Mobile Accessibility for the Modern Genealogical Researcher

Recent library literature ( Smith, Aaron.  “Cell Internet Use 2012.” Pew Internet and American Life Project.)  explained that Internet use for minority young adults often occurs on cell phones. A recent class meeting indicated that this study was right.

Genealogical research is a hot topic, but there is a disconnect with the young adult age group. Most of them do not relate genealogical research with family stories and for those that do relate the two, they have no idea how to start researching. My app should help to change that. Based on a game-learning system, the point of the game is learning real research techniques and using the app to find the closest places for what there is for documentation at home and in other locations.

Instead of the surname-based system, use geographic searching strategies to make progress in family history. The app isn’t done yet, and all of these ideas are under immediate copyright of the owner/author. I should have at least mock-up’s attempted within the next year or two. I am learning as fast as I can how to code and how to bring other’s coded materials together for collaborative use. Crunching the data may not be the hard part, though I am uncertain. Seeing whether the server can handle more than two searches, move fast, and effortlessly as the app changes how people search could be the bigger thing. I am starting now to wonder how much server space is necessary for making all of this happen.

The intent for the app is the democratization of genealogy. This may be an arrogant assumption, as I have little to no idea what genealogical efforts are under-sway world-wide, though I know that they must be out there. Looking for world conferences on genealogy that actually are world-wide. RootsTech, FHISO, and GEDCOM X are only the beginning tools.

I need something that people can use on their phones or IPads in live-time. Making it social might blow all server possibilities, but may get a grant. We’ll see what happens.


The Costco of Whole Foods

Some people have Disneyland. My “Mecca” besides the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, is Whole Foods on North Avenue. More expensive than it should be, people go there to eat with their eyes more than with their mouths, unless you wish to spend at least $50 on groceries for just a few items. Its location in River North in the middle of a hip, trendy neighborhood, directly off the Red Line, is safely situated for beautiful commerce near the Chicago River. This Whole Foods is more of a destination than it is a grocery store.

Some people use IKEA in similar ways: a destination shop for ideas and thoughts rather than a place where a person buys that much that often. Luckily, a little further down North Avenue is Stan’s market. I have never been inside that place, but it looks of the same feel and caliber as Family Fresh Market in Jefferson Park. Both of them are local markets with less-expensive produce of good quality.

Bring a foodie in Chicago is less about actually going out for food and seems more about knowing the addictive experiences for groceries. An apple is an apple is an apple. But a Granny Smith from a local producer in Wisconsin or Michigan versus California or Chile could be different based upon soil, rain, and  distance. The longer I live in this town, the more concerned I become with what goes into my body.

Out in the suburbs, there are less expensive chain markets like Butera. Within the city are markets that in some cases have been around since the 50’s, and others that grew with expanding populations. The Edgewater Historical Society put on a small exhibit about grocery stores in Edgewater back in its heyday.

Food is big business overall. Overuse of corn and GMO wheat makes Jetsons food for Flintstone bodies, (got that line from a friend) and I prefer Flintstone foods. I want to rediscover what my great grandparents ate. Their generation did not get sick as fast or had as many allergies as we do. I will admit that my great-grandmother was sick more often than not, but her health problems do not appear problematic for me or my generation within the family.

I do better following the Word of Wisdom, which is the LDS health code. My family adopted and adapted various recipes for use over years, and due to addictive behaviors in previous generations, I believe that wine was not a part of our cooking regime anyway. My grandmother did not cook with it, my mother did not cook with it, and I do not cook with it. I started The Mormon Gourmet with my sister dealing with the phenom of wine-less cooking.

Because of the natural understanding that most of the world has when it comes to food, it is a great simile-and-metaphor allegorical apparatus for teaching principles, and deals more-closely with religious teaching. Anyone who controls the food supply controls the world. Control water, salt, sugar, and food fat, and you control how the world thinks, literally influencing molecular-level thought processes.

