Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Newspaper article

The local paper came into the Family History Center one evening and did an article about family history. They even have a picture with Art in it. Here is the link if you're interested!
Trace family roots
Lacee A.C. Martinez , lcmartinez@guampdn.com November 17, 2015
(Photo: Virgilio Valencia/For PDN)
For a brief hour and a half on Thursdays, a room attached to the Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church in Barrigada opens up to the public.
That’s when visitors crowd around a half-dozen computers in the Guam Family History Center, pouring over online documents like they’re trailing through clues.
Those “clues” are names, dates, and locations pulled from genealogy sites and other resources available for free at the center.
Genealogy, however, is only one part of what the center assists with, says Tami Burton, the center’s director.
“We see family research with several aspects and one of them is keeping our own records, writing stories about our lives and things that are important to us that we might want to hand down for future generations,” she says. “And then also researching for family members who have passed away and helping our children to develop a connection with those traditions and family stories. We think it helps them feel more grounded.”
Regardless of religious affiliation, the center offers free service for everyone interested in researching their family history.
Much of it begins with FamilySearch.org, one of the largest genealogy organizations in the world, funded by the church. FamilySearch works with archives, libraries and churches in more than 100 countries to give people access to records, which connect them to their ancestors.
While FamilySearch is freely accessible online, researching at the center offers access to other premium sites, including Ancestry.com, and help with researching your family history.
For example, the center often assists with navigating through the Micronesian Area Research Center at the University of Guam.
“Sometimes people are hesitant to go in there, and they’ll give us some information on their family and we’ll go in there and find it,” Burton says.
Researching family history goes beyond the libraries and records. It also means talking to family members, including older generations — something the center assists with as well.
It can be tricky to talk to island elders, however, especially when they’ve endured living through trauma, including the war.
“Some people are hesitant to talk about experiences,” Burton says. “Some things were emotionally shocking to them and difficult for them talk about it. But it might be therapeutic for some people to talk about things that were awful experiences at the time. The fact remains they were strong enough to survive it and their stories can strengthen their children.”
Burton knows of the obstacles many face when trying to interview family members who have lived through the occupation.
“We recommend that people try to talk to their surviving family members and do it with a compassion and not to push them beyond what the person they’re interviewing wants to give them, but to not shy away from it just because it’s not going to be a pleasant topic,” she says. “We want them to bring it up and not talk about it and pretend it’s not a part of the history, because it is part of the history.”
With wars, typhoons and a culture of oral history, records can be scarce for island residents and those from our region. FamilySearch and the center continues to move forward with digitizing documents all over the world, even recently collecting data other islands in Micronesia. The center also has completed some work with the MARC on digitizing different documents.
One of the next big projects include working with the governor’s office to digitize some four million vital records to eventually give the public more data to build their family history.
Yet even with digitization, there’s still another step before it’s accessible. The information must be indexed to be searchable. The Internet has helped close that gap, allowing people from all over the world to help index through the FamilySearch website.
You can look forward to that old, new information in the future as well as the annual Guam Family History Fair, to learn more on the subject and see presentations made by island experts.
This year’s fair took place on Sept. 26 where Guam historian Tony Ramirez spoke on preserving oral history and the Guampedia documentary, “Voices of the Elders” was presented.
In the meantime, you can check out the center once a week to begin your own search for your family history.
“It’s really fun and people really, really enjoy it,” Burton says. “Once you start looking, you start to find all kinds of things about your ancestry. It’s like a puzzle piece because you start with a little bit.”
·         What: Guam Family History Center
·         Where: Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church in Barrigada (left side of the building)
·         When: 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursdays

·         For more information: Call Tami Burton at 487-7098 or email tamiburton671 @gmail.com

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Jeff's Pirates Cove

We have heard about this place, it is suppose to have the best hamburgers on the island. So we decide to try it out for lunch. We were not disappointed!!!!! It was the best cheeseburger that I have had in a long time. It's right on the beach, so when we finished eating we went to the beach to take some pictures.

 You can barely see the land on the other side of the beach but the white you see on the right is part of the University of Guam and then just to the left of it is a white taller building that is a 20 story apartment complex. We live between those two places.

Sankyo Gardens

Saturday is our day off, we want to take advantage of living here in Paradise! We don't want our time to go by and regret not visiting places on this beautiful island. Today our first stop was at Sankyo Gardens. We drive past the sign to this place everyday so we decided to stop and see the garden. It is a beautiful garden you get to walk through and then you set down and eat some local fruit.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The end of our day........


UnderWater World

UnderWater World Guam is one of the longest tunnel-aquariums in the world. 

