Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Book of Me, Written By You - Prompt 2 - Your Birth

I am participating in The Book of Me, Written By You project created by Julie Goucher of the Anglers Rest blog. The concept: a series of blogging and writing prompts that help family historians capture their own memories and write about themselvesClick here for more information.
Do you have any baby photos?
I do have some baby photos. None however from when I was a very newborn baby because I was born about 2 and half months early and had to spend some time in the hospital hanging out in an incubator before being allowed to go home.

I always tell people that rather than wait until Christmas to be born I decided to come in time for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Here is one to the left where I am just snoozing on Mom. Apparently that was one of my favorite places to sleep. I can totally understand that since I could usually get younger brothers, cousins and even my own kids to go to sleep like that as I was holding them. 



The one to the right is of Mom just holding me on the couch. These were taken when I was almost two months old.

Where were you born? 

I was born at the Utah Valley Hospital in Provo, Utah where in fact all of my children have been born. However, the hospital is now dramatically different then it was at the time I showed up there. It is now a regional medical center. 
http://intermountainhealthcare.org/hospitals/uvrmc/about/history/Pages/home.aspx


Who was present at your birth? 

At the time that I was born you couldn't have all visitors in the delivery room so it was just various doctors and nurses that were there while Dad hung out with the other fathers-to-be in the waiting room...pacing I am sure.

Dimensions? 4 lbs. 2 oz. and 17.5 inches long

What day was it? 
Oct 15th.  It was a Thursday.  Time? 1:20 pm

Did you have hair? Eye colors? 
I had a decent amount of dark hair which over time turned fairly light and then back to dark brown as I got older and then started to disappear - or did it just go completely clear? My eyes started out dark brown until my teens and then became more hazel. My wife believes that they change colors based on what I am wearing, as they don't seem to stay a specific shade.

Are you a twin? 
No, and probably a good thing that my parents didn't have to deal with two cranky and expensive premies.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Book of Me, Written by You Prompt-1

I am participating in Julie Goucher's activity:  "The Book of Me, Written by You."

This prompt is a recognized psychology test: Ask yourself 20 times “Who are you?” Each time you should give yourself a different answer, and if you can easily go beyond 20 entries then that is fine too. This prompt is about how YOU see YOU.

  1. I am Bret Petersen.
  2. I am a son, husband and father.
  3. I am friendly and easy to get to know.
  4. I am happy and try to look at life positively - glass full - half water and the other half air.
  5. I am helpful to anyone that I can be helpful to.
  6. I am loyal to friends and family.
  7. I am funny and enjoy making people laugh and have a good time.
  8. I am a lover of good books
  9. I am creative in the things that I make and do (carpentry, sewing, cross-stitch, painting, etc)
  10. I am a leader who cares about people.
  11. I am a genealogy researcher seeking my family history.
  12. I am a teacher and presenter in various fields where I can help others be successful.
  13. I am a lover of animals. I have had dogs, fish, gerbils, horses and pigeons. (Not all at once)
  14. I am a fly fisher.
  15. I am a peacemaker always looking to resolve difficult situations.
  16. I am inclusionary minded. I want everyone to feel important and valued.
  17. I am a volunteer. Sometimes too much for my own good.
  18. I am a geek. I love technology, but try to use it in moderation to make my life more enjoyable.
  19. I am sentimental. I am such a softie that I tear up at the silliest things.
  20. I am excited about always improving and learning.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Workaday Wednesday...Or Not


I was recently laid off from the company where I worked for over 20 years in publishing systems and software. This has left me not only busy with a new day-to-day "job" of networking and looking for new employment, but has left me thinking about my ancestors, the jobs they performed and their work ethic.

I have had to examine where I want to go at this point in my career. Looking at their work backgrounds and goals gives me some insight into my own situation.

Dad home from work
My father had a very similar situation in his employment life when he was slightly older than me. He was successful at what he did in sales for his company, but the company was sold and things changed. It gave him the opportunity to go to work for another company in the same industry and still make use of his skills in helping the new employer grow and value him as an employee.


Gloria Newman Petersen in her 1st grade classroom.

My paternal grandmother, Gloria Petersen, found herself a young widow needing to support 5 children.  She went back to school and finished a degree in teaching and was a loved and admired school teacher until she retired.

Burnell Bybee farm store manager


My maternal grandfather, Burnell Bybee spent time in various jobs using his abilities to become anyone's "best friend" and often worked outside-the-box in being successful at what he did.



