Computer Time Genealogy

After working on my travelogue for a couple of days, I quickly decided I needed to actually take some of my photography from Kauai and create a photo book. Spent all of Thursday working out the details, and sent it off to Shutterfly. I haven’t been disappointed with my book produced by this company. If you haven’t tried them, send me your email and a free 8×8 hardcover book is yours. Full disclosure. I will also get one too. Shipping is not included, though. Just got an email saying my book has shipped. Fast service. Sent it in on Thursday 1/31 and it is on its way 2/4. Excited!

While at the computer, I caught up with some of my family genealogy. I have a world subscription to Ancestry.com and Family Tree Maker software on my iMac. After much worry, and much reading, I decided to sync both trees. My next goal will be to bring this tree to life. I would like to put a face or information other than vital statistics (birth, marriage, death) to names of my direct descendents. I check the hints that appear, and that usually draws me away from this goal. And it is so easy to do. Follow one hint, find another. I am getting better at keeping track of my research by using a notebook, and adding notes to my online trees.

My father and his two brothers (Doctor Rubinstein) are part of the story cited in
Schindler’s List

Another distraction is my DNA test matches. I find a match, and I try and figure out how this can be. Recently connected with a second cousin online with a DNA match. I think of this person as a little kid, who I understand is a recently retired physician. Talk about where did the time go.

Before I went to college most of my relatives lived in the New York metropolitan area. And every couple of years there would be a large family gathering. I knew the names and faces of most of the 100+ people, but I could not see how I was related. I never had grandparents, so anyone over 25 was called uncle, and under 25 cousin. A family tree would have cleared a lot of this mystery up. A suggestion for large family reunions would be a family tree.

I remember thinking that it would be nice to have a Grandma.

I’m thinking of trying to connect with my living relatives online since we are now spread around the country, and beyond. I plan to gather as many email addresses from extended family so that we can send out event notices and keep connected. I may set up a private family page where we can share. Kind of like Facebook’s original intent to connect people. I haven’t decided if Facebook is the way to go, or should I create some other venue. I belong to two private pages, and they have worked. But maybe there is another way to connect. I’m looking for suggestions. How does your family stay connected?

I now possess all my parent’s photo albums, and I have a cousin (1st cousin 1x removed) who researched one branch of my family since 1985. All his research was done without benefit of computer. It is remarkable that his research checks my online hints. He is no longer working on this, and will be passing along more of his research to me. Problem is that I live on the west coast, trunk full of stuff on the east coast. So either I make a trip back east or have another family member ship it here. Will figure this out soon.

So many choices, so little time

My parents were very diligent and took great care with photographs. Essentially their photographic life started for them after WWII. At first they used corners on each picture, and my Dad carefully lettered the page. Later they moved on to using self sticking albums. Later still, they added slides, a case, a projector (built like a truck), and screen. Again each is labeled. They treasured these memories. Once when the family was living overseas in Karachi, Pakistan and the idea that we might have to be evacuated arrangements were made to keep the albums safe.

All of this is now at my house. And I need to think about what to do with this history.  In truth, I favor looking at the older family photos. Starting to piece together my parents life in Europe before 1945. I found some documents with photographs on their ghetto cards. These ID cards were required by the Germans. The scanned images are poor, but with a bit of work I can see my mother around the age of 14 years. I need to get in touch and see if I can get a better scan. When I started my family genealogy in the 1980’s I uncovered a family photograph from my father’s side taken when a family member visited. As often the case after a visit a photo is placed in an album and the others in the photograph never sees the image. Luckily, in talking to this cousin my father was able to see the last photo of his mother and family before the Shoah.

My parents documented their extensive travels. These beautiful landscapes hold less interest for me. Maybe I should catch the travel bug while I still can travel. When the family scatters, group photos only happened at times of celebration. A few weeks ago my family gathered to celebrate a wedding. So nice when the occasion is such a happy one. My brother’s marriage now extends my family into Argentina. The last time I studied Spanish was in 9th grade (some 55 years ago). I wasn’t any good at it, and rolling those R’s near impossible.  I am trying out Duolingo and Babbel. But if I am serious I will check out some of the other online learning programs. So far in Duolingo I can only drink aqua or leche. I can eat una manzana or él pan. Just  figured out how to put in accent marks on my iMac. But probably there are more interesting things to eat. Don’t want to live on bread and water! Has anyone had a good experience with a language program for conversational Spanish?

