©2009-2016 Becky Higgins

Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Day at DCGS Conference

Yesterday was an interesting, informative, enriching, fun day!

I arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn about 7:00 am to help fellow ISGS member, Carole McCarty, set up our table in one of the two vendor rooms. I was especially happy to come early this year because with the conference virtually sold out parking would become a trial later on.

I had heard about George Schweitzer and his speaking style since I became interested in genealogy over 15 years ago but hadn't had the opportunity to hear him until now. I was not disappointed and nor was the standing room only crowd at the first session of the day. I was able to snap this shot from my standing position at the back of the room.

George continued to fill the room all day. His vintage costumes, well-done accents, and charming wit even managed to keep the audience awake after lunch!!
(Just as an aside, I'm not sure George is too up on technology. When I asked if I could take his picture for my blog, he said, "Your what?")

The other major speaker at the conference was John Philip Colletta. He is another speaker who keeps the audience involved with his humor. John has a wonderful way of passing along important information in a most enjoyable manner. He too filled his room to over-capacity all day!

Tim Pinnick spoke about the importance of WWI Draft Cards in our research. Michelle Wilson gave information about Searching for French-Canadians. Carole Magnuson of Passage Express provided two workshop session for that software. Jeff Bockman of DCGS gave two of his talks - one on cemetery research and one titled No Birth Certificate? No Problem!

I must also mention how much I enjoyed my lunch. I'm not usually impressed by the food at conferences but the Hilton did a wonderful job, I thought, both in the food and the service. I had the salmon and it was delish!

All in all, I had a great day. Between all the knowledge gained in the session and all the wonderful people I met while manning the ISGS table, my head was spinning by the time I got home.


Friday, February 25, 2011

DCGS Conference Feb 26, 2011

I'll be going to the DuPage County Genealogy Society's (DCGS) conference tomorrow in St. Charles, Illinois. Several excellent speakers will be there but the highlighters are John Philip Colletta and George Schweitzer. I always enjoy John's talks but this year I'm especially excited about the opportunity to hear George Schweitzer. I've heard about George for years but this is my first opportunity to hear him!

I don't know what kind of facilities will be available but, if I have the opportunity, I'll be blogging about the event during the day and, of course, I hope to send out a tweet or two using #dcgsc as a hash tag. If you don't follow me and your interested in the tweets, just search for the hash tag and you'll see the tweets.

If you'll be at the conference - it is a sold-out event - I'll be around. I'm not sure of my times yet but I'll be spending some time manning the Illinois State Genealogical Society's table in the vending area. Stop by and say, "hi." I'd love to meet you!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Oh my, oh my. Here I am again wondering in which direction I should go!

I've been busy with the miscellaneous tasks of my life (housework not included in this scenario). I've been concentrating on my responsibilities to Elgin Genealogical Society and to the Illinois State Genealogical Society. It isn't that these responsibilities are onus, it's just that I never seem to have enough hours in the day. That said, I know I could make more hours; I don't have to spend my mornings walking the dog or visiting my father-in-law or grocery shopping. I don't have to spend my evenings sitting next to my husband watching TV. I don't have to but these extraneous activities add balance to my life and balance is a good thing.

So, basically, that leaves about four hours a day to give to my organizing, research, scanning, blog reading and writing, and preparing for publishing my Leisure-line this year. I truly appreciate that I have four hours a day; many genealogists can't afford even that much time to our obsession. However, what it means is that I must make the best possible use of that time.

This brings me to the title of this post: Waffling. Or perhaps a better title would be: Floundering. Either way, I feel somehow lost in a sea of Leisures and collateral lines. I still haven't made a final decision on where to start. I am getting there though so maybe the inspiration will hit soon, giving me incentive to move forward.

Wish me luck. I've only got 1 1/2 hours left today!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

ISGS Pre-board Meeting

I'm in Springfield, Illinois today where I'll be attending the Illinois State Genealogical Society board meeting. There's lots of excitement here are we continue preparations for hosting the FGS conference September 7-10.
But, fortunately, all is not "all work and no play."

