December 31, 2015

Year end, look back, blah, blah, blah

I admit it. I've been a terrible blogger this year. I've neglected my blog and my promise to myself to be a consistent blogger. 

But if that's my worst mistake in 2015 (and believe me, it's not) then I would be in pretty good shape here on December 31, 2015.

Just 'cause I haven't been blogging doesn't mean I haven't been up to my eyeballs in genealogy.

Genealogy accomplishments in 2015

- I've become very active in the Wake County Genealogical Society. President-in-Training, VP Communications, Volunteer Coordinator. I need to seriously coordinate us into some more volunteers!  I helped get a new web site online. Check it out!

- Invested in a new genealogy database since my beloved FTM is going away. I'm incorporating my move to RootsMagic with a do-over. It's a monumental task. 

- I've really gotten into Find-a-Grave this year. Taken lots of photographs, beefing up bio info and pics on memorials I own, finding graves for all those I can.

- Totally organized all my digital files on Dropbox. I'm proud of me!

- Organized all my paper documentation, made sure I had digital copies, and put all the paper in binders organized by family name.

- Started taking apart photo albums that do not adhere to best practices, scan pics, organize pics. Need to decide if I want to hand scrapbook them or do a digital scrapbook.

- I downloaded all my digital documentation from Ancestry and made sure I had back up copies on Dropbox. Also made sure I attached them to the right person in FTM, which will soon become a duplicated effort when I put them in RootsMagic. Sigh.

- Volunteered for Ancestry Day at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh, NC. Spent day 1 at the NC Archives and day 2 at the event itself helping folks get registered and find their way. Very cool.

- Spent an afternoon at the Richard H. Thornton Library in Oxford, NC poking through the Hays Collection. Also spent a day at the Johnston County Heritage Center in Smithfield, NC. And several days at the NC State Archives in Raleigh, NC. 

- Throughout it all, I made serious hay on and all the many other databases I like to dig through. I even managed to post here a few times.

Whew!  Looking back, that's a LOT. 

But it's gonna be even better in 2016!  Bring it on. After all, some of my best friends are dead people.

December 17, 2015

Favorite Family Recipes: Mama's Fudge

Ann Gladys Allen Stancil
and her new cocker spaniel puppy.
Honolulu, Hawaii
Mama made this fudge at Thanksgiving and again at Christmas. It was one of her most requested recipes!

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter (margarine just isn't the same!)
  • 1 small can (5 oz.) evaporated milk. Don't use sweetened condensed milk!
  • 1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow crème
  • I cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (not the fake stuff!)







Putting it all together...
  1. Measure all your ingredients before starting. Once you get started, you'll need to work fast.
  2. Line a 9-in square pan with foil leaving extra over the side to use as handles.
  3. Bring sugar, butter, and evaporated milk to a full rolling boil in a 3 qt. saucepan on medium heat. Stir constantly, it will stick to the bottom and burn in a skinny minute!
  4. Cook for about 4 minutes until a candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees F.
  5. Remove from heat and add chips and marshmallow crème.  Stir like crazy until all is melted. Mama often had Daddy standing by to put some real muscle into the stir!
  6. Add nuts and vanilla.
  7. Pour into prepared pan and spread to cover bottom of pan.
  8. Cool completely. Use foil handled to lift fudge from pan before cutting into small squares.
Has 0 calories if consumed during the holidays!



December 14, 2015

What's all the fuss?

Unless you live under a rock, you've heard that is saying bye bye to Family Tree Maker. 

I'll admit, I was a bit surprised by the announcement, but after thinking about it from a business perspective,  I got it. 

I've worked for software companies most of my career. Still do. Software as a Service (SAAS) became a thing about 10 years ago. Then, along came all the hoopla around the "cloud". It makes perfect sense that Ancestry would eventually choose not to invest any more $$$ in development of an old-fashioned software program. That's so last century. 

So they're doing away with FTM and moving everyone to maintaining their tree on their web site, which by the way charges nearly $400 a year to maintain all the resources. See, it's all about the money. 

That's not as offensive as it may sound, all about the money. Without income, they won't have the resources to continue to build the empire. Or pay people to scan and index records. Or maintain their site. Or look good to their stockholders. 

So, I get it. 

Still, it's a bummer.  We'll lose features now in FTM but not available in the online trees on Ancestry. Well, shoot. Stuff happens. 

The world hasn't ended. The world still turns. We all woke up this morning. It's all gonna be ok with or without Family Tree Maker. 

I promise.