Friday, November 23, 2012

My Introduction to E-reader/Tablet Technology

Increasing the Font Size on my NOOK reader is one of my favorite features.

I am new to e-reader/tablet technology and have been a bit slow in embracing this technology.  In late May of this year, I purchased a NOOK Simple Touch e-reader, because I had seen it repeatedly on the textbook website of a school where I’m taking classes.  Prior to the summer term, the textbook list for the course I was enrolled in said that there was no textbook for my course.  A few days prior to the start of the course, I was informed by the instructor that there would be a required textbook.  Since I was scheduled to go out of town for a conference within a few days of learning about the textbook, my dilemma was how to get the textbook quickly so that I would not fall behind in my class readings.  After a little Internet research about e-books and e-readers, I skeptically decided to purchase a NOOK during my out-of-town trip, and purchased the NOOK Simple Touch

Later that afternoon, I purchased and downloaded my textbook to the NOOK reader, and sat in my hotel room and began reading and playing with the features of this new technology.  “This is great,” I said to myself, “to be able to download my textbook and not have to wait on it to arrive in the mail.”

To my surprise, the text on NOOK reader was easy to read and hold.  The size of such a small device was one of the reasons I was reluctant to embrace the e-reader.  When I discovered that the font size of the e-reader could be increased, I knew money spent on this new technology was a great investment.  Since purchasing my NOOK, I have not only enjoyed using it for textbooks, but also for pleasure reading, as well as saving documents in .pdf format and loading them to read on my NOOK.

This morning as part of my Black Friday Shopping, I purchased the new Kindle Fire HD in which I will report on later.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The 2012 Atlanta History Expo Begins

2012 Atlanta Family History Expo Conference Participants Visiting Exhibit Tables

The 2012 Atlanta Family History Expo began this afternoon at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, GA with registration at 1:00 PM and the opening keynote session at 2:00 PM by renowned author and speaker Robert S. Davis, M.Ed, MA. Early conference participants began the Expo by visiting the various exhibit tables in which they could talk to exhibitors, see genealogical product demonstrations, learn about useful services to aid them in their genealogy and family history quest, and thumb through books and other literature before making decisions on which one(s) to purchase.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hanging Out at the Bloggers Table

2010 Atlanta Family History Expo Bloggers of Honor Table

I am looking forward to attending the Atlanta Family History Expo next month. My first expo attendance was in 2010 also in Atlanta. One of my favorite parts of the expo was hanging out at the Blogger table. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I skipped a few sessions just so I could remain at the table and enjoy the presence of my fellow bloggers and the numerous visitors to our table.

I had met most of the bloggers online prior to the conference, but it was even more exciting to meet them face-to-face. The Official Bloggers (also known as Bloggers of Honor) of the Family History Expo receive full registration benefits and have the following responsibilities:

  • Pre-Conference: announce and promote the expo, sponsors, exhibitors, and activities, as well as share press releases.
  • During Conference: share daily happenings at expo, share blogging tips with attendees, and highlight websites, tools, and discoveries made.
  • After Conference: Summarize overall conference experience.

So as I prepare for the conference, I am also preparing for the blogging tasks by looking at new social media tools and new features in Twitter and Blogger. One of the new tools I’m looking at is called Storify which I found on the blog of fellow Blogger of Honor, Linda McCauley of Documenting the Details. Storify is a website that creates and preserves stories or timelines using social media, photos and videos and I like the way that Linda has used it to document the story of other genealogy conferences. Click here for a sample of how Linda used Storify at the 2012 Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Conference.

To others who have served as official bloggers at any genealogy conference, what other tools or tips do you have to share with the  2012 Atlanta Family History Expo Bloggers of Honor?

Monday, October 15, 2012

2012 Atlanta Family History Expo Blogger of Honor

I am pleased that announce that I will be a Blogger of Honor at the 2012 Atlanta Family History Expos. I attended the 2010 conference and had a FANTASTIC time where I met numerous bloggers and genealogists whom I had gotten to know online prior to 2010.

I will also be conducting a workshop at this conference entitled “Thinking Out of the Box - Creating Things with Genealogy.”

