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29 April 2013

Geiszler Family History: Death and Drinking Problems

You might remember that I have shared the brief history of George Joseph Geiszler and Evaline Townley Peak. This is another installment of that story.

Maggie and Henry Geiszler
Marguertia Magdalena Hoppe and her husband Henry Geiszler
of Columbus, Ohio c. 1920

In 1931, George's father Henry died. After ten years without his wife Maggie, his drinking problem got the best of him. Henry was struck by a trolley car on 24 Mar 1931 in Downtown Columbus. He was intoxicated at the time. Three days later, he died under the care of a physician at University Hospital. 

Post card of Linden Street car from Columbus, Ohio

He should be buried in the Oak Grove cemetery in Georgesville. He was not buried beside his wife Maggie in the Green Lawn cemetery. Maggie was buried on her sister Annie Hoppe Ross' lot. Henry is supposed to have been buried on his mother and step-father's lot (Michael and Caroline Billman). There is no grave marker and the cemetery records were destroyed in a fire. Henry's father Joseph had died in 1863 and was buried in the poorly cared for Catholic Cemetery of Columbus which no longer exists.

William Geiszler tombstone
William Joseph Geiszler
buried at East Lawn Cemetery
Find A Grave Memorial # 93026471

To add to George's grief, his estranged brother William died on 10 Nov 1935. However, since the brothers were so estranged, one would have to wonder the degree of grief he felt.

With all of these tragedies and an alcoholic for a father, the memory of George's daughter Margie isn't surprising. Margie remembers her father's pay day was on Friday. After work, George would take his money and head to a bar. After having a few too many drinks, he would walk home. As he walked home, he would toss coins on the ground. The coins were the money needed to run the family. His wife Evaline knew this and would follow along after George and pick up the coins. As was a teenager in the 1930s, Margie may have seen him engaging in this habit. Unfortunately, Margie has passed away and gathering more particulars about this story have died with her.

George Geiszler with his daughter Margie and her husband
Harry Dale Wasson c. 1970

It's possible that George could have let alcohol ruin his life the way it ruined his father's but, this seems to not be the case. George must have conquered the alcoholism beast at some point. George's daughter Margie remembers her father drinking, but his grand daughter Nancy Wasson does not. Nancy was 20 when her Grandpa died. Her Grandpa George had always lived with Nancy, so her memory would be very good. 

Harry Dale Wasson and George Geiszler
Harry Dale Wasson (center) and George Geiszler (right)
playing Aggravation on Thursday nights. c 1970

Nancy remembers her grandpa being a very fun loving guy always willing to do silly things and playing games every Thursday night with family over. It's nice to know that he conquered the bad habit. Sure he still had pipe tobacco, but mastering alcoholism is such a blessing.

I had never heard of the game Aggravation until I married my husband. It seems to be a Lee Family tradition. Thought my father forgot to carry on this Geiszler tradition, I'm glad the Lee's have taught me this game and I'm now teaching it to my children. It connects them to their Lee and Geiszler lines.

28 April 2013

Sentimental Sunday: A find my mother would have loved.

The Zumstein Sisters, 1936
The Zumstein Sisters, 1936
Fay, Helen, and Dorothy Zumstein
Today my thoughts are overwhelmed. Through, I made a connection to a Zumstein relative. When she mentioned having images and photos for the family, I was interested. So, I contacted my distant relative back and said, "I would love to see this information."

I don't believe I have much to share other than vital documents and census records. I do have some documents from Robert Victor Zumstein's career at Ohio State University. Any additional photos would enrich my family history greatly.

The first question most Zumstein relatives seem to ask is, "Do you have Dorothy Zumstein Merrit's stories?" Dorothy (see photo to the right) is my Grandma Helen's older sister. She and my mother connected in the late 1970s and I did receive a copy of what Dorothy put together. However, I've always felt that Dorothy had more records that the two stories. Photos, bibles, etc. I just didn't know where these items resided.

To date, I had not found her 'research' beyond a few stories and photos. But, no longer. The connection over at gave me access to nearly 1 GB of digitized documents and such. That's a lot of information. This Patient Genealogist is doing a happy dance. I have so much to look at, that it will be some time before I can even process it all (combined with everything from last year's research trip). I don't know for sure if this is Dorothy's collection, but I imagine that she had access to many of these resources from which to conduct her research and share with my mother.

However, it's times like these that make me miss my momma greatly. She passed away in December and I hadn't even begun to share all the information and photos I collected in May of last year. Now, I have a mountain of new resources and she's not physically here to call and be giddy with. However, my hubby is.  He loves all the things that I receive. I'm so blessed to have such an encouraging husband.

So today, I'm thinking about my mother and how much she would have loved this discovery. And, I'm thinking about Great Aunt Dorothy. Her research was not wasted. I am more grateful for her, and the other Zumstein preservers of our history, everyday.

27 April 2013

Organizing All Those Emails with Evernote?

Using Evernote to tackle the Emails
Using Evernote to tackle the Emails
I'll admit it. I have an electronic organization problem. I have emails about genealogy scattered over a variety of tools. They relate to family history work and I can't keep up.

So, with all the hub-bub about Evernote flying through the Geneablogosphere, I decided to finally decide what this was all about.

I'll preface by saying, though I'm not tech challenged, we do not have smart phones, or even cell phones. However, I have an Android tablet that I love. If I was going to be searching on my PC or the tablet, I wanted something that could share information between the devices. Evernote works with both and isn't an exclusive Apple product. Double Yeah!

So... I started by keeping a few notes electronically that were floating around the house pertaining to  homeschooling. Yeah. Now I have these notes somewhere 'safe' and they won't get lost as easily as those pesky papers. Plus, there are a few less papers cluttering up the desk's top. (Sorry, I have a bad habit of being punny).

