I spent the last three years living in North Pole, Alaska – just down the road from the Santa Claus House (reindeer and all).  There was snow on the ground for half the year.  The town was decorated with candy canes and the streets were named things like “St. Nicholas Drive”.  I’m thinking that it’s not going to feel very “Christmasy” here in Savannah this year – at least in comparison.

I’m not complaining though.  It’s November and still warm enough for flip-flops during the day.

I have had to remind myself that even though it doesn’t quite feel like Christmas is coming, it will be here before I know it.

So, what’s the first thing that I did?  Christmas cards?  Nope, I still haven’t started those.  Shopping?  Haven’t started that either.  Decorations?  Still boxed up in the garage.

No, what I did was make my Christmas list – genealogy style.  Maybe my husband will read this and then he won’t have any excuses for having absolutely no idea what to get me.  It’s all right here babe!

I promise that I’ve been good this year!

  • A slide scanner.  I took all of my mom’s slides when I was home this past summer and now they are languishing in my closet instead of hers.  I need to do something with them.  I promised her that I would get a scanner and turn them into images that we could actually see.  I’m really interested in seeing what kind of incriminating photos are amongst them.  I know for a fact that one of them is of us kids inside of a septic tank (not yet used, thankfully!).  What other crazy pics could be in there??
  • A Flip Pal.  I saw these at the Atlanta Family History Expo and I’m convinced that I just have to have one.  Can’t you think of all of the instances where a small portable scanner would have been so nice to have??
  • Evidence Explained! By Elizabeth Shown Mills.  I really need to read this.
  • A GPS for my camera (a Nikon D-5000) so that I  can geo-tag my pics (think gravestones!)
  • A gift certificate to Blurb.com so that I can make some family history books.
  • A trip to Salt Lake City for a week of research (I’m dreaming!)
  • John Edwards’ Civil War Pension file.  Wow, these records have gone up in price since I ordered one last.  I think they were $37 when I ordered most of them.  Now they are $75.  Yikes!  It kind of irks me too, because I’ve ordered his a few times over the years (when it was cheaper) and I always got the run-around since he died so late(1931).  They said that they didn’t have his records, but they do.  Now I need to order them yet again.  I think I need to speak with a human being though instead of the automated email request.
  • Chocolate and Starbucks – because I swear it makes me think better and I’m sure that it will help me break through some of those brick walls.
  • A framed family tree for our wall.
  • A subscription to Footnote.com
  • A subscription to Genline.com for my Swedish research
  • The Hidden Half of the Family: A Sourcebook for Women’s Genealogy
  • A ticket to the NGS Conference in Charleston next May. They go on sale in December!  I’ll be buying this one for myself…
  • A DNA test from Family Tree DNA.

  • Cherie Cayemberg - November 26, 2010 - 1:29 pm

    What a wonderful list! I’ll have to get to one of the conferences sometime! Hope Andy is reading! :)ReplyCancel

  • Mavis - November 26, 2010 - 4:06 pm

    What a great list. There’s some things on your list I wouldn’t mind having, also. Hopefully, Genea Santa will bring you most of the items on your list.ReplyCancel

  • Pat Kuhn - November 26, 2010 - 6:17 pm

    great list, I forgot to put the NGS conference on my list!ReplyCancel

  • Leah - November 29, 2010 - 12:25 pm

    Concerning your ancestor’s Civil War pension file, I have had to go through the same run-around. My ancestor died in 1891, but his wife was alive until 1932 which means his pension was active until then. NARA actually only has closed (meaning no one was collecting on the pension) files from 1929 and earlier. Pensions that were active after 1929 need to be requested from Veterans Affairs. You’ll have to submit a FOIA request to them and then they’ll (hopefully) forward your request to the proper office. It is usually free to get copies through them, but the wait can be unreal and they can easily loose your request. I had to go through all this last March and I’m still haven’t gotten a copy of his pension file. If you want more information on all this let me know.ReplyCancel

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This is one of those Thanksgivings that will go down in family history.

Just imagine what would be one of the worst things to happen on this holiday (well not WORST – no one was hurt thankfully).

My wonderful husband, who is the cook in the family, was getting a jump start by cooking a pie and the turkey the night before.  The pie turned out wonderful.  Then he put the turkey in.  It cooked for about an hour, when the oven died.

So, we had a half-cooked turkey and no oven.  Thankfully, we are in post housing with many neighbors.  He took it across the street to finish it off.

I waited while the maintenance man came – and told me that he couldn’t fix it until Friday.

So, we are learning that the microwave can be used for much more than reheating leftovers.  Potatoes, stuffing, corn, pretty much all of our side dishes are being made in the microwave.  I’m just thankful that we aren’t having any guests!

It has been years and years since I had a huge Thanksgiving dinner with family.  That’s life in the military. We’re always halfway across the country from everyone we know.

When I was a kid, we always had all of my dad’s brothers and sister (and their families) over for the day.  My Aunt Colleen would make tons of pies.  We would eat until we were bursting at the seams.  Football would be blaring and us kids would hang out – one of the few times we would be all together each year.  We would all be in a turkey coma by the end of the day.

One of my favorite Thanksgivings was when we got a ton of snow and went innertubing down the hill beyond our house.  We normally don’t get so much snow that early in Western Washington (although I think that they did this year!).

I am looking forward to the day when we settle down and can gather together with family again.

I hope that you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving with your families!!

  • Susan - November 26, 2010 - 12:35 pm

    I lost an oven one year just before Thanksgiving. Not my favorite memory, but it is becoming a good story. A blessing that your husband was cooking ahead – can’t imagine the neighbor’s oven would have been available Thanksgiving day.ReplyCancel

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I always seem to have genealogy on the brain.  I’m sure that it drives my family nuts.

I was even reading Family Tree Magazine while sitting in the theater this weekend, waiting for the latest installment of Harry Potter to begin.

I don’t go to the movies very often. It’s too expensive, especially with 5 kids who all want snacks.  I mean really, can you watch a  movie on the big screen without buttery popcorn and Junior Mints?  I sure can’t.  I managed to take only one child to the movies on this particular trip, so it wasn’t quite the burden on my bank account.  The rest of the family will have to wait for the DVD.:)

Anyway, back to how Harry Potter pertains to my family history.  It actually doesn’t.  I don’t have any wizards in my family tree – that I know of at least.  And no, I’m not related to Daniel Radcliffe or any other member of the cast.

As I was sitting there, I started thinking about some of my father’s memories of his grandfather, Alphonso James Thornton.

Alphonso, or Lon as he was called, was an usher or a doorman at the Hollywood Theater in Sioux City, IA after WWII.  He actually died of a heart attack at the theater on 25 April 1959.

My dad was very young when he died, but he still remembers going to watch movies while his grandpa was working.  I will have to ask my dad for some specific memories or stories about this, so that I can record for future generations.  I have been really bad about doing that in the past.  Someone will tell me a story, but then it’s gone. I can’t possibly remember it well enough to write it down.  I think that I either need to start having family members write their memories/stories down for me or else start recording them telling the stories.

I am interested to know how long my great-grandpa worked at the theater.  Did he enjoy his job?  I wonder what his favorite movies were.  Did he wear a uniform of some sort?

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