Pets and puns

This blog is in response to Week 17. Pets. Did you have any pets as a child? If so, what types and what were their names. Do you have pets now? Describe them as well. If you did not have pets, you can discuss those of neighbors or other family members. This challenge runs from Saturday, April 23, 2011 through Friday, April 29, 2011. Amy Coffin of the We Tree blog ( is responsible!!!

We have a long family tradition of puns as names for our pets. Or at least descriptive quotations. Some examples:

  • The first dog I remember was a rat terrier mix. She was a great watch dog, my father declared. Her name was TickTock.
  • After TickTock we had a fluffy little dog with various degrees of spitz, some sort of herding dog, maybe Corgi, and many other breeds. The dog’s name came from his white feet and an old  TV show: Sugarfoot. Sugarfoot made the news. He bit a child, so we had to take him to the pound. the pound tried to test out a new tranq gun, I believe it was, on him. Sugarfoot was too fast on his feet for them, they never landed a shot on him. He made the Huntsville Times and someone adopted him. If I ever find my childhood scrapbook, I’ll scan in the newspaper article.
  • When our rector gave us one of a litter of kittens, of course we named the cat Lucifer.
  •  When we had a cat that couldn’t seem to see at night very well, bumping into beds and other furniture, his full name became “Long Leggety Beastie and Thing that Goes Bump in the Night”, usually shortened to Long Leggety.  That’s from an old prayer, “From ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged-ty beasties, and things that go bump in the night, may the Lord protect us.”
  • We had a cat who would purr, knead and slobber on a wool afghan we had, for all of his long life. He was EddyPuss.
  • When Mark and I were newlyweds, we got a cat, a purebred Himalayan. We stopped by a friend’s house on the way home to show him off. The friend, who at the time managed a Long John Silver’s, put together our name, the Siamese look of him, and came up with Simon CroweCat.

Yeah. We’re sick people!

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Press Release–National Archives to Host Conference on Media Access to Government Information April 12

Press Release
March 7, 2011
National Archives to Host Conference on Media Access to Government Information April 12

Washington, DC…The National Archives and Records Administration and Duke University’s DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy will host the Media Access to Government Information Conference (MAGIC) on Tuesday, April 12, 2011, from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., with a networking reception from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. The event will be held in the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, located on the National Mall. Please use the Special Events Entrance, Constitution Ave. and 7th St., NW.

This conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required (e-mail A continental breakfast, lunch, and refreshments will be provided.

Journalists, bloggers and others who write about public affairs will gain insights and learn strategies for improving access to government records. Experts from within the Federal government and from the private sector will provide roadmaps to the often frustrating and challenging task of tracking down government information.

Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero will welcome the participants. Government officials, reporters, scholars and NGO leaders who will participate in the discussions include: Gary Bass, Founder and Executive Director, OMB Watch; Sarah Cohen, Knight Professor of the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy, Duke University; William Kammer, Chief, FOIA Division, U.S. Department of Defense, and Vice President, American Society of Access Professionals; Miriam Nisbet, Director, Office of Government Information Services, National Archives; Derek Willis, Web developer, New York Times; Jennifer LaFleur, Director of Computer-Assisted Reporting, ProPublica; Mark Horvit, Executive Director, Investigative Reporters and Editors; and Charles Lewis, Executive Editor, Investigative Reporting Workshop.

The conference will address the following issues:

* Improving access to federal government records;
* Analyzing technical challenges faced by journalists in making sense of government documents;
* Exploring hurdles to gaining access to state and local records;
* Identifying actions that the private sector can take to help journalists access and analyze government records.

More information about the conference is at

# # #

For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.


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Magna Carta at National Archives (US) to be re-encased

Press Release
February 8, 2011

Last Chance to see National Archives 1297 Magna Carta Until 2012


Washington, DC…The National Archives has announced that Tuesday, March 1, 2011, is the final day for the public to view the 1297 Magna Carta before it is removed from display for a year to undergo preparations for re-encasement. The 1297 Magna Carta is on loan to the National Archives from David M. Rubenstein, co-founder of The Carlyle Group.

