Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Scott and I had seen the advertisements for the new movie that was to come out at Christmas called Unbroken.  We both thought it sounded interesting and when we were at Costco earlier in December Scott found it so we bought it.  He loved it and couldn't put it down.  I had just finished reading Bomb and decided I would read it as well.  Great book!  Scott's dad was in the Pacific theater during much of this time and reading this story gave both of a small picture of some of the horrors that were occurring.  If you want to read about a young man who overcame incredible challenges this is a book I would definitely recommend. We can now go see the movie and I hope that we don't complain through the whole show because it wasn't like the book! You know what I mean Ellis?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Sticky Business

Remember when we were all so excited about the new photo albums a number of years ago that had a hard piece of cardboard with plastic sheets covering the pictures?  It was great until we found out that it ruined our pictures!  That is much the same with some of the documents that we work with.  

It is easy to see what happens when animal glue is used because it turns a nasty brown.  They also used melted wax on some of our documents.  That isn't as bad as the glue because it cracks and eventually falls off but always leaves behind a red stain.  Another popular but destructive adhesive is tape.  It cracks, turns brown, and damages the documents.  I decided to do a little research about animal glues which I thought were made about the time of our documents but apparently they have been around for thousands of years.  It is true old horses went to the glue factory (as did other animals).  They did use the hooves but they also used other parts of the horse as well to make the glue. When they were through the granules looked like little brown rocks.

The problem we have encountered is that it is almost impossible to separate documents once they are glued together.  It also causes the documents to be really thick and very inflexible.   Once two pieces of papers are glued together that is the end of our ability to manipulate the document. Because of that we often can't get a clean picture of all the writing.  As we progress through the decades it will be interesting to see if some of the problems are solved that using glue has created. Personally I am coming to appreciate the paper clips, brads, and straight pins we find on the documents.  

Most Popular Names List

Okay I admit there is nothing scientific about my list but it is a good list of the most often used names of people on the probate files.  I started jotting down names when I noticed the ones that were used most often. In previous posts I shared some of the unusual names I found so now I'll share the other end of the spectrum. I call this the top 15 names for girls and the top 10 names for boys in the 1800s.  I say boys and girls but realistically most of these probate people were over 50!

Girl Names--Elizabeth, Sarah, Mary, Ruth, Katie, Lydia, Martha, Hannah, Polly, Abigail, Nancy, Judith, Susan, Eliza, and Harriet.

Boy Names--Jacob, William, David, John, Charles, Henry, Thomas, Robert, James, and Richard.

As you see many of these names were often from the scriptures.  Here are more names that specifically come from the Old and New Testament that I noted when I was writing names--Moses, Meshach, Theophilus, Abner, Zebulon, Levi, Daniel, Annanias, Nathan, Enoch, and Amos.  Since I almost had a grandson name Theophilus I was enchanted!

A Brief Glimpse

Because we have much to do during the day we don't spend time browsing through the various documents. We wish we could!  Every once in a while something will catch my eye as I straighten out a document. When I see something interesting I usually write a little story in my mind about what the person was like, how they may have felt, or what happened to them in their life.   In wills there is usually an introduction and then they number each of the bequeaths with an explanation.  Last week I noticed the following declaration from a will.

                    First, I will my immortal soul back to the Almighty given thereof beseeching                                                                      Him through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ,                                                                                my Redeemer to be graciously pleased to accept it,                                                                                            my body I desire to be buried by my wife.

From this I surmised (impressive word) that he was a widower, was religious, and had an impressive ability to prioritize the most important things.  I wonder if he was as religious as he sounded and as humble as his request made him seem.  In my brief glimpse I didn't see that he was a member of the clergy but did notice that he left some of his estate to a local church specifically to help the poor in the area.  I am going to choose to believe that he was a really nice man!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Road Not Taken

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

Then took the other, as just as fair

And having perhaps the better claim,Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
MTE5NDg0MDU1MjkxOTIxOTM1.jpg (300×300)I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

On our trip back from Boston we came to an exit that advertised the farm of famous unofficial "poet laureate" Robert Frost's so we decided since all the snow was melted we'd go over and check it out.  As we often find at sites like this it is only open in the summer so we will stop back by next year to see the inside.  

