Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Holiday Sale on DNA testing on now for a limited time

DNA tests can help you find family, break through brick walls and trace your lineage through time. Family Tree DNA is a leading DNA testing company and is now offering a significant sale on many of its products for a limited time:
Family Finder autosomal test will find Family Finder Matches and Ethnic Percentages: $59
Family Finder plus Y-chromosome for 37 markers (for males only): $188
Family Finder plus Y-chromosome for 67 markers (for males only): $278
Family Finder plus a Full Mitochondrial Sequence – for both males and females, an mtDNA test that traces your maternal line: $228

Y-chromosome test with 37 markers (for males only) to test your father’s male ancestry: $139
Y-chromosome test with 67 markers (for males only) to test your father’s male ancestry: $229
Y-chromosome test with 111 markers (for males only) to test your father’s male ancestry: $319

mtDNA test with HVR1+HVR2 to test your mother’s female ancestry: $79
mtDNA test with Full Sequence to test your mother’s female ancestry: $179

You can learn more at https://www.familytreedna.com/products.aspx.

It is that time to renew your membership

It is that time of the year where we ask our members to renew their membership and/or to give or support a friend/ relative a gift membership to our organization, Genealogical Society of Hispanic America- Southern California (GSHA-SC). Donations to our organizations are also welcome to help sway the cost of running a 501(c)(3) non profit California organization which was founded to promote Hispanic genealogical and historical research with a focus on, but not limited to Colorado and New Mexico, as well as Mexico, Arizona, California, and Texas, thereby expanding awareness and knowledge of individual culture, history, and traditions.

GSHA-SC General Meeting, Elections and Pot Luck for December 3rd, 2016

Special Presentation:
“Encarnación’s Kitchen: Mexican Recipes from 19th Century California” Presented by Victor Valle
Victor Valle will be cooking up a storm! He will stir up the most amazing story of Encarnacion Pinedo who published for her readers in San Francisco, California, the first Spanish language cookbook in 1898. Often ignored by historians, cookbooks have aided in the preservation of culture. Cookbooks often included letters, memoirs, photos, and journals. Valle blends in the elements of family, genealogy, and history. Valle, well known for his storytelling skills, will present a program which he developed to pull the amazing Encarnacion Pinedo from near obscurity and place her in the cultural spotlight where she belongs.
Victor Valle began his distinguished career as a journalist at the Los Angeles Times. He later went on to teach at various universities, such as Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and California State University. He also did additional research, writing, and lecturing as a Harvard fellow. Valle became interested on the impact of Mexican cuisine on the California Gold Rush. His research illustrates how food served as a way of keeping families together in spite of isolation, political upheavals, and hostile forces. He and his wife Mary Lau Valle have written two award winning books, Recipe of Memory and The Life and Recipes of Encarnacion Pinedo.

Election of our 2017 Board of Directors is coming! Please attend our December 3, 2016 Holiday Meeting to vote. It’s not too late to add your name to the hat to run for any office position, or to be on a committee.

And Holiday Pot Luck
What’s for Lunch on December 3? It’s a Potluck!
In the past, we have enjoyed tamales, enchiladas, delicious casseroles, pozole and more. We need mostly entrees and a few healthy salads, too. Desserts are also welcome. We will provide the drinks and paper goods. This is your opportunity to share with GSHA-SC your favorite cooking recipes. We do not have a stove at the SCGS Library where we meet in Burbank, so please bring a crockpot to keep your foods warm.

Please email the name of the food item you want to share in the great spirit of Christmas and the
holidays to Rita Vega-Acevedo at rvacevedo@att.net. Please remember to bring your checkbook. Consider buying a book as a gift for the holidays. We are also happy to collect your dues for 2017. Dues help us continue to provide great speakers and events throughout the year. More importantly, sign up to be a volunteer!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Continuing Education: Memoir Writing

One of the skills every family historian should develop is the ability to write about themselves and about their ancestors. Although talent cannot be taught, skills and craftsmanship can be developed. Classes in memoir writing are given in many communities at their senior centers—it is now “trending” to write your memoir. Once you are comfortable with writing about yourself, you can then begin to write about your other family members, using your research to weave stories about those your barely remember or those you never met. Your stories may persuade other family members to join you in searching for your ancestors and making their lives come alive for future generations.

What is a memoir? And how is it different from an autobiography or biography? According to most sources: A memoir is a collection of memories that an individual writes about moments or events, both public or private that took place in the author's life. The statements made in the work are understood to be factual. While memoir has historically been defined as a subcategory of autobiography since the late 20th century, the genre is differentiated in form, presenting a narrowed focus. Like most autobiographies, memoirs are written from the first-person point of view. Published memoirs have exploded in the last 10-15 years, and some have been accused of containing information about events that never took place. Many authors are using memoir writing to add fictional details to their life story that will make the published book more marketable. An autobiography is a self-written account of the life of a person. It tells the story of a life—the author’s life, while memoir tells a story from a life, such as events and turning points from the author's life.

A biography is written by a third person and is a detailed description or account of a person's life. It entails more than basic facts (education, work, relationships, and death). A biography also portrays a subject's experience of these events. Unlike a profile or curriculum vitae, a biography presents a subject's life story, highlighting various aspects of his or her life, including intimate details of experience, and may include an analysis of the subject's personality. Biographical works are usually non-fiction, but fiction can also be used to portray a person's life.

I recommend memoir writing and autobiography because it is important to document our own lives and leave our descendants with our own view of our lives. Otherwise, we are either reduced to just the facts (dates & events) or our children or grandchildren's impression of who we were. Often their memories of us are not written down and like most oral history it changes and becomes distorted over time. How often have you searched for information on an elusive ancestor only to discover the name you were given is incorrect and their place of birth or death is wrong? I know NOW that my grandmothers were more than just tiny women who gave birth to many children in the early 1900s: one was married at 15 and was noted for her laughter and a marriage that lasted over 50 years. My second grandmother had a career before her marriage at 25, divorced in her 40s and returned to the workforce to support her children as a single mother. She spent her spare time the final twenty years of her life teaching the Bible in Spanish and English. I wish they had left diaries or a packet of letters describing their activities. I wish I could have interviewed them. So, if we want our descendants to have a glimpse of the "real person" or even a "total picture" we should be writing about our own lives. Although you may believe your life to be so ordinary that there is nothing to write about, to your grandchildren and other family members and descendants, it will be a step into history. Just think, your personal memories of life growing up in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s will be treasured.

Copyright 2015 by Donie A. Nelson