Sunday, January 28, 2007

Rednecks, Airborne Yankees and the $5 Dr Pepper

Adventures In Genealogy: F2F Chat
Rednecks, Airborne Yankees and the $5 Dr Pepper

Now I have been doing Genealogy for a few years now and stumbled into AOL’s Gen. Chats fairly early. To be honest with you I have made a lot of good friends in the chats and since becoming a host I have had the pleasure of meeting 3 other hosts Face to Face (F2F), but I have made it a point to avoid meeting the other chatters. Like my blonde always says, "Babe, you never know they might be part time Genealogists and full time Axe Murderers, or even worse Yankee Lawyers from Massachusetts."

One of the folks that talked me into becoming a host, recently flew into that big ole airport in Dallas on her way to a boat trip in the Gulf of Texas. I figured they don’t allow Axe’s in the airport so it should be ok. So, GFS Loni (Yall remember her don’t cha?) and I agreed to meet DianeAbra and DougAbra at DFW.

Some of yall may have noticed I aint what you would call a Monday Morning kind of guy. It usually takes me till Tuesday afternoon to wake up and start thinkin clearly. Well her plane landed at Midday at DFW on a Monday. For those of yall that aint never flew into DFW let me tell ya its big. 6 Runways, 4 Terminals and slightly more square miles than Manhattan Island. If that weren’t bad enough they just changed the names of all the terminals.
Knowin all this I decided I had better get there early so I wouldn’t miss em. I knowed I was in trouble when I got to the Front gate and there were 20 entrances. I got my parking ticket (I gotta believe there is something un-American about being charged for parking when you’re still 5 miles from the Parking lot.) and headed for the terminal. I wanna tell you there were signs pointing in all directions now that big Yankee Airline lands at 2 terminals. So I figured I had a decent shot of finding the terminal on the first try. After going in circles for 5 minutes in the 4 story-parking garage, I parked and headed into Terminal A. Managed to work my way through the security guards, metal detectors and people asking for donations to where the gates were. Went into the bar, ordered a $5 Dr Pepper and sat back to wait for some airborne Yankees.

The Arrival time for their plane came and went, so I figured I had better go double-check the gate number. Right Gate number, wrong Terminal!!! Back in the truck zigin and zagin down to the "international" Terminal. I should have knowed that a flight from Minnesota would land at the International Terminal. I ran into the terminal and headed for the gate, the little guy at the metal detector wouldn’t let me take my camera in unless I took a photo of him. If any of yall want a picture of middle aged Pakistani Gate guard please let me know.
Finally made it into the Gate area and saw GFS Loni waving at me. (I assume she was waving at me and not trying to chase away birds) I got to meet Diane and Doug and they seemed like real nice folks, although they did talk kinda funny. We visited for about an hour then they boarded their plane and another Adventure in Genealogy drew to a close.

Once again we did learn a little something. Genealogy chatters are in most cases good folks (Yes, even the Yankees) but if you meet them F2F make it in a public place. Cause you never know when your gonna run into that Axe wielding Yankee Lawyer From Boston Massachusetts. Adios and Keep Smiling.

NOTE: Like many of my columns this one is based on the truth. I did meet DianeAbra at the airport and I did go to the wrong terminal. The funny thing about it is 6 months later I met another one of my online friends at the airport (Ricma55) and her plane went to the wrong terminal. That Day my whole family was with me and we ended up riding the Trans completely around the airport from one terminal to another. Sometimes I think I should just stay out of airports.

Rednecks, Census Records and Fried Fiche

Adventures in Genealogy: The Library
Rednecks, Census Records and Fried Fiche

Everyone kept telling me that to make any real progress in my genealogical research that I needed to go to the Library and check into the Census Records. Well, yall all know that I am an industrious and adventures type by nature (Stop laughing), so I took a day off from work and headed for the Dallas library.

