Tag Archives: genealogy

Dipping into Evernote for Genealogy

I’ve been researching my family history for 30 years, and have had Evernote on my computer and mobile devices for 3 or so. But other than using it to clip the occasional newspaper article, I’ve never harnessed the (apparent) power of Evernote as an overarching organizational tool for managing my research.

As part of my 2016 Genealogy Do-Over (GDO), I decided to get serious about Evernote.

Aside: My Evernote setup. I have the desktop version running on a Mac (running OS X 10.11.2). I also have Evernote on my aging iPad and on my iPhone 6. I use the Chrome browser on all devices and have the Evernote Web Clipper extension on my Mac which means I just click the icon to initiate a new note. I will very likely hit the wall on storage and will upgrade to the Premium product even though it breaks this Canadian’s heart to buy anything in US Dollars these days.

Here is a log of my learning process:

  1. I had a peek through the GDO social media sites and found an excellent piece by Colleen Greene on how she uses it. My temptation was to just take her process and make it mine, but quickly realized that this was a rather hasty decision if Evernote and I are going to be best friends going forward. But I liked her note naming and tagging conventions and mentally tagged these for consideration going forward. (See what I did there?}
  2. I decided to do a quick setup on Evernote, creating a notebook stack called Genealogy that contained three folders (for now at least): Maternal Line, Paternal Line, and Research Tools. (Thank you, Colleen.) I had an old notebook called “Genealogy” that was my holding cell for everything related to family history that I had clipped in the past, and I stuck that in there too with the intent of sorting the notes into their proper homes at some point, say, when I get tired of watching Evernote tutorials. I immediately saved the Colleen Green page above into the Research Tools notebook, and tagged it “evernote” and “tools”.
  3. I googled “evernote for genealogy” and right near the top of the search results was this treasure trove of possibility on the Cyndi’s List site. Templates! I love me a good template. Saved the page into my Research Tools notebook and then spent a few hours going through it.
    1. I had a look through Thomas MacEntee’s article Evernote: Your Virtual Genealogy Assistant for a good review of the features of Evernote. I immediately created a contact called “Evernote” and added the email address to which I can send content to my Evernote account. I also learned from Tonia’s Roots that you can add @<notebookname> or #<tag> to the subject of your email and the note will get automatically filed in the correct notebook.
    2. I found Colleen Greene’s helpful piece on Research Logs and Note Links, the second in her series on Evernote for Genealogy, so I decided to just go through her six-article series and mine it for the nuggets. There’s a free downloadable template for her research log that she uses for each person in her tree. It’s a little complex for my needs but I will create my own template at some point. I don’t want to duplicate what I have in my tree software in Evernote, but simply make it a place to store media, articles, and research goals and checklists.
  4. Finally, I reserved and checked out How to Use Evernote for Genealogy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Organize Your Research and Boost Your Genealogy Productivity by Kerry Scott from local public library. It looks pretty comprehensive and I’ll be perusing it for more ideas. If it looks like something I’ll want to refer to regularly, I’ll purchase a copy.

My next steps are to develop some templates for research goals. I don’t want to duplicate information in Evernote that I already have in my genealogy software, but it will be the best place to capture the outstanding research questions that are active at any given time.

 

 

2016: Ready, set, go!

Late in December, I spent some time thinking about my priorities for 2016 and the areas I wanted to focus on. On a whim (and on sale), I’d bought a couple of notebooks from the National Gallery of Canada and I knew immediately how I’d put them to use.

The first is my organization journal. It’s divided into six sections, one for each of my focus areas: Home Organization and Decor; Writing; Genealogy; Reading; Creativity; and Estate Planning. I roughly divided the book into six sections and am using each section to organize my to-do lists, next steps, notes, etc.

  1. For Home Organization and Decor, I am starting with the 52 Weeks to an Organized Home challenge. It gives me manageable chunks of work to do each day and I’m already seeing excellent improvements (it starts with the kitchen.) It will also include the things we need to do around the house (recovering furniture, any purchases, and maybe a kitchen reno, although I’ll need a whole new notebook if that goes ahead. Get the plan here: Free 2016 Printable Declutter Calendar: 15 Minute Daily Missions

  2. In the Writing section, I’m happy to say that I have started Sarah Selecky’s Story Course to kick-start my writing practice. It’s a series of five detailed lessons on short-story writing, with a lot of exercises, reading, and thinking involved in each one. I am also using her daily writing prompts on days that I don’t work on a lesson. Most daily sessions of writing are 10-20 minutes of “free-writing” and I’m happy to say that I’ve written all thirteen days of the year so far, in the second notebook of my purchase. If you’re interested in something like this, check it out here.

