Sunday, December 11, 2011

RootsTech's Ban On Book Vendors

I have been posting to Facebook like a crazy woman ever since the news was made public.
To see where it all began go to  Leland Meitzler's post HERE

RootsTech now scares me for a whole new reason. 

Old School Genealogists already fear that the New School Genealogist relies too heavily on internet and digital creations for sourcing or just plain old "doing" their genealogy. In other words some fear that genealogy done by "New School" "Techie" genealogists might be limited to online research. That would be incredibly stupid. The vast amount of genealogy information can not be found in the digital world. 

So why would RootsTech, want to ban books in their vendor hall? Is this not a genealogy conference? Yes, it is a genealogy conference with a focus on techie stuff for use in the genealogy world but it is still a genealogy conference. Right?

Some genealogist, especially the beginners, might only pick one genealogy conference to go to in the whole year. Hopefully RootsTech would be that conference. How sad if that new genealogist could not find the one book that sends them down the road to discovery because RT doesn't have book vendors. 

When I first started doing genealogy I used "The Idiots Guide To Genealogy," I still recommend it to beginners. I would like to know what beginners guide RootsTech would recommend? And why can't I find it at RootsTech?

When technology catches up to (and contains) all the genealogical information that I use that is in print...then they can quit selling books. And don't tell me...well you can order that book, or buy it at one of the other national conferences. What if I want to look through the book first and decide if it pertains to my needs? What if I can only attend one national conference a year? I guess, if I can't buy books at RootsTech, and I know that good genealogy is based on using other sources in addition to digital ones, and I can get digital ones online...well money is better spent going to NGS or FGS.

Not to mention that I can see all those techie things you're trying to sell me at FRYS or BEST BUY. Or I am sure my blogging buddies will tell me of the newest gizzmo I've just got to have...(can you say Flip-Pal). 

Personally I don't go to the vendor hall to look at all the new gizzmos. There is usually too big a crowd, or it's a demo of how a BOOK is digitized, or some such thing. While I am glad some books are being preserved by digitization...I don't need to know the How of it. I like to drive my car but I don't need to know how the car's electrical system works to take a drive.

And I don't spend hundreds of dollars to play pool or chess or Wii or pong or whatever else is in the "game room."

I go to RootsTech for the lectures when I do venture into the vendor hall (and don't get me wrong, I spend hundreds in there too) I mainly go for books. That's one of the reasons I drive to most of the I can haul back books. If I fly I have to ship them. 

And RootsTech...don't you remember last year after Lisa Louise Cooke spoke there was a run on the Book Sellers to buy her book. Now tell you really think speakers such as Lisa Louise Cooke come to speak at your conference for what you pay? What do you pay...I've heard it is the price of admission to the conference...if that's it then I would venture to guess that the speakers are counting on selling some of their books. So why would they want to speak at your conference if they can't get their books sold there?  Wake up! You're speakers sell books. They are your vendors. See this blog

It was my understanding that this was a genealogy conference that embraces technology not a technology conference that embraced genealogy. Or are we just a new market for the sales team?

Sharon Sergeant, in a Facebook post, said it so well, this conference is supposed to be "the marriage of genealogy to technology, not a divorce."

Come On's not hard....who is your audience? Genealogists who use Technology or Techies who do genealogy?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NGS Home Study Course

At the FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies) conference this year I purchased the NGS (National Genealogical Society) Home Study Course.
I finally took it out of it's folder and began work on it today.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Surname Saturday: Duchamp

My second great grandfather was Eugene Auguste Duchamp De Chastaigne he was born in July of 1837 in Morris County, New Jersey. His family had come to this country from Martinique Island in the Caribbean. In 1860 he married Marie Amelie Sandoz in St. Martinville, Louisiana.

The name is shortened to Duchamp when speaking about the family but the full "correct" and legal name was Duchamp De Chastaigne.

His father was Jean Baptiste Eugene Duchamp De Chastaigne and his father (my 4th great grandfather) would have been Jean Baptiste Matthieu Duchamp De Chastaigne.

I can go a couple of more generations back but I did not do the research on this family. My cousin Eric did. Tragically all of his research was lost in Katrina. Luckily he had sent gedcom files and printouts to many family member...a good reason to share your research and to keep back ups somewhere safe.

Because we had the basics, pedigree charts and family group sheets, we were able to recall the information but not where he had got the information. That's right...he didn't record his sources when he put the information on Ancestry.

This has been a valuable lesson to me. You never think that tragedy will strike you. But it can. Mother nature is like that and fires happen. I urge everyone...don't wait...share your stuff today and make sure it is sourced so you can find those documents again.

Ok, enough about that....

It occurred to me today that because I don't have any source notes to go by that I'm not sure which Duchamp owned the plantation.  I know that Eugene Auguste was the owner of the town house. And I have always thought that he owned the plantation too. But it is possible that cousin Eric may have merged the ownership of the plantation and the townhouse into one man. (I've just recently discovered on another line where I suspect he merged two different men because they married two different women with the same name....but that's another story.)

So I have work to do on this line to determine which Duchamp owned the pharmacy, the opera house, the plantation and the townhouse ...or if they were all owned by different Duchamps.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

RootsTech Scares Me-Tech Tuesday

I have to confess Roots Tech scares me just a little. Why? Because I learn how much I don't know.

I am by no means a "Techie." Just ask my friends who are. I am always asking them how to make this program work or, "how do I do this?" I have (tongue firmly in cheek) "bragged" about my techie prowess on this blog. And hopefully y'all know I'm laughing at myself.

I am also a little scared of RootsTech because, "Ignorance is Bliss."  For example: If I don't know that Nitroreader will make my life "easier" then I don't feel the need to go and learn how to use it. BLISS
But then when my friends start talking about Tweet Deck, Nitro Reader, Dropbox, Cloud Computing, SMS, RSS Feed, and the like....and I feel so left out...and I want to know the latest and greatest. I feel like I'm running behind...a day late and a dollar short, that's me.

The learning curve, is another reason I'm scared of Roots Tech. I'm still just catching up to last years brain overload. I still have not mastered Twitter or Tweet Deck. I barely know how to do this blog (as is evidenced by the many blogs that get posted before they are ready.) So when you tell me that the next RootsTech is just around the corner I start having anxiety attacks. WHAT!  I'M NOT READY YET!

