SCGS Jamboree’s App is available!!!

So far, I’m loving the new SCGS Jamboree’s app.  I love that I can have a schedule, have a syllabus from a particular class emailed me me, and that I have a list of exhibitors at the ready!

If your going to SCGS Jamboree this year, you need this app!!!  You can read about it and download it here.

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Genealogy Blog

      Lately I have been hearing in my genealogy circles of friends how some of them have always wanted to start a genealogy blog but didn’t know how or where to start.  Before starting my genealogy blog, I have been writing a craft blog on the blogger platform for two and a half years before moving it to WordPress.com.  Before I started my craft blog, I wished that there was someone to ask questions on creating a blog or at least a post of tips to get me started.  I thought it would be helpful to share what I wish I knew before I started my genealogy blog. 

      Here are my top 10 tips I wish I knew before I started by genealogy blog.

  1. Don’t rush into blogging.  It takes time to make decisions on several key items such as design, layout, and the focus of your content; so don’t be in a hurry to “go live” with your blog.  Take your time, research and look at all options before making a decision on your blog.
  2. Think about exactly what you want to blog about.  At first read, you might think…”Duh, I wanna blog about my family history/genealogy!”  That is fine, but do you want to include everything and the kitchen sink when blogging about your family history?  Do you want your blog to just inform your family on your research updates?  Do you want to use the blog as your research log?  Do you want your genealogy blog to be a source of income?  These are all very important questions to answer and I know there are more that fit your specific situation.  A good way of figuring out how you want your blog to look like, what to write about and the layout of your blog is to find and read other blogs.  Make a note of what you like and don’t like about your favorite blogs.  This will be very helpful in giving you a direction of your blog style.
  3. Take stock of the time you have available to devote to your blog.  Take a good look at your current schedule, include the things you do for your family, volunteer/church, genealogy research, education opportunities, social events and your personal “me” time.  Whatever time you have left to commit to your blog, that is perfectly fine.  The nice thing about a blog is that it is easy to work into your schedule.  You can spend a few hours over the weekend writing several posts, and schedule them to post on your blog in the future.   I love this feature!  I don’t utilize it enough!
  4. Determine which platform you want to use for your blog.  Do you want to use the Blogger or the free version of WordPress?  Both platforms have its merits and its downsides so you will need to research it very carefully.  Personally, I started out with Blogger but switched to WordPress.  I do like the control I have over creativity and how my blog looks more on WordPress then I do on Blogger.  Some people like that control, some don’t.  It’s a personal decision and one that you have to make according to your situation.
  5. Determine how you want your blog to look.  What style do you want to have?  Do you want a creative, artistic look or something more clean and uncluttered?  You do have options no matter which platform you choose.  Also think about the bells and whistles you can have on your blog.
  6. Pick a name for your blog.  Since this might take some time for you to decide, use your family and close friends as sounding boards on the different names you come up with.  You never know, they may have a few good ideas for you as well.
  7. Ok, so you have made all of the important decisions on your blog, have signed up and started creating a shell for your blog, it’s time to start thinking about the guts of your blog….your posts.  I suggest that you create an Editorial Calendar of the regular posts you want to write.  Having a regular post is good; it gives you something to post about on a regular basis and is helpful when you have writer’s block and have run out of post ideas.   Go to Geneabloggers.com for their list of daily blogging prompts and pick a few.  You don’t have to do each one, just use those that interest you.  You also don’t have to do them every week.  You can post them as frequently as you want.  I post my Monthly Aspirations on the 1st of the month and my Saturday Updates every Saturday. 
  8. Create a few essential pages (not posts) for your blog such as an About Me page and a Contact Me page.  You want to give your readers and possible relatives a way of getting to know a little about you and a way of contacting you.
  9. Test your blog.  When you are ready to go live with your blog, test it first.  You want to make sure that everything looks like you want it to, that all links are pointing your readers to where you want them to, and you want to make sure that nothing is missing.  Have your closest family members test it as well.  Give them the web address and let them browse.  The more different computers and browsers that test your blog, the better.  Make sure they report back any problems with page and photo loading and link connections so that you can make the final tweaks before your blog goes live to the public.
  10. Finally, publish your blog!!!  Sign your blog up with Geneabloggers.com and have it added to Thomas MacEntee’s list of blogs.  Send an email to all of your family and friends that will be interested in reading your blog and let them know that it is now “live.”  Also, create a signature for your e-mail program that has a little blurb about your blog with a link to it.  When you send e-mails out, whoever gets them, will be able to click on the link and read your blog. 

