Sunday, December 23, 2012

Third Blogiversary of LongLostRelatives - Year in Review

Time rolls around so quickly! It's really hard for me to believe that is already three years old, having been born on December 13 in 2009. 2010 clearly was a landmark year for my blogging, with more than 300 posts that year. 2011 slipped down to a little over 200. This year, I averaged about one post per week, but my reasons for being AWOL from blogging were addressed in my Transitions post.

But is still attracting readers and serving as cousin bait. Just last week, I received an email from someone who was searching a common ancestor and found the blog. I still get a kick out of hearing from people, sharing our research and discussing our theories.

Evelyn Gibbons obituary
Discovered at W Dale Clark Library
in Omaha
2012 marked coming around full circle. My first blog post was in the form of a query; I was looking for an obituary to confirm if some information I discovered was truly about my Mom's first cousin. It took me nearly three years to discover that obituary, and it was almost in my own back yard, just an hour's drive away at the W. Dale Clark Library in Omaha.


2012 also marked the year of my return to volunteerism. I've been a member of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society on and off for many years. Now, having been a member for seven years in a row, it was time to start giving back. I had approached LLCGS about doing social media via Facebook almost three years ago, but they weren't quite ready for it. When 2012 rolled around, the President asked if I would be publicity chair and one of the first things I did was to set up our LLCGS Facebook page, a blog and Twitter feed. These methods of communication are integral to our full publicity efforts, and along with our webmaster and newsletter editor, we are communicating with our members and followers in a variety of ways.

In the late summer, I was elected as a member at large to the LLCGS Board of Directors. Yes, I chaired the nominating committee, but I was NOT my own first choice for a position on the Board! As I spoke with the movers and shakers of the society, several of them suggested I consider myself for the open position. After some persuasion, I realized I could do a much better job with our publicity and social media if I were involved in the oversight of the organization, so I agreed. I haven't looked back since.

LLCGS is, by far, one of the most exciting community organizations I've been involved with in many years. There is so much enthusiasm and support for genealogy education in our community. It's fun to be a part of that. Our group offers excellent monthly programs, a conference with a nationally recognized speaker, monthly discussion groups, field trips, and weekly sessions at Walt Branch Library in Lincoln. These Sunday Sessions may focus on DNA, Technology, a Writer's Group, Sharing our Family History, German Genealogy Interest Group as well as drop-in Help sessions for members and the community. Walt Branch Library is becoming "the" place to be for genealogists on Sunday afternoons. Just wait until you see the line-up of events we are planning for 2013! There truly is something for everyone.

Genealogy Speaking

I also continued to dabble in giving talks about genealogy. For LLCGS, I gave a presentation on genealogy blogs. During the summer, I was invited back to W. Dale Clark Library in Omaha and debuted my talk about newspaper research. This fall, I was guest of the Friends of Wymore Library for a talk about beginning genealogy. And I'm starting to line up a few more speaking engagements for 2013.

Homestead National Monument and Beatrice, Nebraska

Homestead National
Monument of America
near Beatrice, Nebraska
Over Memorial Day weekend, I finally made it to the Homestead National Monument to see all of the pages of the Homestead Act - the first time all of the pages were on display together. Right before my eyes was that familiar signature of President Lincoln.

I took a lot of photos in the museum and around the prairie grounds that still look much the way they probably did 150 years ago. It was a sunny, peaceful and quiet Saturday morning that left me exhilarated.

I then spent some time getting acquainted with the genealogy materials at the Beatrice Public Library, which is also where the collection of the Nebraska State Genealogical Society is located. I didn't have a research plan in mind - I just wanted to find my way around and see what they had. Then, a true example of social media in action occurred. I've been following Jenna Mills' search for her Buffalo county, Nebraska roots, particularly in Amherst, Nebraska. There, on one shelf, a thick book with the word "Amherst" on the spine caught my eye. I sent off a quick message on Facebook to Jenna to get her surnames. Messages between us then became fast and furious as I discovered pages of information about her family. I was as excited as if it had been my own family! She later said that she just kept clicking on Refresh, waiting as I kept sending more scans to her from the library. I got the biggest kick out of that!

