One week before the NGS Conference starts, all of my worldly possessions will be packed up and shipped to El Paso.  I will be “homeless” until we get our new home in Texas.  I’ve decided that I need to come up with a checklist for what I need at the conference, otherwise it might get packed up!!

Here are some of the things on my list (besides the obvious clothes and toiletries):

  • My computer (although I’m not sure if I want to lug it around during the conference or simply use it in the evening in the hotel).
  • My phone and charger (and hopefully I can remember to actually charge my phone.  I’m so horrible at that.)
  • Snacks and drinks.
  • “Business cards” (even though I don’t have a business)  I thought it would be handy to share contact info with long lost cousins, fellow bloggers, and other cool people I might meet that week. Have any of you done this before?
  • A printed syllabus of the classes I’m planning on taking
  • Pens and paper to take notes.
  • Enough money to buy a Flip Pal.  I’m totally getting one.
  • My daughter.  She’s going to be attending with me.  I have plans to make her my minion. I’m not sure she knows this yet.:)
  • My family tree info (on my computer of course).  I think I might carry it on a flash drive too.
  • Comfy shoes

Any other suggestions from you seasoned veterans out there??  What’s in your suitcase?  What are the must haves?

  • Cynthia Shenette - April 17, 2011 - 10:48 am

    As someone who’s recently attended a conference, your list sounds right on! Clearly you are a mom. Moms always think to bring snacks and drinks–always ready to pull a juice box out of a handbag at any time! I brought snacks and drinks too. Just an FYI from someone who travels quite a bit, mini fridges aren’t a standard in hotel rooms the way they use to be. Last summer one hotel we stayed at wanted to charge $30 a day! I also brought my computer to the conference with me. I didn’t lug it to the sessions, but left it in my room. I was happy to know I had it just in case.

    Good luck with moving, and enjoy the conference!ReplyCancel

  • Linda McCauley - April 17, 2011 - 12:39 pm

    Definitely do the business cards.

    If you are thinking of carrying your laptop during the day to access the web, you can probably leave it in the room. Most conference centers don’t offer free wi-fi. (That was a surprise to me the 1st time I attended a conference.)

    Return address labels are handy for registering for drawings in the Exhibit Hall.

    A camera.

    Hope I see you there.ReplyCancel

  • Shaz - April 17, 2011 - 2:14 pm

    Do not take your computer with you to
    the conference. You will be surprised
    at how heavy it gets and so quickly.
    My husband is paranoid so ours always g
    gets hidden in a suitcase in our hotel
    room. They have been known to grow
    legs and disappear. Also take some
    kind of wrap or sweater, those conference
    hall rooms can get very chilly.ReplyCancel

  • Greta Koehl - April 17, 2011 - 8:09 pm

    Comfortable shoes. Clothes that don’t feel icky-sticky if it’s hot. Business cards are a good idea; I have some cheapie cards I use that at least have my blog URL and e-mail on them – there’s sure to be some sort of blogger meet-up.ReplyCancel

  • Amy Coffin - April 17, 2011 - 8:57 pm

    Business cards are a must. You can give them to new friends and put them in for vendor drawings. Take some blank cards too for those people you meet who don’t have their own. That way you’ll have their contact information. Have fun! Blog often!ReplyCancel

  • Jen - April 17, 2011 - 9:41 pm

    Thanks everyone for the great advice!

    I have a wireless cell thingy for my computer (not sure of the technical term) but my laptop is really heavy. I think that I’ll probably be to busy to use it much anyway, so I suppose leaving it in the hotel might be a better idea. :)ReplyCancel

  • Heather Rojo - April 18, 2011 - 1:50 pm

    I agree with all the advice, especially the comfy shoes and the address stickers for drawings! I don’t have a business, but I brought cards my daughter made for me with my contact info and blog URL. I gave and got tons of cards! I also practiced a two or three sentence “elevator speech” to say when I met folks, to describe my blog on the fly. It came in handy not just in the elevator, but in the ladies room, at luncheons and banquets, at cocktail hours, etc… I learned this the hard way when on the first morning I just said “ummmm”. I prepared one and had it down pat by lunch time!ReplyCancel

  • Liz - April 30, 2011 - 1:13 am

    Jen, your list sounds spot on, and it is helping me make MY list. There is a blogger meet up on Tuesday night – are you going? Also, what are you wearing during the day – jeans??? business casual??? When they say comfy shoes, I’m thinking my Reeboks! LOL I’m looking forward to seeing you there!ReplyCancel

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Week 15. Sports. Did you have a favorite sports team as a child? If so, which one and why. Did your parents follow the same teams? Do you still support the same teams?

