Sunday, July 19, 2015

GRIP 2015 - Sunday - Before Check in

GRIP 2015 Second Session begins in a few hours!!!

I arrived in Pittsburgh yesterday, Saturday, with two other GRIP attendees from Arizona: Michelle and Janet. The weather is beautiful, although slightly humid. It sounds funny to hear people talking about how hot it is. For locals, I guess it is.

I slept on and off, after all there is a 3 hour time difference. Last night 10 pm  seemed very early to go to bed; AND 6:30 this morning seemed EXTREMELY early to get up. Hopefully, tomorrow, Monday, will be easier.

Michelle and I are in a hotel and Janet is staying with a cousin of her husband's. Judy was kind enough to pick up all three of us yesterday at the airport and she's going to transport us to LaRoche this afternoon.

I haven't found anything I forgot to pack. But I'll wait until after moving into the dorm, to see what I left at home that should have been in my suitcase.

I'm still trying to figure out how to down load GoogleDrive files onto my computer. I think I figured out how to do each individual pdf file, but I was hoping there is an easier way to download by folders. I don't know how much access I will need during the class, so I may just wait until tomorrow and ask. Or perhaps ask at dinner tonight.

I am looking forward so seeing all of you and sharing information and friendships. Have a great week, GRIP Attendees.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

GRIP 2015 - Packing Ideas

I'm leaving for GRIP (Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh) in 6 days. I fly on Saturday because I prefer trying to adjust to the 3 hour time difference a day before classes begin.

 I'm flying so I can't bring all of the extras that those who drive can bring. So, what am I putting in my "pile" to pack? Of course, if you are driving or want to bring another suitcase, there are many items that would be nice to have that are not on this list.
- alarm clock
- ethernet cable OR hotspot - if you think you want to connect to the internet in your room
- a small clip-on lamp - many of the dorm rooms don't have a desk lamp
- a night light (this was a suggestion from a friend, Janet)
- extension cord with multiple plugs since you'll want to plug in your phone, computer, light, etc.
- a fitted sheet - Yes I know that they are provided, but this gives me another layer of fabric between  me and the mattress cover
- a drinking glass - if you want one when you brush your teeth, etc.
- hair dryer, shampoo, conditioner, etc. Also, body wash, hand soap and tissues - This is a dorm room, not a hotel
- rain jacket and/or umbrella - Yes, it does rain in Pittsburgh in July. The distance from the dorm to the classroom building isn't far, but sometimes the rain is heavy.
- layers of clothing - the classrooms may be warm or cold - so just be prepared

FYI - In the past the desserts in the cafeteria were sometimes difficult to pass up. And they had a very nice salad bar for lunch and dinner.

Bookstore (or college store) in the main building had Keurig coffees. Cost WAS $1.06 per cup (I don't know what it will be this year) but they didn't open until 9 am. However, this was a good place to get coffee during morning break.

I'm looking forward to seeing all of you in Pittsburgh in one week.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

SCGS Jamboree 2015 - DNA day is over

Today was a difficult day just because there were six sessions and the information can be challenging. But it was generally great.

 There were too many great topics and speakers to be able to fit everything in that I wanted to. Fortunately, almost half of the sessions were video taped, so I can purchase them and watch later. I forgot to bring a CD reader, so I can't download the syllabus. I need to remember that in the future. I did purchase the paper copy, so I can take notes on it. But I'd like to become proficient at taking notes on a digital copy of the syllabus. The disadvantage of that is that I can type with a regular keyboard; I'm not able to use the on-screen keyboard very effectively.

The lunch speaker and his video was very moving. Since I don't live in Southern California I don't know Chris Schauble from KTLA. But what a wonderful, moving story of finding his birth families.

I had dinner at George's Greek Restaurant, in the strip mall across from the Marriott. I thought about Amy Coffin while eating, since she introduced me to the place the first year I came to Jamboree. Thank you, Amy. I just wish you were here.

Now, it's time to start looking through tomorrow's presentations to decide which ones I'm going to attend.

If you are not at Jamboree, I hope you consider attending next year.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

GRIP-2015 - I'll be there; will you?

I'll be at GRIP in July"learning a little law". GRIP is the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. The actual title of the course I'm taking is "Law School for Genealogists" and Judy Russell and Rick Sayre are teaching the course. I'm SOOOO excited to be going again. I had trouble deciding which course to sign up for, but I am in my first choice this year.

There is still room in many of the classes. In fact all of the classes in June, beginning June 28, have at least one vacancy, as of today. And in July, beginning July 19, only two of the six course offerings have wait lists. So there are many opportunities for summer learning.