Born in 1874 in California Robert Frost moved to Massachusetts when he was 12 years old.  He met and married his high school sweetheart in Lawrence, Massachusetts.  They had six children.  Two suffered from mental illness, two died in early childhood and two grew to adulthood.  His grandfather bought them a house in Derry, New Hampshire where they lived from 1900 to 1911 and although he wrote poetry during that time he wasn't able to make a living at it.  In 1912 they sold the farm and moved to England at which time he was able to publish two books and that made all the difference.  When he returned to America he was able to find publishers willing to publish his poetry and he became famous in the United States.  They settled in Franconia, NH and he taught for the next 40 years at Dartmouth, University of Michigan, and Amherst College.  He received 4 Pulitzer Prizes and was asked to recite one of his poems at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy.  He died in 1963.

Missionary Moments #17, December 28, 2014

It was so nice to hear our families voices on Christmas Day.  We had a great week with a Christmas party at the State Archives and a visit from the Secretary of State and the Asst. Secretary of State.  We kept busy through Wednesday and then left on Christmas morning for Boston where we spent a fun day seeing some of the many sites of the city.  So much history and such excellent preservation of important milestones in our country's history.  We picked a perfect time to be in Boston because most people were home celebrating with family and the traffic was so light that we had no trouble maneuvering around the city streets.  It was also fun to watch the families who lived in the area immediately around the Boston Commons at the park with their children riding new bikes and tricycles while their parents were inches away in case they fell.  On Friday we were back to work after a pleasant diversion.

Many people expressed disappointment that there wasn't a white Christmas but I personally appreciated the lack of snow.  It gives us more opportunities to travel on our days off from work.  It had been predicted that this would be a very severe winter and now they aren't so sure.  What I suspect is that in January winter will arrive with a vengeance and stay until late April.  We shall see.

Today at church Scott and I taught the six year old children in Primary.  They are in Kindergarten and I have to say that they were wonderful.  So smart and so engaged in making the lesson successful.  When it was over one of the little girls came over and gave me a hug and thanked me for teaching her.  It is nice to be part of such a wonderful program that helps the children learn the gospel.  During sacrament meeting they asked our newest Elder to come up and bear his testimony since he was new to the ward.  He came here from Pleasant Grove, Utah.  I couldn't believe that only a week after arriving here as a brand new missionary the change.  He already looked older and his confidence and desire to be a good missionary was evident when he spoke.  It is amazing to realize that next year at this time Perry will be somewhere in the world doing the same thing.  Perry and Rachel have both received acceptance letters for some of the colleges they applied to. It will be interesting to see where they ultimately choose to go.  Perry for summer school and Rachel for next fall.

We hope you all had a great Christmas and are enjoying some time off.  I hope you are starting to make your New Year's resolutions!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Day

In order to pass the day without feeling homesick Scott and I decided it was a good idea to do something exciting.  For us that meant going to Boston.  We chose that location because typically when we go to Boston there are cars everywhere--much like going to Los Angeles!  We figured that we could visit some sites in the downtown area and most other people would be home with their families.  That was exactly the case.  We had gone to Auto Club here in New Hampshire and picked up a book about Boston.  We used that for our guide.  As it turned out we walked around the Boston Common area, got lunch at a nearby grocery story with a deli inside and then sat in our car outside the park and "people-watched" while we ate. We enjoyed our really tasty ham and cheese on rye and talked with Bill and Cathy and all the kids and then Christian and Amy and all the kids.  It was great.  When we finished up we drove over into Revere which is just a little northeast of Boston.  We drove along the road that was next to the Atlantic Ocean and watched the waves rush up onto the sand.  I am sure that in the summer we would have barely moved along the road because of the number of people coming to enjoy the coolness of the ocean breezes.  After talking about it we realized that we could probably go back to Boston every Saturday for months and see something we hadn't seen before.  And we will!
A blend of old and new!