After spending over an hour searching for a parking space that I didn’t have to pay for, I gave up and fed the meter. You would think that they would make those indoor parking garages big enough to handle trucks here in Texas. I walked into the building and asked for the Genealogical Section. After giving me a really strange look (I think it was because my T-shirt said "Genealogists don’t die, they are just doing hands-on research") She told me it was on the 8th floor. 30 minutes and 8 flights of stairs later I found the Genealogy department and the elevator. Signed in and asked the nice lady at the front where are the Census books? She pointed me too the back and told me they are in the Fish section. Walked back there smiling, only in Texas would they have a fish fry in the Library for us Genealogists, I couldn’t help but wander if they would have Cat fish or Bass.

I found the cabinets that said "Census" on them, but they didn’t have any books in them, only little films. They weren’t big enough for a VCR so I went in search of a librarian for help. The lady explained to me that they were microfilms and I needed to use one of the viewers to read them. OK, I was a little confused but figured that I would just fake it. (Still hadn’t found any fish, think that lady was pulling my leg) I got the Film for Alabama census 1910 and found an empty viewer and started working on threading it. Felt pretty good cause I got it threaded in less than 30 minutes and started reading the thing. I always knew that Alabama was a poor state, but it don’t seem fair that their census records were all fuzzy and hard to read. When I mentioned this to guy sitting next to me, he just shook his head and said "this is your first time here isn’t it?" Well I told him yes and he reached over and focused my viewer (I tell you what, this is a lot more complicated than I thought it would be.) I hunkered down to some serious research.

After a few minutes I found my first relative, and realized that I should have brought some paper and pen to take notes with. Lucky for me they got them little bity pencils and scraps of paper up near them files of little index cards. Spent about an hour making notes and looking up ancestors, found out lots of info and was amazed at the stuff in the records. I found out that one of my ancestors apparent name change was a result of the fact that he could neither read or write and I guess the census taker didn’t know how to spell Hocutt.

Another Adventure in Genealogy draws to a close with a few lessons learned:
1) Take a notebook and pencils with you to the library
2) Organize who you are looking for
3) Them viewers have focus thingies on them
and only patience and serious research will explain why names change

PS. Never did find the Fish, I still think they were pulling my leg.

NOTE: One of the most popular things I have written. This one appeared in the Dallas Genealogical Society Newsletter as well as on the Golden Gate Online Genealogical Society Newsletter.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Salt Lake City Shooting

Adventures in Genealogy: The Salt Lake City Shooting

I have heard it said that genealogy is either a hobby or an obsession. I have always felt like it was an extended East Texas type family. We have the hard-working Parental types, The Professional Genealogists that offer us suggestions and tips.

The Generous Grandparent type, the LDS church and there Family History centers where anyone and everyone are welcome to research their ancestors and no charge.

Lots of Wise Old Aunts and Uncles, those older genealogists that remember the hobby before the Internet revolutionized it and willingly share what they have learned. We also have lots of brothers and sisters, Our generation of genealogists. We surf the net, gather in chat rooms to exchange surnames, suggestions, web pages and occasionally tell jokes.

On April 15th 1999 a tragically sick man walked into the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and opened fire. When the news broke here in Texas I frantically searched my memory to see if any of my friends had mentioned going to Salt Lake City. I determined that none of my buddies could have been hurt, but I still had that empty feeling. As the news slowly dribbled in, the feelings of sorrow and grief continued to grow. It became apparent to me that even though I didn’t know the people involved their deaths bothered me more than most I hear about on the news.

The deaths of that security guard and the Lady researcher left an empty place in my heart. I had never met either of these people and I am not a member of the Latter Day Saints church. but I felt like I had lost a member of my own family. This tragic shooting should serve to remind us that in some small way all of us genealogists are connected. This tragedy is some small way has diminished us all.

I will not impose my own religious beliefs on anyone, but I ask you to pray to your God or Creator for those wounded and for the families of the dead. I will also ask you to please shake the hand of the next Mormon you see and tell them we share Their loss.

Respectfully Yours
William Hocutt AKA GFS Waffle

NOTE: The reason for this article is obvious. To this day It still bothers me that this one ever needed to be written.

