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GLADWIN COUNTY – For the last year and a half I have been writing articles with Sandy Simonson, for which many of you readers recognize her name. She is a wonderfully talented writer, however, when it comes time to research material, she is old fashioned, hard core, and anti computer. She professes everything can be found in books, and she is right, however, there are many more books and materials listed within the computer than local libraries could handle. 

So after 18 months of trying to convince Sandy that it would be a great benefit to her, how to do genealogy research using 21st century technology, I came up with another plan to convince her to change her mind and go technical. I will write an article about what I have taught Sandy this week, which will be just a one day, four hour session. Sandy will then write about what she learned, what questions she may have, and in doing so, our readers who wish to also learn how to do family research, and can also join in on the progress by practicing, at home or here at our genealogy room, the techniques and methods that I will be presenting to Sandy.    

If I can teach Sandy, the hardcore anti-computer activist, how to research, I can teach anyone. So join in, learn, and discover your family’s past. Sandy and I can help. 

The first lesson I taught Sandy was the use of the mouse without a tail. This mouse is no rodent and is not to be afraid of, so sit in your chair instead of standing on it. There are two buttons on top of the mouse. Pushing the left button is called left clicking, and the right is right clicking. How to use the scroll on the mouse. The mouse is your friend and will guide the cursor where you want it to go. The cursor is a flashing indicator on the screen that marks the place for entering or altering a character. The keyboard was not an issue as Sandy knew the basics for typing. The icons on the screen were explained and which ones held the files necessary for research.  

I can see this is going to be a slow process besides challenging, so this first lesson was very basic to what I plan for her future. So now, here is Sandy with her response.

Genealogy 101, what a concept?

Whose brilliant idea was this? Oh boy, the first day of school – kin-der-gar-ten. But, this specific four syllable word is unknown and does not compute because, I remember hearing something pronounced with a silient k - kninny-gar-ten-. So off to school we go. My hair is set with neat and bouncy finger curls and I’m proudly sporting a bran-spanking new outfit. I’m being hand delivered into this scary, unfamiliar environment wherein the teacher presents with a sinister smile that’s saying, “Welcome! Said the spider to the fly”. I’m kicking back and crying out. “No! I don’t want to, please don’t make me. I like being a computer/research ninny and my standard remark has always been, I’m computer illiterate and proud of it.”

Well, the first day I learned about computer lingo, icons, cursor, mouse etc. What are you talking about? Maybe I can use this line, “I’m sorry, but the mouse ate my homework.” Yup! My wheels are always turning, unlike that inanimate object that has an on/off control factor. What are you talking about? Can’t you speak Americanese, English? I’m too old to learn a foreign language and I feel like a foreign exchange student. I have clearly heard words like icon, cursor and mouse before but even the Webster’s New World Dictionary from 1984 hadn’t associated them with a computer.

I’m sure that most of the readers have heard the cliche, “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear”, and there is no real clear evidence that after four grueling hours that I’ll advance to “SEE SPOT RUN”. Only time will tell. I’ve asked several questions throughout this horrendous ordeal but my final one is this, what happened to the graham crackers and milk I was promised? Just saying!

Since we have other articles to write, we propose that follow-up articles on our Genealogy 101 educational series shall be offered once a month.   

Our next general meeting will be on Saturday,  Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. on the second floor of the Gladwin County Library. The scheduled presentation that follows our meeting is titled, “In search of Vikings”. And as always, the genealogy room will be opened up and made available for any research until 4 p.m.

We need to identify an error that was printed in the final Shoe Box Series article. We had inadvertently recognized the Gladwin Historical Society as its author but it should have instead identified the genealogy media team. We especially apologize to the Gladwin Record. Sorry for the mistake.

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