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28 March 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: US Mini-Flags

The collections people have tell a lot about who they are. One fascinating thing my husband has is a collection of mini-flags from various countries around the world. He also has several state flags. And finally he has a series of flags that flew over the United States of America.

I personally really like the United States flag collection because it comes with a little booklet explaining when each flag flew and why. Now these flags are on our kitchen sideboard so we can appreciation our nation's heritage every day when we say morning prayers and the pledge to a larger American flag.

With kids around to tear things up, on purpose or by mistake, I felt I should photo graph the collections before they were lost, damaged, or destroyed.

Photographing collections
Photographing collections

A few state flags were arranged in two rows. The flag on the back row was placed there because it kept pointing in that direction. After trying out several positions, this flag looked best in the back.

The photography set up involved a seamless backdrop and my table placed near my larger living room window. An extra piece white muslin material was over a platform that created a second tier. The photograph was taken with the handy dandy tripod. The camera was set to AV priority mode. The lighting was simply the natural light in the mid morning. The ISO was set to 100 with an f stop of 5. The metering mode was spot focus.

I think the photograph turned out well straight off the camera. No post production work needed. What do you think?

Photographing memorabilia
Photographing collections

Here are the US flags that I mentioned before. I like the effect of placing the flags on the platform draped with a white cloth. I could have simply removed the second tier after taking the first photograph. However, this effect looks really nice, in my opinion.

A nit-picky person might suggest that the backdrop isn't truly seamless.They would be absolutely right. However, I like the movement of the backdrop. I've seen several of my children's photos with just a touch of drapery fold in the background. In some cases, it adds rather than detracts from the photograph. For some reason, I personally like the fact that these flags have a background that isn't completely seamless. Perhaps with the less 'professional' look, the artifacts look like they belonged to someone rather than a picture that was taken from a sales catalog. Now that I write that thought, the sentiment expresses exactly why I like the 'non-perfect' backdrop.

I'll use these photos to tell the story of my husband's flag collection which I believe began when he took a trip to the Nation's Capital as a teenager.

27 March 2013

Heritage Scrapbooking: Color Schemes Part Two

Last week, I showed you some of the scrapbook pages for an album about my mother and her heritage. This week, I'll share the family history layouts that are included in my father's album. Once again, notice how a well chosen color scheme can be applied to the entire album to unify each page into one complete story.

Cover page sets the theme

All heritage albums need a family tree

Father's Page

Mother's Page

Use documents for a Baby Page
Use documents for a funeral page

Use documents to tell about education

Use documents to tell about religion

For my father, I used a green, light blue and navy color scheme. Since the album was about a man, blues and greens were a great choice. Many of the pages worked nicely to have the navy as the background, but sometimes, the light green was a great choice to separate topics. For the mother and father layouts, since they were facing each other, I used similar layout arrangements to create even more unity across the open two pages.

Selecting one color scheme for your family history scrapbook saves time as well. You only are choosing between a few papers that fit your color scheme rather than every digital scrapbook page you own.

For more color scheme ideas that work well for heritage scrapbooks, you might want to revisit this post. To see review a post about playing with color until you find one that works for your project, revisit the post.

26 March 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: My great-grandfather's wife's sister

Rosa Webb Owen's gravemarker, Photo by Marcia1061

I haven't seen many people working on the family of my second great grandfather's second wife. Andrew Nelson Smith (1855-1933) had two wives that I know of. Emmeline Ward (1866-1893) is my second great grandmother. She is the mother of Lura Maude Smith who I've shared scrapbook pages about (or will do so soon). Emma died shortly after the birth of her second child. Grandpa Smith, as my Grannie called him, remarried a woman named Mary Etta Webb. Mary Etta was committed to an asylum and died there. So, my Grannie new very little about Grandpa Smith's second wife's family. I figured, someone should search...

Mary Etta is the daughter of William Webb (an immigrant from England) and Georgina Stares, also from England. They have four children that I know of:

1. child Webb - died Oct 1865 in Columbus, Ohio
2. Charles F Webb - b 19 Feb 1854 d 23 Apr 1908 in Franklin County, Ohio
3. Rosa Webb- b 20 Dec 1856 d 27 Dec 1946 in Franklin County, Ohio
4. Mary Etta Webb - b 4 Feb 1861 d 22 Aug 1939 in Franklin County, Ohio.

