Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mediterranean Cruise ~ Part 3 ~ Brilliance of The Seas

In Barcelona, Spain, on Friday, September 16, 2011, we boarded Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas for our twelve day cruise. All passengers needed to be on board by 4:00pm. We spent the afternoon getting used to the ship, waiting on luggage to arrive at our rooms and, of course, attending the mandatory
 "Guest Assembly Drill."

I learned quickly that arrangements for dining had changed a bit since our last cruise. "My Time Dining" was a new feature. Instead of choosing a 6:00 or 8:00 dining time, you were allowed to pick your own time. We thought this was wonderful as we liked to eat more around 7:00, or whenever we wanted. This turned out to be a major learning process for us because we found out they wanted us to make reservations for a time each night, and not just show up when we wanted. It took a few nights until it was understood though and in the meantime we spent to much time in lines waiting to be seated. Most nights we had a table for two, but tables were so close you could visit with neighbors easily. The first night, dining was very casual, people would still be waiting for luggage to arrive at their rooms.

Barcelona, Spain. September 16, 2011. Digital Image taken by Cheryl Palmer. 

The "drill" went much faster than most I have attended, which was a very pleasant surprise! We watched as we pulled away from Barcelona with the Pilot boat along side of us. I took many pictures of the port and the shipping docks. I have done this before on other trips. I enjoy comparing different shipping yards, my father worked on the docks for years. Here in Barcelona, cranes had been added just like they had been in Oakland, California. My father's working years did not include these cranes. This was a modern convenience added since his retirement, and most large shipping docks had them installed now. It is fun to compare the pictures I have taken from different ports and docks, having had a relationship with them most of my life.

Barcelona, Spain. September 16, 2011. Digital Image taken by Cheryl Palmer. 

This was one of the first photos I had taken of the shipyard, my father worked for NYK Lines at one time.

Barcelona, Spain. September 16, 2011. Digital Image taken by Cheryl Palmer.

A bit of distance from the shipping port.

Barcelona, Spain. September 16, 2011. Digital Image taken by Cheryl Palmer.

To the left is the shipping port and to the right is Barcelona.

Barcelona, Spain. September 16, 2011. Digital Image taken by Cheryl Palmer.

A closer view of the city as we leave.

Barcelona, Spain. September 16, 2011. Digital Image taken by Cheryl Palmer.

The last picture of the docks that I am sharing today. Did you notice the cruise ship?

We explored and learned our way around the ship a bit, then went back to see if our luggage made it to our cabin yet. Two of three suitcases had arrived, wouldn't you know my main one was the one missing at this point? Not to get excited though, it did show up later, whew!

Royal Caribbean "Brillance of the Seas." September 16, 2011. Digital Image taken by Cheryl Palmer.

A view of two of the bars, one of which we got to know very well! In fact we got to know a couple of the people in this picture a bit later, and very well also!

We enjoyed a lovely dinner and made our way to bed rather early this evening. If you remember, we had been up for the equivalent of two days at this point. I was amazed, I actually still felt human, it must be the "knowing your on vacation" syndrome, right?

Our first port stop, was the following day, Villefranche, France. 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts! 

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 23, 2011

#31WBGB ~ Week 15 ~ Solve A Problem

I am following Tonia's Roots  (You can read the kick-off post about 31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog here.) as she brings several GeneaBloggers through 31 weeks of working towards a better blog, prompts written by Darren Rowse. 

I was a couple weeks behind  due to being on vacation, so I have been playing catch up! I believe with this post I will be caught up, so these posts will occur once a week again as they were meant to. Here is the challenge this week from Tonia~

Action Item
  • Write a problem-solving post and leave a link in the comments.
I had major burn out when I spent a couple of months solving my domain name nightmare. I have been thinking on what problem I could solve. I wasn't thinking to deep as my brain just isn't at a place to work on any major problems. I think it has been fighting me all week in regards to writing and working this challenge.

I decided to use yesterday's post as my "solving a problem" post. I had planned on writing my own obituary, but have never have taken the time to work on it, or make it a priority. In the back of my mind I believe I was also concerned about doing this, it is tough to even think about writing something so drastic. Plus, I am not sure my husband would understand why I wanted to write my own obituary. I have had a major road block as far as really attempting to do this.

