Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thankful Thursday: Crash Course in Family History


When I was posting about my experiences at the Family History Expo last week I mentioned this book: Crash Course in Family History by Paul Larsen. Paul and his wife Peggy were one of the many popular Vendors in the Exhibit Hall and offered this book, along with many CDs, for sale. I read the first edition of this book a few years ago, but I was really happy to review this Fourth Edition and see that it is extremely up-to-date!

In the last few days I’ve been reading through the book and love it more every day. Although I’m not a beginner at family history research, there’s much that I can learn. As you can see in this photo of the cover, the book provides a comprehensive resource directory and previews key websites. I visit Cyndi’s List quite often to check out web sites that I may not know about but would benefit from, but I’ve found new ones in this “Crash Course” book that I was unaware of.  

It’s likely that I’ll be writing about some of my discoveries in this book again. The book is published by Easy Family History. I love the book and have carried it around with me for two days. I’m very grateful to have it in my genealogy library.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: King-Hoy Cemetery

King-Hoy Cemetery

King-Hoy Cemetery, rural Greene County, Pennsylvania

My husband’s 2nd cousin and his wife recently visited Greene County, PA where their ancestors had lived. He posted and shared with us 117 pictures of residences of ancestors and cemetery/grave sites. This is a particularly beautiful picture of the cousin’s ancestral cemetery.

FHExpo Loveland, CO Link to More Photos

Larry from B Sharbrough I subscribe to the Picasa Web Albums posted by Beau Sharbrough, who was the Keynote Speaker at last week’s Family History Expo in Loveland, Colorado. This is a link to the 183 photos he took at the Expo.

I chose the photo above because my husband is pictured at right in the white cap. He had so much fun visiting with the genealogists and vendors. One of the most delightful couples we met are pictured below: Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Richardson of Richardson Design, publishers of Family History books. You can’t have a bad afternoon when you visit with people with smiles like this!

our Richardson friends

FHExpo, Loveland, CO Post 4

Archivalife books
An exciting product that I was introduced to at the Family History Expo in Loveland CO last week was the Classic Edition of books from ArchivaLife. The book pictured in front in the photo above is the Life Lines book. On each double-sized page, a blank timeline is available for one decade of a person’s life. The individual can write in the main events of their life from many categories. There are enough pages to cover 12 decades of your life. I’m not planning to live long enough to fill quite ALL those pages.
The pages expand into one long timeline as evidenced in this picture:
 Archivalife books expand
The other book offered in the set is the photo album or scrapbook.  Photographs can be entered that correspond to the events you’ve recorded in each decade of the Timelines book.
Archivalife books open
These products are offered by ArchivaLife. I encourage you to read all about this beautiful genealogy product at 

If my readers want to purchase one or both of these beautiful books, when you place your order at, enter "shipsfree" in the Promo Code field for free shipping. On the same transaction you may enter "FamFriend" and receive a 10% discount on your order.
Thank you, Bill Burch, for those generous offers!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

FHExpo, Loveland, CO Post 3


One of the gems I came home with from the Family History Expo in Loveland, Colorado this weekend was the fourth edition of Crash Course in Family History, by Paul Larsen. When the First Edition of this book was published, I read it from cover to cover. But this fourth edition is packed FULL of even more updated and wonderful information.

In the photo above you see Paul and his beautiful wife Peggy standing in their vendor booth at the Expo. It was in a rare moment that I was able to get this picture with no genealogists crowding around their booth. You should have seen the traffic that I held up just while photographing them.

You can read all about the book at their web site here. Its 250 pages are LOADED with full color illustrations. After the extensive introduction in the book, the research guidance is classified into 3 steps: (1) Identify Your Ancestors Using Your Family – 15 packed–full pages, (2) Add New Branches to Your Family Tree Using the Internet – 55 incredible pages of information, links, illustrations and easy to follow guidance, and (3) Connect with the Lives and Stories of Your Ancestors – 337 beautiful pages including a directory of software and tools, the best of the internet, organizing and archiving, leaving an enduring legacy and other rewarding opportunities.

This is an example of one of the beautiful and easy-to-follow pages in the book. You can read more about it and place your order here if you want to purchase it. I love my copy of the book and will certainly take advantage of the excellent advice and links provided in this new edition of Crash Course in Family History by Paul Larsen.