All that aside; I love RootsTech. It's only a year old. And it is already one of the most (if not THE most) popular conferences in the Genealogy World. With good reason, too. Like I said...brain overload. You learn tons. You learn how to incorporate the techie world into your genealogy. Of course you can still do genealogy the "old fashioned" way, and you should. You don't want to be abandoning the careful research methodology we have all worked so hard to learn. However, adding the techie stuff to it complements it. It adds a new dimension to our genealogy. Like adding geocoding to our grave photographs. Even blogging adds a new dimension. By blogging about our research we find were our "holes" are and we get to practice putting our research into a narrative form.

So even if you're a non-techie like me RootsTech has something for you. You can become as Techie as you want or choose not to. But you should go at least once and find out what your missing and why you should try to work it into your genealogy world. And like me, I bet you'll find that you want to go back. And if you're already a techie, then join the other "tech geeks" and improve the techie world of genealogy for the rest of us.

Hope to see y'all there.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Shopping Saturday: Grandpa Duchamp's Pharmacy

Grandpa Duchamp's Pharmacy (that's it with the green awning)
Duchamp & Sons Pharmacy 1853-1881

Leeches used in medicine

I wish I had been able to see what my 3rd great grandfather's pharmacy was like.

The first picture is of the pharmacy building as it is's the one with the green awning.

The other pictures are from the Pharmacy Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana.

These photos give me an idea of what the inside of Grandpa's pharmacy might have looked like.
(used with permission of the photographer Theresa V.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

More Letter from Grandma Theaux

I have transcribed the second page of Grandma Theaux's letter.
I find it interesting how I can hear her voice coming through these letters even though I never met her. [the spelling is hers]
I hope you enjoy reading these letters.
Page 2.....

"really silly. I was so stubon [stubborn] about that, of course it made my Dady mad, I thought he was silly, but now I can see that now how a little give in was all that was needed. 
Now come the time I realy fell in love I was 17 I had a verry good girl friend she would visit our house with her brother I had a cousin staying at my house both her perent had died so my mother being her aunt took her to stay with us she was about one year older then me, she and my girl friends brother wer as she would say going out together but all that time the boy was trying his luck with me but love was not my line all I wanted was a good time untill one day she was teasing me, I was to young for her and her boyfriend I could not be with them, I told her if I would want she would lose him, so she told me I would have to shake my go-go, in my shirt tail so that was the end of it.
And that was the end of all my good time for after I realy got in love, that cut me off. because I did not enjoy life any more and my Dad did not want me to have a boy friend, and that...[to be continued]

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Shopping Saturday: Memories/Nightmares of Shopping With My Mom

Some women have fond memories of shopping with their mothers and doing other "girlfriend" things. Not I. My mother was never my friend and shopping with her was anything but pleasurable. It was a NIGHTMARE. Pure and simple. It was something I avoided, as much as possible, from the time that I was a young women till her dying day.

I know that going shopping with me may have been something that she would have enjoyed after I was an adult but the few times that I tried it ...well let's just sum it up in one word...disaster.

Let me give you an example, come shopping with me and my mother...I warn you ...these are scary, scary stories...Horror stories if you will...but then it is almost Halloween....

Mother didn't drive so when she wanted to go shopping she had to find someone to take her. Often that meant we had to re-adjust our schedule to accommodate her "immediate need" to go shopping. In other words you couldn't tell my mother, "Sorry I'm booked on tomorrow, how about Friday." OH NO. If she wanted to go changed your schedule. 

I remember once when we went to Macy's to get a wedding present. We browsed around the pretty things in fine china (dish freak...remember?) I was led into a false security that this time it would be okay. I was actually starting to enjoy myself. Then mother decided that she was not being waited on promptly enough. So she laid down on the floor.

I was horrified. I started telling her to get up and stop embarrassing me (This is the same women who used to tell me, when I was a little girl, not to show my ass in public.) Then, of course, a clerk runs over figuring my mother has had a heart attack or something...
My mother says with her most charming southern drawl..."oh, are you ready to help us now?"

Macy's was mother's favorite store. Mother wouldn't shop in K-mart or Target or any of the other "trashy" department stores. (Mother thought she was "above" all that.) She would once-in-a-while condescend to shop in Penny's or Weinstocks or maybe Liberty House. But Macy's was her favorite. 

I don't know why they didn't ban her from the store.

Once she felt she was not getting the attention she deserved. So she went into fine china and got a crystal ashtray then took it over to the furniture department. She sat down at a table and proceeded to light up her cigarette. Of course, she had a clerk (probably a manager and security as well) there to help her right away. I had made a hasty exit as soon as she lit up. I don't know why they didn't throw her out. 

Her favorite maneuver was the "Loud Voice" tactic. She would stand in the middle of the department and say in a very loud voice, "Well, I guess all the clerks have gone home for the day...or maybe it's self serve." 

To this day shopping is not my favorite thing to do...I have flash backs. Thank God for Amazon and E-Bay. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Letter From Grandma Theaux

Last year when I visited my cousin Peggy she shared with me several letters that she and our grandmother had exchanged. Well, actually it is like one long letter that spanned several posts.

Peggy was estranged from her mother at the time (Cajun grudges can last a very long time) and was missing family so she started a correspondence with our grandmother, Flavie Marguerite (Landry) Theaux.

She asked Grandma "Mama" Theaux what life was like when she was young.

Now, Mama's first language was Cajun French and so the letters are a little hard to understand at times but...well, see for yourselves.

This is a transcription of those letters.

January 1976

To the young generation. You are not as bad as you are others think. I too have been young and thought it was the end of the world, everyone told me how bad I was, I got to where I did not care, I was told so often how bad I was but I alway did belive in God and prayed. My father was stick to me espesicaly when I got big and started having boy friend. [The spelling is hers] I see it all now, no one was good enoulf for his children, I went around with a good inersent [innocent?] good time any thing was fun, I did not see are [or] try to understand the bad, I did not have many friend because I was not smart enoulf for the gang they knew many thing. I could see, when I came around they would change the conversation. You too young one when you realy understand you will see that what ever your parent did was because they loved you and wanted you to be the best I can see all that so well now. I am sorry I had to see all this after my perent was dead and gone, I have there picture and I kiss then every morning becaus now I understand. We were to kiss our parence good night and good morning but to me that was......