Because of the challenge to win a gift, the ObitKit, I finally wrote a rough draft of my obituary, which I posted yesterday. It felt odd to do, but after all, who knows me better than me? It felt good when I finished and I was glad I did it. Now, I will redo my draft, filling in all the ***** and make my revisions and such, and that won't be as difficult for me to accomplish. (I am hoping that I live long enough to go in and make further revisions and updates every so often though...) I do have a bit of a problem left to handle however, I need to share this information with my husband still. Heck, piece of cake, if it makes me happy, he is happy! Maybe he will even have some input!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Happy 75th Birthday Mom!

Today would have been my mother's 75th birthday, had she lived long enough. Instead, mom passed away from cancer more than a decade ago. I read a blog post the other day over at that explained what Susan Roper does on her father's birthday each year. She buys 100 Hershey's candy bars and gives them out randomly to people in memory of her father. I think this is a wonderful idea! I only wish I had thought of it myself! In my mother's case, one of her favorites was peppermint patties. I could see myself handing those out. Susan had a reason for using the "100" count.  I need to decide on an appropriate number to use for my mother...I know, 64! That is how old she was when she passed. It's never to late to start, right?

Happy 75th Birthday Mom!

(Perfect post to mark my 600th blog post!)

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts! 

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Friday, October 21, 2011

I Want To Win An ObitKit™ – A Guide to Celebrating Your Life!


I saw this announcement from Thomas MacEntee at GeneaBloggers about the opportunity to win a free "ObitKit- A Guide to Celebrating Your Life!" and instantly decided, I want to win one! The ObitKit  is an upbeat, detailed book which helps give you ideas and put together your life story.

In order to enter, you need to write your own obit and post it on your blog. I have long felt that I would like to write my own obituary because I don't feel others would know dates, places or even enough about me to write one that included everything I felt it should. As a family historian, I look at making sure I have the correct names, dates and information above all else. As long as I have felt that I want to write my own obituary, I have never attempted to do so. That is until tonight. I found it is much more difficult than you might think. At one point it seemed I was writing my life story, and needed to makes cuts and shorten everything up. 

Suddenly, it dawned on me I was missing the GeneaBloggers Blog Talk Radio program, all because I was involved in trying to write my own obituary, wanting to win the prize! Tonight's radio program was titled: "The Final Chapter-Obituaries, Death Records and Genealogy." Of all nights to miss...I tuned in to the last 20 minutes of the program.

After listening to that 20 minutes, I realized I needed to hear the whole program before I worked any more on my obituary, so I went to the archived show and immediately listened. An idea came to me from listening to the program. Because of today's online obituaries, maybe it was okay to write my obit like a story. Seems to me that it wouldn't matter how long the obit was, I won't believe you would be paying for space, like you would for a newspaper article. 

So, here is the first attempt at my obit. I decided not to mess with it anymore at this stage, although it will definitely be fine tuned and updated and I am sure changed. I did leave out personal information as you will see names and such denoted with ****.  Remember this is a rough draft I decided to share.

Cheryl Palmer, ** yrs old, passed away at her home in (address for private use) Alameda Co., California. She was born in Oakland, California at Merritt Hospital in 19** to ************** and ***************. A couple of years later her parents divorced. Her mother remarried and Cheryl's last name became *******.

Cheryl spent her entire life in Alameda County. She went to schools there and graduated from Don's Beauty School in 19**. Having passed the state board exam and earning her license, she became a working cosmetologist at age 17. The day she turned 18 she moved away from her home and lived on her own.

She married ************** when she was ** in 19**. Their only child, a girl, was born ***** **, **** in *********.

One year she and her husband were staying at Harvey's Hotel when a bomb was planted there. They were ordered to evacuate very early that particular morning. She claimed she had never seen a casino so empty. Authorities later set off that bomb. 

In **** their divorce was final, and a few months later, Cheryl married *************. With this marriage came another daughter, ****************, just six months younger than her own daughter. She often said she felt like she raised twins.

This new husband woke her up to the world. They fished together and attended many sporting events, softball, baseball, soccer etc. He taught her to water ski, golf and ride a motorcycle. She was the proud owner of three brand new Harley Davidson's, the last being a 100th anniversary Fat Boy, which eventually was custom painted and totally chromed out. She belonged to two Harley clubs, was a Ladies of Harley Officer in the first club and a charter member in the second club.

Cheryl and her husband loved to travel. Her first "out of the country" trip was to Mexico. Next was Costa Rica, where her husband was born. They went several times to Costa Rica to visit family. On her Harleys, Cheryl rode to Canada, Mexico, and South Dakota (Sturgis). Many miles were ridden in California, seeing back roads and beautiful country. Some of her best friends were from the Harley chapter and made theses trips with her and her husband. Cheryl has also been on five cruises, the Bahamas, 3 Mexican and a Mediterranean cruise.

