Southern California Jamboree 2019 I’m Ready!

Jamboree 2019 BLOGGER Badges, v1-01

I am so excited to be attending the Southern California Jamboree from May 30 – June 2, 2019. Lisa Elvin-Staltari and I are road tripping to Burbank for the conference. Believe or not, we two Arizona gals actual met each other at the Jamboree many years ago. This return will be full circle for our friendship.

The DNA classes at the Jamboree will certainly hold the vast majority of my attention. Can you ever learn too much about DNA?

If you have not ever attended one of Paula Stuart-Warren’s lectures, institutes, or workshops – you may want to take advantage of her workshop on Thursday “What Are My Next Steps? Hands-On Planning Workshop.

More information on the Jamboree and classes can be found on their website at


Research Guides

I have been spending a good deal of time sorting and organizing my resources, web links, documents in master research guides.  I can thank Diana Elder and Nicole Dyer for kicking me in the keester and making me realize just how much time I was wasting by not organizing myself.

On a side note, if you want to get into some good habits or re-establish good research habits, read Diana and Nicole’s book Research Like A Pro.  If you really want to hone your research skills sign up for their course “Research Like A Pro Study Group” at their website  –  I recommend it whether a seasoned pro or a newbie to get into logical research habits.  I think we all know what to do but getting into the routine will save you valuable time in the long run.

Anyhow, back to the original post… I am surprised at all the different places I have saved resources with no logical connection on my computer.  I had saved quite a bit of information like notes, documents, pdf’s, and excel sheets that were in multiple folders or unassigned in documents.  Getting it all together has been like herding cats! Reviewing the information has helped me organize my hard drive, my random written notes, sporadic Evernote notes, and google docs.  I now have some nice, easy to use research guides that I am looking forward to using.


SLIG – The Countdown


It’s one of the worst days, the day before the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy registration. Now don’t get me wrong, I love SLIG.  It is one of the best learning institute experiences around and the only in person institute West of the Rockies. The thing I hate the most is trying to decide which class to take.  The 2019 lineup includes fifteen classes.

Record & Resources classes:  The Family History Law Library; Besides, Through, and Beyond the Golden Door; Metes & Bounds Land Platting

Regional Research classes:  Bridging the Gap: New England to the Midwest, 1780-1840; Researching New York: Resources and Strategies; Advanced Southern Research.

Ethnic Research:   1619-2019 Four Hundred Years of African American Genealogy; Native American Research.

Countries & Languages:  Gothic Script and Fraktur: Reading Records

DNA:  Introduction to DNA; Establishing Proof with DNA

Methodology: Researching like a Pro; Burned Counties & More Overcoming Record Loss; Advanced Genealogical Methods

Writing:  Writing a Quality Narrative

I make up my mind, change it a few hours later, then change it again.  I try reasoning in my head to pick the best class:

  • Will the class be offered again next year?
  • Is this the first year the class is offered?
  • What do I know about the instructors?
  • Will this help my personal genealogy?
  • Will this advance my professional genealogy?
  • Have I had any past learning experience with this topic?

Using the above, I narrowed down my class choices down to three possibilities:

  1.  Bridging the Gap: New England to the Midwest
  2.  Researching Like a Pro
  3. Gothic Script

Now, how to choose….perhaps eeny, meeny, miny, moe?

IMPORTANT:  This year you must create a new SLIG Registration Account!  Read how at Register Me.  After activating your account, check and make sure you can log in prior to the registration process!



Family in Wyoming, GRIP Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Illinois, and Ft Wayne- June to August

Looking through my calendar for the next few months, I see my first excursion will be to Laramie, Wyoming for my nephew’s wedding.  Gary and I have yet to decide our route, but we do know that antique stores will be found.


In July I amgrip off to the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) to study Forensic Genealogy.    In addition to some great coordinators, I get to see two of my favorites, CeCe Moore and Judy Russell.  I am looking forward from learning from Michael Ramage, Kelvin Meyers, Amber Tauscher, and Catherine West Desmarais.  Reading the class descriptions on the website, I am very excited to learn and perfect my skills.  Class descriptions can be located on the GRIP website, the Fundamentals of Forensic Genealogy can be found at


FGS Indiana

August will find me at NARA in St. Louis pulling some military personnel files. The next stop will be Chicago, with a stop at the Cook Court building to get some file requests in, and then off to Fort Wayne for the FGS conference.  Information on the 2018 Conference at Ft. Wayne can be found at I will stop back by the courthouse in Chicago. Hopefully, I will have time to visit some old friends, then south to family in the Decatur/Springfield area.

