Seeking Your Ancestry? Give these websites and ideas a try!

Our life experience here, in this moment, is so precious. Who we are now and will become is full of so much history. The wise words and knowledge spoken upon our lips, may have, at some point, been a distance memory spoken from a grandmother, or grandfather – who heard it from their mother – who heard it from their mother, and so forth.

 Have you ever stared into an old black and white photo of a relative imagining what was going on for them? Wondered if their struggles, hopes and desires were similar to the thoughts you have today? How they overcame so much, with so much less than what we have offered to us today? Just what was their story and how did they get there?

CASSELL PICTURE

This is you! Your ancestors have spoken and want so much to share with you their past – And how you became uniquely you.

How do you have that amazing drive and courage? How do you cook such delicious award winning dishes? How do you draw the finest of fine art that could be hung and sold for thousands in a gallery? How are you…You?

If you have ever considered wanting to know more about your family history, here are some ideas that you can do now to get started:

ancestry2

 

Start recording questions you want answered from your oldest living relative:

They are the closest link to your past that you can get. Go spend an afternoon asking for family names and what times were like for them. Typically, their grandparent’s name will give you a great leap into the past. Jot down as many names as they can give you. This will help in locating your relatives when doing a search.

Take the names gathered and start searching:

The Ancestry DNA kit is great for those serious searchers looking for more precise linkage to what there blood line is.

You can use awesome websites such as ancestry.com (more listed below) and pay a minimal membership fee depending on the level that you want to take it to. Ancestry.com also does DNA testing of your saliva (I am excitedly awaiting my results), for $99. Within 7 to 8 weeks they will pinpoint exactly what country or region your family originated from. Combine that with the information from your older relatives and you have a great start in digging into your past.

The old school way:

Another way to search is through the library of records in the city that most of your relatives were born in. Every city keeps a record of live births and deaths. Depending on the city though many slaves were sold off and were only accounted for in their slave masters property records (see below for a website specifically for African Americans). Talking with a Historian once you have a few names to search under will be of great help.

A few website recommendations:

 

Google FREE

Most people love and use Google because it gives you such a large database to search for places, names and can guide you to the perfect family history search engine tools. Google has a variety of other tools that you can utilize to help you such as, Google Maps and Google Earth. Both searches can help you locate ancestral addresses. Google Translate can help you translate text from other languages, and Google Books incorporates an online library of out-of-print resources that may contain local histories and compiled genealogies.

RootsWeb World Connect FREE

How cool would it be to have others (including researchers) share and provide helpful tips and clues to add to your growing family tree? Well that’s exactly what you can do on the RootsWeb website. Information can be updated or removed at any time and although the findings may not be 100% accurate, it truly increases your chances! Don’t know exactly where to start? You can browse their database that is full of over half a billion names with over 400,000 family trees!

AfriGeneas FREE

A phenomenal website providing a unique slave database of research and education for those researching their African-American roots. Most records for slaves were kept by the slave owners and are generally the only clue most African Americans have in tracing their ancestry. AfriGeneas site allows for an ample forum to communicate with other users searching into their African American genealogy.

So what are you waiting for? This weekend go spend an afternoon drinking tea digging through old photos, reminiscing of old times past and learning new things about your family history. After all, in this circle of life, one day you will be the relative the family goes to, to find out more about where they came from. Or, maybe you will be the one in the photo, long gone, standing proud as your loved one stares and admires just who you were and where you came from.

 

 

NYC with Kids

Kids. From the moment they come into our lives they bring new situations and adventures.

I can honestly say that I have delightfully experienced many things and met many new people in my life thanks to my girls.

This past weekend’s trip to New York City was no different.

My oldest daughter, who is 15, was invited to play string bass at the world famous Lincoln Center in NYC with her schools Chamber Orchestra.

What an honor and what an opportunity for all of us to finally take a bite out of the Big Apple…..with KIDS!

As a mom, the thought of traveling to NYC with little ones (4 and 7) makes me a little uneasy. We have only traveled through Manhattan by car a few times a year to drop off my step-children who live in Queens. I was overwhelmed just watching the hustle and bustle from the car.

I would stare out the window thankful that my kids were safely strapped into their car seats – peering their eyes above the brim of the window. And my husband taking on the honking and numerous fender benders that we nearly missed inch by inch as we made our way through the city.

However, we survived New York City! Not only did my daughter’s school place in the competition, but we all grew from the experience.

Here are some cool pics and tricks to help you out if you are considering heading out to the city that truly never sleeps.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn in Newark, New Jersey to save money before heading into the big city for the weekend. You can save big and it’s only a 20 minute drive away. Great cocktails, ambiance, and kids eat free!

