Thursday, September 18, 2014

Whaddya Miss? Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014

Today's abundance of interesting stories sure made up for yesterday's dearth! Lots of good stuff shared across social media today!


  2. Civil War Profiles: Researching Delaware graves at Arlington National Cemetery -

  4. From Twitter Robert Parker @myfamgenealogy - Searching for (british) WWII Service Records? These are still held by Ministry of Defence
  5. Hoover Institution Library updated website announced, with greater accessibility to the 6,000 archival collections and 1million+ volumes at the Library founded by Herbert Hoover in 1919, dedicated to documenting war, revoluion and peace.
  6. Awww this is kinda sweet, but kinda weird too... Archaeologists in England found skeletons holding hands after 700 years (other artifacts discovered too)
  7. This is pretty awesome - Mr. Morrow learns his great grandfather was a hero when he was invited to a commemorative ceremony in his honor. He will receive replicas of his ancestor's medals. I think I'd make the trip!
  8. Larry Knight follows his great grandfather into prison - Andersonville that is. As a visitor, though, not an inmate.
  9. So.. President Obama and Sen. Ted Cruz are cousins. It does get kinda crazy, doesn't it? AJ Jacob's Global Family Reunion helps drive home the idea that we are all pretty much related.

  11. Descendants of slaves meet the descendants of the slave owner at a "coming home reunion" in Kentucky
  12. Oklahomans!, the Oklahoma Historical Society, and the Oklahoma Genealogical Society present Ancestry Day in Oklahoma, two days of genealogy and native culture November 7-8, 2014. Classes, exhibits, events - in Oklahoma City.

Thursday's Tweets 18 September 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Whaddya Miss? Wednesday, Sept 17, 2014

Other than a great get-to-know-you interview with Eric Jelle from Genedocs, you didn't miss a whole lot today... but here are the news stories & tidbits that we posted across social media today:


  2. You've probably heard of Genedocs, right? Get to know a little about Eric Jelle, the man behind all those amazing templates and forms! Wednesday WikiChick Spotlight on Eric Jelle -
  3. NEWS & INTERESTING ITEMS from around the GENEALOGY world:

  4. Multiple Mata Hari's revealed... More records to search for ancestors, but not sure I'd want to find mine here...
  5. Same rather interesting DNA/Ancestry article with two very different headlines. Which one will you read?
    "Randy Eurasians Surprise Scientists with Ancient Sex Romp" (from Bloomberg news) 
  6. or
    "Genetic link found between Modern Europeans and Native "Americans"
  7. Love transcribing? Here's yet ANOTHER volunteer opportunity, helping transcribe colonial-era church records -

Wednesday Spotlight: Genedocs founder, Eric R. Jelle

Our spotlight today is on Eric Jelle, E-magazine author, form template designer and the founder of Genedocs. Eric has been researching family since 1985 with an emphasis on preservation and innovative improvement of the tools at the disposal of researchers everywhere.

WikiChicks: How and when did your interest in genealogy - your own family history - start?
Eric J.: My interest began in about 1985 when my sister was interviewing our father about our unusual surname JELLE (Jeh-lee).  I quickly became interested, grabbed some poster board and began mapping a large chart of not only ancestors, but also lateral and descendant lines.  For a fifteen year old kid, I had no idea family history would be my lifelong passion, but I seemed to be wired for it.

WikiChicks: What is your earliest memory of a sense of family beyond your parents and siblings?
Eric J.: I didn't know I was supposed to have two sets of grandparents until my late teens, but the two maternal ones we grew up with visiting annually on their trips from Montana to Texas to visit their siblings and even one great grandmother of ours - they really meant a great deal to us as kids.  They always had tidbits of wisdom, hugs, sugar (kisses from our grandmother), pocket change, and those old slim cans of apple juice for us.

WikiChicks: What do you like best about genealogy research?
Eric J.:  For me it is probably a tie between the sheer thrill of the hunt after you learn something completely unexpected and the deep impression of the many priceless portraits/photos I have discovered along this remarkable path.

WikiChicks: Tell us about one of your favorite ancestors. Eric J.: Great grandpa Jake was the first ancestor I became fascinated with because our father telling his complex story years ago began to unfold a reality I previously didn't consider even possible.  Jakob Jelle came to the United States in 1882 from his childhood home in Odda, Hardanger, Norway. This is where the family name came from the farm which meant shelf where the farm rested geologically at the base of the Hardanger Fjord. 
Jakob Jelle

His life was a new book where he married great grandma Inger from Malselv, Norway. They had three boys in six years before they tragically lost her to tuberculosis.  Jake didn't remarry for over a decade and then chose his recently deceased brother's widow, Lena, who had four boys of her own. Lena could clearly relate to the loss of a spouse and the many challenges of raising several boys alone.  Together Jakob and Lena had three more children and finally a daughter, making a large family of 10 kids.  Four of their boys served overseas in WWI where grandpa Richard contracted TB in the Philippines, and died from it over a decade later.  

Jake's story wasn't just his own... his brother Elias and sister Martha who Dad mentioned came over with him. There were also a few other siblings that we had no idea existed or that they came over also, until a letter I wrote in 1999 to the farm in Norway was answered by cousin Herald Helgestad, who had researched the family on the farm and in church records back to the 1600s!  It actually took three letters to three farms with the family name, but it changed my life and many of my cousins lives forever. It also prompted organizing the first family reunion ever for the descendants of Jake's parents Henrik and Rannveig.  