I also drove around Beatrice and found the locations of where my great grandmother, Clara Pecht, had lived after the death of her husband, LeRoy. One appeared to be a vacant lot; another was the site of a church. So, clearly, there are more stories to be discovered in some land records.

Conferences and Kick-Offs

2012 marked the release of the 1940 census and I was involved in the Census Kick-Off celebration sponsored by LLCGS. Judi Cook, our program chair at the time, is a whiz at organizing events with so much attention to detail. People wore 1940s attire, someone brought a vintage 1940s automobile, there was 1940s food and candy (oh, it was Fresh, the items were first on the market in the 1940s!). I put together a music loop of some of my favorite Big Band music to accompany a slide show about the 1940s. It was a great event!

Laura Prescott at the state conference
of the Nebraska State Genealogical Society
In May, I attended the annual conference of the Nebraska State Genealogical Society in Grand Island and became acquainted with our speaker, Laura Prescott. She was fascinating and gave a lot of ideas about resources and techniques I want to pursue. I finally got to meet several of my Nebraska Facebook friends in person, so that was a special treat.

September brought Family History Expos to Kearney, with a turnout of about 300 people! It was great to reconnect with old friends from Lincoln and Omaha as well as other parts of the state. Ruby Coleman of North Platte was our keynote speaker.

Fall brought Hank Jones Jr. to the LLCGS conference in October. He was delightful! And YES, a GOOD speaker can do a full day of entertaining lectures and education without the use of PowerPoint slides! Unfortunately, I missed seeing John Colletta in Omaha two weeks later as I was still keeping an eye on my Dad who had a stroke the day after the Hank Jones conference. (He continues to improve, by the way, thank you to everyone who wrote with your positive thoughts and encouragement).

Reconnecting with the Geneabloggers

While I wasn't able to attend some of the big genealogy gatherings around the country this year, I was able to meet up with some blogger buddies who I first met at the Family History Expo in Kansas City in 2010.

Gena Philibert-Ortega was a presenter at the International Quilt Museum symposium here in Lincoln this year. We were able to get together for lunch at Lazlo's and share a very wonderful spinach and artichoke lavosh. We didn't have a whole lot of time together, but it was Quality time!

I was certainly disappointed in missing the John Colletta conference sponsored by the Greater Omaha Genealogical Society in October - because I had made plans to spend the day with my friend, Diana Ritchie who writes the Random Relatives blog, who has been a very good pal since we met in Kansas City two years ago. I owe her for taking me down the Kindle path! Fortunately, we already had Plan B ready. Her friend, Nancy, has connections in Lincoln and her grandparents are buried at Wyuka Cemetery here. We met bright and early for breakfast on a Sunday morning. I got to look at the beautiful book that Nancy had compiled via Then we scouted Wyuka looking for gravestones. Wyuka has THE BEST resource for locating graves on their web site. Every one is indexed and searchable and then there are maps for each section of the cemetery. One wishes that every cemetery had something this genealogist-friendly.

A short distance from Wyuka was the home and former grocery store that had belonged to Nancy's grandparents that she remembered from her visits to Lincoln. We walked around as Nancy and Diana took photographs. Of course, one of the neighbors wanted to know what the heck we were nosing about for!

Getting our Tech Together

This year I also set up two discussion groups on Facebook where we can talk about Kindle for Genealogy and Technology for Genealogy. Recently, I even created an iPad for Genealogy community on Google+. Please drop by any and all of these groups to ask questions and provide your answers for others. My thanks to Becky Jamison and Thomas MacEntee for their help in maintaining the groups.

As I look back over 2012, even I am amazed at all of my genealogical activities - because I thought it was a pretty tame and laid back year. Apparently not!

