Wow, what a morning of powerful speaking, music

An exciting morning program here at RootsTech 2018 helped to wake me up – my energy is beginning to fade!!  NATALIA LAFOURCADE!!!!

Yes, I know it’s not the best picture but Natalia Lafourcade (Mexican pop-rock singer/songwriter) sang the song from Coco that had us all in tears – and FamilySearch did research about her to share.  She found out for the first time that she is descended from a French man who came to Chile, eventually Mexico and Natalie was born there.  Natalie has many musicians in her ancestry too.  Her talent/her voice is amazing!!!  Wish I’d gotten a better picture of her but this picture is when she found out about her ancestry….so cool!

 

How so very cool that Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. came to speak at the conference!  He has been such a pioneer in developing the relationship between genealogy and genetics!  He shared about some of the miracles that have happened even as recently as yesterday at the Family History Library!

We got to see the trailer/teaser for the next ( coming this fall!) season of “Finding Your Roots” – looks incredible.  LOVE the show and it teaches me about records that are available to all of us AND the DNA evidence that can help us fill in our tree too.

All in all, it’s been a really marvelous conference!  I’ve enjoyed the networking, learning and the opportunities to connect with people who “get” what I love to do – genealogy!!!

RootsTech 2018 is coming!!!


Yes, that is ME – Speaker! I’m SOOOOOO excited! Offering two classes – Acadians & French-Canadians in North America and You CAN Take It With You! Mobile Technology for Genealogy. Can’t wait! I leave Tuesday and begin the incredible, the scary, the fun, exciting and learning opportunity that is being a speaker at the LARGEST genealogy conference in the world! Yes, you heard me .. the world!

Roots Tech 2018

RootsTech 2018 has over 300 classes, keynote speakers, an Innovation Showcase, networking, learning, meeting new people – I’m already hooking up with some likely cousins (all French-Canadians and Acadians are somehow related!) and a client from my Lineage Journeys work. And a helpful and kind participant in one of my workshops who is also an Acadian descendant….and friends from here in Michigan. And more … right? This is aligning to be so cool … can you tell that I’m excited! Watch for updates!

A new year, new opportunities and au revoir!

2018 …. The new year began with so many hopes, joys, heartbreak and opportunities.    Change is inevitable, right?  Yes, and always happening but some changes are just a lot to take and others are just noted without much emotion, and then there are the ones that you can recognize as “watershed moments” – those times when you have an earthquake hitting you and you know that you will never be the same again.

That’s the way December morphed into January – a new year, new opportunities and au revoir.  A new year – filled with excitement about some new roles for me personally, Lineage Journeys as a company, and new opportunities – for both!

It’s not without some trepidation that I am wildly excited to be presenting at RootsTech 2018 AND the National Genealogical Society’s 2018 Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan …. AND (very new information!) at the 2018 Northwest Genealogy Conference in Seattle, Washington.  AND …. ::::::::drum role:::::::::: one of my presentations (You CAN Take It With You:  Mobile Genealogy Tools) will be taped!!!!   OMG!!  Yes, I’m excited.  Lots of new opportunities and a remodeled website, with subscriptions coming in (thank you to everyone who is interested!).

And then an “au revoir” – on Christmas morning, my cousin and godfather, Harold “Hal” Nimer, Jr.  died suddenly as he was recovering from some back problems.  He was recovering but then was suddenly gone.  The genealogist-of-me could add another date to the family tree – Death Date.  Sigh …. he was a sweet, caring, loving husband, father, brother, grandfather, cousin and, in the family’s Lutheran tradition, he was my Godfather.  Memories rushed through my head of times spent mostly with his younger siblings as he was much older than me but his kind smile and loving ways, our recent breakfast together with his wife Judith and our cousin Lynda will now be the last memory of his long, successful life.  Au revoir – until we meet again.  He was buried on my birthday, December 29th.  That’s a week I won’t forget.  As a genealogist, it was a partly happy day as I got to spend time with Hal’s family, and all of Hal’s siblings (my cousins) were there and it was great to see them and talk about our happy memories as a family.  Seeing Hal’s kids and their kids, I enjoyed meeting them as I only heard about them from the proud sharing of Hal and Judy.  It was really good in that way and fostered lots of family history discussions and promises that we would all stay in touch.  And we will – a gathering is planned for July this year.