Currently, I am getting my to do lists and research calendars in shape to make the most of my traveling.

I am looking forward to sharing my experiences and hopefully, some new family finds.

Let the Institute Begin!! #SLIGExperience

I am so ready for SLIG to start, as a matter of fact I am just frothing at the mouth with anticipation.  I have been here since Wednesday researching and discovering records at the Family History Library.  So many finds! Thank heavens I signed up for Kimberly Powell’s class on Excel, my Pennsylvania relatives spent a good portion of their time buying and selling land.  My new Excel skills should make the process of tracking the land much easier.

Creating a Family Archive Without Going Crazy by Mona Lambrecht, MA was the second class I attended on Saturday.  Mona should us some fabulous ways to keep track of our collections and archives.  When I get home and caught up on work I am going to use her techniques to get my archive preserved and cataloged.  I am so happy this class is everything I hoped for and more, thank you Mona!

I also attended Scrapbook to Scanner by Dina C. Carson.  I never really understood the sizing for photos and why they became funky, but, now I do!  I am also thinking of trying some of the software she recommended.  More projects to add in when I return home.

One of the best parts of SLIG is meeting up with new and old friends.  I have happily been running amok with my Genea husband J Paul Hawthorne and my crazy roommates Leslie Carney and Laurie Desmarias.  This morning we went out exploring the city.  Paul tried to break into the library with no success.  We went to the visitors center, the capitol, the look out point, an antique store, and to Gracie’s for brunch/lunch.  The city looked beautiful with its coat of snow.

Tonight is the Welcome event.  Take the time to meet some new folks and thank all the hard working SLIG Committee.  The committee has thought up some fun contests.  This year there is the photo tag line contest (#SLIGFun), a blogger contest         (#SLIGExperience) and a  Find and Elk Contest (#SLIGFind).  Contest information can be found in your Syllabus on pages xii-xiii. Trust me, you want to win the prizes.  One of the many prizes is an opportunity to register for next years classes before it is open to the public, now that is a prize.


SLIG – Making my list and checking twice #SLIGexperience

I have been tearing around these first few weeks of January trying to get everything organized for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy.  Every time I made a little progress, a  client  issue or need would arise, and of course I have coursework for two different classes I am enrolled in. Ugh, yesterday I was working in Douglas, AZ, tomorrow in Phoenix for a board meeting,  Sunday a board meeting here in Tucson, and a meet up with a cousin that just today notified me that she will be in Tucson from Saturday to Tuesday.  Monday is for packing, all other spare time will be for the assignments that are due.  I am looking forward to actually leaving on Tuesday to get some rest!

Packing list for the institute:

  • my research list for microfilms and books at the library
  • background research for the above research list
  • printout of registration for SLG and Tech day, hotel confirmation
  • Flash drives with my name and phone number (I have lost one before – it will never happen again!) You can also add your name and phone number on the back of your copy card at the library with a Sharpie
  • healthy snacks
  • humidifier
  • cables for electronics
  • back up batteries for my computer mouse
  • compact portable charger (external battery power)
  • portable hot spot
  • Belkin 3-Outlet Surge Mini Travel – I never travel without it
  • laptop and briefcase
  • moisturizer, I may live in the desert but SLC dries me out!
  • prescription medications and over the counter allergy, headache medications
  • comfortable clothing that can be layered – you never know if a room is going to be hot or cold, same with the library.
  • comfortable shoes – or in my case one shoe if I am still sporting my boot
  • shampoo, conditioner, hair styling aids, hair brush, deodorant and other tolietries
  • paper towels, clorox wipes – useful for wiping down keyboards in labs
  • mug, PAM [I use PAM to coat the mug for my scrambled eggs made in the microwave], plastic silverware
  • My password notebook
  • pens, pencils, highlighters, sticky notes, paper for taking notes
  • winter coat, gloves, scarf, and warm socks!

