thegenealogygirl


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Grandpa Costello’s 1932 Buick

V, Barbara, Amberly

Auntie V, Aunt Barbara, and Amberly at Barbara’s home in Spokane, Washington.  13 March 2018

 

Last week I was able to spend some time with my GrandAunt Barbara and my Auntie V at Barbara’s home in Spokane, Washington.  We had a good time together.  Aunt Barbara shared lots of stories, photos, and other family heirlooms with us.  I have so much to preserve from that visit.  It’s exciting!  One of my favorite finds was a grouping of photographs and stories about Grandpa Costello’s car.

 

COSTELLO, John & Mary by his car

John & Mary Costello standing next to Grandpa’s 1932 Buick

 

Grandpa Costello bought a 1932 Buick right off the showroom floor.  Apparently, Grandma Costello wasn’t too happy about that.  Grandpa babied that car – a deluxe model complete with flower holders in the back seat – he would park it in the garage that had a dirt floor, but every time he took it out he would dust the entire car.

 

COSTELLO, kids in John's car, 1932

Costello children in their father’s car – Dan, Vince, and Virginia

 

When Aunt Barbara was dating Uncle Dan, Grandpa Costello still had that car.  So Barbara rode it in.  When Grandpa Costello could no longer drive, the car was sold to some friends of Aunt Virginia’s.  Dan was very upset by that because he really wanted that car.

Years later, Dan and Barbara flew in Dan’s plane to somewhere near Ione.*  There was a car show near the airport and in that car show, there was Grandpa’s car!  His actual car, not just the same model.

 

COSTELLO, Dan standing by John's car

Dan Costello standing next to his father’s car in 1974.

COSTELLO, John's car in a car show in Bonner's Ferry, 1974

 

Each time I visit my relatives from an older generation I learn new details about my ancestors.  Each and every trip is so worth it.  I LOVE the picture of John and Mary standing next to Grandpa’s car!!  What a treasure to add to my small “John Costello” collection.

 

COSTELLO, John's car pictures from Aunt Barbara

 

I used these photos along with the audio of this part of the interview to create a video using Animoto.  I’m toying with purchasing a plan with Animoto and created this video as part of my trial.  Have you used Animoto or a similar service or program?  Which do you prefer?  I tried using Adobe Spark but there were far too many limitations with the audio.  I have lots and lots of audio files that would work nicely in a video and definitely want flexibility in the audio files I can use.  Here is my video:

 

 

 

Happy Monday, I hope you make a fantastic genealogy discovery this week!

 

 

*{Ummm, can I just say that I wish I had asked about Dan’s plane and flying?  I was so distracted by the car stories that I missed that tid-bit…}


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A Cautionary Tale of Digital Loss

 

IMG_7308

Daniel Ramon Costello & Barbara Ann Deno Costello, my granduncle & grandaunt at their home in Spokane, Washington.

 

 

I am sick.

Heartsick.

Like, really, really heartsick.

Almost four years ago I went on a trip to Spokane, Washington to visit my Grandma and interview her.  I saw, and also interviewed, other family members including my Uncle Dan & Aunt Barbara, and my fabulous Auntie V.  It was a fantastic trip.  My sister and Mom drove up to be there too.  I had brought along a digital audio recorder to capture all of the conversations.

Grandma told me stories I had never heard.  She talked about being a single mom in the 60s.  She described being a rescue diver for years and the moment she decided she couldn’t do it anymore.  She answered questions about family members who she knew, but my Mom and I did not.  She described people and places.  She went over photos with me identifying people and adding details about those people and the events in the photos.  She talked about how hard it was when her father went to prison for a year.  We talked and talked and talked.  I captured it all on my little digital audio recorder.

Uncle Dan and Aunt Barbara told me about John Costello and Mary Brown Young, my great grandparents.  I knew Mary, but John died when my mother was a child.  They shared how sorry they were in later years that they hadn’t asked Grandpa Costello more questions about his family in Spain before he passed.  Uncle Dan talked about his time in the service during WWII.  Aunt Barbara started to tell us about how sad my biological grandfather was when he and my Grandma divorced before my Mom and aunt cut her off.

My Auntie V shared some insights, when we were alone, about various family members from the past.  Her “unvarnished truth” to balance what Grandma had shared.

My Grandpa told me detailed stories from Viet Nam that are so fascinating.  I’ll leave it at that since he is still living.

All of these gems and much more were recorded on my handy little digital audio recorder.

I returned home from my trip and was immediately swept back up in daily life with my children who were 16, 13, and 2.  I was able to process some new data and information, but my trusty little audio recorder didn’t make the cut.

More than a year passed and one of my uncles from my dad’s side of the family needed to borrow my audio recorder for a family reunion I wasn’t able to attend.  I wrote up a short list of instructions and stood holding that recorder, struggling with whether or not to leave the micro sd card inside.  It has an internal memory that was more than sufficient, but what if the contents on the sd card were somehow erased?  After going back and forth I popped that oh-so-tiny micro sd card out and set it on my dresser.

I think.

Here is the moment in the book where you want to scream at the character, “No!  Don’t do it!!”