As I was sorting through my Genealogy folders in my various email accounts, it finally hit me that I should consolidate these messages together as notes in Evernote. I could cut and paste snippets from the emails onto one note per topic. LOVE IT! I could tag it as "Writing Family History" for things I need to write. I could tag the information per family line or with 'Research' to remind myself these are things I need to investigate further.

So far, I have cleared out the 'pertinent' emails from one email account. I have also written some follow-up emails that have been sitting for awhile. Yeah! And I have already heard back from some people in less than 24 hours. Oh, yeah.

I still have another email account to go through. I'm thus far liking the organization possibilities of Evernote.

I look forward to paring down my email accounts when I can read a few eNewsletters (to bad I can't get them to Feedly. That would be AWESOME!). I'll be able to capture the important nuggets of wisdom from these eNewsletters and file them as well, rather than save them for ages never to be reviewed again.

So... some of you may already use this great resource. I'm glad to add my voice as a testimonial. If you haven't used this tool, I recommend you give Evernote a try.

(Oh... and if you have any further tips for me on making the most of Evernote, I'll welcome them in the comments section.)

25 April 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Another Cross Stitch

Here is another treasure that I got to photograph from my Grannie Brown's collection. I am so glad that I was able to photograph this gem. It was too large to fit in my light box. So, I placed it on a white cloth that was on top of a chair. I only had natural afternoon light in my outdoors set up. The indoor lighting was poor. I moved to a full shadow location rather than full sun. I snapped this photo and it looked great!

f/5, exp 1/640, bias +0.3, ISO 200
Pattern metering

I hope that you're seeing that you can photograph the treasures that belong to your family without the need for a super fancy camera. Primarily, natural light works best, but a light box works wonders as well. What you can't fix on camera, can be fixed (to some degree) in a Photo Editor. And sometimes, you won't have to fix anything at all.

Go on, photograph the things that tell the story of your living relatives before things like this disappear when the relatives sift through someone's possessions after they pass out of this life.

24 April 2013

Heritage Scrapbooking: Great Use of Collage

I found a great heritage layout that clustered family wedding photos. I never would have done a layout in this fashion. It's nice to see what others might do and feel inspired.

Created by Breising  and posted on in Gallery

If there is anything I would do differently, it is this. I would back the journaling block with a solid color so that the writing stands out. Having seen my aging mother struggle reading my scrapbooks, I've learned something. It's easier to read things with high contrast (black on white or black on tan). So, out of respect for aging eyes, for whom many scrapbooks are created, I would have placed a solid paper beneath the writing.

Otherwise, I really like the collection of the photos and how the scrapbooker was wise enough to identify the persons in them.

23 April 2013

Family Search Redesign Hacks Off Old Guard Genealogists, but not me

I am about to hack off a lot of genealogists, but so be it. This past week, the website's new design went live. And the geneablog world saw rants by some bloggers who I consider 'top in the field'. And it was a disappointing showing. My question has been, why?

FamilySearch screenshot.

It's not like the new design was a secret. The teasers for the new design had been available for at least a few weeks. You could click and see the new changes and new site design. Why didn't folks start complaining then? Perhaps it was the newsworthiness of the change. I took journalism. I get it. Why complain to your audience before the changes happen? Complain when they actually go into effect. But really, couldn't you have made some 'helpful suggestions' before the site went live? There is a comment forum.

Nevertheless, I'm about to speak out, and perhaps speak up for the site changes. I'm going to tackle a few issues raised by the 'experts' in genealogy.


Now... the topic of biggest complaint is the fact that the Research Wiki is so hard to find. Well, guess what. I haven't used the Research Wiki much for two reasons.

A) The wiki pages that I have visited didn't give me much more information than I already knew
B) I'm a Googler... If I want to know something, I Google it. And I dare say, there are many more people like me.

So... why the ho-ha about the Research Wiki being hard to find? Because it's not from one click on the opening page. Oh darn. (Start the gnashing of teeth. I've got tough skin).

Now... I'll admit the fact that the help icon & text combination "Live Help" is misleading. My reaction is that I'll contact a researcher and not resource center. So... someone should think of a great phrase that means resources and live assistance in two words that are small to visually plug into the front screen. I'm quite certain that FamilySearch has struggled with this decision themselves.

Help doesn't convey the right meaning because most people, these days, see Help on a website as a place for technical assistance with using the website, not a resource center. Resources isn't quite right either, because that has a different connotation as well. So... what is FamilySearch to do? I honestly don't have the answer, but at least I understand why "Live Help" was chosen.

 Guess what, it's not only for the youth

The next complaint is the push to capture stories and photos to the forefront and not researching records. Ummm... I have a question that will irritate many? Did you not attend RootsTech 2013? I didn't but I did watch the live streaming. Many topics were about the need to capture the stories and photos. The photos and stories grab the attention of A-L-L audiences. Yes I said it. ALL audiences. Not just tech savy youth.

In doing the research for my family and in interacting with friends over the years, not one person, young or old, was excited about a record I found. Genealogists get excited because they know how difficult the search can be and the information that might be found. But 'regular people', don't get it. They are only excited because I was excited. But tell them a story or share a photo, now you have hooked their attention. It happens with a 72 year-old woman, a 42 year old man, or a 15 year-old young woman. It's not about age, it's about captivation. So... if FamilySearch is trying to motivate more people (including members of the LDS Church who have a core principle for this work) they're right to push the capturing of stories.

Here's a related tangent on this topic. I recently posted about "My Family History Work Isn't Done?" because I get frustrated by people who have a genealogist in the family and think, they have no part to play in sharing the story of their family. Raise your hand if you, the genealogist, would love a family member to give you a little aide. They might not enjoy digging for records or going to cemeteries, but they're willing to share photos and stories. And, if puts the sharing of stories and photos at the forefront, don't you think you now have a tool in your arsenal? Let's see the changes as such rather than belly ache about it.