The National Archives Building is located on Constitution Avenue and 9th Street, NW, in Washington, DC. Museum hours are 10 am to 5:30 pm, daily, free admission. Metro stop Archives/Navy Memorial on the yellow and green lines.

The only original Magna Carta permanently in the United States will be taken off display for a year so National Archives conservators may examine and stabilize the parchment before placing it in a new state-of-the-art encasement. This new enclosure, designed and fabricated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), is based on an original design used to protect the Charters of Freedom–the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. These documents, which are on permanent display in the National Archives Rotunda, were re-encased in a multi-year project that was completed in 2003 by the National Archives in partnership with NIST.

The document will return to display in March 2012. When it returns, Magna Carta will have a new protective encasement and a new display case. The case will incorporate an interactive exhibit allowing visitors to easily read the document for the first time. Magna Carta is written in Latin. The new display, which will allow close examination of the document and will have a translation feature, will also place new emphasis on the connections between Magna Carta and American history, particularly American legal history. This will make it easier to understand the elements of the document that influenced the United States’ founding charters: the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.


In 1215 on the plains of Runnymede an assembly of barons confronted the despotic King John of England and demanded that traditional rights be recognized, written down, confirmed with the royal seal, and sent to each of the counties to be read to all freemen. King John agreed, binding himself and his heirs to grant “to all freemen of our kingdom” the rights and liberties described in the great charter, or Magna Carta.

Between 1215 and 1297, Magna Carta was reissued by each of King John’s successors. To meet his debts from foreign wars, King Edward I imposed new and harsher taxes in 1297. This provoked another confrontation between the king and the barons, resulting not only in the reissue of Magna Carta, but for the first time its entry into the official Statute Rolls of England. The 1297 document represents the transition of Magna Carta from a brokered agreement to the foundation of English law.

Only four originals of the 1297 Magna Carta remain. By the 17th century, the one displayed at the National Archives was in the possession of the Brudenell family, the earls of Cardigan. It was acquired by the Perot Foundation in 1984 and purchased by David Rubenstein in 2007. David Rubenstein has placed Magna Carta on loan to the National Archives as a gift to the American people.

# # #

For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

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TV: My Childhood.

Week 6: Radio and Television. What was your favorite radio or television show from your childhood? What was the program about and who was in it?

Of course, Twilight Zone, Star Trek and The Outer Limits.

Grew up in a town where everyone’s dad was a rocket scientist.

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Media Release: RootsTech Conference Will Broadcast Select Sessions Free Online

RootsTech Conference Will Broadcast Select Sessions Free Online


SALT LAKE CITY—RootsTech, a new family history and technology conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 10-12, 2011, announced February 4 that six of its popular sessions will be broadcast live and free over the Internet. The live broadcasts will give those unable to attend worldwide a sample of this year’s conference content. Interested viewers can watch the live presentations at The first-year conference has attracted over 2,000 registered attendees.


The free online sessions include some of the keynote speakers and a sampling of technology and family history presentations.  Following are the six broadcasts, speakers, and times of the presentations. All times are in Mountain Standard Time (MST):


Thursday, February 10, 2011

·       8:30-9:00 a.m., A world of Information, Shane Robison, chief technology officer, Hewlett Packard

·       9-9:30 a.m., Turning Roots, Branches, Trees into Nodes, Links, Graphs, Jay L. Verkler, chief executive officer, FamilySearch International

·       3-4:00 p.m., Digitally Preserving Your Family Heritage, Barry Ewell, founder of


Friday, February 11, 2011

·       8:30-9:30 a.m., The Changing Face of Genealogy, by Curt Witcher, manager of the Historical Genealogy Department, Allen County Public Library

·       9:45-10:45 a.m., Cloud Computing: What is it and how it has been used to create the next, by Brian Pugh, senior engineer, FamilySearch International               


Saturday, February 12, 2011

·       8:30-9:30 a.m. Personal Archiving and Primary Documents, Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archives

·       1:45-2:45 p.m., Virtual Presentations Round Table and Collaborative Panel Discussion, Thomas MacEntee, professional genealogist and technology specialist

·       3:00-4:00 p.m., The Power of PDF: Tools for Every Genealogist ,  D. Josh Taylor, Director of Education and Programs at New England Historical Genealogical Society.  