I wasn't kidding about no traffic

Loved the canopied windows

George Washington

Memorial to Bostonians who died in the World Trade Center on Sept 11

Make Way for Ducklings

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas in New Hampshire

I was excited to see what they do in New Hampshire to decorate for Christmas and was somewhat surprised when only a few houses in each area were decorated with lights.  Severe winter weather may have a great deal to the lack of enthusiasm for major bling on each house.  At first I thought we come home from the archives between 4:30 and 5:00 and although it is already getting dark we may be missing some of the houses who just haven't turned them on yet.  Last night we came home after eight o'clock and again I realized how few outside Christmas lights were on the houses.  What I did noticed this time was that many of the houses have white candles in each window which is quite striking. There are also beautifully decorated trees by a window in their living rooms. Another difference is the live wreaths that hang on doors and windows throughout the area.  They have every size imaginable at the Christmas tree lot along with some perfectly shaped trees that apparently come from Vermont and Maine.  Downtown the small shops along Main street have decorated windows to celebrate the season and a beautiful nativity is in front of the state capital building.  Although it is different than what we may see where we come from it is still wonderful to feel Christmas in the air.

Grandpa's Dream

I remember seeing a cartoon where a dog is sound asleep and yet his legs are running as fast as they can.  In the bubble above his head he is chasing a rabbit.  Grandpa always goes to bed a while before I do, and the other night when I got into bed he reached over and took my hand.  It was so wet that I reached over and touched his face and he was really sweaty.  I asked him if he was all right and he said "yes, why."  I replied that he was sweating.  He then said--well I should be; I have been running like crazy!  He then turned over and went back to sleep.  I wish I knew what he was running after!

Happy Birthday, Brother Joseph

Scott and I went to the Joseph Smith Memorial last night to celebrate with other members of the Church the birth of the Prophet Joseph Smith.  The area is so beautiful and this time with all of the lights, the nativity, a special musical program, cake and punch it was a lovely evening.  I thought as we drove home last night that Joseph Smith has been gone since 1844 and yet there are still people so intent on destroying his reputation and using him as an excuse to walk away from all the good that was done as a result of the restoration of the gospel.  I for one love him, admire him, and follow him as I do our current prophet Thomas S. Monson. When Scott was growing up he told me his favorite song was Praise to the Man and as he sang it to me last night the words went deep into my heart.

Hail to the Prophet, ascended to heaven!
Traitors and tyrants now fight him in vain.
Mingling with God, he can plan for his brethren;                                                                           Death cannot conquer the hero again.

For all the dissenters I will echo the words of the hymn--Wake up the world for the conflict of justice. Millions shall know "Brother Joseph" again.  I have had the privilege in my life of experiencing the fruits of this gospel our family embraced when I was ten years old and it is still so, so sweet!  Happy Birthday Brother Joseph.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Missionary Moments #16, December 21, 2014

We woke up this morning to a white wonderland of about 2 inches of snow.  Very manageable we thought until we started driving to church.  The roads we so icy that we white knuckled it all the way there.  Fortunately Scott is an excellent driver and although we passed an accident we weren't involved in any.  Actually by the end of church the roads were all clean and most of the snow was melting.  This has been such a good week.  Even though we had to go home early on Tuesday because I was just exhausted we are beginning to consistently take 2,000 pictures a day.  It is hard to believe that when we first started we barely made a thousand copies.  In Relief Society today the sister giving the lesson said she was amazed that Jesus had been able to accomplish so much when nothing like it had been done before and then she asked us have we ever had to do something that no one had done before.  I thought about our assignment at the archives and I realized that we wouldn't have ever been able to accomplish so much if it hadn't been for missionaries who had done this before us.  They learned all the processes, set up the programs, and shared everything they knew.  Much of what we did to prepare for our mission came as a result of the Walkers, the Casadys, and the Lamberts who shared their insight on senior couple missionary preparation.  When we finish our assignment I hope that somehow we will also be able to pass information along to those who will follow us.