She had many hobbies which at one time or another included: crocheting, knitting, tatting, embroidery, sewing, quilting, card making, macramé, sand painting, crewel, needlepoint, coin collecting, couponing, reading, jewelry making, scrapbooking, painting, genealogy, working puzzles,  yoga,swimming, and more. 

In 19** Cheryl entered a few crochet items in the Alameda Co. Fair. She won several first and second place awards for baby clothes, but took "Best of Fair" for a thread tablecloth that took her two years to make. (She was told she would never get it made...that was the best challenge!) She was convinced by the fair workers to enter the tablecloth in the California State Fair that year, where it took first place.

Cheryl worked 30 years in the Cosmetology industry, and retired. She had an independent craft business for several years, "Cheryl Palmer's Pretty Punch." She also worked several office jobs (clerk, benefits coordinator, events planner, & payroll) and as a sales clerk at a Harley Davidson store. She retired from working again in 20** at the age of **.

Life now became filled with grandchildren, crafts, and supporting her daughter's adventures. She started a "home care" dog sitting business and held Crafts Shows in her home.

Surviving is Cheryl's wonderful husband, ************, her two amazing daughter's ****************(and amazing Son in Law, ***************), *********, California and ****************, *********** Tennessee . Cheryl leaves behind two grandchildren, the "prince and princess" whom she absolutely adored! Also surviving are Cheryl's two sister's ************* (*************) & ************, and two nephews, ***************, and *************. Cheryl was preceded in death by her parents, **************, ( & ***************) & *************** along with brother in law *************. 

A bit long wouldn't you say? Have you written your obituary? Did you find it difficult?

Thanks Thomas for this challenge! I sure hope I am one of the lucky ones to win the prize!

(I am also testing a larger font as I know some people prefer it. Let me know your opinion on the font size, and I will go by popular vote. I chose to put this in the normal font I use, so you can see the difference. Wow, this was a loooooong post! But, I am done now.)

Thanks for stopping by! 

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts! 

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 17, 2011

Memory Monday ~ Mediterranean Cruise ~ Part 2 ~ Travel

It was 5:30a.m. and we were standing at the US Air terminal. Although I was excited about this trip, I wasn't looking forward to the flights. It was going to be a long day, about 18 hours before boarding for the cruise. This includes layovers and changing planes. I don't sleep on airplanes. It is not that I don't want to, I just can't. No matter how hard I try (maybe that is the problem, I try) it doesn't happen for me. I can sit there, close my eyes and rest them, but there was no sleeping for me.

We took off that morning right on schedule. Leaving San Francisco, we were headed to Charlotte, North Carolina. This was approximately a four hour flight. I brought my Nook, some magazines and puzzle books. Have I ever told you I love Sudoku puzzles? I spent most of my time on this flight working puzzles. In fact, I need to purchase a new Sudoko puzzle book as I have completed the one I have. I have been known to do Suduko puzzles on my phone too, always have to be doing something!

Of course, we had to change planes in Charlotte. Thankfully, we didn't have to get our luggage and move it also. I always worry about making the connecting flight when we have to do this. Once, when in Chicago's O'Hare airport we had to change planes, and sure enough the terminal we needed to go to was at the other end of the airport. We only had one hour and our previous flight had arrived a little late to boot. We raced to catch the next flight, which luckily we made. I however, was frazzled, hot and sweaty by the time we reached that terminal. Who says vacation is relaxing?

The second leg of our journey was to Madrid. This was exciting as I have never left the western hemisphere before. I feel very fortunate that I do not have a fear of flying, especially as we crossed the ocean. This flight was seven and a half hours. I still wonder what I really did to pass the time, it seemed to go faster that I imagined it would.

My husband did a lot of resting and sleeping on these flights. I was concerned how he was going to handle all the plane time, but he slept, or rested most of the time which surprised me. Can one person get to much sleep? I downloaded a book on Mark Twain to my Nook before we left, thinking at least there would be something for him to read. He read maybe two chapters, and has never finished the book. The book must not have interested him, even though it was a recommendation...very interesting.

