Saturday, December 25, 2010

My Secret Holiday Addiction

Cheesy Christmas movies, is there anything better? Every year I search through the bins of Walmart, Sam's and Best Buy to see if there is some black and white Christmas movie I have never seen. I do searches on Amazon for Christmas movies I have to see if a recommendation will come up for a movie I do not have, and I am never disappointed.

From "A Christmas Wish", "It Happened on 5th Avenue" or "Christmas in Connecticut" I am hooked. While the movies in black and white hold a particular place in my heart, watching Arnold in "Jingle All the Way" always brings a smile to my face. And I cannot decorate the Christmas tree without Chevy Chase's National Lampoon's Christmas.

The newest addition to the bargain bins are collections of Christmas episodes from classic television series. Watch McNale's navy capture the Japanese while bringing toys to an orphanage or Samantha and Darrin help an orphan believe in Santa Claus. For a real treat you can watch an anthology of all the Saturday Night Live Christmas skits.

So what does all of this have to do with genealogy or family history? I could try to find some profound hidden meaning, but I just like them. While my son Clayton does not share my passion, he does admit to enjoying National Lampoon's Christmas. My granddaughter Tori refuses to watch any of y black and white movies, but the Home Alone and Santa Claus movies are watched every year.

Family traditions are important whether it is the family silver that is used on the dinner table, the hand made ornaments on the tree or the reading of "The Night Before Christmas" on Christmas Eve.

Oh, and Tori did pick out a movie to add to my collection this year: "The Muppets Christmas Carol"! She never really warmed up to Bill Murray's version "Scrooged"!

Merry Christmas!

For more ideas on exploring and creating your own family traditions visit Use the code BLOG for free shipping.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Catching Up: Doctors, Holidays and Everyday Genealogy!

Where to start?

I spent 4 weeks this fall on short term disability. I went through various doctor appointments and procedures in an attempt to find a resolution for the problems with the nerves in my neck and arm since the car accident. There was the culture shock of going back to work. I picked Thanksgiving week to return so I would be able to ease into work with a short week. It was a good plan and I am now back at work full time.

My granddaughter, Tori had an recurrence of CRMO (a rare bone condition) and had to spent her birthday in All Children's Hospital. She is a real trooper and if a child has to be in the hospital All Children's Hospital is the best facility around. She is now on a new protocol and doing much better.

Then came the biggest problem of the holiday season. How do you decorate for Christmas with cases of calendars in the living room!

Yes, Everyday Genealogy calendars are populating the area in the living room where the Christmas Tree usually stands. With some creative arranging and a hand truck Chuck has managed to move the calendars so we can put up the Christmas Tree!

Chuck's parents will be arriving soon so I am busy converting the office into a guest room. They are here to celebrate the holidays and warm up from the cold and snow of Minnesota. We are also anticipating the 100th birthday of Theresa Steigerwald Steinkellner, Chuck's great aunt the day after Christmas. The genealogist in me is waiting to see how many 'new' relatives I can find at the party!

And this morning I received a great birthday present! In today's Sunday Tampa Tribune Sharon Tate Moody wrote about the birth of the Everyday Genealogy Desk Calendar! If you would like to read the article follow this link:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Everyday Genealogy: Ice Storms, Snow Storms and the Next Generation of...

Everyday Genealogy: Ice Storms, Snow Storms and the Next Generation of...: "I remember the winters growing up in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago as if they were yesterday. Ice storms, snowstorms and those beloved..."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My Wish List for the Holidays: Bluetooth, a Heat Lamp and Nellie Evans Album

The holidays are here and everyone is busy making their lists and checking them twice. I make it even more difficult for family and friends because my birthday is also in December. What to get Pattie?

This year I am asking for practical items - my new car came with Bluetooth so I have asked my son to 'activate' it or whatever needs to be done so I can use it. I may suggest he start with Chuck's car first to make sure mine goes smoothly.

I asked Chuck to install a heat lamp in the master bathroom. It seems either the winters in Florida are getting colder or I am getting cold easier.

While both of these items are all about me I would give them up if only someone would locate Nellie Evans photo album! I saw it once and should have grabbed it, but I didn't and now I don't know when it will surface again.

Nellie Neilson Schultz Evans is Chuck's great great grandmother and quite an elusive figure. She was born in Philadelphia in the 1856 and died in DuPage County Illinois in 1935. The one and only time I saw the album I had not started researching the Schultz family.

One afternoon Chuck's mom showed me Nellie's photo album. The only people she could identify was Nellie and her second husband Wilson Evans. I remember that Nellie was always the shortest person in the pictures. There were others, but at that time I had no idea who they might be. Now years later I think I might be able to identify more of the people and possibly date the photos based on the clothing and surroundings. So, what is stopping me?

Chuck's parents moved to Minnesota soon after I saw the album and never finished unpacking. Nellie's photo album is packed away and stored in the rafters of Chuck's younger brother Carl's garage. There is no time table as to when the boxes will be unpacked. The other issue is what the condition will be when it is found.

If there is a genealogist in your family the most precious gift you might give them is sitting in your closet or locked in your memories. Family pictures, original records (birth certificates or service records) diaries or a platter used to serve holiday meals will be appreciated much more than something bought at the mall.

If you do not have a family artifact to share I will put in a plug for my 2011 Genealogy Calendar - Everyday Genealogy. With 365 tips, hints and ideas it will aid everyone in their genealogy research. If you use the promotion code BLOG shipping will be free. You can click on the title of this article or go to to check it out.

Happy Holidays