Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Amazing Things I Learned This Last Weekend

My "Techie Friends" all look at me like I just crawled out of a cave...and that's exactly how I feel.
I knew I was a little behind on all this social media stuff and I never have been much of a computer wizard.  In fact I have been known to use a few swear words and threaten to throw my computer out the window when it wasn't doing what I thought it should.  I use the same approach with my son.  It doesn't work with him either.

I'm much more comfortable when the printed word comes with pages I can actually turn and maybe a little dust on the cover.  I've been spotted sitting amongst the stacks at libraries and bookstore. I've even been locked in a library when it closed because I was so absorbed I didn't hear the closing announcement.

So imagine the shock and surprise my family and friends are experiencing these days.  I have not only embraced this brave new world...but I've dived in head first and am in danger of drowning.

I had no idea just how far behind I was.  Don't blink in this "techie" world...or you're doomed.

It all started when my husband wanted to update his phone.  He found we could get new Droids, both of us, a two for one deal.  I was perfectly happy with my little flip phone that did nothing but make calls and text.  To tell the truth, I would have preferred if it had no text feature.  I hate texting...I'm all thumbs, and not in a good "texting" way.  However, my hubby wanted his new phone and I thought what the heck, it might have some cool genealogy apps.

That was the beginning of it all.

I learned how to take pictures with my new phone.  Cool.  I text a lot more too.  The best app my phone has?  Find a Starbucks.

Then this last weekend I went to RootsTech.  A Genealogy conference that focused on the technological aspects of genealogical research.  The teachers and vendors there taught us all about a multitude of wonderful technological gizmos.

One of the best classes I attended was, of course, my friend Tami Glatz's class about Cool Tools to Enhance Your Online Research.  I'm a little biased of course, but I really do think she gives a heck of a class.  Her class was full, so I must not be the only one with that opinion.

Lisa Louise Cooke also gives a wonderful presentation.  I have attended about five different lectures of her's now and they are always very informative and send me home with huge to do lists.  This last one was on using Google Earth.  I never dreamed of the inventive way she uses this product.  Amazing.  I (and about 70 other people) ran out of her class to the book store vendor and grabbed up her book The Genealogist's Google Toolbox and her two DVDs Google Earth for Genealogy and Google Earth for Genealogy Vol. II.

My only complaint with Lisa Louise Cooke's class was that the conference put her in a small room that only set 72 people.  I had seen Lisa lecture last June at the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree and knew she could fill the "big tent" that seats more than 200 people.  I'll bet next year she'll be in the big room.

I also went to a class on Using Your Android Phone for Genealogy and Family History given by David Lifferth and Michael Helmantoler.  I will never look at my phone quite the same again.  I learned how to geocode my photos taken by my phone and a ton of other stuff.

If you didn't make RootsTech this year you really missed out and you should plan on attending next year.

I gave Tami a run down on the things I learned this weekend and even though she had taught me most of it she was still pretty amazed. Here's the list.

I learned to Blog, and Tweet.  I learned to tether my phone to my PC to gain access to the Internet.  I learned about FourSquare, Lulu, the Cloud, and Dropbox.  I learned more about Second Life and the genealogical things you can do there (I even attended an APG meeting in Second Life (SL).  As already mentioned I learned about more Google Tools such as Google Earth and Google Reader and I learned about Geocoding.

Some of amazing people I met or got to know better include:  Lisa Louise Cooke, Anne Roach (who deserves a big hand for putting on such an great conference), Schelly Talalay Dardashti, Lisa Alzo, Thomas MacEntee, A. C. Ivory, and last but certainly not least is Dear Myrtle.  Most of these people have their own terrific blogs and the easiest way I know to get to them is to download Tami's Relatively Curious Toolbar.  She has a little icon you just click on and voilรก you're there. (It's free try it out).

Keep watching this space...I interviewed Louise St. Denis from National Institute for Genealogical Studies today using Skype and I will post that interview sometime this week.  She gave me a great gift to give to my readers.  You'll have to check back to find out what that is.  So until next time...

My New Discovery

So there I was with only a half hour to spare before running off to dinner with a bunch of new found friends.  I knew there was one book maybe two at the FHL (Family History Library, Salt Lake City) that I just had to look at, and this would be my last chance.

So off I ran...

Literally ran....dragging my little roll along case behind me with my charts, notes and computer inside.  I must have looked quite the sight.  But then all decorum and personal dignity, not to mention professional image, fly right out the window when that one elusive fact is within grasp and time is limited.

Hoofed it up to the floor containing US/Canada books and dropped my case at the first seat I found.

Dashed into the stacks (knew where to go since I had scoped it out the day before) and found the two books.

Carried them back to my table and dived in.

The first book contained some pictures I had been hoping I would find, but that was not my big discovery.  I already had those pictures, just not very good copies.  But it turns out the photos in the book that my copies were from were not very good...hence the bad copy.

So on to the next book......drum roll please.

In the book Marriage Contracts of the Attakapas Post, 1760-1803 Colonial Louisiana Marriage Contracts: Volume V     I found the following entry:

12 July 1766               OA Book 10, No. 14A
Before Benoist, Notary:
FRANCOIS JACQUES OZENNE - major son of deceased Jacque Ozenne and Charlotte Julie Moro; native of New Orleans.
MARGUERITE DECUIR - minor daughter of Jean Francois Decuir and Genevieve Mahyeux
Witnesses for the groom: Bernard Auricoste; Jacques Deshotels.
Witnesses for the bride: her parents; Antoine Patin, her uncle who is married to Marguerite Mahyeux; Joseph Prevost, her uncle who married Magdeleine Mahyeux; Pierre Decuir, her brother; Joseph Decoux, her cousin.

I love this record.  Look at all I got from it...
It took me back a generation ( I knew the names Francois Jacques Ozenne and wife Marguerite Decuir) but now I have his parents names and her parents names.  It gave their marriage date.  It gave me her brother's name and several new family connections (uncles, aunts, and cousin).
It also tells me that Charlotte Julie Moro was a native of New Orleans.
All this before I've even looked to see what relation the groom's witnesses might be.

And look at that date ... 1766

I could have a Revolutionary Soldier!

There were many other entries in this book that looked promising.  But I did not have time to examine it any further.  Because this book and many others like it, dealing with Louisiana, list a lot of people from Acadia I am sure to find other ancestors in it.  (It seems like almost all Acadian descendants are cousins...the lines intermarried a lot.) So if you are of Acadian (Cajun) descent drop me a line...I'll bet we find a connection or two.  I will definitely be getting my hands on this book again.

So just like on Who Do You Think You Are (WDYTYA) I'm off to Louisiana.  (The trip was already planned...the research work in the FHL was in preperation). At the end of February I will be in New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana....the search continues.