That is the end of the first be continued.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Family History Center Event Nov 5

Saturday, November 5 seems to be THE DAY. At least in California. At least for genealogy. Not only is the California Genealogical Society having their big shin-dig; but, the Regional Family History Center in Sacramento is also hosting an all day seminar.

Starting at 9:00 classes will be offered in English Research, Eastern European Research, Scandinavian Research, Basic U. S. Research, Land Records, Coroner's Records, Digital Scrapbooking and so much more.

Registration starts at 7:45 in the morning with a welcoming address at 8:30. Then classes will begin at 9:00 and go until 3:45 (with most classes running an hour.)

Your's truly will be presenting two lectures; What you can find at the National Archives; and, Ports of Entry other than Ellis Island.

For more information check out the Sacramento Regional Family History Center's website.

Friday, October 21, 2011

California Genealogical Society Nov 5 Event

My friend Kathryn Doyle has asked me to help spread the word about the California Genealogical Society's Event on November 5th.

So here's the buzz:

Sponsored in part by the California Genealogical Society is presenting Ancestry Day in San Francisco.
The event is geared to those who are just beginning their genealogy and those who want to "hone their skills." There will be intermediate and advanced classes as well as those for the beginners.

Where is this wonderful event happening, I hear you ask.

At the Hyatt Regency San Francisco

The When: Saturday, November 5, 2011  from 8 am to 4 pm

This next bit was lifted from their webpage......

Choose from more than a dozen
classes covering a wide range of
topics like:

  • Getting started in family history
  • Finding immigration and emigration records online
  • Locating living family members and lost relatives
  • Getting the most out of your membership
  • Using maps in your genealogical research
  • How social networking can further your family history research
Go to their webpage for more here

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thank You, Father Hebert

I am working on my Landry line.

I have spent the past four days at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Mecca for genealogist. Or maybe more accurately one of the Meccas. This place is heaven. I wish I could be locked in here (with lights on) over night.

I came here with one goal in work on my Landry line. I am probably going to use this line as my three generation kinship determination project for my certification. At least that is the plan today.

Here's the thing about doing research in Southwest Louisiana. You're going to use a set of books called Southwest Louisiana Records. It is a 46 volume set. Let me tell you about it.

Once upon a time there was a young priest with a passion for genealogy. He came to Southwest Louisiana and began transcribing / abstracting the information provided in the church records. THANK YOU FATHER HEBERT.

That's all the church records. THANK YOU FATHER HEBERT.

That's all the births, baptisms, marriages, and deaths in all the churches in all the Southwest Louisiana Parishes. THANK YOU FATHER HEBERT. (Parishes in Louisiana are what Counties are in the other states)

Even some of the non-Catholic churches are included and courthouse records are included to. THANK YOU FATHER HEBERT.

That's 46 Volumes of records. This was his life's work. THANK YOU FATHER HEBERT.

And you gotta love the entries...for example...
HEBERT, Joseph m. Francoise HEBERT. Succ. February 1810. Children: Louis, Nicolos, Andre, Alexandre, Placide, Constance, Eloise- Deceased spouse is Francois LA BAUME, Magdaleine - wife of Joseph GUILBAUT, Marie-wife of Valentin LANDRY, Frosine - wife of Agricole LEBLANC (SM Ct. Hse: Succ. #50)

Succ. means Succession Record it's like a probate and /or will.  (SM Ct. Hse is the St. Martinville Court House)

Or how about...
Adolphe LANDRY (Valentin - of la fausse pointe & Marie HEBERT) B. 12 Dec. 1804, bt, 6 April 1806  Pats: Firmin LANDRY & Thoetiste THIBAUDEAU; Mats: Joseph HEBERT & Francoise HEBERT; Spons: Joseph GUILBO & Clemence FAUSTIN. Fr. Gabriel ISABEY ( SM Ch.: v.6, #327)

Ok, let me tell you how to read case you don't get it.

first you have the name of the child Adolphe Landry, then the names of his parents Valentin Landry and Marie (maiden name) Hebert. It even tells where they live...La Fausse Pointe. Then the date of birth: 12 Dec 1804 and the date of baptism (bt) 6 April 1806. Then it tells us the name of the paternal grandparents....Firmin Landry and Thoetiste (maiden name) Thibaudeau; and the maternal grandparents: Joseph Hebert and Francoise (maiden name) Hebert. Then it lists the sponsors and then the priest performing the ceremony. Last but not least we are then told where to find the original record...St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church in St. Martinville, Louisiana in Vol. 6 (of the church record books) record number 327.


In the French way...women were known all their lives by their maiden name...they did not take their husbands names legally. So all the documents you find in Louisiana if the woman has the same name as her husband it is because they are probably cousins. So in the case of Joseph Hebert and Francoise Hebert above, she was a Hebert before she married Joseph.

Don't you love French law.

And don't you love Fr. Hebert.   THANK YOU FATHER HEBERT.

Let It Go Day

Ok, I confess, as you saw from my post about "priceless family heirlooms" I'm a bit of a hoarder. Not like that T.V. program (Horrors NO) but I tend to have a hard time letting go of "stuff."

I'm baring my soul here so, be kind.

I am a dish whore and an information junkie.

I have three sets of china and four sets of stoneware. In my defense I did not buy all of them. I inherited my mother's china, my grandmother's china and my mother-in-laws china. I love each and every one of  them for their sentimental connection. They are all beautiful. None of them is what I would have chosen. But I'm not going to let them go.

My stoneware: I got one set when I married my first husband. They are plain white, classic and go with every kind of table linen (another collection.) So I have to keep them. I can't let them go.

Then there is the dark blue Fiesta Ware. This is the set I got as wedding presents for the second wedding. It's FIESTA it's not going anywhere...and I'd like to add more colors! So I guess they fall into the "not letting go" category.

Then there is the "other" set we got as a wedding present...don't know why the folks who gave it to us did so...we didn't register for it. Why do people do that? It's only four place settings and I could probably let them go...but they are pretty,

Then there is the set that my husband and I saw one day while shopping at Target...just about Christmas time...we both instantly fell in love...they are more modern and sort of Asian looking...he bought them for me as a Christmas present...they are my favorites...I can't let them go.

