Monday, April 28, 2014

Genea Gadgets: Eva Juliet's Customized Family Trees

Discovering the branches of your family tree can be such a beautiful experience. But, as I have mentioned before, you don't want to let all of that hard work sit on a shelf somewhere, where it can't easily be shared. Well, I recently saw these customized family trees mentioned on Creature Comforts, from designer Eva Juliet.
How beautiful are they?! An adorable, customized family tree is such a wonderful way to show off all that hard work. Not to mention, it's a great conversation starter. The one above would fit nicely in a kitchen or dining room.
P.S. Wouldn't this be amazing in a child's room? They'd be learning their family history and they wouldn't even know it!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Barn Reborn

For all of Alex’s city credentials, he is only a few generations removed from farm life. His family still has a farmhouse in Skagit County, Washington, and the farmhouse still has a big red barn. And the big red barn has been reborn.
A few years ago it looked like this.
Alex’s uncle made it his project to restore the structure over the last few years. We both can’t wait to see the new barn in person! (By the way, Alex says he learned to drive in the Cadillac on the right—that lucky son of a gun!)

Here it is just before it got a brand new concrete floor (do I hear dance floor!?) where the black tarp is. Although you can't tell from this view, the local Historic Barns registry notes that the posts holding up the roof are tree trunks, and you can still see where the branches were.
For many years, the barn was a dairy, although Alex’s mom says, “It wasn’t known for its milk.” Apparently most of what was made there became powdered milk.
Here is Alex's great-great grandmother (I think) planting a poplar tree. 
Here's the same tree many years later.
This is the barn, by the way, that hosted the weekend flower workshop put on by Amy Merrick and Erin Benzakein last August. I expect that it will play host to a few more events like that, now that it looks even better.
Alex has promised to take me soon. But, to shore up his city credentials, he also says that all barns look the same to him, so maybe we’ll never find it.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Serving Time, Indexing Records

Happy Friday! Alex and I are heading out of town this weekend, but I just saw a genealogy article that I had to write about. Prisoners doing genealogy research? Wha...?? Enjoy!
A recent Huffington Post article discusses how prisoners in Salt Lake City, Utah, have been indexing records and doing family history research on behalf of the Church of the Latter Day Saints.
The first family research center was opened by the LDS Church at the Utah State Prison more than 20 years ago. Last year alone, inmates indexed more than 2 million records (which go online and can now be used by genealogists like myself!). In addition to indexing, the program allows inmate volunteers to spend up to three hours at a time at the center, doing research on behalf of others, and even doing their own genealogy, which one of the correctional officers says spurs a "remarkable change" in the prisoners. I always knew genealogy was good for you!
If you didn't already know, the LDS Church is famous for its use of and support for genealogical resources. The Church has opened family research centers all over the world, and even the headquarters for is located in Utah, the epicenter of LDS. The Mormons' interest in genealogy stems from their belief in proxy baptism, or baptism for the dead. They believe that being baptized in the Mormon church is the only way to enter the Kingdom of God. Therefore, many families research their genealogy for ancestors who may not have had the chance to choose a Mormon baptism. Once the baptism has been done, the belief is that the dead may decide whether or not they accept it.

(Article: Huffington Post)