Rednecks, Lil Italian Housewives, Sheep and Jaymakers

Adventures in Genealogy: The Chat Rooms
Rednecks, Lil Italian Housewives, Sheep and Jaymakers

Some of yall might find it hard to believe, but when I first started coming into the Genealogy chat rooms I was very quiet and shy (Stop Laughing). I would sit and watch for hours (Lurking and Peeking), then ask permission of the hosts before running my surnames. I will admit I made a mistake when I first started. Instead of going through "For Starters" where the hosts have plenty of time to teach slow easily confused Texicans I jumped right into the Treehouse. It took awhile but I slowly learned the ropes and started making friends. The first one was this little Italian housewife (Name withheld to protect my neck) who I fuss with occasionally but helped me on my research in more ways than I can describe. (Side Note: She went on to become a very good host even if she don’t like waffles for breakfast.)

The more I relaxed and talked to folks the more friends and help I got. A crazy sheep herder from Pennsylvania helped me to understand English customs and find the right area to research my English ancestors. (Nice lady just don’t offer her any mint jelly.)

After trying the patience of my friends and various hosts for about 9 months, I started making real progress and to understand the "flow" of the chat rooms. In other words I learned how to carry on 3 conversations at one time. So after 2 ½ years of online chat and 9 months of hosting, I feel comfy enough to tell yall I did it the WRONG WAY. (bet that surprized ya)

What I should have done is take up Quilting. (GRIN) Just kidding. The best way to learn online Genealogy is to start in "For Starters". The hosts in that chat room are all especially patient (they wont even get mad if you ask how high a bee flies), Extremely helpful (some have even gone so far as to build Gen Home Pages aimed at helping Newbies) Cheerful (They even laugh at my jokes) and most important they remember what it’s like to be new.

SO if you are new to genealogy or new to AOL or just want some help, try "For Starters". They won’t do it for you but they might be able to help you break down that brick wall. I wont recommend a specific night because it don’t matter if your host is GFS Brenda (the Queen of the URLs) GFS RA (a little Italian housewife), GFS LadyJay (Jaymaker to the Stars) or GFS Cindy (everyone’s favorite Okie) you will be well served.

Adios and keep smiling

This Column written in 1998 really does not apply anymore. Genealogy Chat Rooms that I learned in were discontinued several years ago and I am not sure there are any active ones out there.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


As we all know, genealogy is purely a hobby of rich middle aged-women without a real life. OK, just kidding no hate mail please. Seriously this hobby can be more than a little expensive and sometimes seems overwhelming to those of us with more limited resources. The trick is to minimize your investment but maximize the results. You can do this in many ways -- some obvious, some not so easy to see.

Although it would be great to have every reference book that lists your family, you need to restrict yourself to only the ones that are instrumental in tracing your family. As an example: There is a series of 192 books listing marriages, land grants, newspapers articles, wills and other important documents on the people of early Alabama. My family is mentioned in approximately 40 of them, they cost $35 each.

Rather than purchase all the books my family is listed in, I have copied the pertinent data out of each book into a single spiral notebook, with sections for each volume. I then labeled the Spiral as "Alabama Records: Tuscaloosa County, Hocutt Extracts." The Spiral cost me $2, and my time, although valuable, is easier to invest than a couple of thousand dollars. Using this method not only do I get the information I want (including detailed source notes) but I also get more familiar with my family history by reading and transcribing the information.

As you delve farther into your family history, you come across the "need" to own copies of birth certificates, wedding licenses and land deeds. This desire is unavoidable and can if left unchecked consume your entire genealogical budget. The method I used to handle this "demon" is two fold. First I sat down and determined which documents I had to have versus which documents I just wanted to own. Then I took that list and divided into which documents I had to have certified copies of and which documents a Xerox copy of would keep me happy. Most courthouses I have been to will allow you to copy a marriage certificate or a land deed for a very minor fee, ranging from 25 cents to $2 dollars. Here in Texas I have found that all Birth Certificates have to be certified. You can save a great deal of money by getting photocopies of as many of the important documents as you can.

The greatest aids I have found to the budget-minded genealogist are the public libraries and the LDS Family History Centers. The public library of a large city or town often contains a genealogical section with books, census records and family histories. All of which can be searched, referenced and studied again at a modest fee (usually free). The FHCs can be a major boon to any genealogist. They have census records and many other searchable materials. Their charges (free) are very affordable (free), and the volunteers will usually help you if you ask.

