Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sorting Saturday - How Do You Save Email Correspondence?

My husband is giving me a few hours today to get some genealogy organizing accomplished.  I have a bunch of emails that have been sitting in my inbox that have photos attached.  Today I am saving those photos to my hard drive and adding citations. 

I have decided that I also want to save the emails in my surname folders.  I currently keep all of my email in genealogy folders in my Gmail account.  While this is available to me anytime I wish to take a look, this correspondence will not be available to others in the future if something should happen to me.  By saving the emails to my surname folders, I will also be keeping up with my new organization scheme to have everything genealogy saved to one area of my computer.

I am not sure what is the best way to save the emails.  Do I copy and paste the text to a new document? Is there a way to PD the email with the sender information included?

How do you save electronic correspondence?  I would love to hear your ideas.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday - What Are You Thankful For?

Happy Thanksgiving!

One tradition of my favorite traditions occurs on Thanksgiving in my family.  Instead of a traditional grace, each person at the table says what they are thankful for.  It is always heartwarming, fun, and hilarious at the same time. 

One of the best "Thankfuls" I have ever heard happened while we lived in Rhode Island.  My father was stationed in Newport, Rhode Island for four years.  My father's cousin, Dave, and his family lived nearby in Warwick.  We were about half way around the table giving our thanks when it was Dave's turn.  He simply stated, "I am thankful for whatever Sheryl (my mom) is thankful for."  Everyone burst into laughter because it was not her turn yet.  We had no idea what my mom was thankful for.

To this day, when my family is together at Thanksgiving, someone always throws a "Dave Thanks" into the mix.  It has to be explained most years since we love to include friends at our Thanksgiving table. 

This year I am thankful for my family, my health, the wonderful trips we got to take, in-laws that legally joined the family, my new genealogy blog friends, and whatever Dave is thankful for.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Open Thread Thursday - Newly Minted Blog Educator

Last night was the monthly meeting of my local genealogy society (Marin Genealogy Society).  The meeting was a round table where everyone brought brick walls and success stories to share with each other. 

The topic of genealogy websites and blogs came up as a way to connect with others.  While I was not surprised that only a few of us at the meeting regularly read genealogy blogs, I was taken aback that many did not know genealogy blogs exist. 

Many people were excited and asked how to find genealogy blogs.  I pointed everyone in the room towards as a great place to start.  Thomas MacEntee has set up a wonderful resource on all things genealogy blog related (including this Open Thread Thursday).

Although I have been writing my blog since March, I have not shared that information with my fellow society members until last night.  I was very nervous when I  realized on the drive home that everyone is going to go home and read my blog.  Part of my fear is that I know these people face to face.  Most of the feedback that I receive on my blog comes from other bloggers I have not met in person or family members who really aren't that into dead people.  There is comfort in that safe place.

Today, I commit to being a blog educator.  I  pledge to put my own fears aside and advertise my blog more.  I will also talk about blogs more around the members of my genealogy society.  We need to let others know about this great community and all of the wonderful resources it has to offer.

Sweet 16 Success!!

This blog post is being posted a couple of weeks after the fact.  I found this information a couple of weeks ago but life and some medical issues got in the way and I was not able to share this great information with you until today.  Please enjoy because I am still as excited today as I was on Tuesday, November 1st.

My grandfather is Celio "Jay" Capelli.  He was born to Matteo Ciardonei and Adele Siletto.  I have chronicled my grandfather's story in several posts this Summer and Fall (an american dream, new documents add to the story of my grandfather, those places - cossano canavese, piedmonte, italy, and finding all 16 g-g-grandparents).  My grandpa's family are the last hold outs in my quest to find the names of all 16 g-g-grandparents. 

When we returned home from our wedding adventures (wedding wednesday - creating genealogy), I immediately logged on and ordered from the microfilm that contains the church records from Cossano Canavese, Piedmonte, Italy.   The Family Search index shows that the records contain baptisms from 1858-1899, marriages from 1651-1899, and deaths from 1669-1899.

The microfilm has arrived and I got a chance to look at the baptisms.  I am very happy that I did my homework and showed up with a cheat sheet of words in Italian.  It saved a lot of time in acclimating to another language.  I had great success!  I found the names of my missing g-g-grandparents! 

I started by scrolling through the microfilm to see how it was organized.  Quickly, I found that for each year there was an index of names, birth dates, and certificate number that showed up at the end of the year.  In this small town there was anywhere from 10 to 43 baptisms each year.  There are about 10 main surnames that appear in the baptism records.

Working backwards from 1899, I found Adele Siletto first.  Her baptism record says that she was born 10 January 1892 to Guiseppe Siletto, son of Stefano and Ana Maria Maglione, daughter of Giarindo.  I was really excited to see that someone in the church had added additional information to her baptism record by hand underneath Adele's name.  It also stated that she married Matteo Ciardonei on 25 December 1913 and died 18 January 1919. 

