Blast from the Past – Holiday Photos

Season’s Greetings!  You may be feeling like the folks were in the photo above after your Thanksgiving feast.  Their enthusiasm for the holiday is well, a little underwhelming.  Maybe a smaller family gathering would have been a good thing back then.  

Whenever I think of all the work that goes into a family get together I think of this picture from my husband’s side of of the family. Taken about the mid 1930’s, from left to right is Clifford Thompson, George Harbaugh, Bert Thompson and Ruth Johnson Thompson.  In the midst of the Great Depression, the decorations were scant.  Don’t know if it was a heavy meal or the numbness of having to spend the holiday with extended family that put them to sleep.  

The picture was taken in the living room of George’s parent’s home.  Ruth was George’s maternal aunt.  We’re missing the rest of the extended family who lived there – George Sr., his wife, Elsie, and their other children Bob and Betty.  Ruth and Elsie’s mother, Louisa, also lived in the household.  Where was Bert and Ruth’s daughter, Jeanne? Maybe upstairs playing with cousin Betty.  Did Helen Johnson Chellberg, sister to Elsie and Ruth, also come with her husband and three children?  Beats me – somethings we will never know.  

I’ve been reading a lot in the past week about people being thankful for not having to travel this holiday season.  I can relate to that as I dreaded the holidays when our home was cramped with 40 plus people. All those dishes long before dishwashers!  No quiet space at all!  Lines for the bathroom!  Cigar smoke and alcohol breath – yuck!  Although I loved those people a bunch I liked them a lot better a little at a time.  

This weekend I’ve spent looking at old family holiday photos.  Some years were prosperous and others, not.  No matter what your holiday plans are for this year your experience will be long remembered not just by you, but by those who know you.  If you can’t be all together, keep in touch – via phone, Zoom, letter/card/text – as best you can.  Ask the questions you always wondered about, like where was Helen Chellberg in the mid-1930’s?  Although the pandemic made this year seem to move slowly, next year just might be too late to get your family questions answered.  

I recommend you each out – reconnect – and remember those far away loved ones.  Now is the time!

Genealogy Thanks

 As we all prepare to have a less than typical Thanksgiving, I want to pause and reflect on all the genealogy things that I am thankful for this year.  Sure, it’s been difficult with all the archive closures, Zoom conferences and the inability to visit far flung relatives but let’s look at the bright side for a moment.  

I am thankful that the pandemic allowed me to:

1.  Reorganize my office.  I took the time, since I had lots of it this past summer, and made my work space more efficient.  I replenished supplies, pitched those pencil nubs and found items I didn’t even recall I had! This was always on my to-do list and now it’s not.

2.  Pitched old family records.  Don’t gasp – I scanned many of them.  I found my deceased mom, 2nd cousin and sister-in-law’s health records. I had tax returns from the 1970’s that we lugged from house to house over the years.  Before the tax code changed, we kept the receipts for improvements made on a home we haven’t lived in for 30 years.  Found the flood insurance settlement when we lost everything in Hurricane Elena in 1985.  I think going through these old documents of other difficult times in our lives made the current situation more tolerable.  It was a testament that this, too, shall end one day.

3.  Cleaned my Cloud backup storage.  Cuddled up on the sofa with the laptop and on a week of rainy days, spent some time each day moving files around or deleting them entirely.  Now I’ve got even more space for when I am able to get back out into the world to research without having to pay for more space.

4.  Attended Conferences from my backyard.  I know that virtual conferences aren’t the same as in-person but if it hadn’t been for the pandemic, I would have had to miss many that I was able to attend this year.  I don’t think I’ve ever sat through a lecture and not learned something or been reminded that I should try what I already knew to solve a research problem.  I’m so looking forward to Roots Tech, too!  

5.  Save $!  As a long time reader you know I’m a frugal person and look for genealogy deals whenever I can.  Although my business did take a hit this year, I was fortunate that my first quarter was larger than in previous years.  Can’t explain how that worked out and am thankful that it was. Another way I saved was the organizations that made their records available for free or lowered the price for a limited time at the start of the pandemic.  I looked in places I never was able to search before and found lots of info.

6.  Researched my own family.  Since business was down, I was able to spend time on my own family.  In the past few years, this has been severely limited so I was glad for the time to do this. The value of a research log cannot be emphasized enough; I didn’t have to waste much time in picking up where I had left off by reviewing where I had previously searched.