  3. My third focus area is Genealogy. I’ve been working on my family history for years and my online tree is huge. The problem is, I haven’t always been as critical as I could about links that I find and I don’t know how accurate all my data is. At the same time, Ancestry has announced that in the next year or so it will stop supporting its software Family Tree Maker, which is what I’ve been using to keep my info on my computer. It syncs to the Ancestry trees in the cloud, and everything was working fine. I have decided to move to another computer-based genealogy package called Roots Magic.
    IMG_2249
    So I am taking this confluence of events to follow
    Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do-Over. This (free) program guides you through starting over with your genealogy, putting aside everything you’ve done before (except for source documents), and doing everything properly (especially source citations.) I’ve purchased Roots Magic and MacEntee’s workbook (not required, but useful for me) and am thinking about what practices I want to use going forward, before I enter one single name or date into Roots Magic.
  4. My fourth focus area is Reading. Each year I participate in a number of reading challenges, plus I’m in a book club and a books-on-film series at TIFF, so I need to juggle books to meet deadlines. This section of the journal will help me with that. I’ve printed and pasted a couple of reading challenge diagrams into it already. But I’m also including in this section reading I do for other learning. For example, I’ve started a course on the Microbiome through Coursera, and while most of the work is online, I’m using this area to remind myself of deadlines and rough out assignments. Finally, Goodreads takes care of my reading lists and reviews and stats.
  5. Next we have the Creativity section. This is an area of my life that I enjoy but I have been lax about actually turning out any creative (or not so creative work.) I now have my own studio space that is pretty organized (thanks to uber-organizer Rosalind at Simply Home) but I still have some things from the basement that need to be brought upstairs. I have a pile of mending/alterations that need to be done and some jewellry to be repaired, and then I want to get on to my own creative work.
  6. Last, but not least in my brain (although possibly least in my heart) is Estate Planning. The big “R” word is starting to be heard more around here and so we need to get our financial ducks in order. We have a new investment manager at the firm we’re with and there will be lots of paperwork over the next month or so as we get a plan in place for the last third of our lives. Also taxes. And up-to-date wills. These all have to move to the front-burner this year and I’m the one who has to drive it.

This kind of planning has proven really useful, even halfway into the first month of the year. It helps me to keep on track and always know what I want (or need) to do next in each focus area. I plan to blog separately about some of these endeavours as I make progress on them. Stay tuned.

Friday seven – Things I’ve learned

seven-quick-takes-friday-2-300x213

  1. I love cooking on a gas stove.
    We have one here in the condo and it’s the first time I’ve ever used for any length of time. Fast heat, fast off, and easy to clean, the only negative is the retractable vent hood that rises from just to the rear of the cooktop that is really loud. We will definitely be putting a gas cooktop in our kitchen when we renovate.
  2. The name “Istanbul” is actually a variant of  “Constantinople”.
    I mean, we all knew that the original name of that city was Constantinople, but i didn’t know that one came from the other. I met a Turkish jewellry vendor in the Granville Island Public Market and we chatted for a while. He told me that people shortened “Constantinople”, dropping the first syllable, and the word morphed to Stamboul, or Istanbul. (When I checked this out on wikipedia, it turns out to be something of a simplification, but I had never made the connection before.)

