First of all, I want to say that I had planned on blogging while at the Family History Expo – or at least in my hotel room afterward. As you can see, that didn’t happen.:)

I must think myself a superhuman of some sort. I wanted to be away from my family for as little time as possible (and of course save some money), so I decided not to get a hotel room the night before the conference. Instead, I rolled out of my driveway at 2:30 a.m. – as in when I should still be snoozing. I actually usually don’t even go to sleep until after midnight, so this was a stretch for me. I didn’t seem to consider how tired I would be though.  I was excited.

The drive between Savannah and Macon is a very boring one. The only thing that kept me awake was the fact that I had to be very vigilant about the bright eyed and bushy tailed deer that were wandering on the highway – the gallon of Coke I drank helped too. The last stretch, from Macon to Atlanta, was of a different nature. Maybe I’m an Alaskan driver now after having spent the past 3 years there. I’m not sure, but nothing in my driving experience has prepared me for the craziness of Atlanta drivers. I was going at least 10 over and people were passing me like I was parked on the interstate. There were 8 lanes to the freeway! When you don’t really know where you’re going and you’re extremely sleepy, that isn’t a good mix. I made it alive though and pulled into the convention center with plenty of time to spare – thankfully.

I didn’t have a hotel room until after the conference and I was leery about leaving my computer and camera in the car, so I lugged it around with me all day long. It was really heavy and I was really tired. I wished that I had wheels on my bag, as many people did. I also wish that I had packed some drinks and snacks, because the food there was comparable to airport food in price. I wasn’t leaving though and chancing getting lost, so I sucked it up and lived on M&M’s, coffee, and a very overpriced deli sandwich.

I managed to drink enough coffee to keep an elephant awake for a week. That, paired with the excitement of my first conference, kept me going all day.

Here is a recap of the classes I took the first day of the Expo:

  1. Social Networking for Genealogists, taught by Thomas MacEntee of Geneablogger fame.  I came away with some new information.  I obviously am not a complete newbie to social media.  I have a couple of blogs.  I am on Facebook – although I’m not an addict.  Maybe I’m in denial.:)  I didn’t know anything about wikis though (other than Wikipedia) and I learned a few basic things about Twitter (which I was completely ignorant about).
  2. Traditional DNA Testing and Beyond – The Next Revolution in Genetic Genealogy, taught by Elise Friedman.  I think that most people don’t really understand DNA.  I am not a math and science whiz, so a page full of complicated numbers makes my brain shut down very quickly.  I wanted to try to learn a bit about what my DNA report actually shows (I had my brother do one on Ancestry a few years back) and if it would be worth doing another one, with more markers.  I was pleased to find out that Family Tree DNA offers a new type of DNA test that I can take – and that it is not a direct-line sort of test.  It sounds exciting, but it is still quite expensive.  It is called “Family Finder” and costs about $289.  I probably won’t be doing it anytime in the near future.  I still have 5 kids to feed after all.:)
  3. Siblings for Sarah: A Whole Family Research Approach to Identifying Parents, taught by Deborah Campisano.  From the very beginning of my research, I have always done the whole family, so this was not a new concept to me.  I did enjoy seeing this practice confirmed and learning about some new records that I should go and search.
  4. Creating the Perfect Biography That Even Non-Relatives Will Want to Read!, taught by M. Bridget Cook.  She is the author of a couple of biographies, including Shattered Silence.  I am definitely at a point in my research where I feel like I need to start sharing the information I have in a more exciting  format.  She talked about adding juicy details to the biographies we write – on ourselves or our ancestors.
  5. My Ancestors Were From Germany and I Don’t Speak German!  Easily Available Resources Specific to German Research, taught by Tamra Stansfield of FamilySearch.  I actually do speak a little German.  I took 4 years of it in high school and went to Germany as an exchange student during the summer.  I don’t really use it anymore, but I can get by with a dictionary.:)  I have German ancestry on many different lines, and I haven’t really delved into the research “across the pond”, so I was interested about hearing the different resources available in this research.

Besides the classes, there was plenty of time to wander the exhibit hall.  There were booths from the regulars like Ancestry and FamilySearch, but there were some products that I had never seen before.  One of them that I thought was really cool is the Flip Pal scanner.  It is a small, portable, battery-operated scanner.  Can you imagine being able to take it along with you when you visit a relative with old photos?  You could scan the pictures without taking them out of the albums!  I’m thinking that you could copy courthouse records this way also, but I’m not sure if all of them would allow this.  It’s now on my wish list of cool gadgets that I would like to have.:)

After all of the classes and browsing, I headed over to my hotel (pretty much across the parking lot) and checked in.  I had planned on going out to dinner and then spending a blissful evening of sitting on my king-sized bed, watching TV on the flatscreen (I don’t have cable or satellite at home), and blissfully blogging about my day.  Do you think that this happened?  Of course not.