Quite frankly, I think the redesign was sending a message that Family History is the work for all ages. I think the message was, come be apart of the family history sharing experience. And as you do, you'll learn the value of the records as well (see more later).


Other bloggers have said how they refuse to share their tree because it gets so tangled. Perhaps I haven't encountered this much, which biases my feelings. I am a lone wolf for MANY generations and collateral lines. It seems the Geiszlers, Browns, Longs, Smith, Wards, Peaks, and Townsends have no researchers besides me. There are Zumstein and Comfort researchers, but who is pushing my line across the pond to Germany for the Zumsteins? I also see few people working on the other names on my pedigree chart. So, I'm going to share my tree in hopes that SOMEONE will have something they can share. (And guess what, I received a photo of my great grandmother Caroline Mack by doing this from a very distant cousin-in-law) .

The research of my great aunt might be lost to the ages because she didn't have the technology to share it and her children haven't taken up the work. The research of my mother will be lost to the ages if a) I die young and b) my children don't care about my research. Who is going to share our stories?

Ahhh... a RootsTech presentation by Ron Tanner said that FamilySearch's goal is to preserve the research for generations to come. I have absolute faith in that statement. Our blogs and other genealogy websites will only be around as long as the websites or blog platforms make money. When the money runs out, where will these things be? And, when people die with brief sketches of trees because they're not willing to share photos and documents, where will the research go? is backed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The church has been teaching its members to do family history work since practically the founding of the church. Don't you think that a church that believes so strongly in family history will work to capture the family histories so they can share them with future generations? I do. So... I'm on board with sharing my photos and stories. And in time, I'll get all of my wonderful documentation attached to the family tree (that's a long process).

Oh... and didn't someone else talk about the problem of My-tree-itis at RootsTech as well. (Gee, I picked up a lot from live streaming. What will I learn next year?) I think they mentioned the need for more collaboration. And is pushing the move for collaborative genealogy. Maybe by redesigning the site so that people are working collaboratively on one tree rather than separate trees, duplicate work could be eliminated. However, few bloggers mentioned this effort (whether they agree or disagree) because they couldn't get past complaining about the front page or the Research Wiki. Yet, some did have time to say why they don't share their trees. Seems all connected to me.


This brings me to the next point. As I saw post after post complain about the site, I don't remember one talking about the laborious task of finding a source, saving it to the source box, and then attaching sources to the tree. Every time I add a record, change a date, fix a spelling, etc... FamilySearch asks me why I'm doing it. Now, I could skip putting in a reason. But, when you're asked time and time again, you get a sense that the 'why' of the action is important. And, you start putting in a reason.

Now mind you, some of my recent reasoning has been "Census record for Robert and Adeline Zumstein" without anything else. Sure this doesn't pass muster with genealogical proof. But for me, and those who stumble across it, it's a start. With 1,000 individuals on my tree to attach current FamilySearch records to, I'm not going to document my full reasoning every time FamilySearch asks. I'm just trying to get sources attached to the tree (something I've been waiting to do for YEARS).

AH HA! There in lies the problem old guard members might say. Not providing full genealogical proof for record attaching. If you have that sentiment, then you're missing the boat. never asks me why I'm attaching a record. And few other sites ask for the reasoning behind attaching records. I've interacted on some sites asking people why they attached a record to a person, and they don't know why. They just did. At least FamilySearch is asking people to state why they attached a record. And, others can comment and say why the attachment is valid or invalid. Oh, that's the process of collaborative genealogy. Again, another topic discussed at RootsTech.

For me, this step is annoying. I have 1,000 people on my tree. Find the resource (again, mind you), saving it to the source box, and then attaching it to the person on my tree is painstaking. Will I ever get through it all and still have time to capture stories and do more research? No geneablogger mentioned this. Which again leads me to believe they haven't actually used the site.

For years I have wished that FamilySearch records could be saved and attached to the tree I provided the LDS Church. Finally, FamilySearch has made those changes possible. Yippee!!! Did you hear one geneablogger mention this praise?

I also know that few have used the site much because no one is complaining about the fact that when you do a search for a record, FamilySearch does not provide a tree link indicating that the record has been attached to a tree (or trees). (I saw something of the kind in beta testing, but it hasn't reappeared). Then, when you save the record to your Source Box, there is no indication that you have previously saved this record to your source box or tree.

I have saved a record three times to my Source Box. After attaching the record to someone on my family tree, the other saved entries did not reflect the attachment. Occasionally, I'll save the same source yet again to the Source Box, FamilySearch treats it as a new record to save to the individual. In efforts to finally attach sources to the tree, I'm doing duplicate work again and again and I don't know it until I finally look at the Source List on the individual page. Had a geneablogger mentioned how frustrating this is, I might have believed they had used the site. But they haven't complained about this. So, I don't believe they did.

I have another issue with the FamilySearch website. I personally wish they wouldn't have launched the new design and open up the tree to people outside of the church without turning off the New FamilySearch website. That site keeps making changes to the FamilySearch FamilyTree. And the idea of collaboration is lost. I can't collaborate with FamilySearch as the person who makes changes on my tree. I can interact with an individual who makes a change. (Well, they have to respond back, but again, another story).  

To say the least, I'm very disappointed at the superficial reactions to the site changes. I believe FamilySearch is 10 years behind the curve on being able to attach records to trees. It will take time for the site to catch up. And someday, I'll have all the research I have already found on that site attached to the individuals on the tree. But, they're headed in the right direction... finally!


Seeing as most geneabloggers only focused on the Research Wiki , photos & stories, and the exterior of the site, I feel this is another example of trying to keep people out of the genealogy tent. This especially stood out when one post included a remark that the site wasn't designed with genealogists in mind. I'm a genealogist and I don't mind the site redesign. So, I can only assume this implies a different kind of genealogist.