    Bracelet by Murat Senemoglu, Turkish silnersmith at Granville Island Public Market.
  3. I can live without owning a car, in the right place.
    I took out a car2go for a spin the other day with Alex, when we went to Granville Island. I love the fact that you just drop it off when you’re at your destination and pick up another one when you want to continue your trip. The smartphone app makes it so easy to reserve a car (optional), unlock it, and manage your account. Driving (and parking the Smart fourtwo was a little unnerving at first, but actually quite enjoyable.)
  4. I’ve missed Netflix.
    With the renovation of our main living area and some reconfiguration of our electronics, we haven’t had easy access to Netflix on our living room television since the summer. The setup here in the condo is a Samsung Smart TV and so we have access to a pile of streaming services from one device. (I don’t really like watching video on my computer or ipad. I can’t explain it. could be my age. Could be that I prefer the big screen and better sound.)  I finally watched the NFB film on Healey Willan that our choir director recommended (very interesting), and have been catching up on some series (Master of None (Aziz Ansari), Marvel’s Jessica Jones). Last night I watched a riveting doc on Iris Apfel, who reminded me immensely of my Grandma Winer (Vera Elstein) and makes me want to pump up the colour in my wardrobe (and the size of my accessories.)
    Here’s a trailer:
  5. The best part of genealogy is meeting new relatives.
    I’ve said before that a blog is like “cousin-bait” to genealogists. If someone googles and ancestor’s name and your blog comes up, bingo! I’ve recently had an email exchange with the wife of a cousin on my father’s father’s side. We’ve exchanged some information and I hope to meet them in the near future as our geographic circles intersect on a couple of fronts. (We both have relatives in each other’s home towns.) Briefly, my grandfather (David Berkman) had a sister Sadie who married a Samuel Rubenstein and lived in Hawkesbury Ontario, a predominantly francophone town between Ottawa and Montreal. I’d very much love to see pictures of David, Sadie, and their parents (Myer and Adela), and get any further info that might help me with my research.
    Here’s their marriage registration:

    Marriage of Sadie Berkman and Samuel Rubenstein, Lachine QU, 1909, Beth Israel.
    Marriage of Sadie Berkman and Samuel Rubenstein, Lachine QU, 1909, Beth Israel.
  6. I want to read more internationally.
    I posted about this a couple of weeks ago, but am pleased to learn that one of the Goodreads groups that I belong to is starting a new sub-group called “Around the World” where we will be reading from various areas for the first six months of 2016, and then concentrating on Asia in the second half of the year. I’m starting to get my list together. In January we will be focussing on North and West Africa, and I’m hoping to read some Egyptian and Nigerian writers that have been on my radar for a while. In particular, I want to read The Automobile Club of Egypt by Alaa Al Aswany and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. And maybe Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El-Saadawi and Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. If anyone would like to join me in this venture, consider joining The Roundtable on Goodreads!
  7. I can’t live happily without sunshine. Temperature doesn’t matter.
    Since I’ve been out here in Vancouver, we’ve had a few periods of sun. It’s nice to be able to live in a midweight (waterproof) coat.  I picked one up with Vancouver in mind at the Royal Winter Fair from the London Trading Post booth. (They’re located in Bobcaygeon ON and have a lot of great British gear.) But honestly: the gorgeous views, sea wall, and mild weather, cannot make up for the lack of regular sunlight. It makes me feel sluggish and like I want to cocoon at home. And my knees? I’ve had to up my Naproxen since I’ve been out here to compensate for the dampness.

That’s all folks!

Friday Seven

  1. Heading to a Syrian wedding today: the sacrament is this afternoon in Woodbridge and the party tonight in Etobicoke at the Edessa Banquet Hall. I won’t know many people there, but my partner-in-crime is getting less patient with loud music so it likely won’t be a late night.
  2. For a complete change of pace, we’re heading up to Wyebridge (near Midland) tomorrow morning for a Goddard family reunion. I think it’a actually referred to as the “3G” annual event, for Goddard, Gear, and Graham families. I’m looking forward to meeting some new-to-me cousins and fleshing out my family tree. Our hosts are Stephen and Frieda Goddard. Stephen is my mother’s first cousin, the son of her uncle Percy Goddard.
    Doug Townsend, Stephen and Frieda Goddard
    Doug Townsend, Stephen and Frieda Goddard

    I blogged about another branch of my Goddards here. Two brothers emigrated to the Barrie, Ontario area (John in 1970 and William in 1871). I descend from William and the branch at the link descend from John.

  3. For my book challenge this quarter (my booklist here – I won’t read them all, but it’s a goal), I’m reading a memoir by Vladimir Nabokov called Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited. It’s achingly beautifully written, and I’m doing a slow, close read to enjoy it. Here’s a snippet, a memory of a young Nabokov sitting on the veranda while his nanny reads french novels to him.