And another “au revoir” – a spiritual teacher, adopted Sister (“Hunka Sister” in the Lakota tradition), Mary Elizabeth Thunder died on December 28th and her funeral wake, ceremony and burial were over four days in January in Texas.  THAT was the “watershed moment”.   In so many ways,  it was a joyful reunion with friends from decades ago and the telling of funny, heart-felt, loving stories of challenges, fears, ceremonies, journeys and discoveries.  We cried, sang, mourned, hugged each other and held the family in our prayers and hearts, and did what we all knew we had to do – create a beautiful, meaningful, carefully thought-out, ceremony releasing her to the ancestors.  In the course of those days and since, the “watershed” was my recognition that there were things in my life that HAD to go, that were not providing growth, joy, love, or blessing but were contentious, nerve-wracking, negative and gut-wrenching.  I could hear Thunder’s voice – “Make it beautiful.  Live in beauty”.  And so I made the choices that I needed to make and I’m continuing to make.

Lineage Journeys are those we make with our genetic family and our adopted or chosen family.  We love them all and they enrich our lives.

Watershed Moments

A “watershed moment” is a point in time in which you feel that something changed, that you changed, that life changed.

I had a moment/day like that recently. Actually it is more of a series of things that have happened. As a genealogist, there are moments in time that I recognize that I’m noting a date and it was a big deal for my ancestors. Someone died, someone was born, two people were married. There are so many of those moments as a genealogist that I honestly can say that they are dates in a computer sometimes to me … until my own “moment”.

You see … someone died. Actually there have been a series of deaths in the recent past (since my brother died in July 2013 actually) and this most recent death of a beloved “sister” has caused a shift. I put “sister” in quotation marks because, while she wasn’t a genetic sister, she was a sister of my heart … a teacher, friend, beloved leader and spiritual Elder. To me and many. And it was at her funeral and the four days of the wake and then burial ceremony, that I’ve been thinking about A LOT! Without going into all of that here, it DID make me think, as a genealogist of those “watershed moments” of my ancestors.

Perhaps it was in the mid-1860s when my Villeneuve (Amiot dit Villeneuve) ancestral family came from Maskinonge, Quebec to Marquette, Michigan area. My Elliot ancestors came from the same area to Ishpeming, Michigan in the 1880s. Then they all eventually ended up in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan, in Houghton County – around Hancock and Boston Station and the mining communities. They met up there supposedly because they attended the same church. A Villeneuve girl married an Elliot boy, and an Elliot girl married a Villeneuve boy. In June, 1889 when Edward Elliot married Marie Louise Villeneuve in Ishpeming, was that a “watershed moment” for them? Did they recognize the importance of that day and the history that they would create together (they ended up having 18 kids!!!) that resulted in my grandmother? Did the day that great-grandfather Edward died in 1919, crushed by a shifting pile of coal that he was assigned to move, created that incredible “watershed moment” for great-grandmother Louise? She had a pile of children and now no husband. In the 1920 Census, she has eight children living with her. The two oldest sons are working so the family at least had an income but many of the children were very young. My grandmother, Mary Elsie Elliot had married Warner “Waino” Sutinen and was living nearby. Grandpa Warner was also a miner – I wonder if he was present when Edward was crushed … who told Great-Grandma Louise that he was severely injured (he later died of his injuries according to the newspaper account and his death certificate). Certainly, that would have been a “watershed moment” for both families.

Maybe it’s a function of the death of others that gives us “watershed moments” … it has been for me, early in this new year. Does everyone have moments like this?

As this year ends …

WishingYouTheBestHoliday Dec2017

As 2017 draws to a close, and I’m writing with just another day away from Christmas, Hannukah and Winter Solstice are behind us and Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s coming, I’m reflecting on family, research, change and the coming year.

This year was the one with a trip to Australia/New Zealand (part pleasure trip and part research trip), the selling of our home of 18 years and downsizing into a new home, much in the way of our Native ceremonies and family, and new jobs for both my husband and me … well, yes, it has been “interesting”.

But through it all, I am reflecting on the blessings …. getting to know new genealogy clients (through my work at Lineage Journeys) and their families (past and present), learning much new information at the various genealogy conferences I’ve attended (IF you haven’t gone to a conference, even a local one, you are missing out on learning so much, AND making great connections with fellow genealogists!), and building relationships in the genealogy community that I hope will be mutually beneficial.

Speaking engagements have been picking up, and the continuation of my relationship with my local library through monthly presentations, has been a great gift of learning too. Yes, mostly I love to speak because it gives me the chance to learn from others. Yes, I give them information but, more importantly to me, they give me their enthusiasm and excitement for the “hunt” of their family, information about resources that they have found that are helpful, and just the fun of meeting yet another person who is hooked to this hobby that we call genealogy. Searching for our families and where they came from and what they experienced is a unique and growing passion of so many of us – and I so love meeting others that I share this love with!

In this new year, this blog will look different – I’m revising and updating this site and the matching website and pages for my work. With the help of technology, graphic design, wordsmithing, and some great women who are helping me think it through, you will soon see a fresher design and content. I plan to blog more in the new year and share more about resources, sites and helpful information that I find. So please “stay tuned”!!!

Until then, may you experience the peace, joy, hope and festivities of the season with good health and prosperity in the new year!

