24 October 2014

Follow Friday: The Power of Connect. Explore. Refresh.

If you're on Social Media at all, you've seen me posting a lot about FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies). I unexpectedly had the opportunity to go down to San Antonio in August to help man the booth for FGS's annual conference. All I can say is: what a blast!

Many people don't know you don't have to be in a Society that is a member in order to participate in an FGS conference. An FGS Conference has all the components of a great genealogical gathering: Connecting with colleagues and friends; Exploring new ideas about our research and family history; and Refreshing our minds, hearts and souls with the experience of being with a group of individuals who share our passion.

As an FGS Ambassador, I can say that I take a different view of the 'how's to have the best time at a conference. For me, the Connect-ion comes from sharing my room (or sharing someone else's room) to cut my expenses. Is it a bit of a crap-shoot rooming with someone you haven't met before? Of course it is. But I have to say that every single time I've shared a room, I've created a friendship with someone I might not have otherwise come to know. And my life is so much better for the lovely ladies who've given up a little of their personal comfort to share with me. Rather than going with someone I know, I find that going by myself and sharing with a new roommate provides the opportunity to meet new people and extend my sphere of geneacquaintances even more. There are so many great people out there looking to connect with others who share their passion. No doubt, that's the Connect.

Nope. No fun here. Not at all. FGS2014
(c) 2014 - Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana 
Exploring a new city is always a combination of excitement and caution. Coming from Chicago, I understand the trepidation of traveling alone in a new City. But, there's no reason to just hang in your room! FGS always has a tremendous home crowd willing to help with everything from places to eat to the best places to do a little research. The quality and breadth of the speakers that are part of the conference provides the opportunity to Explore new ways to research, new places to look for resources and the latest technologies to push our families' stories along. 

I was so Refreshed when I got home; my husband told me that it seemed like I'd been on some kind of exotic vacation because I was so relaxed. (Actually, I was just exhausted from all the fun, but don't tell him. Heh.) And, more importantly to me, I had Refresh-ed and invigorated knowledge to jump-start some of my research that had gone stale. A Refresh-ed sense of what I'd like to accomplish in the next few years with my own research and my fledgling business. 

New connections to mentor, collaborate and assist in a wide array of genealogical ways. The exploration of the Genealogical Proof Standard and how to make our family stories come to life. And, refreshed perspective on what it means to participate in a community that is, at its heart, all about family.

You can register for FGS2015/Rootstech, February 11 -14 in Salt Lake City, right HERE. Follow along with the latest updates on the Voice, FGS's blog or on Twitter with the hashtag #FGS2015. Oh, did you hear? Donny Osmond's going to be the keynote speaker!! 

10 September 2014

Wednesday's Child - Krystine Lorenzana Cabalfin

This post was first published on 9 September 2011; it has been slightly edited. Today is the eighth anniversary of Krystine's passing from our world. 

When we think of genealogy, I believe most of us think of it in a ‘far off’ way. Even when our genealogy includes putting our grandparents or parents ‘Died on’ date in that space in the software or on the sheet of paper, somehow we always think of the past. And even when we miss our Grannys and Grandpas (sadly, both my grandfathers died when I was an infant), I think there’s a nostalgia that goes along with it that somehow makes it OK.

Of course, anyone who goes back beyond even the mid 20th Century has seen plenty of death in their tree. It’s a simple fact to us, that there’ll be a date on that line, and that the date will make sense. But every once in a while, there’ll be one that tugs at your heart. The mom and baby that died the same day, or the siblings that die within days of one another due to illness. This was a fact that pre-20th Century parents dealt with on a regular basis: children and young people die.


But, in the late 20th Century, and certainly in the 21st Century, especially in the developed world, fewer and fewer children die. We’re so blessed to live in a country that, for the most part, is a safe place for us to live.  Modern medicine, sanitation, clean water and safe sources of food have increased our life expectancy significantly.


Then there’s the day that you can never quite get right in your head. The day that changes how you look at life, and love, and the way you fit in the world. For me, that day was September 10, 2006. It was a Sunday, and my parents were over because we were going to take them out to celebrate their wedding anniversary, September 11th. The phone rang, my sister-in-law’s phone number showed on the caller ID, and because my husband was busy, I picked it up. I can still hear her voice in my head, incomprehensible words through screams and cries, “Krystine’s dead.”



I could write pages and pages about the minute details of that day; for as crummy a memory as I have, the details of that day are crystal clear. I won’t do that, or at least I’ll try not to. But I do want to share some things with you, if you’ll indulge me.

Krystine Summer Lorenzana Cabalfin was my niece. She was the daughter of Edgar and Crisel Lorenzana, my husband’s oldest brother and his sister-in-law. She was a precocious little girl, and a vibrant young woman. She was the quintessential ‘social butterfly’ with an incredible array of friends and a very tight knit, though far strewn, family. At her funeral, when discussing who she was, with the priest who would provide her eulogy, I described her as the family’s Social Director. She would’ve taken that title willingly. Most importantly, I considered Krystine not only my niece, she was a confidant and friend.


Krystine was married to Jose Cabalfin in January, 2001. Christopher Joel Cabalfin was born May 4, 2001, and his little brother Matthew Ryan followed December 21, 2002. The role of ‘Mom’ took a while for Krystine to manage; she was challenged with lots of what I called “loving interference” from the older women in the family. But when her daughter Emilyn was born, November 9, 2005, Krystine had finally grown into her role as mother, wife, student, friend, and Ate (a Filipino word).


I like to tell the story of the last time I saw Krystine, because I find a lot of comfort in it. We were celebrating her older brother’s birthday; Edgar Jr, who we all call Jay-R, was celebrating his 29th birthday on September 2nd so we all got together at my in-laws.  Krystine was there with her family, and as the youngest, she was ‘working’ the party, preparing food, filling dishes, running errands, etc. all while trying to fulfill her role as the Social Director, Mom and Friend. It wasn’t going well…LOL. I came into the little kitchen and asked if I could help her wash the dirty dishes and she happily accepted. As we stood at the sink, shoulder to shoulder in the cramped space, she began to share with me how she was feeling about some of the things going on in her life, and as I normally did, I tried to make her feel she had the strength to handle it all. Because I knew she did. We were interrupted and she was called away, and hours later, as the party was winding down, Cas and I prepared to leave. I found Krystine, gave her a big hug and as she squeezed me tightly I said, "I love you, Tin" and she replied, "I love you too, Auntie Laura. Those are the last words she said to me. I treasure them like the gift they are, and I can smile, even with a sad heart when I think of her, because we shared that moment. 


Krystine died the morning of September 10, 2006. She died when her heart stopped beating while she was sleeping. There were many questions regarding her death because of her age and the fact that many in her family were/are in the healthcare profession. And none of us were prepared to lose her so soon, to put that date in that space in the software. As I copied her funeral card, I was surprised at it’s simplicity. Because Tin was everything but simple. She was a shining light, a mother, a wife, a daughter, an Ate…and she was my friend.


31 August 2014

A blog update...

Well after missing my blogiversary earlier this month, but having an absolute blast at FGS 2014, I knew it was time to let you all know that I do still exist and I have every intention of continuing the blog. However, I may be moving it to another platform so I can integrate the blog with some resources and other information I often get asked about as an Archivist. 

As soon as I get back home (I'm still in San Antonio), I'll be working on getting the new platform in place.

Thank you for continuing to read...

Laura