    From "Speak, Memory" by Vladimir Nabokov.
    From “Speak, Memory” by Vladimir Nabokov.
  4. For my Toronto readers: I just discovered an interesting website called Tabs Toronto. It sends automated alerts any time key words that you select are identified in city government records. You can do a search and then decide whether you’d like an email alert based on it. I’ve registered for my street name, neighbourhood name, and local BIAs. It’s a great initiative intended to improve civic participation.
    TABS
  5. Every since we moved in to our house seven years ago, we’ve known that we had issues with poor air circulation (basement too cold, second floor too hot). We finally got around to having an HVAC professional in to look at our system and he gave us some good advice about improving our duct work, and noted that our AC had been incorrectly installed, effectively blocking the path of air in to the ducts. (Or something.) Our furnace maintenance people had told us that our furnace was on its last legs, and so we took the plunge and replaced both furnace and AC. What a difference. We can actually feel cool air coming out of the ducts in our upper floor. He also recommended that we put a shade or covering of some kind on the large skylight in our stairwell so that’s the next job.
  6. My last post on my Berkman ancestors got a lot of hits, and I’m hoping to get in contact with some cousins. In the meantime, I finally scanned this business card of my grandfather David’s fur company. He moved back to Ontario in the early 30s and had some retail businesses. More about that soon.

    D Berkman Fur Company
    D Berkman Fur Company
  7. My book club had an excellent discussion of Donna Tartt‘s The Goldfinch last Sunday. It got pretty high ratings for the group (average 8/10), a surprising amount of sympathy for Boris, and totally expected love for Hobie. We also sniffed at the critics who looked down their noses at the accessible writing.  We met on the patio at the lovely Grenadier Restaurant in High Park (well, the food is fine but the venue is lovely) and will meet there again next month when we move to non-fiction with The Massey Murder: The Maid, Her Master, and the Trial That Shocked a Country by Charlotte Gray.

We’ve got a long weekend here in Ontario so Sunday and Monday are going to be read-and-relax days. On Tuesday, I’m heading to Ottawa to see my mother and some friends, and then back on Friday.

Leave me some love in the comments!

A parish statistician (1770)

I’ve been searching the terrific database of parish records for Cheshire and for each set of records that are uploaded, there are  notes from those doing the transcribing.

St. Mary’s Church Tilston – geograph.org.uk – 510742 (Tower from 15th century.)
In the parish of Tilston St Mary, I came across this one:

Since I have been Rector of Tilston there have been
Burials 737
Christenings 829
Weddings 209
May 16th 1770
(Signed) James Richardson Rector
More Christenings than burials 107
Ten Christenings for nine burials
Five out of nine live to be merries [marrried?]
17 females born for 10 males
About one in forty die in a year.

James Richardson MA was rector of this parish from 1719-1773.

If you’v got ancestors from Cheshire, have a look at the Cheshire Parish Register Database. The user-interface is not gorgeous, but once you get there, click on Database on the left hand nav-bar and then you can search by event (Baptism, Marriage, Burial)

Surname Saturday – Honsberger

I’ve been following up on a Goddard “stray”, Hilda Jane Goddard, my second cousin, twice removed. She was born to Samuel Goddard, a bricklayer, and Elizabeth Fuller in about 1900 in Folkestone, Kent.

This family photo shows her parents in the centre. Hilda is in the back row at the far right.

 

Samauel Goddard and Elizabeth Fuller, with family. Hilda is in the back row, centre, between her brothers.
Samauel Goddard and Elizabeth Fuller, with family. Hilda is in the back row, centre, between her brothers.

In the last quarter of 1918, Hilda marries Elton Snyder Honsberger, a signalman in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces from Jordan County, Ontario (near St. Catharines). In December of that year, Hilda gives birth to a son, Elton Eric Honsberger. Three months later, she and the infant sail from Liverpool  aboard the SS Melita, arriving in St John NB on the 6th of March 1919. Her husband is also on that ship with many other demobilized soldiers and their dependants. Canadian war brides were given free third class passage, and they could often return on the troop ship with their husband, which is the case with Hilda.

SS Melita. Courtesy http://www.norwayheritage.com.