Fan Chart feature is pretty cool
I shared that FamilySearch had a new design on Facebook. I had a friend, who hasn't been up on family history projects, make a comment. She was so impressed by the invitation to share photos and stories on the site. She feels motivated to ask for stories before ancestors pass away (seems like I read a post recently about that as well). And, she thought the Fan Chart was so cool. She even went so far to say that if she'd known about the Fan Chart presentation before now, she might have gotten involved sooner.  (Oh, and she's not 'young' in the definition of the under 30 crowd).

I feel the reaction to change on the site is what you would expect from any change. Some people like it, other people don't. But, I didn't expect the leaders of the genealogy tent to be so superficial in their complaints over the site design. Someone on RootsTech's live streaming didn't want to mention the tension between 'old guard' genealogists and the new group members. I think this might be what that person was referring to.

After ten years dabbling in the field, I fully understand the need to cite your sources, give credit where credit is due, and not tangle trees due to poor research skills. But when I started, it was because my church said it was important and my mother had already done some of the work for me. I had a need to feel connected to my ancestors since I didn't feel connected to the living (story for another day). As I gathered more and learned more, my research and documentation skills improved. But if I had encountered people saying the things I've read this week, I would have not gone much further.

However, I fully support the new site design and the direction the website is going. They're not abandonig the importance of research as some have said. Work with the sources and the tree and you'll see what I mean.

We must get people passionate about their family history before we can teach them the importance of proper documentation and proof statements. And you ignite passion by capturing, preserving, and sharing the photos and stories of our lives. is doing just that.

Photograph, Don't Scan Your Treasures

This week my Treasure Chest Thursday tips is better suited for Tech Tuesday, so I'm changing pace for the week. I hope you won't mind. Next week will be back to the tips I share in photographing and story telling of your treasure chest items.

So what is my awesome tip? Not everything can be scanned. When I was preserving the scrapbook my husband assembled in efforts to 'redo it' (to include stories) I came across several pages that just did not scan well.

Photographing memorabilia
Crazy shadows created when scanning.
Normally scrapbook pages can be scanned as they are flat or have flat items. However, sometimes when you scan a page, you'll get crazy shadows. If you see these strange shadows, you know that you need to photograph the item. You can simply set the page in a large light box or you can place it in your seamless backdrop set up with reflector.

Same flower, photographed in light box.

As you can see, the flower looks a lot better and the shadowing more natural.  Play with various settings on your camera to have the colors match your preference.

 The following example, shows a wonderfully light collection of prom artifacts. Using a camera, rather than a scanner, highlighted the boutineer perfectly!

Photographing Artifacts
Photography reduces the unsightly shadows.

You will have better luck photographing your objects than using your scanner.

22 April 2013

Geiszler Family History: George and Evaline have children

This is a continuation of the family history for George Joseph Geiszler and Evaline Townley Peak. If you missed previous installments, you can view them here and here.

Although the 1920 accurately shows no children born to the couple after 2 years of marriage, it does not reflect the fact that Evaline, 27, was pregnant with their first child. Marguerite Virginia Geiszler was born on 20 July 1920 in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio. It could be surmised that Marguerite was named after her grandmother Magdalena Marguerta Hoppe Geiszler, nicknamed Maggie.

George Geiszler with his parents Maggie Hoppe and Henry Geiszler
George Geiszler with his parents Maggie Hoppe and Henry Geiszler
On 3 Feb 1921, George's mother Maggie died. Her death had a terrible effect on his father Henry. Henry's drinking apparently became worse. Marguerite remembers stories of Henry sitting in a drunken stupor and calling for Maggie, his deceased wife. The end of the tragedies would not stop in 1921. On 5 Nov 1921, a second daughter was delivered to Evaline at Protestant Hospital prematurely and lived only 10 minutes. The baby girl never received a name.

Samuel Bailey Barton (1853-1929)
c. 1923

On 21 Jan 1923, George Barton Geiszler joined the family. George is the name sake of two individuals. Obviously his father, but less obvious is the name Barton. Barton was the last name of a very dear friend of George and Evaline named Samuel Barton. Samuel and George both worked for the railroad as pattern makers. Samuel was 30 years George's senior. He was also a widow, having lost his second wife Caroline Bergner in 1920. How touching it must have been for Samuel to have a namesake to carry on when he never had any children. Samuel would attend family events and have his photograph taken in family snap shots. His death on 22 July 1929 was recorded in Evaline's family Bible, as she also was the informant on his death certificate.

Samuel Barton, George Geiszler, Evaline Peak Geiszler, Evaline Peak and Marguerite Geiszler
Samuel Barton at the home of George Geiszler. c. 1923
Samuel, George Geiszler, Evaline Peak Geiszler, Evaline Peak
and Marguerite Geiszler

Samuel Barton, Evaline Peak, Evaline Townley, George Geiszler, Marguerite Geiszler
Samuel Barton at the home of George Geiszler. c. 1923
Samuel, George Geiszler, Evaline Peak Geiszler, Evaline Peak
and Marguerite Geiszler
Carl Richard Geiszler joined the family on 20 Jan 1925. It appears that Evaline named this child. Carl is the name of her deceased finance Carl Short who died in 1916. Evaline kept pictures of her beloved Carl throughout her marriage. It is said she kept his photo in the marital bedroom she shared with George. No one said whether this bothered George or not. In any case Richard, was not the fiance's first name, as Carl was short for his second name Carlton. Bess Short lived to see the birth of her son's namesake. Bette Ellen Short died Dec 17, 1926. The only place this death was recorded thus far is in the family bible kept by Evaline.

