The Sandhills Are Alive With Music!

“The hills are alive with the sound” of Sandhill cranes!!  It’s obviously fall … and I did the best that I could on the pictures as I had to grab my cell phone FAST to rush outside.  Wow … the sound was deafening and there were HUNDREDS of Sandhill cranes, all squawking at once, getting into formation.  There were multiple “V” patterns, and birds flying to catch up.  As I stood on the porch snapping what I could, I could hear more coming and more in a farm field nearby …. VERY loud but eerie, surreal, primordial …. special.

When I hear, see such wonderful creatures, I think about the migratory journey they have ahead as they eat up what corn, grains they can from the surrounding farm fields.  I’ve always loved these beautiful and large birds and wanted to study them when we realized that they were so numerous here in our new home.

Wondering what to write about today, as I wanted to keep Lineage Journeys readers up on more than just the upcoming conferences and events that I’m doing, the sandhills provided a great way to break from writing, researching and keeping up with the business end of the work.  I wanted therefore to share a great book I found that has tremendously beautiful photographs AND tells the story of the struggles that sandhill cranes have with habitat encroachment, pesticides, and more.  On Ancient Wings:  The Sandhill Cranes of North America by Michael Forsberg is the book that gave me a perspective that increased my joy of them all the more, as I’d like to see what I can do locally to help them.   The book is linked here and in the title above as I found the book on Amazon (there are other great field guide-type of books too!)  if you might be interested in learning.

The reason that I am thinking about this, writing about this?  Maybe because I’m a genealogist or because I’m such a nature-lover, these birds are a fascination to me.  As a genealogist, I wonder whether my ancestors had the opportunity to witness such a spectacle, if their farms had these graceful birds feeding there before setting off for the south.  My Québec ancestors were farmers almost entirely (some were woodworkers) so I think about what I just saw and how ancient these birds are (I think I read somewhere they they are millions of years old, from fossil evidence!), wondering if they were part of the lives of my people in Québec.  With the St. Lawrence and other waterways in the region that my families’ farms were located (most recently, my ancestors are from Maskinongé, Québec and around both Québec City, Montréal and back into Acadia), it is certainly likely.  What did they think?  Did they stop from their farming just as I stopped from my work to look UP?

As I think about and work to write the stories of my ancestors, I want to include content about their day-to-day lives like the sounds of the sandhill cranes or the weather patterns (like the very severe rains that we’ve been having this year!) that impacted their survival.  It’s not about the dates for me – births, marriages, deaths – but it’s about what they DID, who they were friends with, the music and foods that were important, and the struggles and joys they experienced.

I hope they experienced the sound I heard this morning – the sandhills’ music of life.

RootsTech 2019 is coming!

The wonderful worldwide excitement of doing genealogy research, learning and sharing with over 14,000 of your best friends is revving up for February 27 to March 2, 2019!  And yours truly gets to be a SPEAKER again!!!  Yeaaaaa ……

Sharing in 2019 about Native, First Nations, Indian: Researching Indigenous Peoples and (updated from 2018!) You CAN Take It With You: Mobile Apps for Genealogists, I’m excited that I’ll also be an Ambassador (that means you will get blog posts from me before, during and after the event!) and exclusive access to some of the big-name speakers coming.

More is soon to come – the registration page opening, hotels booking, and finding your friends, cousins and more who are going, watch here and the Lineage Journeys Facebook page for updates!!!

Attending GRIP – Driving Through Pennsylvania

On my way to GRIP (Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh), I had the pleasure to drive from Michigan to Pittburgh through the lovely rolling hills and mountains of western Pennsylvania. Dairy and beef farms, rolling meadows of planted corn, green …lots of green.
Coming off of the expressway and onto a two-lane road, I came around a curve and discovered a classically beautiful old church.
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Wexford, PA.

From it’s website (https://www.trinitywexford.org/about-us/#History) I learned:
Founded in 1845, Trinity is located in one of the older settlements of Allegheny County and still bears the word “German” in its Charter name as well as on the inscription on the front of its church building. The church was born when the Reverend Michael Schweigert sought out area Lutherans and organized them into a congregation. The treasurer’s report of 1901 showed an expenditure of $3 to repair the stable in which the horses were kept during services.

Churches, houses of faith, are part of the specialty areas that I assist clients in research. The records of our ancestors within these houses of faith may be the only record of their birth, marriage, or burial when other civil records hadn’t yet been established or are lost, burned, missing. Compilations of indexes helps for these records but going through baptism records and learning about who the godparents were (often family or close friends) can be a goldmine of help to an otherwise lost lineage.

With time still to drive, my mind wandered to the journey that these, and other immigrants and travelers, took to get here and further west. My husband Denny’s ancestors came to Michigan over time from Berks County, Pennsylvania. Looking around at these hills, mountains and contrast of the ease of my journey was apparent. Only five hours from Michigan, back in the 1700 and 1800s, when Den’s ancestors were traveling, or these congregants of Rev. Schweigert, the easiest way was likely the rivers. Of course, later were the developments of the canals, but horse-drawn wagon and walking were the other ways to travel.

So as I begin a week of research, learning and getting more knowledge of the field of genealogy (genealogists are ALWAYS learning!), I’m reflecting on the ways that we learn about, study, find records and fill in the lives of our ancestors. Here at GRIP (Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh), we are taught by nationally-recognized experts about the research sources that document our ancestral lives, learning to document, properly cite, and share information with others seeking our help. There is so much to learn…..there are a variety of genealogical institutes to learn from. If you are interested in learning more, please contact me for information. I’d love to encourage you!