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30 December 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Declaration for Widow's Pension

With the passing of my great+ grandfather William Townsend on 13 November 1889, Mary was left a widow with several children to finish raising. Here is the Declaration for Widow's Army Pension.

Declration for Widow's Army Pension Mary Claybaugh Townsend
Declaration for Widow's Army Pension for Mary Townsend

State of Ohio, County of Franklin, ss:

On the 21st day of November A.D. one thousand eight hundred and eighty-nine personally appeared before me, Cornelius Black Jr a Notary Public within and for the County and State aforesaid, Mary Townsend, a resident of Edward in the County of Franklin, State of Ohio aged 44 years, who being first duly sworn according to law, doth, on her oath, make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provisions made by the Act of Congress, approved July 14, 1862. That she is the widow of William J Townson (written over to Townsend) who enlisted in the service of the United States at Groveport in the State of Ohio on the 2nd day of May 1864, as a Private in Company “K” commanded by Capt Thomas Libby in the 133rd Regiment of Ohio Inft Vols in the war of 1861; who, while in the service aforesaid, in the line of his duty __________ (left blank) at Edwards in the State of Ohio on the 13th day of November A.D. 1889. She further declares that she was married to the said William J Townsend in the County of Franklin and State of Ohio on the 10th day of November in the year 1864 that her name before said marriage was Mary Clabaugh that her husband, the aforesaid William J Townsend died on the day above mentioned, and that she has remained a widow ever since that period, as will more fully appear by reference to the proof hereto annexed. She further swears that she has the following named children of her deceased husband and herself, under sixteen years of age, who are now living, the dates of whose births were given below, to-wit:

Harry Augustus born on the 25th day of February 1878
Emma Virginia born on the 15th day of January 1880
Samuel Leroy born on the 8th day of July 1884
Ethel May born on the 8th day of of Sept 1887

And that the above named children are the only legitimate children of herself and her said husband, now living, who are under sixteen years of age. She further declares that she has not remarried since the death of her said husband, nor has she abandoned the support of any one of the children above named, nor permitted any one of the same to be adopted by any other person or persons, as his, her or their child.

And further, that her said husband has left no minor child by a former marriage. That neither herself nor her husband had ever been married previous to their marriage to each other.

She also declares that she has not in any manner been engaged in or aided or abetted the rebellion in the United States. She hereby appoints A H Addington of Columbus State of Ohio her true and lawful Attorney, with full power of substitution to prosecute this claim for pension, and to receive the certificate that may be issued therefor.

She requests that her pension be paid at Columbus State of Ohio. Her Post Office address is Edwards County of Franklin State of Ohio.

Signature of Claimant Mary Townsend

Signature of Witnesses: James A Kile, C R Clement

Declaration for Widow's Army Pension for Mary Townsend
Declaration for Widow's Army Pension for Mary Townsend

Also personally appeared before me, at the time and place aforesaid James A Kile a resident of Groveport, Franklin County State of Ohio and C R Clement a resident of Groveport, Franklin County, State of Ohio persons whom I certify to be respectable and entitled to credit and who being duly sworn according to law, declares each for himself, that they well know Mary Townsend who signed the foregoing affidavit in their presence; and that she is the identical person she represents herself to be in said averment; and that the name – ages-- and residence of her and her said husband's children as represented by her foregoing averment is true, as they verily believe, and also that said children are the only legitimate children of said Mary Townsend under sixteen years of age. And that she has not abandoned the support of any said children, nor permitted any one of the same to be adopted by any person or persons as his, her or their child; and that her said husband, William J Townsend has left no child by a former marriage.

They further declare that she has remained a widow ever since her husband's decease.

They further swear that they or either of them, have no interest in this claim, either present or prospective; and that they are not concerned, directly or indirectly, in its prosecution, and are not near relatives of the claimant.

Signature of Identifying Witnesses: James A Kile, C R Clement

Sworn to, acknowledged, and subscribed before me, this 21st day of November 1889, and I hereby certify that the contents of the foregoing declarations of claimant and affidavit of witnesses were made known to each of them before administering the oath, and that I have no interest, direct or indirect, in the prosecution of this claim.

Official Signature: Cornelius Black Jr
Notary Public
Franklin Co, Ohio

  • William was a private in Co K, 133rd
  • The unit's captain was Thomas Libby
  • Mary was 44 years old when she filed for this Pension on 21November 1889 (a week after William's death)
  • Mary was a resident of Edward, Franklin, Ohio.
  • William and Mary were married 10 November 1864 (after William served in the military and became blind)
  • Mary's last name was Clabaugh
  • Her children under the age of 16 were Harry Augustus (11), Emma Virginia (9), Samuel Leroy (5), and Ethel May (2).
  • Mary and William were not married prior to their marriage.
  • Her witnesses were Jame A Kile and C R Clement. C R Clement was William's doctor. 
  • What was the actual process for a widow to obtain a Widow's Pension?
  • Where is Edward, Franklin, Ohio?
  • Who is James A Kile?

27 December 2013

Photo Friday: Missionary Books

I can not believe we have completed a year of Photo Friday challenges. This is the final one for the year 2013. Can you believe it? The year will soon be over. And next year, you can review the challenges I placed before you. Will you take 2014 to photograph your family artifacts? I hope you will. The amazing stories that our stuff holds is powerful. Here goes the final post for Photo Friday 2013.

This post shares a collection of missionary pamphlets my husband used when he served a two year mission in Vancouver, British Colombia.

Photographing Missionary Items
f/3.5, exp 1/6, bias +1, ISO 80
Center Weight Average metering
As you can see, I had to arrange the books not necessarily so you can read the titles of every item my husband used. The story we're trying to show case the wealth of tools he had to draw upon to share his faith with others. And, we're trying to showcase that the information was written in Mandarin Chinese.

To photograph these objects, they were too large to put in a light box so, I used the seamless backdrop setting. As you can see, the light is coming in from the left side. I was using natural light from my front living room window.