I requested a photo of her gravemarker and ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom, here it is. Turns out, Rosa married someone with the last name Owens.

25 March 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Elizabeth Long letter discussing Longs of Lycoming, PA, Pt 2/3

This is the second page of the letter from Elizabeth Long to Penny Geiszler regarding the Long Family that originated in Pennsylvania... but now includes the siblings of my great grandfather Harry Howard Long.

John W and Hannah Long William Lester and Angie Long
Letter from Elizabeth Long to Penny Brown Geiszler, 9 October 1976; 
digital image held in 2010 by Devon Lee.

Here's the transcription:

My siblings and me are: all born in 1800s in New Haven, Ohio

Dan Ray b 10/7/76 died 9/15/1954 buried New Haven “Dan” not “Daniel”
Gertrude b 6/30/78 died 2/1/1949 in Washington buried in New Haven
Mary Agnes b 2/21/82 died 11/16/1953 in Washington buried in Havanah Ohio
Harry Howard b 12/1/83 died 12/13/1937 buried in Columbus, Originally he was named Henry Howard but always used the name “Harry”
Felix Angelo b 1/25/1886 died 12/23/1890 buried in New Haven
Elizabeth b 12/22/1890 will not be buried, body will go to GWU Med School
(The above is recorded in my personal 'birthday book” or otherwise from personal knowledge)

I remember vaguely that the Long family was originally Scotch but later settled somewhere in North Ireland where they owned some property. Since they could not take it with them to USA presumably returned to Crown. I don't know when the family came to the USA. I have a hunch that records of Lycoming Co. PA. Might have clues. Somewhere I heard that Grandma Long was a toll road keeper before her marriage. Another relative is involved here, but I'm not sure of the relationship. She was sort of foster sister to father (older than Dad) and was known to us children as Aunt Matt. Her first name was Martha but I don't know what her maiden name was. She married a man named Woodworth. She later lived with her son, Fred Woodworth in Cleveland. Fred had two daughters, Muriel and Marjorie. Aunt Matt brought the girls to visit us in Norwalk. Apparently Aunt Matt was a relative, perhaps an orphan niece of Grandma's. Anyhow, Grandma 'raised' her. Possibly her maiden name was Harrington for I know that name comes in somewhere.

Grandpa and Grandma [John W and Hannah] moved to the farm near New Haven when father [William Lester] was 2 years old. During the gold rush to Calif in (1849++) I don't know when he went and when he returned. He didn't make a strike. He went via the Isthmus of Panama (by ship). When they moved to Ohio I remember hearing that they stayed with one of Grandpa's brothers but I don't know which or what became of him for he wasn't around when I can remember and no one talked about him and his family.

Their children [John W and Hannah Long] were:
Winfield Scot Long (always called Scott, married Adeline?
William Lester Long (called “Lester or “Less”) married Angeline Young
Mary E Long – m James S Lewis, probably buried in Plymouth Ohio
Clara Adeline Long m Geo B Silliman, was usually called Addie buried in Plymouth
Frank H Long m Inez Stewart (they had 17 children)

(Robert had the above information in some information he had Xeroxed and I suppose sent you a copy)

After coming to Ohio they built a clapboard hous and later (during the Civil War) replaced it with a brick one. The old house was used as a “summer kitchen” and for storage – an uncovered board porch connected the two.

Family bibles never seemed to be used for record keeping.

I learned something new. I always knew that Great Grandma Long was not known as Sarah but rather Angie. However, I didn't retain the knowledge that William Lester was referred to as Lester or Less throughout his life. I suppose I will now need to make note of that. Thanks Aunt Elizabeth for the tip!

22 March 2013

Location Tips

I wanted to remember some tips I learned from the RootsTech seminar online:

To find someone's location:
  • Wikipedia, look for Geocode
  • Hometown Locator (look for Geocode or names of maps the place is on)
  • GNIS (look for Geocode)
  • Take Geocodes and plug them into Google Maps

Other resources:

There might have been more, but these links were somewhat helpful in understanding Prairie, Franklin, Ohio (which no longer exists) and New Haven, Huron, Ohio (which does).