7. Made many new virtual “friends.”  Thank heavens for the archivist that continued to answer queries, search a vertical file or scan and email a page from needed text.  Although never considered essential workers, they most definitely are to a genealogist and I greatly appreciative of their dedication.  I also reached out to relatives I had never connected with before and together, we worked to solve family mysteries.  

8. Caught up on my reading. All those journals, magazines, books and pamphlets/flyers/brochures I’ve picked up from past trips have been examined, noted in my tree or pitched.  I have a pile in the garage ready to donate to our local library as soon as they begin to accept material again.  Finally went onto websites and requested that I stop having journals mailed to me when I certainly can download and read them on a tech device.  

9.  Planned for the future. I have taken the time to review my findings and know where I want to travel when it becomes safe to do so.  In the past, I’d get a last minute offer to travel and then take an extra day to do my own researching if I had family that once lived in the area.  Now I know what I don’t know and have identified possibly where the answers might lie.  Of course it won’t be 100% accurate but it’s a better way to use my future time then the spur of the moment approach I often had to do.

10. Learned more about myself.  I never knew I could become a homebody.  Last week, a colleague mentioned how much she hated being home.  I’m not there yet.  I am very content and that is the biggest surprise I’ve had.  Prior to March 14th, I came home late most every week night, ate a rushed often take out meal and went to bed, then up at 5 and out the door soon after. Since I was a teenager, this has been the longest period of time I haven’t been on a flight.  I’ve only topped off my car’s gas tank 3 times in 8 months and only then because I wanted to keep a full tank during our hurricane season.  I’m thankful for my close family who I enjoy being with 24-7 who have made this dramatic change of lifestyle doable. 

Adversity truly does reveal character. Our ancestors have experienced life’s turmoil and paved the way for us to have it easier than they did. Although the upcoming holidays will be far different from any I have previously experienced, I’m thankful for knowing their life story.  It gives me strength and hope for better days ahead.  Have a wonderful Thankfilled week!

2020 Genealogy Holiday Gift Guide

With the holidays around the corner and the zingers of 2020 impeding the typical holiday shopping spree, I’m providing my guide early this year to insure the shopper stays safe and the receiver gets the gift on time.  

Most of these items can be purchased locally so do try to support your small businesses and organizations.  Others can be purchased online but please buy soon so that the chain of folks that helps you get the item aren’t stressed even more than they already are.  Let’s show some gratitude we’ve survived this wretched year and spread the kindness!

My gift guide includes items for a few dollars and up into the hundreds as I understand it’s been a tough year financially for just about all of us.  As my mom used to say, “It’s the thought that counts.”  

1.  A comfortable desk chair – Hubby and I purchased two in May as we were spending so much time in ours and mine refused to let me adjust the height.  We had it delivered and assembled ourselves but if that’s not an option use NextDooor to find a local handyperson who can do the assembly on the porch. Your genealogist’s back will thank you. 

2.  A Second Computer Screen – If your genealogist is using only one screen it’s time to add another; I’ve had two for years but I honestly could benefit from more.  Sometimes I put the laptop next to my work area for a 3rd view when needed. Sure, we know how to change the size of what we’re viewing but with old documents, sometimes we just need the whole screen.  Your genealogist’s eyes will thank you!

3.  A Magnifying Glass – If the To Do list includes going through boxes of old family letters or photos, a magnifying glass, with or without a light, is a must.  Think Sherlock Holmes, here – the smallest clue might be missed that could solve the mystery so an inexpensive magnifying glass might just save the day.  

4.  Assorted Coffee/Teas or a reusable water bottle – whatever is the preferred non-alcoholic drink is a well received gift for anyone but especially the genealogist who needs a quick caffeine jolt or calming tea.  I stress the non-alcoholic for a reason – your genealogist needs clear analytical reasoning so skip the booze. A reusable water bottle with a tight fitting lid is also a great idea to stay hydrated without risking a spill.  

5.  A foot massager – which can fit nicely under the work area.  If it has a heat feature it makes it even better on those long cold winter nights of researching.

