Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Organizing Blues

Okay, so I am in another funk.....I have sat down to my desk after having cleaned it off for the 3rd time in as many days. I clean it in preparation to work on my genealogy, but the fact that I am writing this post in my blog is evidence that I really don't know where to begin.

I have been working on my family history on and off for the past 12 years, but I still consider myself a beginner. I usually do pretty good about doing research (or my limited form of it anyway) for a few weeks, maybe even a couple of months. But then I get busy and then I put it aside for varying lengths of time, weeks, months and in a couple of cases years. And it seems that each time I pick it back up, I have to re-teach myself what I should already know.

I really see myself having quite a bit of time that I can "sacrifice" to my family history research. In fact, the last few weeks I have had some time to work on it too. However, my research files and all my physical documentation is in shambles and I have been trying to organized and clean it up (which included my desk). And I am not done, but I am getting really sick of it. I want to get it done, so that I can get my research started again. But I also know the importance of being organized and methodical. (Which will be really important once I start including my kids in my family research).

Any ideas on how to get myself out of these "blues"??

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Family Present (as opposed to Family 'History')

I expect a number of "congratulations" and "welcome back"s, now that I have come out of my blogging coma. It's been quite a while since I last posted, but for some good reason. I have either been traveling, helping a friend build a shed, or been doing one of numerous things in getting ready to move into a new place.

However, as the title suggests, there have been a couple of recent events that have prompted me to write this recent installment of my blog detailing my family history experiences. Two of them a somewhat related. My oldest boy turned 8 a couple of weeks ago, which meant two great things happened to him. First, he was baptized and, second, he is now in the scouting program as a Cub Scout. He was extremely excited about both.

I am excited about it too. I was thumbing thru his new Cub Scout book last night and there are a lot of things that I can help him do. I was just waiting for him to get older so I could do them with him, but now he's here. A bunch of things that I didn't get to do as a kid. So, yeah, I'm excited. I also understand that there is a Genealogy merit badge, but I think that will come a little later when he's an actual Boy Scout.

Also, my 12-yo daughter suggested to me that she would like to start learning about genealogy. That's exciting because I think she's old enough to really begin understanding the in's and out's of research. And it would be really nice to have a little research buddy (since my wife isn't really interested in learning how to do it).

So, there is a brief glimpse of my little corner here in Alaska. Hopefully, the next glimpse isn't too far in the future!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Today's Journal Entry

I have again neglected to post in my blog. But it hasn't entirely been because I haven't wanted to. I have been involved in a Personal History project. And I would like to tell you about it. Let me start by sharing with you my journal entry for today:

"So I have already begun to neglect my latest attempt at keeping a journal. I started up again a few days ago on a trip to Valdez that I took with my family. My intent was to chronicle all the things we did so that we could remember them later. I decided to do this because I recently re-discovered my journal from my mission that I wrote 12 years ago and a journal that I kept while doing some training in Arkansas in 2003. I read these and realized that I had forgotten a lot of those moments or at least a lot of the details. That got me thinking of all the things that have happened to me since and how much I have forgotten. Quite a bit has happened to me in the last 10 years and I'm sure plenty more will be happening for the rest of my life. I would really like to leave something that will allow my children and grandchildren an insight to what I thought and what I did during my life.

"So as I said I re-started this journal a week ago on our camping trip to Valdez. And it was the only entry I wrote while on the trip. The rest of the entries for that trip I wrote today, trying to recall all the things we did. It wasn't easy and it's only been a week. I can't imagine how much I'll have forgotten in the next year or 10 years or 50 years. It was such a spectacular vacation, one that I don't want to forget. And one I don't want my kids to forget.

"I recently read an article by Michael DeGroot called "The Coming Genealogical Dark Ages." In this article it describes a speech given by Curt B. Witcher, manager of The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Mr. Witcher was one of the keynote speakers at the BYU Conference on Family History in Provo, Utah last week.

He describes a crisis in which information is being lost due to advancement in technology or because of lack of interest by those that are now charged with the duties of protecting records that have been preserved for many years. He talks about the decline in handwritten letters, which have been replaced by emails. He talks about libraries and government agencies that are getting rid of their collections of vital records or newspaper archives. So to prevent memories and family stories from being lost forever, Mr. Witcher is encouraging people to write, "Write as you have never written before." He says to write about memories, describe family photos, keep a running journal to capture all those things that would otherwise be lost.

"So this is yet another attempt to do so. I am really excited for this With it I will not only keep a running journal, but I will be transcribing all my random ill-fated journals that I have keep over the years, including my mission journal, my various military journals, my audio-journal that I keep when I was in college, letters that I wrote home to my mom, any other letters (written by me) that I can get my hands on, and even blog entries. Not only will I be including past items but I hope to include future emails, blog entries, and other such items that I feel may merit remembering. also includes a "journal jar" that asks random questions to maybe spark some sort of response. I will also be using that from time to time when I am feeling "the block!" So hopefully this will be the re-start of a life-long endeavor to leave a legacy for my posterity."

So the last couple of weeks I have been searching for any old journals that I kept. I called my mom and asked her to send me all the letters that I wrote to her while I was on my mission in Russia and while I was in training for the Army. (She even included all the letters that might dad wrote to her while they were "courting.") So I have been busy transcribing, scanning, and filing all these memories. A larger project than I had originally thought it would be. And I haven't even scratched the surface of what I plan to include in this Personal History project.

I would really like to hear about any of your Personal History projects. Maybe they will give me ideas to include in my project!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

What I Do Meme

This is in participation with the Meme that was posted by Thomas MacEntee at Geneabloggers. A submission from a humble genealogy beginner!!

