My Photo
Location: Arizona, United States

My name is Colleen and I find dead people.

[ View Guestbook ] [ Sign Guestbook ]

25 August, 2008

I Found Something!

Sometimes the smallest find means a LOT! In my research of my father's maternal HODICK line, I'd had some trouble over the years finding the family between 1900 and 1920. I'd searched the U.S. Census records for 1900 in Nanticoke, Luzerne County, PA and for Frontenac, Crawford County, KS with no success. After writing a historical society in Kansas, I was aided in my search when a volunteer found a listing for the HODIZ family in Washington Township, Crawford County, KS. This family was indeed the elusive HODICK family I sought.

However, I was unable to find the family in 1910, and remain unable to find them to this day. One of my mysteries in this search is not knowing where to search. I know that the youngest HODICK daughter, Sylvestina (aka Vesta), was born in Kansas in 1910. I know they were back in Pennsylvania by 1920, as they resurfaced in that year's census.

Today I was searching for obituaries and found Sylvestina's obituary. Which I'd seen before. Now I know that lots of information can be gleaned via well-written obituaries (I'd once verified the identity of a DOYLE ancestor via obituaries and found her family). But sometimes I just miss something. Like this:

"Born in 1910 in Frontenac, Kan., she moved to Askum, Pa., with her family in 1915." (taken from the obituary for Sylvestina Kovaleski-Kinney, courtesy The Buffalo News, August 10, 2000, via

Now this windfall did not help me find this family in 1910. Why, you may ask? Because my records indicate that Sylvestina was born in December of that year, long after the Census was taken.

So the search for the HODICK family in 1910 continues. But at least now I know to search Kansas, and I know approximately when they returned to the state of Pennsylvania.

23 August, 2008

Summer Group Games Final Tally

Many thanks to the organizers, participants, and readers of the many genea-bloggers in the 2008 Genea-Blogger Summer Group Games! Thomas, Miriam, Kathryn and footnoteMaven, to name a few, put in a lot of effort and time into making this event a smashing success. Even if my knuckles are rather raw at this point!

Here are my final stats:

In regards to Category 1: Go Back and Cite Your Sources (C. 1): I didn't do a single task listed! NOT ONE. I did, however, read the recommended article"How to Cite Sources" by John Wiley. Perhaps that will earn me an honorable mention?

On to Category 2: Back Up Your Data! (C.2): I didn't sign up for this event so there!

Okay, Category 3: Organize Your Research (C.3): I didn't complete everything in this one, but I did earn a GOLD Medal by completing Task B (Added metadata to way more than 20 digital file); Task D (Organized way more than 20 digital photos into folders, etc. etc); and Task E (Scanned way more than 20 photos). I did not complete task A (organize at least 20 ancestral files, items, etc) because to be honest, there's nothing to organize. Oh, I have items all right, but they are already organized how I want them. Does that count? I didn't complete Task C because, quite frankly, I'm still scanning photographs; I won't be ready to put them into proper storage units until I'm finished scanning. I also did not create a master list of my files and notify anyone of where they are (Task F).. I suppose I should find them, first ;).

Now, Category 4: Write,Write, Write! (C. 4). I completed Task A (Write and publish a summary of my blog), Task B (partake in a genealogy related blog carnival), Task C (prepare several posts in draft mode to pre-publish), and Task D (Write a brief biographical sketch on one of your ancestors). I did not complete task E (Sign up to host a future carnival) because I didn't have time to find one that needed a host! So that leaves me with a DIAMOND Medal!

Finally, Category 5: Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness (C. 5): I commented on many new-to-me genea-blogs (T. A). I joined several genea-bloggers' blog networks on Facebook Blog Networks (T. B). And while I didn't join a genealogical, historical, heritage, or lineage society, I DID register for the 2008 Family History Expo in Mesa, Az in November! Does that count, since our genealogical society is only active Oct. through April? At the least, I earned a SILVER Medal for this category.

My Totals: 1 Gold medal, 1 Diamond Medal, and either 1 Silver Medal or a second Gold Medal. I'll let the judges make this call.

Thanks again to all who partook in this great event!

22 August, 2008

S.G.G. C. 4 T. D

Ladies and gentleman, young and old, may I present the following pictoral biography of my mother, Regina "Jean" Ann O'Rourke-McHugh. Brought to you live-ish from the table in my computer room, the images are captured via my very own digital camera and are taken from the digital scrapbook pages of the author. The creator wishes to apologize for the lack of cropping and editing; however her editing program once again has crashed.

