather, some might think that genealogy will take a back step in my life for the summer. In the summer months I take my new iPad and my iPhone out to do work in this mobile office. I have also been hoarding new genealogy books so that I get get away from the technology for a while.

As I am retired, I think a lot about just relaxing and doing nothing. I am not very good at doing nothing but I am very good at living my life as I see fit. I've been made fun of (read: bullied) because I resisted the suggestions of family and friends to live a "normal" life. If I had kept a diary of those annoying suggestions, it would now be made into a major motion picture. I would call it: "Do as I say. Be successful".

Four careers later, I am successful. Are people jealous? Probably. 

I like getting up early and going to bed when I am tired. I am not a heavy eater and I no longer drink. I am not that good at making friends but you would not know that if you met me. What do you think?

So, what porch activities are good for summer genealogists? 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Personal Setup

Midge's Personal Setup, 27 April, 2015, photo by Midge
Apple Store, Marlborough, MA
Yesterday, I ordered online the new iPad mini 3 that I wanted to buy all through this long, snowy, winter. Fearing that this mini model of the iPad (mini) might be replaced by an even larger iPhone 6+, I knew I must buy it soon. Ordering it online, as I did last June for my MacBook Air, is a good option for me.

I had it "shipped" to my new Apple Store in the Solomon Pond Mall in Marlborough, MA. I put that in quotes because it meant they would take one off the shelf and make it ready for me to go to the store. Three minutes after the store opened, I got the email and we were off.

Although I have owned many computers, I still like to experience the way the manufacturer sets them up. I liked that they made me do it myself and that was easy until we got to the SIM card in the iPad. I don't think they did that right and they sent me to the Verizon Wireless store in the Mall to have it "fixed". It works perfectly now.

I enjoyed the Apple Employee who had cords hanging from his belt like men used to carry keys. Remember that?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Being a Winner?

Midge Frazel and Dear Myrtle, April, 2015 at NERGC 2015

Being a Winner!

You know how they have those baskets or boxes that you put your name into at conferences and hope you win something but you don't expect you will? Well, I won. I am still shaking my head.

I have owned two iPads and two iPhones. I used to have an Android phone but simply because my carrier wasn't allowed to be selling iPhones. Of course, they got over it when Apple allowed it. 

This device is way easier than my old droid phone. The apps are much the same. However, buying a case turned out to be a problem. I bought a case for it and it is quite great. Now, hubs tells me it won't do because our old treadmill doesn't have a lip to rest it on. He wants me to buy another case so he can glue or heavy velcro (his fav choice) to attach it to the controls for the treadmill. My solution? Quit the stupid, expensive, gym and buy a new treadmill with a lip.

No matter what people can find an obstacle to using technology in an easy way and sometimes, it is not about the technology at all. A lot of times it is about the money or making choices. I am tired of teaching and presenting to the people in my own generation. 

What does hubs think is great? His old fashioned flip phone and fits in his pocket. Go figure...

I need coffee. (update!)

Ordered this tablet stand for treadmills

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Kaffee with Kathy

Midge with Kathy Schrock at the Cape, 13 Aug 2010

The Beach Bums

Hardly a day goes by when I don't think about my friend, the famous ed-tech guru Kathy Schrock. I have to think of her when I look at my iPad and my iPhone because it was her suggestion that I return to my Mac roots. When I met her, she was a die-hard Windows user, and now, like me she speaks three languages, Windows, Macintosh and Android.

She got me into Facebook just a couple days after it opened to the "public". That was January 2007 when we went to an ed-tech conference in Florida called FETC. I'm thinking today of all the conferences we went to together. I'm not half  (half-caf) as exhausted today as when I traveled with her. She has two speeds. Awake and Asleep. Both are at full tilt. Just typing that makes me tired.

She is also Highly Caffeinated. She drinks Starbucks coffee by the gallon. She is probably the most high energy person I have ever known. Her blog, Kathy Schrock's Kaffeeklatsch tells us why she named it that:

"Webster's defines kaffeeklatsch as "an informal gathering to drink coffee and chat." I feel it is a perfect analogy for a blog! (And you are welcome even if you don't drink coffee!)"

