Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Scaling the branches of our global family tree

Sheesh, I should really blog sometimes...


For the past year or two I've been pretty much obsessed with genealogy. Things really kicked up a notch when I became active on WikiTree in late 2014. I found the idea of collaborative family trees fascinating, and pretty quickly became part of the volunteer leadership there. In February 2015 I headed off to RootsTech with the WikiTree gang for my first genealogy conference, brought my family out to the Global Family Reunion in June, and then returned to RootsTech 2016. This year I'm the new Recording Secretary for the Boulder Genealogical Society at home in Colorado, and am a regular at Colorado Genealogical Society events as well. In May I gave my first presentation, entitled "Plays Well with Others: Pros and Cons of Collaborative Family Trees" to the Boulder group.

While I do work on my own family history quite a bit, I especially enjoy helping others connect. Mostly it's other genealogists like myself, but sometimes we get asked to pitch in and connect better known cousins:

As the leader of WikiTree's Puerto Rican Roots project, it was really fun to find a path between these two New Yorkers. I wish I could say I used my powers of deductive reasoning to discern the shortest path between Ms. Dawson and Mr. Jacobs, but I really just used brute force. I added about 150 of Ms. Dawson's cousins and cousins' cousins until I noticed that her great-great-aunt Julia (Alvira y Torres) Garrison Bookman had married a Georgia man Roy Garrison whose colonial ancestor Christopher Garrison was already present on the global family tree.

So yeah. That's how I spend my evenings...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Getting ready for the Global Family Reunion


embeddable family tree updated live from WikiTree

So this fall I learned about the upcoming Global Family Reunion in New York from founder AJ Jacobs' TED talk. I'm totally in. Lately I've been obsessed with a WikiTree game called "Connection Combat," in which researchers race to connect two different people to the family. I've been so successful that I think it's time to take a break and give someone else a chance. :)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bring on the veggies!

Well, I'm dieting. My grocery cart looks like a rolling farm stand, I'm dehydrating zucchini chips for tonight's Red Cross barbecue, and I haven't raided my officemates' candy jars in 16 days. My favorite part is that my awesome local coffee shop Proper Grounds is steaming my daily protein drink into a mocha. Hooray!

Here's the latest:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ancestry Composition

While I've been a member of 23andMe for some time, it was a post at Your Genetic Genealogist that alerted me to their great biogeographical ancestry tool. Here's their speculative (highest detail, but lowest confidence) analysis of my roots:

I'm not holding out much hope that I'm related to my Japanese-American husband, and I expected a slightly larger African contribution from the part of my family tree that's mostly French-American. But all in all, it seems like a reasonable analysis of my spoonful of the American melting pot.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Knitters to the rescue!

While catching up with Annie's blog at www.wattsolak.com, I was reminded of how often I have saved the day with a bit of yarn. Allow me to elaborate...

  • Taping directional signs to signposts does not work in wet weather. On more than one occasion at YMCA of the Rockies, retreat attendees have found their way to their lodges during heavy spring snowstorms thanks to a ball of Sugar 'n Cream cotton.
  • Ditto for hanging heavy banners at conventions - hooray for string!
  • After a trip to the body shop due to an unfortunate altercation with a concrete wall in a dark parking garage, a trim piece on my Subaru became disconnected and was dragging along the street. But was my teenage daughter flummoxed? Oh, no! "Surely Mom has some yarn in this car somewhere..."
In addition to our nail clippers and our towels, perhaps we should all be sure to pack a bit of yarn! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

DIY Comet

In this week's astronomy class, Dr. K. decided we should all experience the making of our very own comets. We combined dry ice, water, dirt, ammonia, and complex organic molecules (i.e., pancake syrup). Using our ski gloves and oven mitts, we compressed all this stuff inside a garbage bag and...voila! Comets!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Well, it's 29° F out there and I have packed up the telescope for the night. Tonight I viewed four double stars:
  • Beta Cephei
  • Struve 2816 (which is actually a triple)
  • Epsilon Pegasi
  • Xi Cephei
On a break to warm up, I edited the Wikipedia article for Xi Cephei to add some additional star catalog names. I've been using the telescopes GoTo computer to find the stars, so it helps to have references like the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) star catalog number.