The food trucks making their way through traffic in true New York fashion.

newyrk8

We choose The Watson Hotel on 57th St. so we wouldn’t have to walk too far with the little ones. It was about an 8 minute walk to our event at Lincoln Center. It had some of the least expensive parking at $37 a day, and the rooms were clean and decent. The prices for rooms were fairly inexpensive as compared to other hotels in the city.

newyork2

The premise of our trip! My daughter playing string bass (far left standing) at Lincoln Center. Her schools Chamber Orchestra placed second runner up (third in the nation) and received the honorable Forte Award for most distinguished group. Good news parents: there is an upscale snack bar in the lobby that serves sandwiches, chips, fruits, and cocktails. Perfect breather that your kids will definitely need in between performances.

newyrk6

We made reservations at The Colesium Bar and Grill. We choose this restaurant based on location (an 8 minute walk from Lincoln Center), a diverse menu that both adults and children could find something they would like, and they were okay with kids eating there. The prices were a little high for bar priced food, but the food was very good.

Next, we headed underground in a glass elevator which was located in the middle of a sidewalk. The elevator took us to an underground mall and food eatery called TurnStyle. The kids went to the well know Dillon’s Candy Store full of a candy emporium!

newyr4

We were anxious to hit up Times Square, but getting there was a 20 minute walk. Not good for the little one’s unless you have a stroller. It was also freezing so Uber and Lyft was a MUST! The cost was inexpensive $8 to $12 for a 7 seater vehicle to fit my entire family. We waited less than 10 minutes going and coming back.

Stepping out into Times Square was like stepping into a fish bowl. Wall to wall people. Hang on to your kids and enjoy the lights, sights and people watching.

newyork3

The Statue of Liberty and other characters were dressed to take photos with eager tourists, but BE AWARE! They want your money. $20 to be exact for snapping a photo with you.

nyc10

 

Hold on tight to your children! My daughter and I got caught in the middle of another NY traffic jam!

 

Inside the NYC subway near Times Square.

nyc2

I had no idea that it was similar to an airport. There were places to eat, small shops and loads of people hanging out. There was live music to watch and people dancing. You buy your tickets ($2 to $4 range) and wait to hear what gate you need to to be at to jump on the train.

If you enjoy a nice beer/cider you are in luck! They have beer/cider on tap in the subway. A small to large costs $6 to $8. You get a cup to go and are free to walk around with it.

I felt more comfortable than I thought I would be waiting at the Subway Station with kids in tow.

nyc3

 

 

Call it cliche but we wanted to experience all the “New York” like things. On a short walk from our hotel we found Morningstar Restaurant for breakfast. They served lunch and dinner . A cute typical neighborhood New York diner. The food was great, the staff was super nice, fast and accomadating.

A Yummy New York bagel sandwich with turkey bacon, scrambled egg and cheese. This won my kids heart. I enjoyed a coffee with many selections of Brandy to go inside! Morningstar Restaurant.

newyrk5

 

 

Key points to consider when traveling with kids:

1) Google the address and area of your stomping grounds. I always investigate the area with Google Earth when planning where we will stay and where we will go. It helps to familiarize yourself with the area. Many things look better on a website than they do in person.

2) Map the distance between certain attractions you plan to visit. Everything can seem appealing to visit, but may be further away from where you thought. Mapping out the distance between each location will save you so much frustration!

3) Visit the websites of each city, attraction and hotel. Websites are a wealth of information. You can find reviews from recent visitors and events that are going on during your visit. That gives you a step up on visiting as a well informed tourist.

Enjoy your Family Time!

 

Share this post and help spread the love!

Cleveland Bop Stop Jazz Club, Ohio City

The Cleveland Bop Stop is not new to the Cleveland scene. Although, at times it can seem as if this spot has been only known through word of mouth.Donated and partnered with the Cleveland Music Settlement since 2013, the Bop Stop has been bringing an eclectic, intimate musical setting to the Lake Erie skyline for over 15 years.

My first experience at The Bop Stop 10 years ago was amazing. The light and heat from the cozy fireplace, coupled with a live band was like no other experience I had felt from Cleveland. I truly felt like I was in New York City or some other happening “major city.”

When I went again a few years later to see an electric violin player, I knew The Bop Stop was becoming one of my favorite places to go out to.

 

 

Location, Location

The Bop Stop is located at 2920 Detroit Ave in Cleveland’s Ohio City area within a beautiful view of Lake Erie.

