Thursday, January 23, 2014


I'm sitting in my first session of a "Learning German" class and am wondering "what was I thinking?" The last time I learned (okay, tried to learn) a foreign language was 42 years ago when I was in the 9th grade.  Maybe it is too late for me to learn another language!

So, why am I doing this?  Well, it did seem like a good idea at the time I registered for the class. I thought that it would be nice if I knew at least a few words before my next trip to Germany.  In October, I visited the city of Munich (Munchen) for a day where I attended Oktoberfest and met my cousin Bernd and his lovely wife Susanne.  Most of the rest of that trip was spent in Austria, where they also speak German.  It would have been nice to know some of the words on the menu without having to read the sub-titles.

With a quarter of my ancestors being of German descent, it would also be nice to know some German for my family history research.  The birth, marriage and death records from Germany are all in German -- imagine that!  Plus, unlike the menus they don't come with English subtitles.

So, for those two reasons, I decided to try and learn some German.  Time will tell if an old dog can learn new tricks!  I am thinking I need to make some flash cards.  I will keep you informed about my progress in learning this language but for now

Auf Wiedersehen!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


How did my Great Grandma Bridget Chambers meet my Great Grandfather Edward Sherlock?  Why did my Great Grandfather Joseph Peter Nebgen immigrate to the United States while most of his siblings stayed in Germany?  I have tons of questions about my ancestors.  Perhaps if they had recorded their life journey in even a small way, I would have some of those answers.

Keeping a daily journal, writing about lessons learned or stories about their travels, or videotaping a person telling stories about their past are all ways to record life's journey.  I have written in a journal, now am word processing in an online journal for many years.  My kids call it "my memoirs".  It helps me to remember the details of events.  Some times I use that information when I am creating a scrapbook, conducting family history research or even having a friendly argument with a family member about a certain event.

I kept a diary when I was in the 5th through 9th grades of school.  I re-read it a few years ago and found the dates of the deaths of a few of my great aunts.  Yeah, it did seem like we went to a lot of funerals around that time!  I then verified the information with the actual records.

My Grandma Theresa wrote in a travel diary when she went on her "Grand European Travel Adventure" in 1961.  I have not only read her diary, but took notes so that I when I travel to those same places, I can "re-trace" her footsteps and perhaps "see it through her eyes".  I had one of those moments this past October in a church in Innsbruck.  It was rather awesome!  I hope to visit many more of those places in the coming years -- Switzerland, Assisi and Siena in Italy, County Meath in Ireland -- just to name a few!

Who knows some day, maybe one of my grandkids or great grandkids will read the memoirs of "my life journey" and will try to re-trace my footsteps!

Saturday, January 18, 2014


I think the term "life long learner" describes me perfectly.  I love taking classes on a variety of topics and always have!  In elementary school (probably the 4th grade), I joined the Great Books program where I attended sessions on Saturday to discuss famous literature that we read.  Who does that?  Then when I was in college at UCLA, one quarter I took a class at my local community college in addition to my college classes at UCLA.  I did it because the course on health allied careers sounded interesting.  Really?

So here I am 30 some years later and I am still taking classes.  This past week I attended classes for 4 different courses.  Yes, I am an overachiever and yes, they were in some way related to my family history research.  The class that was the most related to family history research was a class that discussed Family  It was offered by my local school district's Adult Ed Program.  We focused in that class specifically on creating family trees on Family  Luckily, I brought enough of my information to that class so that I was able to create a tree. Now, since I already have several family trees on and also keep a private family tree on Legacy software, time will tell whether or not I continue to add information to the Family Search one.

I also attended my first of four sessions of a Photoshop Elements class. I am hoping that this class serves two purposes:

1. To help me organize my tons of photos on my computer -- both my travel photos and my collection of ancestors and relatives photots.

2. To help me edit those "less than perfect" photos  (okay, some are downright bad!)  Who created that film that we used in the 1970's and early 1980's?  It was awful?

My two other courses I will discuss in future posts, but I will tell you the topics now -- "Recording Your Life Journey" and "Learning German".   Well, I need to go practice my rudimentary skills that I learned in my Photoshop class so it at least looks like I know what I am doing next week in class!

Friday, January 10, 2014


Recently I was told that there was a branch in my Sherlock-Caffrey family tree that was named Everard.  Well, I love finding new branches in my family trees.  In fact, I wished it happened more often!  So, I began some researching.

I found a Mary Ann Caffrey (born about 1847) who married James Everard (1837-1909).  They had eight children -- Patrick, James, Edward, Bridget, Thomas, Peter, Richard and Maggie.  They resided in Navan in County Meath from 1901 to at least 1911.

My 2nd great grandmother is Margaret Caffrey and she married Bryan Sherlock.  She had a sister named Bridget Caffrey, who married Peter Beggan.  I don't have exact birthdates for Margaret and Bridget but it was about 1835.  On the other hand, Mary Ann was born about 1847.  I can't find out who Mary Ann's parents were to see if she was the sister of Margaret and Bridget.  Some times this Irish research gets a bit frustrating.  Until I can figure out for sure the family connection I will have two trees - one for the Caffreys/Sherlocks and another for the Everards.  Here 's to hoping that the two can become one some day soon!

Friday, January 3, 2014


Now, that Christmas and New Years is over, I have run out of excuses for not creating new posts on this blog. How can I best juggle blogging, researching relatives and organizing my findings, photos and records?  I keep thinking if I can come up with a list of topics for my blog posts that will solve my blogging problems but then again is that too staged and stifling to my creativity as well as any discoveries I may find along the way? I need to be doing my research because how else can I find more information on my ancestors and all their descendants?  Do I even dare ask the question of when is the proper time to find to file my records, should I go to all electronic data keeping and will my office area ever really be as organized as I dream about?

So, after much thought and some analysis, here are my goals for at least the first few months of 2014

1. Research on a regular basis -- I believe that through research will I not only find answers about my ancestors but will also discover topics to write about on my blogs.

2. Enroll and complete some genealogy classes -- my local school district is offering some classes on Family History Research as is OASIS (classes for the over 50 crowd).  Even if I know a lot of the material that they are discussing I love interacting with others who are just as enthralled with genealogy as I am.  Yes, those people get me!

3. Organize my drawers of genealogy documents and information so that I don't spend needless time looking for a specific item.

4. Keep updating my Family History Research Journal which will help when I start writing my Family History Stories.

5. Evaluate my progress at the end of March to see how much I have accomplished and whether or not it is working!  Do I need to narrow my focus or spend time doing a variety of things?

Now that I have publicly stated my goals, maybe this will make me more accountable.  Time will tell!