My great grandfather Ephraim Jensen loved bike racing so much as a teen that after he was laid off in 1924 from a bike shop, he decided to go into the bicycle business for himself and started his own successful bicycle repair shop.
Ephraim Jensen in his bike shop


Thomas Elliott
My great, great grandfather Thomas Elliott came to the United States in 1887 as a former English coal miner, worked his way up in business, became a lawyer, later a U.S. Commissioner and an Idaho State Senator.

And these are just a few of my ancestors with which I share a common trait. All of us want to get better at what we do and be successful in something that we enjoy.

With my former employer I was able to take my love of newspapers and journalism, along with my skills in technology, management and creativity and help them grow and become a leader in their industry.  

Now I am looking to take some of those same skills into a new arena where I hope to make a difference, help others succeed and hopefully love what I am doing. 

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

SLIG Wrap Up and Looking to the Future

Whew! Now that I have finished my week as an attendee/resident AV Nerd for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and caught up on real life once more, I wanted to give you a final rundown on how the week ended.

In my course - Bridging the 1780-1830 Gap: From New England to the Midwest (and Points in Between) with D. Joshua Taylor - we wrapped up on Friday with Josh running us through a case study using records from this time period for a family that ended up in Ohio. The fun and interesting part about this process was that as he walked us through it and came to one of those points in the research process where one might wonder where to go next, he then asked the class for input and suggestions. As members of the class shared ideas and suggestions we could learn from one another and also see if that was the direction we might have headed on our own.  It was a great learning experience. 

Next came a bit of "show-and-tell" where those that wanted to could show the rest of the class what types of things the either found or put into play while researching during the week. It was great to see how many were able to improve their research skills and think about new types of records to seek out during this time period.

I realized that here on the blog  I  never shared the other courses being held this year. I heard great things from many other attendees about each one of them. Of course it helps that some of the best-of-the-best instructors were leading each course. Here are the other courses.
  • American Research and Records: Focus on Localities (with Paula Stuart-Warren)
  • Researching Your English Ancestors: Beyond the Parish Register (with Apryl Cox)
  • Advanced German Research (with F. Warren Bittner)
  • Researching in Washington D.C. without Leaving Home (with Richard G. Sayre and Pamela Boyer Sayre)
  • A Genealogist’s Guide to the Internet Galaxy (with Thomas MacEntee)
  • Principles of Forensic Genealogy (with Melinde Lutz Byrne)
  • Producing a Quality Family Narrative (with John Philip Colletta)
  • Advanced Genealogical Methods (with Thomas W. Jones)
  • Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum (with Angela McGhie and Kimberly Powell)
  • Problem Solving (with Judith Hansen)
Later Friday evening came the banquet where the classes were announced for  2014.  I can't wait.  
The following are repeats from this year -
  • American Research and Records
  • Writing a Quality Family Narrative
  • Advanced Genealogical Methods
  • Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum
  • Problem Solving
And these others were introduced -
  • Research in the South (with J. Mark Lowe)
  • New York Research (with Karen Mauer Green)
  • Scottish Research  (with Carolyn Barkley)
  • Advanced Research Tools: Land Records (with Richard G. Sayre and Pamela Boyer Sayre)
  • Comprehensive Photo Detecting (with Maureen Taylor)
  • Researching in Eastern Europe  (with Kory Meyerink)
  • Credentialing: Accreditation, Certification, or Both? (with Apryl Cox and Elissa Scalise Powell)



Friday, January 18, 2013

SLIG Learning: Land, Military, Manuscripts and DAR Resources


Since I have been so busy running around as the SLIG AV Nerd and taxing my brain while in class the rest of the time, I decided to just put together a brief overview of both Wednesday and Thursday classes.

Wednesday started with Josh Taylor giving us a rundown on the New York's Land Companies and their part in selling land in New York to New Englanders heading west after the Revolutions.  It was interesting to me how many land companies were involved and where their records might be found, including even back in Holland. Then, much like now, much of the land was purchased on credit and the depression of 1819 caused many to have to end up either giving up their land or their crops to pay for it.

Then Richard G. Sayre filled us in on Ohio and Pennsylvania land records. As part of the class he told us about a book entitled - "The Official Ohio Lands Book that is available for free as a pdf through the stand auditors website - http://www.auditor.state.oh.us/studentcenter/default.htm 

You gotta love free!  Let me tell you that this should be very helpful since Ohio was such a patchwork of more than twelve tracts and districts as it was used throughout the expansion of the country supervised under both state and federal governments.

