Thursday, June 27, 2013

Unleashing My iPad

Lisa Louise Cooke.  Turn Your iPad into a Genealogy Powerhouse.  

Most of the genealogy books at my public library are for in-library use only.  I was glad to see Lisa Louise Cooke's book, Turn Your iPad into a Genealogy Powerhouse, on the shelf recently and available for check-out.  This book had actually been on my gift hint list for a while so I was happy to finally read it.

We've had an iPad for over a year and a half, plus another tablet computer, so I was pretty familiar with a lot of the tips she covers in her book.  I liked the way she organized tablet apps by category - file sharing, genealogy, note taking, organization apps, plus many others, so I just skimmed through parts of the book.  But, as with any good read, I learned some new tricks.

I've been using Evernote for several years, primarily for note taking when watching webinars and for making to-do-lists.  It took reading Cooke's comments about adding iPad photos into Evernote for me to realize that my tablet computer can function as a scanner.  No more hunting change for the copier or trying to find its location in an unfamiliar research facility!  (Note: just remember to ask permission first before taking photos of document pages.)  Once I add the photos into Evernote, they are easy to tag, put in a folder, or transfer to other software.

My other favorite section was her comments on apps that let you view videos which need Adobe Flash Play.  Its inability to use Adobe Flash is about the only negative I see in our iPad so we are currently looking at the options she suggests as work around apps for this problem. One is a free app, the others are reasonably priced for what they purport to do.

Whether you are an experienced table computer user or a newbie, Lisa Louise Cooke's book is filled with helpful hints about apps and ways to use your tablet in your genealogy research.  The book was definitely well worth the time to read and the notes I took.  Check it out yourself.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tuesday's Tips - The Organized Genealogist

My desk on a good day ...
My genealogy space probably looks like so many others - piles of papers, photos, plus stuff I know is there but can't lay my hands on at this exact minute.  It is comforting to see that so many other members of The Organized Genealogist facebook group have started with similar problems and are now posting their solutions on a variety of organizational topics.

The Organized Genealogist web site actually links to four areas: 
  • The Organized Genealogist facebook page.  This page is open to all and is what lead to the discussion group on facebook.
  • The Organized Genealogist discussion group on facebook.  This discussion group is a closed group, but you can request to be a part of it.  There are usually several original postings a day which received a lot of "likes" and helpful comments.  Plus group administrator Susan Peterson may post an organizational challenge, enabling you to follow the solutions others have come up with to solve an issue.  For me, this is a treasure chest of helpful information.
  • The Organized Genealogist blog.  The blog has occasional posts including guest posts on a variety of organizational topics, often with photos.  
  • The Organized Genealogist Twitter feed.
I've been part of the discussion group for a few weeks now and have already picked up several helpful, proven suggestions.  I've even started a list on Google Drive of these suggestions so I can remember them, then note when and how I actually accomplish them.

Here's are a few examples of the type of helpful information available through the discussion group.  Cyndi Howells of Cyndi's List posted about ways to organize PC files and included a lot of basic organizational tips.  Earlier, another post mentioned how helpful a second monitor was when transcribing old letters and other documents.  Thanks to my husband, the TV in our guest room / genealogy / scrapbooking space is now serving as my second monitor.  Plus, last week there were a number of different suggestions on how to remove old photos from those sticky page albums we all used years ago.

The Organized Genealogist Discussion Group has facebook posts I definitely take the time to read each day.  No telling what helpful information I might miss if I scrolled past them.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A First Step For State Resources

source: Wikimedia Commons

I'm always on the lookout for online genealogy resources for various states.  Because most of my family as well as my husband's family lived in Georgia, I have a lengthy list of bookmarked web sites in a "Georgia Resources" folder.  That works fine until someone moves to Iowa or California or even Mississippi.  Then I need a new place to start looking for family history resources.

Recently I came across a portion of the web site that provides a list of State Genealogy links.(1)  There is generally one link listed for each state.  That link is often to the State Archives or similar government agency whose web site in turn has links to a number of state genealogy resources.  The link for other states might be to the state's GenWeb Project (as in the case for Iowa), to the State Library (California), or to the State Historical Society (Mississippi).  One note, some of the states whose only link is to the state Department of Public Health / Vital Records may have broken links so you will need to access this state agency on your own.