Upon landing in Madrid we collected all of our luggage, we of course needed to go through customs. That was actually a breeze, very smooth and easy. The last leg of our flight was from Madrid to Barcelona, a little commuter flight, about an hour long. We sent our luggage to be loaded again, except for our carry on's which we soon were informed were to large for this plane, so they ultimately were checked also. The next thing we knew we were pulling luggage off the baggage claim turn style. We each had two suitcases and a carry on, plus our "extra bag" for bringing home souvenirs. We used  the "extra bag" for dress clothes and shoes etc. on the way over.

We landed in Barcelona, local time being around 10:00a.m. the next day. I was concerned how I was going to handle another full day without any sleep. Hubby was set with all of his cat naps. We didn't board the ship until mid afternoon, so we had plenty of time to get to the pier. A shuttle had been pre-arranged to take us there so we gathered our luggage and boarded the shuttle. We were on our way again, this time to the cruise ship! We had a great day of flying and travel. Thankfully no problems, mishaps or plane hijackings.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mediterranean Cruise ~ Part 1 ~ San Francisco

San Francisco, California. November 2010. Digital photo. Held by Cheryl Palmer. [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] 2011.

This event is now history. As in, it happened, it is finished, completed, done. It is my history and a trip I would like to document for my ancestors. This is also a perfect place for others to read about our trip. So, here we go with Part 1!

Originally, we planned to take a cruise which included a stop in Egypt as we both wanted to see the pyramids. That is the cruise we booked several months back. A few months passed and we were informed the cruise ship would not be stopping in Egypt any longer because of the civil unrest that was ongoing in that country. They moved the stop to somewhere else, I don't even remember where now. We chose to change the cruise we were originally set up for and ended up booking the cruise we just took.

Taking an extended vacation took some planning, as it does for most people. In some ways it may actually take a little less planning for us as we at least do not have to try to coordinate, get permission and take time off of work. For me, the main thing I needed to do was make sure someone would be able to cover watching my grandchildren a couple days a week. And then there was the dog who needed caring for. My grandchildren's other grandmother, or "granny" as she is affectionately known, jumped right in and offered to come out and take care of the grandchildren. That was a big relief for me, I felt I could go away comfortably now, and not worry about anything. "Granny" actually stayed at our house and cared for my dog. She house sat, cared for the grandchildren and our dog! We both got the best of that one I think. She can watch the grandchildren anytime she decides to come out, but this time she had a place to go at the end of the day, for some peace and quiet. For me, there was someone at my house and the dog had company and was fed. What a deal!

We have a gardener, so the yard wasn't much to worry about although our neighbor did water the plants for us a few times when it was really hot. We didn't stop our mail, as someone was here to pick it up, but "granny" was a retired postmaster and decided while we were gone so she to put a stop to it. We just went and picked t up when we returned home.

For a change, I actually packed three days before we were to leave and not at the last minute. We were to have three formal dinners, it took me longer to plan attire for those than anything else. Luckily, my husband does his own packing. I know there are women who pack for their husbands, I am so glad I am not one of them! I have a difficult enough time packing for myself! We worked it out so we would have an empty suitcase with us to bring home souvenirs, plus we actually had extra room in our suitcases.

With the bills paid, and house clean (well clean as it was going to get for "granny.") we were finally ready. On September 14 after I worked my shift at the yoga studio in the morning we decided to head out. Our flight  the next morning was leaving from San Francisco at approximately 7:30am. We needed to be at the airport by 5:30am. To make timing easier for us, we went to San Francisco the day before (September 14) and spent the night. We had a nice afternoon in the city with dinner following. The next morning was a breeze, hopped on the airport shuttle and 10 minutes later we were at the airport!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Geniaus's Geneameme

This is a meme that Geniaus has complied and I am going to participate. Here it is in Jill Ball's own words! Thanks for the fun!

The Ancestors' Geneameme

Many genealogists took up my challenge in the recent Tech Savvy Genealogists Meme so I thought I'd put together another Geneameme (new term just coined). Once again this is the result of a quick personal brainstorm, I have tried to make the statements generic so that the meme has international relevance. 

I invite anyone with an interest in genealogy to participate. If you don't have a blog and wish to participate you can send your responses to me in an email and I will pop them into a blog post on the GeniMates blog. Please let me know when you participate by a comment on this post or by email and I'll collate a list of responses on this blog.
It would be appreciated if genealogists would let the meme run its course before copying and republishing it with alterations and amendments.