      Blogging is not that hard, once you get use to your posting rhythm.  Remember, your journey begins with one step.  So take that step already!

What I did on my first day of summer vacation.

Last week I was on vacation.  I had no plans on going anywhere, my husband and I planned on painting my daughter’s bedroom, but that was about the most exciting thing we did.

I take that back, the most exciting thing that I did was visit the Los Angeles Family History Center on my first day of vacation.  I was really excited and the night before made my research plan, double checked the center’s hours, and made sure I had driving directions so I didn’t get lost.

Who was I researching for you ask?  No one.  This trip I was looking for information on the state of Zacatecas in Mexico.  Specifically, I had three books that I wanted to look at that would hopefully tell me which parish of the Roman Catholic Church would cover where my ancestors lived.  I need this information so I would know where to direct my written inquiries on my ancestor’s birth, death and marriage records.

The three books I was looking for are (I’m sorry but I don’t know how to put the spanish accent marks here):  Directorio eclesiastico de la Arquidiocesis Primada de Mexico (Directory of the congregations and clergy of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico), Directorio eclesiastico de toda la Republica mexicana (Directory of the Roman Catholic Church throughout the Republic of Mexico), and Mexico: guia general: divisiones eclesiasticas (A general guide to the ecclesiastical divisions of Mexico).

I found these books by searching the catalog on http://www.FamilySearch.org.  I searched for “Mexico – Church” on their website and these three books popped up.  Unfortunately, the LAFHC do not have these books on their shelves.  I was told to first try interlibrary loan through a local library and if that doesn’t work, then I would need to take a trip to Salt Lake City, UT to look at the books at the SLCFHC because they don’t send books from the Utah main library to other family history centers like they do for the films.  Although I was a little disappointed, I was happy to find another book that they did have called Diccionario Porrua de Historia, Biografia Geografia de Mexico, which I believe translates to The Dictionary of History, Biography and Geography of Mexico.  This book had all of the cities my ancestors are from, Fresnillo de Gonzales Echeverria, Valparaiso, and Zacatecas, the capital of the mexican state Zacatecas.

I am going through the copies I made from this book and using google translator to try to read what it says.  Later today, after I pick up my daughter from her first day of school, we will head to the library and try for the interlibrary loan.  I’ve got my fingers crossed.  Could you please help me and cross your fingers too?  Thank you.

My Trip to the Los Angeles Superior Court

I made a trip to the Los Angeles Superior Court on my lunch break one day. My goal was to find out the case number of my mother and father-in-law’s divorce. I was hoping to look at their divorce file to find the date they were married and any other pertinent information about them. I was unsuccessful in getting the case number.

I had done preliminary research and found out that I needed to go to the index clerk first to find out the case number. I went to the Index clerk in Room 106 in the courthouse. In room 106, if you give them the names of the divorcing couple and the year it was originally filed, they can give you the case number of most cases filed from 1966 to present. Well the clerk told me that there was no listing for my couple. She suggested that I go to Archives down the street to see if it was filed before 1966. She directed me to Room 212 in Archives which was across the street and down a ways from the courthouse. It’s not easy finding Archives so they gave me a map, although it is underground, the only way there is with the use of an elevator/staircase. The offices are not above ground at all. After taking the elevator to the 2nd floor, I walked to room 212 from the elevator, the hallway was lined with boxes and boxes of case files. It has been many, many years since I was last in Archives and it all looked different to me.