6. An elliptical for sitting – When in the researching zone, we often forget to get up and move.  This handy exercise device allows for individuals to sit and move the lower legs.  I love to see how many “miles” I’ve gone without leaving my desk.  If your genealogist has a standing desk, the device still works. Until we’re able to go back to running up archive stairs or parking in remote and walking to the library, the sitting elliptical will get a lot of use.

7.  Gift Cards – to your genealogist’s local restaurant, grocery or office supply store.  If you aren’t sure what your favorite genealogist’s office needs are, know they have to eat!  Less time cooking means more time researching and you’re supporting the local economy which makes this a win-win for all.

8.  An annual subscription to a new site – This year I joined Academia.edu and I absolutely love it!  I was trying to research Barbados in the 1600’s  and there isn’t many records that I found useful.  I wanted to better understand what life was like there and Academia.edu helped me with that goal.  Journal articles are available on a wide range of topics and the site also hosts members to have a webpage so others can connect with them.  JSTOR.org is another awesome site that provides journal articles and books that may be of interest. Plans start at $19.50.

9.  Donation to a local genealogy/history society – with long term closures and the deaths of members, many organizations are suffering.  If your genealogist says – “Don’t get me anything!” then follow their directive but give in their name to an organization that they support.  Typically, I’m a doer and not a donator but this year I have given to several organizations that I wasn’t able to support in person.  

10.  Last but not least – Give the recipient time by listening.  I’m serious.  Although this monetarily costs nothing it is probably the most valuable gift that can be given.  We know you could care less about your fourth cousin twice removed who married your third cousin once removed.  Just try to look like you care.  Back in the day when the world was “normal” we could attend conferences and meetings to share with others the great discoveries we made. Simply listening is a wonderful gift to give!

The Mysterious Byrd Family

Skipped blogging last weekend because I was consumed by work from my other job – lots of teaching units were cut in my district and I was tasked with making new schedules for students.  Planned on blogging yesterday and got attached by wasps so my hand is swollen and I’m typing with only one hand now so this will be short!

Did the Tombstone Cake work in helping me find new info on my brick wall ancestors?  Sort of!  I ended up selecting Hannah Byrd, one of my paternal 4th great grandmothers, who was born in New Jersey and died in Ohio.  

With all the way to spell Byrd – Bird – Burd – Berd, it’s always made the search difficult.  

My mistake was thinking that she was born in Sussex, New Jersey as that is where her husband’s family was from.  I decided to research the only other Bird that lived in Trumbull County, Ohio at the same time she did and discovered he was born in New Jersey but not Sussex.  Looks like his father was born in Sussex but moved shortly after marrying to southern New Jersey.  So I’ll be following the trail to see if I can connect the two as they are about the same age and could be siblings or cousins or not.  

Funny, though, I decided to randomly pick a Kindle free book for October and chose Spellbreaker, a fiction story about a young witch in London who does not cast spells but breaks them.  Sort of like a female Robin Hood who helps the peasant farmers when the Baron claims they never paid rent and have to repay.  Had to laugh as one of the main characters just happens to be from Barbados.  My goodness, those Hollingsheads just won’t let me move on!

A Strange Way to Select a Genealogy Research Project

Had a strange Sunday morning courtesy of my family.  

I got a wake up call from one of my adult kids asking me to list my top 12 dead ancestors that I needed  info on.  That made me laugh as I was thinking yesterday I need to move on from my Duer-Hollingsheads who I found a wealth of info for over the summer and now things have dried up.  Like most of the world, I’m over the pandemic and am starting to make plans for when we can travel again. While gardening, I thought I would list relatives I planned on researching by geographic region so that I could identify areas for trips in 2022 (yeah, I’m being overly cautious here.)

Within minutes I emailed my kid a list of 24 ancestor brick walls – 12 on my side and 12 on my husband’s side.  

A few minutes later I got another call that said, “Mom, you have to pair that list down to 12 total!”  Okay, sigh, 6 from each list.  

Since I was already on email I started reading and found I had two Ancestry messages over night and one email message addressed to my website.  Two were regarding Leiningers and one was Harbaugh.  People who discovered books and photos as they were cleaning and looking on Ancestry or my blog, found the named folks on my tree.  They were hoping to give the items a new home. Since I didn’t list one Harbaugh or Leininger on my brick wall list, this was personally hysterical as those two lines always seem to nudge me when I am working on other family.  