Pennsylvania lands aren't nearly as convoluted, yet they still have a complicated history involving Sweden, The Netherlands and England all creating settlements prior to William Penn coming into the picture. Therefore one must understand where the records are found for the different time periods involved and under what rules they were created.  The site http://mapsofpa.com makes many maps of Pennsylvania available online to assist in ones research. 

Craig R. Scott then covered "Bounty Land: Colonial and State". USLegal.com defines bounty land as "a grant of free land from a goverment given to citizens as a reward for service to their country, generally for military-related service."  Craig explained how bounty land actually started in Rome where Caesar granted land to his armies in lands that they conquered. Colonies and States later mimicked this because they felt that people could then help defend the lands that they were given.

Our next class was "Military Resources: State and Local Archives" taught by Paula Stuart-Warren where she discussed the various records that might be found in many different archives. She also recommended the book "U.S. Military Records: A Guide to Federal & State Sources, Colonial America to the Present."  Realizing that I didn't have this book, which sounded very interesting, I jumped on my iPhone and quickly searched for it on several sites. I then purchased a used library copy through Amazon.com's marketplace for $3.99.  A much better deal than $26 for a new copy.

Thursday began with Paula Stuart-Warren teaching us about  "Manuscript Sources, 1780-1840". In doing so she had us searching on a few of the websites like archivegrid.org to see the many types of things that are contained in these collections.  

Josh Taylor then went through "Resources of the DAR: Beyond Revolutionary War Soldiers.'  Even after my trip to the DAR museum a couple of years ago, I still learned a few new ways to use their resources from out discussions. Several people in class were very involved in the DAR and had some insights about their records that were very helpful.  

What a great learning opportunity it has been to learn from these great instructors!  It is hard to believe that it's almost over.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day Two of SLIG Learning - Canals, Wars, Research and Whiskey

Day two at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) was another full day with more amazing presenters.  John P. Colletta started the day with the topic "Erie Canal Genealogy: The Peopling of Upstate New York and the Midwest." I always find his presentations so full of information, yet fun and entertaining as well.  He really gave us a feel for the amazing history of the Erie Canal and what it meant for people and how it changed their lives for both good and bad.

I didn't realize for example that boats of goods would often come east on the canal and then down the Hudson  River to the New York harbor and then be pulled back up the Hudson River full of immigrant travelers who then would then often continue on via the canals as they head westward.  I also didn't realize that boys (averaging 14 years of age) were the ones leading the horse or mule teams in pulling the canal boats along their scheduled route with included changing teams every 15-20 miles. It was also interesting to hear about the processes involved in the boats passing one another either coming the same way or going in separate directions. See more info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erie_Canal

What surprised me was that I hadn't realized that even though they really seemed to pack people in these long thin boats, they really for the most part experienced good food and scenery.  He showed various illustrations of people hanging out on the boat roof having to flatten down as they approached bridges. He described the "young and adventurous" often jumping onto the bridge running across and jumping back on the boat.  I can sure imagine my eight-year-old son attempting to do this.  He also described all of the businesses and jobs that came along with the Canal and how we can watch for those jobs in the censuses where we find our ancestors.

We then had the opportunity to listen to Craig R. Scott walk us through the "War of 1812 Records" which is one area that I haven't worked much with. Craig knows his stuff and really gave a us a good overview of all the records and details behind them for those who were involved in this war.  As he gave the presentation. I was on my iPad looking through some of the sites like http://www.usdaughters1812.org that I hadn't ever explored before. I looked through several of my family names and decided that I needed to explore this more in the future to see if any may have been involved.

Craig then presented "Revolutionary War: Pensions and More" where he discussed how the pension evolved with various congressional acts that either gave or attempted to reduce or take away pension rights.  Apparently one of the main reasons that these pensions took so long to come into play was that many in Congress didn't believe that these "Patriots" would expect anything of their country in return for their sacrifice.  Apparently even back then Congress was out-of touch with their constituents. Can you imagine?!

I attended optional evening sessions by Michael Hait who gave an interesting presentation on the "What is a Reasonably Exhaustive Search" and one by Mark Lowe entitled "Whiskey, Brandy and Family Migration.  