You see the problem!

I am also an information junkie...I save stories about places I want to visit, things I want to do, people I want to learn more about. I have a ba-zillion how to books. How to organize, how to clean stains, how to prepare your taxes, how to buy a car, how to fix a car, how to make soap, how to get rid of the clutter...perhaps I should read that one again.

And magazines...I them then throw them out...but I remember an article and go back and read it again. For example I am getting ready to do a presentation on Railroad Records. I remembered that I had a "Discovering Family History" magazine that had an article about just that thing...I hunted through my house till I found it, and the information it contains will help me in my preparation.

Or the magazine will have a quilt pattern I just know I'm going to make ...someday. Or a recipe I want to try out...someday.

I also have been advised that I should cut out the article or recipe or pattern and file them..then throw out (recycle) the magazine. Great...who has time to clip articles/recipes/patterns and file...not I. Furthermore, I end up clipping the whole magazine minus two patterns or recipes.  Kind of defeats the purpose. So I guess, for now, I won't be letting go of my magazine habit.

So what am I letting go of?

I'm letting go of the guilt. I'm not like my friend Claire who has no unnecessary clutter in her house and lives like a minimalist monk. I like my stuff. I find my stuff useful (most of the time) and beautiful. I once read that you should only have in your home those things that you find useful (dishes, clothes, furniture...etc.) or those things that speak to your soul. Mine do.

I'm letting go of the feeling that I should "conform" be like "everyone else" (I guess that falls under guilt too.)

I'm letting go of the thought that I should seek help. I know the psychological reasons I hang onto my "stuff" and it would probably take years on a couch to get though that "stuff."  I guess that means I'm keeping that stuff least for now. (so is that in the "letting go of" category or the "keeping" category?)

Ok, so I think I will let go of my glittered and sequined pine cones that I made in the 2nd grade. I can probably part with the books on pregnancy..since I'm of a "mature" age. I figure I can let go of magazines from the last century. Oh, and I suppose I can part with that set of dishes.

Whew, I'm exhausted...that's enough letting go for one day.  


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tips From My Genealogy Pals

I thought it might be fun to have my genealogy pals share their favorite tips or hints with you. So take notes, some of these are things I wish I had known when I was just starting out and some of them are tips that I am going to start using today. In other words: I learned something from asking my friends for that is my tip.

From Kim: Ask your genealogy pals what their favorite tip is, or what their favorite web site for genealogy is. Ask them what they wish they had known when they were just starting out.

Tami G.: Slow down - take the time to cite every source for every piece of information you find. It's always easy to get on a roll and figure you'll either remember where you got something, or that you'll go back later to cite things. You won't. Do it now. Your dead ancestors aren't going anywhere.

Share!  Post your family tree (with sources) online in a couple of places. It's so true that you end up getting more than you give. You may have the key to someone else's brickwall, and they may unknowingly have that one piece of information you've been looking for. It's happened to me several times.

Set up and use a free-mail account, such as yahoo or gmail, that isn't tied to your internet provider for your genealogy research. You want someone with the answer to your brickwall to still be able to contact you 10 years from now when they come across your message board posting online.  One woman who helped me solve a major family brickwall, had seen my sister's family info posted online and had been trying to contact her for years -- but my sister had remarried, moved across the country, and changed her email address a few times since her initial postings.

Thomas M.Don't forget that besides the US Federal Census, there are other government projects which created their own record set - like the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Here is a great resource by Barb Snow on how to get started with WPA records. Click Here.

Joan G.: For German research...she recommends "attending" the online classes at to learn to read the old German Script. And for a second tip...write the surname you expect to research in the old German Script 3 times before you look at the film.

Jane H.: Remember to know where the event happened in relation to when it happened. Your ancestor might have died in Rensselaer County, NY in 1807, but when he moved there in 1780 it was Albany County, NY. “The Atlas of Historical County Boundaries” online maps by The Newberry Library and Randy Major’s, Historical U.S. County Boundary Maps tool are great resources.

MyrtMy tip is to add a border to your digital image and put your source citation right there. 

Elyse D.: Find a friend. Hunting for dead people can be a really lonely hobby, especially since your friends and family will probably think you're mental for wanting to go to cemeteries or wanting to spend hours in a library for fun. You need people that share your passion and "get" you - so reach out! Go to society meetings, get involved online, start a blog, start a conversation. With technology and social media, it is easier than ever to find people who "get" you. You will soon find that these people will be your mentors, teachers, and become your best friends. It is so worth it.

Liz T.:  My tip would be to start a blog. It has been the best thing for my genealogy that I have ever done. It's a great way to get your name out there so that "lost" or "unknown" family members can find you. I have been found by at least a half dozen cousins that I did not know I had! Most from different family lines. Having a blog has also introduced me to some of the greatest people in the world - other Geneabloggers!

Linda W-G. Keep a research log and write down the citation of each and every resource (book, microfilm, manuscript, courthouse document, etc.) before you start to look at it. Make brief notes about all findings-including negative results.

Thanks to my pals for some great tips. Now get out there and climb those family trees.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday:D. Romero

Possibly one of my ancestors...unproven as of yet.
This tombstone is at St. Peter's Catholic Cemetery in New Iberia, Louisiana

Monday, October 17, 2011

Motivation Monday: What motivates me to trace my heritage

What motivates me to trace my family's heritage? Probably the sense of identity it cultivates. With each new discovery as to who my ancestors were I feel a growing sense of who I am. That's important to me, being adopted and all.

I know some adoptees don't feel the gnawing need to discover where they come from. My sister Debby, who was also adopted, (her birth name was Stevens) never wanted to know anything about her birth mother. Not until she was dying that is...then for a little while she cared. Why then I'm not sure...maybe she thought that somehow a biological mother could give blood or a transplant or something and make it all better. That's what mother's are supposed to do, right?

But I had known almost all my life who my birth mother was and I spoke with her on the phone the first time when I was 21. So for me tracing my family tree was not a voyage of discovery to find out who my birth parents were. I know that. (Or thought I did)

No, I started with my adopted Dad's branch. I just wanted to find these people who had been his kin. It was a wonderful puzzle wrapped around history, two of my favorite things. I searched and searched for those dog gone people for ten years before I got a good solid lead. I swore (of course) that they must have been beamed down.