Minutes later, my kid brings over the cake pictured above.  On each tombstone is one of the names I had supplied that are a brick wall.  The chocolate pudding cake with cream cheese frosting was delicious.  The “dirt” on top is crushed Nilla wafer cookies dyed with food coloring.  Child had bought the cake mix at the start of the pandemic and said, “Let’s bury this thing and move on.” I agree!

I also got a homemade awesome Ancestor Hunter T-Shirt.  Neither of my kids have interest in genealogy but they are crafty and when the mood strikes, no telling what they’ll come up with.  

The weather was beautiful so we decided we’d have cake and coffee outside.  I was walking down the cobblestone path my husband had installed several years ago and took one step off onto the “grass.”  Unbelievably, my right leg sunk to mid calf.  My kid grabbed me as I sunk, originally thinking I had lost my balance and was about to fall. 

There is a reasonable explanation of why the ground gave way in that spot – we had a heavy rain last night and several years ago, a 200 + year old oak tree had been growing there.  We had to have the tree removed after a third of it blew down in a hurricane. The roots have been decaying for years and we guess, with the heavy rain, the ground just collapsed.  

I’ve never been stuck in quick sand but it was a creepy feeling to all of a sudden just sink into the ground.  I had difficulty pulling my leg back out of the hole.  Don’t know if my ancestors were ticked off or not but it was weird to be holding Daniel Hollingshead’s candy tombstone while I sunk over a foot into the ground. Yes, I know I need to move on from Daniel but I am still searching for his lost Bible so he remains up on the top of my list. 

We settled down to eat a slice of cake and child says, “I had real trouble with one of the tombstones. Catherine Jarvis’s keeps falling over and hitting Wilson Williams.”  Umm, Catherine was Wilson’s daughter-in-law!  They lived near each other in Long Island, however, Wilson’s “stone,” which I have blogged about in the past, is no longer in the cemetery next to his wife, Margaret Hicks.  It was this same child of mine that had discovered that at the Family History Library several years ago.  Of course, with no interest in genealogy, there was no remembrance of the names and the finding. 

If there’s a message in all this I have no idea what it would be.  I re-read my original Wilson and Margaret posts you can find here and here. They are still on my brick wall list as I need further proof of their parents.  Family lore gave me the parents’ names but I have no proof of that.  I’m thinking that’s who I need to research this afternoon, along with Catherine Jarvis.

If I find something wonderful I will definitely share it and use this unique approach again!  Since the world has certainly gone insane a novel way to research just might be what’s needed.  Consuming the name of a dead relative on a candy tombstone is weird but fits right in with the spirit of the month.  Happy Hunting!

That Creepy House in Your Neighborhood

It’s October and even though 2020 has been a nightmare, it’s my annual month to blog about the creepy in genealogy.  Last week, I wrote about my new neighbors and this week, I got another new set as a family moved into the rental next door. 

When you were a kid, I bet there was a house in your neighborhood that the older kids told you was haunted or where a witch or a monster lived.  In my memory, there were two homes that I was warned to stay away from late at night.  (In reflection, I was never let outside late at night so why in the world I would be afraid is beyond me today.)  

The first house supposedly had been used during the Civil War as part of the underground railroad.  Late at night, anguished crying was heard coming from the basement.  

The second house, though, was only two homes east of my grandparent’s house.  It was on the main road, route 6, and set far back from the street.  The small front yard was overgrown with vegetation and even midday from the sidewalk, you couldn’t really see a house.  My one year older than me neighbor, Carol, insisted that monsters lived there and would eat children.  She heard this from her older wiser brother, Tony.  She dare another neighbor, Raymond, and I with walking up the front door and knocking on it.  We must have been about 8 or 9 years old.  I took the challenge but only got a few steps toward the house when I turned and ran back to the safety of my friends.  Raymond got about as far as me and also turned back.  When we challenged Carol to do it, she shrugged and said she wasn’t stupid and wouldn’t take the risk.  