We usually take a trip to Target or a grocery store to stock up on items.  I prefer to drive to Salt Lake, I find driving very relaxing and I like having my car available.  I am already schedule for two pickups at the airport, one am and one pm on Friday to greet and transport several SLIG attendees to the hotel.  If you see a tungsten colored Subaru Outback with Arizona plates at the airport  wave me down for a ride!

A special note to share with all – your perfume, aftershave, etc. may smell nice to you but can overwhelm others in the elevators and classrooms.  Spray lightly.  I was in an elevator in the morning when someone’s fragrance caused another elevator passenger to have an asthma attack.

Be sure to thank all the SLIG volunteers that make the event possible.  The amount of time and effort that they put in is extraordinary!


#52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 2 Favorite Photo

Amy Johnson Crow has once again offered up blogging/writing prompts for genealogists to share their ancestors stories. It is never too late to join in, and I encourage you to jump in whenever you have time to do so.  Information about the writing challenge and Amy can be found her website

My favorite family photo is actually a series of photos taken at Navy Pier in Chicago.  I am lucky to have the original photos.  The photos were  taken by my Grandfather William Skibbe.  My mother, Lorraine, was a “surprise” baby.  She was born when her mother was forty years old, six years after giving birth to her son William.  Saying that my mother was a surprise was an understatement.  My grandmother was quite unhappy having to deal with my mother.  My Grandfather would often take my mother with him to get her out of my grandmother’s hair.  The photos below are from one of their walks to Navy Pier.  My grandfather often took my mother to the pier to see people and watch the steamers sail on the water.  My mother was four at the time of the photos, approximately 1938.

Steamships on Lake Michigan

Lorraine standing on the peir

Lorraine Skibbe


#52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 1 Start

Amy Johnson Crow has once again offered up blogging/writing prompts for genealogists to share their ancestors stories. It is never too late to join in, and I encourage you to jump in whenever you have time to do so.  Information about the writing challenge and Amy can be found her website

I know I find myself thrilled with the chase and often neglect to write up my results for family.  I seriously considered discontinuing my family blog.  I always seem to get distracted with my private investigating company, speaking engagements, the Pima County Genealogy Society, researching and keeping up my household.  I was, however, met with several unhappy relatives that told me how much they appreciated the information.  I also realized that sharing has resulted in many new found relatives.  On Christmas, my father in law told me how much he enjoyed seeing the Urman family pictures, shook his head and laughed at those crazy pictures from the ’70’s that I had published.

1978 Lloyd Lorraine Amy Matt
The Clark family circa 1979: Lloyd, Lorraine, Matt and Amy

The prompt for Week 1 is Start.  I will therefore start with myself.  I was born in Park Ridge, Cook County, Illinois in the 1960’s.  My father worked for the Northern Trust Bank in downtown Chicago and my mother worked at various banks and attorney offices.  We lived in the suburbs,  first in Park Ridge and later to Mount Prospect.  I have one big brother, Mathew, who enjoyed teasing me.  He played sports and later became a professional soccer player.  Perhaps it was the continuously injuries as a goalie that eventually moved him to the health insurance market.

I was once a very quiet person, very studious and not outgoing whatsoever.  I am happy to say and warning all that I am now outgoing!  One of the benefits of being a introvert is finding happiness in things like books.  I loved to read.  I think my interest in investigating started with the books  like Encyclopedia Brown and Harriet the Spy.  I thank my former teacher Mrs. Gagnon for introducing me them.

1985 Jessica Amy NY visit_NEW
Jessica and I in 1984.

My introduction to genealogy was an odd one.  When I became pregnant with my first child (1983), the doctor asked me to fill out forms regarding my family’s health history.  I had a history of fainting (junior high to my mid twenties) and migraines.  My mother’s brother was believed to have Marfan Syndrome.  The doctor sent me to a geneticist for further evaluation.  The geneticist asked that I  obtain death certificates for my great grandparents and if possible the death information for my great great grandparents.  Luckily my paternal grandparents were alive and able to provided their parents information.  My mother’s parents died prior to my birth.  Mom had her parent’s death certificates but no information on her grandparents.  The process of locating the information was my first taste of genealogy.  The hunt had me hooked, from that point on I was on a mission to discover all I could about my family.