Yesterday Scott and I went to the movies for our P-day.  We saw Exodus which we both enjoyed.  Having great makeup artists really added to the plagues that befell Rameses and the people!  It was definitely worth seeing and gave us much to talk about when the movie was over.  It is hard to believe that Christmas is almost here and I know you are all busy getting everything ready for the big day.  Our plan is to drive to Boston with a tour guide book from Auto Club which we will use to drive all around looking at their recommendations.  We figured that although everything will probably be closed it will at least not be as crowded with traffic so we can go to the various areas pretty easily.

One last thing before I close.  At the end of Relief Society the chorister told me and the sister missionaries that there were treats for us in the kitchen to pick up.  In a wrapped up box she had put two huge crocheted Christmas stockings, oranges, candy canes, soap, toilet paper, and Kleenex.  Such sweet, sweet people!  We are so blessed to be able to serve as missionaries and so grateful that Heavenly Father allowed us to come to New Hampshire.  We hope your Christmas is wonderful and the coming new year is filled with great experiences.  

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Time Flies

We are so excited!  Today we started working on probate records from the 1880s.  We have noticed several things toward the end of the 1870s.  Inheritance taxes are now a part of the probate file and we are occasionally seeing death certificates and marriage licenses.  Here is some history in the making during the 1880s.
  • 1880--US Population exceeds 50 million
  • 1881--Pogroms begin in Russia
  • 1882--Chinese Exclusion Act
  • 1883--Brooklyn Bridge Opens
  • 1884--Mark Twain publishes The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • 1885--The Statue of Liberty comes to America
  • 1886--The American Federation of Labor founded in Columbus, Ohio
  • 1887--Sherlock Holmes is introduced to readers by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • 1888--Jack the Ripper strikes fear in London
  • 1889--North Dakota becomes a state

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Now you know--I listen to my grandkids and when they recommend a book I try to read it.  So glad I did because Lincoln's recommendation to read Bomb was great.  It told the story of the development of the atomic bomb.  I am surprised that I enjoyed it so much (in fact, I could hardly put it down) but it was really interesting.  Even more fascinating was the intrigue of Russia who apparently had spies all over the country while the bomb was being developed.  One of the stories that I found so frightening was about a young scientist who worked on the bomb in Alamogordo, New Mexico. He made a conscientious decision to betray his country and because of him and several others the plans for the atomic bomb was in the hands of Stalin almost before World War II ended.  Even more interesting to me was that he never spent a day in jail.  You have to  read this book, it will be well worth your time.  Thank you Lincoln.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Looking Back--to Move Forward

Scott Perry Duncan
Our grandson Perry who is a senior in high school received his patriarchal blessing from Brother Tenney our Stake Patriarch last week.  In the Church we believe that every worthy, baptized member is entitled to and should receive a patriarchal blessing, which provides inspired direction from the Lord. Patriarchal blessings include a declaration of a person's lineage in the house of Israel and contain personal counsel from the Lord.  It has made me think about receiving my blessing when I was senior as well. My brother was gone at that time and my parents weren't active in the Church so I went by myself.  I had no idea what to expect but had heard it was important to receive this special counsel.  I remember him putting his hands on my head and then listened as he began to tell me things about myself that I had never thought of--and yet made perfect sense.  I wasn't there for long but when I left I had felt like a burden had been lifted and I was given information I needed to help my parents at that time and information that would strengthen me as a parent in the coming years.  It was one of those "tipping points" that would give me additional vision and provide a more meaningful purpose in my life.  As I drove away from that appointment I began to cry and cried most of the way home.  I realized that day that Heavenly Father knew me and even more important, He believed in me.  I am glad that Perry participated in this ordinance and our other grandchildren will have the opportunity to receive their patriarchal blessings when the time is right.  For me it made all the difference.  On the Church website it reminds us that us that as we study our patriarchal blessing and follow the counsel it contains, it will provide guidance, comfort, and protection.  I know that is true.