Just like holding our breaths when we passed a cemetery (ironic, isn’t it, as genealogists we certainly don’t do that now!), we’d stop breathing when we rode our bikes or roller skated past the house.  Later that summer, on the wooden telephone pole on the south side of the sidewalk, a nail had been driven into the pole and lots of leaflets hung down.  I ripped one off to read it with my friends but we didn’t understand most of what we were reading.  We decided it was dangerous so we ripped all of the papers down and debated what we would do with them.  Should we leave them on the ground?  That was littering and not good.  Should we take them and throw them in a garbage can?  But if they had a spell on them we would be transferring it to our home.  Guess it never occurred to us to walk around the block, down the alley and place it in the spooky home’s own garbage cans.  We opted to leave the papers on the ground.  

Shortly after, my mother somehow got wind of what we had done.  Perhaps our next door neighbor, Mr. Bauer, had spotted us or our loud arguing over what to do had alerted her that something was up, since no one had air conditioning in those days and everyone knew everyone else’s business.  I was so proud of myself for fighting “evil” I told my mother I had ripped down a pamphlet and it was from the monster and we were stopping others from getting eaten.  I remember the pained look on my mom’s face.  She told me I must go back, pick every pamphlet up and put them back where I found them because there was this law that said there was free speech and I was breaking it.  Huh?!

I didn’t like disappointing my mom and now I was afraid as my friends weren’t with me for back up on my newest quest.  I tried to get out of it by saying I would do it after lunch.  Mom said no lunch until I did the right thing.  I told my mother if I never came back for lunch it was because the monster ate me.  She told me, as she had many times before, no monster was going to do that.  She said she would accompany me and I immediately felt better.

I picked up all the papers though some had blown into the street.  She retrieved those.  We tidied them up and I couldn’t reach the nail nor did I have the strength to punch the paper through the head.  She ended up doing that for me; one pamphlet at a time.  We then went home for lunch.

Over lunch, mom asked me why I thought monsters lived there.  I related Carol’s story.  She told me that two people lived there, an elderly widow and her invalid son.  We should respect their delicate condition.  After lunch, she told my friends the same thing. 

Carol must have told her parents as the next day she told me that her parents said my mom was liar and that the family were monsters.  Calling someone else’s mom a liar was fighting words and things got heated.  We didn’t come to blows but we did huff off mad at each other.  

At home, I told my mom what happened and she laughed.  I saw no humor in the situation.  I wanted her to tell Carol’s parents they were liars.  My mom sat me down to explain that people have different views of life and that Carol’s parents had fled Spain’s dictator, Franco, just a few years earlier and that they would consider a Socialist sympathizer a monster which evidently, was what was on the pamphlets.   That afternoon my mother explained political systems.  Prior to then, my understanding was democracy was best and per the the nuns in school, we should always thank God for not being raised in communist Russia because there, the government made children tell on their parents who prayed at home and the parents would be killed.  

So before I start getting hate mail, my mother was a staunch Republican.  Those long dead nuns probably wouldn’t be happy with me for thanking God that my mom didn’t live to see the current state of the world but that’s really what I’m most glad for this week.

Today, I live between two families who are strongly supporting opposing candidates.  My neighborhood is up in arms over one of the signs that has a word I would not publish in my blog and is visible to children who play in the park across the street.  Others are saying it’s free speech. The neighborhood association rules prohibit political signs but the board refuses to act.  

When the world gets to be too much, I find solace in genealogy.  I always get insight from those dusty records and the lives of the deceased.

I decided to do some genealogical sleuthing to discover info about the occupant “monster” from my childhood neighborhood.  It was a good way to take a break from my own brick walls (had a major disappointment that I’ll share in the future, sigh) and learn a little bit more about the people I knew as a kid.  

I approached the task the same way I would with a client; writing down everything I did know.  Using Google maps I got the address.  Looked at the property tax records which wasn’t very helpful since the family I was searching was long gone.  From previous experience, I know that most of the city records are missing; when the city went into foreclosure the county requested the property records but not all were delivered according to county officials.  The city officials dispute that (of course). I would also have tried to check the vertical file at the library but unfortunately, the city has shuttered all of their libraries due to financial difficulties.  

Using online sources only, I began to investigate the family residing in the home.  Census, death certificate info, immigration records and family tree information gave me additional information to ponder.  I never met the family that lived in that house in the 11 years I lived two houses away.  I now have a greater insight on them; they really did have a difficult life.  

Maybe the answer is praying that more people take the time to learn from the past so we can all have a harmonious future.