Photographing Missionary Items
f/3.5, exp 1/6, bias +1, ISO 80, Center Weight Average metering

I could have kept the photography session in the portrait orientation because of the arrangement of items in a linear fashion. However, when I put the camera in the horizontal orientation, I loved the visual impact. Plus, with a little bit of wrinkles, the backdrop looks less like a 'studio set up' and more like perhaps the bed sheet potentially reminding me of the time my husband spent in prayer and study to be a great missionary.

Sometimes, photograph is less about the settings on your camera, and more about the arrangement of your objects. Have fun in the new year and capture the stuff of your family's lives. And, when you have time, let me know of the things you photographed.

20 December 2013

Photo Friday: Tiny Religious Medallions

Much of my collection of personal and family history items have been sizable. These medallions are very small. About as big as my thumb. They were a symbol of attainment in the religious programs of my youth. Thankfully, a camera's macro setting and zoom can enable me to photograph such tiny objects.

Young Women Medallions
f/5, exp 1/25, bias +0.7, ISO 100, Spot Metering, 20 mm focal length

In order to photograph these objects, I had to create a well of sorts. I used my light box and artificial light streaming through tissue paper. I placed fiber fill in the bottom of the box. I made a depression that would allow the medallions to lean back against something while pressing against something at the bottom to prevent them for sliding down. Then I covered the fiber fill with white muslim. You can see the 'well' in this photo.

Young Women Medallions
f/5, exp 1/25, bias +0.7, ISO 100, Spot Metering, 20 mm focal length

I zoomed in only as far as my camera would allow in the Macro setting and keep the objects in focus. Then I played with the various settings on my camera until the gold was as shiny as I preferred and the object was as clear as it can be. What is amazing is that the camera picked up details (scratches and such) that I never paid much attention to. Perhaps these objects are so small and the macro focus magnifies them so you can see the details you otherwise would have missed.

Christmas will take place this week. This year I have showed many examples of the objects in my family collections that I have photographed. When you visit your families, get the stuff out and photograph them. Talk about the items and record the stories. You'll give yourself and your family the best Christmas gift ever. The gift of preserved memories.

16 December 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Undertaker Affidavit for William Townsend

I found this little gem fascinating in its brevity from the Undertaker for my 3rd great-grandfather William Townsend.

Affidavit for William Townsend by Herman Sebtzky
Columbus O Jan 8 89

To who it may concern

I hearewith testify that on Nov. 15th 1889 I have Buried Wm J Townson in Luthren [sic] Cemetery in Hamilton Tp Franklin Co. Ohio.

Herman Sebtzky, Undertaker 24 W Main St Columbus, Ohio

Columbus O. Jany 8 1890
Before me a Notary Public personally appeared before the above named Herman Sebitzky and made oath to the foregoing statement.
C H Hoseman Notary Public.

  • William Townsend was buried on 15 November 1889 in Hamilton Township, Franklin County, Ohio.
  • The undertaker was named Herma Sebtkzy and an address was given.
  •  I wonder the costs of the funeral, especially since William and Mary Townsend were so poor.
  • The Cemetery is listed as the Luthren Cemetery in Hamilton Township. That cemetery has become known as the Obetz Cemetery in Obetz, Ohio. I wonder if this was all the same place and when the name was changed.
  • Was William and Mary Townsend Lutheran if they were buried in the Lutheran Cemetery?

Amanuensis Monday: Affidavit by John Fearn, 2nd Lieut

Here is another installment of the transcription of images from William James Townsend Civil War Pension File. This affidavit was provided by John Fearn.

Civil War Pension Affidavit regarding William Townsend  provided by John H Fearn.
Civil War Pension Affidavit regarding William Townsend
provided by John H Fearn.
State of Ohio, County of Franklin, ss:

In matter of In Pens Claim No 505.430 of William James Townson, late of Co. “K”, 1333rd Regt of Ohio Vols.

Before me a Notary Public in and for said county and state personally came John H Fearn, aged 52 years, whose residence and Post Office address is No 33 South Seventh Street, Columbus Ohio. Who being by me duly sworn according to law states as follows:

I am the same John H Fearn who was 2nd Lieut. In the above Co “K” 133rd Regt OVI and personally knew the above Wm J Townson in that service. I remember very well that he was with the command and participated in a force march from New Creek to Greenland Gap W.Va. And back, a distance of 50 miles in about 26  hours, in the month of May 1864 resulting in great exhaustion and disability to the force immediately afterwards. I personally know that immediately upon the above Townson's return he went into the Hospital at New Creek, W.Va sick with mumps and erysipelas as I understood. And he was left there when the command moved to City Point Va. He never returned to the command and I never saw him again until after we were discharged the service. He then looked quite feeble and I did not see him again until to-day. I have no interest in this matter.

Signed John H Fearn

Civil War Pension Affidavit regarding William Townsend  provided by John H Fearn.
Civil War Pension Affidavit regarding William Townsend
provided by John H Fearn.

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 30th day of January AD 1886 and I certify that affiant is a respectable and credible person; that the foregoing affidavit was read to him before swearing, and that I have no interest in this matter. The chang of “measles” to erysipelas” read before swearing.
A H Fritchey
Notary Public
Franklin County Ohio.

Pension Office stamped Mar 4 1886

Filed by A.W. Shearer
Same Marion Co Ohio

  • John H Fearn was the 2nd Lieut with Co K, 133rd Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War.
  • There was a forced march from New Creek to Greenland Gap, West Virginia. It was a 50 mile distance in 26 hours during May 1864. The whole regiment was exhausted after the march. 
  • At some point, William Townsend returned back to New Creek and had erysipelas and mumps. 
  • William stayed in New Creek's hospital while his unit moved to City Point, Virginia.
  • William never returned to service. 
  • Lieut Fearn did not see William until after the they were discharged and then not again until 30 January 1886. He noted that William looked feeble after their discharge.