Lincoln, Ontario, Canada

I found only one map for Gainsborough, Lincoln, Ontario, Canada... but much is not available has been renamed since 1970. Elcho, Gainsborough, Lincoln, Ontario, Canada was found on a map, but, it appears to only be a cross-section of four farm houses at present.

I'll admit that I had hoped to find out more about the places, but at least I know more than I had in the past. Small steps to understanding. My next endeavor will be to use these tips on more locations within my database. That will take some time, but at least I have these tips saved!!!

21 March 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Concert Program

Okay... now most people would not think the following post is worthy of inclusion in a family history meme of Treasure Chest Thursday. HOWEVER, my monthly challenge was fad items. Right? Have you participated yet? If you haven't there is still time. And why not have a little fun with it?

I'm about to have a lot of fun. Family history includes us! Yep. Our personal history writing efforts become the family history for our children, grandchildren and beyond. So why not include some of the things we like? Like rock concerts? I mean, rock concerts were the rage for the generation of most of my readers, so, you should write a little about the music you listened to and why. And while you're at it, if you have saved anything from those concerts, you might as well photograph it.

Photographing Rock Concert Memorabilia
Bon Jovi New Jersey Tour Program
When I was younger, my brother and I went to the Bon Jovi rock concert at the Summit Arena in Houston, Texas. Boy or boy did I think this band was the best thing since sliced bread. And Jon Bon Jovi and his band mates put on a killer show. Well worth my teenage allowance.

In any case, this over-sized program does not fit on a scanner. Go figure. So, I had to photograph it. I set up my seamless backdrop by the window and waited for natural light to filter through the window. With my camera on a tripod and a white foam board serving as a reflector, I snapped a few photographs of this program.

Now, because of the glossy nature of the paper, photographing the program was a bit of a challenge. I put a little bit of craft fiber-fill underneath the program to get enough of an angle to take the photo. I didn't have a way to take a photo of the program from straight above. I thought this angle worked nice and the reflections were kept to a bare minimum.

With the cover of the program photographed, I wanted to photograph the inside. There were far too many pages to choose from. So, I attempted to choose the ones I remember enjoying the most (or made Jon Bon Jovi look the hottest).

Photographing Rock Concert Memorabilia

Photographing Rock Concert Memorabilia

Photographing Rock Concert Memorabilia

I could have found a way to scan or photograph these items more flat. But I really love the way the page curls at the upper left. It shows that this was a book and was meant to be opened and looked at. So, I like that effect. I can't wait to use these photos on a scrapbook layout that shares my experience at this concert.

So... while you're thinking about what artifacts you can photograph for the Treasure Chest Thursday Challenge of Fad Items... have fun. Delve into rock  concerts and other 'crazy fads' that you or your ancestors participated in. Family History shouldn't only be about birth, marriage, and death. It should be about the entertainment in our lives.

"And these five words I swear to you, I'll be there for you" (okay, those are from the song I'll Be There For You by Bon Jovi, but the funny bone in me was itching to do it.)
Side story: Bon Jovi is responsible for sealing the deal for my husband to me. He passed the test of what I was looking for in a future husband. Then one night we were watching 80s movies and laugh about all of the trends and fads and which ones we participated in. Then, this guy was bold enough to admit he liked Bon Jovi! At that time, few guys liked admitting that to some girl they thought was hot. When he said that, I knew he was the one for me. I LOVED Bon Jovi at that time and was trying to keep it quite because guys didn't seem to like girls who went ga-ga over Jon or Richie Sambora. So.. thank you to the New Jersey bad for helping two crazy youngsters know they were Born to Be My Baby or something like that.

20 March 2013

Heritage Scrapbooking: Using Color Schemes

Selecting a Heritage Scrapbook Color Scheme

Since June of 2011, I have shared a lot of information about creating family history scrapbooks. I fully believe this is a kid-friendly way to present our heritage information. And, big people like them too.