Family History Expo, Loveland, CO Post 2

Genealogy has made me bold.The fact that I’m pictured here standing beside Lisa Alzo is proof! I’ve read Lisa’s magazine articles for several years and have learned so much from reading about her research methods. Last year was my first experience at attending a genealogy expo/conference. I was so thankful to Holly Hansen and her FHExpo company for bringing that opportunity to Colorado. The first morning at breakfast I spotted Lisa eating alone and I walked right over to her and introduced myself. The Becky Jamison “pre-genealogy” would never have done that. But I’m grateful to genealogy for that and so much more! Lisa is a darling person and very friendly. I was fortunate to have several opportunities at this Expo to visit with her, and I attended one of her classes on “Websites We May Be Missing”.  Lisa introduced her audience to an abundance of websites that were new to most of us. It was a great presentation.
DSCN0074Meet “Charlie and his Angels”. We all got a good laugh when Thomas MacEntee (back row right) asked the Bloggers of Honor Gayle Gresham (back row left), Ruby Coleman (back row center), Speaker Lisa Alzo and me (Becky Jamison, front row right), to join “Charlie” for this picture of him with his angels. Notice we all were gifted with Thomas’s beads, this time in a red and green western motif of cactus and cowboy boots.    DSCN0049 I met up with FHExpo President Holly Hansen at the elevator Saturday morning. She looked surprisingly chipper and well-rested, while I was already starting to show signs of “wear”!
The wonderful Gena Philibert Ortega presented an extremely entertaining and informative class on “Using Google for Genealogy”. Gena’s sense of humor kept us entertained and the volume of information she presented on the resources Google offers to enhance our genealogical research was unmatched in valuable content.
DSCN0062 My husband, Larry Jamison (at right), is pictured above with Tom Underhill of “Creative Continuum” whom he visited about publishing a book on our family history. It was a pleasure to visit this booth as Tom’s children were assisting him by handing out Hershey kisses. 
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 Michael John Neill was present at the Expo on Saturday and stopped by the “Beacon of Bloggers” table long enough to visit with Thomas MacEntee.
DSCN0081When my husband asked Bruce Buzbee, creator or RootsMagic genealogy software to pose for a picture with me, Bruce replied that he knew this would show up on Facebook. I sure can’t disappoint Bruce! Those who attended each of the RootsMagic classes presented by Bruce and his partner Michael Booth were given the opportunity to win wonderful prizes. Larry and I attended the Expo with our friends from our local Family History Center, Ken and Lureen (pictured below with my very patient husband Larry), and were happy when Ken’s name was called to win the RootsMagic software, instruction manual and accompanying jump drive to use with RootsMagic-To-Go! 
DSCN0046We’re fortunate when we attend the expos to learn from the experts and meet many of the popular and well-respected genealogists and speakers from around the nation. But we’re also blessed when we run into cousins! I had not met this cousin previous to the Expo, but have communicated with her over the last few years by email and on Facebook. I’m pictured here with Colorado genealogist Sharon Koleber, who’s married to my dad’s first cousin. That makes her my cousin, doesn’t it?
DSCN0087 DSCN0030
Above, Cullen Brimhall of Family Search, presents a class about all the new resources available at
DSCN0018One of the highlights of the Expo was the Keynote Address “Let Your Light Shine” delivered in great humor and style by Beau Sharbrough. This picture was taken long before the conference room was filled by the 300+ attendees of the Expo.  
Here are random shots of the Exhibit Hall:
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In “FHExpo Loveland, CO Post 3” I’ll share with you some of the specific gems I came home with.

Friday, June 25, 2010

My first morning at FHExpo, Loveland

My husband and I have been having so much fun at this beautiful Embassy Suites in Loveland, CO. We arrived last night in time to review our syllabus and choose our classes. Larry’s pictured below with our friends Ken and Lureen Orchard, who serve as the Directors of our Canon City, CO Family History Center.

DSCN0011 I was ready for the day at 6:30 this morning, even though registration didn’t open until 7 am.

DSCN0015 I ventured past the registration for Bloggers and nearly missed my wonderful gift bag! Holly Hansen, President of FH Expo generously guided me to the table and presented me with my goodie bag. Thank you, Holly!


In his Keynote Address, Beau Sharbrough had everyone in stitches as he talked about the frustrations genealogists experience when we can’t get others to share our enthusiasm.  I’ll post more of the content of his talklater, but I want to share this quote that I made note of: “There never was a descendant who wasn’t begat.” Profound.

DSCN0018Larry and I attended two classes that I’ll comment on when I sit down to blog again. I have 10 minutes to close this and get to my class on RootsMagic. See ya next time.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Gift of Mary Campbell

For 3 months earlier this year I researched steadily and very successfully the family of my husband’s 3rd great grandparents, Dennis Delaney and Eleanor Kendall Campbell. Their daughter Catherine is my husband’s great, great grandmother. Before visiting in-laws and their children while in Utah attending the NGS Conference in late April, I published my findings in a small book so I could share with them the wealth of information I’d gathered

When we returned from Utah, my plan was to turn my focus to other families. But that was not to be! I often find that our ancestors have other plans for us. I did have time in May to transcribe my mother’s high school dairy, of which I’ve posted previously.

But I received an email “out of the blue” on June 6 from a gentleman in Canada who found my research online. He explained that he was a descendant of Catherine’s sister Mary and was in possession of a LOT of information about her. In fact, these are his words: “I have the history of …… Mary Campbell and copies of a few hundred letters written by various family members to her in the early 1900's. I would be glad to pass them on to you. I also have several pictures of the family members.”