So in those early days of the beginning of my obsession my motivation was the shear joy of the hunt. The solving of the puzzle.

But now, I do this to connect with those who came before me. I still enjoy the hunt, but I feel more of a connection with the ancestors now. I try to learn about their lives, not just find out their name and fill in the blanks. In learning about them I learn about myself. I see my stubbornness in my grandmother Flavie. Her inability to hear the phrase, "No, you can't" has been passed on as well. I can't wait to find out where I get my twisted sense of humor from or my overdeveloped sense of responsibility.

That is what motivates me.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Speaking at the Family History Center Nov 2

Well, I am becoming a "seasoned pro" quickly. I will be giving my fourth lecture on November 2nd. at the Family History Center in Sacramento. At 2:00 pm. I will be speaking on Railroad Records and how they can help in the tracing of your genealogy.

Last week I did two lectures in one (so two hours) on beginning genealogy (at the Yuba County Library) I combined a level one beginning genealogy class for those who have never done genealogy, and a little more advanced class with workshop. And just like any "seasoned Pro" I already have a war story. My PowerPoint Projector didn't work...I had to do both hours with no visual aids. I must have done alright, though, because they have already asked me back for next year and they want me to teach a whole day...3 or 4 classes. (can you see me doing my happy dance.)

I gave my first presentation at my local Family History Center on May 25. The subject was "Where else do I look." I came up with that subject because I kept having patrons come into the center and tell me that they couldn't find their grandmother's birth record/their grandfather's death record/naturalization record/military record... _____________ fill in the blank. I would ask them where they had looked and invariably they would tell me "all over the internet." I would ask them if they had written to the county their ancestor had lived in and they would give me that blank know the one.

So I decided to give a class telling everyone where else they should look. Hence the name of the class.

That class got me a job that will be coming up this winter with one of our local genealogy societies.

The Yuba County Library job may have netted me a job in Placerville...maybe...keep your fingers crossed.

I am also scheduled to teach two classes at the all day seminar in Sacramento at the Family History Center on November 5. And in February I will be teaching a couple of classes in Redding.

So I am tooting my own horn and telling the world, I LOVE GIVING PRESENTATIONS. I even love the planning of them. So have computer will travel...if you know of anyone who might be looking for a lecturer...I'm their gal.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Shopping Saturday: Shopping with my sister Debby

My sister, Debby, was the perfect one. She was 5'4" blond hair, blue eyes, the face of an angel and she weighed about 102 pounds dripping wet. She got straight A's in school. She was an accomplished concert and jazz pianist. She could also play the saxophone and the accordion. She married a lawyer and had two children (a boy and a girl... in that order).

I tell you this not so you will feel sorry for me, but so you will understand that it was all a facade. She had the face of an angel and the morals of a safe cracker.

Debby was a wild child (as my uncle used to say.) She was the one who cut class all the time. She drank and partied. I won't go into details (it's not nice to talk ill of the dead) but let it suffice to say she got caught playing Frisbee on the roof of a hotel once. Oh, and one time she dived into a swimming pool with her band uniform on...just because someone bet her she wouldn't.

So now that you have a picture of Debby let me tell you that this "personality" did not just suddenly show up when she was a teenager. Oh, no, my friends. Debby was like this her whole life.

Today we go shopping with Debby.

One of my most vivid memories of Debby is how she always managed to get me in trouble for something she did. I would always, somehow get the blame. AND I WAS THE GOOD GIRL.

Once when we were about 10 and 8 (Debby is the younger) we were with our mother shopping for new school clothes. There was only one dressing room in the little local store mom liked to buy our clothes from. So Debby and I were sharing a dressing room. I would put on a new dress and go out to model for Mom while Debby changed into her new dress. Then I would go back into the dressing room to put on another dress for Mom to see while Debby modeled.

Back and forth we went, trying on dress after dress.

Ok, let me back up a minute....just before we went shopping our mother had taken us out to the hamburger joint to have lunch. I had just got my retainer. (you know...removable braces) Well, if you've never worn a retainer let me don't eat with them remove them. So I took my retainer out, wrapped it in a napkin and put it in my pocket.

So there we are in the dress shop and we finish up our shopping and Debby and I get dressed in our "old" clothes. I reach in my pocket to put my retainer back in my mouth and it is in about 8 little pieces. I show it to my mother and she let me have it. How could I be so careless? What did I do? How did I break my retainer?  On and on the inquisition went...all the way home...and for the rest of the day...
It was decided that maybe I would be more careful with my retainer if I had to pay for it out of my allowance.

Flash forward...about 6 years later...Mom, Debby and I are in the car and driving past the old clothing store that was no more...we are reminiscing about the times we shopped there. I remember (quite vividly) the incident with the retainer and my sister starts to giggle. She finally confesses that she had stepped on it in the dressing room and heard it crack. She thought I had candy in my pocket and I was hiding it from her so she stomped it all to hell. My mother, for some reason, found this hilariously not so much.

Friday, October 14, 2011

What to do with "priceless" family heirlooms

My parents have passed away. My father "went to his reward" in 2007 and my mother died two years later. My sister proceeded them in death by many years. So that leaves just me. 

Just me to sort through all their stuff. I want to say crap...because that's what a lot of it was...crap. No one would consider the old avocado green phone an heirloom. Nor would the plastic caricature figurine of General Patton cause anyone to call Sotheby's. 

I have no problem knowing what to do with that sort of stuff. Some of it gets tossed in the trash, of course, and some of it goes to the donation pile. But what do you do with the stuff that makes the memories start flooding back? Or the stuff that you know was precious?

What do I do with my mother's wedding gown? I can't exactly put it in a scrapbook. And I've already got two of my own wedding gowns hanging in the closet. There is no grand daughter to hand it off to (I had a boy). And Mom had an 18 inch waist, the chances of anyone ever fitting into it are slim (no pun intended.)

What do I do with the 30" oil paintings my mother had made. They show my father in his Air Force uniform just after he retired and my mother is in her finest white sequined cocktail dress. They are enormous and I don't have a wall to hang them on. (Even if I wanted them staring down on me.) Besides...oil paintings ...not really my style. I love the fact that they are portraits of my parents when they were younger then I am now...but I don't really want them. Do you suppose that this is why some of those antique photos end up in the antique stores, unloved and unwanted? And yet still...I can't bear to part with them...and if I could what would I do with them? Who would take them...they can't go to strangers...but there is no family left. I go round and round like this. Then I think that someday my son might want them. Yeah, maybe. Till then what do I do with's not like I can store them in the garage...they're oils.