The Ancestors' Geneameme

The list should be annotated in the following manner:
Things you have already done or found: bold face type
Things you would like to do or find: italicize (colour optional)
Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type

You are encouraged to add extra comments in brackets after each item 

Which of these apply to you?
  1.  Can name my 16 great-great-grandparents [May never know all 16 as my grandfather's father is totally unknown and not listed on birth certificate]
  2.  Can name over 50 direct ancestors
  3.  Have photographs or portraits of my 8 great-grandparents
  4.  Have an ancestor who was married more than three times
  5.  Have an ancestor who was a bigamist [Not that I am aware of at this point anyway]
  6.  Met all four of my grandparents
  7.  Met one or more of my great-grandparents
  8.  Named a child after an ancestor  [Does the middle name only count?]
  9.  Bear an ancestor's given name/s
  10.  Have an ancestor from Great Britain or Ireland
  11.  Have an ancestor from Asia
  12.  Have an ancestor from Continental Europe
  13.  Have an ancestor from Africa
  14.  Have an ancestor who was an agricultural labourer
  15.  Have an ancestor who had large land holdings 
  16.  Have an ancestor who was a holy man - minister, priest, rabbi
  17.  Have an ancestor who was a midwife
  18.  Have an ancestor who was an author
  19.  Have an ancestor with the surname Smith, Murphy or Jones [now if this asked if the name was in my tree I could go along with it]
  20.  Have an ancestor with the surname Wong, Kim, Suzuki or Ng
  21.  Have an ancestor with a surname beginning with X
  22.  Have an ancestor with a forename beginnining with Z
  23.  Have an ancestor born on 25th December {not an ancestor, but a cousin]
  24. Have an ancestor born on New Year's Day
  25.  Have blue blood in your family lines
  26.  Have a parent who was born in a country different from my country of birth
  27.  Have a grandparent who was born in a country different from my country of birth
  28.  Can trace a direct family line back to the eighteenth century [not listed with full sources]
  29.  Can trace a direct family line back to the seventeenth century or earlier [not listed with full sources]
  30.  Have seen copies of the signatures of some of my great-grandparents 
  31.  Have ancestors who signed their marriage certificate with an X
  32.  Have a grandparent or earlier ancestor who went to university
  33.  Have an ancestor who was convicted of a criminal offence
  34.  Have an ancestor who was a victim of crime
  35.  Have shared an ancestor's story online or in a magazine (Tell us where)
  36.  Have published a family history online or in print (Details please)
  37.  Have visited an ancestor's home from the 19th or earlier centuries [Plan to next year]
  38.  Still have an ancestor's home from the 19th or earlier centuries in the family
  39.  Have a  family bible from the 19th Century
  40.  Have a pre-19th century family bible

Well, this was pretty pathetic! Ok, so there are many that really are not an issue to me. And, there may be a couple that I can include, but at this point tonight I am to tired to come up with anyone. I will be curious to see other bloggers lists. Have you done this meme?

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Friday, October 14, 2011

#31WBGB ~ Week 14 ~ Find A Blog Buddy

I am following Tonia's Roots as she brings several GeneaBloggers through 31 weeks of working towards a better blog, prompts written by Darren Rowse. 

I was a couple weeks behind  due to being on vacation, so I am playing catch up! Here is the challenge from Tonia~

This week’s task is to find a blog buddy.  Let’s face it; blogging is often a solitary endeavor.  Bloggers who work together, often have more success.  Blogging buddies can be one-on-one relationships or small groups.

9 Reasons You Need a Blog Buddy
  1. You can proofread and critique each other’s posts, before pressing “publish.”
  2. You can share link love.
  3. You can promote each other’s posts via social media channels.
  4. You can help each other stay motivated.
  5. You can trade guest posts.
  6. You can brainstorm together and bounce post ideas off each other.
  7. You can critique design and other non-text elements.
  8. You can help build blog comments.
  9. You can hold each other accountable.

Blogging Buddy Relationship Advice

  • Make the relationship mutually beneficial.  All parties should be contribute and benefit.
  • Make each other’s blog better.  We all have a goal of making our own blogs better.  Commit to the same goal for your buddy.

Action Item

  • Find a buddy or a buddy group that you can hook up with.
I am afraid I am going to pass on this week's challenge. I agree that having a buddy could and would be very beneficial for both sides, however I know I am way over busy as it much so that I wouldn't have the time to commit to someone else to help with their blog. Therefore, if I don't feel I could reciprocate at this time, it would be very unfair to expect someone to do this for me. If someone approached me to do this for them I would probably work something out to help, but I just can't ask someone else to do this for me at this time. I look forward to reading how others working on these challenges are handling this one and hearing from  those who have completed this, how it is working for them!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Those Places Thursday ~ Sweden:TV Show Website

For this "Those Places Thursday," I would like to share a new bit of news regarding Sweden and the Swedish TV show I applied for.