Monday, December 15, 2014

What is a Probate File?

I wanted to look up the definition before I tell you what a probate file is to me.  In Wikipedia it says that a probate is a legal document.  Receipt of a probate is the first step in the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person, resolving all claims and distributing the deceased person's property under a will.  That describes much of what I see but I have noticed several other documents that seem to be in probate files.  Here are six things that we see in the various files--not all at the same time.  

  1. Guardian requests.  This has been interesting to me because I noticed a number of times that the mother is requesting guardianship of her children.  That was inconceivable to me because I would have assumed that the mother was always the legal guardian of her children.  After encountering that I asked the director of the archives why a mother would have to go to court to become her children's guardian.  He explained that back in that period of time it wasn't an automatic thing because a woman didn't have the same rights as a man.   Very interesting!  I have seen requests to sever ties with the appointed guardian, get more money for the guardian, be emancipated from the guardian, or be released as a guardian.
  2. Insanity.  These are often used when someone is being committed to the insane asylum.  For me that is poignant because right by our archives is the original state asylum and believe me it did not look very welcoming.  They are now being refurbished into state office buildings but I can only imagine what stories unfolded within their walls.  I often wonder how many people legitimately needed to be there and who had Downs syndrome or other disabilities who were committed because their family couldn't or didn't want to deal with them.  The reason these are in a probate file is because once they are going to be committed they are given a guardian who will take care of their finances and other legal needs they may have.
  3. Partition.  This particular document involves land.  What is interesting to me is some of the descriptions of the property to be given to the surviving relatives.  Things like "from the side of the stone fence over to the far side of the creek bed" or "across the big field behind the barn to the Joneses land."  I met a volunteer in the archives who specializes in land grants and property in wills and I could definitely see why people would go to court for clarification.  Another interesting thing about partitions is that if there is a cemetery on the property you have bought you are required by state law to maintain the burial plots and people are allowed to come and see their family plots.  Continued!    
          4.  Wills
We have perused so many interesting wills in the short time we have been here.  Of course my favorites are the ones that begin with..."In the name of God, Amen!"  It is also interesting to read phrases like "to my beloved wife" or my "loving mother" or my "only daughter."  I also enjoy their declaration of being "of sound mind" but recognizing the "frailty of life".  A funny one I read was a woman who stated that she didn't leave anything to her nieces or nephews because in the past when she gave them gifts they never even acknowledged them so she assumes that it wouldn't  be meaningful to give them something in her will.  The same woman said, "I leave nothing for my brother (apparently the father of the nieces and nephews) because I have given him money for years and never received anything in return--and in fact I had spent a summer close to where he lived and during that time he only came to see me borrow $75.00...which I gave him."  Gratitude goes a long way in so many things.  
          5.  Change of Names
I love reading requests for names changes.  One of them was a request for a change of name because he had the same name as another man in town who did not have a good reputation and he was being confused with that person.  Another had asked to change his name to his guardians last name because he has been in their home since he was a young boy and has always gone by their family name.  Many women request to go back to their maiden name after being divorced from their spouse because of abuse, desertion, or infidelity.  
          6.  Adoption.  
Adoption files are sealed in the state of New Hampshire so to see one if you are searching for a record of your family will require a court order.  The stigma of having a child out of  wedlock would have been huge back then and seeing some of the words used to describe these beautiful babies have been painful to read.  

Now remember that I am not my son Bill, or my son-in-law Christian who are the attorneys of the family. And i am not always of a sounds mind, so nothing I am telling you is anything more than my impressions of a probate file. I hope you have enjoyed reading some of my thoughts and ideas.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

I Survived!