(All Levels) Is genealogy only about who begat whom or would you consider thinking out of the box by creating a new way of researching and sharing your genealogical stories? In this workshop, participants will learn ways to be creative in sharing their genealogy research.
Congratulations to the other Bloggers of Honor.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Flight to Freedom Production

I am pleased to announce a new historical production entitled:  Flight to Freedom: The Fields Family and Freedom's Fortress, which will be held twice on Saturday, August 11, 2012 at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM at the historic Fort Monroe.  This production will be a collaborative endeavor with myself and Ms. Ajena C. Rogers, a descendant of James A. Fields.  Mr. Fields was a part of the first graduating class of Hampton Normal and Agricultural and Institute (now Hampton University) in 1871.  We will present a dramatic interpretation of her family’s escape from slavery in Hanover County, VA to Fort Monroe during the Civil War.  This production will include dramatic readings enhanced with us singing, multimedia PowerPoints, and video clips.  The event is free to the public.

For more information on the Flight to Freedom production, click here to visit this website.

For more information on James A. Fields, visit the James A. Fields House Blog at

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Table Displays at Crowns Program

I did two table displays at my Crowns program held on Saturday, June 30, 2012 with various hat related photos and other items.  The hats on the first table belong to a colleague.  The hat, pocketbook, tablecloth, and Bible cover on the second table belonged to my maternal grandmother.

The Perfect Hat

This hat which I received as a gift from a friend on Sunday, June 24th was a perfect match for this outfit. Minutes before she gave me the hat, I was sitting in my car and pulled out the jacket to this outfit from a bag which was in the passenger's seat. This bag of clothing was to be taken to the cleaners the next day.
"I'll wear this outfit on Saturday," I said to myself as I looked at the jacket. Minutes later I went into the restaurant to meet with three high school friends. One friend had moved away and she arrived to the restaurant a few minutes later with three bags containing individual gifts for the rest for us. As I peered into my bag, I stared in disbelief and told my fiends that prior to coming into the restaurant, I had just decided to wear an outfit with the same colors as the hat. After we finished our meals, we took pictures of me wearing the hat. Afterwards we went to my car and compared the hat with the outfit to be sure that that the colors matched. My friends all agreed that it was a perfect match.
"A hat sets off an outfit," my grandmother would say if she were alive. This hat indeed set off this outfit and I look forward to wearing the assemble again.
Dru at James River wearing hat
Professor Dru on Pier at Crabshack Restaurant overlooking James River Bridge, Newport News, VA

Dru wearing hat
Professor Dru at Crowns Program, Isle of Wight County, Museum, Smithfield, VA

Monday, June 25, 2012

Familiar Faces on Museum Poster

Museum Poster for Crowns Program
Yesterday, I went over to the museum where I will be presenting my hat program this Saturday.  The main objective of this trip was to look at the area where I will be presenting and to discuss logistics of conducting the program.  As I entered the museum, to my right I saw out of the corner of my eye this large poster on this board advertising my program.  “Oh…Grandma!” I said to myself at my initial glimpse of the familiar face of lady on the right in the top photo.  I had already been sent a .pdf file of this advertisement, but seeing the enlarged poster of my maternal grandmother’s face on the message board of the Isle of Wight CountyMuseum was a true delight.  As if this were my first time seeing this poster, I stopped to look at it on the board.  To the left of my grandmother is Sister Odell Hayes who was a member of our church as well as one of my Sunday School Teachers and this photo was taken around the 1950s.  The lady below Grandma and Sister Hayes is Anna T. McPhillips, a family member Thomas MacEntee and her photo was taken around 1923.  The photo of the two adorable little girls dressed in their Easter’s finest during the 1960s is of Heather Wilkinson Rojo and her little sister.  These are all lovely representatives of “Hat Queens and Princesses” and I look forward to the presenting of my third hat history program this year.  It will be a year next month since Grandma passed awat and my family and I miss her dearly.  But despite that she has left this earth, her spirit still lives on through her teachings and her HATS!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Contributing My Research to a Worthy Cause

I've been busy working all week on an application to the National Park Service (NPS) to nominate the James A. Fields House for inclusion in the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program.  This project was initiated by one of Mr. Fields' descendants and I'm helping her to get the application completed by adding the historical research which I've done on her ancestor whose historic house is in my community. We are both thoroughly excited about this joint endeavor and expect positive results from our submission. As a genealogist and family historian, I am thrilled to be able to contribute my research to such a worthy cause.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hat History Program

I am pleased to announce that I will be doing another Hat History Program later this month at the Isle of Wight County Museum in Smithfield, VA (Home of the Virginia Ham).

Thanks to Thomas MacEntee and Heather Rojo for use of your hat photos.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Let Freedom Ring!: Hanover Tavern

Let Freedom Ring!: Hanover Tavern: I’m looking forward to visiting the Hanover Tavern located in Hanover County, VA and the surrounding area on tomorrow for the Civil War Ba...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Crowns Program Speech

Video of the speech I made at the Sunday Crowns program on February 18, 2012.