For me, it has been helpful to use, an official government web site, as a first step for locating resources of a specific state.  After all, as Lao-tze said, "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a simple step".(2)

(1)  "Genealogy Resources By State." database. : 2013.
(2)  The Quotations Page. database. : 2013.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mappy Monday - Mapping With Google Course
Thanks to a link in Julie Cahill Tarr's Friday Finds, I learned about the free Mapping With Google course currently available online through June 24.  First I read the post in The We Tree Genealogy Blog to learn more about the course then went to the Mapping With Google web site to register.  Sure, I've used both Google Maps and Google Earth as genealogy resources before, but I was excited to learn more about how to create and customize maps that could then be shared with others.

The self-paced course covers using both Google Maps and Google Earth.  Once I registered for the course, I spend the next hour or so working on three parts of the five modules.  Most modules have a short video, the chance to apply what you learned while looking at sample maps, then completing your own map.  As I've worked on the modules, I've been taking notes in Evernote so I can still refer to them later on if I need to.

Two notes - Some of the activities require an invite to use the new Google Maps.  As soon as I receive my invite, I'll go back and complete the parts I've had to skip in the Google Maps activities.  Also, a number of people, myself included, continue to have issues importing the provided spreadsheets with GPS locations into our maps. The course staff continues to work on this problem.  Even with these two issues, I have already learned a lot.

Beside watching the videos on a topic, doing the self-check activities, studying sample maps, and making a simple map, you are also encouraged to complete a Google Maps project and a Google Earth project.  You then can evaluate them as to the features included and user-friendliness of each project.  Now I'm actually hoping for some rainy days this week so that I can try to complete my two projects.

My first map shows activities in the area to check out the next time we have the grandchildren up for a visit.  This way I can share it with them and let them pick out some of the things they want to do while here.  

As I'm learning more about customizing my map by adding colored or shaped icons, web links, photos, categories, and descriptions, I'm also getting exciting about ways I want to use these techniques to create and share family history information.  The first genealogy map I want to make will show family residences for my family and my husband's over a span of years.  Both families had lived for years in Cherokee County, Georgia, and I've been researching both families long enough to feel sure that they must have bumped into each other in town over the years.  It will have color coded icons to indicate the family tree of the resident and shades of color to represent the time period of residence.  Can't wait to get working on this.  Then I want to do several family migration maps incorporating photos of people and houses as my family had relatives moving around the country.  And then ...

You can learn the details of the course and register for it here.  Just remember to do this before June 24.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday - Southern Cooking

Back before there was Southern Living magazine or Paula Dean and the Food Network, if you were a good cook in the South, you probably had a copy of Southern Cooking by Mrs. S. R. Dull sitting close at hand.  As blogger Scott Thompson says, her cookbook, first published in 1928, "is still defined by current culinary connoisseurs as the Bible of southern cooking".(1)  As you look through its pages, it is easy to see why James Beard Award winning chef Sean Brock refers to Southern Cooking as one of the top ten vintage cookbooks on southern cooking.(2)

For my mother, born and raised in Canada, Mrs. Dull was pretty much a necessity as she tried to learn the basics of southern cooking.  I'm not sure exactly when mother got her copy of "Mrs. Dull", as the cookbook was referred to in our house.  The front end paper has the name and address of an aunt who may have given her personal copy to mother after my parents married in 1942.  I just know that Mrs. Dull was always in our home as I grew up and is now in mine.  Some of the pages are soiled with food splatters, often directions in recipes are underlined, and several recipes cut from The Atlanta Constitution are tucked between pages of the cookbook.  Mrs. Dull was definitely my mother's go-to cookbook. 

To learn more about Mrs. Dull's life and how she came to write her cookbook, you might read Scott Thompson's brief biography of Harriet Stanley Dull whom he dubbed "The Queen of Southern Cooking".  The Orlando Sentinel also has a reprint of an article Jim Auchmutey wrote in 1999 for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution relating how she came to write her cookbook and its place in Southern cuisine.  Years ago I downloaded a copy of that same Auchmutey article and stuck inside my copy of Mrs. Dull.

Probably my favorite recipe from Mrs. Dull is her recipe for Lemon Cheese Filling (not her Lemon Filling No. 1 or the Lemon Filling No. 2 recipe).  This Lemon Cheese Filling combined with Mrs. Dull's recipe for Seven Minute Icing (recipe doubled to use the two egg whites left from the filling recipe) and a white cake was something my mother sometimes made whenever my husband and I were at home.  Today that same cake is often the cake he requests for his birthday.  Thanks, Mrs. Dull.