  • Is it possible to learn more about John H Fearn, and the other officers of this military unit?
  • Why would Mr. Fearn be willing to attest to William's condition 23 years after event took place if they never saw each other again from the time of discharge? How would he have remembered William's state after 23 years? Was their a journal? Was it told to him so he could 'remember'?
  • How common was it for officers to serve as witnesses for various pension cases? If common, they why weren't other officers used for William? And, how many did John Fearn sign?
  • What was the nature of the forced march in May 1864 for Co K, 133rd? What was the weather and the terrain like? How many others were severely affected the way William was? How many moved on to City Point, Virginia?

14 December 2013

Geiszler Family History: Zion German M & E Church of Columbus

Last week, I shared about the church participation of my 3rd great-grandfather Joseph Geissler and his wife Caroline Mack. Their son Henry Geiszler is my 2nd great-grandfather. Henry married Margertia Magdalena Hoppe 3 Jul 1882 at Zion German Methodist Episcopal Church.

Henry Geissler and Magdalene Hoppe Marriage
Marriage entry for Henry Geisler and Magdalene Hoppe in the Zion German Methodist Episcopal Reigstery

The trouble with them marrying in this church is that the church no longer exists under this name or as a physical property. Four years after their marriage, the church became the First German ME Church. It is believed that the name German was dropped around 1917 because of the anti-German sentiments in the US during World War I. Regardless of exact reasons, the First German ME Church became Zion Methodist Episcoal Church.

During the 1960s, the Zion Methodist Episcoal Church was demolished to make room for the interstate in the Columbus area. Custody of the records of the Zion ME Church were taken over by the Livingston Methodist Church. According to their website, the Livingston Church was founded by German immigrants in 1843. The church is located just south of the I-70 Interstate north of German Village.

Two other records were found in the Livingston church collection for the Zion Methodist church, they are the baptismal entries for my great-grand uncle and my great grand father.

Baptism for Wilhelm Joseph Geisler  8 May 1883, First German ME Church registry
found in Livingston Methodist Church record collections.
Baptism for George Joseph Geisler  8 June 1885, First German ME Church registry
found in Livingston Methodist Church record collections.
Later in life, George's family joined the Hansberger Church while William, who married a Catholic woman, attended a Catholic church.

I'm very thankful for the research my cousin did in locating these records. I wouldn't have known where to look. I have more relatives in the Columbus, Ohio area. I wonder how I would go about researching their religious affiliation and participation without the clues in a census (like in Canada).

13 December 2013

Photo Friday: Religious Plaques

This month, I am sharing photographs of family treasures that are of a religious nature. My grandmother Louise Brown did not attend any particular church on a weekly basis throughout her life. However, she had a quite faith that was present as evident by these tiny trinkets in her life long possession.

Photographing Family Religious Items
f/5, exp 1/160, bias +0.3, ISO 200, Pattern Metering

This photograph of Jesus is less that four inches tall. I had to photograph it in a light box with the macro setting on my camera. I definitely used a tripod with an object this small. Thankfully the frame had a small easel stand that stuck out from the back. Thus, it could stand up on it's own. That made orienting the object easy. I have to be careful to remind people that this object isn't larger than it appears in the photo. Perhaps an ancestor will be looking for a large photo frame and be greatly disappointed in the actual size of this.

Treasurechest Thursday Religious Items
f/5, exp 1/160, bias +0.3, ISO 200, Pattern Metering

This wood wall art plaque was larger than the mini portrait. It did not have any support behind it, so I had to lean it against the back of my light box. Thankfully, that wasn't too much of a problem.

I wish I had the stories behind the photos of these objects. I did not know they existed until after Grannie's death. Perhaps they belonged to her parents. Perhaps they belonged to her mother-in-law. Perhaps they were hers and helped her quite faith. I do not know. I can keep the mystery of the story alive with these photos.

Be sure to photograph your family's religious items and record the history of such before the story because a mystery.

12 December 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Mom's Funeral Trinkets

The first anniversary of my mother's passing occurred this week. In honor of my dear mother, and knowing that December and January will bring about the passing of many loved ones, I thought I'd share this treasure chest item.

If you will be placing anything in the casket with your relative, snap a photo of the objects before you put them in. Especially if they are treasures to that person. My father passed away in 2008 and an Ohio State University sweater was placed in his casket. I really wish I had taken a photo of that. Boy oh boy did he love Ohio State football.

My amazing friend Stacey thought to photograph my mother's medical bracelet. I had seen her wear this, or a necklace of similar style, for so many years. It's a natural part of who my mother was. She had diabetes, hypertension, and a host of other problems. In the last 5 years of her life, she had renal failure and was on thrice weekly dialysis. Her medical tags certainly would help an EMT who may not know anything about her medical history.

The following photos were taking by my friend using a  Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT. I would love to own a camera such as this someday. Perhaps if I sell a few more eBooks.

f/4, exp 1/60, ISO 400
Pattern metering, Flash in compulsory mode

What is interesting about this set up are a couple of things. First, we were in a pinch to photograph these before placing them in mom's casket. So, my friend opened up the back of her van and used the floor as her back drop. It was perfect. Second, she used a flash. Generally, I was taught not to use the flash. However, we were outside in less than ideal settings. She flipped on the flash, angled it to not fire directly on the object. And now we have these photos. My best friend is such a genius, if I do say so myself.

f/4, exp 1/60, ISO 400
Pattern metering, Flash in compulsory mode
 This one has a little less glare.

f/4, exp 1/60, ISO 400
Pattern metering, Flash in compulsory mode
I don't remember what my friend did to adjust his last one. It certainly isn't something I can determine from the photo property tags. However, the shadows disappeared. With a little cropping, this will be perfect for my mother's story of medical history.

My mother also loved pageants and had her own pageant newsletter and eventually website. Her focus was solely on teenagers and adults. No kids pageants for her. She often would be invited to judge pageants across the US and even in Puerto Rico. Her motto was "If you're buying, I'm flying." She was known to ask hard hitting questions and then follow it up with "What's your favorite recipe to make?" to see if she could throw off contestants.