I didn't think of it at the time, but, yes, I copied her. I guess I will have to buy her coffee next time I see her. I do that anyway.

Everytime I buy a new techno-device, she gets the first test email. She loves buying and setting up any type of computer.

Yes, she bought an Apple Watch. She's hard to keep up with. Don't even try. 

Flying at Half-Caf

Photo by Midge Frazel
Flying at Half-Caf

When you see the above photo of the decaf and the half caf coffee, You will know that The Highly Caffeinated Genealogist is in desperate need of some high energy.

This week the BSO's (bright, shiny objects) got to me. Thanks to Dear Myrtle, I won a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 tablet. Immediately, it changed my plan for this week after the conference. 

I was going to give my iPad mini (1st generation) to hubs so he can watch programs sent to it from our Xfinity X1 system and also so he can check Facebook. But, this tablet seems a better choice for him. I bought a case for it and arrived from Amazon a few days ago. I think I have made the right decision for him.

However, that kills my plan. I wanted to buy an iPad mini 3 for myself. I love the size of the 7 inch or so devices. They are perfect for communication friends and family with social media. The iPad mini (1st gen) is my second iPad. I bought one not long after we moved here. It was quite large and heavy and so when the iPad mini came out, I decided to run with that.

My friends that have Android based tablets love them, but I have to teach hubs how to use it. He loves his Kindle Paperwhite but really doesn't want a phone that doesn't fit in his pocket. 

I find the iPhone 6 not to my liking so I can't give him my iPhone 5s and buy a new one. 

I need coffee...

Friday, April 24, 2015

Blogging Buddies

 Beverley FiegLori Lyn Price,Laurie DesmaraisCynthia ShenetteMidge Frazel,Dave RobisonPam CarterLiz Loveland and Elizabeth Pyle Handler  and Heather Rojo
Elizabeth, Heather, Lisa and Midge, April 2015
Conference Moment #10: Blogging Buddies

Vincent Rojo took some great photos at the conference. I borrowed these from him for this very special memories of NERGC 2015. We met before the banquet and took this photo and then went in to eat with Vincent and hubs. Josh Taylor was the banquet keynote and it was a fun look at family history in the media.

Dessert at the Friday Night Banquet, 2015
I am going to end these ten conference moments with dessert. The next blog post will be about the conference but in a different way. You'll see....

Trip the Tree with Janet

Janet Hovorka, April, 2015

Conference Moment #9: Family History Trips with the Chart Chick

I was delighted to meet Janet. Known as the "Chart Chick", she makes fabulous professional wall charts for your home or family reunions. But, that's not why I wanted to meet her. I wanted to hear how she managed to get children or grandchildren involved in family history. We took our big grandson to the cemetery where his paternal ancestors are buried. He was fearless. He fell down and then, he started to walk between stones. We got some cute photos of him with the stones. I love this one. It looks like he's reading the name.

Stepping on Stones, 2011

Hubs bought her book for me "Zap the Grandma Gap" and I forgot to get it signed because hubs was going back to the hotel to check in and he could put it in the car where it could be safe. I don't get to read it until Mother's Day.

A while back I wrote a book on "doing genealogy" combined with curriculum for educators. I called it, "Links to the Past...". Now, I need some ideas for introducing my little grandsons to our family history. My daughter is a Kindergarten teacher but not in the town she lives in so she asked our "big" grandson's teacher if any grade covered family history. Turns out it is 2nd grade. Yikes. I don't have much time to get this done. I also have to do this twice. 

Janet's presentation style was low-key and friendly. I felt like I was talking to a fellow educator. My Master's in Technology was quite the experience but it won't help me with this!

Janet was so nice to solicit ideas from her audience. I intend to share with her after I try things out. This is an important topic for all of us. Who will take over as our family historian? (Thanks, Janet)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Twins and Trees

Photo from the collection of Midge Frazel, 2015

Conference Moment #8: Twins and Trees

Lisa Alzo and I snagged this moment with Tammy Hepps another #nextgen genealogist. I had never met her before and have been investigating her Treelines family history sharing business. She was so nice to be photographed in between us two blondes. Her Facebook page says she studied computer science at Harvard. One smart "geek" cookie.