Carl, Marguerite, and George Geiszler
Carl, Marguerite, and George Geiszler
c. 1926
I love the almost angelic quality of the lighting on Carl's face.
The fifth and final child of George and Evaline was born on 22 August 1926. No one knows the story behind Robert Paul's name. 

Evaline Peak Geiszler with her four children: Robert, George, Marguertie and Carl. c. 1928
Evaline Peak Geiszler with her four children: Robert,
George, Marguertie and Carl. c. 1928

Tragedy struck the Geiszler home in 1928, when 3 year-old Carl died of influenza. His sister Margie remembers the family taking a trip to a chicken farm near Easter time when farmers used to color baby chicks pastel colors. Upon returning home, little Carl didn't feel good. He spent several days under the care of his mother having trouble breathing. He died in Evaline's arms on 7 Apr 1928. The inscription on his white tombstone reads “Our Dear Little Boy.”

Carl Geiszler Tombstone
Carl Richard Geiszler's tombstone
1925 - 1928
Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio

19 April 2013

Photo Friday: Trying to Understanding White Balance

I have seen a number of comparisons depicting the same object under different white balance settings on their cameras. I decided to do my own comparison using a clay plate my son made. By the way, I'm quite proud of my son. But, let's get to the plate.

Understanding White Balance
AV Priority, ISO 100, f3.5, exp 1/15, macro focus
Cannon PowerShot SX110

SET UP: The lighting was natural sunlight streaming through my window. It entered the photo set up from the left side. The clay plate was placed insight my DIY Lightbox. The Camera was on a tripod.

So what stands out to me is that the Tungsten setting definitely did not do he object justice. The sunlight and fluorescent had a blue cast to the colors. And the custom adjustment was more yellow then I had hoped.

Personal preference: The Sunlight example was my favorite.
Photographing Clay Art Work
Current Favorite: Uses Sunlight setting

I decided to readjust the plate and see if I could improve.

Photographing Memorabilia
AV Priority, ISO 100, f 3.5, exp 1/15, macro focus
Cannon PowerShot SX110

Just by changing the angle of the object, I now like the photograph using the Fluorescent High setting. I have no idea why that is. The Custom White Balance setting had a yellow cast to the white background. I was really surprised by this.

Understanding White Balance
Current Favorite: Uses Fluorescent High setting

By the way, I like this angle of the plate better than the previous one because the little base it is molded to can be seen.

In short, with day light streaming through the window... play with your camera white balance settings. One might a truer representation of the artifact when another setting is not. The casts are subtle side by side, but enough when viewed up close to make a difference.

And... as I keep seeing time and time again,  a little post production work is necessary to take the photo from the camera onto the computer and have the awesome white background.

Here's the final product for three of the angles that I took.

Adjusted levels from sunlight AV setting

Adjusted levels & contrast from fluorescent high AV setting

Adjusted levels & contrast from Auto White Balance AV setting

I like the backgrounds to be bright. I'd love to have them all white like they are when I'm looking at the LCD panel. Someday I'll match it better. Until then, I'm having fun. I hope you are too.

18 April 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Cross stitch

I have another craft item of my Grannie's that I want to share. My Grannie had the nickname of Chick for the longest time. She collected chicken trinkets and such. So, to find this little gem amongst her things after she passed away in January 2012, I thought was fitting.

Grannie passed the love of cross-stitching on to my mother. I picked up the skill, but not the enjoyment. My daughter however, has completed a few cross stitch project and is working on an ambitious horse cross-stitch.

f/6.4, exp 1/640 sec, bias -0.3,  ISO 400
Pattern metering
Taken outdoors within a light box

I thought the result was a little dark, so I played with the levels in PhotoShop Elements.


15 April 2013

Geiszler Family History: George married Evaline

Previously, I shared about the young life of George Joseph Geiszler who was born 8 Jun 1886. He is my fraternal great-grandfather. I'd like to continue that story now.

George Joseph Geiszler and his bride
Evaline Townley Peak c. 1920

 George, 32, married Evaline Townley Peak, 25, on 6 Jun 1918 in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio. I do not know much about the actual wedding. But I have learned some great information about how they met and who played match maker.

Evaline met George through the efforts of Bess Short. Bess (or Bette Ellen Short, don't know her maiden name) was the mother of Evaline's deceased fiance Carl F. Short. Carl had died 27 May 1916 after the couple took pre-wedding photos but not before the wedding took place.

Carl Short and Evaline Townley Peak. c. 1915
The engaged couple that would be parted by death
Carl Short and Evaline Townley Peak. c. 1915
I have a photograph of Carl's gravestone in Green Lawn Cemetery taken in the 1920s. But I am uncertain if I found his listing on Find-A-Grave. The only Short who has a birth year of 1894 and death of 1916 is Francis C Short. I would love it if a volunteer will help me solve the mystery. But first I need to request the section number of the interment. I think I found his death record on The easily excitable person in my wants to jump to the conclusion that yes, this is Carl Short. But until I see a modern photo of the stone at Green Lawn, I'm going to just say I have a hunch.

Grave stone for Francis Carlton Short of Ohio
Gravemarker for Carl F Short 1894 - 1918
Photo c. 1920
Apparently Bess and Evaline were out at a fair when Bess noticed George Geiszler. She pointed George out to Evaline and suggested that the young lady should get to know George. I don't really know if Bess knew George prior to this. My imagination suggests that Bess thought George was handsome and pointed him out to Evaline. And, I'm glad she did because the two young people became my great-grandparents. And, from what I understand, they loved each other very much.

George Joseph Geiszler at the Ohio State Fair
George Joseph Geiszler who caught the eye of Bess Short
for her deceased son's fiance.

Sometime after this meeting, the two were married. It seems that Bess was a true friend to her son's fiance even after his death. And, it seems that George was very grateful for Bess to recommend him to Evaline.