To a genealogist, this is a dream come true…the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! Can you believe how much I’m blessed? I’m amazed and grateful every day for the miracles that come to me.
DSCN0010-1 The package that arrived contained a CD with ALL the documents and photos this nice gentleman was sharing with me. I printed everything and prepared a 3-ring binder so my husband and I could sit down and read more easily the fabulous stories it contains.
DSCN0007-1 Here’s a photo of one of the sections that contain transcriptions of letters written to her by her family in the early 1900s.
DSCN0008-1 The bonus of the gift was a collection of dozens of photos of Mary and some of her family members.
DSCN0009-1 A member of one of Mary’s descendant families diligently gathered stories of their memories of her from her grandchildren. Those stories are also provided in this book.

While Mary was not my husband’s great, great grandmother, she was his great, great grandaunt and stories from her life reveal to us what her life circumstances were, and what life was like in the mid-late 1800s for his ancestral family. I’ll share one brief story involving Mary’s daughter, as told by her grandson: “One night, C….and I played in the yard all day. that night C…. woke up and asked Mother to put on his sailor suit because he was going away. He died that night of diptheria. We were put in quarantine and Father, who was away at work, couldn’t come home. He made a wee wooden coffin for his son and it was passed through a window. Mother and B…lined it with white satin, placed C…in the box and passed it through the window to strangers to bury her first-born son. It was a terrible time, Mother was grief stricken, but had to go on without Father to comfort her.”

Having stories like this to teach us of the sufferings, sacrifices and experiences of any of our ancestors is so valuable, for it truly draws us closer to our ancestors and contributes to a much deeper appreciation for all they endured to pave the way for a better life for us.

My husband and I feel very blessed to have been given this precious gift of a glimpse into the life of Mary Campbell and her family.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My Mother’s High School Diary


It’s amazing how family treasures pop up at the most unexpected times. My mother was born 17 Jan 1925 and passed away 14 July 1990. Her husband Don, my stepfather, passed away June, 1998. After attending Don’s funeral, my husband Larry and I joined other family members on the front porch of his home to reminisce and share treasured memories of Don and Ruby (Flanders Margheim) Craine. My half-sister Julie came onto the porch with a small book in hand—my mother’s high school diary. Until that day, I had no knowledge that this book existed.

It seems that my mother kept a diary from Monday, December, 4, 1939 until Monday, August 3, 1942. She would have been ages 14-17 during the time she was recording her day’s activities in her little diary. Julie entertained us with a few selected entries from the diary. Here’s a small sampling:

1. Monday, Sep 30, 1940: Went skating. Didn’t have much fun Got a new pr. of oxfords. To bed at 10:30.

2. Sunday, June 8, 1941 Went to show. Judy Garland in “Little Nellie Kelly” and Humphrey Bogart in “The Wagon’s Roll at Nite.”

3. Friday, February 13, 1942 Went to the dance. Ray wasn’t there. Got acquainted with the guitar player. (The guitar player was my dad, Ernest Margheim, whom she married in July, 1943. )

Ruby Diary copied 

The picture above is a copy of two of the pages in her handwriting. At the bottom left is an entry that says: “Helen & I went to the dance at skating rink. We got in for 11 cents each…”

Ruby Diary Transcribed

Two years ago my sister Julie sent Mom’s diary to me to read and transcribe. I made copies of all the handwritten pages, enough to give a copy of the diary to my three half-sisters Jill, Julie and Jenice and my twin brother Dennis, each of her children.  I started the project of transcribing each page, but only got about half way through it that summer when I had sufficient time.

I don’t like to start projects and them leave them unfinished. But for the last two years much of my free time has been taken up with care that I’ve given to my dad as he’s experienced some health challenges. Since Dad’s now living independently and getting along pretty good, this year I made up my mind that I would finish the process of transcribing Mom’s diary, get it printed and mailed to my siblings.

Ruby Diary Cover

Last week I finished the transcription process and assembled the books! I felt such a sense of relief at this accomplishment. 

Ruby Diary photos

I’m lucky to have one of my mother’s photo albums from that time period and in it were photos of many of the friends she mentioned in the diary. So I made copies of many of those pictures and included them in the front of the book. It’s always nice to put a face with a name!

Yesterday I sent the books to my brother and sisters. I hope they have as much fun browsing through the pages as I had reading it the first time. My mom’s entries reveal many things that I found interesting:

1. she was not very interested in school at that age (but I know she was smart and made good grades)

2. she went to Sunday School

3. she helped her parents with some of their work assignments

4. she loved her siblings deeply and was excited to spend time with them

5. she had a wide circle of friends

6. she could sew, sing, play the piano, cook

7. she didn’t smoke or drink alcohol and wouldn’t date boys who drank

8. she shared titles of most of the movies she attended, which is historically interesting

9. and at ages 14-17 she was what I would call “boy crazy”.

My mother Ruby was just a normal, healthy teenager from the very small town of Stafford, Stafford County, Kansas in the early 1940s. What a wonderful window on her life has she provided by making those daily entries into her little blue diary.