It came to my attention this morning that the website for the Swedish TV show, "The Great Swedish Adventure", aka,  "Everything for Sweden" has been completed and is up and running! I am sure most of you will remember or realize that this is the show I auditioned for. I made all of the cuts clear through to the live audition when they flew me to Burbank, Ca. That was the final step for a place on the show... but alas, another fine lady out did me for one of the 5 women's positions on the show.

I have been anxiously awaiting, hoping to have the opportunity to watch the program here at home. The website shows all of the contestants, who they are, where they are from and what they do. Five women and five men. I would like to thank Kirstin Highfield, one of the 10 contestants, for sharing this information with us! It looks like the production company will share each of the episodes also! (I hope I am correct about this...) Enjoy seeing the Americans that made the final cuts to earn a position on the program!

******Added later on the same is the "teaser trailer."

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday ~ Recent Flight to Barcelona

(...this was not our plane however...)

Thanks for stopping by! 

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts! 

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

#31 WBGB ~ Week 13 ~ Update a Key Page

I am following Tonia's Roots as she brings several GeneaBloggers through 31 weeks of working towards a better blog, prompts written by Darren Rowse. 

I am a couple weeks behind  due to being on vacation, so I am playing catch up!

What pages are important on your blog?

Spend a few minutes identifying about 10 pages or posts on your blog that are the most important or most powerful in helping you achieve your goals as a genealogy blogger.  Some of these will be unique to your blog, but there are likely some commonalities for all of us.
Your Front Page
This one is pretty obvious.  Most traffic is going to come through your home page.  It’s probably the page you promote on social media profile sites or the page that others link to when they mention your blog.  It’s also a page that visitors are likely to click on if they land on one of your older posts.  We’re not talking about a complete design overhaul today; rather we are looking for smaller things that may need to be tweaked.
  1. First impressions – what first impression does a new reader make when coming to your front page?  Do they know what your blog is about right away?  Do your header and tag line communicate your intent?  What element is the eye drawn to?
  2. Sidebar – while your sidebar(s) may be visible from all pages, it is probably looked at more from your front page than any other.  Sidebars tend to become cluttered over time with buttons, links, awards, etc.  You may want to move some of these items to another area of the blog, with the objective of only having useful and important information in the sidebar.
  3. Objectives and Calls to Action – what do you want people to do when they arrive on your blog for the first time?  Subscribe, click on an ad, be driven to your best content, connect with you via social media, leave a comment?  Everyone’s objective will be different.  Make sure yours is supported on your front page.
About Page
Your “About” page is one of the more important pages on your blog.  New readers, especially, tend to click on “About” pages to determine if this is a blog they want to read on a regular basis.
Contact Page
Does your blog provide an easy way for readers to contact you?  Just last week, I was contacted by a distant cousin who found my blog and he has pictures to share.  Make sure you don’t miss those opportunities.
High Traffic Posts
Most blogs that have been around for a while have some posts that consistently generate a higher number of page views than others.  This could be the result of search engine traffic, links from other sites, etc.  These pages are important because they serve as gateways to your blog.  You can make readers want to stick around by making sure these posts are up-to-date and by adding:
  • Suggested “further reading” links to other posts on your blog.
  • An invitation to subscribe at the beginning or end of the post.
Other Key Pages
Your blog may have other key pages, such as “Recommended Reading,” Subscribe,” “Surnames,” “Research Toolbox,” etc.  Any page that is specifically linked to from your navigation menu is a key page.  When was the last time you updated them?

Action Item

  • Pick one or two important pages (or posts) that haven’t been updated recently and give them some attention.

I have been working on my blog quite a bit this year, having begun with purchasing my own URL. I then made a tiny change to the name of my blog, by adding "my" before Heritage Happens, to go along with the new URL. I proceeded to make my own personal masthead, for the first time I might add, and cleaned up my sidebar. I am not happy with the results of the sidebar yet, so plan on making a few more changes there. I also am working on updating my "Tab" pages. I think having a blog is almost a constant job of upkeep, very similar to a house. You paint the rooms, clean and redecorate every now and then. So my blog is a constant area of upkeep in my mind.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 10, 2011

Family History Expo Northern California

I finally attended a Family History Expo! I can cross that off my bucket to do list. It started this past Friday, October 7, at what I thought was a unique time. Registration was at 1:00 p.m. I loved it! Holly, if you are reading this, I am sorry I forgot to let you know, but I did love it! By starting at 1:00 in the afternoon and ending at 9:00 pm that evening, I personally was able to avoid what has been lately termed as "the traffic jams of L.A." That alone was wonderful!