Bess Short and Evaline Townley Peak
Bess Short and Evaline Townley Peak
Evaline Townley Peak and Bess Short, the match maker
Evaline Townley Peak and Bess Short, the match maker

It should be pointed out that the couple married during the last year of the US involvement in World War I. While the conflict resulted in the registration of nearly 26 million men from the United States for military service, George was not called up to serve. He did complete a registration card three months after he married Evaline. He was living at 1150 Medill Street and worked as a Pattern Maker for. He was of medium height, but I can't read the build type. The registration date was 9-10-1918, three months after he married Evaline.

George Joseph Geiszler's WWI Draft Registration
George Joseph Geiszler's WWI Draft Registration
I am SO grateful for my great aunt Margie Geiszler Wasson for keeping a scrapbook of her ancestor's photos. I'm thankful that she wrote and shared these stories with her daughter Nancy. And I'm even more grateful that my hubby watched the five kiddos last May so that I could visit with Nancy and learn the story of Evaline and George's meeting, and who encouraged the match.

12 April 2013

Friday Funny: FamilyTree Gave Me Another Child

FamilySearch FamilyTree gave me
a duplicate copy of my fifth child!
Funny coincidence. When I signed on to FamilySearch FamilyTree, I had six children. When I remember how many births I had, there should only be six. Upon further investigation, it turns out, my son "Cinco" had two entries!

The trouble was I couldn't delete him or combine the two records. Why? Because he's living. And the FamilySearch FamilyTree doesn't let you do certain things with individuals marked living.

Perhaps I could have marked him deceased on both records so that I could combine him. Then I could mark him living and be on with my happy life. However, I didn't want to introduce any genealogical craziness for future generations to solve.

So... I tried out the handy dandy online chat help center. Within a short while, they were please to announce that I only have five children and none of them have duplicate vital information (name, date of birth, etc). Whew! I'm so glad. I was starting to wonder that I had missed something.

Thumbs up to the supportive folks at FamilySearch. Now... to sort through those ancestors who have a few problems of their own. I know for certain, that if I hit a snag or two, FamilySearch help center will be there to help me out.

PS... Sharing his photo gives me a great excuse to share the living and remember a Wow! moment in my life.

Why Two Aggies Have a longhorn Flag...

Yesterday, I shared tips on how to photograph over-sized flags. In the post, I mentioned that my husband and I are Texas A&M University alums. If you're still wondering why two Aggies dare have a t.u. (sorry, old habits die hard), flag in their home... here's the story.

For those of you still wanting the story behind why two Aggies have a rival flag, I'm so glad you're still reading. My husband served a mission in Canada among some wonderful Chinese speaking people. Many of those he served knew that my darling loved his college in a place called Texas. They've heard of Texas. It has oil rigs in everyone's backyards and people have really tall hats. They didn't know there was a difference between Texas A&M and that other school in Austin. And they certainly didn't understand how much American college football rivalries mean (Alabama vs Auburn, Ohio State vs Michigan, Norte Dame vs USC, Army vs Navy anyone?). Perhaps they could have understood if we talked about world soccer rivalries?

Before hubby's mission came to an end, a friend wanted to get him a present that showed how much she knew he loved Texas (actually he loves Texas A&M, not Texas, but that is another story). She searched all over Vancouver, British Columbia for something. I guess there wasn't a lot of Texas memorabilia up there in the days before online shopping. When she came across this flag, she thought she had a winner.

Dearest had such great poise as he accepted the flag from his friend. She didn't really know the difference between the two universities and had really tried to find something special. We've kept this flag in our memories box to remember this special person who know is in both of our lives. Occasionally we pull it out of storage for an object lessons at church or something. When this friend got married a few years later, my husband presented her and her husband with Aggie T-Shirts and she graciously accepted them with an enlightened smile.

So there's the story. Hope you have fun reading a little of my family's personal history amongst all of my ancestor's history. See what memorabilia photography can do? It can help you tell the stories of Y-O-U.

Now... to save some money to purchase a Texas A&M University flag to display in my Iowa home...

11 April 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Photographing Over-sized Flags

Have you ever tried to photograph a flag that is rather large? Sure you could photograph it folded up, if it is an American flag and you fold it in such away that the stars show. But what happens if you have a color guard flag or a flag with a large white area? Hmmm... The folding thing isn't going to work.

Well, I'm no expert but the one thing I figured out is that large flags require height. They need to lay flat so that light can hit them directly and evenly and they can be smoothed out for viewing. When the sunlight streamed through my living room window with enough light to cover the entire flag, I set to work.

I placed this first flag on the white muslin is use for my seamless backdrop. I'll admit I should have pressed it before taking this photo. However, I was in a rush for the correct light and I set to it. I could use Photoshop to take out the background wrinkles. But I don't know if I should. I'm still debating that point.

Photographing memorabilia
Photographing large flags
For most flags, you CAN NOT IRON them to take the wrinkles out. You will burn or destroy the material, if not your iron. If you have a steamer, perhaps that might help. In any case, folded flags have wrinkles. Flags folded for a decade or longer have tough wrinkles. But let's pretended that it's character.

The above flag was used when I became the color guard captain for my high school marching band. I liked this ratty old thing like you wouldn't believe. I dreamed of being on the flag twirling line from the time I was in middle school watching my older brother at his marching band performances. He was on the drum line and I should have been so enamored with him. However, I loved the flag line. Perhaps it is because my mother was a baton twirler. (Check out the baton twirling themed scrapbook page I made about mom).

To take the photo, I had to stand on a chair with my tripod at it's highest configuration to snap the photo. Now I have a photograph to remember how much I loved twirling flags at my high school in Texas.

