Thursday, April 12, 2018

Your 8 Greats


I was at a Junior League meeting on Tuesday listening to a speaker on deciding how to donate your money, including through bequests in your will. She mentioned the about 1/3 of Americans cannot name their 8 great grandparents (citing Ancestry.com) and that if you want to be remembered, donations to nonprofits is one way to do it. Based on the response of my fellow members, I think Ancestry might be overestimating.

They say you die twice. Once when you stop breathing and the second, a bit later on, when somebody mentions your name for the last time.

When I teach introduction to genealogy classes, I start with 4 generation pedigree charts and seeing how much participants can fill in. Most can name their grandparents, though not always the maiden name of their grandmothers, but few can name all 8 greats. I tell them that a great first goal is to research to find out who each of their great grandparents are, by starting with themselves and working backwards.

If you're new to genealogy, I recommend the same. Then, post about it in a blog or on social media or tell your family about what you find. Not everyone will be able to make a large donation to have their name live on, but everyone deserves to be remembered. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

52 Ancestors: Caterina D'onofrio

Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small began the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge in 2014.  I am playing along this year.  I will be following my mom’s pedigree chart to start.  In addition to writing these posts, I will be making sure everything I have on the specific individual is in both OneNote and Legacy, do any basic research needed for missing documents, and start research plans as needed.


Me > My Mom > Robert Casell > Alfred Casell > Carolina Izzo > Caterina D'onofrio

As with last week, this is a pretty easy one, since all I have is a name. Caterina lived, for at least part of her life, in Calvi Risorta, Caserta, Campagna, Italy.  She had at least one child, Carolina Izzo, with husband Giovanni Izzo.

Definitely a part of my family tree to look into further.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

52 Ancestors: Giovanni Izzo

Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small began the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge in 2014.  I am playing along this year.  I will be following my mom’s pedigree chart to start.  In addition to writing these posts, I will be making sure everything I have on the specific individual is in both OneNote and Legacy, do any basic research needed for missing documents, and start research plans as needed.


Me > My Mom > Robert Casell > Alfred Casell > Carolina Izzo > Giovanni Izzo

Well, this is a pretty easy one, since all I have is a name. Giovanni lived, for at least part of his life, in Calvi Risorta, Caserta, Campagna, Italy.  He had at least one child, Carolina Izzo, with wife Caterina D'onofrio.

Definitely a part of my family tree to look into further.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 in Review

Another year has come and come.  Another year of not much posting, which I'd like to say will change this year, but we shall see.  My annual review.

1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before? Became a library director, learned to swim, went to Cape Cod, went to Steam Town, hired a realtor, was approved for a mortgage & went house hunting (then changed my mind), trained for a triathlon (that ear infections and fractured toes has pushed to 2018), got a massage, marched in a political march, rode in a fire truck & went high in the air on a bucket loader, took Julian to an amusement park & went on rides with him.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I'm not a fan of resolutions; I much prefer a word of the year.  My word for 2017 was "Compass," which was all about focusing on what I want to do and how to get there.  2016 didn't end on a high note in many areas and I spent much of 2017 hibernating, trying to figure out where to go, reading, enjoying carbohydrates.  But somewhere in late summer/early fall, it started coming together.  I stopped reading so much, ate more produce, changed other aspects of life, and am ending 2017 excited about the future, glad that "compass" worked out. 

My word for 2018 will be explore.  Get off the couch and away from the books to explore more of the world around me, in Syracuse & elsewhere (trips [for fun & business] already in the planning stages for Orlando, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, North Dakota, and Steamtown.)  I won a No Boundaries scholarship and am in training for a 5K in February.  I have a new job and am exploring all of what occurs there and possibilities for the future.  I'm focusing much of my alone time on exploring more of my family history, including two big genealogy education experiences (Writing in Syracuse & GRIP in Buffalo.)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Not  many babies this year; we had Nora join the family as great-grandchild number 8.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Not close, but my great Uncle Danny, the last of the brothers of my Grandpa Acquard, died.  I also have friends who lost parents and grandparents.