Michael's presentation title of course contains part of the Genealogical Proof Standard.  It is an area that I always enjoy getting someone's take on and especially if it contains a case study showing examples about how as researchers we know when we might have searched enough for valid information and then how to analyze it to determine whether we have looked for all records that might come into play.It is important to remember that this isn't a certain number of records or a majority of the records being in agreement.

The history of what brought people to and from particular areas of Tennessee and Kentucky was the focus of Marks presentation. This was really fascinating to me since I have Bybee, Petty and Layne or Lane families from these areas.  Of course whiskey production was a major industry in the area and he showed us how the type of land, water and crops that could be found or grown in an area influenced where they lived.  We also learned the difference between Kentucky Bourbon and Tennessee Sipping Whiskey. Some in the audience were sad that there weren't free samples, but still thoroughly enjoyed Mark's wonderful sense of humor and Southern charm.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

AV Nerds Rock!...As Does Josh Taylor


Well my first day of being the AV Nerd for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) is over and if I do say so myself, it has been a great success. Of course I must give a big shout out to the AV crew here at the hotel.  They have been absolutely wonderful to work with and have bent over backwards to assist or deal with my sometimes wild ramblings about last second changes or adjustments to the tech/setup in a classroom.

Now on to the fun part. I wanted to give a brief rundown of the course that I am attending each day to help others see the benefit of coming to SLIG.  Also be sure to check out Valerie Elkins blog http://familycherished.blogspot.com/ where I know that she is planning to blog about the new "Principles of Forensic Genealogy" course being offered this year. If you know of any others that are blogging this week, please add the link in the comments. I know several other bloggers are here and I am sure will be posting at some time in the future is they don't post during the week.

I was so excited to be able to have the chance to take D. Joshua Taylor's course - "Bridging the 1780-1830 Gap: From New England to the Midwest (and points in between)". This is the first time it has been offered and I am not only a big fan of Josh's, but feel like I have plenty to learn about about not only the time period, but also the places involved.  And boy did I!

We started out the class by Josh walking us through an historical overview of the time period.  When I teach family history classes I always tell my students how much I hated history in school, but that once I learned about putting it into context within my ancestor's lives, it becomes very fascinating. 

There were so many things about this time period that would have completely influenced how people worked, lived and even prayed.  I thought it was fascinating to see how religion through part of the period moved from 1 in 4 people being tied to an organized religion to almost the reverse nearly everyone was involved in religion and even switching around as they reacted to the fervor going on.

We then discussed what Josh called the "Five Jumpstarts" to get going in research for this time period and then on to a session regarding all of the various migration paths and how those affected our ancestors, where they might have stopped and what might have changed their plans. The final session of the day was taught by Elissa Scalise Powell who talked about how "The Mighty Ohio" river played a part for those migrating West and thinking about what pulled or pushed them to new areas as they migrated. 

A full first day to say the least and that doesn't even go into the fun we had during the evening sessions with Tom Jones "Planning Efficient and Effective Research: A Case Study" and the "Genealogy Game Show" with Craig R. Scott. Informative and fun to say the least!

Late Breaking News - Just saw Kimberly Powell's post about SLIG --http://genealogy.about.com/b/2013/01/15/youre-never-done-learning-genealogy-education-scholarship.htm?nl=1

Friday, January 11, 2013

Getting My Genealogy Geek On

I am desperately fighting to get myself back into regular blog updates, but life has just kept getting in the way.
After being elected to the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA) Board of Directors last Spring, then being asked to take over their twice-a-year conferences, my regular speaking engagements, along with a myriad of other responsibilities, I have found that blogging moved down the list of priorities.
So genealogy and family history have certainly been a major part of my life, but I  just haven't been blogging about it.
However this next week, I am beyond excited to participate for the first time at UGA's Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy.  I will not only be attending as a genealogy geek, but also assisting the speakers and presenters with their AV issues, hence making me also the resident AV Nerd.
I won't embarrass myself by wearing the standard issue taped glasses, but rest assured that I will be feeling like a giddy geek as I am surrounded by the wonderful people that have worked on the committee under Christy Fillerup's marvelous direction, the attendees anxious to learn and develop their research skills, and the unbelievably talented and knowledgeable faculty.
My schedule has never allowed me to attend, but this year as a member of the board, I decided to volunteer to help out in order to force myself to make it to fit my schedule. Along with that I am hoping to do some blogging about who is there and what we are doing and learning about each day. I know several well-known bloggers will be in attendance and expect that they will be writing about their experiences as well.   So stay tuned. And if you happen be blessed enough to be attending as well, be sure and say hi!