Monday, March 30, 2009

My First Genealogy Workshop Presentation

I began tracing my family history in 1994 out of a need to understand my roots. After researching for several years, I felt the need to share my findings with others. As early as 1995, I began sharing my findings at family reunions.

However, a few years later, an opportunity arose for me to share genealogy and family history beyond my family. My first major opportunity to conduct a genealogy workshop came from the library of Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, VA. It was interesting how I got the invitation to speak at ODU. I was working as an applications computer software trainer (Microsoft Office/WordPerfect, etc.) and my company had a contract to train ODU employees in computer skills. I was originally supposed to conduct training at another company, but that class was canceled and I was sent to ODU to teach a computer class instead.

In my introduction to my class, I mentioned that my hobby was tracing my family history. Ironically the Friends of the Library of ODU were planning a genealogy conference and needed someone to speak about genealogy and computers. I don’t remember exactly who was in this class, but I guess someone in the class was on this committee because these were all ODU employees whom I was training.

Months later, I was invited to present a session on using Family Tree Maker and Internet software at the Friends of the Library genealogy conference on a Saturday in July 1998. The presentation was a success and I also learned a lot from the other speakers.

Now, almost eleven years later, I have had numerous opportunities to conduct genealogy workshops at churches, libraries, cultural festivals, and local and national genealogical societies.

This weekend, I was notified of my acceptance as a workshop speaker for the first International Black Genealogy Summit on October 29-31, 2009 at the Allen County Public Library. I look forward to this opportunity and to other opportunities to conduct workshops.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Twitter Cheat Sheet

Last Sunday night, I became a Tweep or Twit. In Twitter language, that means I became a Twitter user. Everyday this week one of my coworkers and I have been exploring this system. Read more about why we began using Twitter.

As of 2:56 PM, EST, I am following 45 other Tweeps, have sent 30 tweets, and have 23 followers.

Today, I received a message from Geneabloggers that included a Twitter Cheat Sheet. I thought I’d share it with my blog audience. Thanks to Thomas McEntee for developing this cheat sheet and for sharing it with others.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Twitter and Blog Promotion

One of my coworkers introduced me to this website the http://www.2createawebsite.com/ and the video on Lisa’s Website Traffic Secrets . Lisa did a great job talking about the history of various web technologies on through the present ones. Towards the end of the video, she mentioned how she uses Twitter to promote her blog, and not for posting trivial things about what she is doing.

My coworker, who is also a blogger, and I had an earlier discussion about Twitter. We decided that it was not necessary to use this tool because we did not feel the need to be that connected and post everything we are doing.

Now, after viewing Lisa’s video, my coworker and I have changed our minds and we are now using Twitter. So far, we are enjoying using the tool.

In the following video, Lisa explains the basics of the Twitter system and how she uses it to promote her blog.

Twitter and how I use it to promote my blog

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Twitter in Plain English

I’m always interested in exploring new technologies. I’ve been hearing a lot about Twitter especially on “Good Morning America” on the ABC television network. During various segments such as hot topics discussions, viewers are able to submit questions by email or Twitter. I set up a Twitter account on Sunday night to try Twitter out just to see how it works. So far, I am enjoying using Twitter.

Here’s a video which explains the Twitter social networking system in plain English.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Proud “Auntie” Moments

One of my proudest moments as an Aunt was hearing two of my nephews (Ryan and Eddie) sing solos at my mother’s funeral in August 2007. I knew that several of my nephews were talented in playing musical instruments such as keyboard, bass guitar, and drums, and I expected them to play an instrument rather than sing at the funeral. However, I did not know that they could sing so well. Several people remarked on how good my nephews sang.

Another proud “Auntie” moment came earlier that year at our Moore Family Union in Emporia, VA during the summer of 2007. The same two nephews who sang at my mother’s funeral played musical instruments at the Saturday night banquet of the reunion. As seen in the photo above, Ryan played drums and Eddie played the keyboard along with my first cousin Watkins on bass guitar. They sounded fantastic and played well together as if they did it all the time. I don’t think that they had ever played together, but they blended together as if they were a permanent group.