Regina Ann O'Rourke was born 18 Jan 1938 in Niagara Falls, Niagara County, NY.

She was a typical teen. She had many interests. Can you identify some of them in the pages below?

Jean Ann O'Rourke McHugh was taken from this earth too soon, on 13 Nov 1988. Her spirit remains in her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren.

17 August, 2008

S.G.G. C. 3 T. B, D, & E.

Don't you hate code talk? Well, it served us well in WWII, so I thought perhaps it would serve me well here!

This weekend for the Summer Group Games for the Genea-Bloggers at Facebook, I worked on Category 3: Organize Your Research. I cleaned out the "My Pictures" folder by moving all the photos stupidly scanned at 200 dpi into one folder, maintaining the subfolders I'd already had established. I then created a folder entitled 300, for the photo's I'm re-scanning in 300 dpi. Inside this folder are two other folders: JPG and TIFF, since I'm saving in both formats, as apparently the TIFF files are too big for posting here. Inside each of those two folders are subfolders for each pedigree and one for "Unknown".

Now here's a question that just came to mind. If I have the same pictures in four different places on my computer, are they taking up four times as much space on my hard drive? Or are they only taking up space for the one photo that is targeted in four different places? Something tells me that they're taking up four times as much space. There must be an easier way! (In case you're wondering why they're in four different places: One in the original folders I'd placed them; Second, I have one folder where all photos are in one place as a back up file (this happened somehow after getting my computer fixed and the tech guy had made a back up of my photos on CD; I then copied the pics on the CD to the hard drive for some stupid reason I can't remember). Third and fourth, they are being put in new folders as I re-scan them in 300 dpi resolution (one jpg and one tiff).

Anyway, according to my hard drive prperties, I have what looks like 3/4ths of my hard drive as free space, so I'm apparently not hurting for space at this moment.

I also worked on adding metadata to the pictures as I scan them in. My documents are pretty well organized as they are, and are named according to what they are, so there wasn't a whole lot of organizing to do there, though I did move some around that somehow ended up where they shouldn't have (I wouldn't have found them had I actually been looking for them).

And I scanned a bunch of photos today, too. Here are two interesting scans that I know nothing about. It is of a postcard that was sent to my Great-Grandfather Edward HODICK when he lived near Pittsburg, KS. I'm guessing the writing on the back is German, andI'm guessing that only because it looks like the sender was named Shulz. Honestly, I don't know what the writing looks like! It would have been sent between the years of 1898 (when Thomas HODICK was born in Nanticoke, PA) and 1920 (when the family was found back in PA).

13 August, 2008

S.G.G. C. 3 T. D

Today's Summer Group Games event was organizing at least 20 digital photos into folders, label, add metadata, add descriptions, tags, etc. I couldn't do much in terms of organizing them into photos, as my photos are fairly well organized as they are. I will do some tweaking during the week. Here's one of the photos I metadata'd.

This is my mother, Regina "Jean" (O'ROURKE) McHUGH (18 Jan 1938 - 13 Nov 1988). The picture was taken in Niagara Falls, NY. It was taken with a group of photos that included her cousins, so I suspect it was either after church on a Sunday or at a church event like a confirmation or baptism. I plan on asking the cousins for permission to post some of the other photos, as the pictures with them and my mom are among the best pics I have.

Here's my Summer Group Games tallies to date, starting from Aug. 9:

Category 1: Cite Your Sources. A huge task I'm saving for later.

Category 2: Back Up Your Data: I deferred on this category. No medals for me ;).

Category 3: Organize your research!: I completed Task D: Organize at least 20 digital photos into Folders, etc. etc. So far I've earned a Bronze Medal in this event, but I ain't done yet!

Category 4: Write! Write! Write! I've completed Tasks A, B & C by writing & posting a summary of my blog, participating in a genealogy-related blog carnival, and preparing posts in draft mode to publish later. So far in this Category I've earned a Gold Medal!

Category 5: Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness: I've completed Task A by leaving a comment on a new-to-me genealogy blog, and I've completed Task B by joining several other bloggers' Blog Networks. I have a Silver Medal here so far. I don't know if I'll get any further here, as all the genealogists I know belong to facebook already (I think), I don't think I'll have time to join an indexing project, and the genealogical society here is active only from October through May. Besides, they meet way far from my house during the week, so maybe I'll look into the Computer Society that has a genealogy focus group.

