Is there anything as horrible as starting on a trip?
Once you're off, that's all right, but the last moments
are earthquake and convulsion, and the feeling
that you are a snail being pulled off your rock.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Somehow I managed to pull myself off my rock in early October and drove to St. Joseph, Michigan, where I spent three fabulous days with my genie cousin Cheryl, of Two Sides of the Ocean, and Creative Gene's Jasia. We three had a great time talking genealogy, dining out, shopping, and just visiting. I also got to meet Jasia's awesome husband, and was entertained by her dog Kai as well as Cheryl's dog Zoya. I'm happy to say also that Cheryl's mom is recovering nicely from her stroke and was in very good spirits. All told, my visit couldn't have been more fun! Thanks again, Cheryl and Jasia, for your hospitality and for making my trip a very special highlight of 2010!
Speaking of Creative Gene, this fall Jasia has all sorts of reasons to celebrate: last month, her 1,000th post; this month, the 5th anniversary of Creative Gene; and coming right up, the 100th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy. These are all remarkable events in the blogosphere. The COG gave rise to a great community of genealogy bloggers, resulting in new friendships, consumer clout in the genealogy industry, and inspired family history writing. Congratulations on your successes, Jasia, and thanks for the many ways in which you've enriched the blogosphere and those of us who have had the good fortune to find you there.
I haven't had much time this month for general internet surfing, but an article was brought to my attention by Denise (of Moultrie Creek Gazette) via the Genealogy Research Resources group at Diigo. Preserving Your Family History Records Digitally, by Gary T. Wright, is an excellent and very detailed how-to lesson in digital preservation, well worth reading for anyone who hopes to go that way. Having said that, however, I must admit I found myself laughing out loud at the possibility (and I use that term despite reality) that my descendants (or even I, for that matter) would remember to remake my preservation disks every few years, and would convert the files as formats become obsolete, and would archive not only the disks but also a spare device to read them when technology moves on to the next newer and better innovation. (Got 8-track player, anyone?)
Personally, I see digitized files as a great convenience:
- I can take everything with me on a research trip when it's on my computer.
- I can bring up a copy pretty quickly using tags.
- If I have need of a paper copy, I can print one out quickly.
- I can email whatever I have to cousins who'd like a copy.
- I can upload a copy to my family history software.
- I can crop or adapt a copy for use in my blog.
I'm sure I could add to this list, but I think my point is made. It's useful to have digital copies of documents. However, armed with the information and insights gained from reading Mr. Wright's article, I've decided to leave eternal digital preservation to the big players. For myself, I'm sticking with the time-tested technologies of hands, eyes, and paper. And if any of my digitized documents just happen to live on, so much the better.
- Using Blurb, I've almost completed a 120-page book about my mom's childhood, up to and including her wedding. I'd say it practically wrote itself, but actually my mom wrote it. I merged her written stories with the many photos available, and I couldn't be more excited about the way it's turning out.
- During my visit to St. Joseph, Cheryl shared many photos to be used in our Schulte book. I haven't even begun to sort through the scans yet, but among them are some very special ones which will add great interest to the book.
- I read Legacy, the first book I've read by Danielle Steele. I did so because it has a genealogy theme, and because I only get two channels on my TV set, and because my brain turns to goo around 8 p.m., give or take an hour. Okay, 4 p.m., but sometimes I push on anyway. But... Legacy... only out of sheer inertia did I get past the first few chapters, and by that I mean the pull of gravity exerted by my couch was overwhelming but apparently did not extend all the way to my eyelids. I did learn why all the how to write fiction books say you should show, not tell. I was at least a quarter of the way through the book before the story began to catch my interest. I have to hand it to Ms. Steele though--she's found herself a sweet spot in a world where it's hard to make a living as a writer. Readers who enjoy her books will surely enjoy this one.
- Again this month, I have been all about Blurb books. Before My Time languishes!
- I've revised the target date for completing the Schulte book, as some of Joseph Meyer Schulte's descendants are still under-represented in the materials and photos we've gathered. We need to make additional contact with other Schulte cousins and see what else we can find.
- I've also revised the target date for my Kate Pettis Kerr book, for the same reason. I've learned that there are additional materials available which would greatly enhance the value of the book. However, I've been lax about making contact with the cousins who have those materials.