My caffeine high was gone and I crashed and burned.  I managed to dial room service for some dinner – Monterey Chicken, my favorite. I ate and then I was out.  I slept like the dead.  My computer didn’t even get turned on.

It was a long, but very rewarding day.  Day 2 Recap to come….

  • Cherie Cayemberg - November 14, 2010 - 3:33 pm

    I so love reading your posts! Glad you had a great time too! Trying to convince Rick to go on one of the genealogy cruises next year (without the kids)!ReplyCancel

  • Atlanta Family History Expo Bloggers’ Recap - November 18, 2010 - 10:17 am

    [...] Atlanta Family History Expo: Day 1 Recap [...]ReplyCancel

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I have been a member of a few societies over the years. Sometimes I join one when I am focusing my research on a certain area and need look-ups done or I want to receive the newsletters from that particular area.

I have also joined the local societies so that I can meet with other genealogists and learn through the speakers. I had the great luck of living in Monterey, CA for a number of years. We often had Karen Clifford as a speaker and our meetings were held at the Family History Center which had a plethora of books and microfiche available.

I just recently joined the Savannah Area Genealogical Association and have attended 2 meetings so far. It really makes me wish that I had family in the Low Country. The area is so full of historic significance and the cemeteries here are beautiful, but my family didn’t play a part in any of its history. Even if I don’t have any research interest in this area, I still like attending meetings and being around people with the same common interests.

I am also in the process of joining a local DAR chapter. It is going to be a long process, but I’m looking forward to attending the meetings and meeting some other genealogists in the area.

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This past weekend, we drove from Georgia to Kansas and back. It was quite a long trip – about 20 hours of driving each direction.  That didn’t leave very much time for visiting or relaxing.

My husband’s grandmother is selling her home and we drove up to pick up the piano which she gave us.  (I will post about that later, once I get  a nice picture of it.)

Here is a photo I took of her while we were visiting.  It’s hard to believe that she’s 95!!

While we were there, we found this school book, which belonged to her husband – Homer Lyle Weeks.  He attended Knowledge Hill School in Lawrence, Kansas.  The date inside the book is 1923.

I am always drawn towards books.  We have shelves upon shelves of them.  I know that I may live to eat my words, but I can’t imagine replacing all of my books with one of those new-fangled iPads or nooks.  I’m not against electronics of course.  I have an iPhone and a laptop.  I blog for goodness sakes.:)I just like the feel of a book in my hands while I’m reading it.

This book is one of the other things that we took home with us.  It is so special to know that Andy’s grandpa used this as a child – and that we’ll be able to pass it on to one of our children some day.

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Happy Veterans Day!!

I wanted to take a minute to thank everyone that has served this great country, including my ancestors.  The sacrifices they made and the hardships that they had to endure are not lost on me.  I am very proud to have ancestors that have served throughout the history of our nation, back to the Revolutionary War.

Here is a list of some of the many people in my family (and my husband’s) who have bravely served our country in the Armed Forces.

Revolutionary War:
Nathaniel Brittain (he lost his life during the war)
Ambrose Garriott
Charles Clark Moorman
Dudley Glass
Patrick Cavit

War of 1812:
John Glass

Civil War:
Jacob Frederick Sanchez-Tereso


John Henry Becker
Ward Pierce
Hedger Pierce
George Spencer
James Baker
Austin Agee
Samuel Edward Lee
Peter Henry Weeks
John Edwards


Adam Potter Cavit
George Turner Cavit
Hugh M. Robertson

World War I:
Alfred Edwards
Harry Robertson

World War II:
Alphonso James Thornton, Jr. (He received the Purple Heart for his service in the Pacific)

Donald Arthur Sanchez

And beyond:
My Uncles Rick, Steve, Dave, and Pat

My father-in-law

Julian, Vince, and Dave Weeks

And last but not least, my wonderful husband who is still on Active Duty after 22 years of service in the Army.

Now that I think about it, I guess I’m a veteran too.  Goodness, I look too young to be wearing a uniform in this picture.:)

  • Cherie Cayemberg - November 11, 2010 - 8:36 am

    Great post! Our vets don’t go quite as far back…at least not that I’ve found yet! Happy Veterans Day!ReplyCancel

  • Andrea - November 16, 2010 - 11:01 am

    Thanks for the great post Jen and thanks for serving :) Love you guys!ReplyCancel

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This is the photo from my dad’s student body card in 1971.  He attended Ballard High School in Seattle, WA.  I have always loved his curls – and wished that I had been blessed with them.  All 4 of us kids ended up with straight hair – and so did all 5 of mine!  I guess that gene wasn’t very dominant.:)

  • Amy Coffin - November 10, 2010 - 10:38 am

    Great photo. I hear ya on the straight hair thing.ReplyCancel

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