This single biggest aid in your search should be your family. Call them and ask questions, ask them to photocopy any legal documents they have. Write to the ones that are long distance calls, explain what you are doing and ask for their help. Remind them that they are your favorite aunt or uncle (Grin, flattery never hurts) and that their help would be instrumental in your work.

NOTE: This was the first article I was asked to write on a specific subject.

The Amazing Trips of our Ancestors

I was sitting at my Desk this morning planning a weekend trip to Oklahoma.
After pulling down a route map from, I discovered it was about a 4-hour drive. I could not help but question whether the trip was necessary. I put the material aside to think about while I worked on my Genealogy. The area that I was working on at that point was the group that traveled by wagon train in 1821 from North Carolina to Tuscaloosa County Alabama.

Then the enormity of their trip struck me; here I was contemplating a round trip of approximately the same length. The trip would take me about eight hour's drive time plus about 4-5 hours in interviewing time. When our ancestors made these trips, they averaged 15-20 miles a day. I was taking a cooler for drinks, my briefcase, 2 camera's and a cell phone in case my wife needed me. Our ancestors had to carry everything they owned in a small wagon or two. In addition, they had to carry water, food and wagon repair equipment. I would be traveling over paved 4-lane Highways at 70mph with accurate maps and help available at any exit. If they were lucky there would be a trail to follow. They traveled through the wilderness, had to brave the often-hostile natives with only a general ideal of their destination.

I was going to Oklahoma for the day to interview family and to visit one of the people that inspired me to become a host. (Just a side thought here: GFS Cindy is one of the people that held my hand through my early days of online Genealogy. She didn't laugh when I asked those dreaded rookie questions, always gave me great advice, she pointed me in the right directions, helped teach me how to research my roots. Then she (unknown to me) taught me how to help other beginners and planted the desire to host in me. I would like to publicly tip my shiny new GFS hat to her and GFS Jan, GFS Carol, GFS EllJay, GFS Helen and DianeAbra who thought I would make a good host. So now, you know whom to blame.)

Our Ancestor’s journey hundreds of miles, enduring hardships we can only imagine. Often leaving behind everyone they knew and the "civilized " sections of our country to carve out a new life in the wilderness. They buried children, spouses and friends on these trips, froze in the mountains, baked in the deserts, fought Indians and outlaws, they had to hunt for their food and water, traveling across virtually unknown territory with primitive maps and transportation. The motivation of these people are as varied as the people themselves, free land, better life, a desire to explore and sometimes fleeing "legal" problems in the east.

This second wave of American Pioneers (the first wave of course came to America) carried with them the unique American dream. A place of their own, where a man could be free and his kids could grow up to a better life than he had. They were not perfect in many ways, laying the seeds for the bitter civil war that we are still feeling ramifications from Today, but they were people to be proud of. So whether your ancestor was a Senator from New Jersey or a poor farmer from Tuscaloosa County Alabama, be proud of their achievements and tell your children of not just who they were but what they were.
The next time you try to decide if your really feel like driving 50 miles to visit a cemetery or Courthouse, remember how hard it was for your ancestor to get to the point.

NOTE: This remains my personal favorite because it paid tribute not just to my ancestors but to the people that cajoled me into trying to be a Host on AOL.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Getting Started Or Rednecks, Class Projects and Climbing the Family Tree

There are a lot of good reasons for starting to research your family roots. Medical History, Looking for Rich Uncles, Slow Saturday night, Ego gratification, basic curiosity or like in my case a homework assignment. About four years ago my oldest daughter was assigned the task of making a four generation family tree and to write as much history about them as she knew. We all sat down at the kitchen table and started building the tree. The First generation was easy that was me and my blonde (although getting her to admit her age was a toughy). We knew our birthdays, wedding date and important places. The second generation (Our Parents) was a little harder. I mean I knew my Dad was born in back woods Alabama but I had no ideal which patch of woods. So we made a few phone calls out found out some interesting things. Dad was born in Tuscaloosa County, Momma’s Middle name is Emma (Big Grin), LV (my Blonde’s Dad) is really LV they aint initials and her Momma was from Mineola, Texas.

