Win a RootsTech Pass as We Celebrate Our YouTube Anniversary

Last year, I told my husband that I wanted to expand my dream of inspiring and educating others about genealogy and family history by cre...

28 June 2013

Photo Friday: Another Collectible Coin

I have another collectible coin. This one also left our home and was sold on eBay. Individually, each coin does not have a story to share and no connection for my husband. There is no story associated with why his ancestor collected these particular coins. Without the stories, things are just things. Gives more weight to the encouragement to record the stories of family history.

I used the same setting as my previous coins... filter afternoon natural light, white backdrop (not a light box), camera on tripod, photography mode AV priority.

Canon PowerShot SX110 IS
f/4, exp 1/5, ISO- 80, center weight average metering

This object was wider than the previous case, which presented it's own challenges.

Canon PowerShot SX110 IS
f/4, exp 1/5, bias +0.3,  ISO- 80, center weight average metering
 One of the challenges was getting the correct color hue to the box. I felt this slight adjustment improved the photo quality. I think if I used a reflector, I might have had even lighting.
Canon PowerShot SX110 IS
f/4, exp 1/3, bias +0.7,  ISO- 80, center weight average metering

When viewing this through the LCD montior on camera, this setting was perfect. On the computer, it's a bit too bright in the white areas. The color of the box is more accurate.

Canon PowerShot SX110 IS
f/5, exp 1/3, bias +0.7,  ISO- 80, center weight average metering

It's amazing how the same camera settings work with objects differently. Since the coin box has a velvet-like finish, it absorbed more of the colors. When the box photo is enlarged, you can see the velvet-like detail and wish you could touch it.

f/5, exp 1/2, bias +0.7,  ISO- 80,
center weight average metering
 Oh the joys of photographing reflective surfaces. All though the USA colored ribbon is a nice reflection in the coin, it also distracts from the close up of the coin. I figure out how to solve the reflective problem. So, I zoomed out to capture the coin and the box.

f/5, exp 1/5, bias +0.7,  ISO- 80,
center weight average metering

This is much better. You can see the coin and the box. And the major focus of the coin was that it was an Olympic series silver dollar. So, I like seeing the box with the USA above the Olympic rings.

27 June 2013

Links for Canadian Research

My Zumstein, Comfort, Marr, and Shafley lived in Ontraio, Canada. It pays to know where to look for information about these ancestors. I am thankful to Cyndi's List for all the effort she does there. This post is more for me to collect all my links into one spot and why.

Could I use bookmarks? Possibly. But, I find that I search my blog for help doing my research. So, I would have better chance finding these links again quickly if they were on my blog. Additionally, this blog also serves as my research workbook, if you will. And, it will serve as a history of my research for those who take up the cause after me. So... there are so many reasons why I'm sharing these links...

CanadaGenWeb's Cemetery Project

I like using this cemetery project website for information about graves in Ontario. Although, Find A Grave is easier to work with, I haven't found as much on that website for the Ontario cemeteries of interest for my research. As of today, it's still a bit tricky to navigate, but it's worth the effort to at least see the names, if not the photos, of persons in the Lincoln, Ontario cemeteries for clues.

Canadian Geographic: Historical Maps

It has been said that when you know the maps of an area, you can understand a place's history better. I really like this website. I find the way the maps are overlaid on each other wonderful. You can click on the map of 1700, and then click on the map for 1862 and see how the territories of Canada changed. Below the map links is historical information which helps put the changes into historical perspective. This website is great for context information about the changes of Canada.

Elcho : the Church of Many Generations

I have a great number of relatives who were active members of the Elcho United Church (Elcho, Ont.). This book was published in 1993 and provides many biographical sketches of the members, many which 'belong' to me. I wish I could obtain a copy of this book (or an eBook of it would be better). Someday. For now, I know it exists.

United Empire Loyalist
The website says... "the United Empire Loyalists were those who had been settled in the thirteen colonies at the outbreak of the American Revolution, who remained loyal to and took up the Royal Standard, and who settled in what is now Canada at the end of the war."

I'm such an 'American.' I can't fathom people really wanting to stay loyal to England, though I know many did. When I learned that a Comfort Ancestor stayed loyal to the crown and fled to Canada, I was humbled in my perspective. I found some great information on the applications to be a member of the UELAC. I learned that a few Comforts did join the rebellion while others remained loyal. The loyalist may have had to move, but they were rewarded with land in Canada. I read the split of brothers and I was crushed. When families divide over political and religious views, it's a tough pill to swallow.

I'm so glad I came across this website. I have already found additional loyalist's mentioned on this website who are in my database to investigate 'someday.'