In case you don't know...the gallbladder is a small organ located near the liver.  It stores bile-which is a special fluid produced in the liver.  Your gallbladder releases the bile into your small intestine in order to break down fats and help digest your food. However, normal digestion is possible without a gallbladder. Now that you know that I will tell you about my surgery!  A week before entering the hospital I got a call giving me a list of things that I needed before reporting to the hospital on Friday.  That involved buying some loose fitting sweats and finding slip on shoes.  Success with both (in fact my new shoes are now my favorite shoes!)  Everything went well and the hospital and staff were wonderful to me and to Scott.  He sat patiently for several hours until I came out of recovering.  Once I was awake and dressed we headed home.  I was in a lot of pain on Friday but woke up Saturday morning feeling great.  Unfortunately, because of that, good judgment wasn't my friend and I was sure we could go to the store and buy a few groceries.  Everything was going well until I bent down to pick something up that had dropped and apparently tore one of my cuts which caused some bleeding.  I learned my lesson and we went home and I stayed down the rest of the day.  All is well.  I feel great and look forward to returning to work tomorrow.  Two more boxes of documents to digitize and we will get our next set of probate files!

Missionary Moments #15 December 14, 2014

If you checked the blog you would have noticed I haven't been doing much sharing.  More will come during the week!  This week we went to the Costco in Nashua to pick up our Christmas cards and then when it wasn't my turn to digitize photos I worked on getting our cards ready to mail out.  (All of our documents have been fluffed--more are coming  in next week).  The picture was taken in front of the Boston Temple but we forgot to put our badges on.  At work we wear white badge that say "Family Search" and on Sunday we wear our regular name badges that are black and we forgot to bring them to the temple when we went.

My friend Beth asked about the Boston Temple and I have to say it is quite beautiful and even though it runs alongside a freeway, it is very quiet and peaceful.  The people attending are from many different areas and cultures and it is fun to see such a variety of Saints gathered together.  We have attended two sessions and did sealings, which is always so interesting.

I was to report to the hospital at 9 a.m. on Friday for removal of my gallbladder.  It was a little sad because this little organ has served me well for over 60 years and I wasn't sure that I really wanted to have it removed.  Fortunately, all went well and I have slowly began to mend.  Going grocery shopping on Saturday morning probably wasn't the smartest thing to do, but I have been taking it easy ever since.  We will get back to work tomorrow and Scott told me that I couldn't do any heavy lifting--so I am covered.

The work is going really well.  All the 1850-1870 probate files from Rockingham County are now digitized and the next set should bring us more typed documents (which we began to see in the late 1870s).  The handwriting is so interesting.  Some of it is quite ornate, some very ink stained and others particularly beautiful. It took a while to see the difference between an H and an N or a G, an S, or an L, but I pretty much see the little differences now at a glance.

The snow is beginning to melt and I know what dirty snow looks like--not pretty!  I'm sure we will have another big storm before Christmas, which is fine, but I just don't want any more power outages.  I hope everyone is getting ready for Christmas and the kids are having a great time with all the celebrations at church and school.  We love you and appreciate all the prayers said in my behalf this week.  It worked!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Missionary Moments #14, December 7, 2014

We hope this post finds all of you happy and healthy.  We were glad to hear that everyone's Thanksgiving went well and you are all back into the routines of life.  Scott and I have been passing our goal of 1500 pictures a day and after tomorrow we will have opened over 3,000 probate files.  We will be getting new boxes coming some time this week and we will be into the 1800's moving towards the 21st century!

Yesterday we attended the Boston Temple.  It was our wards temple day but apparently they were concerned about the weather report and so the trip was cancelled.  I think we are less worried about the weather (because we are naive) and since we hadn't heard about the change in plans we headed down.  It was a great session and when we finished they asked if we would be willing to do some Sealings.  Most of the work being done was for French-Canadian names and Scott said the sealer did an excellent job of pronouncing their names.  Most of our time involved sealing daughters to their parents.  The weather was never a problem and since the temple is only an hour and a half away we were able to stop on our way back in Manchester, NH so I could browse in the Hobby Lobby.  Need I say more!

