Monday, December 25, 2017

Holiday treat

Posted: 24 Dec 2017 06:42 PM PST
I received this parody of Clement Moore's masterpiece via email back in the mid-1990's, the author is unknown to me. Kimberly Powell at the About Genealogy page also has it on her site.

'Twas the night before Christmas
When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
Not even my spouse.

The dining room table with clutter was spread
With pedigree charts and with letters which said...
"Too bad about the data for which you wrote;
Sank in a storm on an ill-fated boat."

Stacks of old copies of wills and such
Were proof that my work had become too much.
Our children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.

And I at my table was ready to drop
From work on my album with photos to crop.
Christmas was here, and such was my lot
That presents and goodies and toys I'd forgot.

Had I not been busy with grandparents' wills,
I'd not have forgotten to shop for such thrills,
While others bought gifts to bring Christmas cheers,
I'd spent time researching those birth dates and years.

While I was thus musing about my sad plight,
A strange noise on the lawn gave me such a great fright.
Away to the window I flew in a flash,
Tore open the drapes and yanked up the sash.

When what with my wondering eyes should appear,
But an overstuffed sleigh and eight small reindeer.
Up to the house top the reindeer they flew,
With a sleigh full of toys and 'ole Santa Claus, too.

And then in a twinkle, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of thirty-two hoofs.
As I drew in my head, and bumped it on the sash,
Down the cold chimney fell Santa--KER-RASH!

"Dear" Santa had come from the roof in a wreck,
And tracked soot on the carpet, (I could wring his short neck!)
Spotting my face, good 'ole Santa could see
I had no Christmas spirit you'd have to agree.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work
And filled all the stockings, (I felt like a jerk).
Here was Santa, who'd brought us such gladness and joy:
When I'd been too busy for even one toy.

He spied my research on the table all spread
"A genealogist!" He cried! (My face was all red!)
"Tonight I've met many like you," Santa grinned,
As he pulled from his sack a large book he had penned.

I gazed with amusement--the cover it read
Genealogy Lines for Which You Have Plead.
"I know what it's like as a genealogy bug."He said
as he gave me a great Santa hug.

"While the elves make the sleighful of toys I now carry,
I do some research in the North Pole Library!
A special treat I am thus able to bring,
To genealogy folk who can't find a thing."

"Now off you go to your bed for a rest,
I'll clean up the house from this genealogy mess."
As I climbed up the stairs full of gladness and glee,
I looked back at Santa who'd brought much to me.

While settling in bed, I heard Santa's clear whistle,
To his team, which then rose like the down of a thistle.
And I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight,
"Family History is Fun! Merry Christmas! Goodnight!"

--Author Unknown

To all, I wish a very Merry Christmas, and I hope Santa brings you a special gift for your family history.

The URL for this post is:  

Copyright (c) 2017, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Share it on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest using the icons below.  Or contact me by email at

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Meeting Monday, 12/18

What are we going to do in 2018?  I have lots of ideas and so many things to talk about.  I can’t wait to hear what you are planning too.  We can brainstorm some actions for you.  Here are some ideas we will talk about tomorrow.

For beginners: Go to  There is a GET STARTED button in the middle of the page.  Lisa has lots of free content: blogs to read, podcasts to listen to, and videos on YouTube.    I haven’t tried her beginner materials, but I enjoy her podcasts often.  She’s good with genealogy and technology both.  Informative and inspirational. 

Ready to dive in to more advanced topics?  Try Genealogy Do-Over.  In 2015, after 25 years of doing genealogy, Thomas MacEntee decided to do a complete do-over of all his work.  I signed up for his 13-week program and that was way too aggressive.  Now he offers a 12-month program with one email at the beginning of the month, a Facebook group and a yet-to-be-announced “special bonus group”. 

The topics are here.  Sign up for the email list near the bottom.  And if a year is too long to wait, there is a $4 e-workbook that lays it all out. 

For anyone:
FREE Webinar 
Wednesday, December 20 - 6pm (PST)
100 Days to a Better Family History
by Tammy Hepps

Attend this class for one hour and leave with a plan for your next hundred days of family history activities! Starting with a self-assessment of research progress to date, this class will help attendees prioritize research activities, pace work, and set deadlines.

Technologist, storyteller, & life-long genealogist. Founder of, winner of RootsTech developer challenge.

See you tomorrow 1:00 or earlier at the Ferndale Library.


Friday, December 15, 2017

Whatcom Genealogical Society Trip to Salt Lake City

If you are interested in joining a group going to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City probably July 15-22, 2018, contact Cindy Harris directly at ASAP.  Note that you don’t have to stay the whole week. 

From Cindy's email: 

I contacted the Salt Lake City Plaza Hotel ...  They are very busy, and we need to get our request for a block of rooms ASAP.  

The genealogy group rate is $91 per night for a room with 2 queen beds (1 or 2 people per room).  The rate for 2 queens as a triple or quad is $98.  The rate for a king room is $101 per night.  I did a quick check on their website and the best rate I could find was $170, so they are giving us a substantial discount.