The one thing that wasn’t different was the stuffiness feeling in the air. Although I do understand that in order to prevent the documents of deteriorate faster, they must be kept in climate controlled environment so I don’t understand the stuffiness. Because I didn’t know the exact year the divorce was filed, the information desk clerk gave me a form to fill out and told me to go to Counter #3 when I was done. After filling out the form, I went to counter #3 and a kindly older gentleman came to help me. He took my form and went to search for the case number. As I was waiting for his return, I noted that Counter #3 was the index counter for: Civil cases from 1940-1982 Family Law cases from 1940-1982 Probate cases from 1950 to 1982. The kindly gentleman came back and said that there was no case for my couple, but he found cases for my father-in-law from previous marriages. I noted the case numbers for a future visit. Because I wasn’t able to find a case number for my couple’s divorce, this could mean two things: (1) They were never divorced or (2) It was filed in a different county.

More research is needed for this couple to get their marriage date. Here are a few bits of information regarding the Los Angeles Superior Court that might also be useful to you.

  1. In California, each county has its own Superior Court system. What is used in L.A. won’t be the same in say, San Bernardino. In order to find the right court, you need to know which county the case was filed in. To find out, you can go online to: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov. At the top of the screen, you will need to click on the “courts” button. This will take you to a new page and if you look on the left side of the screen you will find another menu and you need to click on the “Find A Court” button. This will take you to another new page and from here you can find the Superior Court, the Court of Appeals or the State Supreme Court along with links for their location, phone number and website. The Superior Court is listed by county and if you don’t know the county, you can search by city or by zip code to get to the right courthouse.
  2. If you already know the case number for a LA Superior Court case, you can get copies of some documents online. The type of documents available online are limited and a fee is charged. You can go to: http://www.lasuperiorcourt.org to order copies online.
  3. When going to Archives, dress in layers, bring bottle water and prepare to wait when using the microfiche machine.

I hope this was helpful.

Timelines are a Genealogist’s Best Friend

(This post was from my first blog where I talked about everything.  I have split my Genealogy Obsession from that blog and started this one.  Since this is genealogy related, I am posting it here.)

In my last post on searching for a family for Simona, I needed to interview my dad to gain more information on some of the questions that my last research endeavor left me with.  However, before I could set an appointment with my Dad, I felt that I needed a better grip on my research as I was starting to feel confused with the amount and content of my research results.

The solution?  A timeline.  I prepared a timeline for my Grandfather Tiburcio. This timeline is just a listing of all of the events that happened in my Grandfathers life. Right now it just includes personal events, but later I will be adding some world events that would have had an impact on my Grandfather’s life.  This timeline helped to put my grandfather’s life in perspective and helped me to understand a bit better.

I have included all of the births of his children, his three marriages, his immigration/naturalization paperwork and when they were filed, his required WWI Draft Registration, the census records and showed where he lived during those years. This helped me focus to the task of interviewing my Dad again. I found that my grandfather first married at 25 and had his first child at 27. I also found that he had my father when he was 49 years old and was 52 when his last child, my uncle was born. He worked most of his life until he decided to retire at 73 and at 74 applied for his Naturalization to be a citizen of the United States. He then died at 90. In his long life, he had 13 children, numerous grandchildren, and 3 wives with marrying his last wife when he was 64 and she was 46. He had a long, well lived, life. I pray that I am as lucky as he was.  :-)

So when your researching your family tree and find yourself a bit overwhelmed, put things in perspective and try using a timeline.  Happy Ancestor Hunting!!!!

More on searching for a family for Simona.

(This post was from my first blog where I talked about everything.  I have split my Genealogy Obsession from that blog and started this one.  Since this is genealogy related, I am posting it here.)

In my search for finding a family for Simona, I found a pilot site for FamilySearch.org.  At this site, I searched for my Grandfather Tiburcio Luna and his brothers, Lino, Miguel and Martin.  Well I found them and a couple surprises too!

In searching this pilot site, I found the Baptismal Records for my grandfather and his brothers but one surprise was that my grandfather was listed as Jose Tiburcio De Luna.  His brothers also had Jose before their name and were also De Luna.  It even listed my great-grandfather as Salome de Luna.  At first I was estatic to finally find the documents I needed to place my grandfather in Mexico but then that turned to an identity crisis.  For all of my life, my maiden name was Luna, but now I find out that I am De Luna.  It has an enormous affect on me for a day or two.  I wondered why my Grandfather changed his name.  It was on all of the documents that I had from the time he entered into the U.S., he always put down on his Immigration Manifest, the 1920 & 1930 Census and on his Petition for Naturalization and supporting documents that he was Tiburcio Luna.  Even on the WWI Draft registration that was required in 1918, he put his name down as Tiburcio Luna.  Why did he drop the De???  I wish I knew.