I was on the family reunion banquet program to talk about the Moore family history. Before I began my talk, I proudly announced to the audience that the two young musicians were my nephews and that I was very proud of their musical talents.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Randy’s Best of the Genea-Blogs List

I am honored that I have been chosen for another blog award and made Randy’s List of the best of Genea Blogs for the week of March 8-14, 2009.

Randy’s states that his criteria is as follows:

“My criteria for "Best of ..." are pretty simple - I pick posts that advance knowledge about genealogy and family history, address current genealogy issues, provide personal family history, are funny or are poignant. I don't list posts destined for the genealogy carnivals, or other meme submissions (but I do include summaries of them), or my own posts.”

My posting of the videos on “Capturing the Past” and other videos on oral history interview techniques met Randy’s criteria.

Thanks, Randy for selecting my blog for this honor. And also thanks for your hard work in advancing genealogy blogs.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Joseph Bullock

This is the tombstone of Joseph Bullock (August 11, 1905 - October 11, 1932). He was the youngest son of my great-great grandparents Andrew and Luvenia Bullock and is buried in the cemetery of Morning Star Holy Church in Vance County, NC. His mother Luvenia and sister Nancy are also buried in this cemetery.

Through oral history, I learned that Grandma Ven (Joseph's mother), purchased a car for her son to drive her to church. Like young men of any time frame who sometimes take advantage of car privileges given to them by their parents, Joseph, reportedly didn’t always show up to take his mother to church when she wanted to go. This car was possible purchased sometime during the mid to late 1920s. No doubt, Joseph's abuse of car priviledges created much friction in the Bullock household.

Joseph Bullock died as a young man on October 11, 1932 from “pulmonary tuberculosis” in the Jubilee Hospital, in Henderson, NC. Jubilee was the hospital for blacks or negroes during the time that Joseph Bullock died. He was attended by Dr. S. M. Beckford fore three days, October 9, 1932 to October 11, 1932 when Joseph died shortly before midnight at 11:25 PM.

Joseph's death certificate lists his age at death as 28, however, a date of birth is not listed on the certificate. Joseph's tombstone lists a date of birth as August 11, 1905 and date of death as October 11, 1932. If this is accurate, then he would have been age 27 when he died.

My maternal grandmother Emma and her younger siblings were living with Grandma Ven during the time of their uncle's death, but my grandmother does not recall this death. She was ten years old when her uncle died. My grandmother, does, however recall getting rides in the car with her uncle.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dru, The Teenage Usher


When I was around age 14 or 15, I organized a Youth Usher Board in my church. This was sometime in 1978 or 1979. The original group of ushers consisted of ten females. About three or four of us were teenagers and the rest were young girls, probably as young as age six. Two of my sisters also served on the Usher Board with me.

I don’t remember my exact reasons for starting this group other than this was around the time that I began getting heavily involved in church activities. Perhaps I was also inspired to usher because my maternal grandfather had ushered for many years. By the time I organized this usher board, his health was beginning to fail, and he was not able to usher as often as he had previously done.

We ushered one Sunday a month and had uniforms (fushia vest, white blouse, and white skirt). I came up with the idea of the uniform colors because someone in my church gave us a large bolt of fushia double-knit fabric, which was estimated to be enough for ten vests. We purchased white double knit fabric to make ten skirts. I don’t remember whether we raised the money ourselves for the skirt fabric or if it was donated. Each usher was responsible for providing their own white blouse. I sewed many of the uniforms myself, but did get a little help from some ladies in my church.

I served on this Youth Usher Board until I left for college in August 1981.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Oral History--Early African American Memories

This is a video recording of an interview with Rose Ruffin, age 93, who discusses her family history and life in Onslow County, North Carolina. This oral history is part of an ongoing research dealing with the Brick Mill Cemetery preservation project. Brick Mill is the largest all African American community cemetery in Onslow County, North Carolina.

Part 1


Part 2

Friday, March 13, 2009

Family Oral History Using Digital Tools

Computer book author Susan Kitchens discusses her website, Family Oral History, where she shares tips for being a better interviewer, using the right tools, and the possibilities of digital technology.

Susan Kitchen

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Capturing the Past

This five-part video series provides an overview of oral history interviewing and explains the steps in the process.