5. What places did you visit?  Big trips this year to New Orleans, Scranton, and Cape Cod.  GRIP at La Roche College.  Poughkeepsie, Cooperstown, Kingston, Ottawa, Toronto, and Niagara Falls.  As always, we spent lots of time around Central and Western New York and visited friends in Oneonta.

6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?   I'm keeping part of the same answer as the past 2 years: a trip abroad. I also want to visit more friends and family - Vegas, South Dakota, and NYC this year hopefully.

7. What dates from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Labor Day weekend when Julian touched the ocean and lost his bucket.  One of my Christmas presents was a sand pail Pandora charm.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?   Personally: Learning to swim.  Professionally: Becoming a library director.

9. What was your biggest failure? The triathlon I registered for.  Stupid ear infections and fractured toes.  I'm coming for you again this year, sprint triathlon!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? So many ear infections and fractured my toe while triathlon training.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Vacations!  And new bookshelves from Ikea for the living room.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? All those who continue to resist.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? All things government.

14. Where did most of your money go? Rent, food, student loans, 401(k), vacations (not in that order…)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Cape Cod! New job!

16. What songs will always remind you of 2017? The Frozen soundtrack, "You're Welcome" from Moana, Julian singing Kids Bop versions of songs, and podcasts. This was my year of podcasts.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier
b) thinner or fatter? So much depressing news, so many carbs…
c) richer or poorer? Richer and in much less debt!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Exercising.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Worrying.  And following the news.

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2017? Christmas Eve with the Casells. Christmas morning at my mom's, followed by a stop with my Dad & Grandma, and dinner with friends in Syracuse.

21. Did you fall in love in 2017? I continue to fall more in love with my little family.

22. What was your favorite TV program? How I Met Your Mother & Friends as background noise. 

23. What did you do for your birthday in 2017? Toronto with Aaron. Christmas market, Curiosa store, coffee house, dumpling restaurant.

24. What was the best book you read? Fiction: So many choices… My "My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry" by Fredrick Backman or "Glass Houses" by Louise Penny or "Down Among the Sticks and Bones" by Seanan McGuire. Non-fiction: This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

25. What did you want and get? A new job!

26. What did you want and not get? A government that is actually "for the people."

27. What was your favorite film of this year? Err… Moana? I watched it the first time this year.

28. Did you make some new friends this year? I continue to get know many amazing people.

29.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? A triathlon finisher medal.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017? Librarian casual (hello cardigans & comfortable footwear!)

31. What kept you sane? Podcasts.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? The ladies on Pantsuit Politics

33. What political issue stirred you the most? The "Me, too" movement

34. Who did you miss? My Grandpa Acquard and Uncle Brian, like every year now.


35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017: Not a new lesson, but a reminder that there are so many people out there supporting me and putting good vibes into the universe on my behalf.  I'm rather lucky.

Friday, September 29, 2017

52 Ancestors: Angela Rosa Palmiero



Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small began the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge in 2014.  I am playing along this year.  I will be following my mom’s pedigree chart to start.  In addition to writing these posts, I will be making sure everything I have on the specific individual is in both OneNote and Legacy, do any basic research needed for missing documents, and start research plans as needed.

Today is the first of my mom’s 16 great-great grandmothers.

Me > My Mom > Robert Casell > Alfred Casell > Marcantonio Casillo > Angela Rosa Palmiero

I do not have a photo of Angela.  If you do, please let me know.