Keynote speaker was M. Bridget Cook. I really enjoyed her upbeat attitude and loving, gentle personality. I felt I could have sat and listened to her all day! I also felt as if I had heard her before, or that she was an old friend. (Maybe I have heard her at a spiritual seminar in my other life but my aging conditions hinder me from truly recollecting this...) She spoke about "Handling and Healing the Skeletons in your Genealogical Closet." She was a perfect speaker for this subject! I look forward to seeing and hearing more from her.

My goal for this event was to attend sessions of speakers I had not heard before. I did fairly well at this, although I did attend one of Lisa Louise Cook's, from Genealogy Gems fame, classes. Who can stay away from her Google classes? I  attended Arlene H. Eakle's, class "How did my Ancestors Get into Pennsylvania and How Can I document Them?" I have heard Arlene present a class before, she is so full of knowledge! I was very excited to actually attend another of her sessions.

I attended classes of Gordon Clarke (A Product Manager for Family Search), Ruth Lange CG, Holly Hansen BA (President of Family History Expos), Tom Underhill (Creative Continuum), and my roomie from Jamboree Angela Kraft. (Angela, who blogs at Leaves of Heritage, and I spent some time together Saturday afternoon, which was great!) This was my first time hearing these speakers. I went out on a limb searching new aspects and learned quite a bit! If I didn't learn something, I had ideas and thoughts popping in my head!

On Friday night Steve Danko (Steve's Genealogy Blog) stopped by to see me. As he explained to Ron Arons, on his vacation he had left "something" (I won't say what-what happens on vacation, stays on vacation!) on an excursion bus. He told Ron I was kind enough to go to Europe to get more for him! He just couldn't let me mail this to him though, he came to me pick it up!

It just so happened that while I was walking the venue late that afternoon, I heard my name behind me. I turned around and there was Steve talking to Ron while he was on the phone. I walked up to them, Steve looked at me and said he was just calling me! Good thing I heard them as my phone was on vibrate and I probably would never have known he was calling. It was fun to spend a bit of time with Steve and compare our vacations. Steve has posted some of the most wonderful photos on his blog, Steve's Genealogy Blog, from his trip. Most put mine to shame I am afraid. When I post about my trip, I may have to refer you to his photos!

I did some "smoozing" with the vendors and enjoyed catching up with people such as Janet Hovorka (Family Chart Masters), Lisa Louise Cook (Genealogy Gems) and Charles from Geni, among others. (Charles, you rock!) I missed Charles's presentation ( I haven't heard him present before) but he understood as I went to roomie Angela's class instead. Angela did a wonderful job, on a subject I didn't know much about. her class was titled "Publishing your family history to DVD." It was not was I was expecting, so it was a great treat! Look for her to present a class or two at Jamboree next year, hopefully she will be applying to present there!

On Sunday I had a very profitable day, I won prizes! I won a book from Tom Underhill (Creative Continuum) in his class, I won a VIP gift from the conference (a calculator and a pedometer from Family Search) and then I won a gift at the closing ceremony from Holly Hansen, the three syllabus's from three other Family History Expos in the country this year, Arizona, Colorado and Georgia. I have to tell you, I have a ton of reading to do! I was given another book, plus I purchased a book, I think I am going to have to make a 15 minute a day rule or something so I can get this reading done!

I didn't take many photos this time as I chose not to lug my camera around. As it turns out, I needed the strength to carry many books instead! Thank you Family History Expos for your program in San Mateo this year! I think this "Ol' Dog Learned a Few New Tricks!"

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Friday, October 7, 2011

Northern California's 3rd Annual Family History Expo

Today is the day! I'm finally attending this event! Registration begins at 1:00pm this afternoon in San Mateo. The Keynote Speaker, M. Bridget Cook, will open at 2:00pm. She is a national best selling author and teaches how to write "your own legacy". Her work has been seen on Oprah, Dr. Phil, Good Morning America and in People Magazine. (I thought I had seen her before!) Today her Keynote Address is entitled, "Handling and Healing the Skeletons in Your Genealogical Closet."

I live close enough to this event that I will be commuting to it each of these next two days. There will be 28 classes to choose from this afternoon alone. I am having a tough time deciding which to attend!

