Personal Update from Leland

Blogging the last month has been very light – caused by a heavy schedule on my part. The family had a reunion in Colorado. Then I went to Little Rock, Arkansas for the FGS Conference, checking out the Oklahoma History Center on the way. I then rushed home, did some writing, filled orders, got Saxony II to press and immediately drove to Washington State where we had a memorial for my brother, Neil Meitzler, who passed away last February. We’re now back home again, have shipped the Saxony II soft cover books, and worked on the 2009 Christmas Tour. I’m currently writing a magazine article, and also have a lecture to finish up for a Tuesday speaking engagement for the Sacramento German Genealogy Society. I’m also working on lectures for the upcoming Family History Expo in Redding, California, taking place October 16 & 17. People keep wondering what’s going on with Everton’s. The truth is that I really have little information, but have posted what I do know in a blog post and comments.

I guess you could say that I have no time to get into any trouble, but I’ll do my best to rectify that!

Getting the Story Out There

The following is another short story by Tom Fiske. He claims that it pays to get your family story out in front of folks – and proves just that with the following item.

Thomas Fiske Over and over again, I have found that it pays to get your story out there. In a magazine, on a blog or just as a question on a genealogy web site, it helps to state your interest where other people can see it.

In the September/October, 2006 issue of Everton’s Genealogical Helper my story was published for the first time. Actually, it was not my story, it was a friend’s story. But the result was the same.

About five years ago, I moved from Arcadia, CA to Fullerton, CA, some 30 miles away, so my wife and I could live near our son and his family. In all honesty, I had heart trouble and moved to Fullerton to die. I got a Ham radio license instead. But all was not lost– grandmother really enjoyed living near her grandchildren.

Soon after my wife and I moved, we joined a local church and I enlisted in family history writer’s group. One of the folks in that group had an old diary, written about one hundred fifty years ago. She laboriously translated a few days of it into English before each meeting and soon that diary became the center of attention at each meeting.

The writer of the diary was a Civil War civilian on the Yankee side, who lived in Texas. It was a bad place to be from 1861-1865. He left his family and went to join what was left of the Union government. His diary was a document that told of his travels and the people he met on the trip. Some of those people became famous later.

Did I say that the diary had to be translated? That was because the writer wrote phonetically and very humorously, too. But he was a man who reasoned well in most cases and who made very clever observations. His name was Seth B. Reid.

After telling the owner of the diary, a nice lady named Carolyn Beauchamp, who was a descendant of Seth’s, that I thought her diary was an important historical document and that she and I should write about it for a magazine, we finally took out time to attempt just that. And soon her diary’s story was “out there” for all to read. I included a photo or two of Seth in the article.

It took about a year for the article to ferment. Then I got an email from a man in Texas named Gary. He wanted to know more about that diary. It seems Seth B. Reid was his great-great uncle or some such. I gave the email to Carolyn, who had never heard of Gary. I wanted Carolyn to have the choice of contacting him. She did and soon they were swapping emails, two distant cousins with strong genealogical interests.

Recently I asked Carolyn about Gary. She emailed me,

He knew of SBR from pictures of him with his sisters, one of whom was Gary’s great great grandmother. He was eager to see what the journal said, and I sent by email several pages. He emailed of being in TX to see his grandmother and hoping to be in further contact.”

“I replied that I had assumed he lived in TX and that I was interested in knowing more – what his home state is. I don’t remember if I gave him our address – I almost doubt it, but said if he was ever in CA to let me know & we could meet.

If you ever needed proof that genealogy was like fishing, you have it now. The only difference is that you have to leave your line in the water longer. Carolyn is going to be able to fill in the blanks of her family record and so is Gary. They were two surprised cousins.

In addition, Carolyn is continuing to translate the diary into English and to type it up as she goes. Probably one of her children will inherit it, but if they do not want it, there are several libraries that would love to have it. It is, after all, a historical document full of factual information recorded by the person who observed it.

