Archive for Uncategorized

Selecting a Family Tree Template

genealogy family tree

Family tree template with picture frames

Family tree templates can come in handy even if you’re not a genealogist. For example, many of the professional photo managers I know use them to help with organizing photos by family and by date. They also come in handy for medical, historical, relationship, inheritance, and land ownership purposes. Some saga-writing authors even use them for keeping track of their fictional characters’ lives!

I often get asked what template I recommend.

My answer, as with oh-so-many things in life, is this: It depends!


Porter Knight’s Happiness Equation

I’m calling this post “Porter Knight’s Happiness Equation” to distinguish it from the happiness equation that has been my mantra for the last several years: Progress equals Happiness. (Click here to read Does Progress Equal Happiness?) Although hers is completely different, don’t worry, they don’t cancel each other out!


Why my next book would make a terrible gift

Unwanted gift


My next book probably won’t be ready by Thanksgiving after all, which has been my goal all year long. However, one of my motivations for choosing that deadline was so it would be available for holiday gift-giving. And it finally occurred to me:

This book would make a terrible gift!

(Unless, of course, it’s literally on a loved-one’s wish list.)


The Burial Plot Thickens: A Find a Grave Mystery

P. Domenici, 1932-2017, San Ignacio section, Row 9, Space 1 (Image added to Find a Grave by Hazel Thornton on 29 Oct 2018.) CLICK TO ENLARGE


From time to time I accept requests through Find a Grave from people who do not live locally and who would like a volunteer to go take a photo of their relative‘s resting place for them.

A few years ago I got a request for Pietro Domenici at Mount Calvary Cemetery here in Albuquerque. I found the marker, which you can see in the featured image. There’s nothing in the photo for scale except grass, but it’s the size of a common brick…that’s because it IS a common brick, with an engraved metal plate attached to it. The plate is maybe 2X4 inches.


Back to School for Adults 2022

Who else loved going back to school as a kid?

New school supplies! New clothes! Reuniting with old schoolmates! Mixed emotions about a new teacher (maybe a whole new school, even) and meeting new classmates.

I’ve been preoccupied with working on a new book and finishing up a couple of genealogy projects for clients. Plus, it’s still hot out and doesn’t feel like time to go back to school. Plus, oh yeah, I’m retired.

But I’m a lifelong learner and I can’t help but notice that educational opportunities abound!

A couple of these programs have already started. But IT’S NOT TOO LATE, since they are not the sort of classes that build on one another. You can pick and choose!


Do you schedule questions?

scheduling questionsI was just scheduling a couple of questions on my calendar when I wondered:

Do other people do this?


DNA tests: The gift that keeps on giving

DNA Helix

Have you had your DNA tested?

How often do you revisit your results?

(This post is for people who have tested, or who want to test, their DNA for genealogy purposes. It’s not for those who don’t want to, or who are more interested in DNA for health purposes or traits.)


How to Declutter Your Digital Photos

Click image to enlarge the chart.

Decluttering is a prominent theme in my book, What’s a Photo Without the Story? How to Create Your Family Legacy.

Decluttering, downsizing, and telling the stories of your favorite photos and prized possessions, will allow you to leave a legacy, not a burden, when you die.

But what about right now? Can you easily find your favorite digital photos, to enjoy and share?


Managing Life Transitions

I have a milestone birthday coming up.

(Hint: I spent 90 minutes the other day consulting with a Medicare specialist and thought my head was going to explode with all the options. It was not the first time I’d heard them, either!)


The Best Laid Plans

Heartbeat monitor

I called 911 for myself the other night.

It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. An introvert’s worst nightmare! Am I really having a heart attack? In which case it would be stupid to not call. Or is it “just” heartburn — which can sometimes feel like a heart attack — and would I be unnecessarily incurring unwanted attention and expenses?