Sunday, January 6, 2013

How It All Began

You get to meet alot of nice people in an Archives.  It's not all grey boxes.  One interesting set of meetings happened just this fall, starting when Peggy Peterson came for a visit, family history records in hand.  Peggy is a descendent of Ole Moe Peterson and was looking for a photo scrapbook that had been mentioned in the Mt. Horeb Area Historical Society's newsletter.  I found what she was looking for as well as other Peterson family references.  We parted with Peggy saying how she'd like to come back with her sister, Sally Jo, to look at our collection and share some of the information and photographs she and Sally Jo had collected.  I said, "Any time.  Just give me a call."  And not long after she did.

Ole Peterson Family Farm House
Peggy and Sally Jo came for an afternoon soon after.  Both had three ring binders of family history and lots and lots of photographs.  We talked about the family connections to the area.  Sally Jo and Peggy very generously allowed me to copy a number of family photographs, almost all of which were identified.  (Always a nice part of finding an image!)  The women's great grandparent's farm became part of the Village of Mt. Horeb and their farm house still stands on what is now a tree lined residential street.  This isn't the only house belonging to the family, either.  Ole built houses for all of the children who stayed in town.  Peggy and Sally Jo left me with the project of matching the old photos with the current houses.  (After a little more research, I'll be ready to put the old and new photos on this blog.)

In addition to all of their information, Peggy and Sally Jo said two other family members were avid genealogists.  One is John Peterson, who's work we have been collecting for a few years as he sends us new installments.  The other is Bruce Roth to whom they are related through Bruce's mother, Saundra Roth of Mt. Horeb.  Sally Jo said I should see Bruce's website.  She thought I'd be pretty impressed and I was.

Ole Peterson second left, back row

The Peterson sisters left us with some wonderful additions to the Archives holdings and we hope they will stay in touch.  After they left I spent some time reading their cousin's Blog (called, "My Other Blog") and I haven't been the same since.

Bruce posts the stories he is discovering through his genealogy.  It's a wonderful way to look at family history and has really made his research come alive.  The site was fun to read, well illustrated and looks very sophisticated.  A highly trained web designer, I thought to myself.   But, I thought I'd write to ask if he could advise us on how it is done, just in case you didn't have to have a PhD in computer science to do this.

He emailed back right away and said he would be in Mt. Horeb visiting his Mom over the Christmas holidays.  Gerry Glaeve and I were able to meet for 2 1/2 hours on New Years Day at the Archives office.  Bruce is trained as an architect so he has an eye for good design and he's pretty fearless about learning new computer technology, but it turned out that the template that made his Blog look so professional was free software available through Google.  The software is called "Blogger."  He certainly knows his way around the thing but encouraged us to just jump right in and see what we could do.  With Bruce just an email away and so far willing to answer daily questions, we have done just that.

I'm sold on this as a terrific way to share the richness of the Mt. Horeb Area Historical Society's Archives.  It is as immediate as Facebook but with more substance.  It can reach as many people as our web site but is easier to update.  Short of all of us meeting every afternoon for coffee, this is just the ticket.  Thanks to the Peggy, Sally Jo and Bruce for making it happen.

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