The other surprise I found was that in doing the search on the pilot site, I found not only Simona’s Baptismal Registration, but also a daughter named Euphemia.  Now I was puzzled!  I had never heard of this name in any genealogical discussions with my dad or with any of my aunts and cousins that I have interviewed.  I am still puzzled.  My one logical solution is to interview my dad about this and to gain more information about the family.  Hopefully this will shed some light on this puzzle and I will be able to unravel it.  I also want to note that on both Euphemia and Simona’s Baptismal Record, it shows my grandfather, their father, as Tiburcio Luna.  This tells me that he presented himself as Tiburcio Luna and not Jose Tiburcio De Luna.  Again….why?

So, my next step is to schedule a mutually agreeable time with my dad to ask him about Simona and Euphemia.  Maybe Euphemia is my Aunt Jessies real name and “Jessie” is a nickname???  We will see.

A family for Simona Luna

(This post was from my first blog where I talked about everything.  I have split my Genealogy Obsession from that blog and started this one.  Since this is genealogy related, I am posting it here.)

Several years ago, ok, more like 15 or so years ago, I was attending my dad’s family reunion.  Back in the day, the family reunion was held every year.  My dad was one of 10 living kids so it was normal to have close to 100 family members attending the reunion.  It was very easy for me to not remember who was who because for all of my growing up life, I lived with my mom.  I knew my mom’s family like the back of my hand.  We usually visited them every weekend and in the summer, we has several sleepovers at my Uncle Charlie’s house.  At this Luna (My dad’s family) Family reunion, my dad was re-introducing me to my Aunts.  After the introductions, as we were walking away, my dad asked me if I remember my aunts.  I told him no and for the next few weeks after, I felt sad.  Sad because I knew so little about my dad, how he grew up, and who his family really was.  So this sadness spurned me into action and I started learning what I could about genealogy and started researching my Dad’s family tree.

I found out a lot of things that I never knew about my Dad’s family tree.  When I first interviewed my Dad, I found out that my dad was not one of 10 kids, but one of 12 kids!!!  From the very beginning he told me that the other two kids died very young.  With my Dad being the second youngest, he really didn’t have a lot of memories or details, but he told me that one died when they were a baby and the other was a boy who passed away around 12 years old from appendicitis.  So for the last 12 years or so, I had no clue who these other two kids were but they always had a spot on our family tree. 

Last week, after paying for and using Ancestry.com, I found who I believe is the young boy.  His name is Marcelino who shows up in the 1930 Census as a 5 year old.  He was 10 years old when my Dad was born but I don’t have proof of that because the 1940 Census won’t be available until sometime in 2012.  But I was still wondering who the other child was.  During the research that I did last week when I found Marcelino, I found other pieces of information that helped me truly understand my family immigration to this country.  I had several years ago found that my Grandfather Tiburcio had immigrated in 1918 with my Grandmother, two daughters named Jesus & Jucua and my Great-Grandmother (Tiburcio’s mom) Monica Fernandez from my Grandfather’s Application for Naturalization records.  What I found out last week was that my Grandfather didn not come with my Great-Grandmother, she came with his brother Lino almost a month later.  I found this by getting a copy of the Immigration Manifest that everyone immigrating to the US had to fill out.  It wasn’t until the day after finding this document, that I found the other child. 

The document that I looked at was the front of the Manifest, I didn’t scroll down to see the back side of the form which list my Grandmother Vicenta, My aunt Jesus “Jessie” who was 6 years old, and my new aunt Simona who was 5.  Well finding this information made me sad again, because I knew that I found several years ago, my Grandfather in the 1920 Census and Simona was not listed with his family.  So that leads me to conclude that she passed away sometime between the time they immigrated to the US through El Paso, Tx in July 1918 and the day the 1920 Census was taken. 

So for the rest of my genealogy research, I will be finding a family for Simona.  I feel a need to bring all of this together for her so that all of my family, both near and far will know of our long lost Aunt Simona.