And then there is my son's stuff. I'm not talking about the 69 Camero piece of junk littering my driveway. I'm talking about his first stuffed toy, his cute little drawings he made me when he was 5 or 6 years old, his cub scout uniform, his first karate uniform, his first dance recital costume...what do I do with this stuff?

Not to mention that my mother had my baptism dress and my son's baptism suit mounted and framed in HUGE shadow boxes. (We're talking 40 x 40) No wall ...remember.  And again...not my style. But again, I can't scrapbook them. 

I'm beginning to understand why priceless family heirlooms are always found stashed away in a trunk in the attic. I think that would be the answer...if I had an attic.



Thursday, October 13, 2011

Blogger Showcase:Elyse Doerflinger

Elyse Doerflinger is young. A rare find in the genealogy community. She is also smart, perky, vivacious, cute as a bug, and just what this community needs.
Elyse is preparing to become a school teacher and she has the kind of personality that will make her a great one. (I see her teaching either kindergarten or fourth grade....she's really good with 5 year olds...or those who have a 5 year old's maturity level...but I could also see her making those sugar cube missions and getting the kids hooked on history.)

Elyse has some wonderful Youtube videos for beginning genealogists...or those of us who need a brush up. Just go to and search using her name "Elyse Doerflinger" and they will pop up.

In addition she writes a blog (Her first posts to her blog have been archived and can be found here.)  Elyse also works for WikiTree she is the "WikiTree Evangelist," spreading her love and knowledge of WikiTree to everyone who will listen.

If you are unfamiliar with WikiTree let me tell you a little about it. WikiTree is "a family tree building website that balances collaboration with unique privacy controls." Go check them out and see what the fuss is all about.

If you know a young person who might really like this genealogy thing...hook them up with Elyse. Show them her YouTube videos and her blog. Then bring them to the Southern California Genealogical Jamboree next June...Elyse will be there and she loves showing young folks the ropes.

Webinars presented by Legacy

I love attending Webinars. I can learn all about various resources in the genealogy world without leaving my home and nobody looks at me funny because I am wearing my bunny slippers.
I have found Legacy Webinars to be one of the best. 
First off they're FREE
I like FREE
Secondly they have fabulous speakers. 
Thirdly they have a wide variety of subjects, just take a look at this list of Webinars they are offering between now and the end of the year. (Go to the Legacy website for more information and to register.) You don't have to be a Legacy Family Tree software user (but why aren't you?)
Take one or two (or as many as your schedule allows) They're FREE...what do you have to lose?

(If by chance you just can't make them fit your schedule...they record the Webinars and for a very low price (usually around $10) they will sell you a CD of the one you missed and provide the handouts.)

The Three Cs of Irish Research: Civil Registration, Church Records, and Census, presented by Judy Wight on Wednesday, October 19.
Let Your Voice Be Heard in the Digital Conversation, presented by Drusilla Pair on Wednesday, October 26.
Cracking the Case of Nathan Brown's Parents, presented by Marian Pierre-Louis on Wednesday, November 2.
FamilyRoots Organizer System presented by Mary Hill on Friday, November 4.
It Is Well With My Soul: Finding Ancestors Amid the Rubble of Disaster and Misfortune presented by Thomas MacEntee on Wednesday, November 9.
Creating a Shareable CD with Legacy and Passage Express Software presented by Jefferson Shupe on Wednesday, November 16.
Celebrate the Holidays and Share Family History with Heritage Collector Software, presented by Kathleen Bitter on Friday, November 18.
A Closer Look at Google+, presented by Dan Lynch on Wednesday, November 30.
Tracing Immigrant Ancestors presented by Lisa Alzo on Wednesday, December 7.
"Is My Pet Frog Part of My Family?" Children and Genealogy in the Classroom presented by Maureen Taylor on Wednesday, December 14.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Blogger Showcase: Amy Coffin

I got the chance to get to know Amy Coffin a little at the FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies) conference in Springfield, Illinois. She and I went out to dinner with four other wonderful women. I have rarely laughed that much. Good conversation, good food and good people...spiked with genealogy...what more could you ask for.

Amy Coffin is the writer of the We Tree Genealogy Blog.

So many peoples blogs are a reflection of Amy's genius. She is our muse.
Without her many of us would be tongue tied.

A couple of years ago Amy came up with the idea of a "52 weeks to..." series.
The first (in 2009 was a blog prompt list) entitled "52 weeks to Jump Start You Genealogy Blog"
The next one about a year later was "52 weeks to Better Genealogy"

We bloggers have been producing off her ideas ever since.

Not everyone uses Amy's prompts but boy are they a life saver when you are struggling with writer's block. (And watch for an upcoming e-book from her on Blog Prompts for Genealogy)

And her "52 weeks to Better Genealogy" series is a great way to improve you genealogy skills. I know it's helped me.

Amy's blog is not just about the "52 weeks..." series. She has a wicked sense of humor which is reflected in her posts. The tag line to the name of her blog is "If family history is boring, then you're doing it wrong." And in reference to search terms used to find things on her blog (the search term was genealogy blobs and it was not the first time someone had used that search term) she once wrote, "Looks like I am the foremost authority on "genealogy blobs" now. This time, they're taking over Ohio. You can run, but you can't hide. I think Genealogy Blobs of Ohio would make a great title for a horror novel. Someone make that happen."

And if you think that is this blog, "If Genealogists Ran Hollywood."   or "If Genealogists were in the Tabloids."

In addition to Amy being a wonderful writer, she's a heck of a gal. She's helpful and encouraging to others.

Remember how I told you that I have about a dozen or so genealogist who "rock my world." Well, Amy is absolutely one of them. If you're not reading should be, and if you get a chance to meet her at a conference...tell her I said hi.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Naming Contest

I was going to run a naming contest for my business name, here's why.

A number of years ago I attended a conference and everyone was handing out their business cards...I didn't have one.