Now I was getting full of myself at this point. We were halfway through and it was still an hour till the game started. Then my kid started asking questions that reminded me of why I always believed Children should be seen and not heard.

She asked me what was Granpa Moore’s full name, I sat there for a minute looking at her and then said " aaahhhh Granpa?" Where was he born? "aaahhh Texas" When was he born "aaahhh a long time ago" When did he marry Granma Moore "August". She gave me that puppy dog look and said "Dad you aint helping a whole lot."

Ok back on the phone. Eunice Francis Moore, Delta County Texas, June 2 1914, Aug 19 1931. Then we went through the same tortured process with my blondes grandparents except we couldn’t find most of the stuff. Then we moved on to my Dads family I wasn’t worried about this one cause I grew up listning to stories about Granpa Hocutt. William Jackson Hocutt, Tuscaloosa County Alabama 12 Apr 1859, Married Grandma in 1910. Then I realized the only thing I knew about Grandma Hocutt was that she didn’t have indoor plumbing when I was a kid and she made great Fried Chicken. Back on the phone but all Dad could add was that her name was Stella. (Three years later I discovered her name was actually Mary Estella).

Then we tried the 4Th generation back. It quickly became obvious we only knew 3 out of 16 names. At this point any normal person would have said we done our best lets move in. I guess either I was born with the Genealogy bug or I just enjoy torturing myself because I said that wasn’t good enough.
We spent the next six weeks annoying my relatives and visiting cousins that I aint seen in 25 years. (and let me tell you they got bald and fat) We didn’t make much progress.

At this point I had run out of ideals and was thinking about giving up. Then my sweet Blonde suggested I either get a book that could tell me how to find the rest or I try searching on the Internet. Well Duh, I never thought of that.
I went on line and found out about all the tools out there. I learned about FHC’s (Family History Centers) which are staffed by real nice people that almost laughed at my questions. I found out about Court Houses and what all is available there (Much to the dismay of County Clerks all over North Texas). Thus began my adventures in Genealogy.

Once again we have reached the end of an Adventure with some lessons learned. (1) Start with yourself and work backwards (2) Don’t get discouraged when you realize you don’t know your Grandma’s maiden name. (3) There are lots of tools available to help you in your research. (4) Don’t ever worry about asking dumb questions. You can’t possibly ask any dumber than I did. (5) Court Houses are a treasure trove of good information and finally (6) The Dallas Public library down town is a fantastic research facility (Yes I know I didn’t mention it but its too good a resource to leave out)

NOTE: This is the truth about how we got started almost 10 years ago into genealogy. This was written in 1999

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Road Trip or Rednecks, Cemeteries And 2 Kids In The Back-seat

Rednecks, Cemeteries And 2 Kids In The Back-seat

Friday 6PM - I came flying in the driveway, gravel slinging everywhere. The Station Wagon's loaded, the neighbors are gonna watch the dogs. It's "Vacation" time and we going to the cradle of my family roots to visit graveyards. Tuscaloosa County, Alabama or Bust. I yell out hit the bathrooms and load up, I wanna be in Shreveport by 10.

7 PM - We pull out of the Driveway after reloading the car -- this time including clothes. Put on a Waylon Jennings tape and settle in for a long drive.

7:12 PM - I hear one of the 3 most dreaded phrases on any family trip. "Daddy, I'm Hungry." Then I hear the sweet voice of the blonde I married "Honey, we're on vacation lets go somewhere nice for supper. They just opened that new IHOP in Greenville." OK Baby, we got 9 days, we ain't in no hurry.

8:30 PM - We pull out of IHOP our stomachs full, and my Blonde says Honey lets stop at Walmarts and pick up snacks for the trip so we don't have to stop so often. An Hour later loaded down with $50 bucks worth of Beef Jerky, Hot Peanuts and cokes we hit the Road again.