Whenever she attended a pageant, she was known to wear a rhinestone pin. It's only fitting that she have a few of these items buried with her. (Hey, she even had a pageant crown inscribed on her tombstone.  Yes... she liked her pageants.)

f/4, exp 1/60, ISO 400
Pattern metering, Flash in compulsory mode

f/4, exp 1/60, ISO 400
Pattern metering, Flash in compulsory mode

I like the close up photo better.

f/4, exp 1/60, ISO 400
Pattern metering, Flash in compulsory mode

Again, she made an off camera adjustment and zoomed in even closer. Perfect. Now... to use photo editing program to remove the white string on the red high heel!

So... if I can share anything, photograph the objects that matter to your relatives. Photograph those treasures that are buried with them. It will certainly remind you of the things that mattered so much to your relatives. And, use whatever background you have, including the back of a van. Get in close and snap those pictures.

09 December 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Physician Affidavit for William Townsend

This installment of my ongoing series shares the physician's affidavit for my Civil War era great grandfather William Townsend.

Affidavit by C R Clement M.D.
Physician's Affidavit completed by C R Clement M.D.
for William Townsend of Franklin County, Ohio

Physician's Affidavit.

State of Ohio, County of Franklin, SS:
In the Pension Cliam No. _____ of William J Townsend late of Co K 133 Reg O.V. I

Personally came before me, a Notary Public in and for the aforesaid County and Sate C R Clement a citizen of Groveport whose Post Office address is Groveport Ohio well known to me to be reputable and entitled to credit, and who being duly sworn, declares in relation to aforesaid case as follows:

That he is a Practicing Physician, and that he has been acquainted with said soldier for about 4 years and that I had no acquaintance with Wm J Townsend prior to enlistment. I attended him during his last sickness. He died on Nov 13, 1889 of acute uremia as the result of Brights disease of the kidney. He had been suffering for some time with pain in the head impairment of vision of which I regard as the result of the eucphalia vedema accompanying serious tesious of the kidneys.

Physican's Affidavit for William Townsend
Backside of Physican's Affidavit for William Townsend
No 422.500

Medical Evidence.
Claim of Mary Townsend
widow of Wm J Townsend

Affidavit of
C R Clement M.D.

Filed by
Pension and Patent Attorney,
Columbus, Ohio

US Pension Office stamp Nov 10 1890

Sworn before Notary Public Cornelius Black Jr on 7 February A.D. 1890 by C R Clement. Clement had been a medical practitioner for eleven years.

  • William Townsend died on 13 November 1889 of acute uremia
  • Dr C R Clement had attended William for four years (since about 1885). He had been a medical practitioner for eleven years.
  • Dr Clement knew of William's vision problem and listed other illnesses as  ucphalia vedema and tesious of the kidneys (I do not know what any of this means of it was transcribed correctly).
  • William's widow Mary Towsend collected this information and submitted it in 1890.
  • A H Addington was Mary's Pension Attorney in Columbus, Ohio
  • Can I learn more about the medical practice of C R Clement, MD? 
  • With William being so poor, how was he able to have Dr Clement treat him?
  • What do all of the medical conditions mean that Dr. Clement listed?

07 December 2013

Family History: Geiszler Church Participation

Church records can be great resource tools. I am still uncertain how someone would find a church record in the US for their family members. In Canada, the census records list someone's religion, so you would have a good idea where to search for records. In the US, we don't have that luxury. So, I asked my Geiszler cousin how he found the church records for our family members, he told me this:

Interior of modern day Holy Cross Catholic Church,
see website Holy Cross Catholic Church
I obtained photocopies of the cemetery sexton's record because the cathedral deacon basically unlocked the door and turned me loose in the archive room, and there was a photocopier inside.  I doubt anyone in that building had even a clue what was there.  I was well-groomed, polite, and persistent.  I found the cemetery book.  I even found the pew book for Holy Cross, so I know which pews were rented by my Fruend, Deibel and Birkenbach families.  My great great grandfather, stonemason Christoph Deibel contributed his labor in the building of the new church.  An odd assortment of things, like a large storage closet.  

Now, Holy Cross appears in my family history as my 3rd great grandfather Joseph Gei├čler was a member of that church. So when my cousin was looking for his Fruend, Deibel and Birkenbach relatives, he also found information about our common ancestor Joseph!

06 December 2013

Photo Friday: Religious Items Challenge

There are a variety of religions and faith practices. With these varying religions, many artifacts are in and around our home and those of our extended family members. For those with a long live of 'believers', some of these items have been handed down for generations.  Take time to photograph the things that contribute to the religious practices of your family members.

f/5, 1/160 sec, bias +0.2 ISO 200
Pattern metering

In many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, the opportunity to take photos outside in natural light using a light box will be non-existent. So, you if have a handy dandy light box and a desk lamp handy, you can take great photos of small objects.

Use the AV setting, your camera on a tripod, and custom white balance for all of your objects. For small objects, use the macro setting.

And, if you need too, do a little post production adjustments in your photo editing software.

Crop & lighten in photo editing software.

Have a happy December and wonderful holiday season. Best Wishes for 2014.

02 December 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Affidavits from William Gill & George Mansfield

Here is another installment of the Civil War File for my 3rd great-grandfather William James Townsend of Franklin County, Ohio. This affidavits were from friends of his, William GIll and George Mansfield.

Affidavits regarding William Townsend by William Gill and George Mansfield
Affidavits regarding William Townsend by
William Gill and George Mansfield
State of Ohio
County of Franklin } SS.

On this the 28 day of May AD 1888 personally appeared before me one of the acting Mayor of the village of Groveport in and for the County and State aforesaid William C Gill & George Mansfield. Persons well knowen to me to be Respcetable and entitled to Credit and who was both first duly sworen according to law by me they declare _________________ (illegible) as follows.

That they are well and intimately aquanited with William James Townson late a private of Co. “K” 133rd Regt. O US in the war of 1861 that they know by there own personal knowledge that the Statements that James a Kile swore to in William James Townson invalid pension claim No. 505.430  are true. That they know the above facts by reason of being members of said co & Reg.t. And being presant at the time. That they have no interest direct or indirect in the prosecution of this claim.
Signed W C Gill, G W Mansfield

Sworen to before me on this the 28 day of May 1888 and I do hereby certify that affiants fully understood the contents of the foregoing affidvid before swearing them. And that I have no interest direct or indirect in the prosecution of this claim.