Ontario GenWeb Project: Land Records
I haven't investigated this website fully yet. However, I did find the information about how to find land records helpful and informative. After my trip to Canada this summer, I hope to take up the search of Zumstein, Marr and Shafely land records.

Zumsteins on Clan Waddell Site
I received a database filled with citations from "Nora Zumstein's Zumstein Family Binder." On this website, the Zumsteins are included on their family tree. 

Aside: That's all for now. Whew!!! My Evernote notes have decreased by 5 entries!

26 June 2013

Heritage Scrapbooking: Creating Categories in Photoshop Elements

A Family History Scrapbooking can be done in 12 Simple Steps. One of the steps is to determine what topics you will cover in your album. I am working on two albums one regarding my Grandpa Lewis Sherman Brown and the other about my Grannie Louise Eleanor Long Brown.

Hertiage Albums using Photoshop Elements
Categories created in Photoshop Elements

Thus far, I have selected categories and created albums in Photoshop Elements under a album Category called Brown. This helps separate these layouts from the family scrapbooks of my children and myself.

The LB represents Lew Brown's scrapbook. I've given numbers to the categories to keep them in order when the categories like parents would come after marriage if I left the arrangement in alphabetical order.

The "Lewis" category will be collection of the scrapbook pages once they are ready to be in a scrapbook. Until then, the topics of LB represent individual pages.

You might have guess it already, but LL refers to Louise Long. The album category of Louise (which is not shown) will gather all of the scrapbook layouts into one album when they are finished.

Now that I have my categories selected, I can start organizing my photos into the categories.

25 June 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Neal Billman, Oak Grove Cemetery

Last week, I shared the tombstone for my 3rd great step-grandfather Michael Billmann. Though I don't know if his stepson (my 2nd great-grandfather) Henry Geiszler is buried on the plot, I do know that there was another descendant buried there.

Neal Billman, tombstone
Neal Billman (1892-1893)
Photo by Devon Lee

Neal is Michael Billmann's grandson. His father would be my half-uncle John L Billman who married Ella Ferguson. John and Ella have a stone in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Georgesville, Ohio. It's in a newer part of the cemetery, rather than the older section where Michael and his wife Caroline were buried.  However, their infant son was buried on John's father's plot.

Oh how I wish I could also make changes to Neal, John and Michael's memorials. I've made requests since June of last year to no avail. But that's another story entirely.

Geiszler Family History: Map of Baden

Joseph Geißler is my fraternal great+ grandfather and my brick wall. He lived in America long enough to wed, father four children,  purchase property, and then die. His naturalization record gave me a clue as to his home land.

Here are the notes from his naturalization record: According to the Franklin County Clerk of Superior Court (in Ohio), Joseph Keizler was admitted to Citizenship of the United States of America in 1858. Joseph was a native of Baden, Germany. The record was certified on 11 Oct 1858.(Keizler would be the phonetic spelling of the name Geißler.)

I wanted to know where Baden would be found. Hopefully, I could find clues as to where to look next.

Map of Baden
Map of German divisions of land
Something that stood out to me was I've always wondered where Pfalz was (for my fraternal Grandmother's line), and now I know. But, this map doesn't help me much. There are so many possibilities. How on earth will I figure this out? Additionally, notice were Stuttgart in Wurtemberg is? My mother has a research not that says he might be from Stuttgart. However, I have no evidence of that tidbit and she had forgotten where that information came from.

I must rely more heavily on the naturalization document for clues. But, could it be possible that he lived in Baden near Stuttgart? Or is this a random note that is best ignored?

I'll be honest, I don't have any more clues with this map. But, at least I have a rough idea of where Baden is.

24 June 2013

Clementina Comfort Zumstein's School Certificate

I recently shared a little information about Clementina Zumstein (nee Comfort)'s early life and spoke of her when talking about my grandfather Professor Zumstein.
School Record for Clementina Comfort of Ontario, Canada
School Record for Clementina Comfort
of Ontario, Canada

Great grandmother Clementina was a school teacher until the time of her marriage to Victor. As a home educator, I wonder if she's look favorably on this. Regardless, I was sent an electronic copy of a school related document. I was told this is her teaching certificate. After reading it, I believe it to be a diploma of sorts.

The record is transcribed as follows:
Lincoln Public Schools

This is to certify that 
Clementina Comfort 
Has completed the Public School Course of Study and Passed the Examination Prescribed by the Education Department for Admission into High School and Collegiate Institutes

Dated at St Catherines, Ontario this first day of August 1907.
W.W. Ireland M.A. 
Public School Director, Lincoln Co

J F Greene
Warden, Lincoln Co

The school record is stunning and I'm glad to see it. I hope you'll go dig up your family's school records and preserve them. Family History is more than just birth, marriage, and death dates.