Anyway, Jake worked as a brick mason and built the Lutheran Church that was moved from the west to East to Palisades on the Minnesota and South Dakota borders near Garretson and Beaver Creek where he lived most of his long life of 90 years. He witnessed so very much from 1856 - 1946:  two countries, two world wars, the discovery of electricity, indoor plumbing, automobiles, flight of aircraft, the Great Depression, Social Security, National Parks established, and the massive build up of the United States as the best place to live in so many ways after becoming a world power.    

WikiChicks: How do you incorporate your love of family history in your own family life? 
Eric J.: I just returned from a Labor Day vacation that crested at a cemetery we hadn't been to before where I enjoyed searching for markers, filming them, and telling my wife the great story of the ancestors and their family members buried there.  She has developed a fondness for such traipsing after witnessing firsthand how much it means to all of my cousins to learn more about their genealogy and the value of preserving it in a meaningful way.  Being the founder of Genedocs, I try to also contribute daily after work at NARA so that others with any level of interest in their family tree and history can get hopefully as excited as I have been fortunate enough to be thus far about the hunt and discovery and new mysteries to unfold. 
WikiChicks: Tell us about Genedocs!   
Eric J.: Gaining a computer to work with and learning MS Office Software over the years after the millennium, I soon found it easy to design templates and used my first main improvement on the Norwegian Descendant family reunion back in 2002 - The Improved Family Group Sheet was featured in the reunion book to show the people in the original family - with most of their portraits thanks to Harald's shared group photo. 

WikiChicks:  How did you come up with the idea?  
Eric J.: I thought the name up while working in records management for a great company called Docuvault.  As a PAF user, I had been frustrated that I was expected to jump between ancestor and family group views to find exactly what I was looking for.  Thus I generated the Genedocs Hybrid Chart with Ancestors, siblings, portraits  source documents, and nearly unlimited custom compiler comments!  One day in late 2007 I thought to combine the aspects of genealogy and document templates to make learning about, researching, preserving, and sharing a more meaningful family tree available to anyone interested.  With my personal and professional experience dealing with so much family death, military casualty assistance, transitioning from the Air Force after losing my parents and a grandparent, etc.,  I decided I had a great bit more to share than mere genealogy tools, so I included 6 templates just for preparedness and legacy preservation.  When all was said and done...

WikiChicks: How does it benefit genealogists and people who are interested in their family history?
Eric J.: Each template from Genedocs solves at least one major problem that I have confronted on a few occasions in my own past research so that others can have a noticeable advantage going forward.  For the Improved Group Sheet, researchers get a well structured template that captures all of the data for a parent couple and up to 24 of their children all on one two sided sheet.  That may not seem impressive at first, but note how many companies and organizations keep the larger families children split up on separate sheets - begging to be lost, separated, etc. The clear cut advantage beyond that is that each of the 26 family members has been granted a considerable amount of space for a portrait of themselves which no other group sheet provider offered at the time and few if any have even bothered with since.  Sure I could sell it and maybe make some money, but when it is FREE, it is much more far reaching potentially - certainly no one can ever claim they couldn't afford it when it costs not one penny of their hard earned income.    Genedocs became a hybrid program using that learning of the common MS office platform and pressing the research envelope one step further into self preparedness for our own inevitable departure from this earth.  

WikiChicks: What's the vision for Genedocs?  Where would you like to see it go?  
Eric J.: Genedocs needs to go global as the one grass roots program for anybody with family and without expense other than one's time to learn about it, use it and revel in its raw benefits beyond the usual commercial hubbub. It certainly has the potential to go well beyond my wildes dreams -- use across the globe, on to the next planet that people inhabit -- who can predict such amazing things?

I have recently created the Facebook Group called "Genedocs Templates" which allows me to post the actual 30 featured templates, Bonus documents, and series exclusive content right to the group area with photographic examples and explanations of how each template works, what is involved, how it has evolved, and what makes it a worthwhile tool or improvement.  More importantly, the group members can add their own content and engage in open discussion on any of the templates or examples, which ultimately allows for others to contribute their ideas and insights - because no one can define the future of family research tools alone.  It is all about the collaborative effort.  I merely generated a phenomenal foundation of wonderfully enjoyed templates from which to start.  

So how popular and powerful is this group?  We added 1,274 member in the first two days which I don't think any other genealogy group can match.  I like the numbers adding up because we need more reach, and social networking is definitely the way to go for now. But if you learn one thing from Genedocs, it should be about quality because no other genealogy-related program out there dares venture into the challenges that the Life Legacy Changing Forms Series does.  

As researchers, we have an additional responsibility beyond discovery, analysis, and documentation - we must preserve and protect the vastly meaningful legacy of our family as part of our identity and also part of the identity of all our relatives from now until the end of time for humanity.  We need to develop our own style and maintain the respect and caring for our our ancestors that delivered each of us here to this very day to even fathom such things.  My dream is that Genedocs will, at the very least, circle the world many times over and perhaps beyond to protect the family legacy of humanity for as long as possible.