With my retirement now less than 40 days away (but who's counting?), I am really looking forward to 2013 and more volunteering with LLCGS, more speaking engagements, more blogging, more blog reading, more scanning, more organizing, more research, more conferences, more day trips, more of Everything that I Love!

I have no doubt that 2013 will be an amazing year!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all! And to all a good night!

Love, Susan

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Society Saturday: LLCGS

Society Saturday is a fairly new blogging theme offered by Geneabloggers.

I am a member of many genealogical and historical societies in Nebraska and around the country. Today, I am very proud to take some time to spotlight my "home" society, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society (LLCGS) of Nebraska.

I've been a member of LLCGS on and off for the past 30+ years, but a steady member since 2005. A little over a year ago, I wanted to become more involved in the group and was delighted when I was asked to become the group's publicity chair. I've wanted to bring LLCGS into the social media arena and the time was finally right for our society to have an online presence in addition to our web site, which is superbly managed by Al Harlow.

LLCGS now has a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter feed and a Google+ page. We also have a newsletter, which is a monthly publication for members only, which is under the guidance of editor Susie Dunn. We all work together in conveying the LLCGS image to the public.

LLCGS is in its 36th year, serving Lincoln, Nebraska, Lancaster County and researchers from around the globe. While many societies are struggling financially and have dwindling membership numbers, LLCGS is strong, with a solid financial base and a membership roster that recently hit 205!

Speaking as a genealogist rather than as the organization's publicity chair, for me the society has three great strengths that make my membership important to me: the variety of our education programs, our free online databases and our resource library of 8,000+ items.


LLCGS has monthly programs along with the member meetings on the second Tuesday of each month. In the last year or so, additional weekly events have been added to our offerings at what I refer to as "Sunday Sessions at the Library." From 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoons, LLCGS members gather at Walt Branch Library, 6701 S. 14th Street in Lincoln, Nebraska for demonstrations, discussion groups, and "help sessions" for budding genealogists. There are Genealogy Interest Groups (GIGs) for German research, technology, DNA and sharing your genealogy. We will soon be adding a writer's group. All of our sessions are open to the public and our presence in one the newest city library branches has opened our group to new members who noticed our sign as they entered the library.

Two of our members hold afternoon discussion groups monthly in other locations in Lincoln.

Our program topics for 2013 have been identified and the program and education committees are in the process of securing speakers and planning presentations. Also in the works are field trips to out of town libraries and research facilities, as well as other special events.

We will be partnering with Lincoln City Libraries in February in the promotion of the One Book One Lincoln project. The book selected this year is Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard. LLCGS will be branching out to other branch libraries to make a presentation regarding the era following the Civil War and reconstruction and how our families fit into that time frame. LLCGS members will be available to help genealogists with their family history and acquaint them with genealogy resources available in the Lincoln City Libraries.

I counted nearly 100 different education sessions that will be available for our members and the community during 2013. How's that for an active society!

Online Databases

LLCGS has provided many free databases to help researchers with their Lancaster county roots. You can search cemetery records, marriage records, mortuary information, probate information, naturalization information. Naturalization records (vols 1 - 14) were indexed by LLCGS members for the period of October 6, 1906 through June 29, 1929.

Sample Search Result for
my grandparents in the
LLCGS database
I've always said that I was fortunate that my ancestors have been in the Lancaster county area since the 1870s, so these database searches are rich with Kelly, Bellinger, Landon, Fitzgerald, Loder and other surnames. The marriage database is also current enough to include my parent's marriage record from 1947.

The newspaper database is growing, with more than 2,200 names uploaded from the Nebraska State Journal this week. I found two references for my great grandfather John Bellinger's marriage to Emma Landon in 1879. This newspaper index is based on cards that were done primarily by Melvin Sitler and cover the period from May 1873 through December 1899. This is a gold mine of records as the information pre-dates vital records in Nebraska.