PC desktop (Windows Vista) 1 netbook (Windows 7).

External storage: 8GB thumbdrive and I use the netbook as a sort of external storage for my desktop

Online storage: None yet

Backup: thumbdrive

Firewall: McAfee for both

Virus protection: McAfee for both

Spyware: McAfee for both

File cleaner:

Printer: Epson Artison 810 (w/ wifi)

Phone: land line. Motorola Droid thru Verizon

Mobile media: iPod nano (4GB)

Music player: Windows Media Player on the PC and netbook

Car audio: factory installed CD player

eBook Reader: None but I am considering a kindle or an iPad.

Browser: Firefox


RSS: I read using iGoogle page with Google Reader

FTP: I have no clue what this is!!

Text editor:
MS Word 2007

Graphics: Photoshop CS4Paint Shop Pro Photo X2

Screen capture: MS OneNote

Social media: Facebook and just recently Twitter

Social bookmarking:

Social profile:

URL shortener: don't know how this works exactly, but would appreciate someone telling me!!

Office suite: MS Office 2007 Enterprise

E-mail: Yahoo mostly, with Gmail as well

Calendar: Google for personal stuff, Outlook for work stuff

Accounting: MS Excel

PDF generator: Adobe Acrobat Pro

Genealogy database: RootsMagic 4

Genealogy tools:

Other tech stuff: Polaroid t1234 12.0 Megapixel,

Non-Tech stuff: Binders, folders and paper, of course!!

So if you too are into genealogy, I would recommend going to the links above and check out what your fellow experienced (more or less) colleagues are using these days!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Leaving a Story

So, I got to thinking the other day that I wish I had something that had been passed down from generation to generation. An heirloom that had been handed down from eldest son to eldest son. Something that was in someway connected to an ancestor. The closest thing I have I don't really have yet. My mother has some wood furniture that her father had made. And I am sure I will get some if not all of it when she passes (not that I hope for that day). My mom has made cross-stitches that she has given my brother and me as gifts over the years. And I'm sure we can pass those down to our children and grandchildren. And there will probably be things that I make or acquire that my kids will take and pass on down the line.

I feel that these objects tell a story of the person from which they originated. Or a story of why that object was important to the family or the descendants of that family. But I have none of that to help me in investigating who my ancestors were. So then I got to thinking about what else would be great to have that I might have a possibility of finding somewhere. And I thought of journals or diaries. Fortunately, I do have one small diary of my grandmother that she kept while she was being courted by my grandfather. She tells of her dates and meeting his family and him meeting her family. Awesome stories. I just wish I had more.

So then that got me thinking again......what stories am I leaving for my kids. At the moment, there are a couple of blog entries and some old journals that I started off and on over the last 20 years. But there buried and I don't even know if I can find them all. So, I have challenged myself that I am going to get all those journals together and I am going to first find a place that I can preserve them. Second, I am going to transcribe them, so that I can publish them. Third, I am going to start another journal. Something that is a little more intimate than this blog. Something that I can express my feelings on more personal issues so that my descendants may get a glimpse of the person that I am.

I once came across a website that promotes keeping journals. The website is It is a free service that allows you to keep your journal stored online and then for a fee they will publish your journal into a book. This is how I am going to go about publishing all my past and future journals. I encourage you to check it out. It does have some upgradable options for a yearly fee. But I do warn that it does have an LDS church influence, although minimal.

Has anyone else come across an online journal site?? Maybe something with more functions or options than LDS Journal. Or does anyone else have ideas for telling your story for future generations??

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Third Time's a Charm

Alright, everyone, here is attempt number 3. My third attempt at starting a blog that I will hopefully stick to this time. I hope I do because I am starting to run out of ideas for blog titles. And some of you may be a little confused with the title that I have chosen for this one. And it may even change again, but only slightly. I think I will be adding a poll to see how ya'll might feel about the change, but I will explain that a little later.

First, let me explain the origin of this blog. As I mentioned, I have previously started 2 other blogs "My Life As.......Me!" and "Roots, Twigs, and Berries." The first was an anecdotal view of the things that I experienced in my life. My life is rather boring however and that blog was abandoned due to lack of material. The second was my attempt to document my experiences and such while researching my family history. That one was abandoned because I became to involved with other things in my life that I found I had no time to put the time and effort into it that I felt I needed to. Then it got to the point that I didn't want to update it because I hadn't for so long that it seemed rather pointless.

So, that brings me to "The Leaf Hunter." Yes, odd I know. However, a dentist once asked me if I was a "hunter" or a "gatherer." Knowing that flew army helicopters, he was asking me what kind I flew. Being a "hunter" meant flying the Apache helicopter (which, for those that don't know, is an attack helicopter). Being a "gatherer" meant flying a Blackhawk helicopter, which has varying missions including picking up troops (gathering). So, being an Apache pilot, I proudly told him I was a "hunter."

"What does 'Leaf' mean?" Well, I go back to my interest in genealogy. Think of a family tree being as a representation of my entire family past and present. (DUH!) Anyway, the branches are all the different families. What are all the leaves??? The individuals, every one connected to a branch or family connected to the whole tree. And what does a genealogist or family historian do? They find all those individuals...those leaves. There ya go....."The Leaf Hunter"

Anyway, although I am essentially starting a whole new blog, I thought I would import all the posts from my other two blogs. I would appreciate ya'll taking a look at them and commenting as you feel appropriate. Don't worry there aren't that many and I really think you'll enjoy them. But you do have to read them to understand the poll that I will be posting on here soon. Oh, it would probably be better to start at the earliest post and work your way forward in time. So read away and enjoy.