Saturday - our day to enjoy and explore this beautiful island....

We started our day at Two Lover's Point:

The Legend of Puntan Dos Amantes (Two Lovers Point)

Once long ago, in the time when Spain ruled Guam, there was a proud family living in Hagatna, the capital city.  The father was a wealthy Spanish aristocrat and the mother was the daughter of a great Chamorro chief.   The family owned land and were highly esteemed by all, Chamorro and Spanish alike.

Their daughter was a beautiful girl, admired by all for her honesty, modesty, and perfectly natural charm.  Her beauty bestowed the greatest pride and dignity unto her family.

One day, the girl's father arranged for her to take a powerful Spanish captain as her husband.  When the girl discovered this, she was so distraught that she ran from Hagatna all the way to the north of Guam until she found a secluded and peaceful shore.
There, on the moonlit shore, she met and fell in love with a young warrior from a very modest Chamorro family.  He was gentle, with a strong build, and had eyes that search for meaning in the stars.

When the girl's father learned of the two lovers, he grew angry and demanded that she marry the Spanish captain at once.  That day at sundown, she stole away to the same high point along the shore, and once again met her Chamorro lover.

Her father, the captain, and all the Spanish soldiers pursued the lovers up to the high cliff above Tumon Bay.  The lovers found themselves trapped between the edge of the cliff and the approaching soldiers.  All the young warrior could do was warn them to stay back, and the father ordered the soldiers to halt.

The lovers tied their long black hair into a single knot.  And acting as if they were entirely alone, they looked deeply into each other's eyes and kissed for the final time.  Then they leaped over the long, deep cliff into the roaring waters below.
Her father and all who remained rushed to the edge to stare in great anguish.

Since that day, Chamorros have looked to the jutting peak above Tumon Bay with reverence.  The two lovers remain a symbol of true love--a love in which two souls are entwined forever in life and in death.  Forever after, the high point on the cliff was known as Two Lovers Point.

Back in Guam

When we are in Guam we go to the office, we are working on several projects. We don't want you to think that we spend all of our time enjoying these beautiful islands. The projects we are working on are:
       Guam vital records - it takes time to get permission to record records, there is the issue of privacy. The couple that was here before us worked on this project, so we are now following through. We have been told that all the issues of concern have been addressed and we should be able to start digitizing the records soon.
     Pohnpei National Archives - 50 rolls of film were recently returned to the Archives and they were thankful that the records will be preserved. They are sending another 100 rolls of film to be digitized. After that we are going through a long list of films that they have to prioritize to determine how we will continue with this project. Unfortunately because of the humid conditions on the island and the storage area these films are in poor condition.
     Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC) - We are just finishing up a project that is being digitized. We are working to get it prioritized for indexing. When records are indexed each record is indexed by two people, then it is sent to arbitration. So it does take time so they only have so many records being indexed at any given time.
We are also working in two other islands to start (continue) the process of getting records to assist the many people whose family's have lived in this area. We are learning about the history of these islands, I think I knew about Guam but did not know much about it and I knew very little about the other islands we work with. We have learn so much and truly love the people and their customs and heritage.
We all also training on being able to help people using Familysearch, we are learning how to use Skype and Team-viewer to be able assist when calls come in for a variety of issues they are having while searching for their ancestors. 

Another day in paradise...

So we get up the next day to return to Guam, only to hear that the plane needs repair and they will send a rescue plane the next day. Since we are on a island where the best internet is in our hotel and telephones are rare we have no way to contact anyone to see if we can do more training. So we contacted another couple that is there on a mission, he is a doctor working at the hospital in the morning and they come pick us up and we took a tour of the island. The roads were worst than the ones we went on the day before but we did see some beautiful places. Unfortunately, our pictures did not turn out. Wednesday we finally arrived back in Guam.

Living conditions

The islands we visit to obtain records and teach people to do family history are beautiful. When you see the conditions these people live in and get to know them they are so thankful for things that we in the United States take for granted.

We heard from the people that they have been working on these roads for 10 years, they roads have potholes that you have to avoid if you don't want to destroy your tires. They told us the real challenge is when it rains and you don't where the potholes are!  


The next stop for training was Chuuk (formerly known as Truk). We arrived on Saturday evening and settled into our hotel, which was literally across the street from the airport. Sunday we went to church and afterwards we trained Jeananny Ichiro, who is the new Family History Director for Chuuk. We were able to train her Sunday and Monday, she is new to family history but was interested and excited to learn by doing her own family tree. 
We had some time to spend touring this beautiful island, here are two of the pictures we took.