Angela was born around 1845, most likely in Italy, to Rafael Palmeiro and Maria Giuseppa Izio.  She married to Pietro Casillo in the early to mid-1860s.  They had at least 3 children, Giuseppe Maria Vittorio, Maria Domenica, and Marcantonio Maria.  As a family they lived in Roccaromana, Caserta, Campania, Italy, which is also where she died in October 1906.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wanderlust Wednesday: Hurricane Katrina Memorial (New Orleans)


This past weekend my husband and I went with some friends to New Orleans.  For us, it was an early anniversary trip to visit a city my husband had not been before.  The food and music was amazing, but one of my favorite parts was taking the Dead of Night Ghosts & Graveyards Bus Tour from Haunted History Tours.  I'm not sure 9:30pm counts as the "Dead of Night," especially in New Orleans, but it was dark and a good time to go look for ghosts.


We didn't happen upon any ghosts so far as I could tell, but we did see some interesting cemeteries and other aspects of NOLA that we wouldn't have otherwise.  The tour ended with a stop at the Hurricane Katrina Memorial.  I have to admit to not knowing about this memorial, as, I think, most people sadly do not.  Designed to look like a hurricane from above so that those flying in and out of New Orleans will always remember the tragedy.

Photo by Kelly Fannin
Located at the site of the Charity Hospital Cemetery, a pauper's field, the memorial has the graves of over 80 unclaimed Katrina victims whose names are unknown.  It is possible that many, maybe even most, of these people were homeless, but even homeless people belong to someone.  If you or someone you know is missing a friend or family member who may have been in New Orleans during Katrina, please contact the New Orlean's Coroner Office which has information on each person. 


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

GRIP, Take 4

I'm back at La Roche College outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for my 4th time at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP).  (Want to see the fun I've had here in the past? 2012, 2014, 2015.)

This year I'm taking "From Confusion to Conclusion: How to Write Proof Arguments" with Kimberly T. Powell and Harold Henderson.  Over the past few years I've been focusing on organizing and writing up proof statements on the research I've done over the years.  Sometimes I do well, though lately, not so much.  I signed up for this class to make sure I was writing proof arguments correctly and also to try to jump start myself back into researching and organizing and writing.  Additionally, I'd like to get on the clock for my CG in the next couple years and also to take clients, and before doing so I felt taking this class would be tremendously useful.  So far, it looks like I was right.

Day 1, Monday, began with an introduction to proof arguments, records, information, and evidence; making sure we had a good foundation.  One of the most interesting pieces was the discussion of three sizes of proofs: proof statement (small), proof summary (medium), and proof argument (large).  I have always used these terms interchangeably, so it was good to learn the difference.

We then discussed tools that can be used analysis and correlation.  Analysis and correlation, the third step of the GPS, is where you start writing.  We need to remember that even items that are proved automatically or easily should still be written down.  Whether simple to prove or not, we can use tools such as narrative, lists, tables, timelines, spreadsheets, and maps of both the land and mind variety to organize, analyze, and correlate our information.

In the afternoon we learned about writing proof arguments.  Start where you understand as it can always be changed, moved, or deleted later.  There are a multitude of ways to organize your argument.  If you have "drama," start there, as, according to Harold, "Most of our ancestors are pretty damn boring."  From there, use logic to decide how to organize your material.  Sometimes the information is chronological, sometimes by document type, sometimes the conclusion is in the front, sometimes at the end.  Use whatever makes sense to you and you editor, if applicable.

The last part of the day was a workshop where we were able to practice organizing information and writing a proof summary and a proof argument.  It was fascinating to see how classmates and the teachers write their proofs and how many different ways you can do it that are still "right."  This, combined with our homework, is my favorite part of the course so far.  As a kinesthetic learner, I always want to try it myself and learn best by doing so and then discussing the results with others.  It is also very motivating to hear a genealogist you respect describe how they wrote a proof and see that you had done it the same way.  It helps show where your level of genealogical knowledge and training is and what you still need to learn. (Hence why I loved the SLIG Virtual Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum that I took last fall and will be taking again this year, registration willing.)

Day 1 ended with fascinating conversations, but I'll write more on that later.

Your 8 Greats

I was at a Junior League meeting on Tuesday listening to a speaker on deciding how to donate your money, including through bequests in y...