I found Matteo's baptism record next using the index of names for 1889.  Matteo Stefano Luigi Ciardonei was born 12 February 1889 to Pietro Ciardonei, son of Matteo and Antonia Ciamporeero, daughter of Stefano.  Again, additional information was hand written in stating the same marriage date and confirming the date of death as 14 March 1921.

I still can't believe it.  I only wish that my grandfather was still alive to hear all about it. 

I am excited to get back to the library this week.  My plan is to create an Excel sheet and transcribe the index pages for the baptisms.  Since this is a small town, it will not be too much work and will hopefully help untangle the web of families later.  I can then go through the baptisms for the Ciardonei, Siletto, Maglione, and Ciamporeero families to identify any siblings for Matteo, Adele, and their parents.  I will tie in the marriage records as I identify parents for each family group.  I do not plan on looking at the death records until I am done looking at the baptism and marriage records.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What Ailments Did My Ancestors Suffer From?

Last weekend was not very enjoyable.  I spent the weekend in a opioid induced haze at my local hospital suffering from kidney stones.  Luckily, I had a great Urologist who performed surgery on Monday and removed those painful boulders.

One of the first questions my doctor asked was "Do other members of your family suffer from kidney stones?"  Luckily, for my immediate family members, they do not. 

The question stuck with me this week.  I thought a lot about my ancestors and what types of ailments stopped them in their tracks.  Most of the medical history I have about my family has come from death certificates.  It is interesting to see what a wide range of reasons my family listed as cause of death but this is a very limited picture into their medical lives.

I wonder what else happened while they were alive.  Any broken bones? How did they cope when they had a cold or the flu.  Kidney stones?  Heart attacks that they survived?  Bad knees?  Cancer?

I will probably never know these kinds of details about my ancestors lives.  The best I can do is to document the medical histories of the living to pass their stories on to future generations.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Verify You Have The Right Vital Record

Yesterday I was so excited to see an envelope in the mail with my handwriting on it.  Self addressed envelopes always get opened first!  I tore open the envelope with excitement at what new information may be waiting inside for me.

Due to budget constraints, sending off for vital records is not an everyday occurrence in my house.  This makes them even more special.  I am always very careful to fill out request forms with all of the information I have about my ancestor.  I have found that sometimes even with the information listed, I receive a record that is NOT my ancestor. 

Last year, in preparation for my genealogy vacation to Kansas, I followed up on missing information.  I ordered several vital records and updated my searches on Internet sites.  I received a death certificate for Mary Switzer.  I had used a date range for her death in my request using dates my grandma vaguely remembered.  When the certificate arrived I was so excited and immediately jumped onto the Internet to see what else I could find using the new data.  After about an hour of finding lots of new information, I realized there were also lots of inconsistencies.  After some analysis, I found that there are two Mary Switzers who were married to a Frank Switzer around the same time and same area of Kansas.  The death certificate was not my 2nd great grandmother.  Thankfully, I was able to obtain the correct death certificate before my trip.  The correct death certificate led me to the cemetery in Halstead, Kansas.

I learned an important lesson that day - always take a moment to check your records and see if the vital record you received is really the ancestor you are looking for.

Yesterday, that self addressed envelope was a bright light on a difficult day with my almost 3 year old.  I have been waiting about 3 months for a response from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.  After opening the death certificate for Edward D Lahey, I went to my computer to verify that it was my Edward.  Almost immediately my spirits fell.  This was obviously not my Edward.  This Edward died in 1973.  My Edward died between 1910-1920.  I am going to see if I can find any further information narrowing down the date of death before attempting to order this death certificate again. 

After some irritation at the Department of Heath for not looking the details listed in my request, I poured myself a glass of wine and got over it.  I decided instead that the next time I go to Northern Virginia to visit my parents, we will just have to take a mini genealogy vacation to Pittsburgh.  We still have some relatives living there to visit, cemeteries to document, and prove the parents of Edward if we can.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thankful Thursday - I am now Cousin Bait

When I began writing this blog earlier this year, my intention for the blog was to share stories with my family about our ancestors.  I did not realize that the wonderful geneabloggers community would quickly outnumber the number of family members who actually read my blog.  In fact, I think the only family members who read my blog consistantly are my mom and husband.  In fact, the blog has served a much different purpose for me so far.  Writing has focused my research, organization, and goals for my continuing hunt for ancestors.

Last week I received an email from a cousin who found my blog by googling a family name.  It was so exciting to receive that email!  I had read about other genealogy bloggers who use their blogs as 'cousin bait' but never thought that it would apply to me.

This person is a cousin on my husband's side of the family and has emailed with me several times.  I cannot thank him enough for sharing his story and family photos with me.  I look forward to more communication with him and hopefully a fuller picture of the life of my husband's great grandfather, Charles Frank Gingg.