A few years ago I was in my doctors office and a woman noticed my genealogy bag and started up a conversation...when I mentioned that I was actually working as a genealogist she asked for my card...I didn't have one.

Various versions of this scenario happened numerous times until I decided that I needed a business card.

So I checked around to see what names were available. I checked by googling the names I came up with to see if anyone with the name I wanted already had a website and was doing work under that name. I also searched by checking with the APG list.  (Association of Professional Genealogists)

Now this may not have been the most thorough search, but I felt that if someone was doing business under a name (in genealogy) those two places should turn them up.

There are some great names out there...and they all appeared to be taken...until finally...

I found a name that nobody in my search was using and had some business cards printed up.

At that time...(more than 8 years ago) I was oh so stupid about the ways of business. (not that I am all that much smarter now) I did not take out a business license, nor register the name in anyway ...other then to list my name on APG (Association of Professional Genealogists) and have those cards printed up...after all my purpose was only to be able to hand out a card when someone asked me for one.

Earlier this year...I decided to clean up my act...I was going to set up a website, register my business and get my business license. (Now that I am making a little money and will have to file taxes.)

When I went to create my website I discovered that there was already a CG (Certified Genealogist) using "my" business name.

Since he had the website before me, and as he is a CG...I feel I should bow to him...also I have no prior legal claim to the name and as he has established his business using that name....oh well.

But let me ask you this....He is in Minnesota...I'm in California. I could register that name in California. But, website wise he's got the name. So I could not use that name for my website... confusing potential clients all to hell. Furthermore, there is a website (another company) using the almost the exact same name (one letter difference...the difference between plural and singular.)

So now, I'm thinking I need a new business name. Kim von Aspern-Parker - Genealogist....totally forgettable, way too long... and all the other's I can come up with seem to be taken...I was going to put it out there to you my dear readers...I was going to hold a contest...because I have just plain run out of imagination...(as is evidenced by the fact that I named my blog after something that seemingly has nothing to do with genealogy.) I'm coming up blank.

But the contest idea just won't gel. I can't figure out how it would run/work. (Ok, it's obvious it's happened...I'm brain was just a matter of time, really.)

RootsTech is coming up and I need those cards....not to mention a website...and the tax people really like it when a business has a business license...

So I'm just going to ask for help...anybody got any ideas....

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Some Photos From FGS

Here are some photos taken in the vendor hall at FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies) conference in Springfield, Illinois September 2011

And that was just the Vendor Hall....and for that matter, only part of it.....

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Eugene Auguste Duchamp De Chastaigne and his wife Marie Amelie Sandoz daughter of David Francois Sandoz (the second)
Eugene and Amelie owned La Maison Duchamp.
The house was designed and built for them by Amelie's father David F. Sandoz.
Eugene and Amelie were my second great grandparents (in other words my great great grandmother and great great grandfather)

My 2nd great grandmother Marie Amelie Sandoz
My 2nd great grandfather Eugene Duchamp De Chastaigne

Closer up
La Maison Duchamp: A view from the front

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Blogger Showcase: Thomas MacEntee

I confess. I have a little bit of hero worship going on. I have a few (less than a dozen) professional genealogists who absolutely rock my world. I happen to think they are wonderful. I aspire to be just like them when I grow up...but with my own twisted style of course.
That is not to take anything away from all the really fine professional genealogists out there....just that these select few have some sort of je ne sais quoi. A star quality least for me.

Today's blogger showcase features one of those (In my book) super stars.
My Hero and who I want to be when I grow up....

Thomas MacEntee
Thomas MacEntee at Southern California Genealogical Jamboree 2011

Thomas has so much energy, is mega smart and has a wicked sense of humor.

He is a fabulous teacher; very patient and skillful in explaining how things in the techie world work. Every lecture I attend where he is the speaker...I take away something new.

He produces amazing webinars and a great radio show.

He has organized Geneabloggers and made it into a "powerhouse" of bloggers. He has inspired so many others to become bloggers and to journal their research.

Check out his blog here and his web site Hi-Definition Genealogy here. Trust me you will learn a lot from Thomas...and enjoy the ride.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Genealogy Goals

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a dance teacher when I grew up...

Age 3 First Dance Class

or an Indian Chief....Well, at age 13 I was able to realize that dream.

I became an Indian Chief...

Dance Recital age 5
Christmas Card 1968 age 11

I'm kidding, of course.

However, I did become a dance instructor. I had been dancing since I was three years old. Ten years of study and I was able to teach. I taught dance until I was about 35 years old. At the same time I worked as a dental assistant, I did that for 20 years. Then I changed careers.

Dance Instructor age 23
For the next 10 years or so I worked in the world of Public Relations.

Then I changed careers again. Guess I just couldn't decide what I wanted to be when I grew up.

This time (at age 40) I decided I wanted to be a professional genealogist.

I've been working on that goal for about 10 years now with some ebb and flow to my enthusiasm. I confess, my desire to work genealogy as a profession sometimes wanes. If I work for others will I have anytime for my own?

But I always seem to come back to the adage; if you do something you love as your profession, every day is like you're not working at all. That's what keeps me on the track of becoming a professional.

Not to long ago I heard the phrase "transitional genealogist." I like that phrase. That's what I am...even though I occasionally take on clients. I consider myself a transitional genealogist for a number of reasons. One reason is because I learn something new with each client. Another is because the world of "professional genealogist" keeps changing and in my opinion improving. New definitions of what a professional is keep emerging. I like that, because that means ours is a growing and thriving occupation, one that is willing to embrace the changes in our culture and society and adapt with the times; much like the buggy makers of the early 20th century that embraced that newfangled contraption the horseless carriage.

The most important reason, I think, that I consider myself a "transitional genealogist" is because I am in a transitional stage. I am moving toward holding myself to a higher standard. I want my work to show that I have moved beyond the name gathering stage. I want others to see my research as "exemplary" and to that end I need to transition into a better researcher.

I am a perfectionist, and while I know that one can never truly be perfect, I feel that my work can at least attempt to be the best I can make it.

What am I doing to make my work ease up to a higher caliber? I go to the national conferences, for one thing. In fact I am a self proclaimed "conference junkie." The classes help remind me that there is more to learn. The professionals help remind me what I hope to be like "when I grow up." Conferences also keep adding kindling to the flame of passion for genealogy that keeps me motivated.