No doubt Gary will be able to fill in answers to Carolyn’s questions and perhaps supply information about places and people that are not immediately obvious.

It would never have happened if Carolyn had not allowed me to put the story out there for other people to see.

Just call me AA6TF

Thomas S. Fiske
Fullerton, CA
August 31, 2009

Don’t Expect the Genealogical Helper to Reemerge

Several months ago I blogged that it looked like The Genealogical Helper was about to be sold. I was even offered a job to work as publisher and editor of the “new” Helper. That offer was contingent on the purchase of the assets of the company. Following that blog, made just after the NGS Conference in Raleigh, things seemed to not necessarily fall apart, but they slowed down even more than before. I kept waiting to hear something, but found myself just waiting. Some of my authors actually kept their articles updated, based on the hope that “good news” was forthcoming. It never happened. Things just got more complicated. It seems the City of Logan actually owned the “Everton” brand, so negotiations had to take place with the city. Then the buyer seems to have gotten cold feet about publishing a magazine.

So it’s drug on and on. I’ve given up. I went for 7 months hoping to be rehired by someone. This evening, one of the Everton board members sent me a note that she says is going out “to customers who are sending us e-mails.”

In the beautiful Jan/Feb/March issue of the 50 year old Everton Genealogical Helper Magazine we announced that we were going quarterly. We later began to look for a new company and publisher to take over the magazine. We have been and are in very serious negotiations. That deal needs to be finalized within the next ten days or it will not happen. As a backup, we are now talking to another company to take it over if the first deal does not go through.

As you may know, about five years ago, we saved both the Everton Library,(30,000 unique genealogical volumes which were going to be sold at a garage sale on the lawn but are now housed in the Logan Library) and the Genealogical Helper magazine because we were genealogists who had loved the Helper for years. We honored all old subscriptions, then we honored all subscriptions for Heritage Quest Magazine when they went out of business. We are trying to find someone to take over our subscriptions now. We appreciate and love all our customers who helped save the library and magazine for 5 more years. We’ve written to many of you over the years and feel like friends.

We are in mourning for this grand old magazine. We will send you an e-mail when we know more. Please keep us in your thoughts.

Thanks so much for your patience.

So – that’s the current state of affairs in Logan, Utah. I wish the news were better. Patty and I have burned through a lot of savings while hoping to be rehired. Unemployment was never an option, as we own Family Roots Publishing, which muddied the financial waters. But, on the bright side, Family Roots Publishing, and the Salt Lake Christmas Tour, are both growing and profitable, so that’s where we will concentrate our efforts from this point forward. When there’s more news as to the disposition of the Everton assets and fulfillment of subscriptions, I’ll pass it on as a blog entry on GenealogyBlog. I’ve now been promised that I will be kept up-to-date on what’s going on.

Everton’s Genealogical Helper is MOST LIKELY About to be Sold

I can finally post a blog about what’s been going on – and coming up at Everton’s. I’ve been waiting for 3 months to do this… It’s been a long three months.

At some point a few months ago (I have no idea of the date), I’ve been told that Everton’s had a loan called, effectively taking most of the money in the bank account. Everton's Genealogical HelperOn February 17, I got a phone call from my boss and was informed that there was no money – so I could no longer be paid. I was effectively laid-off as of that moment. I was asked to keep my mouth shut, as the company was being put up for sale – and they didn’t want me interjecting myself into the process. Out of respect for everyone involved, I did so (and it’s hard for me to stay quiet.) (grin)

I’ve now been told that verbal agreements have been made to sell the Genealogical Helper, Handybook for Genealogists, and other assets of the Everton operation. Final paperwork has not been signed, but should be within a few days.

I’m pleased to also be able to inform my readers that I have been asked to again direct the publication of the magazine, which will be taking a change in direction – one that I think my readers will be happy with. We have verbal and rather broad agreements only at this moment. Again, I expect all this to be settled shortly – and I plan to immediately go about getting out the next issue of the Helper.