For those of us living in Arizona, the humidity in Pittsburgh may be a challenge, but the cooler weather is great. Because Arizona does not go on Daylight Savings Time, the fact that it is light at 9 p.m. is a big change also. The campus of LaRoche College is beautiful and many attendees walk in the evenings, if they aren't just socializing, (OR doing some reading for the next day's class.)

If you have time in your schedule this summer, check out GRIP because I'd love to see you there. And if you can't attend this year, these are the courses announced for 2016. What a great variety!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

SCGS Jamboree - Why Go? The People. That's Why!!!!!!

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The people attending Jamboree are friendly, enthusiastic, and fun. You'll find presenters and the attendees who are easy to talk to. There are many locations to sit and visit. Don't hesitate to talk to someone sitting next to you in a presentation, or at a table in the grassy area, or in the patio area, or in one of the restaurants. Jamboree attendees have distinctive badges, so just say "Hi."

The people organizing Jamboree are friendly, enthusiastic, and helpful. SCGS has a great group of volunteers for Jamboree. They try to anticipate any problems, but there are certain things they can't control. Like planes taking off or landing over the pavilions during a presentation. But their experience in organizing and putting on Jamboree for so many years, really shows in their organization. They are also innovators, and are willing to consider suggestions for improving Jamboree. So, please make sure you say Thank You to these very special people who provide us with an incredible conference year after year after year.

Come to Jamboree. Please say Hi to me. I'd love to meet you. And don't hesitate to talk to someone you don't already know. Who knows? It may be a cousin who has the photo of g-g-grandmother, as well as her maiden name. Happy Dance!!!

Friday, May 15, 2015

SCGS Jamboree - Why Go? Vendors. That's why!!!

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The exhibitor hall has so much energy. I just love the excitement in this hall. I've been to 5 or 6 other large conferences, and I believe that this one is either the best, or one of the best.

The variety of vendors and exhibitors is great. You can buy books, software, or fun things. You can get advice on software, online programs or joining societies. For a map of the current vendor hall, click here. You will see the great variety. The advice is free, but I'd like to suggest you bring a credit card, and perhaps a little cash. Sometimes, for some items, if you buy during Jamboree, there is even a conference discount. So be prepared.

Don't forget to check out the tables just outside of the hall also. SCGS sells books. And, of course, there are the wonderful raffle prizes. Other groups have representatives sitting and willing to answer questions.

Lastly, I don't want you to forget about Conference Resources. What are they? Well, they are the incredible recording company who makes audio and sometimes even video recordings of many of the Jamboree sessions. (Remember, it's up to each speaker as to whether or not their presentation is recorded.) And, you didn't misread this. Yes, Video recording! In the past I believe that TWO presentations EACH session were video-recorded. So you get to hear AND see these presentations. Just as if you were sitting in the room. These are high-quality recordings which are available during and after Jamboree. And then they are yours to keep, and listen to, and watch, over and over again.

So, why go to Jamboree? The vendors, exhibitors, and the great recordings.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

R.I.P. - W.A. "Link" Lincoln

Link, or Grandpa Link, as he was called by our younger family members, died on March 21. Unfortunately, my family was not officially related to Link. Therefore, we didn't find out he died until May 7.

Our family is mourning the loss of man who we truly loved and will miss. As my niece wrote so eloquently,

"...his life mattered! He mattered to me! You were loved!I don't care about what your relationship was like or what your history with him was, he was a good man and a loving member of OUR family."

Link had been a part of our family for years and years. He was in family photos at the weddings of my niece and my nephew. Whenever my son and his family were in the area where Link lived (about 500 miles from their house), they scheduled time to visit Link. 

Link died in an assisted-living facility where he was placed by a biological daughter. Yes, Link was having memory problems. He needed the care; but he didn't need the isolation. Daughter and her siblings seldom saw him. They never spent holidays with him. They seldom invited him to dinner or other family celebrations. None of us in OUR family were allowed to know where he was. We were told not to visit, send cards, or call him. 

So, how did we find out about his death? My mother called his daughter to ask if she could send Link a birthday card. Daughter said, "Oh, he died March 23rd." We don't know if he was buried or cremated. We don't know if his ashes were placed somewhere, or scattered, or are just sitting in a closet.

The lesson in this, if there is a lesson. Please don't hold grudges. The pain can last for a long time. And for some people you don't even know.

And, again, as my niece wrote,

"Thank you, Grandma, for making him a part of our family and for all of the unconditional love, respect and kindness you showed to him despite the obstacles you faced."