Thursday, April 21, 2011

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

As of March 30th, my free subscription to's library edition ended, and paired with my busy life and the end of the school year, I have not made much significant progress.  Below are some minor achievements and future goals:

 - I received a number of interesting documents from Kathleen, many of which actually confirmed information from my previously troublesome primary document.  I hated to think that Grandma Maureen had it wrong, so I'm glad there was some confirmation.
 - I have the phone number and email of another relative (a cousin of Grandma) who will have some interesting insight into more remote generations and branches of the family tree.  He is the only child of a couple who had him later in life.  Always helpful.
 - Kathleen and I also enlisted her Aunt Ellen, another one of Grandma's cousins, who has been working on Cunniff genealogy for years.  The idea was also proposed to create a narrative about that branch of my family.  I would love to do that and give it as a Christmas gift in the future to my father and his siblings.
 - I came to the realization that the McGee's are also difficult to research because the generations preceding my father did not have long lives.  Considering that my father was only a year old when his grandfather passed (at the age of 56), it stands to reason that a lot of stories remain untold.

 - To make a spreadsheet of the information I currently have and figure out what information is missing exactly.  It would be quite comprehensive.
 - Devise a set of specific questions to ask family members in order to record stories and other information.  Previous work completed in oral history has proven to me that the more specific the question, the more rich the answers tend to be.
 - Continue filling in the sheets from Family Tree Online, which have proven very helpful to this point.
 - Compile and scan family photos for both preservation purposes and to make my eventually narrative semi-illustrated.  The adage that "a picture is worth a 1000 words" means even more in genealogical research.

I'll edit this post later to add a picture.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Reaching Out

After a week's worth of intensive genealogical research on's Library Edition (which is what I have access to), I have decided to get some help filling in some of the initial holes.

Facebook can be a beautiful thing.  I posted a plea for assistance as my status and got almost immediate results.  My father's cousin (2nd cousin, I suppose) Kathleen is the keeper of family stuff in the Baby Boomer generation.  She sent me not only new info (including some dates and information about her direct line.  Her grandfather and my great-grandmother were siblings), but also other people who have the same interest and could be of some help.  

I now know the following
- My great-great-grandfather died of carbon monoxide poisoning, due to an extinguished pilot light.
- Some of my relatives came over on the Alaska in 1888, the year of one of the worst winters on record in the United States.
- I have traced my grandfather's mother's side of the family to almost 1800 in Ireland.  
- My great-great-uncle was a golf champion who taught the New York Yankees to golf in the 1950s and 1960s.  

I am still struggling with:
- Both the McGee and the Bell lines.  With names as common as those, and first names as common as "John" and "William," I'm having difficulty creating effective search parameters. 
- I can't seem to get too many concrete dates.
- Information from a primary document of my grandmother's is not matching other information, nor is the other information matching itself.  
- My printer is acting up and not letting me print / scan.  Grr.

Reaching out to Kathleen and the family is one of the best things I've done thus far.  It is also nice to have an excuse to chat with these relatives, because I don't get to see them very often.  Aside from this genealogy project, I'm at midterms with both schools and I'm preparing for a regional academic conference with a totally different research project (The Magic Kingdom's changing depiction of history and the influence Walt Disney has on this viewpoint).  I always have a lot of "irons in the fire," as it were, and I'm usually happiest when working on a variety of projects, both academic and leisure.  

Above: My grandmother and two of my older cousins, ca. appr. Christmas 1983.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

New Look, New Purpose

And I have returned. Again.

So much has changed, and my blogs are definitely reflecting that. I have met many of the goals I wanted to, as well as worked towards others. However, the goals are only a secondary part of this blog.

I have always been interested in my family's genealogy, as well as the art of genealogy in general, and a few years ago, I wanted to start working on my family tree. I had worked on my theatre group's "tree" a number of years ago, but obviously my real tree has a lot more purpose. The theatre tree helped me learn how to do the research in a confined and focused setting, teaching me about using non-traditional sources to conduct research. This has served me well in my journey into the family past.

My uncle, or my mother's brother, has done extensive work on my maternal side's history, so I have decided to focus my research on my father's side, which holds a lot of mystery due to the lack of living relatives. Fortunately, the McGee's and their branches love to talk, so I have a lot of resources in the current generations.

To begin my search, I just filled in the people I could into an family tree. I spoke mainly to my father to fill in blanks. Now I am using a free trial subscription to's Library Edition (through La Salle University) to do extensive data research. I have discovered so many things. It's positively overwhelming.

This blog's primary purpose will be to reflect on my research methods, as well as telling some of the most interesting tales from my family. It will also help me remember my steps and where I am missing information.

After a trip to Staples this morning, I purchased a 2" binder and heavy-duty Avery tabs. I need these supplies to last me a long time, as well as withstand whatever travel I might need to make. I hope one day I can do some international traveling to my family's homelands (England and Ireland) to trace the family even further back.