Cover page sets the theme
I've shared why you should create a family history scrapbook. I have shared different page types that you could include in your heritage project:

I have shared tips on what do to do when:

I've also shared resources you can use when selecting your color schemes for a heritage scrapbook here and here. That's a lot of information and there is even more in my book: 
Today, I wanted to show you why a color scheme is important. This week I'll share the collection of pages from my mother's album that I've shared so far.

All heritage albums need a family tree

Heritage Scrapbook Idea Father Theme
Heritage albums should have a Father's Page
Heritage Scrapbook Idea Mother Layout
Mother's Page should also be in a family history album

Scrapbook Page Layout with Family Trees
Use mini family tree on a grandparent's page

Use memorabilia on a scrapbook layout
Use memorabilia on grandmother's page

Family Tree on a Heritage Scrapbook Layout
Another mini family tree on grandparent page

Journaling Tips for Family Tree Scrapbook Layouts
Keep the story brief on grandma's page

Scrapbook layout with Black & White Photos
Use a two page layout...

Scrapbook layout about baton twirling
to tell the person's story

For my mother, I used a green, tan, and gold color scheme. I chose these colors because they were the colors of my mother's wedding. They looked so nice together on her wedding day. I knew she would like the color scheme for a personal reason.

Feel free to click on the images to see a larger view of each photo. The caption links will take you to posts about related topics. I hope you enjoy this recap. And now you can see why how the mix and matching of papers and elements in a color scheme unites family history album pages to tell a story. And that's what we are... story tellers.

19 March 2013

Tombstone Tuesday: Michael Kirchner (1820 - 1893)

I'll admit that I love climbing through my family tree. When my Geiszler cousins shared some information about his family, I got curious and I searched around to see what I could. Though Michael Kirchner is not related to me, I had fun requesting a photograph for him on The monument is stunning. Someday, I hope someone will go on a bright sunny day to see what it looks like in the spring or summer. Nevertheless, the stone work is beautiful.

Photo by Mary Meadows for
Michael Kirchner is my cousin's 2nd great-grandfather. He was born 22/3 Jul 1820 in Oberbach, Steinach, BADEN, Germany. He died 5 May 1893 in Ohio, United States.

This stone also has a Christina Gillander Kirchner on it. However, I thought Michael's wife's name was Chirstina Sillmann. Could be why I'm stuck?

Celebrating the history happening now

Devon Geiszler Lee
Here I am taking a moment to
celebrate the history that is happening now
Last month, I worked on my personal history in the form of the yearly scrapbooks for two of my children, the family book, and a travel album from two years ago. I also caught up on our family blog that I keep offline and print out yearly. Last year is ready to be printed and bound. This year is caught up. WHEW!

I love seeking out my ancestors. I love dreaming about breaking through their brick walls. I am also still fishing for new information and processing what I already know. However, I have to remember that the living have a story to tell as well. Knowing how invaluable our story is to those who come after, I must do my part to share the personal/current history. And then, I must live too.

But now that I'm caught up, I'm ready to find a balance to the current and the past history. I'm pumped and ready. Happy first day of Spring, even if you're feeling like the Groundhog committed fraud this year.

18 March 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Elizabeth Long letter discussing Longs of Lycoming, PA, Pt 1/3

I wanted to start writing the history of my great grandfather Harry Howard Long, but I had to stop. I was looking at a source citation that referred to a letter written by his sister to my mother. In the letter, there were a few nuggets about great grandfather's Long relatives and a brief mention of the Marvin family. So, I decided to pause and transcribe the letter. The original letter was three pages, so I will share the letter in three posts.

Robert and Elizabeth Long of Lycoming, PA
Letter from Elizabeth Long to Penny Brown Geiszler, 9 October 1976;
digital image held in 2010 by Devon Lee.

Here is the transcription of page 1:

October 9, 1976

Dear Penny:

You have been on my mind for some time especially recently. I've been trying to remind myself to get at writing and then today your letter supplied the necessary push and so here's your letter.

I'm afraid I can't give you a lot of information about my father's family. Father never alked much about his family. What data I have was obtained from father's siter Aunt Mary Lewis. I've been urging Robert to get in touch with my cousin, Mildred Long Arnold, who was in Bucyrus. The Mehrling boys have cousins there whom they visit occasionally.