The recorder was used by my uncle at that reunion and then returned and placed on top of my dresser.

I think.

This week I am going back up to Spokane to help with an archiving project, among other things.  I will see Aunt Barbara, my Mom, Auntie V, and Grandpa.  Grandma and Uncle Dan have both passed away.

I need to be able to record and I debated – do I use my digital audio recorder or do I use my phone?

I pulled out that recorder and thought I had better pull the audio files off of it.  I plugged it into my computer and searched the files.

There were five.

Four nonsense practice files that last just a few seconds and a 33-minute file from the reunion.

That is all.

I must have checked the micro sd card slot at least 15 times hoping for something to appear that simply wasn’t there.  I even used a flashlight just to be certain.  I went through the folders on the internal memory over and over hoping to find something more but coming up empty every single time.

Panic set in.

I started tearing apart every place in my house I could imagine myself considering “a safe place” for that teeny-tiny-little micro sd card.  (Carefully, of course, but definitely fervently.)  All the while I was racking my brain and praying for a memory to pop to the surface.  Did I really just set that invaluable sd card on my dresser?  That miniscule, but more precious than gold, fragile tiny card on the edge of a dresser?!

That seems like a terrible decision.  And the thing is, I don’t know for sure what I did.  I just know that there is not a micro sd card inside of that digital audio recorder.

So far I have found one micro sd card – but not the one I need – but seriously, where did that come from? – and one regular sd card.  What is happening here?  Why aren’t these properly stored?  Why is my organizational system falling apart?!  What on earth?

Why didn’t I transfer those files immediately after my trip?!

Why didn’t I transfer those files while I was still on my trip?!!!!!  I had my laptop with me.

And this is the point where I could ramble on and on about my laptop being super full and being a busy mom with big and tiny children and being the Relief Society President in my ward and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

You know that moment I mentioned, the one where we all want to scream at the character, “No!!  Don’t do it!!”?  Well, I didn’t listen.  If I could have even had a tiny glimpse of my present anguish, I would have moved mountains to get those files transferred to AT LEAST two other places.

But I didn’t.

And now I am heartsick.

So terribly heartsick.

Real tears have been shed several times now as I continue to search and continue to come up with nothing.

 

There are two very small glimmers of hope.

One, my Mom interviewed my Grandma about 2 years ago and still has that recording – that I will immediately move heaven and earth to transfer to AT LEAST two places the minute it gets into my hot little hand.  There are two major disappointments with this – one, I love you Mom, but I ask better questions 😳 – and two, my Mom says it’s all fiction.  But let’s be real, would I know the difference?  And is my Mom’s opinion of Grandma’s stories accurate or fair?  I don’t know.

Two, I just might still find that micro sd card.  I believe in miracles.  I’ve experienced miracles plenty of times.  I don’t know if I actually need a miracle this time or just more time searching, but I’ll take that treasure anyway it comes to me.  So I’ll hold out hope that somehow, someway, those hours of audio files will make their way back to me.  And no matter the path it takes, I will consider it a miracle.  But I have learned a VERY BIG lesson.

NO MATTER HOW BUSY I AM, THERE ARE SOME TASKS THAT NEED TO BE DONE IMMEDIATELY.

Good preservation requires having multiple copies in multiple places.  So guess what I will be doing over the next month?  Assessing and addressing my current level of preservation of family photos, home movies, and priceless papers and artifacts.

 

But I still really, really, really want to have that oh-so-precious and oh-so-tiny micro sd card back.  Please.

 

I’ll take any good vibes, happy successful treasure hunting thoughts, or prayers you want to send my way.  I could definitely use them.

 

And friends, I hope you will learn from my mistake and avoid a similar bout of sorrow and loss.  What do you need to digitize, duplicate, or store in another place today?  Don’t wait.  Please, don’t wait.

Good luck.

xoxo

 


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Two FamilySearch Classes this Week

FamilySearch_Logo

Sunday night I taught a class at my local Family History Center, Finding “Hidden” Records on FamilySearch.

I covered everything from this blog post and then some.  I really love teaching.  So it was a great time for me.  And bonus, my students were pretty happy too.

Well, today I get to teach a group of 10 and 11-year-old girls.  I have ten minutes.  Ten minutes is not a lot of time.  You really can’t cover a lot in ten minutes.  So I am going for quality.  We are going to talk about preserving memories.  I’ll tell them a story or two.  I’ll show them how to add a photo and an audio recording to FamilySearch from the app.  Then I am going to challenge them to go home and add 3 photos and 3 audio recordings to FamilySearch using the FS app.

I will send them home with this handout:

FS app with gg address

I hope at least one of those little girls will feel a nudge towards her ancestors.

 

Wish me luck!

 

 

ps – Those girls?  They are members of my church.  We have a program called Activity Days that is for 8-12 year old girls.  They meet twice each month and learn new things, complete service projects, or participate in some sort of activity.  I was asked to help out this time.  If you are an Activity Days Leader and come across this post, please feel free to use my handout.

 

pps – If you are interested in my overly detailed handout from my Finding “Hidden” Records on FamilySearch class, send me an email and I’ll happily share.  Email address on sidebar.