People can learn more about the LLCGS digitization projects at our first meeting of 2013 on January 8. Facilitators will be webmaster Al Harlow and librarian Cindy Cochrane.

LLCGS Library

The LLCGS library is housed in the Don Love building on the Union College campus, 3800 S. 48th Street in Lincoln, Nebraska. Yes, you read correctly. We have more than 8,000 volumes of genealogy resources including reference books, genealogies, DVDs, microform, periodicals and videos. Our catalog can be searched here. Not only does our collection cover Lincoln and Lancaster county, but other areas of the country as well. Sadly, as someone who has been working full time and being a caregiver, I've yet to visit our library. BUT - once I am retired after the end of January, I can assure you, I will be spending many hours perusing our collection.

Our library accepts donations of materials and funds to purchase new items. At the moment, we are interested in adding to our collection of high school and college yearbooks. I know that once I make a few scans of my own yearbooks, they will be going to the LLCGS library.

Special Projects

We welcome volunteers to help index and scan records and assist in a variety of projects.


Membership to LLCGS is a bargain at $15 for an individual. Joint memberships are only $20. We also have patron levels and accept donations via PayPal. To become a member, visit our web site.

A gift membership to LLCGS makes a great stocking stuffer for you last minute shoppers!

Visit LLCGS Online

Web site





I also want to salute the members of LLCGS, committee chairs and the board of directors. Without the work of this active group of people, LLCGS would not be what it is today. It's all about the people giving back to the community.

LLCGS is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) education organization.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Readers of may have noticed my conspicuous absence from the blogging world the last few months, even though I've continued to remain active on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

But I'm getting back in the swing again after some life interruptions and just being very busy!

I've written before about being my father's caregiver for the last few years. Dad had a stroke in October and I took several weeks off work to aid in his recovery. Fortunately, he had no paralysis, but he has aphasia, the inability to always be able to say the words he wants to say. His speech is gradually coming back and we actually were able to have a fairly lengthy conversation last evening and most of the desired words were there.

His loss of communication skills hit the genealogist in me very hard. I've been with him for eight years and clearly, I took our daily interaction and his stories about his life for granted. I've made a few recordings of his reminiscences, but I guess I always thought I would have more time to do that. As he lay in the hospital, unable to find the most basic words to convey his needs, I began to grieve the loss of the stories I might never hear again.

My advice to all my fellow family historians: record and document those stories NOW - before it's too late. We are all living on borrowed time, so capture the memories while you can.

I'm happy to report that Dad has eased back into his daily routine and we are returning to the life that is "normal" for us.

During the time I was off work, I had plenty of time to contemplate my own life, what I want to do with the rest of it and easily made the decision to give up my day job after 40 years of public service with the state of Nebraska. Since I've made it official, I can now share that information. My last day of work will be January 31, 2013. To say that I'm giddy about being able to devote more time to family history, genealogy speaking and writing is an understatement. I'm really going to be able to live my dream and do what is best for Dad and me. I think he is even more excited than I am!

The "busy" part is due to having been elected to the board of directors of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society in August. This is a very exciting time for our society as we branch out with our weekly education activities and special interest groups, in addition to our monthly programs. We have some very exciting programs and events in the works for 2013. We will be finalizing those plans at a committee meeting this Sunday. It has also been fun to gear up our online presence with our Facebook page, Twitter feed and blog. Al Harlow, our webmaster, does a great job with the LLCGS web site - and all of our online activities feed into one another. We sponsored a fall conference featuring Hank Jones, Jr. in October. He's one of the best!

In October, I was guest speaker at the Wymore Public Library in Wymore, Nebraska. My talk was sponsored by the Friends of the Wymore Library. I had a great time - many thanks to Jan and Janet for making that possible.

Thanks to the readers of for your continued and ongoing support. I'm looking forward to a fun and exciting 2013! And more frequent blogging!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Upcoming Genealogy Events in Nebraska

Upcoming genealogy events in Nebraska. If you have an event to add, please email me at

Date & Location

December 2, 2012
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Walt Branch Library
6701 South 14th St
Lincoln, NE
LLCGS – Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society - Planning Programs for 2013
Join the Program and Education Committees to make plans and scheduling events for 2013. Facilitated by Phyllis Ericson, program chair.