About RootsTech


RootsTech is a new conference designed to bring technologists together with genealogists to learn from each other and find solutions to the challenges faced in family history research today. The conference’s activities and offerings are focused on content that will help genealogists and family historians discover exciting new research tools while enabling technology creators to learn the latest development techniques from industry leaders and pioneers.

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Family Recipe Friday: Mama’s Creamed Tuna

“Family Recipe Friday is an opportunity to share your family recipes with fellow bloggers and foodies alike. Whether it’s an old-fashioned recipe passed down through generations, a recipe uncovered through your family history research, or a discovered recipe that embraces your ancestral heritage share them on Family Recipe Friday. This series was suggested by Lynn Palermo of The Armchair Genealogist (”

So, I blogged earlier this week that one of my comfort foods was creamed tuna, which yes, I would eat for breakfast when Mama made it. I searched my recipe cards and did not find a recipe written down, so the below is strictly from memory. It serves about 4, and is perfect for a cold day’s lunch or dinner as well.

Creamed Tuna

1 hard-cooked egg
1 Tablespoon margarine
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
pinch salt
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon green pepper — chopped
1 tablespoon pimiento — chopped
Dash teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 to 8 ounces flaked tuna (“one can”)
Peel egg and chop coarsely, reserve for later step. Melt margarine. Add flour and salt. Stir until smooth. Cook 5 minutes. Add milk gradually, stirring constantly with a wire whip. Cook until thickened. Add green pepper, pimiento, and seasonings to sauce. Add tuna and eggs to sauce. Heat through . Serve with 4-oz ladle on toast, biscuits, or corn bread.
Other cooked fish may be substituted for tuna, for example salmon, or smoked fish.
Mama often used leftover peas instead of hard-cooked eggs and green pepper.   Or use some shredded cheddar instead of eggs, making a sort of “tuna rarebit”.

As to heritage, well this recipe is just so…WASP!!!

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A Site You Should Know: Directory of Genealogists

I have a chapter in my book, Genealogy Online, 9th Edition,  on how to go about hiring a professional genealogist, and how to know when you need one. Until this month, one place you could go to find a pro was’s Expert Connect, but the  company has discontinued that listing. In response,  Directory of Genealogists has emerged. STEPHANIE HOOVER is the owner and operator of not only but also    She has the site up and running, with a Twitter update feed @DirofGens!  Here is the press release about this new site:



A Global Network of Professional Genealogists
February 2, 2011
Contact: Stephanie Hoover, Owner
Free Directory of Genealogists Debuts This Month

A new web site set to debut this month offers both genealogists and those looking to hire them a valuable free service: a worldwide directory of professional researchers.
The recent closure of Ancestry’s ExpertConnect program prompted Pennsylvania genealogist Stephanie Hoover to create a tool that fills the resulting large void in marketing and networking opportunities. Her answer is a simple concept, but one she hopes will be highly beneficial.

“I know that there are professional organizations for genealogists,” says Hoover, “and even other directories. But this directory will be a little different. For one thing, the scope is quite large. Many former ExpertConnect researchers have asked to be included so the directory already represents a number of countries outside the United States. And, basic listings will always be free. A genealogist will never have to pay to have his or her name on”

Hoover is currently absorbing all costs to design and host the site, gather researcher profiles, and database this information.

