Thursday, August 26, 2010

Knotes from Knoxville!

So we're back! What a wonderful conference the FGS 2010 turned out to be! We met so many wonderfully sweet and helpful people! The sessions and booths were amazing, and the food was off the charts....well, more on that later. I do have a small announcement to make with this blog post. I did not travel down to the conference as solely an attendee. I also went as a vendor, which means sitting with a booth for four of the five days, unless I could sneak away - which I did quite frequently, according to my business partner. As any of my regulars might have noticed, my main Journeys Past web site link is gone and below my little bio is a Facebook link for Pastology. This new venture was the biggest reason behind my FGS adventure!

My business partner from Massachusetts and I have begun a new genealogy/history company called Pastology. At the FGS conference, we only gave sneak peaks of the online web resource as we haven't officially launched to the public just yet. Now that we are back home, we are working frantically to move that launch date up as quickly as possible. I will fill you in later on some of the features and announce a launch date when that gets closer, but I mention it here to allow for a little explanation. This is the main reason my Journeys Past web site has went the way of the dodo. After 9 years of a fairly stagnant website that only offered snippets of my own family history, I had the opportunity to move my content to Pastology, and have done so. It isn't quite ready for viewing, but will be very soon. However, this blog is NOT changing. It will remain my playground of the past, and will rarely mention Pastology as anything I write for them will probably be relegated to the official web site blog.

Anyway, long story short, stay tuned as I will announce the launch here in case anyone is interested, and one of our serendipitous meetings at the conference was with the Family Search people who are interested in affiliating with us already. So, the future looks bright, but I wanted everyone to be aware of what happened to my old site. Now for some general conference reporting.

The networking and truly useful information gleaned from this year's conference was invaluable. Talking with the seasoned experts and giving support to the fledglings were priceless experiences, and I was reminded again and again what a warm and helpful atmosphere the genealogical set strive to achieve and easily accomplish. I had years of experience within Kentucky and Ohio, but seeing the warmth and support exhibited by representatives of every state, reminded me of why I've been so passionate about this field for so many years! Any question you had, someone was lightning quick to answer it and help you develop your areas of weakness or inexperience. The sessions, as I mentioned, were fantastic! The shopping in the vendor area was also amazing - and I have to give a shout out to Maia's Books of Columbus Ohio. Their booth was across from ours and those ladies were a wealth of information, wisecracks and overall helpful fun! I spent WAY too much money in their booth!BTW, if you see them listed as an exhibitor at a future conference, plan on spending a lot of time and money shopping there. They had the most complete collection of family research books I have ever seen. Unique titles that you usually have to order online as the standard bookstore would never carry them. However, according to their bookmark, they now have a physical store in Columbus, so if you are in the area, you must give them a try!

Despite multiple trips to the general Knoxville area over the years, I had always traveled that direction for the mountains and intentionally ALWAYS by-passed the city thinking they had nothing worthwhile to offer - sorry Knoxville. As a Kentucky Wildcat, both by multiple degrees and ten years as staff, perhaps my blue blood would just not allow me anyways near that orange campus! However, this trip to the FGS Conference changed my mind completely. Granted, Knoxville isn't a huge city, or known nationally as a unique destination, but before I left, I became enchanted and thought the city planners of Lexington should take a closer look at Knoxville's downtown life!

I fell in love with their Market Square. About 20 unique restaurants, with AMAZING food and live music! An authentic Spanish tapas restaurant called Sangrias.....the couch booths and three nationalities of cuisine at Cocoa Moon....the Lobster Macaroni and Cheese (and bakery) at Cafe mouth is still watering! Plus, the entrance to the Market Square is made complete with the addition of a sculpture/water garden. The atmosphere here is priceless as everyone just wanders around mingling - families and college groups - beautiful! Oh - and about another street or two over is a wonderful cultural/art district, that we missed, but was hopping and appeared to be very hip! I would have loved to try all of the restaurants, and had time to explore the museums and theatres, but we had to head home and dissect all the lovely treasures we brought home....books, freebies, instructional material.....definitely a trip worth taking! Our next conference should be in Charleston for the NGS, but we will most certainly be back to the FGS when they arrive in Springfield Illinois next year.