DNA Ethnicity Surprises

Ancestry.com has again updated their DNA Results Summary.  Sure, it’s only as accurate as the number of people who have tested.  What my latest results tell me is that Ancestry has had a whole lot more Swedish, German and Slavs testing and not many Balkans.

I know this because the updated results show I am 42% Eastern European and Russian and 41% Germanic Europe.  

In Ancestry’s last update, I was considered French; today I am of German ancestry. 

My paternal line would not have thought much of that finding; with a name like Leininger they would have accepted the Germanic Europe as fact.  The truth is more complex – the ancestors that were forgotten most likely would have been livid with the designation as they considered themselves French. My two times great grandmother was christened as Marie Marguerite not the Germanic Maria Margarette.  Her spouse was christened Jean Leininger and not Johan.  They resided in the Palatinate, the region that flipped several time between what is now Germany and France. They wisely spoke both French and German. Funny that the land has stopped switching but the ethnicity indicators haven’t.  Ancestry would be smart to have a Palatine region noted instead of moving ethnicity results every update.

Interestingly, the results do include 5% of an ethnicity estimate as French and the region is the Riviera, where my Lamphere’s (Landfairs) did reside in the 1600’s prior to fleeing France for London and then Ireland and then Virginia.  It appears they intermarried with relatives and others who fled with them and that is somewhat supported in that I now have no Irish identified.  Well, that’s not quite true, either…

My Irish is encompassed under my Scottish designation.  

I also find it interesting that I have Welsh separated from England (which encompasses Northwestern Europe now).  I am most definitely Welsh with my people moving to Cheshire for a time.  That is shown in the map, along with the northwest section of France.  That is also correct as I have some William the Conqueror folks originating in that French region.  

My maternal line, though, would have my grandmother in requesting her money back.

Family stories shared by my grandmother say her side moved to the what is now the outskirts of Zagreb, Croatia around the time of Christ because of overpopulation on the island to the south where they once resided.  That would most likely have been Kos Island, part of Greece today.  The now defunct National Geographic project did route my ancestry on that trail.  Grandma said my grandfather’s people had already been in the Zagreb region when her people arrived and they had been Gypsies. National Geographic’s results showed that, too.  Using records, I can show that my maternal line was in the Zagreb region as far back as the 1600’s.  Based on a title the family was awarded, I can show some were in the region as early as the 1100’s.  For 900 years, they resided in a small area in what is now known as Croatia.  According to Ancestry, I’m 3% Balkan.  

Explaining to my grandmother how Ancestry obtains their results would have been maddening.  I’m sure some of you are going to have to try with an older relative.  I send you good thoughts in doing that!

I am quite impressed, though, with Ancestry and their Swedish results.  Look above as I have shown how Southern Sweden is shown by region.  I have worked very hard to get most of my husband’s Swedish lines identified and they are from the area Ancestry identified.  I’m looking forward to someday seeing a trend like this for my other ethnicities.

Ancestry has also released a section called StoryScout.  It’s housed under DNA and includes information that you may have provided in a tree.  I didn’t spend much time on this but I did take a look and it reminded me of something that is important to do and I honestly fail at it.

The section is based on census and military records from the 20th century.  Sure, I’ve saved those records to my ancestors 20 plus years ago.  I know where they lived, who they lived with, blah blah blah.  What gave me pause, however, was that it correctly showed my maternal grandfather and noted that his income was nearly twice that of an average man at the time.  He made $1400.00 per year when the average was in the mid $700.00’s.  Wow.  This explained to me why my immigrant family could afford a car in the 1920’s, a phone in the 1930’s, travel to California in the 1940’s and to Europe in the ’60’s.  Now I understand why grandma, when babysitting me, would drag me to the nice stores and dress shops and had her hair done each week.  Duh!  They never flaunted their wealth and dutifully shipped supplies several times a year back to the old country.  Thanks, Ancestry, for taking one small data point in the census and giving me an insight I hadn’t he thought about.  Try it, it might work for you, too.

More Tech Safety Suggestion

Last week I blogged about my Evernote account being hacked.  I reached out to some tech savvy colleagues for advice and wanted to share something with you that might be helpful.  

An IT engineer recommended that I check my email accounts for hacks by visiting https://haveibeenpwned.com

That’s not a typo – it is pwned and not owned!