I care about GMO in that I have too many friends who are sicker than they should be because of what big businesses do. Grow food the old-fashioned way, and let it take effort. Bigger is not always better. Training food to grow faster than needed is not right. Allow the time needed for food to produce the minerals and vitamins otherwise deficient in fast-growing bumper crops.

It’s not a case of exercising ourselves to death. It is a case of being able to afford properly produced food for less than the prices that Whole Foods charges for the Disneyland atmosphere. Branding is a huge incentive, and I can see how people may shop here simply for the appeal of the social climate.

Instead of the Obama’s making PSA’s about exercise, help smaller farmers bring products to market on a local basis. Allow anyone to develop their own seeds. Be proactive about lessening hybridization, and continuing heirloom quality items with low-end antique-shop prices. Junk costs less, and that is why people eat it. America’s economy is in a horribly bad state and health care costs would decrease if there was less controlling and more promoting tax cuts for better quality and better-run food product producers. Want to put America back to work? Give incentives for micro-farms, and you will see more people learning agriculture and less worries about Wall Street issues. We worry when we cannot feed our families nutritious food due to the costs associated. Keep America healthier by giving tax breaks for buying ground and farming it- by normal people with other day jobs. Instead of micro-parks, make parts of parks accessible for farming. Small, community-run places where people can have soil and ground. One person can be the main groundskeeper with care for tools and upkeep on water lines, but otherwise, people can do their thing with limited restrictions. Producing produce and making seeds and productive farming should be rewarded, not mandated against!

There’s my soap-box without extreme passion or activism. I’m just trying to stay away from HFCS while being uncertain about conversion factors in recipes for sugars I haven’t tried yet (agave or maple syrup) and attempting better sugar intake while increasing water. Heaven help us as we re-learn the ancient art of true self-reliance: not asking everyone else to grow things for us, but figuring out how to do it ourselves again. I am not advocating a removal of grocery stores, but instead, tax incentives for installing communal green houses and making that a standard part of apartment living unless a doctor authorizes otherwise due to pollen and similar issues.

I don’t want a Jetson’s lifestyle. I like technology, but prefer to keep my food old-fashioned. If it worked for the Flintstones, it should work for me, too. Here are the thoughts of a 21st century Renaissance girl and urban farmer. Make any Metropolis a greener city by creating roof top gardens and see how they do!

Systemic Thinking

Tonight’s class had a guest speaker and part of his information dealt with the topic “systemic thinking.” I’ve been doing this my entire life and never knew what it was called. Consider it a combination of analysis and otherwise “digging.” It’s seeing patterns and trends in life processes. I first learned to do this with scriptures. Looking for parallels with life and with what I read, this is now a normal part of life for me happening daily, like breathing.

I don’t know whether I am “good” at it or not. It simply comes to me when looking around at life. There were other aspects of the discussion like leadership- a real leader is someone who inspires others to their best behavior by looking to help those people become better themselves. A real leader also has interest in the development of his or her cor-workers, staff, comrades, or just plain friends or family. I want to add here, irrespective of whether or not they can benefit him or her. Honest and active leadership involves recognizing the strengths and benefits of the people who surrounds one. Working hard to make a positive impact is the main result required from positive change, even if change is not easy.

The older I get, the more that I see change as necessary to make any progress in life. I recently moved six miles. That may not seem like much, but in a city like where I live, it is the difference between drug stores on every corner, and actually having corners. I live in a space that feels safer, and that should hopefully host some sort of social event or gathering for a small group once I have a clue where I really want to put my bed.

Moving in has taken time and energy, but the good thing is that I am now frequently on-campus, and thus I have more emphasis on homework and less time spent in other measures or other pursuits. Focus was an issue, but now I am normally in the same room nearly every waking hour. This does happen to be my favorite room between both campuses, but I am grateful that tomorrow I will change it up a bit and go to other places where I may pursue other endeavors.