(1)  Thompson, Scott. "Henrietta Stanley Dull, The Queen of Southern Cooking." Scott Thompson. The Women of our Lives, Lauren County, Georgia, 7 Aug 2009. : 2013.
(2)  Street, Erin Shaw. "Top 10: Sean Brock Shares The Greatest Southern Cookbooks You've Never Read." 16 Aug 2012. Southern Process Corporation, Southern Living : 2013.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Mystery Monday - Still Looking For Louie

In previous posts about Louie Love Padgett, I have written about Louie's passporthis years teaching in China, and his college days.  I really had planned on this being a "Military Monday" post about Louie Love Padgett, but instead, it ends up pointing to more mysteries.

Mystery #1 - Louie's military papers
Because Louie joined the Army rather than being drafted, his military records are taking longer to locate than I had expected.  We have written the National Archives to obtain copies, and perhaps once they finally arrive, I should be able to write that "Military Monday" post.  If Louie had filled out a Draft Registration Card, I would have already learned more details about his life.  He is among those listed in The History of Gordon County Georgia as being an officer in World War I.(1)  However, the listing doesn't include the unit, type of military service, or additional information about him.  At least his tombstone does provide his military rank for us.

Marker for Maj. Louie L. Padgett
Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Oakman, Georgia, photo by Mary Perkinson Nelson
Mystery #2 - Louie's life after China
Louie returned from his three years of teaching in China in 1924.  Family stories and a newspaper article written by a college friend of Louie's suggest that Louie taught French at Emory University.(2)  An dated letter to his father indicated that he was teaching at Emory's Chandler School of Theology.  Looking through copies of the 1924-1930 Emory yearbooks neither confirm nor disclaim these stories, especially if Louie were only teaching part-time or working as a graduate assistant.(3)  By 1930 Louie was listed in census records as living in Tallahassee, Florida, where he was employed as a commercial traveling salesman.(4)  This change in Louie's area of employment is definitely a mystery, one that may never be explained.

Mystery #3 - Louie's land
We had always heard that Louie owned a farm in Leon County, Florida, but so far we haven't been able to document this story.  Maybe a trip to Florida (preferably when it is winter and nasty up here in East Tennessee) might help us track down information about his possible land holdings.

Until them, we'll continue looking for more information about Louie, an uncle who has always been spoken of with love and respect.

(1) Pitts, Lulie.  History of Gordon County Georgia. Calhoun, Georgia: The Press of the Calhoun Times, 1933. Digital images. : 2013.
(2) Harris Pierce. "The Rube From Ranger." Atlanta Journal (date unknown): page unknown.
(3)  The Campus  (Decatur, Georgia: Emory University, [various years]), digital images, Emory Libraries MARBL, 2013.
(4)  "U.S. Federal Census Population Schedule 1930." database and images. : 2013

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday - The Girl's Own Annual

The Girl's Own Annual, 1924
Growing up there was one book in the bookcase that was always a special treat to thumb through, my mother's 1924 edition of The Girl's Own Annual.  In those days, I had little interest in things of the past except for this book.  I even remember asking my mother as a teen if I could someday have that book.  She remembered that request and gave it to me about 20 years ago.  I'm so glad she did.

The Girl's Own Annual, edited by Flora Klickmann, was a British publication that was also popular in Canada where my mother was raised.  The annual was a bound volume, often sold as a Christmas present, featuring the previous year's monthly issues of The Girl's Own Paper and Woman's Magazine.  Looking at the pages presents an image of the proper English woman as it combined serial stories, cooking and household tips, fashion, and crafts with information about British nobility.  From the research I did to learn more about the publication, it was apparently as popular in Mother's day as Seventeen was for me.

According to the online catalog of the Women, Writing, and Reading Exhibition held at the University of Alberta in 2007, The Girl's Own Paper was started in 1880 by the Religious Tract Society whose
aim was to combat the "pernicious" influence of penny dreadfuls, cheap romances, and other forms of mass-market print.  The magazine sought to shape the moral and domestic life of its readership at a time when the figure of the modern new Women  was beginning to threaten cherished Victorian ideals of woman hood. (1)
There are a number of serious collectors of this series of books.  On eBay or antique book web sites copies of individual books can sell for up to $100.  The University of Pittsburgh has 34 volumes of The Girl's Own Annual in their Elizabeth Nesbitt Collection of Juvenile Literature.(2)  One photographer has a series of photos of covers of The Annual and The Paper from the 1880s into the 1930s posted on flickr.   There are even a number of pins on Pinterest related to The Girl's Own Annual and The Paper.  It is easy to see why so many collect and enjoy this series of vintage books.