A Than Mayor of Groveport O

Affidavits regarding William Townsend by William Gill and George Mansfield
Back of previously mentioned affidavit

 Additional eveden in the claim William James Townson late a private Co. K 133 Regt
Ohio Vols infanty in the war of 1861 No 505.430

Received Jun 7 1888

  • A Than was mayor of Groveport, Ohio in 1888. 
  • William C Gill and George Mansfield were well and intimately acquainted with my great grandfather. These men were members of Co K, 133rd Regiment of the Ohio Volunteers during the Civil War. 
  • What more can I gather from this statement?
  • Who else can I learn about William C Gill and George Mansfield of Franklin County, Ohio?
  • Why were they willing to sign an affidavit for William Townsend?
  • Besides serving in the same military unit, how else did they know my grandfather William Townson (or Townsend)?

29 November 2013

Photo Friday: What can a Math Olympiad Tell You About Your Relative?

Have you ever heard of Math Olympiad? I don't know how many people participated in various competitions while they were in school. I also don't know if the competitions were limited only to kids in the Gift and Talented Program. What I do know, is that I participated in Match competitions in Elementary and Middle School and I enjoyed them.

Math Olympiads 1980 Patch
Math Olympiads patch from the late 1980s
I took this photo using my light box. Inside the lightbox, I built a platform covered with a small piece of white muslim, that the patch could rest again. This allowed me to angle my camera better to capture the patch. The light I used was artificial and came through the filter of tissue paper into the box. (Notice how the light is concentrated in the top most part of the photo?)

I had trouble photographing this patch for legibility. Even with the Macro setting enabled, the embroidery made capturing the object a challenge. I basically kept playing with different settings and zoom until I could finally read the word "Math Olypiads" clearly.

What I also loved about the patch, is that it came with a document. The document has a date on it, so I know when I received this particular patch.

Math Olympiads 1980 Patch
Certificates help tell the stories of our ancestors (or ourselves)

I now know that I received this particular patch from participation in the 1987-1988 program. I find it funny that the certificate reads "Mathematical Olympiads for Elementary Schools" and then mentions that I went to a Middle School.

I can also see the signature of my principal Mrs. L Sheehan. Mrs. Sheehan was a tough principal and often set my mischievous brother straight. When I got into trouble, she was firm but gentle as I generally didn't make trips to her office. Seeing her signature doesn't tell you much about Mrs. Sheehan and how she interacted with my brother or myself. But, my memories do.  There is so much that can be found in documents like these, if we take the time to really capture our stories.

What the patch and certificate does not say, is what I actually did to participate. And, they don't say how well I did or did not do. The question then becomes, does it matter? I'm not sure.

I did well enough in math during elementary and middle schools to be invited to participate in the program (back then it wasn't open to everyone in my school). So, to have these items in my personal history stash tells you that I had an interest or talent in math at this time of life.

With my Photo Friday and Treasure Chest Thursday, I try to encourage people photograph the stuff in their attics, closets, under their beds, and around their house. Why? Because there are clues all around you about the individuals in your family, if you know where to look. These clues are not found in birth, marriage, and death record databases. But they do give you insight into the people on your tree. I also hope that by sharing my journey in photography, you can see that with a little practice, anyone can photograph the stuff that enriches their family history. So... if you want to do something truly awesome this Christmas Season... grab your camera, get into your family's possessions and start photographing their things. Then talk about those things and record the memories. Have fun, and bring on the Holiday Season.

25 November 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Witness Statement for William James Townson

William James Townson's Civil War Pension
Witness Statement for William James Townson's Civil War Pension file

State of Ohio Franklin County SS

on this the 31 day of Dec AD 1883 personally appered before me Clerk Common Peas Count acting Justice of the peace in and for the County of Franklin and State of Ohio Edward G Behm John Rohn Edwards Station persons whom I Certify to be respectable and entitled to credit and who being by me first duly Sworn according to law does on there oaths declare that they are well and intimatily aquainted with William James Townson who was a late private of Company “K” 133 L Redgt Ohio Infntry and no from there own personal Knowledge that the said William James Townson was in the hospital with the mumps and eseciplis when we was at New Creek in the State of West Virginia that he was sick as aforsaid in said hospital some lenght of time dont now remember just how long that we know the above facts by reason of being members of Said Compay and redgement and that we was personally preseant at the at the time and that our post office address is Edward Station Franklin County Ohio and that we have no intrust in this claim.

attest Theo H Beck Edward G Behm
JD Broucher John Rohn (his mark)

Sworn to and subscribed before me on the 31 day of December A.D. 1883 and I do hereby Certify that the foregoing affidavit was fully Read and exsplained to the witnesses 

William James Townson's Civil War Pension
Witness Statement for William James Townson's Civil War Pension file

before Sworing them I further certify that I have no interest direct or indirect in the prosecution of this claim

John J Joyce
Clerk Court of
Common Pleas
Franklin County Ohio

aditonal evedence claims
William James Townson
Company K 133 Ohio Regt
infenty Cols

in hosp.
Behm & rohn
mumps & engsipela

Filled by A W Shearer
Alton Franklin County Ohio


  • Edward G Behm & John Rohn knew William James Townson intimately.
  • They served with him in Company K, Regiment 133rd, Ohio Infantry Volunteers
  • They lived in Edwards Station, presumably near William Townson (because this place appears elsewhere the in Townsend history)
  • Where is Edward's Station, Franklin County, Ohio?
    The railroad town also known as Edwards Station which was located along what is now the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, just across the township line from the Columbus Motor Speedway. When it was built the line was the Hocking Valley Railroad. The P.O. operated from 1874 through 1898.
  • Who are Edward G Behm & John Rohn, more specifically? They knew William J Townson in the military service in 1863 and were willing to attest for William 1883. So, how close were the three?

24 November 2013

Funeral Card for Charles Baum

I have a large collection of interment cards from the Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio. I will share these as I find time and energy to so do.

