Hi! I'm Margaret. I'm a retired grandmother of 10, mother of 2, and wife of 1. This photograph was taken in December 1998 with our first digital camera (we've already traded up twice) - opening yet another use for our computers.
I spend most days in front of my computer, just as I used to do before I retired from my job as a "C" programmer for the US Army Corps of Engineers. But now I tend to my hobbies and interests instead of to Economic Modeling.
I graduated from University High School in Bloomington, IN in 1952 and from Indiana University in 1956, majoring in Mathematics and minoring in Physics and French. I belonged to Sigma Kappa Social Sorority at IU and I played viola for one year in the university symphony. My husband, father and maternal grandfather are/were all Astronomers.
I started programming in 1959 on an IBM 650. (Well actually, I wired a few boards on an earlier IBM, and was a whiz on a Frieden Square Root Calculator before I "met" the IBM 650, Assembly Language, and the "Soap" programming language.)
I pre-date Fortran. I was one of two graduate assistants at the Indiana University Computing Center, the entire staff of which was 2 half-time professor-directors (Astronomy and Chemistry), a full time director, and 2 clerk/keypunch operators - plus two graduate students. My fellow mathematics graduate students looked down on my interest in computers. I loved programming - it was like doing puzzles - just like genealogy - but I wasn't interested in genealogy back then. Too bad. I could have asked my grandparents so many things I never did ask!
I married and spent the next 17 years as a homemaker and mother, being a room mother and library volunteer, and tending my garden and sewing and doing things current generations don't have the luxury of doing. I was on the Advisory Board for Sigma Kappa at the University of Illinois. I joined the League of Women Voters with interests in Education, and Land Use Planning and local government. Having a computer and knowing how to use it, I was talked into being newsletter editor. My husband and I played recorders and other early instruments. And the genealogy bug had not yet bitten me.
When my sons were in High School, I returned to the classroom to learn the "modern" languages like Cobol and C. I programmed in Fortran and then in C on mainframes. And then my younger son graduated from college and we got him an IBM-XT for a graduation present. He was going to go to graduate school in physics, and wanted it for physics and to use with his synthesizer. He left the XT with us for 6 weeks when he moved all his other belongings, and by the time we delivered it to him, I was absolutely sure I wanted one. My husband said "What do we need that for, we'll never use it." Ha! (He didn't think we'd use a second car either .... another Ha!)
By this time I had accumulated a bit of genealogical information, but was still not addicted. My father's aunt had typed up some information on his family, and my mother's family had lots of stories and a dozen portraits hanging in the parlor. I had also discovered Usenet and Newsgroups on the computers at work. With a PC and a modem (300 baud!) I was able to read newsgroups in the evening. I think that's where I heard about the "Personal Ancestral File" software available from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I ordered PAF to manage the information I already had, but hadn't considered that I would get more information. As soon as I started entering what I had, though, I saw there were gaps to be filled - and I was addicted! The puzzle needed to be finished!
Meanwhile my brother and I decided we (I - since I lived closer) should spend several days with Mother and Dad and a tape recorder because we did not remember all the stories she had to tell. When I asked her the first question - "How do you remember all these stories?", she took me to a cupboard and showed me ..... it was written down! Her father's aunt had joined the DAR and the Mayflower Society! Her applications were there along with charts she mother's aunt had done. She had some books on the Cole and Boughton and Smith families. When I said "How come you never showed me this before?" she said "You never asked."
Dad had never talked about his family, and insisted he didn't know anything, but I got information from him in spite of that. It was a GREAT visit and I had a lot to put into PAF.
And then I discovered the Historical Archives at our local library (they had the entire NEHGS Register!) and the LDS Family History Center just 3 miles from my house. And then I joined the New England Historic Genealogical Society and visited their library when we went east one fall. Then I started visiting other libraries and cemeteries and relatives and .... it mushrooms!!!
I attended the NEHGS Sesquicentennial Conference in Boston in 1997, and now I am addicted to conferences! I've attended GENTECH and FGS and NGS conferences and plan for more in the future. Workshops in Boston and Salem and Chicago and Salt Lake City have been useful and very interesting.
I became involved in the organization of internet newsgroups back in 1994 when soc.roots/ROOTS-L were getting big and some of us decided to ask to subdivide and rename soc.roots. The result of a summer of politicking and writing charters and stirring up online genealogists was the first 7 of what is now 25 soc.genealogy newsgroups. Because some of the groups had mailing list mirrors, I also got involved in mailing lists. It grows and grows and grows. At the present time I manage mailing lists at RootsWeb.com for Edmondson, Pennoyer, and some other surnames and for GEN-MARKET and ALT-GENEALOGY among the newsgroup gateway lists.
In 2001, after having re-entered the work force a couple of years before to work (as a telecommuter) for RootsWeb, I retired again and immediately set up a mailing list and web page for my high school, University High School in Bloomington, IN. The school no longer exists as a public high school, but the alumni/alumnea are out there, anxious to make contact with other alums.
RootsWeb is a wonderful success story, having been started to provide a home for the ROOTS-L mailing list and RootsWeb Surname List when it was still called the Roots Surname List when other homes became unavailable. RootsWeb now hosts thousands of mailing lists and other resources for genealogists, and expanded to cover other a few communities of interests. In 2000, RootsWeb was acquired by MyFamily.com and joined with the successful Ancestry.com site. Access to RootsWeb remains free though the original vision has evolved as growth and financial realities set in. The dedication to universally available free access to as much genealogical data as possible which has been behind the success of RootsWeb is something I want to encourage and support. I worked with and for them for awhile, and I keep in touch.
Online Genealogy sites:
Rootsweb, of course, and Cyndi's List for links to every imaginable genealogy site, and the LDS site for access to the information accumulated by that church. My first attempt at a web page was for the US Census Bureau as a strictly volunteer project when they had none. They quickly did their own, but the information here is still interesting.
- RootsWeb ~~~ http://www.RootsWeb.com
- Ancestry ~~~ http://www.Ancestry.com
- Cyndi's List ~~~ http://www.CyndisList.com
- FamilySearch - LDS Church ~~~ http://www.familysearch.org
- Linkpendium Web Search ~~~ http://searches.linkpendium.com/websearch.html
- Soc.genealogy.marketplace FAQ ~~~ http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~socgen/Mktfaq.html
- Booksellers - done for GEN-MARKET ~~~ http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~socgen/Bookmjo.html
League of Women Voters:
I do have interests outside of genealogy, mainly the League of Women Voters. In 1995 I encouraged a dedicated group of League-smart computer illiterates (some of them computer-phobes) to allow me to go online for LWVCC to provide further voter service to the community. I started by putting our yearly publication, Who's Who in Champaign County Government online at our community network, Prairienet. When Prairienet was discontinued the web page was moved to Google Sites. I maintain the web page and also am Newsletter editor. By now, most League members have joined me in the email/www/computer world and the board corresponds electronically. I answer to email@example.com, the web page is at https://sites.google.com/site/lwvilcc/.
I have no ancestors in this town or county or state, but as I have lived in Champaign County with my family since 1966 I am interested in the local resources. We have a local Family History Center at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The library at the University of Illinois has a great history section. The Historical Archives at the Urbana Free Library is quite good for a town this size and the librarians and archivists are very helpful. On the web you will find:
Champaign County is in USGenWeb. http://www.rootsweb.com/~ilchampa/
The Champaign County Genealogical Society is at http://www.rootsweb.com/~ilccgs/
The Illinois State Genealogical Society is at http://www.rootsweb.com/~ilsgs/index.html
Margaret, Ed, sons, grandchildren and cat
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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