Monday, June 27, 2016

"Nothing Great was Ever Achieved..."

We just finished our first day of classes at GRIP... (& I'm thankful for air-conditioning that works this year!)

An "enthusiastic" quote for the "enthusiastic" genealogist 

One of my favorite parts of GRIP is being with my genealogy friends - both old and new. I have been pleasantly surprised to have four different ladies come up and tell me they have been reading and enjoying my blog. You don't know how much this means to me, so thank you! One of these ladies told me she'd thought of me when she saw the above quote and handed it to me. I (enthusiastically) love it!

Rose speaking before sharing a poem at GRIP

Going back to last night, I was thrilled when they announced that Rose, who sat at the information desk last July session, was going to read one of her poems. I often spoke with this sweet, happy lady last year, who is now proudly 84 years old. She shared stories and photos of her ancestors with me and read me a few poems. The poem last night was about the fact that she is an American. In her veins flows the blood of both Africans and Cherokees, and she is proud to be an American. It was a beautiful poem, and I believe it touched many of us.

My first time meeting the eldest of my dad's first cousins
Lastly, I mentioned that I came a few days early to spend some time with my dad's first cousins (all but one of whom I'd never met before) and do a little genealogy. This is the oldest of the cousins. She was born in 1931 and just turned 85. (And, she informed me she recently took a DNA test!)  She was such a joy to be with and we shared stories, information, photographs, and a lot of laughter. We actually had corresponded back in 1999 when I had just started out on my genealogy journey.

The more I get involved in genealogy, the more I love it.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Our Ancestors' Huge Headstone

Yesterday, I drove to Clinton County, Pennsylvania with three of my dad's first cousins. One of them, Tom, I had met last year. But, his two sisters, Sally and Ellen, I had just met. We spent part of the day at the Ross Library in Lock Haven, and also 'toured' three cemeteries looking for our ancestors headstones.

Robert & Frances (Quigley) Stewart's headstones at Dunnstown Cemetery in Clinton Co, PA

While I'd seen a photo of the headstone for my 4th great grandparents, Robert and Frances (Quigley) Stewart, I was surprised at the size of it! Laid to rest in one far corner of the cemetery, their two headstones are set into a giant slab of concrete.

Robert's epitaph appears to say:

Farewell my wife and children all
From you a father Christ doth call
Mourn not for me, it is vain
To call me to your sight again.

My room at La Roche for GRIP 2016

P.S. I checked in at La Roche College for GRIP (Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh) and am ready for a wonderful week!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Gearing Up for GRIP!

Next week I'll be attending GRIP (Genealogical Research Institute in Pittsburgh) for the third year in a row. This year I'm taking "Fundamentals of Forensic Genealogy for the 21st Century."

Room at GRIP (La Roche College in Pittsburgh)
Unfortunately, the past two years when I've checked in to my room the air conditioning was broken. Both times, they moved me, but the first year I didn't get moved until the second day. So, I'm hoping for a cold room on the first try this year!

North Park - minutes away from GRIP
I'm also organizing one or two trips to North Park which is just a few minutes away from GRIP. Last year, a small group of us went to this beautiful park and walked around. This year, I hope to kayak around the lake. It's gorgeous!

I'll also be taking a short genealogy trip before GRIP starts which includes some cemetery visits and meeting some of my dad's cousins and one of his uncles! Plus, we hired a local researcher to make some copies of documents and we will be picking those up from her. It's going to be a wonderful week.

P.S. If you're staying at the dorm, here's a link to a great packing list posted by Tina Lyons at GenWishList.

Tip: I am used to a fan at night, but I fly so can't pack one. My solution? I have someone drive me to a pharmacy or grocery store the first night and pick one up for about $10. Then, on the last day, I leave it on the "give away" table. For me, it's definitely worth the money to get a good night's sleep!

Color Clustering: Top 25 Fourth Cousins

For more on Color Clustering & DNA, please visit my new website at:  For another look at how Color Clustering works...