Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Meet our 2018 Sponsor: West Coast Photo Scanning

We are very excited to introduce everyone to our most recent sponsor, West Coast Photo Scanning. Here is what owner, Melodie Jones, has to say about this unique company:

Your Photos May Not Be As Safe As You Think They Are


Yorba Linda, CA --- April 26, 2018

Your grandmother’s wedding. Your dad’s college graduation. The Welcome Home party for your nephew. The family heritage trip you took with your daughter to Italy. These are the extraordinary moments that have created your life and your family’s history.

So imagine how devastated you’d feel if a severe storm, fire or burglary caused the photos from these beloved times to be lost forever. West Coast Photo Scanning ensures these treasured memories will last a lifetime with their custom designed photo books and photo archiving services.

With 25 years of experience as a graphic artist and 13 years dedicated to photo book design, West Coast Photo Scanning owner Melodie Jones has made an art form out of preserving the past. Well known for being Orange County’s premiere “scrapbooker-for-hire”, Melodie’s sought after photo expertise has awarded her countless opportunities to bring the past back to beautiful life.

One delighted client, Louise V. of Santa Ana, CA, will forever be grateful to Melodie for her diligent work in recreating a large and very detailed family photo album. “Many of the photos were old black-and-whites… and some of the pages had small writing or information right to the edge of the page,” says Louise. “To say that it was challenging is an understatement. I don't know if anyone else would have hung in there, worked diligently to get every page perfect, and kept a positive attitude in the process. Melodie is a gem—I would never consider using anyone else for my photo scanning or scrapbook design needs.”

But you don’t need an existing photo album to utilize Melodie’s highly creative services. In fact, most of West Coast Photo Scanning customers come with nothing more than an old shoebox filled with years of aging photos. Of course, these customers had always meant to organize the old Polaroids, snap shots and black-and-whites. They knew they deserved to be honored and displayed. After all, as family treasures these photos would bring so much joy to their home…

But life always seemed to get in the way. And properly arranging the photos took time and an artistic eye they didn’t have. It all seemed a bit overwhelming. So their photos sat untouched and unloved, year after year after year. 

“Unfortunately, time causes all photos to fade and deteriorate. Having your photos professionally scanned will safeguard them for your children, your grandchildren, and even your great grandchildren to cherish and enjoy,” explains Melodie.

West Coast Photo Scanning’s popular services include:
  • ·        Scanning prints and slides
  • ·        Organizing digital and printed photos
  • ·        Design and layout of hardbound photo albums
  • ·        Creating one-of-a-kind photo gifts

Your history, your stories, your celebrations… Don’t let time or unforeseen events erase the moments that have made your life. Contact West Coast Photo Scanning today and let Melodie help you preserve the memories that will last a lifetime.

West Coast Photo Scanning, Perfecting the Art of Preserving the Past

Monday, July 2, 2018

Podcast #55 - Illegal Alcohol, part 1 - Moonshining

Here is a listing of the resources used in Podcast #55, accessible from

(image from Library of Congress, Harpers Weekly, Moonshiners, 1878)


Grabianowski article:

McLafferty article:

Moonshine - Blue Ridge Styles: The History and Culture of Untaxed Liquor in the Mountains of Virginia:

Recipes & history:


Song sung by Jean: by Albert Frank Beddoe (copyright renewed in 1981) -
"Copper Kettle"

Monday, June 25, 2018

Meet our 2018 Sponsor: Geneacreations

Recently, Sara Cochran asked one of our first-timer sponsors a few questions about her business. I think you will find Jeanette Piecznski's responses both interesting and intriguing (she will be involved in some of our on-ship benefits for the November cruise).

QUESTION: I had the pleasure of meeting GeneaCreations at RootsTech 2018 (click on image above)!  If you, dear reader, have ever attended RootsTech then you may have guess that we didn’t have a lot of time to chat and get to know each other, so I’m very excited to have the opportunity to do so now.  First though, Jeannette, have you had a chance to catch your breath from the conference?  Every time I walked by the booth you were pretty busy, I hope it was a grand success for you!

ANSWER: Thanks! It was wonderful success. I was a presenter a couple years ago at RootsTech, so I had a little bit of an idea on how to prepare. I have a booths at NGS and FGS. This year went to Burbank Jamboree.  I also go to genealogical societies’ annual conferences. I have custom order forms now by the type of shirt customers would like.  That helps a lot!

QUESTION: Great!  Thanks for sharing our flyers with your visitors, by the way.  They sure did seem to fly off the table – or maybe I should say, sail away!  I was really taken by the variety of products you had to  offer, everything from door magnets to charm bracelets and genealogy focused shirts.  What was the item you got the best response from? 