Sunday Crowns Program Speech - Part 1 of 3

Sunday Crowns Program Speech - Part 2 of 3

Hat Program Speech - Part 3 of 3 Hat Program Speech - Part 3 of 3

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Another Hat Program

I am pleased to announce that I’m taking my hat program on the road and a program will be held on Saturday, June 30, 2012 in the town of Smithfield located in Isle of Wight County, VA Museum, . Smithfield, VA is “Home of the Virginia Ham” and I am looking forward to this opportunity.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Continuing our Family's Hat Legacy and Why I Wear Hats

This is my sister Deborah sharing her thoughts about continuing our family's hat legacy and why she wears hats.

Hat With An Attitude

During my Sunday Crowns program, audience members modeled their hats. This lady wore a hat which she called "A Hat With An Attitude."

Grandma's Hat Display

In the parlor of the Newsome House where my Sunday Crowns program was held, I did a display of some of my grandmother's hats along with a photo of myself and women in my maternal line wearing hats. Other items used in the display included a patent leather pocketbook, bible cover with a woman weaing a hat, and a tablecloth owned by my grandmother. The white gloves were purchased were purchased recently to add to this display.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Church Fan

When the Curator of the Newsome House and Cultural Center suggested that the programs for “The Sunday Crowns” event be printed on church fans, I agreed enthusiastically. She had attended an event where the program was printed on a hand fan. I had no idea as to the beauty of the final product, but I thought the fan idea was appropriate for such an event.

Hand church fans typically used in African American churches are on thick cardstock paper and a stick like the type a doctor uses as a tongue depressor. On the cardstock, there is typically a photo on the front and advertisement of a funeral home on the back.

Use of these hand fans conjures up a whole host of memories. During my childhood in the 1970s, many of the fans might have a photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or of an African American family dressed in church attire which included at least the mother in the family photo wearing a hat. The family on the photo was usually a mother, father, with two children (a boy and girl). My church had air conditioning, but hand fans might be used during those in between seasons where it was not warm enough to turn on the air conditioning. Some of the rural churches within our church organization did not have air conditioning and during hot and humid summer Sundays, a sea of rapidly moving hand fans filled the sanctuary as the congregation struggled to be attentive to the service amidst the heat. Over time, the cardstock on these hand fans would become bent. During these times, parishioners would motion for the usher to give them a better fan. However, at times there were not enough hand fans to go around so you would either use the bent hand fan as best you could, the church program to fan yourself, or just use your hand. This was especially uncomfortable during those hot and humid non-air conditioned churches.

Church fans are also used by ushers to calm down its parishioners who “fall out” or “get happy” during services. In charismatic type churches, people are extremely lively and might express their joy in praising God by hand clapping and dancing. Some parishioners get so overcome in their expressions of praise to God that they “fall down on the floor in a trance-like state. Others might express their praise by crying, dancing, hollering, and/or speaking in tongues. It is common for ushers and other members of charismatic type churches to be seen surrounding a “God-Praiser” with someone waving a ‘church fan’ in the direction of the person who has fallen out on the floor or the one who might be seated or standing while praising God.

Thanks to B. J. Smothers and Art Thomas for use of your hat photos.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Family History of Hats

Revella Ephraim McDaniel born about 1878 in Union Church, Mississippi.
Courtesy of LindaRe of
Between the Gate Posts Blog

LindaRe of Between the Gate Posts Blog has s long history of hat wearing women in her family and through her assortment of photos, you can see the changes in hat styles over time. Click here to view photos.

What types of hat wearing photos do you have in your family photo collection?

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Custom of Hat Wearing

This question was posed by one of my blog readers and I've been also wondering the same thing---The wearing of hats was a custom for many generations---what made them go out of style/custom?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday Crowns Program

I am working on a program (Sunday Crowns) about church hats for next month which will be held at a local historic house. Part of the presentation will be to talk about the hat wearing women in my family and other families. I also plan to display some of my maternal grandmother's hats. As part of my research, I would like to interview hat wearing women or their descendants. Although my research focus is hat wearing by African American women, I would also like to know about hat wearing habits of women of other races and cultures.

If you are a hat wearing woman or the descendant of one, and are interested in sharing a photo or story to be used in my presentation, please email me at The program will be held Saturday, February 18, 2012, 3 PM – 5 PM.