23 June 2013

Reviewing my Goals

George Geisler and his brother James,
George is my great grand uncle by
marriage on the Brown side of my family
On Sunday of last week, I set the following goals:

X Transcribe 4 images of William Townsend
X Outline Gen Conference Classes
X Write Horray for FindAGrave posts
X Make Evernote 2 notes into blog posts
X Grannie's Scrapbook... organize photos into categories
X One day of Indexing
X Work on 2012 Lee Reunion Album
X Write two personal history prompts

As you can see, they all have an X beside them. Yippee!! I think I did well. I also used some time to attach sources to FamilySearch. I noticed that RootsMagic 6 had an update and I'm learning what some of them are. This will be helpful in one of the conference classes I will be teaching. So, it's been a great week.

This week two kids have camps to attend while the other three will be traveling around the county as we cart the older ones. This means momma will be very tired when she finally returns everyone home to the castle in the evenings. I know this sounds crazy, but I'm going to take a week off from genealogy. If I do anything in the field, it will be on personal history. Sometimes, it's best to not plan any goals and enjoy life. So, that's what I'll be doing.

22 June 2013

Surname Saturday: How Many Surnames?

I know that Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: How Many Surnames challenge is from March of this year;  however, I'm finally getting around to doing the challenge:
1) Go into your Genealogy Management Program (GMP; either software on your computer, or an online family tree) and figure out how to Count how many surnames you have in your family tree database.

2) Tell us which GMP you're using and how you did this task.

3) Tell us how many surnames are in your database and, if possible, which Surname has the most entries. If this excites you, tell us which surnames are in the top 5! Or 10!
Surname Statistics List
Surname Statistics List in RootsMagic 6

So, I'm using RootsMagic 6 and I created a Surname Statistics List. I have 451 surnames for 1691 people.

Top Five Most Frequent:
  • Comfort ~ 117 (7%)
  • Zumstein ~ 63 (3.7%)
  • Young ~ 63 (3.7%)
  • Lane ~ 52
  • Moote ~47

I would actually have more Comforts, Zumstein, Lanes, and Mootes on my tree if I allowed more of the collateral lines in my database. However, I feel there are plenty of researchers on those family trees, so I have restricted how many are in my database.

My four grandparent's last names:

  • Geiszler #9 ~30
  • Zumstein #2 ~ 63
  • Brown #6 ~ 44
  • Long #7 ~ 40
  • Anderson (Grandma's birth surname) ~ 2
Interestingly, I have 35 women without last names.

The surname that has the earliest occurrence is Marvin (with it's varied spellings) in 1515.

The earliest occurrence of my four grandparent's last names:
Geiszler in 1836
Zumstein in 1792
Brown in 1795
Long in 1770

That was kind of fun. Since the Comforts, Lanes and Mootes go 'way back', I'm trying not to be tempted to work on those lines, except to gather the stories of the direct ancestor of mine (for instance my great grandmother Clementina Comfort). I find myself continually telling myself... do the four grandparent's line. I have a huge brick wall with my great-grandmother Agnes Anderson, but I know a little more about her than a did a few years ago.

21 June 2013

Photo Friday: Award Pins

f/5, exp 1/4, bias +0.7, ISO 80
Spot Focus metering
My mother was my girl scout troop leader for many years. She encourage the girls in my troop to earn and learn as much as we could. Last August, Mom gave me a collection of objects to photograph that related to her. She thought I had done such a great job with the things I did for her father. I'm so glad she gave these things to me. She passed away in December, but I have a collection of her treasured artifacts. I may not know the story behind each object, but I have fond memories of many of the things she gave me.

What is so nice about this photo, is I felt I got it right on the first time. (I know the background could be smoother, but to me, it doesn't really matter). And that's what I'm hoping to get to. A basic starting point when I photograph memorabilia. I have had friends want me to photograph some of their objects. I want to have a basic point to start off with when I set up. Again, I'm an amateur. But, I'm willing learn. I like when I can nearly nail the photograph on the first try.

Now, to figure out what all those pins mean.

18 June 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Michael Billmann, Oak Grove Cemetery, Georgesville, Ohio

Michael Billmann Gravestone 1832-1884
Michael Billmann (1832-1884)
Photo by Dave
Find A Grave: Memorial # 25435926

I supposed Michael Billmann could be considered my third great step-grandfather. He married my third great grandmother Caroline Mack Geisler after grandfather died in 1863.