I had trouble finding them in the 1921 census. Finally, I decided to go manually through each of the census files for Louth County, Elton’s home before he went to war. I found them, with their surname transcribed as “Honsinger”, and they have a second child, Marjorie.

My cousin Squibs is descended from this family and she asked me to “keep an eye out for” Honsbergers. Given that Canadian census data is only available to 1921 at this time, next steps are to search local newspapers for obituaries or other news of interest. One of Hilda’s brothers, Stephen (seated in front row with the great hair) also came to Canada in the 1950s.

If you’re a descendant of Elton and Hilda (or Stephen), I’d love to hear from you!

—-

I’m fascinated by war brides. Check out this link for more on the Canadian War Brides of WWI. There’s also a great site on war brides from World War II here.

Treasure Chest Thursday

I’ve been browsing through some of the great Canadian local history databases lately.  For general Canadian history, Canadiana.org has some terrific content. There are a couple of free databases there but the most inclusive one is Early Canadiana Online which requires a subscription. For western Canada, Peel’s Prairie Provinces is free and hosted by the University of Alberta.

Yesterday, while researching my Rycroft post, I popped the name “Goddard” into the search field over a Peel’s and found this postcard:

Buffaloes at Elk Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. [Fort Saskatchewan: ca. 1910].
The text on the back reads:

From: Ralph
To: Mrs W.D. Goddard
Address: Fragmew, Cheriton Rd., TolReston, Kent, England.
Message: “Very best wishes & happiest returns of 30 Dec. Just having another cold spell. Had a good time this xmas, will write more fully very soon. House still progressing very slowly, but hope in the * dim dark future to see it finished. Just off there now, C. going to hunt this morning. glad to say all well. Expect to go up to his Close New Years’ day when we anticipate a good time. A & his wife up at his shack whilst Sullivan is building his house quite a grand affair I can tell you. Hope all well. Best love from Ralph. Ballentyne Dec 30th”
I was excited to see this and posted it to the Goddard Association of Europe’s Facebook page. My Goddards come from Kent so I was wondering whether this might be an ancestor. Regardless, I figured it would be interesting to someone.
I did a little research on Ancestry and determined that William and Mary (Hyde) Goddard had a son Ralph. After posting, one of the admins who is a cousin of mine (and who blessed me with my Goddard family tree back to the 17th century when I joined a few years ago) contacted a Gail Goddard in Ottawa who’s husband is a descendant of these Goddards. While we’re not in the same family, it was exciting to link up this artifact with the descendants of the writer.  Gail writes “Ralph had arrived in Canada in 1907. In 1910 Hilda Mary Goddard came to Battenberg, Alberta (later called Gibbons) to join her parents and siblings. In 1912, she and Ralph were married.”
While the sites I mentioned above are not specifically genealogical, this demonstrates the importance of having a peek at other resources to flesh out local history of our ancestors and maybe come across something special!

 

Workday Wednesday

I’ve recently been responding to some hints on Ancestry.com, those little green leaves that tell you that there are records in their database that may contain information about ancestors in your tree. In particular, I’ve been looking at the Rycroft family, my maternal great-grandmother’s mother Eliza Rycroft.

Eliza was born in 1842 and baptised in St. Oswald’s Parish, Chester in Cheshire, England in 1842. This parish was associated with the south transept of Chester Cathedral, inside the ancient walls of the city. Her family lived on Princess Street where her father Thomas was a pawnbroker. Her mother was Sarah Purslow. Eliza married James Dobb Price (also a pawnbroker) in 1866 and they lived next door to her parents. Eliza is noted as a grocer in the 1871 census. They had four children, the second of which was my great grandmother Emily Minnie Price.

Stephen Robert Goddard and Emily Minnie Price
Stephen Robert Goddard and Emily Minnie Price

Eliza died in her late 30s and the children were split up: the elder two lived with their grandmother next door and the younger two went to live with their father’s mother and her second husband, Thomas and Mary Ruscoe, in Toxteth Park (now Liverpool), about 30 miles away. A few years later, Minnie emigrated to Canada where she met and married my great-grandfather, Stephen Robert Goddard.

What interested me yesterday morning was that it became apparent that another Rycroft family member also came to Canada, specifically, the Toronto area.