I wasn’t really big into watching sports when I was a kid.  My dad liked to watch football (and still does) so it was often on TV.  We rooted for Seattle SeaHawks since we’re from Washington. I went to a few Mariner’s games as a kid, but other than that I don’t think that I ever attended any professional sports games growing up.

I went on to marry a man who doesn’t watch sports. AT ALL.  We turn the Super Bowl on every year, but we seriously have to check to see who is playing and then choose someone to root for.  Sometimes we root for both teams. I guess we’re strange.

Even though I have never enjoyed watching sports very much, I was very athletic growing up.  I played volleyball, basketball, softball, and golf in high school.   I even went on to play 2 years of volleyball in community college and really enjoyed it.

My Grandpa Thornton was pretty good at playing basketball from what I’ve been told. I believe this picture was taken in high school.

My dad was athletic too – he played football in high school and college and went by the nickname “Thunder”.  My mom had that painted on her wall (they were high school sweethearts).

My sister (whom everyone calls “Thor”) is way more athletic than I could ever hope to be though.  She was an All American in the discus in college and even made it to the Olympic trials.  She competes in Highland Games and lifts lots of weights. She works as a strength training coach at a university now.  She’s really strong.  And I am a complete wimp compared to her.  Especially now that I’ve had five children and my body is no longer in harmonious conjunction with my mind.  I don’t think that I could hit a volleyball if I tried.:)

Maybe I’ll get off my rear end and find an old ladies volleyball league when we move to Texas.:)  Genealogy is definitely not a very active hobby….


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I survived Disney World with the kids again this week. Phew!  It was fun, but absolutely exhausting. (Here are my youngest 3 kids  with Buzz)

I’m happy to be back home, on my comfy couch, catching up on my blog reading.

Here’s my list of great posts I found this week:

  1. This week marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.  Bill West challenged us to write a post about our Civil War ancestors and many people joined in.  His post “The Civil War Genealogy Blog Challenge” is a great place to find some Civil War reads!
  2. I enjoyed ” Maritime Monday: John Clifton Brannon” on A Few Nuts From the Tree.  I loved the newspaper article she found about the bride’s father’s reaction to their wedding.  I don’t think they were ever eating Thanksgiving dinner together.
  3. Vickie at Be Not Forgot posted a lovely printable kinship chart in her post “Tech Tuesday: Kinship Chart“.
  4. I loved Judy of Curbow-Montoya Family’s post on “Ancestor Envy“.  I like to convert people too.:)
  5. Cheryl Palmer of Heritage Happens continued her series on the Great Swedish Adventure.  I can’t wait to see if she gets on the show!  Good luck Cheryl!!!
  6. If you haven’t done it yet, make your blog mobile.  A lot of us blog readers are nerds with smart phones and we like to read on the go.:)  Head over to the Find My Ancestors Blog to the post “Mobile Monday: More Mobile Friendly Blogs” to find out how.
  7. Heather from Nutfield Genealogy was surprised to learn that the National Archives read her blog post.:)You never know who is reading your blog!
  • Heather Rojo - April 15, 2011 - 9:44 am

    Jen, thanks so much for mentioning my NARA blog posts on your list. Yes, Big Brother is watching! LOL!ReplyCancel

  • Bill West - April 15, 2011 - 10:38 am

    Thanks for the mention , Jen! :)ReplyCancel

  • Heather Roelker - April 15, 2011 - 12:26 pm

    We are heading out this weekend to WDW. It will be our first time with the tots…wish us luck! We are too excited!ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl Palmer - April 18, 2011 - 1:29 am

    Love the picture Jen! We took our grandchildren to Disneyland last Oct and Buzz was the biggest hit!

    Thank you for following my blog posts and mentioning the Great Swedish Adventure too!ReplyCancel

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A few weeks ago, I posted this picture of some women on a beach.  I had absolutely no info on who these women were, when the picture was taken, or what beach this might be. I’m inclined to think that the woman on the right is one of my Grandpa Don’s sisters though.