Thanksgiving will be a local event, and I still cannot choose with whom to participate in the matter. There are other temptations which try to hit my mind, but I know in Whom I have trusted, and even if there is no other way out I have Him and will power. There is the example of not giving heed to potential issues. No matter how late it is, no matter how cold, or lonely, there is determination and endurance. Called “true Scottish grit” by some, it is knowing that the Lord will keep His promises whether or not the results are instantaneous, and especially when you wait for years and try your best and keep going the best that you know how to do, admitting candidly imperfections if called upon.

For those who scoff at faith, try a dose of HEAVY duty trials. There will be no more scoffing shortly thereafter. Friends and love come and go, but God ever remains. The methods may change like a DVD player to ITunes, but the message content (what another professor likes to call data) stays the same. The expression of the thought process is manifested in various ways, and they’re not bad.

Just like how God loves all people no matter how stupid we all get. Yeah, sure- people get on each other’s nerves. Best friends sometimes need to breathe. But that doesn’t mean that there is a lack of goodness there. I wonder sometimes if people don’t believe in God because of trust issues, or not wanting to commit, or for any reason, openly, they’re scared. It takes faith in emergencies to get through it. Not sure whether anyone else thinks this way, but I do. It’s not a complete thought, but hopefully it gets people to think.

I have no idea what God has in store for me, but I think that whatever it is, it’s going to be fun. Not sarcastically-meant, either. I believe in a God of miracles, of love and light, who likes and respects intelligence, but doesn’t treat people unfairly. If you’re going to do God’s will, He will likely start working with you more. That’s not to say that there won’t be opposition, but God overcomes things. It’s how He works. This is the Deity that I believe in. This is part of Jesus Christ.

Feeling Like Jello

I once ate Jello with chopsticks at the MTC. It’s not the hardest thing to do if you slightly break up the blocks so that there is something there for the chopstick to hold to.

My life feels like Jello. I think that I am falling behind in my classes although they seem to be all that I ever do. And even as I write that, I know that I spent more time watching TV this semester than I ever have before, and also a lot of time looking through job ads. God said that I needed to keep up with school, but He never mentioned how I would get through my  bills and that’s caused me to be a nervous wreck for a few months.

Although actually less stressful somehow, I just moved this weekend to another location in the city, pretty far away from the things that most people act like are important but closer to companies, businesses, and actually closer to one school. The amenities are resoundingly better than my last apartment, and although the commute to one school is much longer than it used to be, I get to deal with that next semester.

Today I am supposed to register for classes at the closer school and I have no idea what to attempt to get into. I want to do markup language coding and learn more languages so that I can mark up the way that I want to mark up and do things that help my projects progress and be happy. Personal happiness is a luxury now, not a right. It’s that elusive thing that living commandments is supposed to get you, and sometimes it just takes an attitude adjustment to get toward.

Nothing in my life is simple. I wish that it was, but instead, I feel like I am walking on Jello. God walked on squishier stuff, but I am starting to wonder if my current state of being is simply an attribute like a mark up language. I have some stability, but at the same time everything else flows around me and ignores me. Goes right past me and maybe that is a good thing.

All that I can see is that I have to hold on and do what God’s already told me to do. To live the commandments, I’ve turned down some really hard temptations, and when others would not listen to Deity, have been pushed aside akin to Miyagi’s wax on-wax off method. Whatever the method or reasons, I’m here now and am trying to figure out what to do with this lifetime.

Afterlife is easy: help with the gospel, do the right thing, keep on going. Done. Just work hard, and do as well as possible. Seems simple enough. All that I see for this life now is finishing school, making family history apps, working on the genealogy business, and otherwise paying bills. I wish that I could have a family, but that is dependent on other’s agency of which I do not have control and would not ask for that control to be had by me. Without someone else’s choices, my progression is limited in this life. It seems harsh, but it isn’t. Not everyone has the chance to marry. I think/thought that I will have that chance, especially as I am still fairly young. I’m young, but I have the weight of kingdoms on my shoulders and they hurt a little. I’d give my life for a good, honest, temple-worthy guy to help share the load and for me to share his load.