I need to know if you are still interested and if you will be sharing a room.  Rooms can be cancelled up to 3 days in advance of arrival without a penalty.  Once I have the block, you will be able to phone the hotel and make the reservation.  You will need to mention WGS to get the special rate.

The library is closed on Sundays, so it makes sense to make those travel days.  I contacted Alaska Airlines group reservations desk regarding a discount.  Unfortunately, when I went online to check prices, I did better booking as a single traveler.  Therefore, I suggest that we make our own flight arrangements.  FYI, flying out of Seattle is cheaper.  The rate on Alaska Airlines departing from Bellingham  was $485.60 when I last checked.  There is a non-stop flight from Seatac on Delta for $329.00.  I have some tips for searching for good airfares when we come to that point.

I have been working with Carol Signett on planning this trip.  She made some very helpful suggestions.  Our plan will be to meet for dinner on Sunday the 20th if your travel plans allow it.  We will have breakfast the next day on our own.  Of course, you can always meet up with someone!.  For those of us who want to have lunch together, we will meet in the lobby at 11:30 and walk to a nearby restaurant.  There are several great options within a block of the library.  We will meet again in the lobby at 5pm for dinner.  Please know that you are not required to eat with the group.  You may be in the middle of a microfilm and want to stay in the library.  We are genealogists and we understand!  And, there is a snack room with vending machines in the library if you just can't break away :-)

On the first full day at the library, we will meet in the lobby for a short orientation so you can become familiarized with the layout of the library.

Please get back to me ASAP if you are still interested in going and if you will be sharing a room with someone.   I also need to know if you plan to stay the entire week, or just part of the week.  

FYI, I will be numbering my emails so everyone can be sure they don't miss one.

I am really excited about our trip!

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

2018: Here We Come!

This is the follow-up to my last post about my priorities in 2017.

Remember I had five priorities in 2017.  I wrote all about them in a post a few days ago.  (You can find that post in the center panel of our blog
I’m still thinking about 2018 but here’s what I have so far.

Eastern Europeans:  My top priority continues to be my mom’s family from Germany, Austria and Croatia.  I’ve been hearing Genies say Germany and wonder if anyone (or two) wants to coordinate a special interest group for Germany. 

RootsMagic:  Now that I’ve settled on RootsMagic for my desktop software I can’t let up.  I’m hoping I can bring a lot of things together in my desktop software and then update online trees from there.  If and when there are people interested, I am willing to coordinate a RootsMagic group. 

Technology:  I have said it before and I’ll say it again.  I think all of us will benefit from uping our game in technology.  Technology is new on my list but it is ever-present in doing genealogy these days.  I felt great conquering some keyboard shortcuts last year and now I need to master an app for managing my podcasts.  And always new things to learn for the Genies blog.

Carol S. and I will be going to the RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City at the end of February.  It’s my first out-of-state conference and Carol will be a great guide for it.  We’ll report back at the March Genies meeting.

Genies:  I will be listening to each of you this month and onward to carry out our common pursuit (or addiction) of genealogy.  I’m interested in ideas for what will deliver what you need when you need it.  Also looking for others interested in sharing skills and knowledge in talks or small groups. 

Organization is a new addition.  I have everything in notebooks, folders, and online documents, but inside it feels like this.  What more can I say??

Image result for einstein's messy desk image

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A personal look back at 2017

2017 is coming to an end.  I can’t believe it.  Where did 2017 go?  In this post I invite each of you, no matter where you are located, to take a step back and review your genealogy in 2017 and think about what you want to focus on in 2018.

I have lots of experience setting measurable goals with strict deadlines for work but for genealogy I’m a lot more relaxed.  I just want some areas to concentrate on and some ideas about what I want to do.  For 2017 I picked 5 priority areas to concentrate on.  When I need to get focused, I think about my priorities and decisions are clearer.

First and foremost is to work on my Mom’s side of the family.  I have avoided this because it is so hard.  Immigrants all!  Arriving in 1890’s and early 1900’s, leaving little knowledge of their roots in Eastern Europe.  What a challenge!  Number 1 is always “Mom’s side”.  Whenever I am picking a class at a conference or webinar, trying out a new website or software, learning about DNA, I always start with my mom’s side. 

Second is our Genies.  Twelve monthly meetings, many Getting Started classes with John and Rick, Digging Deeper into DNA classes last summer. And building the blog was my biggest technological challenge of the year.  Whatever I am doing in my own genealogy becomes part of what I can share with my friends, the Genies. 

Third is the selection of desktop family tree software. The elephant in the room.  Some people don’t use desktop software; they just use online trees.  This year it became clear to me that was necessary to store my main family tree at home.  It’s about control.  What happens when companies change their business model or are bought out?  Our needs often take the back seat.

I learned that the big websites have contracts with all their record providers.  Sometimes the providers don’t renew the contracts because they realize they can make money by charging for their records themselves.  What happens?  Important records at Ancestry or Family Search can disappear in a minute.  I also don’t want to be tied to the expensive subscriptions forever.  I want to be free to use other tools.  I want all my information and records on my desk. 