For instance, I would like to sit in on Bruce Buzbee's Personal Historian 2 session, (Roots Magic is one of the major sponsors), but Arlene H. Eakle, Ph.D., is giving a session on Pennsylvania ancestors and documentation which also interests me. Lisa Louise Cook, Stephen Morse, Ron Aarons, and of course Holly Hansen will be presenting also at this event. My roomie from Jamboree this past year, Angela Kraft, is presenting a session on Saturday afternoon "Publishing your Family History to DVD." I would love to attend and support her for this class. I also feel that if I don't attend classes from those I haven't heard before, I may be missing out on great speakers!

Today, I may only have four sessions to choose, however these may be the toughest decisions for me to make! As I prepare for this afternoon, I will try to give good thought to each of the classes I would like to attend today and see if I can make some decisions. If I can't make those decisions I just may have to toss a coin! Some classes I will take because of the speaker and some classes because of the content, and if I am very lucky some classes because of both, the speaker and the content! have to make such decisions, when before all I wanted to do was attend!

Better get going, have to get money, gas and all that important stuff before I go. Ok, maybe I should take a shower and get dressed too...

P.S.- I can scratch getting gas, my wonderful hubby just went and did that for me! He gave me money too...I am so spoiled.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday ~ Could it be?

Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy, September 18, 2011. Digital photo. Taken and held by Cheryl Palmer. [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2011

Thanks for stopping by! 

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts! 

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 3, 2011

Family History Expo

California's Third Family History Expo is this weekend and I am looking forward to it. I have tried each year to make this event, however other things have apparently been more pressing. Finally, I can attend!  Here is the press release from August 8, 2011 with the details, I hope to see you there!

For more information:

ShyAnna Chambers, Executive Assistant

Learn the Tech to Trace Your Roots,
Northern California Family History Expo

Learn the tech to trace your roots at the Northern California Family History Expo, October 7-8, 
2011 at the San Mateo County Event Center, 2495 S. Delaware Street, San Mateo, California.
“Family History Expos is the place where ol’ dogs learn new tricks and young puppies learn old 
ones,” founder and president Holly Hansen said. “We want to assist in the journey of tracing 
your roots with the best results.”

The Expo opens for registration at 1pm on Friday with a keynote address by M. Bridget Cook at 
2pm. Cook is a U.S. Best Selling author and biographer. Her book, Shattered Silence, has been 
featured on Oprah, Dr. Phil, Good Morning America, and many other national TV shows and 
magazines. Bridget is a brilliant writer and will be teaching classes to assist us with writing our 
own juicy family histories!

“She is an amazing speaker and we can’t wait for her to open the show,” Hansen said.
The Expo will feature nearly 60 classes and demonstrations on how to get started to more 
techniques and technology in conducting your family history research. Professional genealogists 
and industry experts from throughout the country teach classes. The cost of early online 
registration for the event, $95, allows participants to select from a variety of classes being taught 
throughout the two day Expo ($120 at the door).

“We have something to offer everyone from those who are just curious about family history to 
those who are performing genealogy research professionally,” Hansen said.
The exhibit hall, open 1pm – 8pm Friday and 9am – 5pm Saturday, will feature companies 
focused on families and family history research. The event is co-sponsored by Family History 
Expos, FamilySearch, RootsMagic,, and AGES-online.
-MORE-Copyright 2011 Family History Expos, Inc. – PO Box 187 – Morgan, UT 84050 –

Register in advance online at and save. Contact Family History Expos by 
telephone at 801-829-3295.

Info Box Information

Where ol’dogs learn new tricks!

Northern California Family History Expo 2011
October 7-8, 2011 
At the door registration begins at: 1pm Friday & 9am Saturday
Exhibits open1pm to 8pm Friday and 9am to 5pm Saturday
Learn the tech to trace your roots with two full days of classes, hands-on demonstrations and 


San Mateo County Event Center
2495 S. Delaware Street
San Mateo, California

Classes and Workshops
In Advance: $95 for both days
At the Door: $120, $60 for a single day, or $20 per class 

Register right now at and receive access to online class handouts before the 
event begins! 

Note: Online class handouts are available only to those who register online.

Family History Expos, Inc. is a Utah-based company headquartered in Croydon, Utah. FHE has 
been holding successful expos throughout the United States, teaching thousands to learn the art of and experience the spirit of family history research, since 2003.

Twitter hashtag: #fhexpo

Thanks for stopping by! 

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts! 

Copyright © 2011 By Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved