Archive for Tell Your Story

How and when to find a common ancestor

Photo of Henry Clay by Mathew Benjamin Brady, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

 

I finally did it!

Did what?

I figured out my relationship to Henry Clay, the 19th century American statesman.

How?

By finding our common ancestor.

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Gifts I Got from Mom

From Mom’s album: “Stopped in Albuq. 7-1959” There’s more to this story in my new book!

I grew up in a family of six, with my parents, three younger brothers, and few relatives. Certainly none who lived nearby.

My parents did not share family stories or photos. Not really. We enjoyed slide shows of our own family vacations, but nothing historical. I guess they were too busy working and raising us up.

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Luminarias at the Cemetery

I would love to know who took this photo of the luminarias at Mt. Calvary, the cemetery next door to Sunset Memorial.

(This story originally appeared in a Facebook Note on December 24, 2012.)

Luminarias are a New Mexican Christmas Eve tradition with religious origins. (Scroll down to learn more.)

They are also one of my favorite family holiday traditions.

But… in the cemetery? Let me explain.

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Mom’s Boxes Part 9: Mom’s Good Silverware

Grandma's good silverware

UPDATE: Mystery solved! (scroll down)

What do you think happened when I offered my mom’s good silverware to my niece, Vinca, as a wedding present?

One never knows what will happen when you pass a family keepsake on to the next generation. Will they love it? Or, not so much? There’s only one way to find out….if your kids are adults now, ask them!

 

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If you can’t find something, clean up!

If you can't find something, clean up

The missing photo album (white binder next to pink binder)

I thought this phrase — If you can’t find something, clean up — was a well-known adage. But random people I’ve queried have never heard it. So, I Googled it. Turns out it’s one of Gretchen Rubin’s many Secrets of Adulthood, which she introduced in her bestselling book The Happiness Project. I guess it made so much sense to me when I read it (years ago) that I thought I’d always known it!

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Letting Go of Perfectionism as a Writer

Writing a book is a prolonged exercise in perfectionism. One must strive for quality while resisting the urge to make it perfect. Why? Because perfection, which is highly subjective in this case, falls somewhere between unlikely and impossible to achieve. And perfectionism can lead to procrastination, writer’s block, stress, and the inability to finish one’s manuscript. Ugh!

If you don’t consider yourself to be a writer, perfectionism can prevent you from even trying to tell your story. My advice for you is to consider it a first draft that you never have to show anyone if you don’t want to. Even “real writers” start with a first draft! It won’t be perfect, but it’ll be a good start.

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There’s No Place Like Home

Durango, Colorado

(NOTE: It was in October 2012 when I “just returned” from this trip and wrote this post. A worldwide pandemic was the furthest thing from my mind! Most of us have stayed home for over a year, and we’re just now thinking about traveling again as we gradually get our COVID-19 vaccinations. Also new since 2012 is the Org4life Travel Resource Roundup I created for you. Stay safe, and enjoy your travels!)

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I just returned home from a short road trip to Durango, Colorado (from Albuquerque, New Mexico). The brisk fall weather and scenery were wonderfully refreshing.  And it was good to be out of my routine for a couple of days. Then, as usual, I was just as glad to return home as I was to leave it in the first place. There’s a reason why we have these sayings:

Home Sweet Home.
There’s no place like home.
A man’s home is his castle.
Home is where the heart is.

Aren’t we all more comfortable at home? And if you aren’t, what needs to change so that you are…?

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What’s a photo without the story?

UPDATE: Mystery solved! (scroll down)

Who is this saucy young woman? Don’t know? Don’t care?

She looks like fun, though, doesn’t she?

What if you found this photo in a bin at Goodwill? For sale on eBay?

Would you buy it? Would you feel vaguely sad that somebody got rid of it, and move on?

What if you found her in your parents’ stuff and didn’t know who she was?

Would you keep, or toss? Would you try to find the story behind the photo?

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Black Lives Matter in Genealogy Too

Lydia Mangum, age 70, living with 4 young granddaughters and domestic Carey Cole in 1860 North Carolina.

 

I recently saw this example of white privilege:

Ugh! That one really hit home.

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Our Ancestors and the 1918 Spanish Flu

spanish flu victim

Ethel Lee Robbins Lawrence (1887–1918)

 

So… we’re all locked down, to various degrees, in a worldwide effort to help stop the spread of the novel COVID-19 Coronavirus. And everyone knows that this 2020 pandemic is the worst thing since the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.

From Wikipedia: The Spanish flu was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic. Lasting from January 1918 to December 1920, it infected 500 million (estimated) people—about a quarter of the world’s population at the time…resulting in 50 million (estimated) deaths.

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