This photo is, but I wanted to take a better photo of it when I visited the Oak Grove Cemetery in Georgesville, Ohio. When I arrived at the plot, I noticed that the obelisk is two sided, with Caroline on the reverse side. I also noticed that two additional stone were in the general area of the plot.

Michael Billmann 1832-1884, plot
Michael Billmann plot
Photo by Devon Lee
If I could retake this photo, I would also include the name "Billmann" at the bottom of the stone. Since the contributor took a great photo of the full obelisk, I only added this second photo which is a close up of the inscription for Michael.

Michael Billmann gravemarker inscription
Photo by Devon Lee
The stone reads: Michael Billmann Born Oct. 16, 1832 Died Aug. 1, 1884. I added this second photo to

I was unable to capture a better photo of Catherine's stone, so I am thankful the volunteer took that photo.

Michael's plot is located in the back 'left' section of the cemetery as you enter from the front gate. It's to the left of a utility building. A fire destroyed burial records for this cemetery for the older stones. The grounds keepers do seem to know the cemetery very well, for which I'm thankful.

As the records for the plot was destroyed, I'm uncertain about the two little stones behind Michael's obelisk.

Small stone on Michael Billmann's plot

Second small stone on Michael Billmann's plot
I am uncertain about these stones. Are they 'parental' stones which might have said Mother and Father. Or, could one of these stones belong to my 2nd great grandfather Henry Geiszler (from Caroline's previous marriage). Henry is supposed to be buried in the Georgesville cemetery. He could have been buried on his step father's plot, especially since he was probably poor at the time of his death. But then again, he could have been buried elsewhere within the cemetery. Without records, no one knows. Unless the descendants from the Billmann family happen to know the story of the plot. Here's hoping a step cousin finds me.

This old section of the cemetery is not laid out in the 'modern style'. So it's very difficult to tell where one plot begins and ends. Nevertheless, I'm thankful for the service my step-grandfather did. He might actually be the only father Henry might ever have known. Henry was 4 when his father died and his mother married Michael. His sisters were 3 and 1 respectively. They certainly would not have remembered their father, Joseph.

On the 1870 Census record, the Geiszler chidlren were recorded as Billmanns, along with their half brothers. But on all of their marriage records, they used the last name Geiszler (with some variation of spellings).

Although I know very little about step-grandfather Michael, and many would not consider him a 'direct' ancestor, I will keep learning about him, if I'm able.

17 June 2013

Comfort Family History: Clementina Comfort, before marriage

Clementina Comfort was born on 4 Apr 1895 in Rosedene, Gainsborough, Lincoln, Ontario, Canada. She is the fourth child, and third daughter, of Alonzo Comfort and Myra Marr. Clementina's family lived on the stretch of land that separates Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

Niagara Peninsula Counties

This land form touches the area of New York state where Niagara Falls separates the two countries. Gainsborough was just over 35 kilometers north of Lake Erie and 15 km south of Lake Ontario. Niagara Falls was just over fifty km to the east.

After her birth, Clementina's family was joined by the birth of Florence Almina in 1898 and Carrie Octavia in 1900. Clementina grew up in a home full of six girls. The only son of Alonzo and Myra was born and died in 1891.

In 1901, the Alonzo Comfort family was enumerated by the Canadian Census. Clementina was only five, so she was not yet attending school. Her siblings S. May, and Laura were all attending school. Although she wasn't attending school, the census taker recorded Clementina as being able to read and write. Incidentally, Clementina's younger sister Almina could not read or write at the age of three. Interestingly, the youngest of the family, who would have been about 11 months old, was recorded as being 11 (years old), attending school, and being able to read and write.

The family could speak English, as they claimed English as their nationality but they could not speak French. Alonzo was a farmer. The family practiced the United Brethren religion. Though a great many neighbors professed to belong to the Methodist faith.

In 1911, Clementina's family lived on Lot 9 Concession 2 in Gainsboro, Lincoln, Ontario, Canada. This time, Alonzo identifies his family tribe as German. Why it did this is a mystery. The Comfort family left British America after the the American Revolution for British Canada. They were essentially British. It's possible that Myra answered the census recorder. Part of her ancestry might be German but it is not fully established yet. At the age of 16, Clementina was indexed as having 'none' occupation. So did her older sisters and mother. Children 10 and older had to have an occupation listed. Perhaps student or working on family farm wasn't important enough to identify. However, Clementina, age 16, Almina, 13. and Carrie, 11, attended school. Fay was not yet in school. The family continued to practice the United Brethren congregationalist religion. 