I was so surprised and excited when Misty Cotton emailed me the other day, telling me that she actually recognized the beach!  It is the pier at Oceanside, California.  And that’s not all, she actually went down to the pier and took pictures for me!!  What a sweetheart!

undefinedundefinedundefinedundefinedIt’s so neat to look at the pictures and see what changes have been made since the first picture was taken. The arches were enclosed, the lamps changed, and some new areas have been built up.  The pier itself looks the same though!

I still don’t know who the women are, but I now know where the picture was taken.  Part of the mystery is solved.  Thank you Misty!

  • Lisa Wallen Logsdon - April 13, 2011 - 8:52 am

    What a great picture, love the dresses! How neat that someone saw and recognized the beach and even better, sent you current photos that showed the match! Very cool!ReplyCancel

  • Marian Wood - April 13, 2011 - 9:46 am

    Jen, Really interesting photos…I’m so glad you partially solved the mystery. Misty’s a genealogy angel!ReplyCancel

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As we prepare to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, I thought I’d join in on Bill West‘s Civil War Blog Challenge and write a little blurb on each of our Civil War ancestors.

My ancestors who served during the Civil War:

  1. John Edwards: (my 3rd great-grandfather) He was born in Canada, but immigrated to the U.S. with his parents in 1851. He was born in 1848, so he must have been very young during the war. He served in Co. G of the 9th Michigan Infantry.  I am still waiting on his pension records, so I don’t have the full details on what his injuries were (if any).
  2. John Henry Becker: (my 3rd great-grandfather) He was born in Germany, but immigrated to the U.S. in 1852. He enlisted as a private in Co. H of Cole Co. Reg’t of Missouri Home Guards in June of 1861. He was discharged in October of that same year.  He then enlisted again in July 1862, this time as a Second Lieutenant.  In October of 1864, he was commanding a company in a battle.  They were sustaining a  battery of artillery and this caused his deafness.  He was discharged in March 1865.
  3. Jacob Frederick Sanchez-Tereso : (my 2nd great-grandfather) He was born in Germany, and immigrated to the U.S. in about 1849.  He enlisted in August of 1862 in Co. F of the 33rd Regiment of Iowa Infantry. He was promoted to First Lieutenant in 1863.   He was discharged in July of 1865.
  4. Samuel Edward Lee: (my 3rd great-grandfather) He was born in abt. 1823 in Montgomery county, VA.  In 1863, he enlisted as a private in Co. A 37 Va Cavalry Battalion for the Confederacy.  He was wounded in the right arm on Christmas Day 1863 in a skirmish at Bunker Cove, Tennessee.  He was wounded by a ball which entered beneath middle of right clavicle on upper edge of right scapula.  It caused his arm to be paralyzed and atrophied and he could not use it in manual labor.  He died in Virginia in 1891.
  5. Austin Agee: (my 3rd great-grandfather)  He was born in 1820 in Patrick County, VA.  According to his wife’s pension record, he was in Abe Reynold’s Company, which left Patrick County in 1864, and also with the Virginia militia.   The pension record does not state if he received any injuries.  He died after the war, in 1890.
  6. Hugh M. Robertson: (my 3rd great-grandfather’s brother).  Hugh worked as a teacher before the war. He enlisted in August of 1862 in Washington, Iowa.  He was killed in action by the explosion of a shell while serving as  a Corporal in Co. A. , 25th Reg’t of Iowa Infantry at Jackson, Mississippi.  He died before marrying or having children.
  7. Henry Pottgen: (my 3rd great-grandmother’s brother).  He was born in about 1843 in Illinois.  He was the only support for his mother, Sophia (Ross) Pottgen for five years before the war.  He enlisted in Co. C, 13th Regt. U.S. Infantry, 1st Batt. in March of 1862.  By October 1863, he had died of chronic diarrhea.  His mother, Sophia, received a mother’s pension.
  8. George Turner Cavit: (my 3rd great-grandmother’s brother)  He died while on the floating hospital “Nashville” near Millikens Bend, Louisiana in May of 1863.
  9. Adam Potter Cavit: (my 3rd great-grandmother’s brother). He was born in 1839 in PA and enlisted in in Co. D. 13th Iowa Vol. Inf. while living at Washington, IA in 1864.  His older brother George had already been killed in the war the previous year.  He lived until 1915, and for a number of years lived in a soldier’s home.