No matter what, I must keep going. There is no vice without a price, and in this case, I have avoided much and hope to be able to endure a lot more. God has said often that He expects a lot of me, and I don’t really know exactly what that is or how to get it done. How long did it take the Brother of Jared to figure out that God touching small stones could make light for the barges when crossing oceans? I mean, that’s REALLY creative stuff. I’m not honestly that good. I have an app. One app, and it could easily change the world. I feel like I am behind in everything that I do, but maybe I’m stuck in the DNA-style loop that seems to befit the fullness of times.

I don’t know what God wants me to do now outside of unpacking. Do homework, look for and apply to everything under the sun including scholarships, and become exhausted on a regular basis. Trying  not to drown.

Best from the GenealogyDr


When I think about the people who have helped me out over the past few months to multiple years including my Church, it would be incredibly dumb for me to leave anyone out when they needed things.

There are a lot of people who need things- I need a job, and am looking for one. In the recent past, I have received a lot of kindness from others. There are bills to pay, and tears to mend, but I have a roof over my head and I have food.

I believe in Jesus Christ, and I know what the teachings there are. For all of the help that others give me, it’s time to give back. I was talking with a friend on the phone today and noticed that he seemed envious when I mentioned making home-made macaroni and cheese. I didn’t have the box version and looked it up. Simple, common “peasant” food.

Instead of hearing tones of wishing that he had a homemade something, he was simply envious of the food itself. That should never have to happen. No one should ever go hungry. I don’t care how idealistic that may be in varied areas of the world, but were people to not only put their money but their time and their resources where their ideals are, there would be less problems.

I did some minor digging and found out more about the situation. There are a lot of people who he does not trust, and he has really good reasons for it. He has had a really hard life, and emotionally needs people who will act as the family that either does not or cannot help him now. He trusts me, and I’m never saying his name here. He has a lot less pride than many people I know, but his name is un-necessary. I thought about my excess of food now- how I got it, I’m not entirely sure. Just haven’t eaten it down yet. Immediately, thoughts of what to do came to mind, and it was time for action.

Most of the Sunday School classes that I go to teach this stuff, and teach that acting on the commandments is the best way to live them. If the only faith that you preach comes from your mouth, you haven’t lived enough yet. I’m not trying to get into heaven on works. I’m trying to follow the Savior, Jesus Christ. Perhaps it wasn’t a mistake that part of my reading this morning dealt with the miracle of feeding 5,000 from five loaves of bread and two fishes. God walks on water and he feeds people who are hungry in whatever form that may be.

So, this kid will be coming to my apartment, more than an hour by mass transit from where he lives. He has few people to almost no one to turn to, or at least feels that way. I’ve definitely been there and usually am there. But I also know in Whom I trust. “In God we trust” isn’t some old motto that people stick on paper money to take up inking space. It means that we believe in a little less arrogance and a little more kindness. There are some times when people will not accept help from the people directly around them unless they are open to receiving it, and I want to help. It’s what my mother would have done.

The plan tonight is to make sure that he is fed this evening, give him something for tomorrow, and that he has bus/transit fare to get home again. I never saw myself in a parable until making extras of macaroni and cheese and just trying to make sure that he had something in which to cook things.

Our Church has functions in place that when they work should help with this sort of instance. People should be looking after each other, but it does not always work perfectly. My car works, but the registration barely expired. Cannot chance a ticket. I have more than 400 pages of reading I need to finish for one or both grad programs. There are plenty of other things that I could be doing, but I’m sitting here writing a blog post to help mentally process this blessing that came to my life.