Alonzo and Myra Comfort Family of Ontario Canada

In 1914, Clementina's older sister Susannah May married James Merritt. The following year, her sister Laura married John Barwell. Sometime during the 1910s,

Clementia began teaching public school in Smithville, Ontatrio, Canada. She taught at S.S. No. 1 Caistor and was principal of Smithville Public School. She also met her sweetheart Robert Victor Zumstein who went off to America to study physics at the State University of Iowa. In 1920, he returned to Canada and the couple got married on her family farm. At the time of their marriage, they followed the Congregationalist religion. Interestingly, since they were married in July 1920, Clementina did not appear in a 1920 Census for Canada or the United States. The United State Census was taken prior to her immigration to Iowa in September and the Canadian Census would be taken the following year.

16 June 2013

Help... I'm Drowning

It's June and I feel so discouraged. I am blessed to have so much new genealogical information to process. Yet, I feel so far behind on the goals I set. But then again, I didn't really write down my goals at the beginning of the year. I didn't break them down into bite sized pieces. I just said, "I want to get the work done by the end of the year." Talk about vague and more lofty ambitions.

So... last week a set 7 goals (one for each day) that I wanted to accomplish by the end of the week. By Wednesday, I had most of them done. I had a HUGE personal history project to do that took up the rest of the week. By Saturday, I had accomplished the goals. Here are the highlights:

- write two blog postss based on the notes in Evernote (from the emails I organized into the program)
- answer two personal history prompts about myself
- select topics for the family history scrapbook about my Grannie Brown
- transcribe 4 images regarding William J Townsend's (or Townson) Civil War Service (pension?) file.
- Post a Tombstone Tuesday entry
- Update the my family blog
- Share photos on Facebook for the past half year

The Update my family blog and share Facebook for events since January took a LONG time. I have my personal 'offline' blog that I publish every year. But I also have a family blog for some things that I want to share with friends and family but there is not enough room on Facebook. So, that join project took a lot of time. Thankfully I was caught up on the offline 'blog'.

This week... I'm going to focus less on personal history writing and more on some projects that I have. For instance, I will:

- answer two personal history prompts
- organize thoughts for the family history classes I will teach in October
- write 2 blog posts based on Evernote topics
- transcribe 4 images from the William J Townsend file
- organize photos for the Grannie Brown scrapbook based on the topics selected last week

I also want to evaluate how to move forward on two more family scrapbooks... a series of trips and a reunion from last year. Once I evaluate what these two projects need, I can move forward on them. These projects don't have a due date because I want them to be fun. So, I want them 'floating around' to do when my creative mood strikes. But, I can't progress if I don't know what point I'm at... I have the photos organized into topics. I have much of the journaling completed. I think I'm at the select template phase. (For non-scrapbookers, I'm sorry to make your eyes glaze over).

So, there you have it. My goals for the week. I hope they are bite size and I can accomplish them but not feel overwhelmed. And... I will still have plenty of time for things like housework, child rearing, socializing, and enjoying summer.

14 June 2013

Photo Friday: Tie Pins

I was having a hard time figuring out how to photograph my husband's tie pins. I tried a white background that I used for lapel pins. But, it didn't seem right. So, I had a great idea. If they're tie pins, pin them on a tie! I know, novel idea, right? Okay, okay. You would have figured that out before me. But, I liked the idea and I set to work.

Canon PowerShot SX110 IS
f/3.5, exp 0.8, bias +1,  ISO- 80
center weight average metering
This isn't too bad, but I wasn't loving the results.

f/3.5, exp 1/2,  ISO- 80
center weight average metering
I took the exposure bias setting off and didn't like the result.  So, I attempted a close up.

f/3.5, exp 0.8,  ISO- 80
center weight average metering
 Aha! I didn't like how small the tie pin looked. The close up was much better.

f/5.6, exp 1 sec,  ISO- 80
center weight average metering

I changed the aperture setting and found something I really liked.  So I applied it to two more tie pins.

f/5.6, exp 1 sec,  ISO- 80
center weight average metering

f/5.6, exp 1 sec,  ISO- 80
center weight average metering

The black tie was the perfect backdrop for my husband's tie pins. And doing macro photography on such small objects, really made these tiny objects take center stage.

12 June 2013

Heritage Scrapbooking: Thankful for the Work Already Done

Louise Eleanor Long Brown
Grannie loved this photo of herself
taken in the 1940s. She thought she
looked like a pin-up girl. For a 'tomboy' of
sorts, this was a big statement.
Last year I completed family heritage albums featuring my mother and father. This year, I want to work on one that features my grandmother. Next year, I will complete one about my mother-in-law. I find scrapbooks focused on one person the fastest to create because they are small and simple. Eventually I will scrapbook the thousands of photos and stories I have that don't fit into a simple project. For now, I'm working on my Grannie Brown's book because I have so much information to select from.