I hope I can help other genealogists on their journeys' as well.

Above: My grandma and grandpa on their wedding day, June 26, 1950.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I'm on my way...

I know I haven't written on here in a while, but goals are being achieved.

- I am going to North Carolina to visit my sister this weekend.
- I have been officially accepted to the Mid-Atlantic American Studies Conference.
- I was also accepted to a conference in New Orleans (another state goal).
- I got engaged!
- I'm doing well in school and on track to graduate in August.
- I'm going on a New England road-trip this summer.
- I'm performing in an Improv 101 show for alumni.
- I have more or less conquered my acne with medication and a new skin care routine.

So, I'm not so behind.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

64. Vote for Obama in November.

Today, I met the first of my goals. I voted for Barack Obama and Joe Biden in the 2008 Presidential election. And they won. I have an incredible feeling of hope for America right now. It's not going to be easy, but I'm thrilled that he is the leader who is taking us through it all.

All my goal entailed was to vote for the guy. The winning is just a HUGE perk.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

208 in 2008

First off, I realize I'm ripping this off of the lovely Miss Allison. In this situation though, it is simply imitation as the sincerest form of flattery. What an incredible idea! I picked slightly different numbers though for a variety of reasons. First, I wanted the number to be significant. 2008 was a big year for me, so why not commemorate it? Also, one section of 50 goals pertain just to traveling in the United States, so I needed to compensate for that. It's about 5 and half years, so I'm putting the end date at January, 2014. Some of these goals are little...some are huge. Whatever the size, I will attempt to document each one as best I can.

Here it is:

Gettin' Schooled
1. Earn Master's Degree in American Studies
2. Have a paper published
3. Present at the Mid-Atlantic American Studies Conference in Elizabethtown
4. Finish Barrick Collection database and get it online
5. Start on my Ph.D.
6. Teach school, either high school or college
7. Complete a NY Times Sunday crossword completely on my own.
8. Read the complete works of David McCullough

States Rights
9. Sail on an Alaskan Cruise
10. See the volcanos in Hawaii
11. Eat crabs in Maryland (Liz)
12. Drink in the French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana (Sara)
13. Visit Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida
14. Sample wines in Napa Valley, California
15. Have lobster in Maine
16. Munch on pancakes and maple syrup in Vermont
17. Stalk the real Josiah Bartlett in New Hampshire
18. Bask in the history in Boston, Massachusetts (Sara)
19. Remember the Alamo in Texas
20. Enjoy a weekend with Sarah in High Point, North Carolina
21. Tan in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
22. Cheer on the Yankees, the Bronx, New York
23. Be a history nerd at Monticello, Virginia
24. Watch the sunrise in Cape May, New Jersey (Sara)
25. Amaze at the Grand Canyon, Arizona
26. Drive through Yellowstone National Park, Montana (yes, part of it is there)
27. Frolick in the sunflowers in Kansas
28. Chill, literally, in Fargo, North Dakota
29. Snap pictures at Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota
30. Wade in Crater Lake, Oregon
31. Giggle at the Grand Tetons in Wyoming
32. Serve at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Rhode Island (Gwen, if you have a better suggestion, send it ahead)
33. Applaud a show at the Yale Repertory Theatre, Connecticut
34. Wiggle my toes in the sand in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
35. Hike a few miles on the Appalachian Trail, West Virginia
36. Honor an author at the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta, Georgia
37. Breathe the thin air in Denver, Colorado
38. Pretend I'm Elvis in Graceland, Nashville, Tennessee
39. Look for bluegrass in Kentucky
40. Cruise on Route 66 in New Mexico
41. Phone my old art history professor from the Spiral Jetty in Utah
42. Gamble in Las Vegas, Nevada (trite, but hey...I've never done it!)
43. Chow down on some Idaho potatos
44. Attend a tour of a beer factory in Wisconsin
45. See both parts of Michigan
46. Tour Ottumwa Iowa, home of Walter "Radar" O'Reilly
47. Listen to the mighty Missasip in...well, Mississippi
48. Pay my respects at the memorial in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
49. Rock out at the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio
50. Spend time with my cousins in Washington
51. Nebraska
52. Arkansas
53. Indiana
54. Glide on the El in Chicago, Illinois
55. Whitewash with Tom Sawyer in Hannibal, Missouri
56. Minnesota
57. Alabama
58. View pop-art at the Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
59. Greet Obama at the White House, Washington D.C.