1. Planning the Interview
2. Planning for an Interview
3. Conducting the Interview
4. Preserving the Interview

Capturing the Past, Part 1


Capturing the Past, Part 2


Capturing the Past, Part 3


Capturing the Past, Part 4


Capturing the Past, Part 5

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Oral History Interviews

I am preparing for an upcoming presentation on conducting oral history interviews. This has been an invaluable technique for learning about my family history and discovering clues for further research. The following video explains the process of interviewing and gathering oral history.

Interviewing Your Information Source

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Sunshine Girls

The Sunshine Girls (left to right) Tunisha, LaVetta, Drusilla (Me), and Maria helped me begin my 40th birthday celebrations.

Prior to my current employment, which began in December 1999, I had never been one to hang out with coworkers outside of work, but several years ago I bonded with these three coworkers in this photo. We called ourselves "The Sunshine Girls," a name that came about after one of the coworkers (Tunisha) and I took a bus trip to New York with a bus company called Sunshine Tours. After this trip in April 2000 or 2001, Tunisha and I began addressing each other as "Sunshine." I don't remember whether we began hanging out with the other two coworkers before, or after our New York trip. However, as our relationship evolved, the name "Sunshine Girls" stuck to this group.


The four of us, all single at the time, would go out for dinner, a concert, or other activity occasionally. When I turned 40 in September 2003, I told Maria, a coworker of Phillipine descent, that I had never been to a Japanese Restaurant. As a result, she invited me to a local Japanese restaurant to celebrate my birthday, along with the two other Sunshine Girls. This celebration, which I call my Pre-40th Birthday event, was held two weeks prior to my actual birthday and big 4-0 party.




The Sunshine Girls posing (left to right) Tunisha, Drusilla (Me), Maria, and LaVetta


Today, there are only two Sunshine Girls still working in my current employment organization and the two of us often remininense about our the Sunshine Girls. Although, I miss the time all of us spent together many years ago, I will forever cherish these wonderful memories. I thank God for these Sunshine sisters and for the the joy that they brought to my life during our times together.

ForEver Sunshine Girls!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Pay Toilets

About two weeks ago, I saw a T. V. commercial shortly after I finished dinner. I don't remember exactly what the commercial was about, because I was half watching, while talking to my grandmother. All I remember is different images flashing across the screen with one of of them showing a man putting coins into a bathroom door as if it were a vending machine. The bathroom door was not a stall like in a public restroom, but rather a door like to a private bathroom. Immediately, my thoughts went back to the 1970's when you had to pay a toll (or coins) to use a public bathroom. The cost was usually a nickel or a dime.

A week later after I saw this commercial, I saw a link to an article and video on either Yahoo or MSN, about an airliner who was looking for ways to cuts cost. The article, Restroom Ransom? Airline mulls toilet toll, is a story about an Ireland airliner, who is considering charging a toll to customers for bathroom use.


In today's debit card and cash free society, this idea seems absurd and has the been the source of many jokes. I have flown in an airplane less than ten times during my lifetime, and have never used the airplane restroom. I intentionally try to take care of these needs prior to boarding the plane. I know how cluster-phobic it feels to use a bathroom on a bus like Greyhound, so I assume that an airplane bathroom experience would be worse. Despite my lack of experience in using airplane bathrooms, I would not want a toll to be charged for this service. One never knows when and where nature will call, so if nature calls while I am on a plane, I don't want to have to wonder if I have enough change for a toll.
(Smile)


Pay Toilet Links

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Finding Records of Your Ancestors – 1870 to Present

In this video presentation, "Finding Records of Your Ancestors 1870 - Present," Mary Hill provides tips on what records to look for and where to find records that African-Americans can use to trace their family history. In order to explain the genealogy research process and methods used to locate records from 1870 to the present, Ms. Hill focuses her presentation on researching Simon Haley, the paternal grandfather of Alex Haley, who was the novelist and screen writer of the book and movie “Roots.”

This presentation was conducted at the 2006 conference of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) held in Salt Lake City, UT. Workshop materials used in the presentation were a Guide to African American Records developed by the Family History Library of the Church of the Latter Day Saints.

Part 1 of 3


Part 2 of 3



Part 3 of 3