And that's what I'm sharing today. A heritage scrapbook can be done without a lot of information and a few photos. However, when you have as much information that I have on my Grannie, then my job as historian is so much easier. I can't really show you my 'organization' yet because today all I have accomplished is copying and pasting facts and stories from the 'larger' work into a small 'scrapbook' sized text document. So, instead, I'm sharing a photo of Louise Eleanor Brown (nee Long). Man I love this lady!

I am so glad that my aunt got the idea to video interview her mother. I have the recorded voice of Grannie, but many of her stories. I am so glad my mother shared stories of her mother with me. Though there are a few disagreements in her memory and those of her sisters, I have something to share with the sisters to 'correct' where needed. I am thankful that I took the time to ask my Grannie questions about the photos I had from my mother's collection. And, I am thankful for the eulogy my cousin did at Gran's funeral (and sent me a copy of). Much of the information came from interviewing my sharp as a tack Grannie before she died.

With all of these pieces of the pie (and the historical records to back up the dates and places), I have the problem of 'too much' information. I've shared before that genealogy is a team sport. And this is a specific case of various members of my team working together to share Grannie's story.

However, I look forward to putting this project together. I miss Grannie but I hope the book will help my kiddos know just how much I loved this awesome lady.

11 June 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Aleta Bower-Kirchner Geiszler

Aleta Geiszler Gravestone
Aleta Geiszler Gravestone
Photo by Devon Lee and posted at

This gravestone is found in the gorgeous Saint Joseph Cemetery in Lockbourne, Ohio. The memorialized person is my great-grand uncle William Joseph Geiszler's wife known as Aleta Geiszler.

Aleta was born Feb. 12, 1880 in Ohio. I have seen a birth date of Jun 1879 in Tiffin, Seneca, Ohio. I am still trying to determine which date is more accurate and why there are two dates. She died Dec. 2, 1966 in
Columbus, Franklin. Ohio.

Now... Aleta's maiden name is a bit confusing. Her father Michael Bowers was adopted. For a long period of his life, and therefore Aleta's, he used the last nae Kirchner (from his adopted parents). By 1900, Michael was no longer using the last name Kirchner, in favor of his birth father's last name of Bowers. Aleta started using the last name of Bowers, at least on the Census records. Through out her documents one will see the use of Bowers and Kirchner as well. So which should one use as her maiden name? Well, it depends upon who you ask.

10 June 2013

Zumstein Family History: Professor R Victor Zumstein

This is a third installment for my multigreat grandfather Robert Victor Zumstein. Previous posts discussed his earliest years or early adulthood.

Doctor of Philosophy for Robert Victor Zumstein awarded by The State University of Iowa Jan 13, 1924
Doctor of Philosophy for Robert Victor Zumstein
awarded by The State University of Iowa Jan 13, 1924

According to his diploma, Victor received a Doctor of Philosophy from the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) on 13 January 1924. 

On April 7, 1924, the Iowa City Press Citizen wrote an article featuring Victor. It said,

"Another valued educator is lost to S.U.I.

"Iowa City will regret to say good-bye to Dr. Robert Victor Zumstein, instructor in the department of physics, who has resigned to become a member of the University of Michigan staff, at Ann Arbor. He will push his investigations in the field of the marvels of the spectro there.

"As a physicist, especially one who has mastered the phenomena of spectra, it will be remembered he shone here, winning his Ph.D. degree, via a thesis of unusual worth.

"He was here since four years ago, as a faculty member. He received his M.A. at Toronto University that year."

In 1924, after spending the summer in Canada, the family moved to Michigan in a Ford Model-T.

In January 1925, a convocation ceremony was held to present Victor's PhD According to the Iowa Citizen newspaper, the mid-year convocation ceremony was held at 10 am at the new hall of science. The commencement address was delivered by Dr. Carl E Seashore and was themed "The Individual and The College." The program featured nearly 300 degrees and certificates and military honors. Now, this ceremony occured came after his actually earning the degree and moving to Michigan. I have to wonder if he earned an additional degree. However, perhaps the newspaper was incorrectly cited. I'm going to have to dig deeper once more to make sure I have my facts straight.

Then Victor received his Doctors of Philosophy Degree in Physics at the University of Michigan in May 1925. In seems fascinating that his two graduation ceremonies were in the same year. Additionally, I really want a copy of his diploma from Michigan!!

