That new database feeling

I wonder if anyone else experiences this.  A new database becomes available.  You’re happy, but remain skeptical.  How many times before have you tried to research and a new database has let you down?  Your area isn’t included or the year stops one before the year you need.

You do the first search, a general surname search.  There they are!  Your grandparents.  You start to feel a little more hopeful.  You pick another odd surname from your tree and you find cousins.  Now, you’re bubbling with enthusiasm because even though the collection isn’t complete you realized it has the county you need.

You start to pull names out of your head.  You find a record, save it, and think of something else.   This database is a goldmine!  You research wily nily because you’re so excited…you’re a genealogy junkie getting your document fix.  Like the little girl in the AT&T commercial, you scream “We want more!  We want more!”

You’re there for 2-3 hours.  Who counts the time?  You’ve found a good 20 different useful records on a variety of people.  It feels good to find something.

That’s what happened to me last night.  I learned that California Marriages from 1850-1941 were added to ancestry.com.  I wasn’t expecting much until I learned that one of the two counties uploaded is Alameda County.  That’s the one I need!  From there I was in a genealogy feeding frenzy, finding records in a disorganized fashion, and loving it.  It’s so rare that anything from California or Hawaii gets added that I got a little carried away.

Today, I will go back.  I will work from a list and drill down in an orderly fashion.  I will act like a respectable genealogist and do things correctly.  Oh, but, it sure was fun last night!  I learned several things in a short amount of time.  I even uncovered a secret.

Now I’ll get down to serious business.

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SNGF: Questions about me

This week Randy is asking us to answer six questions he heard in in a keynote address given by Judy Russell at RootsTech.  I’m going to try to answer as best I can.

a)  What was your first illness as a child? I’m not sure what was first, but the first one I remember was chicken pox.  I was about 4 years old.  My brother got chicken pox and he kindly gave them to me.  I don’t remember them being particularly annoying or, at least, not as annoying as my siblings said they would be.  I remember I got to stay in my pajamas all day.  After I finished, my brother then got shingles on his back (the same brother who had chicken pox).  My poor Mom must have been at her wit’s end at that point.

b)  What was the first funeral you attended? This was more difficult for me to remember.  I did not go to my Grandpa Lassalle’s funeral .  I know that.  He was the first person I remember dying.  I was 8 at the time. I stayed home with a baby sitter.  I distinctly remember watching Sandy Duncan in Peter Pan on TV and eating dinner on the TV trays. Honestly, I can’t remember any as a child, though I’m sure we must have gone to one or two.  The first one I remember is when my Uncle Matt died.  I was 18 at the time.

c)  What was your favorite book as a child? This is an easy one.  Without a doubt, The Borrowers by Mary Norton.  I read the whole series and then reread it.  I loved the adventures and it was so imaginative.  (Mrs.  Piggle Wiggle, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and Amelia Bedelia would have been close runner ups.)

d)  What was your favorite class in elementary school?

We didn’t have separate classes in elementary school, so I’ll answer with my favorite grade.  It was 5th grade.  I had Miss Bos as my teacher.  I had her in 2nd grade and she was my favorite.    Miss Bos was one of those teachers who didn’t have to be dominating to be effective.  She was great at bringing out the best in me. 5th grade was a great time for me.

School was relatively easy.  I was able to finish my work early most days, so I earned privileges like working as a reading tutor, helping set up for assemblies, doing different errands for the teacher, and leaving early for recess.  We got to go on more field trips in 5th grade.  I remember going to plays, factories, and wildlife refuges.

It was also a great time for me socially.  An older kid, a 6th grader (note that: older…LOL), took me under her wing.  She liked me because I was small (I was only 4 ft 8 in 5th grade and had the face of an 8 year old).  It was because of her I was picked for the girls sport team (we only had one that played other schools in whatever sport), was selected at the top whenever the class picked teams, and never got picked on.  There were certain perks to be known on school grounds as “Shorty”.

e)  What was your favorite toy as a child? I thought of several things but I think that crayons and coloring books were probably my favorite toy.  I could sit for hours coloring.  I took them everywhere even the ball field where we watch my brother play Little League.  I couldn’t draw and I think coloring made me feel artistic.  I still color from time to time

. f)  Did you learn how to swim, and where did you learn? This is one of those memories I’d rather forget.  Well, not really.  My best friend, Renee and I, learned how to swim at the local swim center which was at the high school.  I think we were 8 years old.  I remember this very well because we advanced from the first group to the second to the third.  Then, it was time to advance to the middle pool.  And, I failed miserably.  My downfall?  Floating on my back.  I could not master it.  And, so I couldn’t advance.  By the end of the Summer, I still hadn’t mastered it.  The teacher bumped me up to the middle pool for the last session.  But, since I couldn’t back float, I never progressed and that ended swimming lessons for me. I think I did pretty well with the questions.  That certainly brought back a lot of memories!