Enter your email address on the page and click pwned?

I have several email accounts and I entered all of them to check.  I was surprised to find that one had been breached.  It was a government site from last summer that I use for genealogy research.  I changed the password on that site and just to be more secure, changed my email password.  

While changing my password I had another “Aha!” moment; I never took the time to really check out my email Security settings.  The devices I have connected to the email are shown but I had to pause at the Third-party apps with account access.  My bad for not reading the small print and clicking “I accept” when visiting an organization’s website!  I had given permission unknowingly to two retail organizations to have access to my calendar and contacts.  It was quite easy to disable that!  I’ve begun my holiday shopping so after I’m done, I plan on rechecking my email account to see if I somehow give permission for access that is unwarranted.  

Just like covid, behind the scene activity to your tech tools can maliciously effect you!  Take a few minutes to check it out and stay safe!

Evernote Info to Keep Your Info Safe

I haven’t used Evernote in awhile, so imagine my surprise this morning to receive an email that someone with a Mac in India signed on to my account 7 hours earlier.  Definitely wasn’t me or anyone I know!

Being somewhat paranoid, I tend to not click on links sent to me in emails.  Instead, I used my current Kindle to go directly to Evernote online as I haven’t downloaded the ap to that Kindle.  

Another surprise – I was unable to disable the device as my account was accessible only from the Kindle that I had the ap downloaded to.  I’m really not understanding that since the hacker didn’t have the Kindle with the ap on it!  Unfortunately, I’m not tech savy enough to figure out how to access my account on a different device so I then spent time on a Kindle hunt to find the device with the ap.

Took me a few minutes to figure out where the old Kindle was and to fire it up.  After getting through the ad to purchase more Evernote services, I clicked on Settings and Devices.  Sure enough, there was the hacker’s device.  Clicking “disable” hopefully blocked the hacker from having some afternoon fun with my account.  

The hacker didn’t find anything useful as after taking notes, I transfer them to whatever computer I’m using as soon as I’m done with a meeting or archive visit.  I keep nothing on Evernote.  That practice wasn’t established because I didn’t trust Evernote to keep my documents safe; it was my process to use Evernote in settings that aren’t conducive to paper and pens/pencils, such as in a library stack or outside at a cemetery with the wind blowing.  Now I’m glad that was how I used the ap!

I decided it would be wise to change my password.  I’m a little miffed with Evernote as you cannot easily do that.  The directions online say to go to Account Settings and click Security Summary.  I don’t have that, possibly because I never purchased an updgrade package.  My only option to update a password is to email them and then they send me an email and then I go back to their site and change the password.  All this for a device I don’t even use any longer.

So, adieu, Evernote.  I’ve uninstalled the ap on the old Kindle after clearing the cache and signing out of the account.  I won’t be downloading it to my new one, either.  When the pandemics over I’ll be using the note ap on my cell instead.  

Time Sensitive – Saving Your Ancestry.com Messages

With only 3 days left before Ancestry.com pulls the plug on your access to old messages sent to you in their system, you’ll need to follow the instructions below soon or your old correspondence will be lost.

It’s quick and easy but times a wastin’!

First, after logging in, click on the envelope icon on the right side ribbon next to your sign on.

Next, you’ll see swirling circles while the page loads.  On the bottom left the following message will be displayed:

Click the green button “Download Folders”
It doesn’t take long.  Underneath the button your messages will be downloaded to your computer as a zip file:

Clicking the zip file will display any folders you may have created to save correspondence.  Mine looks like this:

It is saved to your computer’s download file.  Go to the Download Folder on your computer, find the file and drag it to where you want to save it.  For the purpose of this blog, I just moved it to my desktop but will be placing it in a Cloud.  

To view a message, simply click on it.  In the Baines folder, the message will be saved to look as follows:

Yes, just like the comedian “Mr. Bean,” I have Beans in my family!  

This simple task will take you less than 5 minutes.  Why would you not want to save information from far flung family members?  It’s also a good way to go back through old correspondence as a missed clue may be unveiled.  Many of my messages contain email addresses and if I haven’t written to the individual in awhile, I might not be able to locate the address quickly if I need to in the future.  Since you just never know where genealogy is going to take you, I’d rather be safe then sorry by saving the data today.