So on to the next conference! Lots of work to do before next May, and if you wanted to see some of the highlights of the conference, check out the Facebook page of Afrigeneas. They did a remarkable job of documenting the proceedings - 4 albums worth!

Ciao for now!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pioneer Ambitions

Before I sign off for a couple of weeks to prepare for and attend the FGS Conference in Knoxville, I thought I'd post a little blurb about our pioneer ancestry. Since the conference theme this year is "Rediscovering America's First Frontier", I was reminded of a cute little piece of pioneer history that I came across while researching another subject. The openly advertised still that you see to the left is the product of pioneer determination. Not only did they hack their way through the wilderness to make a new life for their family, but they did so determined not to abandon or live without their favorite liquid encouragement. You know Kentucky and their moonshine heritage.....back in 1807, the central Kentucky region was just as talented at their still makin evidenced by this illustrated ad from the Kentucky Gazette, published in Lexington. I will tag the ancestor surnames listed in this little gem....but alas.....I can't find any from my own family tree. Oh well, better luck next time, I suppose.

To better celebrate the efforts of our pioneers, I will let a true Kentucky author have the floor:

Builders of Destiny by Jesse Stuart

They lie, our pioneers, where highways run.
They lie where railroads go and cities stand.
Their brittle bones have been exposed to sun
And wind. Their bones are restless in this land.
What does it matter if their bones do lie
Beneath the turning wheels where millions pass,
Builders and dreamers born to live and die
Like white plum petals on the April grass?
What does it matter if their bones turn stone,
Their flesh be richer dust our plowshares turn,
Builders who made America our own,
Whose blood has fed the roots of grass and fern?
Dreamers and builders of our destiny,
They left their epitaph for all to read;
A land of dream and wealth and energy,
A land where freedom is the greatest greed.

Keep up the good search!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Japanese Sandman

Years ago, I discovered a hand written copy of the lyrics to Japanese Sandman in an old book of poetry I purchased from a local antiques store. I will not pretend that I looked at the written prose and intellectually recognized this as a song. It took a little digging to understand its original purpose. Once I did, I was reminded of a few other instances where previous generations took the time to hand copy favorite poems, versus or lyrics to keep them tucked away in safe places for re-visiting as time allowed.

At first, whenever I discover these little personal mementos, my romantic sensibilities get a little charged.....perhaps this was the tune that played during their first dance....or last dance before he went away.....or at the very least, a mother's remembered lullaby that she hummed to her children? I know, I'm pathetic.....but then, perhaps these could just be favorite songs. As I read the words, and listened to a rendition on YouTube (included below), I wasn't struck with a huge romantic chord. Yes, it was a nice catchy tune, but I was suddenly reminded about our own current behavior as song hoarders. Ask Apple why we download so many songs on iTunes. They don't have an answer, simply because music has been and always will be a huge part of our culture. We have special songs for every teenagers we made mixes to describe our every random emotion....and as adults, maybe we secretly still practice this behavior. I know when I'm a bit blue there isn't anything that feeds that mood more than Moonlight Sonata. However, in the past generations, they didn't have iTunes, or CDs, or even cassette tapes to keep their favorites for re-playing over and over until they made their friends and family completely crazy! What about the years prior to phonograph, and even during those years, not every favorite song was available, and certainly not to the lower economic classes. If they were lucky to have a piano, or other instrument, they could re-create some, but if not......perhaps having the lyrics in written form was the next best thing. It would certainly make group singing or humming the song a bit easier......and if the lyrics had a special meaning, all the more reason to keep them in a favored nook or cranny.

For more on the song and the Asian influence that was popular in the 1920s, here is a site describing some of the other popular pieces. Japanese Sandman is the last entry at the bottom of the page. I was shocked to see that the author of these lyrics was the same gent that penned that other fantastic song - Good Ship Lollipop! One of my all time childhood favorites!
CD 8/7/10


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