Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hello to My Friends at the Johnson County Genealogical Society!

I belong to a local genealogy society, the Johnson County (Kansas) Genealogical Society.  It's a great group of people, all with the common interest of family history.  Each month, I provide a short "Tech Tip" that speaks to some sort of technology and how it can be applied to genealogical research.  Today's topic was "Blogging for Genealogy."  

I hope I inspired people to start their own blog to share research with fellow genealogists, and also to "troll" for those cousins!  If you were at the meeting this morning, thanks for listening to my tip and I hope you'll consider starting your own blogs.  Just come up with a concept (do you want to share information on one line of your family tree, a certain location  where your family spent time, or maybe just ramblings about your genealogy journey), then have at it!  There's no right or wrong way to blog, so don't be scared!!

Happy blogging!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Kay's Correspondence

Ancestry recently released their list of the "40 best blogs for genealogy," which caused me to re-think the purpose of my own blog.  Does anyone really care what I think about genealogy?  Do I have unique information to share?  My blog has languished lately, as I've run out of ideas for fresh content.

The answer came to me as I was staring at the basket of my mom's genealogy correspondence under the desk (another scanning and indexing project I swear I'll get to one of these days).  My mom, Glenda Kay Robertson Stubler, became interested in her family's history in the late 1950's.  A lot of the older family members were still alive at the time, so she began a letter writing campaign to just about anyone who might have a scrap of useful family history information.  The result is a wonderful collection of hand-written family memories that I'm going to share on this blog.

One of the earliest letters in the collection is dated July 25, 1958, from Francis Pearl Gannan, my great-grandfather John William Gannan's sister.  She was born November 24, 1887, to William Alfred and Wilfreda Reece (Reese) Gannan.  I don't remember meeting Aunt Pearl, but I know she stayed in touch with my mom and grandmother, Mildred Gannan Robertson.  In fact, my grandmother gave me a ring Aunt Pearl had given her years ago, which my daughter-in-law now wears.  She died October 23, 1973, in Seminole, OK.

Unfortunately, I don't have the original of this Gannan family photo, but here's a copy of the copy my uncle, Ron Robertson, included in his family history "The Gannan Genealogy::

Back row, left to right:  Pearl, John, Wesley, Henry, Vernon, Marie.
Front row, left to right:  Alfred, Mae, Wilfreda, Ray, Ethel

The letter is dated Friday, July 25, 1958:

Friday July 25

Dear Kay
Read your letter was surprised to hear from you.  
I haven't heard from your mother since they moved and don't know what her address is hope she writes me soon.
I am just drifting along and as you ask about the Gannan family I could not help you out in any way.  Allen (Eberhart) Helen's son was asking about the family tree when Grandma Gannan was sick and Mae and Anna Thompson were there they seem to know everything.  Mae has the family Bible so I have no records of any kind.  Why not see Allen and find out how far he got with the information.
Would like for you to see me sometime but be sure and write so I will be home.  I was in Trenton for two weeks and will be gone some of the time.
All for now write again sometime.
Wishing you and yours the best of everything.
With love
Aunt Pearl

Old hand-written letters are a wonderful source of information.  This letter provided clues about the family bible (Pearl's sister Mae (Spears) had it at one point); my mom's cousin Allen Eberhart was also researching the Gannan family (and still is to this day), and the envelope provides a location in 1958 for both my mom and Aunt Pearl.

I hope Kay's correspondence will help me connect with as-yet-unknown cousins, and provide clues that will help other researchers!  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

23andMe Results Are In!

I almost hyperventilated with anticipation last night while reading an email from 23andMe about my DNA test results.  "Your 23andMe results are now available!!"  I had visions of new cousins dancing in my head, so imagine my disappointment when I logged in and found out that my Relative Finder results are still being calculated, and will take another week to complete.  Considering they sent me an email last week stating the results would be delayed until mid-February, I'm OK with waiting another week for this exciting new information.  I'm also waiting for my husband's test results to come in.  Stay tuned!

Floyd and Mildred Gannan Robertson

Happy 79th Anniversary to my grandparents, Floyd and Mildred Gannan Robertson.  They were married January 24, 1934, at the County Courthouse in Troy, Doniphan County, Kansas.   The probate judge, John Bell, performed the ceremony, and as far as I know, no family or friends were in attendance.

Here's another photo taken in the fall of 1937, with my uncle, Ron Robertson, and my mother, Kay Robertson.

I love this photo of my grandparents:

Grandma and Grandpa both passed away several years ago (my grandfather in 1986, and my grandmother in 2004), but they are still sorely missed and loved by all who knew them.

Happy anniversary, Grandma and Grandpa!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

DNA Testing

I had hoped to get my 23andMe results back this week, but apparently a drop in price = increased demand, so the results are delayed by a month.  In the meantime, I'll be reading  up on how DNA testing works, what the results will mean, and how best to utilize the results in my genealogy research.  I've seen a lot of genealogy blog posts on this same topic, but I'm going to stick with the experts and review the resource material on the various scientific websites, 23andMe site, and information from genealogists who specialize in DNA test results.  Also, I need to understand why everyone is bagging on DNA testing.  I've been able to locate several relatively close cousins so I don't think it's the bust that everyone thinks it is.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2013 - Renewed Focus and Losing Social Media

Happy 2013 to everyone!  While I rarely make New Year's resolutions, I've made a few genealogy resolutions that I hope will bring me renewed focus in 2013.

1.  First and foremost:  stop letting social media sites like Facebook and Twitter steal my time.  While both are very helpful tools for locating new research resources, I find myself focused on posting links and comments instead.  No one really cares what I have to say, and I'm not trying to establish myself as an "expert" in the field, so why not cut down on the number of people I follow on Twitter and visit once a day to scan for new resources.

2.  Clean out my Gmail boxes and save important emails to Evernote.  I wish Gmail had a "folders" option like Outlook (and yes, I know about tags).   This is pretty easy to do while I'm watching television.

3.  Go paperless.  I know this is high on everyone's list.  I have a ton of paper that still needs to be scanned and moved to Evernote or Dropbox.  Take one folder at a time so as not to be overwhelmed.

4.  Clean up my FTM tree.

5.  Start a list of contacts (name, email, snail mail address, phone #) for each surname.

6.  Pick a couple of lines to focus on, vs. my current "scattered" approach to research.

7.  Tackle the boxes of photographs that need to be scanned and organized.  This isn't really genealogy related, and might have to wait until 2014!

8.  Stop trying to attend every webinar out there.  Focus on the ones that will provide the most valuable information.

I have others in the back of my mind (learn more about DNA testing, become more involved with the local genealogy society, etc.), but my main focus for 2013 is to get organized.  After ten+ years of researching my family history, I've gotten a little disorganized.

Happy researching!


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Anniversary

This is a day late, but happy anniversary to my son Kevin and my daughter-in-law Karen.  They were married eight years ago in a beautiful rose garden wedding at Loose Park in Kansas City.

As chance would have it, they were married on the same day as my great-grandparents, John and Jane Waterbury Gannan.  Yesterday would have been their 102nd wedding anniversary.  I knew both of them well, as they were alive until I was in my late teens.  Happy anniversary, Grandma and Grandpa!