Heritage Photographs
Photographing University Flag

For those of you who may not know, my alma matter was Texas A&M University, the rival of the above college which shall remain nameless. Why on earth would my husband or I have such a flag in our home when he is also a devout Aggie? Well, because there is a story to go with it.

Out of respect for the story, perhaps I could have tried to remove more of the flag's wrinkles. But again, the material makes ironing not an option. And, I don't own a steam iron. Truthfully, I don't like this college (old rivalries die hard). Perhaps wrinkles are good, right?

Here is what I've learned about how to take great photographs of over-sized flags.
  • First, place the flag on a LOW flat surface, such as the floor. 
  • Use a white sheet to protect the flag and stop the floor from showing through the flag
  • Get into a REALLY high position in order to fit the entire flag into your camera's frame. You might have to stand on the living room table or a ladder if you have one. 
  • Your camera must be on a tripod to reduce blurry photos. Place the tripod on a table or other high flat surface and extend to it's highest setting. 
  • Snap photos when you have enough light. 
That's all I know. Hope it helps. If you have other tips, please feel free to share.

So... if you have a really large object like an over sized flag, take a photo of it and tell the story why you have such a thing. Perhaps the story behind the flag might be more sentimental than ours. But this story will help my children and grandchildren learn a lot about their parents on so many levels.

08 April 2013

You Mean My Family History Isn't Done?

I have shared my passion for family history work with various people throughout my life. Sure it's a young life, but I have shared it for nearly half of it. As I have done so, I keep hearing a comment that bugs me to absolutely no end.

"My family history is all done."

Now, I'll admit that most people who say this happen to belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When they say this, they're basically saying, there is no one new to find to take to the temple. The pedigree chart and family group sheets are all completed back to the 1600s. So the prevailing thought is that, the work is done. There is no one new to find. So, the work is done.

Just because the chart is complete, doesn't mean family history is done.

I want to ask... Are you sure your work is finished?
  • Do you have a book that tells about the toils and trials your great-grandmother faced raising 13 children during the 1920s? 
  • Do you have an account of an ancestor's effort during any war? Do you know what the women did during the Civil War or World War II, or the Persian Gulf wars? 
  • Do you have a collection of the stories that are always told at family reunions? 
  • Do you a tangible format that shares the memories you have of the smell of your aunt's home and the wonderful cook she was? 
  • Is your life, to date, in a format that your children or grandchildren can pick up and read as easily as their favorite picture book or young adult novel?
  • Does you family history demonstrate history and what your progenitors were doing during major and minor events in the world/state/county? 
  • If your ancestor was walking down the street, would you know them? Could you have a conversation with them? Can your children?
Everyone is unique. Their perspective is valuable. Each person in a family can play a part in the story of their family. Good. Bad. Triump. Defeat. Joy. Heartache. And everyone's contribution to the work of family history is vital to the richness of heritage.

At RootsTech 2013, the over riding theme was find, organize, preserve, and share. Additionally, recording the stories of the family was repeated again and again.

Here is what I want to quiz people on who tell me that 'the work has been done'. What are you good at? What are your talents?

  • Are you a story teller? Can you tell 'the stories' in a passionate way and record your delivery to be used as a sound recording or added to a video presentation about your heritage?
  • Are you a visual/graphic artist? Can you create something that will display your ancestors and their lives in a beautiful way be it quilt, scrapbook, wall art, or painting?
  • Are you an interviewer? Can you ask the questions of living relatives and record the answers?
  • Are you a videographer? Can you make video clips about the lives of your ancestors and incorporate them into narrative of your family?
  • Are you a researcher? Do you feel at home amongst microfilm and old books wearing white gloves? Can you find the information and share with someone above so they can turn it into a tangible format?
  • Are you a photographer? Can you photograph the family farms/houses and various artifacts that will trigger memories for an interviewee or can be used in visual or written productions?
  • Are you a writer? Can you make a script for for the story teller or videographer? Can you assemble the research and transform it into a written narrative? Can you develop more questions for the researcher to follow-up on?
  • Do you have the memories and stories that you must impart to anyone who will listen? Can you record your voice sharing these treasures?
  • Are you the keeper of the stuff? Can you open up your home to those with other talents to see, touch, and capture the stuff of the family? 
  • Are you a computer geek who can take all the stuff and transform it into a digital warehouse that can be accessible by anyone interested in your family line yet protect the identity and privacy of the living? Can your upgrade out dated media into a modern usable form?
  • Are you really good with language and can edit the manuscripts and scrapbook creations?
  • Are you good with old languages? Can you translate some of the old documents or recordings?

I'm sure others can think of talents that can play a role in the finding, organizing, preserving, and sharing the 
narrative of your family. Feel free to listen them in the comment section.

My feeling is that until everyone in your family is as well known to your family members at the current celebrity of the day, then your family history is not done. And if your personal life or that of your spouse, children, and grandchildren isn't preserved for future generations... then your work is not done.

My challenge to all... use the skills you have to contribute to the work of family history for those relatives from the past and in the present so that the family members in the future will know who they are.

07 April 2013

Cousin Bait: Christian Christopher Hoppe and Anna Margaretha Kalsberger

I'm looking for information on Christian Christopher Hoppe Sr and Anna Margaretha Kalsberger as well as their children. My genealogical connection is they are my third great-grandparents through their daughter Marguerita Magdalena Hoppe.

Maggie Hoppe was close to her siblings but they died in their early adult years.

I have some vital and census information about Christoph Hoppe and Anna Margreta (who had been referrened to as Margareta Culp before). I would really like to learn more about their lives, which is why I'm casting this fishing line.