Interment Card for Charles H Baum
Interment Card for Charles H Baum
Buried in Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio
Charles H BaumInterment on: Una C Baum Lot
Lot 318 Sec 113
born 8 Dec 1890 Cary, Ohio
died 13 Aug 1968, McConnelsville, Ohio
Parents: Bruce Bau
Interment: 5 Mar 1980

I had a deep desire to share the cards I found. But someone suggested that cluttering up my page with non-family member finds wasn't the best way to go. So, I found another great resource to share these cards. So, I'll only share interment cards in the future if they're part of a greater family story.

23 November 2013

Surname Saturday: Michael what was your last name?

Aleta Geiszler
In doing research on a great aunt Aleta Geiszler, her story was very confusing. She had two very different last names in addition to her husband's. Her father was a confusing story to sort out as well. If I could figure out her father's last name, perhaps I could figure out her last name and if there is a possible second husband no one knew about.

When research began on Aleta, her daughter-in-law insisted that Aleta's last name was Bowers. So a paper journey had to begin. The first step was to look at Aleta's marriage to William Joseph Geiszler. Their marriage took place on 5 March 1912.

Marriage record for William Geiszler and Aleta Kirchner
Family Search, "Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958" database, (http:/ :
Entry for William J Geiszler, 5 March 1912

On that record, Aleta referred to herself as Aleta Kirchner with her father as Michael Kirchner and mother Elizabeth Deltzie. I did not find a death record that lists Aleta's maiden name. So, essentially, she was Aleta Kirchner until at some point she told her daughter-in-law her last name was Bowers.

Marriage record for William Geiszler and Rosemary Schoppelrei
Family Search, "Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1974" database, (http:/ :
Entry for William Geiszler, 7 September 1942 (accessed 25 November 2012)

 Her daughter-in-law joined the family in 1942 but Aleta's last name was still listed as Kirchner (or a misspelling of it). I'm not sure when Rose Mary learned that Aleta used the last name of Bowers. So, based on the following pieces of evidence, I should be looking for Aleta Kirchner.

1912 Aleta Kirchner marries, lists father as Michael Kirchner
1942 Aleta Kersher listed as mother on William Joseph Geiszler's marriage to Rose M Schoppelrei

Using the Kirchner for the last name, I could only find Aleta in the 1880 US Census age the age of one. She is listed as Letta Kirchner and living in Seneca, Ohio. Her father Michael Kirchner and mother Elizabeth Kirchner are also listed, along with older siblings Emma and Flora.

1880 US Census... Aleta Kirchner is living with her parents Michael and Elizabeth Kirchner.

So the big question of the day, where was Aleta between 1880 and 1912?

Perhaps if I follow Michael, I might find Aleta.

Marriage record for Michael Kirchner and Elizabeth Delcite
Family Search, "Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1974" database, (http:/ :
Entry for Michael Kirchner and Elizabeth Delcite, 9 October 1872

Michael Kirchner married Elizabeth Delcite (a common variation of Delztie) 9 Oct 1872 in Seneca, Ohio. So, I should be looking for Michael and Elizabeth Kirchner in Seneca, Ohio.

Going back to the 1870 US Census, I find that Michael is living with Michael and Christina Kerchner in Tiffin, Seneca, Ohio. So, one would presume that Michael and Christina would be his parents. In a sense, they are, but don't presume anything in this census because relationships are not listed.

Now, I've lost the trail of Michael going backwards in the US Census. I did find that Michael married another woman, Clara Ries, 24 November 1885. There is no 1890 US Census, so I need to search for Michael Kirchner (or Bauer/Bower) and Clara in the area of Seneca, Ohio. Going forward.

In the 1900 US Census Michael and Clara are using the last name Bowers. They have a daughter born in 1888 listed before Leta who was six years old (age 18 at this time). Normally, children are listed oldest to youngest. Perhaps, Leta's younger sister was listed first because she was the daughter of Clara and Leta was listed second because she was Clara's step-daughter. One doesn't know, but that makes logical sense.

In 1910 Aleta Bowers appears in Columbus, Ohio as a lodger and works as a servant for a private family. Her name was added in the office after the census was recorded by a supervisor. The family name this entry matches with is Charles Koche. Two years later, Aleta marries William Geiszler.

Meanwhile, Michael and Clara Bowers appear, still in Seneca, Ohio with four children in their home. Clara indicates that she's born 6 children with 5 alive. One seems to be living elsewhere at this time.

Michael Bowers lives until 1926 and on his death record, his informant says that his father was Hary Bowers and mother unknown.

1870 Michale Kerchner living with Michael and Christina Kerchner (no relationship identified)
1872 Michael Kirchner marries Elizabeth Delcite
1880 Michael and Elizabeth Kirchner appear in Seneca, Ohio.
1885 Michael Kirchner married Clara Riese (no parent's listed)
1900 Michael and Clara Bowers appear in Seneca, Ohio with Leta Bowers as daughter
1910 Michael and Clara Bowers appear in Seneca, Ohio with 4 children
1910 Aleta Bowers is a servant in Columbus, Ohio
1920 Michael Bowers, widow, raising four children in Seneca, Ohio

As I said, I can't trace Micheal Bower/Kirchner back past 1870. Aleta uses the last name Bowers in the census years of 1880, 1900, and 1910. Then her marriage record has the last name of Kirchner. Her son's marriage record provides the last name of Kirchner as well.

Family information provided by a cousin shared this information:
Michael Bauer's parents died.  He was adopted by his maternal uncle.  Michael Bauer-Kirchner's wife died, and when he remarried, the three daughters by his late first wife were adopted by his adoptive father, his uncle, and the grandfather of his daughters, viz., Michael Kirchner.  All very complicated.
I have not been able to source this part of the story. I do not know what last name William Geiszler, son of William and Aleta Geiszler had recorded on his death certificate.

I share this case for several reasons. One, it shows that family memories might not always be false, or entirely true. Second, the record that Michael Bowers is also Michael Kirchner. He was adopted by his mother's brother after the death of his parents. Now, I'm not sure how formal the adoption might have been. I do not know why he raised his children with Elizabeth Deltzie with the last name of Kirchner, married Clara Ries as Kirchner and then started using the name Bowers from that point forward. 