I also am taking some week long "intensive" classes. This year I am enrolled at Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) and as soon as they open the applications I will be enrolling at the Institute for Genealogical and Historical Research at Samford University in Alabama (IGHR). Both of these "institutes" are valuable learning experiences. (I've attended SLIG once before and I have attended IGHR twice before)

I have also just enrolled in the National Genealogical Society's Home Study Course.

Why do I do all this? One day I hope to apply for my certification or my accreditation (leaning towards certification...but, we'll see) and the perfectionist in me wants to be well prepared. When I turn in that portfolio or take that test I want to know (even without anyone else telling me so) that I have moved beyond that transition and have reached the level I feel professionals should work at.

There are a lot of professionals out there working without the benefit of CG or AG after their names. In my opinion if they are working at a "professional level" and their clients are satisfied with their work, then "more power to them." One does not HAVE TO HAVE a CG or an AG after their names to move beyond the "hobbiest" stage and enter into the world of "professional." But I feel...for me...that to have a CG or AG after my name gives a re-assurance to my would be client, and gives me a "measuring stick" to say I have met a certain standard.

So that is my goal. In this lifetime. It won't happen overnight, too much to learn, too much confidence to build. But it will happen. Either that or I will become an Indian Chief.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

FHC and Me

The Family History Center and Me

All over the country and in many foreign countries you will find a Family History Center (sometimes known as a FamilySearch Center) owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons.) They are wonderful resource for genealogists. And don’t worry they won’t try to convert you or preach to you…this is a research area.

I began volunteering at my local Family History Center somewhere around 2000. At that time I was living in Galt, Ca just 12 miles from the Lodi, California Family History Center (FHC). I volunteered there for about two years. Then I took a few years off to concentrate on other things. I have recently (2010) begun working as a volunteer at the Sacramento Regional Family History Center (the large regional FHC for the Northern California area) since I now live in the Sacramento area about 2 miles away from this wonderful facility.

Did I mention that the FHC is probably one of the greatest resources for genealogists and you should be utilizing it. There are more than 4,500 Family History Centers worldwide (in more than 132 countries.) There are 13 Regional Centers worldwide (I am lucky enough to work in one of them.)  They are in most major cities and a few small towns too. There is probably one near you. Go to FamilySearch to find the FHC nearest you. (At the top of the page you will see the words “FamilySearch Centers” click on it and type in your location.)

Let me tell you why you should be visiting your local Family History Center. Most of them are libraries. Often that means books. Since my FHC is located in Sacramento, CA you would assume that we have books on Sacramento, California and the Gold Rush, and you would be right. But there is so much more in our stacks. We have copies of the newsletters/publications produced by the local genealogical societies (even those of some now defunct organizations). Often in these publications you can find family trees, stories and histories relevant to the area and the people who lived there. (So if you are in Iowa the genealogical publications in your local FHC will pertain to Iowa families)

We also have copies of early records like “Portuguese Pioneers of the Sacramento Area” and “California Pioneer Register 1542-1848” and Spanish-Mexican Families of Early California: 1769-1850” just to name a few. In this day of “digital” everything, it is just a matter of time before our libraries are all digital too, even I have gone to the e-book (I now own a Nook…I know …the non-techie is going full throttle techie.) But for now we can still make use of the paper versions.

In addition to local society newsletters and collections you will often find society newsletters and books from other areas as well. We have a wonderful collection of society newsletters, as well as compulations and reference books from all over the U. S.

You might be aware that most of the 1890 Federal Census burned, well if you are researching someone who lived in 1890 in California you might just be in luck if you know to come to the FHC and look at the “California 1890 Great Register of Voters Index.”

History type books are not the only great find at a FHC; there are also books available on how to do genealogy. “How to” type books include, “The Handy Book for Genealogists,” “The Source,” “The Red Book,” “Evidence Explained,” “The Everything Family Tree Book,” and so much more. 

Not all of the FHCs have books…some very small ones located in very small towns may be little more than a couple of computers and a microfilm reader or two. But those computers will allow you to view the entire card catalog of not only the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah but other libraries as well, such as the Allen County Library (another Meca for genealogists,) and the Godfrey Memorial Library. For that matter, you can view any library’s holdings in any library via World Cat. (A library index.) And those microfilm readers can bring marriage records, wills, probates, church records and so many other sources to you through the magic of "film loan" provided by the Family History Library. 

Please remember that this is a library and treat it as such and honor the usual “library rules.” Remember to not talk loudly, use hushed whispers, or your quiet indoor voice; no food or drinks, no taking home the books…this is not a “lending library,” and try to remember that the staff is there to assist you…not make your search harder and not to do your work for you. And while most of us love to hear about your research and your successes…we really need to help all the patrons and probably should save the details of the last 20 years of research for another “off duty” time. And remember the FHC is housed in the LDS church…please watch you language.

Ok, I hear you saying, “That’s great about California and your wonderful Sacramento Family History Center….but what about me…I live in Walla Walla, Washington or Quincy, Illinois, or Drain, Oregon or ……(you fill in the blank) WHAT DO YOU HAVE FOR ME?

Well, since I don’t work in your center, I’m not familiar with what books are there or even if your center has books….each of the centers is different. Often the libraries are supplied by donations. If a genealogist retires or passes on their collection of research materials is often donated to the local center. What that means to you is that even though your center is in Quincy, Illinois you might find books there about Kentucky or Maryland or California. At my center we have books from all over the country. Every state is represented by some book or another. Is our collection “complete?” Does your center have the very book you have been looking for? Will you find everything you could possibly want?” No, of course not, but I guarantee you will find something of use.

Probably the most compelling reason for visiting your local center is the fact that the Family History Library (the big MaMa Library in Salt Lake City, Utah that all of the FH Centers are little mini versions of) has an agreement with many subscription sites like  At the centers you can access these web sites (some of them …very expensive) without having to subscribe. The Family History Library has done that for you. So you can go to your local FHC and access, Heritage Quest, Fold3, the Godfrey Memorial Library and World Vital Records….just to name a few. That’s right…FOR FREE, you read that right…FOR FREE…you can go to these sites WITHOUT COST…FOR FREE.

Check on FamilySearch for the center near you and their operation times (when they are open) and get to it….your family awaits.