“I have had generous offers from participants,” she says, “but at this point it would be difficult to delegate tasks.” She has also taken on the role of social media coordinator using services like Twitter and LinkedIn to publicize the directory. “I believe it’s time for genealogists to take control of their own industry,” Hoover says. “Trade groups are in the business of growing the group – and that is certainly reasonable. ExpertConnect was a revenue generator for Ancestry – and here again, that’s to be expected. But this directory benefits no one but the researchers. We are the ones who know what we need to survive in this field. We are the ones who know that clients need direction and education. We are the ones who need one another, to compare notes and share stories of both success and failure. That is my goal for this web site.”

A special discussion board, to be called “The D.o.G. Pound,” will be a researchers-only forum where genealogists can communicate with one another privately. This service will not go live until the directory is posted. Hoover is honest about possible future premium content on

“Once the directory is operational, and if I am confident that premium services or listings benefit researchers, I may eventually charge a nominal annual fee for enhanced directory entries. As I’ve already mentioned, however, basic listings will always be free and I can promise that any future premium fees would be
affordable for one-man-shops or part-time genealogists.”

Researchers wishing to be considered for inclusion in the directory can complete a simple form found

While the web site is still currently under construction, the basic design and framework are clearly visible to visitors who are encouraged to go to and offer feedback.
Comments or questions about the directory can be emailed to Stephanie Hoover at:
A Twitter account has also been established:


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Groundhog Day, Candlemas, and St. Blaise

February 2 in our calendar has many traditions: among them St. Blaise Day, Candlemas, and of course in the U. S., Groundhog Day! It is also a cross-quarter day…halfway between a solstice and an equinox.
Candlemas Day traditionally marked the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, and of course Simeon’s beautiful song,

Nunc dimittis
Luke 2:29-32

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, *
according to thy word;
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, *
which thou hast prepared before the face of all people,
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles, *
and to be the glory of thy people Israel.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Traditions of this feast include the blessing and burning of candles.

It is also the feast of St. Blaise, who, because of several miracles attributed to him during his lifetime, is associated with complaints of the throat. The prayer for his day:

Saint Blaise, pray for us that we may not suffer from illnesses of the throat and pray that all who are suffering be healed by God’s love. Amen

Groundhog Day is our U. S. transplanting of many European traditions that this midwinter’s day can predict the coming of spring, such as this rhyme:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.

Of course, like many folk tales, the connection to reality is tenuous. We are six weeks from the spring equinox, come sunshine, snow, or high water! 

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Week #5 : 52 Weeks of personal History.

Here’s this week’s challenge:

Week 5: Favorite Food. What was your favorite food from childhood? If it was homemade, who made it? What was in this dish, and why was it your favorite? What is your favorite dish now?

 My favorite food is still one of my favorites: Mama would make a dish of white sauce, onion, mushrooms and pimientos, with a drained can of tuna added in. This would be put on biscuits, toast points, or English muffins for any meal of the day, including breakfast.

Actually Mama would cook anything for breakfast, as long as she could get us to eat before we left the house. Soup, milkshakes made with egg and fruit, even scrambled eggs with catsup (my brother Bill loved those!) would be considered fair game!


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25 Years Ago

I was at work. I was pregnant with Matthew, due in about a month. It was my husband’s grandfather’s birthday.

Mama called me, knowing my desk was out of range of a radio or TV. “The shuttle exploded,” she said. “It’s just awful.”

Dad was working at McDonnell Douglas, having retired from NASA in 1980.  But Dad had worked in propulsion, aeronautics and  avionics at NASA most of his career. An explosion that soon after launch meant a problem with one of those, he knew.

Later, investigations would reveal that a combination of things from design and testing flaws, to a decision to launch at colder temperatures than ever attempted before, to joints and seals all played a part.  “The commission decided that since Marshall officials had prior knowledge of the hazard, the accident primarily resulted from ineffective communications and management at the Center.” says the history at the Marshall Space Flight Center site. But that’s not the whole story, the history goes on to say. MSFC officials disagreed with that conclusion, saying they communicated, and tested.

Lessons learned, as this article at,, says, include being aware that small mistakes have big consequences. And that when you are attempting things that have never been done before, sometimes it’s hard to see everything that might go wrong.

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