Anne Rowe (1849-1904)
Anne Rowe (1849-1904)

Eliza was the first of five children born to Thomas and Sarah. Thomas William was born in 1848; Sarah Jane was born in 1850; John Stanley Ford was born in 1851; and Annie Eliza was born in 1854. Thomas is listed as a carpenter in the 1871 census. (Sarah and Annie work with their parents as “pawn brokers assistants”. John heads off to Lancashire to be an “assistant master” in a school.) Thomas sails for Canada on the Nestorian in the summer of 1872 and six years later, marries Ann Rowe in Toronto.

By 1881, they have a toddler (Annie) who dies shortly thereafter and an infant (Stanley) and are living in St. Patrick’s Ward where Thomas continues to work as a carpenter. By 1891, they have three growing sons (Stanley, Percy, and Jamie) and Thomas is now listed as a clerk. Jamie dies the following year at age 4 of diphtheria.

In 1901, Thomas is working as a clerk in a store and making $500 per year, well above others who live on his street. Stanley is a piano maker, making $200 per year, and Percy is a machinist, $200 per year. They are now living at 261 Church St (currently in the middle of Ryerson University) and Thomas is a warden at Holy Trinity (Anglican) Church. In 1904, Ann dies of general peritonitis.

Holy Trinity Church on Trinity Square, Toronto, c 1870-5.
Holy Trinity Church on Trinity Square, Toronto, c 1870-5.

I have been unable to Thomas Sr. in the 1911 census. But death records show that he died in 1912 of heart disease. He was living at 425 Wellesley Street.

In 1904, Percy marries Jean MacPherson and they have two children in the following two years, Dorothy and John. Then they move to Watertown NY where he is a collar-maker in the harness industry. I believe that they return to Canada but I haven’t verified this yet.

Stanley Rycroft (b.1881)
Stanley Rycroft (b.1881)

Stanley marries Frances Mabel Riches in 1907 and by 1921, they are living in Parkdale at 31 Prince Rupert Ave. Stanley works at Gourlay Winter and Leeming, a piano factory and makes $1560 per year. They have two children, Frances and James. I kwow that Gourlay Winter and Leeming go out of business in the 20s, so I’m not sure where Stanley ends up (yet.)

I haven’t taken this story much further, but I know that there are lots of references to Rycrofts in the local paper from those years that I haven’t begun to explore. Even better, I likely have some Rycroft cousins on this side of the Atlantic that I haven’t met yet. If you know or are related to any of these people’s descendants, please get in touch.

 

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Seven Quick Takes – Pi Day

Seven Quick Takes Friday

    1. It’s Pi Day. Given that’s it’s also a Lenten Friday and that I’ve given up sweets, I may be cooking up a lentil pie for dinner.
      pi day
    2. We’re heading to Sweden in June to visit Zouheir’s oldest brother, Jean-Louis, and his family. Happily, our sons are joining us on this trip which will coincide with Midsummer there, apparently one of the more festive periods in that country. Much to my chagrin, I’ve never been before, despite my late mother-in-law’s many invitations.  Here’s a shot of the lads Swedish cousins (shamelessly lifted from George’s Facebook page.)

      Swedish Mansourati cousins.
      Swedish Mansourati cousins. (Mike, George, Jessica, Rita)
    3. Dorothy Palmer and I are heading to 221b Con the first weekend of April in Atlanta! She’s a huge Sherlock Holmes fanatic and experienced improv-er and is leading an event:
      SherlockImprov – A live-action combination of cosplay and improv, where everyone gets the chance to create on-the-spot drama by jumping into the roles of Holmes and Watson and their crew. No theater or improv experience is necessary, just a willingness to enjoy the new story we create together.
      221b con
    4. Zouheir and I saw Metamorphosis at the Royal Alex last weekend. Brought to Toronto by Mirvish, this dramatization of the Kafka novel is a marvel, and left my head spinning and a little water welling up in my eyes. One of the finest pieces of theatre I’ve seen in a long time. It’s finished it’s run, but if you ever get a chance….
    5. Our first-born started his first job post-graduation in December, and yesterday he headed to University of Waterloo to interview co-op students. He’s with a small start-up and is getting the full range of work experience. I believe he was “nacho boy” at the beginning (responsible for bringing food to their Friday afternoon review sessions.) He’s coming up in the world! Only a few months ago he was getting coaching on how to handle the other side of the interview table.
    6. For those of you who do family history research, Mocavo is having a free access weekend. Check it out…you never know what you’ll find!
    7. A couple of Kickstarters have drawn my attention this week. First is Neil Young’s Pono music player that provides high quality audio, equivalent to vinyl but digital. I first heard of it when I read his memoir Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream, and the Kickstarter was launched earlier this week at SXSW. I have a whole blog post in my head about why I’m not listening to much recorded music these days which will be for a later date, but I’m seriously thinking of getting in on this project, especially after I watched the video at the top of the Kickstarter project page.

