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"The ancestor of every action is a thought." Ralph Waldo Emerson


* when examining family pictures, take time to smell the roses...

Spend a few extra minutes examining your family pictures. Look closer at the background details (location, buildings, furniture, etc). You might discover new details leading you to solve a mystery or better understand the significance of a picture. In the case of this flowery picture, it was a mystery! A label on the back gave me some clues, but for the longest time I couldn't make a connection with anyone in my tree. The back of the picture tells me this is Alice and Frank Robinson, they lived in Livingston NJ, and they were cousins of my great grandfather Wentworth Middleton. After months away from looking at this picture I randomly realized I had all of the information right in front of me!

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* Learn genealogy research tips with these free genealogy webinars

Who doesn't love a freebie? There are some great free learning opportunities on tap this week. Webinars are an awesome way to learn new tips and tools. These virtual educational sessions are great for new genealogy researchers and experienced genealogists alike! There are quite a few interesting FREE webinars going on this week. If you can't make the live session, I would still register! Many presentations will be archived after the live presentation and a link to view the recorded webinar will be emailed to all registered participants. Free Webinars this week May 16- May 22, 2011

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* saas family history tools - have you heard of Zahmoo? 

I first heard of Zahmoo because they started following me on Twitter. On their website Zahmoo is self described as "a story bank" for family and business stories. With the family edition you get a system for collecting and sharing stories. This includes 1 collection of unlimited stories, 10GB of storage, and up to 20 members at a price of $5/month (after their 30 day free trial). You upload your text, picture, audio, and video "stories" to your story bank and they are preserved and shareable within the clouds. You then invite other members to join your bank by sending them an invitation. These members can read, comment, and add their own stories. I wonder where the name Zahmoo comes from?? I'm intrigued by the idea of Zahmoo. It's purpose is simple and to the point. It seems like a marketable idea for the genealogy consumer. Family history research requires a ton of organization, and I know first hand how much work goes into collecting, sharing, and preserving all of the details. But, is it worth $5 a month for their family level account?

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* having lunch with some old friends in trinity cemetery 

On such a beautiful day as today was in NYC, it was impossible not to be outside. I found a beautiful green respite just steps away from Wall Street to welcome the warm sunny weather. And these "old friends"...

aren't really friends. But they could have been! I was in Trinity Cemetery. It was the perfect place to enjoy a sunny afternoon lunch. There were benches, stone steps, tables...plenty of seating options. No one was talking loudly on their cellphones. It was so peaceful. I almost feel like I'm giving up a really big secret wasn't anything like Union Square or Madison Square Park during lunchtime on a beautiful day. It makes me so proud of our city and those who work so hard to preserve these delicate memorials. You're swarmed by tourists and the Wall Street hubbub as soon as you step out of the churchyard. The obvious respect New Yorkers and tourists pay to this cemetery is evident in it's welcoming and serene condition. A popular tourist attraction STEPS from Wall Street and it continues to be an area of peace and remembrance. As I read the tombstones- the history, names, and loving memories blocked out the entire city, I could have been in the middle of nowhere.

A picture I took of the cemetery 3 days after the Dec 2010 Christmas Blizzard...looks like a completely different place!



Despite the best efforts to preserve burial grounds and tombstones, mother nature rules all. A lot of the stones are from the 1700's and the inscriptions have been completely weathered away; snow, rain, hail, and wind have taken their toll on these precious historical artifacts.

For whatever reason this tombstone really caught my attention. Just a little snapshot left to capture of this memorial.


Some inscriptions and engravings have withheld the test of time, but for many all that is left is an anonymous blank slate.

This was my first cemetery lunch, and I have to say- I enjoyed it! Do you have an ancestor buried in Trinity Cemetery? You can search through recorded Trinity Cemetery burials on I'm sure your ancestors would love a lunch date!