December 5, 2012
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Nebraska Methodist College
720 N. 87th, 3rd floor
Omaha, NE
GOGS – Greater Omaha Genealogical Society
Dennis Kingery will present “Searching for Grundsheim: Finding Family in Germany.” He will discuss his research trip to Germany, preparation, how he organized the trip.

December 6, 2012
1:00 p.m.
St. Paul United Methodist Church
12th and M Streets
Lincoln, NE
LLCGS – Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society - Discussion Group led by Bob Houser
Theme: discovering holiday traditions of our ancestors.

December 7, 2012
7:00 p.m.
LDS Family History Center
11027 Martha St
Omaha, NE
GO-PAF meeting

December 9, 2012
Ethnic Holiday Traditions
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Walt Branch Library
6701 Normal Blvd
Lincoln, NE
LLCGS– Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society - Ethnic Fair with foods, traditions, music, languages and shared advice about researching our specific regions. Get out your favorite recipes, music, crafts, maps and other memorabilia representative of our varied cultures.

December 11, 2012
7:00 p.m.
Fellowship Hall
Eastridge Presbyterian Church
1135 Eastridge Dr
Lincoln, NE
LLCGS– Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society - Monthly meeting and Program
Celebrating our Ethnic Heritage and Traditions

December 12, 2012
6:30 p.m.
102nd and Maple
Omaha, NE
GOGS – Greater Omaha Genealogical Society
Christmas Party

December 19, 2012
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Great Room
6201 Normal Blvd
Lincoln, NE
LLCGS Discussion Group led by Lila Garner


January 19, 2013
9:15 a.m. – Noon
Mormon Trail Center
3215 State St
Omaha, NE
GOGS – Greater Omaha Genealogical Society
Tell Me About My Family – Getting Started with Family History.

February 16, 2013
9:15 a.m. – Noon
Mormon Trail Center
3215 State St
Omaha, NE
GOGS – Greater Omaha Genealogical Society
Part I: Vital Records of Their Lives – Birth, Marriage and Death Records; Part II: Substitutes for Vital Records

March 16, 2013
9:15 a.m. – Noon
Mormon Trail Center
3215 State St
Omaha, NE
GOGS – Greater Omaha Genealogical Society
Making Sense of the Census – Using U.S. and International Censuses

April 20, 2013
9:15 a.m. – Noon
Mormon Trail Center
3215 State St
Omaha, NE
GOGS – Greater Omaha Genealogical Society
Part I: Searching the World’s Records – using Family History centers; Part II: The Name Game – Learn Tips to Help with Your Family History Search

May 18, 2013
9:15 a.m. – Noon
Mormon Trail Center
3215 State St
Omaha, NE
GOGS – Greater Omaha Genealogical Society
Part I: Where’s the Dirt? Overview of Land Records
Part II: What’s Black and White and Read All Over: Newspaper research

June 15, 2013
9:15 a.m. – Noon
Mormon Trail Center
3215 State St
Omaha, NE
GOGS – Greater Omaha Genealogical Society
Part I: Genealogy Problem Solving
Part II: Internet Genealogy

List compiled and maintained by Susan Petersen, To add or update your listing, please email me

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Midwest Family History Expo - Day 2

The second day of the Midwest Family History Expo in Kearney, Nebraska was less hectic and more relaxing for me. My first stop was the conference bookstore. I wasn't the least bit surprised to see Ruby Coleman and Robbi Ryan there. You always know where you can find fellow book people in between sessions!