You are probably wondering why Liza Alzo and I are twins. It is quite a story and it has nothing to do with ancestors. Sometime, I will publish the growing list of in common things.

Lisa's opening/closing presentation slide shown here made me want to shout, "Me, too!" as I discovered we have not one but TWO more things in common. The stories of Heroes and Scoundrels was another serendipitous buzzword of NERGC 2015.  

Photo by Midge Frazel, 2015
But for now, I will just tease you by showing these photos. After all this is just a short conference moment.

The Lisa Sandwich

Photo by Midge Frazel, 28 May 2014

Conference Moment #7: The Lisa Sandwich

I know what you are thinking! How can I look back if I started this blog on 22 April 2015? Well, it has been nearly a year in the thinking stages. I decided last May that I needed to learn to RANT in the correct manner. So, I made this Facebook cover with the word rant in the text. 

The blog post where it debuted was talking about the year-away-from-then, NERGC 2015 conference that I just attended.

Mind Your Own Beeswax was about Rhode Island and the big-little city of Providence. I had concerns about attendance and agenda in Rhode Island.

Lisa Louise Cooke and I had a few moments to talk over lunch with my friend and twin-genealogist Lisa Alzo. I didn't take a photo because nobody looks good while they have their mouth full of food. I was in between them and became "Lisa Sandwich" for a few minutes. It was a "smart blonde" moment.

We talked about how conservative New Englanders are and I told them about my first NERGC in 2003 where there was almost no technology (it was all in one tiny room with a professional genealogist connected to the Internet) All other presenters  used overhead projectors and transparencies) Yikes.

NERGC Badges 2003-2013 by Midge Frazel
I never made it to Lisa Louise Cook's session(s) but I feel like I know her from her huge online presence. I met her hubs. I watched for a few minutes in her "inside the box" exhibit hall talk.

Lisa interviewed me some time back about my cemetery work. I loved that she laughed when I stated the cemeteries did not have one thing I need. (the bathroom). I made somebody famous laugh. 

I guess I am not a stuffy old conservative genealogist. Are you? Believe in High Energy Genealogy.

NextGen Friend, Jen

Jen Balwin and Midge Frazel, April 2015 at NERGC

Meeting New Friends

Conference Moment #6: As seen only on TV (and Facebook)

Before the conference, I found out my Facebook friend, Jen Baldwin was coming to New England with our own Josh Taylor to attend our conference. She was manning the Find My Past booth directly inside the exhibit hall. We did the hugging a Facebook friend thing and she took this "selfie" of us just outside the booth. 

She immediately sent it to me via Facebook. Isn't technology wonderful?

Jen is from Washington State and currently lives in Colorado. I love her current Facebook cover which is a photo of her with old, tall New England gravestones.

Jen is a NextGen genealogist. That's what the young crowd is calling themselves. I like that they have their own identity and ways of doing genealogy. She proudly wears her Find MY Past company shirt. I first saw her on TV talking to genealogists on the show Genealogy Roadshow.

It is important to know younger genealogists. They keep me energized (even without caffeine). They have important, "high energy" genealogy ideas. Listen carefully and you will hear the future.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Genealogy Begins with You

Navigating the Past, April, 2015

Conference Moment #5: Racing and Rest

As I was racing from session to session, I tried to look out for people that I know from Facebook. As I skipped Thursday and only attended on Friday and Saturday, I was really hoping that friends got acclimated on Thursday and that I could just ask them where rooms were and the exhibit hall. 

It worked. In fact, it worked so well that I was able to take  two "rests' in our hotel room so I wasn't face-down in my food at the banquet that evening. There were rumored to be 900 highly caffeinated genealogists in the Rhode Island Convention Center. That's a lot of people. I'm not good with crowds.

Heather Rojo held down the fort for the Special Internet Group on Thursday night. I'm glad it went well as it needs to go on without me. I'm not going to stop blogging but I am going to cut down on conferences, family reunions and group meetings. I practiced that this year and it went well.

Rhode Island is my home state. I lived there until I married and we moved to Massachusetts. I went to college in Providence and went to a prom at the hotel in this photo. It has been 50 years since I graduated from high school. 