Last evening some of us gathered at the local Cheddar's restaurant for a great meal and lively conversation. Even though still hoarse and recovering from RootsTech, Thomas MacEntee was able to join us. Some medications are easier to take than others.

Later, we met in the breakfast room at the Comfort Suites to watch WDYTYA together. It was great fun playing the drinking game along with the show. Of course, we were drinking soda this time around. Then, there are a short break before we crowded around a lap to to listen to Geneabloggers' radio show, hosted this week by Dear MYRTLE.

It was a great evening with a wonderful group of people. Today, however, we get down to business!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday - 2 Generations of Love

I may not have mentioned this before but I've been - slowly -  working on my memoirs ( for want of a better word) and have been looking for a certain photo I remembered of me and my two wonderful brothers. I knew it was among of the collection of papers from my mother but it has been evading me for months. Well, this morning, while the dog was walking on the treadmill, I took a millionth look in a box of miscellaneous "stuff" and there it was! Not only the one I was searching for but also one of the only "studio" photos of my two beautiful daughters! Wow, what a thrill.

So here's the picture of my two big brothers - I've always and will always call them, "the boys" - when Larry was 6, David (my little brother) was 3, and I was 6 weeks old. Of course, over our growing up years we had some of the usual sibling issues along the way but I couldn't have asked for better brothers. They were often my "cocoons" in troubling times.

Then, I grew up, married and had my own family. My two girls have been the light of my adult life. Of course, we had some of the usual parent/child issues along the way but I could not have asked for more wonderful children. I had more fun growing up with them than I ever had in my own childhood.
Tammy age 2 1/2 and Samantha age 6 weeks
So there they are. Two generations that are so very dear to my heart. I'm so thankful to have had them in my life.

Friday, February 4, 2011

More about Julia

At last, I’m at the computer updating my blog. It’s been an interesting several days. Last week, my husband had a procedure performed on his eye which took me out of pocket for a couple of days. Then, Monday, I did my civic duty and reported to the Daley Center in downtown Chicago for jury duty. Normally, I love jury duty and have happily served for three trials (civil); however, this time with a prediction of large amounts of snow coming on Tuesday, I was hoping I would languish away in the assembly room and be dismissed at the end of the day.

My panel was called at about 11:45, just when I thought they might be sending us out to lunch! We spent the next hour in the courtroom as the judge and lawyers picked their jury. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when the rest of us were released, completely, at about 12: 45.

Well, now, what to do with my afternoon? I grabbed some lunch at the State of Illinois building across the street and then went back to the Daley Center, but this time I headed for the Cook County Archives on the 11th floor. I’d take the opportunity to see if I could find divorce records for both of the Julia Ruch marriages.
I’d just recently learned of her first marriage to Peter Jacobsen in 1892 and she is listed in the 1900 census as divorced. Somewhere between those years there must be some legal papers. Julia married Charlie Brown in 1901; he lists her as next of kin on his WWI registration in 1918; she is living alone but as married in the 1920 census; in 1930, she is listed as widowed.

The Archives has microfilmed indices of both the Superior and the Circuit Court files from 1871. After some searching, I found the divorce for Jacobson, Peter and Jacobson, Julia Rush in 1897. I’ve ordered the file and hopefully will be able to have it copied and sent sometime next week.

I didn’t find a divorce for the Brown marriage, but I may not have looked far enough. I had forgotten she was listed as married in 1920 and was thinking a divorce probably occurred between 1918 and 1920. I still find it interesting that she is listed as widowed in 1930 (Charlie died in 1926) and she is also listed in her mother’s probate in 1931 as the widow of Charles Brown. According to his death records he had remarried and his spouse’s name was Freda. The question remains was there a divorce? So far no marriage record has been found for Charles and Freda (Friederika Kolvitz Walker) but she is listed in the 1930 census with the surname of Brown.

I was very pleased to be home watching the blizzard arrive on Tuesday afternoon, though not so pleased about clearing all that snow. My husband was forbidden by the doctor to shovel or even use the snow blower. (I actually felt sorry for him because he was so upset he couldn’t help me.)

For now, I must get back to my Leisure family.