Ruby Coleman
Nebraska Genealogist of the Year
I opted to attend Ruby's class on Nebraska: A Research Journey. Each time I hear Ruby speak, my admiration for her knowledge grows and grows.If you are doing any kind of research in Nebraska, you must have Ruby's book, Genealogical Research in Nebraska. I thought I knew quite a bit about Nebraska, but clearly, after listening to Ruby, I need to dig out a few more history books and do some more cramming! I did not know that Nebraska towns going west were named in alphabetical order as the railroad moved west. How did this significant piece of information escape me all these years?!?! And my ancestors were railroad contractors in this state!

My only choice for the next session was about for advanced users. This room was already overflowing with standing room only as soon as the previous session was over. The syllabus materials were extensive, so I figured I could wing that on my own and opted for a leisurely solo lunch when I was able to get caught up a bit on reading the genealogy blogs.

Not wanting to get aced out for a seat in my next session by James Tanner, Getting Started with Heritage Quest Online, I arrived early. This room was nearly full and James was explaining and demonstrating FamilySearch. Interesting because the topic for the earlier presentation was blogging! People went and got their lunch and brought it back to the meeting room to soak up his knowledge. This is a man who gives and gives and gives. He gives the people what they want and he was willing to keep talking and demonstrating as long as people wanted to listen. He kept speaking through the entire lunch break!

I had used Heritage Quest sporadically in the past, but after learning more about it from James, I'm willing to go back and give it another shot. This resource is available via most libraries with your library card. For Nebraskans, you can access this resource with your driver's license number on the NebraskaAccess government web site.

James' next session was about cloud computing. I was glad that he mentioned that it would not be a "how to" of Dropbox, Evernote and Skype, but more of an overview of how to use the cloud for genealogy.

That was the sign for me to call it a day and begin the trip back to Lincoln. I already was on information overload about all of the new resources I want to check in to. I'd already touched based with the friends I've made from previous conferences and our social networking online. I was perfectly satisfied with my conference experience.

And the good news is that Family History Expos will be coming back to Kearney in 2013. So mark the weekend after Labor Day on your calendar and plan to attend.

The link for this post is

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Midwest Family History Expo - Day 1

Family History Expos brought its Midwest conference to Kearney, Nebraska for the first time this weekend. Did you know that Kearney is smack dab in the middle of the United States? It's half way between the East and West coasts of our country. Perhaps that's why I find it amusing when people refer to Ohio as being in the Midwest!

About 300 people are attending the Expo. They came not only from Nebraska, but Kansas, Iowa, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, Utah and many other states. Now that I've attended several local, state and regional conferences, it's fun to recognize people and meet up with my genealogy friends.

Nebraska's own Ruby Coleman kicked off the event with a heartwarming keynote. If you didn't know Ruby before, you got to know her well during her talk. I can now say I know someone who has waded through a pig sty and an old outhouse in search of family history. Ruby admitted she's willing to get down and dirty in search of her ancestors!

On Friday, I attended a session on Irish research. I realized I had attended this session in Kansas City two years ago. Clearly, I needed the refresher course as there were many web sites presented that I need to revisit.

Ruby gave a wonderful talk on death records with a lot of tips I hadn't considered. Have you ever thought about tracking down pallbearers to interview them about your ancestor?

I knew that I wanted to get to at least a couple of James Tanner's sessions. He is the author of the Genealogy's Star blog. The blog is aptly named as James is truly a genealogy star! His talk on archives and repositories was very helpful as he shared web sites and demonstrated how to find the buried treasures that won't come up in a Google search.

It was great fun to meet up with my genealogy friends from Lincoln and Omaha, and get to meet several new people who I hope to get to know better. We sat there with our smartphones friending one another on Facebook!

I also had fun tweeting highlights of the sessions I attended and following the speaker notes in the syllabus I had previously downloaded to my Kindle Fire. That made it easy to view and bookmark the web sites the speakers were talking about.

I saw a lot more laptops and computers in the audience being used for note taking than I had seen in the past. It's clear that technology plays a vital role in today's genealogy conferences.