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Getting A New Computer: Prep Work to be Done

My blogging has been light this month for which I apologize.  I am getting a new computer for my birthday from my family.  It took me two weeks to select one with in the price range that would be a step up from what I have.  My computer is 7 years old so probably anything built after 2010 would be a vast improvement.  I decided on a refurbished HP.  I’ll be moving from 2 gig of RAM to 8.  It will be like a dream come true.  It will be delivered on Tuesday.  I’ve very excited!

This isn’t the first time I’ve bought a new computer.  I got my first computer in 1983, an IBM PC 5150 (Intel 8086).  I remember that we paid $5000 for it and we were considered special because we paid extra to have a hard drive installed.  Since then, I’ve had a 286, 486, a Compaq, a computer that should not be named (but I will:  Packard Bell), an AST, an eMachine, and the last one a Dell.   Before arthritis took over my fingers, I was handy with a screwdriver and would upgrade them myself.  Of them all, none was built as solidly as the very first IBM.  It became obsolete before it broke down.  Unfortunately, you can’t get by with a floppy disk drive, 10 MB hard drive, and a RGB monitor anymore.  It’s hard to believe that you ever could!

Now starts the hard work:  preparing to move everything to my new computer.  I made a list of the tasks that needed to be done:

1.  Backup all my personal files.

I admit it.  Despite having computers crash on me in past and eat all my data (thank you Packard Bell), I’ve been negligent where backups are concerned.  When I moved to a new computer in 2009, I backed up everything and I still have those backups.  I did another complete backup before I moved 3 years ago.  I’ve done sporadic backups of my genealogy database and other personal files since then, but I have not backed up my genealogy documents or some recent photos.  Well, this is my chance!

I made a list of backups I need to verify or do.  I came up with 15 different types of files that had to be backed up.  Everything from my genealogy databases to email to the simple program I use to keep track of my checkbook.

At first, I thought I would use Google Drive and Picasa to do my backups.  I ran into some unforeseen problems (i.e. Picasa refused to upload 52 of my photos that had too long of file names).  After I am reinstalled and running, I will backup files to Google Drive.  I want to have an off site backup.  It’s just that I can’t work out all the kinks in four days.  I bought a 32 gig memory stick instead.  None of the ones I had were large enough and I didn’t want to split file directories.  I’ve been working on this since Thursday.  All that is left is my music files and Thunderbird email.

2.  Software programs will need to be reinstalled.

Like most people, some of my software is on CDs and some is only on my computer (from downloads).  I made a list of everything that was on my old computer that I would like to reinstall on my new computer.  I’m moving from Vista to Windows 7.  I have some software from Windows XP.  I do not know if it will all work or if I really want it anymore.

Next step was to find all the software.  I had to move around several dust bunny piles to dig out the 3 CD holders.  It’s amazing how many empty CD cases I have.  Everything I want is now in a pile ready to go.

3.  I may need some cables.

About 3 weeks ago, I though I should put this plastic bag of cables in the donation bag.  What was I going to need them for?  Well, my new computer doesn’t come WiFi enabled.  It only has an Ethernet card for internet access.  Not to worry.  I see at least 5 different cables in my plastic bag.  Before I moved three years ago, I didn’t have a router.  I should have everything I need to plug into the modem until I get a WiFi adapter.

4. Waiting for delivery.

This may be the hardest part.  My computer doesn’t come until Tuesday.  I’ve taken photos but don’t want to upload them since that folder is already copied.  I don’t want to create any folders or do anything that might have to be moved.  I think I can do it for four days.  Maybe.

I should be ready to roll come Tuesday.  My backups will be done and I’ve already got a stack of software to install.  Oh yes, I am ready and eager!

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