11 August, 2008

S.G.G. C. 5 T. B

I know the rules for the Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness task of "Joining anothr genea-blogger's blog networks on Facebook" only asked us to join one network, which I'd already accomplished. But I joined two more today, so I'm counting that as my day's event. I'm too tired to do more tonight.

See, unlike almost all of my friends locally, and at least Miriam here, I'm not a teacher, and I don't have summers off (though I worked in schools for many many years; I really miss the schedule!). I had to go back to work today. I work in a children's clinic as a social worker, and I had clinics all day. I then came home, pet the dog, made his dinner, re-heated ours (leftover grilled honey-and garlic-glazed pork chops, baked potato and a salad), then sat down outside for a bit. Then it hit me: The grass DESPERATELY needed mowing. Seriously.

So I mowed the lawn. Not that it matters, it's half dead anyway (we've done everything and it comes back, dies, comes back, dies, comes....well you get the idea).

As I finished up the mowing I mentioned to my dad: I know that if my brothers saw me mowing the lawn they'd say it was payback for all the times they had to mow the lawn back in NY as children. Yes, our lawn there was at least 10 times bigger than my patch of half-dead grass here, but it wasn't 100 degrees when they cut the grass!

Also, I pondered something else: Did any of my female ancestors ever have to do such manual labor as mow the lawn? Well, besides washing clothes on a washboard....

10 August, 2008

S.G.G. C. 5 T. A and T. B; C. 4 T. C

My next events in the Summer Group Games are Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (Category 5). Today I made a comment on Twig Talk, a new-to-me genealogy blog (Task A). I know I'd made others recently too, but perhaps before the Games officially began.

I also Joined 6 new-to-me blog networks on Facebook (Category 5 Task B). I intend to join all the genea-bloggers' networks before the day is done.

And, since I wrote this post at 1:30 p.m. and it didn't post until 6:00 p.m., I also began working on Category 4, Task C (Write! Write! Write!, Pre-publish posts).

You tracking this, Thomas?

09 August, 2008

S.G.G. C 4 T a and S.G.G. C 4 T b

It's time for my first competition! You'll note I start by coding the heading for the post S.G.G. C 4 T A. This all means this post is related to the Summer Group Games Category 4 (Write! Write! Write!) Task a (Write a summary of your blog and post it).

The Oracle of OMcHodoy was founded on 23 Oct 2005 after a friend had started her blog journaling her progress through the International Adoption process. My first thought when she suggested I blog was "Why?". But I did anyway. HERE is my first post.

Now OMcHodoy is a very interesting name. THIS POST explains how I came up with it. The "Oracle" part sounded great with "OMcHodoy" (I tend to love alliteration, though sometimes it gets too cute) and the word indicates a proclamation of some sort. Plus, at the time I started the blog, I lived on Oracle Road!

The purpose of the blog was to chronicle my research for the good or for the bad. I haven't hidden my mistakes, misidentifications, or faulty deductions. My hope was to teach others to learn the process of research as I learned it, and by not hiding my "goofs", perhaps others would learn to not make the same ones.

I have had several cousin connections made via either Rootsweb mailing lists or via this blog. Several of those connections remain in place today, and all have netted some information that helped me along the way.

In January of 2008 I'd become so hooked on this blogging thing that I just had to create another one. I decided to create Orations of OMcHodoy to document stories and lore from generations past and from the current generation. This blog, Oracle, remains used primarily for research oriented post while Orations for stories. Sometimes they intermingle. Sometimes one gets neglected, sometimes they both do. But this genealogy thing is like a magnet, and I always get drawn back for more.

Alas, I'm not done yet: I've also completed Category 4 Task b by submitting a post to a blog carnival. Proof of this submission will occur at a future date, when the 4th edition of the I Smile For The Camera carnival is posted.

One day, One Category, Two Tasks completed. Now I dare not peek at Thomas' blog lest my smugness be for naught.

The Olympic Opening Ceremonies

Did you see the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Beijing? What did you think? I thought the show was spectacular. Such artistry, precision and meaning. However, I thought the camera coverage left soooo much to be desired. They showed way to much field-level views and not near enough aerial views.

Don't get me wrong, it's nice to see close-ups of the performers. Perhaps it's the old flag corps performer in me, but field-level camera angles take away the very essence of this type of performance. The whole point of field performances is to create an overall effect on the audience which is sitting in ascending bleachers in the air. Therefore, the performance is choreographed to showcase the effect of artistry, color, and precision from the air.

