27 November 2014


Every year about this time I find that most family history projects are set aside for the holidays, which bring their own challenges and keep everyone too busy.  Holiday get-togethers can be a good time to talk about family history though and here's an idea: if you're too busy with getting the table cleared and the left overs put away, why not assign one of the children to interview one of the seniors and record the interview?  It can be wonderful to replay the interview years later and hear those child voices and the voices of the elderly.

This morning I "heard" in my mind a favorite song of my one of my relatives and it made me wonder if they were trying to contact me, trying to encourage me, trying to remind me to be THANKFUL.

I am!  Sometimes for the smallest things, but a beautiful day is enough!  A walk down the leaf-strewn street with my dog is a great pleasure!

Happy Holidays!

25 November 2014


You may or may not have genealogy research on your computer, in a subscription family tree, on memory devices, in a cloud, stuck into a Gmail account, or other electronics BUT THE PAPERLESS OFFICE IS A MYTH.

You really should have your research in paper in addition to any electronic resources.  Why? Because if you can't keep up with the changes - expensive upgrades - in the future or have an unexpected experience like a flood or earthquake or fire, it may all go up in smoke.

Binders of choice for genealogists are the enclosed ones - zippers - handles - that keep the dust out, along with plenty of plastic archival type page holders. 

One of my friends also uses plastic storage boxes and lines cardboard with heavy duty plastic bags, which will help if there's a flood.

Though these are all very Practical as gifts...  they are appreciated!

17 November 2014


For people like me who love to visit historical sites and always want to know what a  museum, university library, or regional history center may have to offer a genealogist and family history writer, the $30 here and the $50 there can really add up.  May I suggest that your genealogy buddy may just love a membership in one of these types of ethnic or general research groups?

Notice that some ethnic research groups don't have local representation but may have "subscriber only" databases that require a small payment!

03 November 2014


Did you know that Buddhists believe that chanting certain mantras, hundreds of times, for the recently departed can get them to heaven?  Or that Catholics also believe that praying for the dead may release them from Purgatory?  How about that some people believe that when a person comes to visit you after death - be it in a dream or as a ghostly apparition - they may be there to ask you to pray for them?  Latter Day Saints believe that when you are doing your genealogy you can pray to ask the ancestors to help you with your research.

I've had spiritual experiences such as dream contact with the dead.  In one case I was not aware the person had actually died until much later but in the dream they were coming by to see me before leaving town.  I've had the experience of seeing the face of someone who has died in my mind's eye like a small cameo at a time when I was not at all thinking of them consciously. 

I've seen one full-on ghost, years ago.  The person had recently passed from a combination of sleeping pills and alcohol, and because I saw this ghost smiling and waving, but also going about his worldly profession, I knew it had been accidental and not a suicide.

I recall what the late psychic medium Sylvia Browne had to say about ghosts.  She said that if the apparition you see has its feet on the floor, they are indeed a ghost.   If they are up off the floor, floating, then are already on The Other Side, which is what she called the afterlife.  (My favorite of the psychic mediums is James Von Prague.  He has stopped doing readings and is focusing on education.)

What strikes me about these experiences of mine is that they happened when I was not seeking contact.  Some people do, with rituals, seek contact with spirits or other entities.  (I think this can be dangerous.  I prefer to just let it happen, if its going to happen, as a natural part of living.)

When researching your genealogy, you sometimes find that amazing synchronicities are occurring.  I say do everything you can, do it right, but also be open to the gifts of information that you may encounter and keep in touch with your own ability to be psychic.

Here is an example of something that happened to me recently.

I got to the research library I was using for the day a little early with a strong plan of action for using my time.  However, it turned out I was going to have to wait my turn to get on the Internet.  So I sat in front of a database machine that had the Social Security Death Index on it, as well as other databases.  Suddenly the thought came to me "I wonder, is Katherine dead!"  So of course in two minutes I had her married name in the SSDI and sure enough she had died a little more than one year prior!  I had not thought of Katherine in years.  She had died young.  When I got on the Internet I not only found her obit but other information that I wished were not true. 

Katherine and I were friends in our late teens and early twenties before our lives diverged.
I guess she really wanted me to know that she had died and so I do!  

She had changed religions and was Jewish at the time of her death and had a husband who could do the prayers and rituals of that religion for her,  which normally go on for a year, and I did not seek him out or involve myself in her spiritual evolution past death.  I had a strong sense that this was not my place and also that I wouldn't know what was truly appropriate.  But I did note that she had waited that year to get her message to me across somehow.

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