Victor, authored or co-authored the following books and papers during his time in Michigan. When the work was complete, is open to speculation or deeper reading by one who understands the physics and chemistry behind the early stage of fiber optic technology development:
  1. The Absorption spectra of copper, silver and gold vapors in the ultra-violet / by R.V. Zumstein 1925
  2. The Absorption spectra of some hydride compounds in the ultraviolet / by E. Hulthèn and R.V. Zumstein 1926
  3. The Absorption spectra of tellurium, bisMuth, chromium and copper vapors in the visible and ultravio / by R.V. Zumstein 1926
  4. The Absorption spectrum of lead vapor in the ultraviolet / by R.V. Zumstein 1926
  5. The Absorption spectrum of manganese vapor in the visible and ultraviolet / by R.V. Zumstein 1926
  6. The Absorption spectrum of tin vapor in the ultraviolet / by R.V. Zumstein 1926

OSU Professor Victor Zumstein
In 1928, Victor did the 'unthinkable'. He took a professorship at the University of Michigan's arch rival... Ohio State University. After joining the faculty at Ohio State, Robert was often confused as to which side to sit on at Ohio State versus Michigan football games. These two schools were absolute rivals. So, he sat on the Michigan side until he had been at Ohio State more years than at Michigan and then he sat on Ohio State side.

Victor would teach at Ohio State University for some forty years.

07 June 2013

Photo Friday: Lapel Pins

When I think about fathers and adult men, I often picture them going to work or church in suits. Lately, I have come to notice the pins these men wear on their lapels and then I started thinking about all the pins I have been given over the years.  I earned these pins from academic societies associated with college. On a rare occasion, I wore them on my church suit but usually they are stuffed in a drawer somewhere. Many pins come with great stories and if the pin is ever lost, a photograph will go along way to preserve the memory.

The trick to photographing things of this size is to really get in close. But you knew that, right? The other trick is that these treasures need to stick into something. Otherwise, they topple over and are difficult to photograph.

f/5, exp 1/10, bias +1.3, ISO 100
Center Weight Average metering

I simply stuck these pins into a piece of white fabric. Then I placed craft fiber fill underneath the pins until they were in a pleasing and easy to photograph angle.

f/5, exp 1/10, bias +1.3, ISO 100
Center Weight Average metering

These items are so small, that they photograph well inside a light box (unlike the pin above). And, if you have a collection of pins, you might as well photograph them together.

Go and photograph the lapel pins you have laying around your house or that adorns your relatives suit. Remember to record the story associated with the pins as well. Then leave a link in the comments section to your blog post or Flickr feed showcasing your photos so we can all celebrate your work.

04 June 2013

Tech Tuesday: Organizing With Evernote

Sometimes when you're drowning in family history research, it pays to get organized. As I looked for ways to be more organized with my research, I knew I needed something more than RootsMagic to organize the correspondence, thoughts, and whatnot that I've saved in my email 'boxes' for a decade.

Organizing Genealogy Emails
Organizing Genealogy Emails:
One folder has years of correspondence on one family line

I confess. I didn't realize how many emails were in the 'Genealogy' folders in my various email accounts that have been unanswered or not followed-up on. Is it because I'm still in the mix of raising small children and home schooling too boot? Is it because I'm not as techy as the "Gen Y" crowd or career focused as the "Gen X"? Perhaps yes or partly yes to these questions. It can also be that with time and experience comes the understanding for the need to be more organized.

Realizing I have a problem, I've put a lot of projects on hold, some of which deal with this blog. Instead, I have gone through the Genealogy folders of two email accounts that I use regularly and I've converted these emails into notes in Evernote.

I have found Evernote, very useful thus far. And, gasp, I've deleted emails once I copy and paste the content of various emails into one 'note' on Evernote. Some people will freak. But, just like I don't like clutter in my home, I don't like clutter on my computer (or my emails).

Additionally, once each email is copied into a note that pertains to the topic, I can then look at everything about a topic in one location rather than opening a bazillion emails. For those of you who are 'with it', this is not new. For me, I'm just discovering Evernote and glad I heard about it through a geneablogging pal.

I'm even using Evernote to keep all those 'scraps' of paper pertaining to my Home School and the Cub Scout programs. Sweet! Now, I have everything in one place and not scattered or buried on my desk. I'm not perfect in putting everything there yet. It will come with time and conscious effort. Yet, there are so many wonderful advantages.

Alright, alright.. .So that's a great 'testimonial'. When I was trying to visualize how people actually used Evernote, it was too vague (like the information above). So, I'm going to give a few more specifics, and hope that I can share my organizational process. It'll evolve over time, but here's where I'm at. Feel free to mention your tips or cautions below. I'd love to hear it.

Organizing Genealogy Emails
Organizing Emails using Evernote


For every genealogy email I have, I read through it and determine what the topic is. Let's say the topic is "Churches the Geiszlers attended in Columbus, OH"  and the specific email gives me a link to information online about the churches.