I knew the top three software companies.  On my desktop you would see a line of icons: Family Tree Maker 2014, Legacy and RootsMagic.  I have them all but it seemed so complex to try them all out.  Time kept passing and, in the end, it came to “just pick one”.  I finally settled on RootsMagic.  I like their connection to Ancestry, Family Search, MyHeritage and FindMyPast.  I like their price for myself and others.  I like their reputation as the easiest to use. 

I accomplished my goal; I picked one and got started.  It gives me motivation to review all my ancestors.  I feel good about this path.

Fourth is DNA.  It has become such an important part of genealogical research.  I, and we, spent the whole summer studying DNA and trying out new methods.  We all dug deeper!  It was my effort to learn much, much more.  I took multiple webinars, an Advanced DNA class from Diahann Southard, and read so much. 

Fifth is education in general.   Four-day Northwest Genealogy Conference, WGS meetings, German Interest Group in Bellevue, and spring seminar in Tacoma helped me step up a notch.  I watch webinars, listen to podcasts, and read blogs.  It gives me a broader idea about what is possible.
What will 2018 bring?  We’ll see.  Join me in the next post to take a look forward. 

What areas did you concentrate on this past year?  Leave a comment and come to our meeting on Monday, Dec 18th.

Judith Culver

Saturday, December 9, 2017

What Can I Say? DNA Sales Continue

If you are still considering a DNA test, most are still on sale.  All the details are here:

This will be my last DNA alert for the season.  If you want to follow the sales, you can enter your email address at the link above. 

PS.  The news is that AncestryDNA sold 1.7 million kits over the Black Friday weekend.  In a few months we should be seeing a flood of new matches

Friday, December 8, 2017

Join in making comments on the blog

Hi, Genies,

Our Ferndale Genies blog is up and running.  Most of you have subscribed and are viewing the posts in your email.  Here are a few tips about the blog. 

When you receive an email from the blog, you can read the post right in your email or you can click on the blue title of the post in the body of the message.  That will take you right to the blog.  Why don’t you do that now so you can follow along there?

Here you are ready to read and to comment on the post.  At the bottom of most posts it says “No comments”.  That means “no comments yet”.  You can click on “No comments” or “1 comment” and display a comment box. 

Under the comment box it says “Comment as”.  If you are already logged into a google account, your name will be displayed.  Otherwise click the small arrow for the dropdown box and you will see Anonymous at the bottom.  If you use Anonymous, please leave your first name and if you are a David or Margie, you better add a last initial.  We’d love to hear from you.

Then click the Publish button.  Your comment will not appear on the blog right away.  I am moderating the comments to be sure they are “nice”. 

Most of us are not in the swing of writing comments, but Anonymous offered this compliment: “If someone desires expert view concerning blogging and site-building, then I propose him/her to visit this blog, Keep up the fastidious job.”  Thank you to Anonymous. 

We’d like to hear from you.  Give your opinions and tell what you are interested in.  And if you have any problems or questions, you can always email to ferndalegenies at gmail dot com.

Here’s a blatant solicitation.  If you would like to write a blog post about an experience, a find, or something you have learned.  Send it in an email or a word document.

Until next time, my best wishes for a happy holiday season,
Judith Culver

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Just two meetings in Dec 2017

As the holidays approach, there are only two regular meetings.  On Monday, Dec. 11 WGS will have a party and podcasts.  Should be fun and informative.  Everyone welcome.  Details below.

On Monday the 18th the Genies will look ahead to the future.  It is so easy for us (including myself) to hop from one thing to another with no plan in sight.  Last year at this time I encouraged everyone to set some priorities to try to keep focused. 

For myself I picked no fewer than five.  I just couldn’t pare it down any more.  No measurable goal setting, just some areas to focus on to keep me headed in the right direction.  Here they are:  Danzer family side, Genies, Desktop Software, DNA, and Education.  My next blog post will be about what I did.

Don’t miss this meeting. We will help you pick paths to go down and brainstorm some next steps.  Especially good for beginners and especially good for advanced too.  😊  And I hear there will be light party food.

Ferndale Genies Monthly Meeting:  Join us Monday, December 18 from 1:00-3:30 at the Ferndale Library.   There will be time for hands-on work.  Come prepared with questions and passwords.  Bring a computing device or plan to borrow one.
Next meeting: January 15.  Always 3rd Monday every month. 

Whatcom Genealogical Society (WGS):    WGS announces “Our December 11th meeting will be a chance for members to share their favorite treats and to hear a presentation about genealogy podcasts. If you have a special dessert that is a family tradition or a part of the celebration in your ancestral homeland, we would love to share it with you!”

Whatcom Genealogical Society is always 2nd Monday at 2:00 pm at the Bellingham Elks Lodge, 710 Samish Way, Bellingham WA. Park around back and enter on the lower level (unless you have a big truck or an RV).  Visitors welcome! Contact: 360-733-8300

No meeting in January 2018!!!

See you soon!
Judith Culver