This is the first time I've used my iPhone to compose a blog post, so once I'm back on a computer, I'll add some hyperlinks to this content. For now, I'm getting ready for another full day of learning.

The link to this post is

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Coming Around Full Circle

My first blog post on was on Sunday, December 13, 2009. I had written blogs before and knew of their ability to show up in online search results. That is the reason I started the blog - because I wanted to see if some long lost relatives might find the blog and be able to provide some missing information for my family tree.

That first blog post was titled Obituary for Evelyn Gibbons of Atlantic, Iowa. She was the former Evelyn Bellinger, daughter of Henry Bellinger and Alvena Johansen. She was my mother's first cousin. I had found a listing in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Evelyn Gibbons, but I wanted to confirm that this was the same person as my family member. An obituary was needed.

In March of 2011, her great granddaughter discovered the blog post and left a message confirming some information. The obituary, however, was still elusive.

Until yesterday.

I was at the Omaha Public Library yesterday for a talk by my friend, Gail Blankenau, and had planned a few lookups to do in the Genealogy Room on the third floor of the W. Dale Clark Library. I grabbed the "Gi -" card catalog of Omaha area obituaries and there it was - Evelyn's obituary - at long last.

Evelyn Bellinger Gibbons' Obituary
Omaha World Herald
March 27, 1995
Omaha Public Library
I snapped a photograph of the obituary, then used an iPhone app called Genius Scan, to create the following image:

Evelyn's obituary as seen by Genius Scan

The card catalog also had obituaries for Evelyn's two sons, John and Bernie Lee. I had previously discovered the obituary for her husband, Clifton.

At last, there is some closure to my very first blog post.

The link to this post is

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Scanning Through Time

Bill Kelly, Susan Petersen, Mabel Petersen, Otto Petersen
circa 1964
I've been wanting to scan the family 2 x 2 slides from the 1960s for a long, long time. Eight years ago I bought a scanner that scanned slides, negatives, photographs and documents. As happens, I've upgraded computers twice since then and the software no longer works on my new computers. HP no longer upgrades drivers for that scanner. On the recommendation of some folks in the Technology for Genealogy Facebook group, I tried VueScan software - a good resource, but again, it requires the HP drivers to work.

About a year ago, without reading all of the product details, I purchased a Wolverine slide scanner. It's a standalone scanner that does 35mm slides and negatives. I didn't catch the point that it was 35mm only. So that turned out to be a waste of money since I wanted to scan the 2 x 2 slides.

After reading a lot of product descriptions and reviews online and asking for advice from the aforementioned "TechGen" group, I went to Office Depot and got the Epson V500. Normally I buy nearly everything online, but I didn't want to make the 35mm mistake again. And it happened to be on sale last week. I asked the clerk to unpack the box so I could see the mattes used for slide placement. He even got a ruler for me so I could measure them. Finally! I have the slide scanning assembly line up and running.

Trip Down Memory Lane

What a delight it has been to go through these photographs from 50 years ago. But also very sad - of all of the people in the pictures, my Dad and I are just about the only ones still living. I think I had forgotten just how much time I spent with family during my teenage years. Most of my memories of the 1960s are of going to concerts and pinning up photos from TeenSet and 16 on my bedroom walls.

There are photos of me with all three sets of grandparents. I have two sets on my Dad's side since his parents divorced and remarried. The photo above was taken at Christmas, 1964, in our home. This is the only photograph of me with both of my grandfathers, Bill Kelly and Otto "Grandpa Pete" Petersen. What a treasure to discover this among the slides. I also see that we are eating from Grandma Kelly's china, a set I still have today.

It seems like a lot of our family gatherings revolved around either the dinner table or the outdoor grill and patio. It seems like our patio and deck were a focal point of our activities. I also noticed that when we took posed pictures, we stood in front of a fir tree in our front yard. It's interesting to see how it grew over the years.