We drive straight through 3 Merle, 2 Willie, 1 Tanya Tucker, 1 Chipmunks and 1 Hanson tape. (Don't blame me, I got kids) The kids finally go to sleep and the wife asks me "Honey, why are we driving 700 miles to look at graveyards." "Well Baby, we can learn a lot from the cemeteries. Specially little ones. We can verify death dates and places plus by looking at the other stones we can find out who their neighbors were. If a lot of folks died at the same time, it usually means an epidemic, flood or other natural disasters. What's written on the stones, can also give us some great clues, like Dr or Rev or if a military or club symbol is on the stone, we get more clues to follow up on. If the graves are well cared for and have flowers on them then the odds are we still have family in the area. If they are beside an active church, there might be membership records in the church we can check. "OK, Hon, but why did we bring the shovel?" "Well Babe, I gonna get answers one way of the other."

Saturday - Is just a blur of Stuckeys, Pecan rolls, roadside café's and historical markers. Got photos of the girls sittin on Cannons, Giant anchors and stone Pelicans. (Don't ask, it made the wife happy)

Late that night we pull into Tuscaloosa.

Sunday - We attend the Baptist Church my Great Grandfather did. It may not help my research but it makes him feel a little realer. We spend the rest of the day visitin relatives and talkin to folks.

Monday - Bright and Early we meet Cousin Sandy and hit the Cemetery Trail. 40 Miles on 2 lane roads at breakneck speed brings us to the first cemetery. We all bail out and start reading headstones. Then I notice Sandy has a notebook and is carefully checking the stones. Being the tactful, respectful person I am, I yell "Sandy, what cha doing?" She shows me her notebook and explains that before she goes to cemetery hopping she always puts together a list of ancestors from the area to watch for. Then she explains the graph paper is for making a grid map of the cemetery so she cannot just know who is in the place but where they are. We find a couple of folks and make notes then we are off again. Once again we go screaming down the back roads, after 15 minutes we turn off the PAVED road. 10 minutes and 400 potholes later, we turn into another church. Once again we jump out and start searching the stones. Jackpot this time, I find my Grandfather and my Great Grandfathers stones. After taking notes, I ask Sandy "How did you know where this cemetery was?" She says "I called the county courthouse and got directions to all the cemeteries." COOL, I didn't know you could do that. We spend the rest of the day roamin graveyards and taking notes. At the end of the day I have 27 pages of notes, that given a couple of weeks I can whip into a usable format. Sandy, on the other hand has 7 Cemetery grids and 10 preprinted sheets with all her data annotated and easily referred to.

Another Adventure in Genealogy ends with another lesson learned:
1) Know who you are looking for
2) Prepare a form ahead of time with blanks for names, births, deaths, organizations and notes
3) Take Graph paper with you to make simple easy Cemetery Grids.
4) Call the county seat and get directions to the cemeteries.

NOTE: This was the Second story and still the favorite of my kids. We did actually take this trip and turned out to be one of the most successful Genealogical vacations I have ever made. After I submitted this story to the Golden Gate Genealogical Newsletter I was "promoted" to monthly column status. I guess this was really when I started taking my writing serious.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Redneck's Day at the Dallas Genealogical Conference

Adventures In Genealogy
"A Redneck's Day at the Dallas Genealogical Conference"

6 AM: the Alarm goes off, its Saturday, why am I doing this. Forget it, I'm staying in bed.

6:10 AM the alarm goes off again, I hear a sweet voice say "get out of bed --- if that alarm goes off again you are dead." Reluctantly I get up, turn off the alarm and proceed to get ready. Grab my clothes, turn on the computer and log on. Gotta check my mail and say hi to the "other" AM lunatics in the Treehouse. Trade jokes and insults, chain smoke and drink my morning caffeine.

6:40 AM: I am finally awake enough to drive. Kiss the blonde, grab my briefcase and head for Dallas. Jack up the stereo, sing along with Garth, Willie and Merle all the way to Dallas. Since the traffic is almost nonexistent I get to Dallas by 7:30. Jump off Highway at the Waffle House (Man it's gonna be a great day).