Here's what I know:

Christan Christopher Hoppe, Sr
born 14 May 1818 Hannover, Preußen
died 15 Feb 1881 Columbus, Franklin, Ohio

married on 12 Apr 1859 in Franklin County, Ohio

Anna Margaretha Kalsberger (or Karlsberger)
born 29 Feb 1824 Bavaria
immigrated in 1857 to the United States
died 6 Jul 1911 in Marion, Franklin, Ohio

Christian Hoppe and Anna Margaretha Kalsberger had the following children:

Christian Christopher Hoppe, Jr (16 Aug 1859 - 11 Jan 1900)

Marguerita Magdalena Hoppe (4 Apr 1861 - 3 Feb 1921)

Anna Margaretha Hoppe (22 Jan 1869 - 11 Jul 1896)

Again, these folks are my 3rd great grandparents and their children. I would love to know more about their history, and potentially find photos. Perhaps someone will be searching for the Peak ancestors and land on this blog. Perhaps the distant relative will be inspired to connect with me after reading this post.

I do have information some photos of Anna Kalsberger and her children to share.

I am throwing this fishing line in the water in hopes of learning more about my heritage and fill in the gaps on my family tree.

04 April 2013

Thankful Thursday: Caroline Mack Geisler Billman

I opened the mail on Monday and was surprised to receive an envelope from Ohio. Not recognizing the return address name at first, I opened the manila 5x7 sized envelope with "Photo Do Not Bend" on the outside.

Since my mother passed away in December and I sent "in case you missed it letter" to her friends in her phone book, I thought this would be a photo of my parents and some of her Ohio friends. Boy was I ever excited to be wrong.

Inside was a note from someone I had connected to through We had spoken Freda and Frank Grener of Columbus, Ohio. They are two of the eight children belonging to my 2nd great grand aunt Mary Elizabeth Geißler Grener. Lisey was the daughter of my 3rd great grandmother Caroline Mäck who married Joseph Geißler (by Geißler brick wall) and then Michael Billman.

Caroline Mack Geiszler Billman
The back reads:
Grandmother Caroline Mack Billman

She saw that I had a photo of Caroline with her sons from her second marriage. This kind woman thought I might like to have a photo of Caroline later in life. Umm... YES!

I did a Google Search for the photographers Lyman & Wells in Columbus, Ohio. Google Books had a viewable book entitled

Ohio photographers: 1839-1900

Sure enough, inside was a listing for Lyman & Wells, 276 1/2 S. High The photographers years were 1892-1895. Guess what? Now I know when this photo was taken within a few years. She was between 54 and 57 years old!

Caroline would die 11 Oct 1904 in Pleasant, Franklin, Ohio. Her second husband Michael died 1 Aug 1884 in the same place. 

Needless to say... I'm doing the genealogist happy dance.

My Geiszler 2nd cousin often says things will come to you when you 'throw it out there' that you're searching for people. Well, he's right!

Treasure Chest Thursday: Craft Items

This month spring either has arrived or will arrive soon. Spring is a time for newness of life. And it's a time to spring clean! Yeah! Believe it or not, I'm excited about the warmer weather to deep clean my home and organize things that have piled up because the kiddos have been inside most of the winter. I'll send them outside and I'll clean the inside. Once that is done, it will make tackling craft projects a lot easier. And that's how I came up with this month's challenge.

Crafts come in all forms. Perhaps paintings or photography. Perhaps tatting, crochet, or embroidery. Perhaps it's wall art. For me, the crafts people make tell me a lot about who they are. So, this month, find something your ancestor made and photograph it. Remember to tell the story about the object as well. And, if you learned anything about the photography process along the way, please share your tips!

Treasure Chest Thursday Craft Items

Canon PowerShot SX110 IS
f/5, Exp 1/2 sec, ISO 100, exp bias -0.3,
Center Weight Average metering

Here's my Treasure Chest Thursday Challenge. This is was made by my Grandma Louise Brown nee Long. I called her Grannie. My family moved to the great state of Texas when I was a toddler. I never really knew Ohio as we didn't return often to the state. However, I knew one very special person lived in Ohio. My Grannie.

My Grannie was a very talented seamstress and made many clothes for her oldest daughters. She made my mother's twirling costumes, formal dance dresses, and wedding dress. She taught my mother how to sew and my mother taught me. Now, I'm not as talented as Grannie but I can make things when I want to. So, I'm trying to pass on something to my children.

My Grannie knew how to crochet afghans (which my mother also loved), cross stitch, and do a form of latch hooking. My mother won an award at the Ohio State Fair for her latch hook rug. Mind you, as a kid, I thought it was quite ugly. However, I wish we had thought to photograph it. It's a pretty neat accomplishment of my mothers. And... it was so 1970s! The color scheme was definitely on par with the fads of the day.

This particular craft hung in my bedroom during my years at home. I even took it to me to college. That way I would always have a reminder that Grannie loved me. Do you also notice the color scheme of this particular beauty? Yep... scarlet and gray. Does Ohio State college colors make the connection for anyone!

 Ugh! The Ohio State University was a bur in my side growing up. I knew my great-grandpa Victor Zumstein taught physics there. I knew my father attended the school one year because of this legacy but flunked out. I knew my Grandpa Brown was an usher for the OSU football games when he could get Saturdays off. But seriously? OSU was not a part of my life in Texas. And my parents did a poor job of inspiring love of the school in me. In fact, they did a such a good job of irritating me about the Buckeye college that I wanted to go to the University of Michigan just to spite them.

Now my Grannie liked OSU. She was more subtle about it. She just figured if you're going to make a craft about Ohio, there are only two colors to use... scarlet and gray.

I'm surprised at all the memories this one craft triggers. What do the crafts of your family members trigger?

BTW I would really love to know what form of crafting this is actually called. I don't think it's latch hooking though that's the only term that comes to mind.

FYI: I took this photo using my lightbox with a desk lamp light. I chose black for the background as a) it made the colors stand out and b) it gave the craft piece a 'gallery' effect.