Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Thanks to the Greater Monessen Historical Society

A big shout out to the Greater Monessen Historical Society who hosted me during their first author's tea on July 29th. I enjoyed meeting everyone and sharing my thoughts on the importance of documenting family history. The event was a success -- a very lovely afternoon!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Author's Tea in Monessen, Pennsylvania

I am pleased to be the speaker for the Greater Monessen Historical Society's first History Happened Here, Too! author's tea and book-signing event scheduled for this Sunday, July 29th from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at St. Vincent De Paul Society's Lower Banquet Room on Grand Boulevard in Monessen.

I will be talking about "Our Immigrant Ancestors" and will be selling and signing copies of all five of my books.

There will also be an informal show-and-tell where members can bring historical or ethnic memorabilia to generate conversations to swap stories and memories.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

GenClass Newsletter

Below is the first GenClass Newsletter sent to students. The newsletter will be sent out once a month and include a featured article by one of the expert instructors, a tip of the month, and list of upcoming courses for the month. If you've not checked out the great classes being offered, why not do so today?

= Family Tree Maker 2008: A review of the beta version by Cindy Rowzee
= Tip of the Month:The first U.S. Census was taken on August 2, 1790.
= Upcoming classes in August and September

Welcome to the GenClass Newsletter. Each month we will featurean article by one of our expert instructors plus a quick genealogy tipand a listing of exciting upcoming courses.Tell all your colleagues and friends about GenClass and spreadthe word about the "best kept genealogical secret on the Web!"
Family Tree Maker 2008: A review of the beta versionby Cindy Rowzee, AG

he beta version of FTM 2008 is out! I decided to download itand take a look at some of the new features that would be availablethis time around.However, it is more than just a few new features,it is a totally different program!

This version of Family Tree Maker was created from scratch andbears very little resemblance to earlier versions. For those of youwho love FTM, you may have a hard time getting used to someof the new features and interface. I think, though, that once youget used to it, you will enjoy this new version.

FTM 2008 beta has fixed some of the things that I had problemswith in the earlier versions. One of these is the timeline.I did not even consider what was in the earlier versions of FTMto be a timeline and I personally never used that feature, I just created my own. Now, however, it is a true timeline that lists the facts for an individual and you can choose to addfamily events and/or historical events.I t now looks like a timeline should!!!

Tasks were another thing in FTM that I had not utilized much. They were not easy to access nor were they easy to filterand categorize. Now, however, they appear on the mainplanning screen when FTM starts.You can create tasks for individuals or broader tasks, give each task a category or location, a due date and a priority and then filter them by each of these different attributes.This makes the tasks much more useful for working onone person or focusing on one area. You can also makea list of tasks that you would like to accomplish when youare going to a certain place to do research. You would then have an itinerary all set for a research trip. I have been fiddling with the Map feature a bit. The maps thatare included are actual road maps that even include cemeterieson them. This is nice for when you are trying to find thesedifferent places while out doing research. However, I have not been able to plot more than one thing at a time on the maps in thisnew version and wonder if this is something that will be available when the actual program comes out or if they have completelytaken this capability out of FTM.

All in all, I see this Family Tree Maker 2008 as an improvementover the earlier versions. It is just going to take some time andsome playing around to get used to them. As soon as the finalversion comes out (it is supposed to be some time in August), I will begin preparing new lessons.Look for a class on this new version of FTM in October or November!

Go to to see a little moreabout the new version and also to download the beta versionto try for yourself. I suggest downloading the beta on aspare computer until the actual version comes out.

This way, you will still be able to work in your FTM file withoutthe fear of losing some of the information. So go ahead and Play, Play, Play!!!
Cindy Rowzee, AG Accredited Genealogist and GenClass Instructor

Tip of the Month:The first U.S. Census was taken on August 2, 1790.

Have you checked all the censuses where your ancestors might appear? Consider a subscription to to search every-name indexes for U.S. Census records. If your library or genealogical society subscribes to Ancestry Library Edition, or HeritageQuest Online, you can search the census for free.

UPCOMING CLASSES AUGUST 2007: Classes start Thursday, August 2, 2007
* Adoption Investigative Class: Detailed search advice and assistance for successfullylocating and reuniting adoptees and birth families.
* Basic English Research: Learn how to start researching your English ancestors -historical background, geography, finding the "bones" of your family.
* Eastern European Genealogy Research: Part 2 (Intermediate): This class will continue on from the basic Eastern European research class,focusing on how to expand your research beyond your own familyinto a more community-oriented protocol.
* Lost Friends and Family Investigative Class: Detailed search advice and assistance on the methods to use forsuccessfully tracing "lost" relatives and friends.

SEPTEMBER 2007: Classes start Monday, September 3, 2007
* Adoption Investigative Class:Detailed search advice and assistance for successfully locating andreuniting adoptees and birth families.
* Canadian Research - Part1:This course does more than get you started. It takes you deepinto some of the country's best records - many on the Internet.
* Family Tree Maker 16 - Advanced: Advanced features, like books, trees, reports and web sites.
* Lost Friends and Family Investigative Class: Detailed search advice and assistance on the methods to use forsuccessfully tracing "lost" relatives and friends.
* Native American Genealogy:Learn how to start your research for your Native American Ancestors.
* Salt Lake City - Part 1: Access the largest genealogical library in the world.Perform searches, knowledgeably; and understand what you've found.
* Write Your Family History Step-by-Step:How to write your own family history, - a detailed, step-by-step guide.

Learn more at Register for a class at
That's all for now, until next month!-- LISA ALZO, Newsletter Editor ============[ GenClass Information ]==============
The GenClass Newsletter is sent to you byGenClass, Online Genealogy Classes To unsubscribe, or for any other question or suggestion, please contact Micha Reisel, GenClass Administratorat =============================================

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Furry Grim Reaper

A story on MSNBC caught my attention today. The headline: "Cat plays furry grim reaper at nursing home...Oscar has predicted 25 deaths by curling up next to patient in final hours."

The reason I was drawn to this story is that a similar experience happened with a cat at the hospice where my father was staying before he passed away nearly two years ago. The resident cat, "Tomas" spent the entire day and night before my father passed away in my father's room , curled up right next to the bed. Not long after dad took his final breath, Tomas quietly left the room on his own, and did not return. My father was not a cat lover, but Tomas surely took to him.

To read the article about "Oscar," click here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It's Been Awhile

I've been away from this blog for a couple of weeks due to travel and other commitments. My time away included talks at the 2007 Federation of East European Family History Societies conference/workshop in Salt Lake City. I would like to thank all of those who planned the conference--it was very enjoyable and informative! I also spent time at a family reunion, researching material for use in a book I am writing, and a guest spot on a radio talk show in Pittsburgh with my fellow writer and good friend, Dan Burns where we got to talk for an hour about our respective books published by Arcadia Publishing.

I hope to be able to start posting items again on a more regular basis.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Blogging Hiatus

I had mistakenly thought things would slow up a bit during the summer months, but I find myself busier than ever these days with articles to write, book projects, preparation for the promotion of my forthcoming book, Sports Memories of Western Pennsylvania, an upcoming trip to Salt Lake City for the FEEFHS conference where I will be giving two talks, and my family's upcoming 40th reunion in Pittsburgh.

Unfortunately, I will have to take a break from blogging for a bit. I will post again as time permits.

Happy summer everyone!