      The other Kickstarter is for the restoration of St. Francis in Rome. From the project page: When St. Francis used to come to Rome between 1209 and 1223 to meet the Pope Innocenzo III, his house was a small “Cell” where he lived and assisted lepers. After eight centuries this place now requires substantial restoration work in order to preserve its priceless spiritual value and its ancient works of art.

      I kicked in some support for this project and I hope that they’re able to meet their objective.

As always, more Quick Takes, many with a Catholic flair, can be found on Fridays at Conversion Diary!

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Seven Quick Takes – Almost spring? Please?

Seven Quick Takes Friday

  1. Last night I attended the Open Book Literary Salon hosted at The Spoke Club. Moderated by Becky Toyne, the discussants were writers Michael Winter, Stacey May Fowles, and Brian Francis. Sadly, the promised “relaxed, salon atmosphere” didn’t really materialize. The ambient noise from other areas of the club required the use of microphones, even in the small space, and it was really more of a panel discussion with a few questions from the audience than any kind of salon experience.
    That being said, there were a few worthwhile gems. SMF often writes to “work something out” for example, “why I like CSI or Rihanna”. BF is motivated to keep writing because he feels responsible for his characters, not wanting to leave them in limbo but finish their stories. He also noted that you need to allow yourself to have a crappy first draft, but just get the story finished. No one will ever see it and it’s the second draft where the magic happens. MW suggested we analyze why we like the books we like (to read). This will help with your own writing. And both BF and MW encouraged people to read a lot, and read what you like, not what you think you’re supposed to read,
  2. Before the salon, my friend and I ate at WVRST (609 King W), a lively place that sells artisanal sausages, fries, dips, and an interesting selection of beers (and cider). You place your order at a counter and your meal is brought to you. Seating is on long communal tables and while it got a bit noisy by the time we were leaving,  I’ll definitely be back.
  3. Last Sunday, the choir was ready to sing our first hymn in Icelandic. It took us a few weeks to get the pronunciation down as there are extra letters and letter-combos that we had to master . Because we sing at the back of the church from a loft, the sound is lovely. Here’s a video clip of the group Arstidir singing it in a train station:
    http://youtu.be/e4dT8FJ2GE0?t=5s
  4. I was crushed to miss Jonathan Crow playing a Beethoven Violin Concerto last Friday due to ill health, but surprised when TSO member services called me offering me other tickets through their missed concert program. How lovely is that?
  5. This Monday is the first evening in the TIFF Books-on-Film series. Eleanor Wachtel will be interviewing Mohsin Hamid, author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist. I’ve both read the book and seen the film, but am looking forward to hearing Hamid’s view of the translation from page to celluloid.
  6. I’m heading to Barrie next week for a day to meet some distant cousins. Thanks to the Goddard Association of Europe‘s Facebook page, I’ve linked up with descendants of the brother (John) of my gggrandfather, William Goddard. I’ll also spend some time in the Barrie Public Library’s local history room, and if weather permits, visit the cemetery where a number of Goddards are buried.
  7. I spend part of last week clearing out my mom’s condo, getting it ready for sale, and I came across this blast from the past:
    I hate to cook bookMy mom’s famous “Chicken Rice Roger” came from it, and I suspect some other recipes as well. They’re in pretty bad shape but I’m gonna look for new(er) copies as they’re the kind of cookbook that makes for a fun read. There’s a 50th anniversary edition published in 2010 (we’re the same age!) that I might just break down and buy.

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