This is the first time in a long time that I have the means and God provided the ability to pay it forward. There was a movie of a similar title back in the 90’s or early 2000’s and followed a bunch of people as their lives intertwined in ways that otherwise were completely unconnected. This man is my friend, and whether or not the blessing will lower because of posting about the action online or (and the following is what I hope) inspire others to reach out and TRY it, too- it doesn’t matter what the end result is. God let me serve someone without even leaving the house using means that He gave me in the first place. God’s doing is genius.

I hope that he does not read this and get embarrassed, but knowing him, he might be okay with it. Sincerity goes leagues with people, and that is why this matters.

Managing Collections for the Home Family Historian

Machu Clan Name in Manchurian

Manchu Clan Name

While reading my management book this evening during homework, I am trying to see how the family historian works as an information disseminator.

“Managers not only gather information, but they also share it with others.” (Stueart and Moran 11)

Family history researchers are notorious for keeping their information to themselves. People are not trained as families, and thus act like their information is as individual as the researcher, whether or not it coincides with efforts of others. There is usually no one with whom to work on the information unless unusual amounts of effort are made. It is a happy family that can share information without griping.

it is not a if there aren’t ways of communicating. While postal mail is an unusual way of sending information today, it still happens and works. “Real mail” is more effective for communicating information than email or Facebook, although the latter are easier methods for disseminating information faster.

How to best communicate is up to every family to choose for themselves. I have a Twitter account but have not used it in possibly three months. I use Facebook perhaps at least every other day, and email many times a day. I use WordPress in spurts, sometimes weekly and sometimes twice a day. Other methods of communication are available for those who use them: Ancestry message boards, Yahoo and Google Groups, forums in places diverse as the audience.

The Effect Thereof Is Poison

Mind-strays today led to thinking about the fashions of the world versus the fashions of nature. I began reading the Picture of Dorian Gray today, and there was mention of the laburnum

laburnum flowers- yellow, clostering flowers similar to lilacs but poisonous

laburnum tree mentioned in chapter 1 of the Picture of Dorian Gray

laburnum edge

laburnum edge

tree, which while pretty on the displayed pictures in bright gold drop-like flowers turned out to be poisonous.

My next thoughts turned to nature, and how only the most poisonous things were brightly colored. Well, either poison or ripe, and it depended upon what the item was as to whether or not it was useful. Oranges (as far as I know) do not have thorns, and neither do cherries, or apples. However, roses and lemons both do in their natural state. Raspberries also do. Items with higher acidic content or brighter fruit seem to have built-in defensive mechanisms to them. In the animal kingdom, duck mallards are the bright and showy birds as are all of the males of the varied species. The men are colorful, trying to attract females while the “women” are dull, nearly boring in their outside looks but carry with that a camouflage that serves as a protection for them.  Perhaps it doesn’t hurt that breast meat from females is prized typically over males in the poultry area.

Makes me wonder where human females got the idea where we had to be the showy ornaments. Men dress alike. Penguins at formal parties, the unfortunate male is the one who sticks out in dress other than his presence of character. I am likely a strange female, but I prefer not to be showy and poisonous. I like being comely and attractive, but modest. Preference falls to being kind, patient, and gentle in demeanor and mannerisms although I am not sure where my Scottish feistiness lies in the mix. It’s okay to have some chili pepper so long as there is milk to dilute the mix when needed. Even chocolate does better with chili.

So that is my take on nature. As is noted in scripture: 30 And again, he saith: If my people shall sow afilthiness they shall breap the cchaff thereof in the whirlwind; and the effect thereof is poison. (Mosiah 7:30). I prefer not to sow immodesty. There is no reason to think that anyone is better than anyone else. But there is also an effort to encourage to all good humors and to be well-kissed, as in the context of the 1960’s movie,

Flower Drum Song Movie Poster from

Flower Drum Song Movie Poster from

“Flower Drum Song.” One does not need to be kissed as in the movies versus to be loved with real intent. A person who loves you respects you, and that includes in their manners of dress and preferences at trying to help you to be a good person.

Best to all,