Conquering My Fears
60. Fly across the ocean
61. Go to the top of the Empire State Building
62. See Ground Zero
63. Get a dog

Let's Do It
64. Vote for Obama in November
65. Get married
66. Go to Ireland
67. Go to the Louvre, Paris France
68. Drink at the Lapin Agile
69. Walk across Abbey Road (Sara)
70. Find a way to either the Oscars or the Red Carpet
71. See a Broadway show once a year
72. Find a job I love
73. See Billy Joel perform
74. See the Decemberists again
75. Meet Diane Keaton (hey, I can dream...right?)
76. Take piano / voice lessons
77. Become involved in theatre again

Being Crafty
78. Get my scrapbooking up to date
79. Make a quilt
80. Create a "tshirt blanket" (if this is successful...make one for sara)
81. Make a formal dress from scratch
82. Get posters dry-mounted and framed
83. Have Masque posters dry-mounted and framed

Movie Time
84. See all the films that won the Best Picture Academy Award
85. See the AFI 100 years films (all of them...)
86. Have a movie review or critique published

Afterthoughts (all the others)
87. Keep blogs updated
88. Run for public office
89. Get rid of acne / acne scars
90. Not miss a day talking to Jason (so far, so good...15 months and counting)
91. Try out for 'So You Think You Can Dance' (why not?)
92. Keep nails nice for 21 days straight (that forms a habit!)
93. Audition for a TV show or movie
94. Write a pilot episode and some other episodes for a sitcom
95. PHOTO PROJECT: At least one picture for each goal (including this one!)
96. Find a way to whiten teeth.
97. Pen series of humorous essays.
98. Finish REAL family tree
99. Attain Photoshop and become awesome at it
100. Improv somewhere again.
101. Compete on Jeopardy!
102. Make Masque family quilt (they know what I'm talking about)
103. Get eyes checked / new glasses (that will make most of these goals easier...sight is a wonderful thing!)
104. Make flower calendar for Oma
105. Construct 3 more collages

OK, I know this only about half of 208...but I need ideas! comment and send me suggestions!

Onward and upward.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Best. Week. Ever!

This week has been the best week ever...and it's only getting better.

Friday, Last: Went out with some fun people from school and had my first really good barhopping experience. Not to say that the others were bad, just sorta lame.

Saturday, Last: Amy's grad party, which was sweet. Strawberry daquiris, tubing on the Delaware, and fireworks! Amy's family is fantastico and it was good to see some Masque people again.

Sunday: The IHOR and friends Sunday night movie tradition continues. A crew of us went to see "Ratatouille" which was wayyy better than seeing "Evan Almighty" the weekend prior.

Monday: Monday is always great because of Quizzo. It was also the last Day ONE, which was sorta good (the kids were kinda sucking at this point...). I won the medal for having won the most end-of-the-day cheers, tied with Michelle and Michal. Woo. Also, we studied all day for Quizzo, reading the blog, looking up things that might come up, and we did really well. The first round was meh, but in the 2nd round, we thought we did well and jokered (for those of you who don't play quizzo at the Dark Horse, that means prior to the scoring portion of the round, you can risk doubling your can only do it once per game.). Well, not only did we do well, but we went 10 for 10, doubling for 20! Also, we knew our Transformers and did well in the speed round because of it (the theme for the 3rd round was: Autobot or Decepticon). I felt especially happy that we did better than the team who comes everyweek called "The Decepticons". We did well in the 4th round, totalling at 32 out of about 43 possible points. My team and I (this week called: The Gryffindors), are studying again for next week, which is the 100th Dark Horse Quizzo. Daniel Radcliffe was also on Leno, making my night.

Tuesday: HARRY POTTER AT MIDNIGHT! It was fantastic. I was in awe. Also, I got to see it with some of my favorite people from all aspects of my life. Panda (also known as one A. Smith) came with me and my la salle people to what was easily the craziest movie going experience ever.

Wednesday: After work, it rained. I got soaked. I changed into warm jammies (yay!) and watched TV until 6, whence it was time for another installment of "Nachos with Nicole". Most of the RC's stopped by, as well as summer staff. Nicole makes a mean nacho and an even meaner guacamole. I went back to my room to watch Daniel Radcliffe on Conan. Bed as Thursday is...

Thursday: BREAKFAST AT IHOP! I love the rooty-tooty fresh and fruity breakfast, with apples. yum. alot of the RC's and summer staff came to say a final good-bye to Michal, who leaves for Poland today. The ride home was hellish. Scott had to drive around a garbage truck, almost bottoming out. After I was safely at work, I had lunch outside on the union patio for the first time in about a week. It was simply too hot to eat outside for about the entire month of July. I called Aunt Rosemary and my grandparents and my mom. After work it was time for HARRY POTTER 5: PART DEUX. in this episode, Nicole gets very lost on the way to King of Prussia and we could only shop for about 30 minutes. boo. The movie was just as good as the first time and dinner was great (I love steak and mashed potatos). Serena slept over and all was well. Emma Watson was on Conan. Yay!

Tonight I'm going out with lots of people for Sara's 21st birthday (finally!) and Sunday is the Decembrist's concert. Life is good.