My husband also had ancestors who served during the Civil War:

  1. Ward Pierce: (my husband’s 2nd great-grandfather)  He enlisted at Camden, NJ in August of 1861. He was in a hospital, ill with something in June of 1862 and was discharged that same month.  He enlisted again as a Private in Co. G, commanded by Capt Theo W Baker in the 6th Regiment of New Jersey Volunteers.  Later, the 6th and 8th Regiments were consolidated and he served in Co. E 8th Regiment NJ Vols.  He was wounded on June 8, 1864 at the Battle of Cold Harbor. He had been hit in the left thigh with a shell and ended up in the hospitals at Newark and Davids Island for 15 months, before he was discharged in August of 1865. In his pension records, he stated that the scar (which was 6 1/2 by 4 inches), ulcerated and pained him greatly, not allowing him to do hard labor.
  2. Hedger Pierce: (my husband’s 3rd great-grandfather).  He was Ward Pierce’s father.He enlisted in January of 1864 and was a Private in Company “I” of the 10th Regiment New Jersey Volunteers.  He was wounded while at Laurel Hill, VA in May of 1864.  He was hit by a musket ball in the left shoulder. He appears to have been sent to a number of hospitals – in D.C., Philadelphia, Davids Island, and Newark. In later years, he became paralyzed and his son Ward had to take care of him, despite his own injuries.
  3. George Spencer: (my husband’s 2nd great-grandfather). He was born in England in 1826 and immigrated to New York in 1851.  He enlisted on Christmas Eve of 1863 and mustered in on the 5th of January. He was sent to Baltimore, Maryland to join Company D. of the 8th New York Heavy Artillery. He participated in the Battle of Cold Harbor in June of 1864.  In August of 1864, he was captured and taken to Belle Isle prison. This was an open-air prison located on an island in the James River near Richmond, Virginia that provided no shelter.  There was poor sanitation, insufficient food supplies, and a lack of clothing and blankets for prisoners.  While being held captive here, George became very sick.  He developed a cold due to exposure. He was paroled in October.  He participated in the Battle of Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.  On May 23, 1865, he and his unit traveled to Washington, D.C. to march with the Army of the Potomac in the Grand Review.  After the war, he still suffered from chronic diarrhea and problems with being much weaker than before the war. 
  4. James Baker: (my husband’s 3rd great-grandfather).  He was born in PA in 1824 and enlisted in March of 1865 in Co. F. 74th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers.  When he came back from the war, he suffered horribly from chronic diarrhea.  (this seems to have been a very common complaint).  He moved his family to Tennessee and then on to Kansas in hopes of recovering.  He died in Kansas in 1885.
  5. Peter Henry Weeks: (my husband’s 2nd great-grandfather).  He was born in New York in 1842, but moved with his family to Indiana and then on to Iowa and later Kansas.  He enlisted in April of 1862 in Co. I. 5th Missouri State Militia Cavalry.   He came down with the mumps while he was in service and was discharged in November of that same year.  He then enlisted again, this time in 1863 in Co. D. 8th Iowa Cavalry.  He was mustered out in August 1865 in Macon, Georgia – just down the road from where we live now.:)

Since I have been very lucky to have visited a number of Civil War battlefields this past year, I feel even more of a connection to these ancestors who served and suffered during this war.

Some of the places I was able to visit are: Gettysburg, Manassas, Chickamauga & Chatanooga, Appomattox Court House, Ft. Pulaski, Ft. McAllister, and Fort Scott.  I’ll be visiting Ft. Sumter in May.:)

  • Dee Blakley - April 10, 2011 - 9:09 pm

    So many lives changed – both for the soldiers and their families.

    I wonder if the average person on the street knows what impact the Civil War had on their family?

    Great post.ReplyCancel

  • Hillary - April 12, 2011 - 5:59 pm

    You have a very nice blog. I really enjoy reading it!

    I am passing on to you the “One Lovely Blog Award.”

    You can stop by my blog and grab your award and pass it on to blogs you enjoy!

  • Bill West - April 14, 2011 - 11:13 pm

    I don’t think people today realize how disease killed more people in the Civil War than war wounds.

    Thanks for contributing this to the Challenge!ReplyCancel

  • Mike B. - April 18, 2011 - 12:02 pm

    A great post. There are such great stories in each person’s life. Thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

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