The camera angles of last night's performances took away from this essence, from the overall effect. Instead of seeing lots of overhead shots that showcased the precise and tandem movements of the drummers' arms and colorful sticks, they showed shots of a small group of performers and their smiles. Yes, it was nice to see. But the overall effect was lost to the television audience. Instead of showing an aerial view of the performers creating a landscape on a flattened screen to showcase the making of the artwork, they showed field level shots of the performers moving in what then appeared to be nothing more than a series of lines. The overall effect was lost.

The winners in the 2008 Summer Olympic Opening Ceremonies were the performers and the audience in the arena, who would have seen the overall effects of the performances and most likely would have truly been awe-inspired. The live audience is the target audience for such a performance, and I'm sure those who were there do not share my disappointment. However, with better camera placements, the television audience would have had a different yet similarly awe-inspiring experience.

08 August, 2008

The Summer 2008 Genea-Blogger Grouop Games

In honor of the Olympic Games in Beijing, the Genea-bloggers group at Facebook is hosting the Genea-Bloggers Summer Group Games. Below are the categories that I will be participating in, taken from the Genea-Bloggers Summer Group Games page on Facebook.

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources!

We all know how important our research is - but it is only worth the evidence that supports it! Have you ever looked at an entry in your database and wondered, "Where did that come from?" or "How can that be?" All events can and should be backed up by linking them to sources and evidence using a consistent and clear citation format.Create proper citations of sources for as many events possible using either Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills or How to Cite Sources by John Wiley

I'm horrible at citing; or at least I was when I started. So I have a lot to "re-do" here!

3. Organize Your Research!

So you have plenty of research - that's okay if you can find what you need when you need it, right? Take time to review your collection of documents and photos, both hard copy and digital, and work to organize those items for easy access.

A. Organize at least 20 hard files or ancestral items (books, fabrics, inherited items) into file folders, boxes, envelopes, containers, etc.; archival-quality where appropriate

B. Organize at least 20 digital files into folders, label, add metadata, add descriptions, add tags, etc.

C. Organize at least 20 photos into photo albums, scrapbooks, collages, protective holders, boxes, etc.

D. Organize at least 20 digital photos into folders, label, add metadata, add descriptions, add tags, etc.

E. Create at least 20 data entries in your database, or scan 20 photos, or scan 20 documents

F. Create a master list of your files and notify your family members of where it is stored

I just hope to revisit my organization. I really need to "fire" and "water" proof as much as I can.

4. Write, Write, Write!

Do you find birth dates, death dates and all the data boring if there's no narrative behind it? Don't you find the stories about ancestors more attractive than cut and dried census data? It takes time to be able to write about your family history and the more you write and the more often you write, the easier it is to bring your family to life for others to see.

A. Write a summary of what your blog is about and post it on your blog – you may not have done this since you started the blog and it is a great way to have new readers learn more about your site.

B. Participate in a genealogy or family history related blog carnival. See the AnceStories post "August Is..."
( for a list of these carnivals and their submission URLs and deadlines.

C. Prepare several posts in draft mode (if possible with your blog platform) and pre-publish.

D. Write a brief biographical sketch on one of your ancestors.

E. Sign up to host a future carnival.

Letter "D" will be challenging!

5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness!

A. Comment on a new (to you) genea-blog.

B. Join another genea-blogger’s blog network on Facebook Blog Networks

C. Invite other genealogists to join Facebook.

D. Assist another researcher with a research request or lookup. See AnceStories "Random Acts of Kindness Week" posts for ideas for this item and Item E

E. Participate in an indexing project.

F. Join a genealogical, historical, heritage or lineage society.

You'll notice that the numbers are out of order; this is because there is one other category that I won't be participating in: Back Up Your Data. I decided to forego this category while I work on the others.

I know that these games will be fun, but I also hope that these Genea-Blogger activities will break old habits and create new, more sound research methods.

07 August, 2008

The Summer 2008 Genea-Blogger Group Games

Over the past few months, almost 100 genealogy bloggers and/or enthusiasts signed on with Facebook ( Thanks to the work of a talented and dedicated group of people, there is now a Genea-Bloggers group on Facebook at

Also thanks to the work foa talented and dedicated group of people, there will be the Summer 2008 Genea-Bloggers Group Games starting, why, tomorrow of course! To see what the fuss is all about, check out Miriam's blog post HERE. And thanks to THE footnoteMaven, we even have our own logo.

P.S. I will be participating in most activities right here on this blog!

Who links to me?