In addition to photographs of special occasions, there are photos of everyday life - like when I won radio contests to get Perky's Pizza or Diet Rite Cola - there are pictures of me with the coupon and with the pizzas! Junior High and High School graduation events are captured in time, as are camping trips and boating adventures, and vacations to Missouri and South Dakota. Dad even captured a shot of me exiting the Varsity theater after watching A Hard Day's Night twice on opening day.

The photos helped me remember just how much I enjoyed hanging out with my parent's friends and the older adults, including my parent's siblings and Dad's aunts and uncle and cousins. I never cared much for the kids my own age or younger, I wanted to listen and participate in the grown-ups conversations. I remember how thrilled I was once I finally graduated from the kid's table at holidays to be able to sit with the adults.

Oh, how I wish I could turn back time and remember all of the stories they told. Mom's family were more storytellers - they loved talking about growing up in Greenwood, Nebraska, life on the farm, and the various injuries they inflicted on one another. Dad is definitely the storyteller in his family. I can ask him one question and the conversation will go on for two hours.

As I reflected on my day of scanning at twilight last evening, I teared up as I said to myself, "I miss my family." But it's so nice to still have those memories and love for them in my heart.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Nebraska Genealogy Events - August and beyond

Nebraska not only has Hot temperatures, we also are Hot with genealogy events for the rest of the summer and fall. Listed below are upcoming events for August 2012.

As cooler weather approaches, make plans to attend the Midwest Family History Expo in Kearney, Nebraska on September 7-8, 2012. If that's not enough, two fantastic speakers will be appearing in Nebraska in October. Hank Z. Jones will be the featured speaker at the fall conference of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Genealogical Society on October 12, 2012 in Lincoln. John Philip Colletta will speak at the Greater Omaha Genealogical Society fall conference in Omaha on October 27, 2012. I plan to attend all three events, so it will be a busy autumn for me!

For the complete calendar of Nebraska events, click here. Email your event to me at

Date & Location

August 2, 2012
1:00 p.m.
St. Paul United Methodist Church
12th and M Streets
Lincoln, NE
Lincoln Lancaster County Genealogical Society  Discussion Group led by Bob Houser

August 3, 2012
7:00 p.m.
LDS Family History Center
11027 Martha St
Omaha, NE
Greater Omaha PAF meeting

August 5, 2012
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Walt Branch Library
6701 South 14th St
Lincoln, NE
Lincoln Lancaster County Genealogical SocietyGet started finding your roots. LLCGS members will help you discover resources at the library and online.

August 12, 2012
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Walt Branch Library
6701 South 14th St
Lincoln, NE
Lincoln Lancaster County Genealogical Society Demonstration of using Shutterfly to create a photo book. If you’ve created one, bring it along to share.

August 14, 2012
7:15 p.m.
Dick Administration Building
Union College
3800 S. 48th St
Lincoln, NE
Lincoln Lancaster County Genealogical Society monthly program: Technology Update: How can technology help us find our roots? Presented by Tom McFarland and Marcia Stewart.
Demonstration of LLCGS web site databases, library catalogs.

August 15, 2012
2:00 p.m.
Great Room
6201 Normal Blvd
Lincoln, NE
Lincoln Lancaster County Genealogical Society  Discussion Group led by Lila Garner

August 15, 2012
7:00 p.m.
Social – more info TBA

August 18, 2012
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
W. Dale Clark Library
215 S. 15th St
Omaha, NE
Keeping Up with the Joneses … and The Smiths – researching ancestors with common names; presented by Gail Blankenau

August 18, 2012
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m
Saddlebrook Branch Library
14850 Laurel Ave
Omaha, NE
Discovering the 1940 Census – Omaha Public Library

August 19, 2012
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Walt Branch Library
6701 South 14th St
Lincoln, NE
Lincoln Lancaster County Genealogical Society German Genealogy Interest Group – if you have German ancestors or Germans from Russia ancestors, plan to attend. Participants will plot ancestral home locations on a German map and see how many are searching in similar regions. Bring along helpful resources you have used, resources in German, etc.