There is still lots of snow from our storm before Thanksgiving.  I was waiting for Scott in the car after church today and realized what it means when they say the snow "blanketed" the area.  Even a week later plants had big white blankets lying on top of them.  In some cases the snow on a roof will slide down over the eave but will remain attached.  Large areas of land have pristine patches where there is not a footprint in sight.  Truly breathtaking.  We have plans to go to the Joseph Smith Memorial before Christmas to see the lights on display but other than that we will probably be staying close to home.  There isn't much to see when everything is white so we will probably start visiting museums and seeing movies!  Don't worry, once it warms up we will get busy again and share some of the beautiful sights around the northeast.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Enjoying the Journey

                             "Therefore, continue your journey and let your heart rejoice for behold,                                                                              and  lo, I am with you even unto the end."
                                                       Doctrine and Covenants 100:12

I saw this on a post from Sara Hall who was a missionary in our ward.  It is perfect for my blog so I wanted to share it today.

Friday, December 5, 2014


We work with a man in the archives named Hoppy.  Sorry I don't know his real name but that is what everyone calls him.  I really like him and decided he is the heart of our office.  You know the kind of person who goes out of their way to include everyone.  Our first week at the archives we went in to have lunch in the staff lunchroom and he was there.  He spent time telling us about the different rules about the area--if there is food (like a bowl of apples) left on the table we are welcome to have some--to use the microwave you need to do the following--what we had to see while we were in New Hampshire.  I really appreciated him that day and have grown to appreciate him even more.  He organized a luncheon for a staff member who was leaving to go work at the state legislature as a researcher.  He gathered money from all of us to buy Christmas gifts for two teenage boys in the foster care program.  He did all the shopping himself. You see what I mean about the heart of the office.

When I worked at Green Tree East we had two wonderful employees who were the heart of our office. They were Pam Smith and Yvonne Angel.  If any child came into our office the love radiated from both of them.  Yvonne would always ask "mija or mijo" what they needed.  Pam always knew every single child's name and I mean every one.  Their hearts embraced the children but also the parents who walked in the front door.  A smile awaited each visitor and what they needed would be taken care of in a kind and concerned way.  But their hearts also extended to the teachers as well.  No matter how crazy things were they would stop what they were doing and help a teacher.  They were incredible women and I was privileged to work with them for many years.

Thinking about people who were the heart I thought about our family.  I decided that our Ben was the heart of our family.  All of our kids were great but Ben's heart added so much to our home.  If something needed to be done it was Ben who would be doing it before I could even ask.  He was the steward over scripture study, family home evening, and prayer.  I remember him working hard to put together a book for our family with ideas for refreshments, lessons, and activities.  When we were keeping track of reading our scriptures Ben was always so excited to put whatever we were using on the calendar.  Ben got along with everyone and I think he added much to the peace in our home.  Ben was our heart.  Do you have someone in your family like Ben?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Getting documents ready for their photo shoot is a job that requires many steps.  Most people call it document prep but for some reason Scott started saying it was his turn to "fluff" the documents so now that it what we say when it time to get the records ready.  I took some pictures so you could see exactly what is involved in fluffing a probate record.

We have a box of approximately 100 probate files that need to be
opened and then each document needs to be flattened and ready
for digitizing.

The first part of the process is to make a file for each probate packet.
We put the probate number and the name on the manila folder 
Once the files are ready we empty the documents from
the probate packet.  We then cut the cover so that only the information
about the person is left.  That cover then goes into the folder with the documents.
The files are now ready to start the process of fluffing

This involves opening each document, trying to un-crease the
creases, setting each document in the same direction, and
making sure the first picture of the document is facing down
to save time as we pull the form from the folder to go under the camera.

Once the complete packet is opened it then goes into a storage
box awaiting for their debut under the camera.  We pack the box
as tight as we can so they have most
of the creases out.
Check back later and I'll show you a photo shoot!