However, I share this story for those who might come across Michael and be confused as to what his last name is. Even I'm confused as to what to use for his last name. I generally to him as Michael Bower-Kirchner (though I found a spelling of the name as Bauer at the time of his parent's death). 

Finally, I want to share that it's okay to do a little bit of collateral work. The point of figuring out this story was to determine what the name of a great aunt should be. I had to go back one generation to see if I could sort it out. This  is what I have documented so far. I leave the rest of the work to a more direct descendant of Aleta Bowers/Kirchner Geiszler.

22 November 2013

Photo Friday: The Girl Scout Brand Name

Can you say over achiever? Yes... that would be me in the Girl Scouts organization when I was younger. I earned so many badges, it was crazy and fun at the same time.

Girl Scout Sash from the 80s
Front of my Girl Scout Sash, top section

Believe it or not, the Girl Scouts brand name was a very important part of my life when I was younger. (In case you missed the other brand name posts, they are: Rocky Mountain jeans brand tag, Star Wars Watch, and Bon Jovi T-Shirt) I walked numerous streets of my neighborhood going door to door selling Girl Scout cookies. My mom helped sell a few boxes to her co-workers. This generally earned me the minimum quota my troop set. Anything else was on my shoulders... so I solicited door to door. Thankfully, most people were more than honest and trustworthy.

Today I want to share with you some photos that I took using a seamless backdrop setting when the white muslim is ironed crisp.

Photographing Heirlooms
f/4.5, exp 1/13, bias +0.7, ISO 100
Center Weight Average, natural light, no flash

I draped the muslin over a piece of craft fiber fill (used to stuff inside various sewn craft projects). I arranged the sash over the elevated platform (notice the way the background drapes off of it). I arranged a piece of white foam board on the right side of the sash to bounce the natural light back onto my subject.

I did mention being an over achiever right? I've said before to take photos of all sides of your object, right? Well, here is the top portion of the back of my sash.

Girl Scout Scrapbooking
f/4.5, exp 1/13, bias +0.7, ISO 100
Center Weight Average, natural light, no flash

Notice the bottom portion of the sash? Notice how there are even more badges? Want to see them?

Personal History Girl Scouts
f/4.5, exp 1/13, bias +0.7, ISO 100
Center Weight Average, natural light, no flash

Okay... for you genealogists. I bet you'd ask, what can I extract from these photos? Well... that I was very active in Girl Scouts. If you interviewed me, I would not be able to tell you what all of those badges mean. But... guess what? In my stack of papers, I have something to help me out.

Using records to write personal history
Girl Scout record supports personal history

The above document supports the photos for my personal history. I can refer to the various awards I received and attempt to match the record's information with the photos of my artifact. And, if I'm still stuck, there is a Vintage Girl Scout Online website to help identify various pins, uniforms, and such.

 I love how documentations and artifacts can combine to enrich the stories in our personal history. Can you imagine what documents and photographed artifacts can do for your family history?

Stories + Stuff + Documents... that is the ground work of family history.

Now... go out there and photograph the stuff that supports your documents.

18 November 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Civil War Claimant Affidavit for William J Townson

Civil War Pension Claimant Affidavit, William J Townson
Civil War Pension Claimant Affidavit, William J Townson, Claim No 505.430

 State of Ohio, Franklin County SS.

In the matter of Invaled Pension Claim No 505.430 of William James Townson late private Co. “K” 133rd Redgement Ohio Inft. Vols. personally appeared before me John J Joyce Clerk of Cort Common Pleas in and for said County and State aforsaid William James Townson the above named Claiment who being by me first duley sworing according to law. States in relation to his claims as follows.

My Place of residence for the three years immedially preeding my enlistment in the above servis was in Madison Township Franklin County Ohio and my Post address was Groveport and my occupation during that period was a farmer upon my discharge from the above Servis I continued to reside in the same neighborhood up to the presant. I continued work at farmming at such times as I was physically able to work my disability was incured while I was with my Command 22 miles from New Creek Station West Verginia with Waggon Traim as Gard. I took Mumps and erysipelas. Set in with mumps which settled in my head and eys and from the affects of said mumps & erysipelas the doctor lanced my eys & doctor Crain Gave me Medicen twice before thy moved me to New Creek Station and put me in the hospittal at New Creek Station in the State of West V.a. I was treated in said hospital by Doc Craine that I do not no whether Doctor Craine is living or not & I no nothing of his where abouts. That Doctor Chainney & Doctor Saylor has both prescubed for me cince my discharge and they are the

Civil War Pension Claimant Affidavit, William J Townson
Civil War Pension Claimant Affidavit, William J Townson, Claim No 505.430

only Physicians that has treated me cine my discharge from said Servis and that I have never suffered from any attacks of acute disease of any kind cince the incurrence of my disability and what work I performed cince my discharge has been farming when it was that could see. that my eysSight is such that there is a Grate many Kinds of work on a farm that I cannot See to do that I can not work at such as plainting corne and Plowing. making fence and a grate many things. I cannont do on account of my eyes Sight being so baddly affected my right eye is almost intirely gone and my left eye is baddly affected an is Growing wass all the time and as to the time and dates of the manneal labor performed by me cince my discharge I cannont Give fully as I kept no account of the time what labor I did peform I done it Grate disadvnages that my labor has not been one forth of the time cince my dischage from the above survis.

Theo H Beck

William James Townson x (mark)

Sworen to and subseribed before me on this the 4th day of July A.D 1884
And I do hereby certify that the contents of the foregoing affidvid was read and fully made Knowen to the witness before Swaring him and I have no intrust direct or indirect in the prossecition of this claim.