Am I spreading myself out too thin? Sometimes I feel like I should just stick with one thing, but then I get pulled in another direction. You can probably tell from the way this post is flying all over the place. Maybe I need to figure out just what I want from my life. I just retired from babysitting my grandkids. Another story for another day. Not good.   Photography connects many of my directions. Learning, travel, connecting, collecting memories, and family genealogy. This I share in my blog. I sometimes share on my Flickr site, but Facebook needs my attention if I want to connect with my local peeps.  I will try and wean myself off of following FB and use my time differently. Continuing to search my genealogy ties draws me into the Holocaust and my Second Gen family friends. Such a great group of friends. I just want to find out my parents, and grandparents’ story. Now I’m thinking of Spanish? Will I ever travel again? Then I need time to do my yoga stretches and my therapy exercises to get rid of my plantar fasciitis.  I need to kick up my activity level just to stay in shape. Libby has been getting the short end of the stick since my plantar fasciitis kicked in. No daily walks, just play time in the backyard.

Ok I’m a bit panicked. I have spent the better part of this month reorganizing my photo collection in Lightroom CC. Thought I knew what I was doing, but somehow keywords for 6000 images were deleted. Finally got it back, backed up the photos, and the catalog, and right now my images are not synched with my catalog. I know this is more tech info than most want to know, but I wanted to add images to this post, and I can’t. Time to walk away from the computer and hope that the backup problem resolves soon. 15 more minutes to complete second backup. Technology is great when it works! Sorry no images today. Got to figure out Lightroom synch.

It all takes time. I just hope I can figure out what I want to accomplish and have time to do just that! That’s all I can ask of myself.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead!

Days of Atonement, clarity, introspection, meditation, taking in the moment are ways I see the High Holidays. The time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur serves as a time to take stock of the past year, and think about the future.

Usually I start with creating the ritual meal. Shopping items include chicken, matza meal, noodles, apples, gefilte fish, Manischwitz Concord Grape Wine, and a round challah (getting harder, and harder to find).  The meal takes a lot of preparation and while I chop and peel I remember the past year. The lose of my parents is with me daily. I do take some comfort in knowing they are together. But this time the holiday felt different.

In the process of moving I get to look at a lot of accumulated stuff. 47 years of marriage, 31years in the same house, and only in the past month have we become “empty nesters”.  I inherited much from my parents. I found some home movies from early 1960s that I transferred onto a DVD. Technology has come a long way from a Super 8mm film camera. Back to the time of silent movies with exaggerated movements.

October begins a new chapter for the Frankel’s with the move to Fair Oaks (6 miles away).  Not so much distance, but a reset nevertheless. Still don’t know exactly how we plan to arrange our “stuff”. Luckily we have a 3 car garage, and that is where our boxes will go. Then we have another chance to decide about stuff before it finds a place in our new home. I feel excited, and I hope that enthusiasm continues.

Selling a house is not fun.  My house has never been so clean. My Libby is into the routine, and as long as I have her food ready, she jumps into the car in a moments notice.  Trying not to take feedback personally. I just hope that process does not drag on. Listed for not quite a month, and it is starting to feel old. Yesterday was the first day I didn’t go overboard and pick up every little thing.  Thinking maybe that a watched pot does not boil, a spotless house does not sell? My mother would say, “You just need one buyer, and for every house there is one buyer.” Patience. My friend Anne came over and blessed my house to release any negative spirits that may be preventing its sale.  An open house is scheduled for Sunday.  We are doing all we can!

In the coming year I plan to research my family roots. I started my family genealogy while studying for my Libraian credential in 1983. That was before Internet, computer software, and the end of the Cold War. Now there are so many ways wto proceed. New documents are coming on line all the time. I joined the Jewish Genealogy Society of Sacramento and participated in 2 classes. I am not sure where this will lead. Perhaps a book documenting my family history. Maybe just continued research into the Shoah and its  meaning in my life. Maybe a way to establish connections with other researchers and librarians. I hesitate to involve myself in another group, but maybe I do this for just that reason – to overcome.

I’m not usually comfortable joining a group, but being part of my 2nd Gen group encourages me to try and feel a part of something bigger than myself. I learn, find support and appreciate my CVHEN (Central Valley Holocaust Educators Network) 2nd Gen friends. After so many years, I finally have people I can count on. Photography helped to crack through my isolation. Despite the difficulties I encountered I could use my camera to refocus my thoughts. Getting out with friends, doing something, and creating is the key. I hope I don’t let my friends down. I plan to be mindful and appreciate my friends.

Thinking back over the past year I tried, but may not have succeeded in taking a step back around my family. The role of care taker may have placed me a position of power, and I may have sent the message that I know what is best. There is a delicate balance between taking care, and allowing space. I plan to be more mindful of this. The balance between decision making, and indecision. Some decisions I made were hard, yet I made up my mind for what I hope will be best for my family.

As is said at this time, “May you be inscribed in the Book of Life.”