Advent Calendar: Outdoor Decorations

December 5 – Outdoor Decorations
Did people in your neighborhood decorate with lights? Did some people really go “all out” when decorating? Any stories involving your ancestors and decorations?

We didn’t do much outdoor decorating at Christmas when I was a kid. My guess is that it was because we lived up a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.  No one was going to be passing by our house to enjoy the display.

I lived in North Pole, Alaska for three years before moving to Savannah this year. That’s a town where the Christmas lights stay up year round. Not necessarily because they’re being festive though. It’s just too darn cold to go outside and string them in the winter, so you might as well leave them up all year!

The streets of North Pole are always decorated.  At Christmas, they have a large ice art festival.  It’s a great place for Christmas decorations.  Since I don’t have any vintage pictures to share, I will leave you with some images of North Pole instead.

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52 Weeks to Better Genealogy: Week 48, Personal Genealogy Library

Week 48: Examine different online tools for cataloging your personal genealogy library and keeping track of the books you read. LibraryThing is a site where you can catalog and tag the books in your own personal library. It is a great tool for keeping track of the genealogy books you have. You can ever create tags for books you want to purchase. Good Reads and Shelfari are web sites that help you keep track of books you have read. All three of these sites have social networking components. Your challenge this week is to browse these sites and see how genealogists use them. Bloggers, do you use any of these tools? How do you organize your own personal genealogy library?

I have had a LibraryThing account for a few years.  I homeschool, so we have enough books to fill a small town library, I kid you not.  Reading this made me realize that I haven’t used my membership to its full potential.  Now that I think about it, I haven’t updated my books since I started my membership – and I know that I have had a lot of books come in and out of my library since then.  I also haven’t taken the time to tag and categorize the books, which is the whole point of using the site – so that I can easily find what I have.  I will have to add this to my ever-growing list of things I need to do and I need to make sure to add a “genealogy” tag so that I can find all of those books when I’m looking for them.:)

I read though the GoodReads site and it is similar,but more geared towards book reviews and such.  The books that you have on your virtual shelf don’t have to actually be on your shelf at home.  It isn’t an organizational tool for your collection like LibraryThing is.  It is more of a way to find good books that you would enjoy.

  • Amanda - December 6, 2010 - 7:16 pm

    Just wanted to note that you don’t HAVE to own the books you put in LibraryThing either! I use it simply to track the books I’ve read (and I try to write a review of every single one of them).ReplyCancel

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Advent Calendar: Christmas Cards

Did your family send cards? Did your family display the ones they received? Do you still send Christmas cards? Do you have any cards from your ancestors?

I remember there being some old cards amongst my Grandma Eleanore’s things. I think that my mom still has them. I will have to ask. I sure wish that I lived close to “home” so that it was easier to visit!

My Grandma Eleanore (or Grammy Eleanore as we called her) was a card person. I remember going to her house when I was a kid. She only lived about 20 minutes away from us, so we saw her often. She’d always have drawers and closets full of cards and wrapping paper. She loved the “Current” catalog and was constantly ordering things from it.

My mom usually sent cards out every year. I know that once I was old enough, I was recruited in Christmas card duty and would sit and write addressed out for her.

Even though things have changed dramatically in the past 30 years, I can’t bring myself to send nothing but an emailed Christmas card. I like them and they’re free, but there is something special about getting a REAL card in the REAL mail.

I mean really, who gets REAL mail anymore?

I have always tried to get cards out. Sometimes I procrastinate. Okay, I usually procrastinate. I send them though and I think that they make it before Christmas.:)

This year, I decided to make a photo card with our family on it. I took the picture myself. Gotta love digital cameras. I had it clicking ever 3 seconds and somehow managed to get everyone to look the same direction at least once!

Here is what is gracing the front of this year’s card:

  • Kellie - December 5, 2010 - 5:20 pm

    Beautiful photo!

    This was the first year we took a Christmas card photo without our kids now that they’ve grown and flown. It was sad, it just never occurred to me that they wouldn’t be in it once they moved out.ReplyCancel

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Geneartology: Family Tree Art

I have always wanted all of my hard work displayed on the wall for all to see.

Someday, when my husband finally retires from the Army (at this point in time, I’m starting to think that they’re going to have to kick him out!) we are going to build our own home.  A big one.  And we’re going to decorate it however we want.  And I’m going to have a huge wall mural of our family tree in the living room.

My sister is pretty talented.  When we lived in Monterey, CA, she turned our kids’ bathroom into an aquarium.  Too bad that it was post housing and we had to paint over it with white when we moved.  That was tough to see all of her hard work erased – especially since we only lived there for 2 years.  The shark eating the toilet paper roll was my favorite part…

I think that I will bribe her into painting our wall for us, because I draw stick people.  She obviously hogged all of the artistic genes and I got stuck with none. Life is just not fair.

In the meantime, I would love one of these framed family trees from Geneartology.  I saw them mentioned in a recent Legacy newsletter and loved browsing their site.  They have a number of different templates available, some of them without pictures for the 4th generation, in case you don’t happen to have them.  I think that you can put your kids on the trunk also.  I wonder if my 5 would fit without making the trunk completely disappear.

They’re gorgeous.  Yes, it’s a bit pricey,  but you get what you pay for.  It’s not a paper chart printed from your computer.  It’s art – on canvas and framed if you want.

Wouldn’t you love one of these on your wall?

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Civil War Pension Cards on Footnote.com

I broke down and got a month-long subscription to Footnote.  I wanted to see what they have to offer.  I didn’t find much of what I was looking for, but one of the things that I found very helpful was the Civil War Pension Cards.

Ancestry.com also has these records, but they are indexed differently.

I had the hardest time finding John Edwards’ pension card on Ancestry.  Do you know how many John Edwards served in the Civil War?  A lot.  Those common names get you every time.

I knew what unit he served in, because it was on his gravestone. 

The Footnote search was so easy, because I could choose his company (G) and then his regiment (9) and voila, there he was!

Now to finally get a hold of his pension record….

  • Cheryl Cayemberg - December 3, 2010 - 3:51 pm

    I broke down and got the annual membership. They were having a special rate for NGS members and I snapped it up. They seem to have sales all the time. Now if I can only remember that I have a membership when doing research.ReplyCancel

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