John J Joyce Clerk Court of Common Pleas Franklin County Ohio
By William H Simonton Deputy

  • William J Townson was with Co K 133rd Regiment
  • William Townson had  mumps & erysipelas
  • He was sent to New Creek Station hospital in West Virginia
  •  He lived in Madison Township, Franklin County, Ohio for three years prior enlisting and after his discharge.
  • He was treated by Doctor Craine during his time at New Creek Station
  • He was treated by Doctor Chainney & Doctor Saylor afterward
  • He worked as a farmer prior to enlistment. He continued, as best he could, in farming after his discharge.
  • He was almost entirely blind in his right eye.
  • His farm labors included plowing, planting corn, building fences. 
  • Thos H Beck witnessed his written testimony

  •  What records exist of William James Townson prior to his service in the civil war in Marion Township, Franklin County, Ohio?
  • Who were Drs. Craine, Chainney & Saylor?
  • Who was Tho H Beck?
  • Was MOB Letter, really a mistranslation by me and someone else to pay attention to?

17 November 2013

Funeral Card for Eva Barton

I have a large collection of interment cards from the Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio. I will share these as I find time and energy to so do. This card was found when I was search for Samuel Barton, my great uncle's godfather.

Eva A Barton
Interment Card for Eva A Barton
Buried in Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio
    Eva A Barton
    Interment on: Louise Barton (Lyon) Lot
    Lot 140 Sec Y
    born 1875
    died 4 Jan 1929, Columbus, Ohio
    Parents: Alfred & Louisa (Clark) Barton
    Interment: 5 Jan 1929

15 November 2013

Photo Friday: Bon Jovi T-Shirt

Bon Jovi New Jersey Album Cover
Super cool album that I
owed as a young girl.
I know, I know. I am a genealogist and I'm show casing my concert T-Shirts. What? Shouldn't this all be about more 'historical' stuff? Well, no. My personal history is the history for my children and grandchildren. And, the things I like will matter to them, if no one else.

Also... I want to invite young people into genealogy. If the only 'cool' things in family history is lace dollies and pottery, you are not going to invite a lot of young people (while they are young) into the tent. So... for all of you young folks (and young at heart), photograph the brand names (and band names) of your ancestors, including those 'ancient' people known as your parents. (In case you missed it, I also shared a concert program that I photographed.)

In a class that I taught at a family history conference last month, I have shared the importance of having a model. Come to think of it, I also wrote a post about having a model when photographing clothing. Some folks didn't believe me. So, I'm going to share the 'no model', point and shoot route. I've since learned to take better photos. But the T-Shirt is long gone. After viewing the model posts, you'll know why I wish I had put the shirt on to photograph rather than done the hanger method.

Photographing Concert Memorabilia
f/2.8, exp 1/5 sec, ISO 250, Pattering Metering, No flash,
Auto Camera setting

Photographing Concert Memorabilia
f/2.8, exp 1/60 sec, ISO 80, Pattering Metering, Flash

I will still use these point-n-shoot photos in my personal history. I will share the music that I love and why Bon Jovi was the coolest band around. I just wish I had given the shirts more life by putting them on a model. Oh well. Live and learn! (And if anyone happens to have this concert shirt and can photograph it better, I'm all for using your photos in my history.)

11 November 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Civil War Pension Affidavit

Civil War Pension File: William Townsend
Affidavit to certify pension claim

State of Ohio, Franklin County SS.

On this the 7th day of April A.D. 1884 personally appeared before me Deputy Clerk of Court in an for the county and state aforesaid William James Townson a resident of said County aforesaid a person whom I certify to be respectable and entitled to credit and who being by me first duly sworn according to law, does on this oath declare that he is the idenickal(sic) William James Townson who has made application for invaled pension which is No 505.430, and that he was in the hospital at New Creek Station West Virginia that he was treated in said hospital and that is all the hospital that he was in while in the Servs of the U.S.

William James (his mark) Townson
Attest: Marie E Nagle
Callie Orvinges

Sworn to and subscribed before on this the 7th day of April A.D. 1884 and I do hereby certify that I have no interest direct or indirect in the prosecution of this claim.

Theo H Beck
Deputy Clerk of Court of Common Pleas of Franklin Co, O.

Knowledge and Questions:
  • Last week's Original Pension application was completed on 1 September 1883. This affidavit seems to certify the person of William James Townsend and was completed on 7 Apr 1884. 
  • Marie E Nagle was a witness on the previous file. Callie Orvinges is a second on this record. I do not know if either are related to William J Townsend or simply worked in the office of William's attorney. 
  • William again signed with a mark, on account of his being blind, though not stated in this file.
  • I would love to know what the steps for Pension application and acceptance were. This could help be better understand why certain people might or might not be in William's file.

08 November 2013

Photo Friday: Star Wars Watch

Photographing Memorabilia
f/4.5, exp 1/25 sec, exp bias +0.7, ISO 100,
Center Weight Average Metering
What young boy growing up in the late 1970s and 1980s didn't like Star Wars? Very, very few I believe. My husband was no different. One example of his preference for the movie is that he happily shares the movie with his own children. The other, was this watch found in this collection of stuff that has been in our attic for decades. So, with the theme of Brand Names for November, I'm sharing with you the photos I took of a Star Wars brand item.

Photographing Fad Items
f/4.5, exp 1/25 sec, exp bias +0.7, ISO 100,
Center Weight Average Metering

I love the smooth background of white cardboard inside a light box. However, I found it difficult to position the watch. So, after a few attempts, I decided to place a piece of fiber fill inside my light box, cover it with white muslin and put the watch back inside. Positioning the watch was easier.

1980s Darth Vader Watch
f/5, exp 1/13 sec, exp bias +0.7, ISO 100,
Center Weight Average Metering

Photography with Lightbox
f/5, exp 1/10 sec, exp bias +0.3, ISO 100,
Center Weight Average Metering

Product Photography
f/5, exp 1/10 sec, exp bias +0.3, ISO 100,
Center Weight Average Metering
Although the muslin set up made for ease in positioning the watch, the background isn't smooth. Perhaps I could lower the f-stop number and blur the background more. I might have to attempt blurring using PhotoShop Elements.

It would have been great if you could see the digital time we Darth Vader's helmet opened up. The watch stopped working long ago. But my husband remembers it fondly. What fad items do you have in your collection that you should be sharing?