A Genealogy Note in Evernote
A Genealogy Note in Evernote
I create a new note in Evernote (CTRL+N).

I make sure the Genealogy topic is selected in the upper right hand drop down. 

Then I add tags, such as: Church Records, Geiszler, Research (as in research further).

Then I paste the note from the email.

Though it's not shown here, I include the date the email was received, and who it was from (including email address)

If the email talks about a different topic, I'll create a new note. Once I've created notes in Evernote for each topic of an email. I delete the email

Next I go to a new 'old' email. I create new notes, whenever necessary. If the 'old' email is about something I already have a note for, I copy and paste this new information onto the note that is already in Evernote. I'll include the date, sender, etc. for each new piece of information.

And so on and so forth.

NOW... some of my topics pertain to type of record/information, specific persons or families. But I also have tags such as "Blogs to Write"; "Research Tips"; "Research Further;" etc. These tags are 'action' tags that remind me that I want to do something with the information I've created.

Now that a multitude of emails pertaining to one topic are in one place (one note), I can easily read through the 'thread' if you will. I can see what new information has been gathered. What new actions need to be taken. Then I can write a full research report (or blog post, be on the look out) for each topic. If the topic is finished, I can then delete the note. If the topic needs to be placed in RootsMagic, at least I know where the information is from.

I full believe my 'work in progress' research needs to be fluid. My conclusions should be recorded in a more permanent place. There might be some red flags I'm missing, and I'm working through those issues. However, I really, really feel like Evernote is allowing me to process all the correspondence that I've encountered over the years. And now, I might actually refer to them again. Or, at least write the research conclusions that have been sitting in the 'in box' for far to long.

03 June 2013

Zumstein Family History: War, School, and Marriage for Robert Victor Zumstein

Robert Victor Zumstein in WWI
In case you missed it, part one of Robert Victor Zumstein's story is linked here

During World War I, more than 628,000 Canadians joined the armed forces. Two-thirds served overseas; 60,661 died. Victor's enlistment is said to have been in 1913 with his discharge around 1918, If this is the case, he joined when he was 17 and completed service when he was 22. However, his 1917 Particulars of Recruit form is dated Oct 7, 1917 and May 9, 1918. I'm still learning more and more about his service.

Particulars of Recruit: Robert Victor Zumstein
From what I've discovered thus far, he served as an interpreter of German prisoners of war, stationed in both France and Germany. What is confusing, is that he also attended school during these years. So it's important to locate his service records and complete the time-line more accurately.

Victor attended Dunnville High School taking courses in Physics and Chemistry until he was 16 and able to attend the University of Toronto. While in Toronto he was taken in the army.

In June 1914, a seventeen year-old R.Victor Zumstien took to a set of examinations, in Dunnville, called the Upper School Examination for Entrance into the Faculties of Education. The examinations has two parts and Victor took only Part I. He did not submits papers for the Art section. However, he passed with honors on the subject of: English Composition and Rhetoric, English Literature, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Physics, and Medieval History.

This allowed him to graduate from the University. Victor received a gold medallion for having the highest marks in Physics.

According to an Iowa City Newspaper article in 1924, Victor obtained his B.A. in Toronto in 1917. He had wrote a research paper entitled "Regularities in the spectra of lead and tin" published at the University of Toronto in 1918. Papers are often published after degrees are awarded. So the 1918 publishing date after the 1917 graduation date does coincide.

His next instruction relocated him to the United States of America to a small town in the state of Iowa known as Iowa City. He obtained his M.A. in Physics and Math in 1918 at the State University of Iowa.

1924 Doctorate of Philosophy ~ Robert V. Zumstein
1924 Doctorate of Philosophy ~ Robert V. Zumstein

Victor would continue working towards his Masters and teaching Physics at the State University of Iowa. With his career path established, Victor returned to Canada to marry his childhood sweetheart Clementina Comfort on 3 Jul 1920 at Elcho Church in Gainsborough Twp, Lincoln, Ontario. Her engagement ring was said to have cost $100. They were married under a pear tree at the home of her father, Alonzo Comfort.

On their marriage certificate, Victor and Clementina were both listed as teachers.  It is known that Victor was teaching in Iowa. Clementina was teaching public school in Smithville, Ontario. They both belonged to  the Congregational religion.  Their witnesses were Edward Clark and F Almina Comfort. Edward was Victor's cousin. F Almina is believed to be her sister Florence Almina.

They left by train at Attercliffe Station for Iowa State University where he had received a scholarship. They owned only their clothes and the "Old Colony" silverware she had purchased a few pieces at a time while teaching school.