8:15 AM arrive at the Dallas Convention Center, go in and resister, carefully placing my name tag over the syrup stain on my shirt. Start looking for GFS Loni and GFS Jill while checking out the vendors. WOW, they've got books here with marriage indexes, will abstracts, land deeds and census indexes. There are folks selling Genealogy Programs, blank forms, photo albums and WFT CD's.

9 AM: No sign of Jill or Loni, so I head for the 1st lecture. It's on publishing a book on your family, the Speaker is Don Rainey. The lecture is fantastic, Mr. Rainey lays down a step by step approach to (with ballpark figures on costs) to publishing and marketing your family book. He even gives advice on building a marketing group and how many books you have to sell to break even. Then he gives us a quick down and dirty way to publish a book for almost no money.
During the break (after a quick smoke) I once again start looking for the elusive Jill and Loni. Wander the halls, drink a coke, go outside for another smoke. Still no sign of the Bobsey twins but its time for the 2nd lecture.

10:45 AM: 2nd Lecture is on Getting Your Files Organized. Very good speaker (forgot to write her name down). She gives us some wonderful ideals but I can't help wondering if a redneck can "be" organized. Well, its worth a shot, I mean after all I got my NASCAR memorabilia organized, how hard can it be to get my dead folks in a row.?

Lunch Break: (run outside for a smoke). I systematically search the place, looking for the Dynamic Duo, after 20 minutes I give up and buy some lunch. I go outside to sit under the trees to eat, (I don't know it but sitting 30 feet away from me on a bench eating their lunch are the missing hosts). After eating I once more go looking for Jill and Loni, I spot a couple of young attractive ladies sittin on a bench eating, but figure Nope, I am looking for two little old ladies.

1 PM: Time for the 3rd lecture - Don't ask me what it was about forgot already. Slowly fading into that full tummy need nap mode. So sleepy didn't even take notes, Boy would the Boss (GFS Carol) be mad at me if she knew. (LOL)
Last Break: Scour the halls "here Loni, Here Jilli," wander all over the place, still have not seen a single person named Jill or Loni. Beginning to think that either they are figments of my imagination or they are avoiding me. Oh well, on to the last lecture.

2:45 PM: Another get organized lecture. I really wanna get organized (LOL). This one is on organizing your mind before going to do your research. Lots of great suggestions, I am even gonna try a few of them.

Lecture over, I wander over to the vendor area to buy some of the forms that they suggested in the last lecture, while I am paying for them one of the ladies I saw eating lunch walks up to me smiling. It's JILL, they have been looking for me all day. Finally get to meet them both (Boy was my mental picture of them way off).

Overall a great day, learned lots of new tips and research methods, bought three new books and got to put faces with the names.

Note: This was the first Adventure in Genealogy. Written on the way home from the Conference. I meant it just as a joke to send to Jill and Loni but it just sorta took off from There.

Adventures in Genealogy: An Introduction

Adventures in Genealogy: An Introduction
Rednecks, the Whole Truth and Little White Lies

For the Record let me tell yall I ain’t a professional Genealogist, (Grin) bet some of yall already guessed that. There ain’t nobody out there paying me to find their cuzzies or to write these little stories. (Not that I’m not open to offers) The basic facts of these stories are true but I have been known to "stretch" the truth for a laugh.

For all of yall wondering, yes there really is an Uncle Hiram, but that’s not his real name. Yes, I did take a shovel to the cemetery but only because I forgot to take it out of the truck. Yes, there really was a gang of rustlers during 1870’s and 1880’s in Texas and yes they really are my relatives. I really do live in a small town in East Texas and I do visit the Dallas library occasionally.
The main goal of these stories is to entertain, maybe even make you smile, while passing on suggestions on how to improve your research. Every suggestion I make or method of research I describe is one I have tried. In the coming months (Hopefully, unless I get fired) we will discuss the methods that work and the ones that don’t.

Please feel free to make any suggestions, send me story ideals or funny things that have happened to you while digging for hidden cuzzies. I look forward to hearing from yall.

I promise you a couple of thangs, One I will do my best to keep these stories funny. Two, the basic facts will always remain true and Three, at least one story a month till the boss fires me (Grin).