ANSWER: My shirts are a big hit!  People asked me how I came up with the idea. As I have attended many conferences over the years, they always have shirts that are unisex. I wanted something pretty. I have always loved my rhinestone shirts, so I decided to come up with designs for genealogy. I make rhinestone shirts that are sold in gift shops. My genealogy dresses were new for RootsTech and I think these are going to be very popular.

QUESTION: I have to admit, I’m really pleased with my “Genealogist Happily Lost at Sea” door magnet.  It will definitely be getting packed in my bag this coming November.  But we should probably get down to business.  What inspired you to begin GeneaCreations?

ANSWER: I’m so happy you like your magnet! My mom and I took a Baltic cruise, and this was her idea. She brought the Humane Society magnets to put on our stateroom door and it made it easy to find our room.  Other people talked to us about the door and a common interest. I thought with the popularity of genealogy cruises, there might be an interest in decorating their door and be able to use on their fridge, desk or cabinet. A Command Strip works great to hang it on other places too. 
         Many years ago, Elizabeth Shown Mills mentioned in her presentation about genealogy work being a 3-legged stool. I gave that some thought and decided on my 3-legged stool a little differently than what she discussed. I accept some clients, historical sewing and design for productions, and GeneaCreations. Prior to GeneaCreations, to build the clients to sew for movies and theaters I needed to be a sutler at reenactments. Movie Scouts always attend reenactments. Being in this type of venue requires period-correct showing: Beating rebar through rocky soil to setting wooden posts and a heavy canvas tarp, along with being exposed to the weather.  Although I still enjoy attending reenactments, I rarely go to the extreme to display. I found that I can take many of the ideas I had as a sutler to adapt to my other love of genealogy. So it is through my combined 3-legged stool that you might find me dressed in a historical gown or designing a new bling shirt for the next conference.

QUESTION: Your website showcases several types of shirts with sayings and pictures; available embroidered on, printed, or added as bling. There’s a number of sayings and images listed and your embroidered shirts say you have thousands of images you add.  With all this selection, I imagine the problem most people have is picking between favorites! For those that aren’t finding the exact shirt they want, though, do you accept custom requests? If so, about how long do those take to receive?

ANSWER: Absolutely!  For custom orders, I try to listen to what they like or have in mind and send suggestions based on what will work for the type fabric and how items will stitch or press on that type item. I try to only send 2-3 concepts and if they don’t see what catches their eye, I send a couple more. I am working toward 3-4 weeks for custom orders. But for societies I recommend 6 weeks so they have time to review a picture then a sample. I will also accept customer’s items to add the embroidery, rhinestones or litho print too, as well. But there are specifications for those options.

QUESTION: I noticed that GeneaCreations is “By a Court Research.” Is this another business you own?  Would you tell us a little about it?

ANSWER: Yes, A Court Research was the 1st leg. It is court research, I frequent courthouses primarily in Texas, sometimes at Clayton Library. Of course, the occasional cemetery. I enjoy working on applicant’s SAR paperwork and heirships.

QUESTION:  “When it comes to genealogy research, the answer to one question leads to two more questions.” The “about us” section of A Court Research certainly hits the nail on the head there! Could you give us an example of how an answer to a question created more questions, taking your research into a completely unexpected direction?

ANSWER: When I approach a genealogy issue, I try not to focus on what I think the pattern is. Instead I look at all the possibilities. Many times, when we research if we think we know and follow that path, we forget there are many other things that could happen. If we stay so focused on the one path, we can easily miss a very important clue. Just as in locating descendants to provide a DNA sample. The information may all fall among the norm but taking another step at other possibilities reflects that the child ended up from a previous encounter and not the current marriage partners. Using this person for a DNA test would make the results questionable.

QUESTION: Is there anything else you would like to add? 

ANSWER: I absolutely love my customers and clients. I greatly appreciate their encouragement that they love what I have designed and made.  Everyone is so sweet and I work very hard to make sure they love what I made for them.  I love to see them smile!

Podcast delay

Dear good people,

Usually, on the 2nd and 4th Sundays we present new podcasts dealing with a variety of Social History topics. While we have recorded the next two podcasts, they have yet to be edited (believe me, you want us to do that task), and that is primarily because my husband and our audio tech, Butch, has been dealing with some health issues and we don't trust him just yet to handle the editing equipment (after all, we neither want us to sound like chipmunks, nor do we want you to be subjected to our unrehearsed bursts of laughter, coughing, or other inappropriate noises). So we are postponing this next podcast for at least a week.

Just to encourage you to check back, our next 2 posts are linked in subject matter: Illegal alcohol. Part 1: Moonshining; Part 2: Bootlegging. Both of these activities make up part of the history of America (and other countries, in one way or another), so you don't want to miss our stories, recipes (recipes? yes, recipes!), and language education. Meanwhile, check the next post about another one of our esteemed Genealogy Journeys sponsors.

Have a happy 4th of July!!