Ohio City has quickly become Cleveland’s oldie but goodie location for sticking with a few popular landmarks throughout the years, such as The West Side Market and giving us new favorites such as Bar Cento.

 

Pom Frittes at friesBar Cento – DELICIOUS!

A visit to the Bop Stop makes for a great drop in to the City’s neighboring bar and restaurant night life that surrounds the area.

Although the parking lot is small, plenty of free parking can be found along Detroit Avenue.

 

Inside

Walking inside the Bop Stop you find small intimate seating of small tables and chairs that surround the stage.

 

Inside the Bop Stop

bop

 A full service bar with seating and a fire place with chairs make up the first floor. On warm summer nights a small patio overlooking the Lake make for a romantic feel when partnered with your favorite cocktail or wine.

The attire would be dependent upon who is performing that night (anywhere from casual to semi-formal) and tickets can be purchased online atwww.musicsettlement.com or at the door for a higher price. Tickets are very reasonable ranging in price from $10 to $35.

 

Calendar of May Events

bop2

 

Menu

Small plates and appetizers seem to be the choices at this venue. Snack on ranch popcorn or pulled pork sandwiches. Definitely not a “get your grub on” type of dining. The music is definitely the main event.

Donations & History

The Bop Stop was donated to the City’s beloved Music Settlement with good reason! The Music Settlement was founded on the belief that every child should learn, love and experience music at some point in their life.

Donations and scholarships are awarded annually to potential students who may not otherwise receive private lessons. It also helps to pay for other activities, supplies, and projects within the school.

During the day, The Bop Stop provides young artists with the practice of performing on stage.

At night, the location becomes a full-fledged adult jazz club. Every drink purchased at the location goes towards a student’s scholarship at the School (The Music Settlement)

 

Featured Artists

The variety of performances from the Bop Stop ranges from classical violin to R&B jazz funk. There seems to be something every month that should pique the interests of music enthusiasts from almost all genre of music.

 

The R&B Jazz Group The Xperience

jazz

The Bop Stop also caters to private parties and corporate events! The Bop Stop is a must to visit on the blossoming Cleveland Scene.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post and help spread the love!

 

 

15 Simple Pleasures Money Can’t Buy

 

Regardless of the amount of money in your pockets, Earth’s beauty will forever be one thing that we ALL can afford.

Take pleasure in knowing that such vastness and beauty can be enjoyed at any time – day or night – for FREE!

All too often a person can feel stagnant or depressed because of their financial stature. Society moves so quickly that we can easily forget about the simple free pleasures that surround us every day.

Sunrise/Sunset

SUNSET

Forget about the meeting this morning or the stressful day you may have had at work or home. If you woke up and opened your eyes you can take in this simple pleasure. Cozy up in your robe or blanket, grab your favorite beverage and go have a seat at this beautiful spectacle.

 

Playground

PLAYGROUND

The playground was already built in a city near you. Whether young or old – a push on a swing or a ride down a slide always triggers an immediate smile or laughter across the face.

 

Hiking

hock

Hiking in the park is a wondrous free exploration that never gets old. Grab some old boots or shoes and venture into the woods. Some cities offer meet-ups or guided tours, however, the best hikes I have ever experienced have been the unscripted trails that I choose on my own. Encounter butterflies and interesting insects you may not see every day.

 

Walk

WALK

After a long day or for an early start to your day begin with a walk through your neighborhood or nearby trail.

 

Beach/Lake

BEACH

Grab a blanket and sand toys for the kids. Sit back and enjoy listening to sounds of the mesmerizing waves.

 

Feed fish/ducks

FEED FISH

Grab a loaf of bread or leftover biscuits and head out to the pier or park.

 

Campfire

CAMPFIRE

Gather sticks or leftover firewood. Make a fire at home or in a fire pit at a local park.

 

Blow/run with bubbles

SIMPLE PLEASURES

Everyone has a tube of bubbles lying around. This simple pleasure can be done just about anywhere.

 

Catch lightning bugs

LIGHTNING BUGS

 

Free festivals 

FESTIVALS

Every city has their own unique free festivals. Check your local magazines and online local venues.

 

Pick/Plant Vegetables

Help a friend or have a friend help you pick or plant vegetables and fruits in the garden. Getting your hands dirty in the Earth is always therapy for the soul.

 

Lay in the grass

SKY

 

Not into planning for the day? Take a blanket and stare into our beautiful sky.

 

Stick your toes in the grass

FEET

Need to feel a little more grounded in your life? Take off those socks and shoes and stick your feet in the grass.

 

Enjoy your FREEDOM!

 

 

 

 

 

Save