As both hubs and I had parents that lived long lives, we spent a lot of time driving back and forth from Massachusetts to Rhode Island. It wore us out. As a result, we are tired of vacation travel.

So, now you know something about me. Our story begins with ourselves. What are you going to do to tell the future about your journey? You will be an ancestor you know....

As Seen on Facebook

Coffee, Blogger Beads and a Daily Schedule
photo collection of the author, April, 2015
As Seen on Facebook

Midge's Conference Moment #1: 

Upon leaving our hotel room, hubs and I turned the wrong way and remarked that we aren't going find the elevator on the first shot before we leave. The couple coming down the corridor toward us said, "Yes, but you can find the gravestones!" I am always surprised when someone recognizes me and knows what I do. They were from Liberty, NY. I hope they ask to be my Facebook friends. (Feeling famous for a couple minutes) 

Outcome: Another genealogist told me who they were and I am now friends with them.

Midge's Conference Moment #2: 

Presenters are doing a better job with presentation software. I wrote a book about PowerPoint and taught it, too. They are learning to leave out the "special effects", put less text on a slide and more on the handout. But, the best thing is that their opening slide is plain and simple and is shown twice, once at the beginning and once at the end. This conference audience was more savvy about not just the topic but they understood the technology because of these shorter presentations that said what was to be covered and left time for questions.

Midge's Conference Moment #3: 

Handouts. NERGC gives the handouts out in three formats: link to the syllabus in PDF, CD and printed in a book (for an extra fee). Many users can't use the CD as they are using a mobile device. I know that several genealogists spring the fee for the print version because it is faster (and cheaper) than printing. I used the online version this year and only printed a few that were exceptionally well done. Judy G. Russell's handouts were the BEST (she is a rock star) and included a "URLs verified by with a date" plus her famous bibliographies. A good handout includes the email address of the presenter/or a link to their online presence. This way, it doesn't have to be on the opening/closing presentation slide.
I put the syllabus in PDF in Dropbox and will read the sessions I did not attend more carefully this time. People need the handout to look at without any need for Internet connectivity which is still not universally available during a conference. I find that annoying because it is 2015 and I accept no excuses. Why? because I am the Highly Caffeinated Genealogist after all.
This year I took a photo of the presenter with their opening slide. NEVER take a photo of other slides without permission.

Midge's Conference Moment #4: 

Themes. Building upon the current trends at national genealogy conferences, the trend in stories of our ancestors still holds strong. I began to jot down buzzwords as I was going to sessions, visiting the exhibit hall and just talking to those around me. I kept hearing the word "serendipity". To a genealogist, this means that it is often the case that while investigating or searching, you find something very important you were not looking for. It has happened to me in the cemetery more often than I expected. Looking in databases for names you would NOT expect to find in a particular source or location was something Josh Taylor emphasized.
It takes a lot of patience not to consider these BSOs (Bright, shiny, objects). Plan time for them but stick to the research plan. You do have a research plan, right?

High Energy Genealogy

Newport Creamery Coffee Ice Cream, August 2014
Collection of the author, Midge Frazel
Hello, I am Midge Frazel and I am "The Highly Caffeinated Genealogist". This blog is NOT about coffee.

Of course, I am not the only highly caffeinated genealogist, in fact, I know quite a few. In this case, I am really talking about the amount of solid energy a person needs to be a genealogist or family historian.

This month I celebrated the 60th year of knowing and learning about ancestors. I was nearly eight years old. I have written about that story before so I won't repeat it here. Even Family Tree Magazine published it in their magazine! My own story amazes even me. But, you have a story too. 

I have worked on the ancestors off and on all of this time. In the past twenty years, I have done more work that the forty before that.

I think it is time to put my thoughts and ideas down for other to read and talk to me about. Since this doesn't fit in my other two blogs about gravestones and technology, I am starting this new one. Expect the positive and the negative. They go together.

My first task will be to write about my recent experience at a regional genealogy conference. I have been putting short thoughts out on Facebook, to test how useful they may be for others to read. I will be repeating that here to get started.

But, first, I need a cup of coffee...