Step back in time and explore some pages from The Girl's Own Annual of 1924.

Often complete directions for sewing or making items were included in the articles.

Some of the serialized stories went on and on for several years.

The fashions were always my favorite sections to look at.

Who knew there were so many ways to mash potatoes?

Now, I'm going back to read about Queen Mary's Dollhouse.  I once saw it on display at Windsor Castle so this article will be even more special.

(1)  Kirsten MacLeod et al, Women Writing and Reading (for the University of Alberta, 2007); digital images, CRC Studio (\'s%20own%20annual&s=browse : 2013.
(2)  "The Girl's Own Annual (Girl's Own Paper)."  University of Pittsburgh, University Library. ( : 2013.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Looking for Louie - The Letters

Photo by  Petar Milošević  via Wikimedia Commons
Several years ago,  I transcribed a number of letters that were found as the family was cleaning out the Nelson family home.  Most were letters between my husband's parents, but tucked among these were two letters written by Louie Love Padgett.  I want to share parts of them because each provides more insight into Louie's character and his life.

Letter #1 - letter only, no envelope or date on the letter.  This letter was written by Louie to his father, John Adel Padgett.
Emory University, Ga
Dear Daddy;
I should have written you before this time, but I have never in my life had as much work to do as I am having now, it seems. ... I am enrolled in the School of Theology and enjoy the work there fine.  But instead of teaching one class as I expected to do, I am teaching two.  That makes five hours a day in actual class room work.  The preparation of these lessons naturally takes a lot of time.  I am also playing some foot-ball, taking practically all my time for these and other things that fall to my lot.
I am enclosing a check for the five dollars that you so kindly loaned me.  Thank you very much for the assistance.  
We had always heard that Louie taught at Emory, possibly at the Candler School of Theology.  This letter provides some confirmation for this family story.  How I wish it had been dated.  This was also the first mention we had found about Louie, the athlete.  As mentioned in the previous post about his college years, most of Louie's activities focused on academic and ministry related organizations.  Once again, we learned about another facet of Louie's life.

- - - - - - - - - -

Letter #2 - envelope postmarked 15 February 1926, Tallahassee, Florida.  This letter is written on business stationary with "L. L. Padgett, Oakman, Ga, European Tours Under the Business Management of Temple Tours, Boston, Mass" printed across the top of the paper.  The letter was written by Louie to his younger sister Jennie.

Dear Jeannie,
... I'm real proud to know that you are teaching, and I am sure you will find it agreeable work in spite of some discouragement and vexations that are incident to all worth while undertakings.  You will have bright days of happiness and contentment when you are aware of achievement and progress in your work.  You will have days of dark discouragement when you fail to see the real results of your labor.  Those days are just like the other days -- only it is our failure to see it that makes them seem darker.  Dejection of the spirit in that way is only "growing pains" that lift us higher and enable us to step forward more confidently the next day.

My own work has not been all a bed of roses. ... Traveling is difficult and lonely ... but my health has continued good.  Now there is a touch of spring in the air -- birds sing in the morning -- violets are blooming in the field -- jonquils and other flowers lend their beauty to the lawns.  I'm glad I'm living and its a good world. ...

Your devoted brother,
I love the gentle tone of this letter.  What a comfort it must have been to young Jennie to receive encouragement and understanding from a big brother as she was teaching school at the age of 19.  I would really have appreciated such a letter during my first year as a teacher!

The other important bit of information in letter #2 comes with the stationary Louie used.  By 1926, two years following his return from China, Louie was associated with a tourist agency.  According to the 1926 Boston City Directory, Temple Tours "took more people from America to Europe in small personally conducted groups ... than any other tourist agency in the world".(1)  Was he organizing tours to France, across Europe, or even to China?  Maybe someday someone in the family will stumble upon  a travel brochure detailing one of Louie's tours.

Looking for information about Louie continues to be interesting as we find information in such a variety of resources.

(1) U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989; database and online images; ( : accessed 29 May 2013); citing The Boston Cirectory 1926 (Boston: Simpson & Murdock Company, 1926).