A Month of Activities, Conferences and FUN!

Federation of Genealogical Societies, Association of Professional Genealogists, and the Michigan Genealogical Council – all in about a months’ time (well, kinda …. late September through October)…..

The late summer and early fall are a time in the genealogy community of much activity, conferences, meetings and learning. This year, I went from Pittsburgh, PA to Washington, DC and Lansing, MI with my own speaking engagements (my company is Lineage Journeys) and other work put in around the gaps. It has been a month of learning, networking, growing and even a few challenges here and there. All in all, a great experience with some new relationships within the genealogical community and some new research findings that are helping clients and even my own families.

AND one of the really interesting things that I learned about was how to get involved in the historic and very important indexing of the naturalization records of the State of Michigan, held by the Library of Michigan in Lansing – you can be part of getting those records ONLINE! Yes!!!

Michigan’s Naturalization Records can be transcribed by YOU!!!

All of us would LOVE to have EVERY record about our families posted on the Internet so that from the comfort of our homes, we could find everything we need. Well, that’s a lovely thought but SOMEONE has to do the typing, the uploading, the work! And it’s exciting and fun to be part of a project and work that is BIG – to be part of something historic….. so here’s your chance!!

Click on the link here:The Library of Michigan’s Naturalization Records Project which will take you to the page you can see here … there are instructions, it’s an online indexing tool (working with Family Search) so you don’t have to download anything to your computer that you don’t like or want. And you too can be part of something historic!!!
Seeking Michigan

AND THANK YOU FOR GETTING INVOLVED!!!!

A GREAT GENEALOGY CONFERENCE

VISITING WASHINGTON, D.C. & ATTENDING A GREAT GENEALOGY CONFERENCE!!!

DAR Entrance

Having JUST returned (it was just over a week ago) from the Association of Professional Genealogist’s (APG) Professional Management Conference (PMC) in Washington, D.C., there were SOOO many things learned to pass along!First – don’t go to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA for short), or the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR for short) Library and Headquarters or any of a number of locations when researching without preparing ahead! These are amazing research facilities but with millions of records, categories, topics and time periods, you will waste alot of time if you haven’t looked at the catalog online.

As I knew for months that I was going – that’s me (my company is Lineage Journeys) at the top sharing my Poster Session entitled What’s In A Name: Clues to Ethnicity & Name Changes – so I began early on to do my online research. Thanks to the APG for the helpful webinars on getting around D.C., the archives and more, I was prepared and ready. The focus of my one day of research (I SOOO wish I had more time and money to do this!) was my husband’s family’s descent from a number of Revolutionary War soldiers. Because others have become DAR members from descent from the same ancestors, I found those applications online at the DAR’s great website (https://www.dar.org) so I was prepared to walk into the library and obtain the documents that were used to prove their lineage.

Was I about to be amazed!!!! Would you look at this incredible room?? This is heaven to a genealogist, besides the spectacular architecture, right?! Not only did I easily obtain the documents that I wanted about my husband’s Revolutionary ancestors (really??! A birth record from 1750 and more!) but I was in this environment that was comfortable, helpful (the staff and volunteers of the library are gracious and warm) and I was given good advice, guidance and maximized my time so well that I was able to take a leisurely stroll back to the Metro for the ride back to the hotel.

So my big tip for today? PLAN AHEAD, RESEARCH AHEAD, and by all means, LEARN about where you are going AHEAD so that you use your time well.

Changes and Journeys

Genealogy Forms

It wasn’t easy for our ancestors, and it’s not easy for us. Change. It is constant and sometimes we are easily able to adapt and other times, it is just hard as we’ve settled into a way of being or doing that we don’t want to shift from.

In my work at Lineage Journeys, or when I reflect on the journeys that my ancestors have taken – those who came from Europe in less than wonderful conditions on a ship, those who were the Native people of North America and the moves that they had to make to deal with the influx of other tribal people or the Europeans – I realize that I have it SOOOOO much easier!

A friend of ours just left yesterday for medical school in another country. I heard from him today and he’s going through the initial stresses of the move – learning about the currency there, the costs of average supplies and food, and beginning to set up his life there. It’s not easy, of course, AND he’s alone with only our Facebook connection for conversation at this point (yes, we’ll use Skype or something later).

There’s a spiritual journey in all of this, and there’s the drawing on ancestral wisdom too in all of this. For our friend, his youth and inexperience are playing out while I can reflect on the changes that are happening for me with
work, family and internally. When I get into stress about my own challenges with change, I reflect on “what would my ancestors have done?” or “how mightthis grow me, spiritually?”. Both elements are “in play” and available for me todraw on if I remember not to freak out about what is happening. It’s all an illusion of my mind anyway!

Change is good, change is necessary, and change is hard.