Information obtained from Aunt Mary, Aug. 1921, as follow's (from Aunt Gertrude's notes)

My fathers grandparents: Robert Long born 10/7/1770 and Elizabeth born 8/11/1785

Children of Robert & Elizabeth

James, born 12/3/1802
John W, b 2/16/1805 – Lycoming Co, Penn, county seat Willamsport
William, b 11/17/1807
Robert, b 2/25/1810
Maxwell, b 7/15/1812
Margaret, b 12/17/1814
William, b 2/25/1817
Samuel, b 4/11/1819

My sister Gertrude obtained the above from Aunt Mary (orally) in August 1921. No maiden name is given for Elizabeth but another entry gives the mother's name as Jennie Watterson (she was said to be of Scotch descent).

I wonder whether Robert had two wives – perhaps Jennie was a first wife. I'm sure the name Watterson comes in somewhere or perhaps she was a second wife. There seems quite a difference in ages between Robert and Elizabeth. She would have been 17 when James was born. I wonder about two sons named William.

Father's father was John W. and he married Hannah Patterson More b 8/14/1814. Note says her mother was Jennie Patterson. Hannah was born in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. Father, William Lester Long, was born in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania 1/22/1849. He died in Columbus, February 28, 1925 and was buried in New Haven, Huron Co, Ohio. You certainly must have mother's dates but here they are Sarah Angeline Young (always called “Angie”) was born in Mansfield, Ohio Aug. 28, 1855 died October 14th 1931in Columbus buried in New Haven, Ohio. Married Sept 2 (?) 1875.

Information about my parents mostly obtained from personal knowledge. I have mother's birth certificate (late registration later rescinded)

I'll share the next installment next Monday.

14 March 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Let the Artifacts Tell A Story

I would love to share with you more tips on being a better photographer by knowing which settings to use for which occasions. However, today, I'm taking a detour of sorts. When we have awesome treasures, we should let them tell their own story so we don't have to. We can do that with photography.

So here's the story. When I became engaged to my husband, there was no ring involved initially. Call me crazy if you want, but I didn't need a ring at that time. So, here we are engaged without a ring to show for it. My darling had plans to cover that in a few months. In the meantime, I received a package in the mail. Inside a small box was this ring.

Photographing Family Heirlooms
Can you guess what this is?
Isn't this every woman's dream? There was a cute note inside from my future mother-in-law. Before I show you this note, I have to tell you want this is, in case you're wondering. It's a prairie diamond, or at least that's what it is billed as. These cute nails bent in the shape of rings are passed out when you visit the historical village of Nauvoo, Illinois. My mother-in-law told me that the prairie diamonds were good enough for pioneer women when they had to make a lot of sacrifices, or something like that.

In any case, my sweet future mother-in-law knew it would be a few months until I had a gold ring on my finger. She also had intiution enough to know that I'd like something to say I was engaged by. She gave me something cute and hoped I'd like it. Well, I liked it so much I've saved the box it came in, the note that came with it and the ring all these years.

So... now that you know the story, does that prairie diamond photo tell the story of my future mother-in-law? Nope. So... here's the note and the box that the ring came in.

Using photography to tell a family story
The sweet note my future mother-in-law sent me after I was engaged
Now... the note is legible. You can see the blue box that is a trademark color for Tiffany's but beside the note, you wouldn't know that it was from Tiffany's. And the ring is poking out underneath the note. Eh. This isn't that great. Besides, the white backdrop wasn't working.

So I switched the arrangement of the key elements in this story... the note, the box and the ring. I swapped the white background for a black background and tried again.

Using photos to tell a family story
I love the ring and the box, but without the note, the story is half told.
I liked this arrangement of the ring inside the box with the Tiffany & Co logo on the lid. Now we know the box is from Tiffany's. If we saw the note, it will now fully make sense. Imagine an engaged young woman, opening a box from Tiffany's. She lifts the lid and finds a note from her future mother-in-law. Then she lifts the note and sees the ring. Now she'll either think her fiance's mom is wacky or really sweet. (I vote sweet.)

Using photos to tell a family story
Using photos to tell a family story
Perfect. All the elements are arranged so that each carries the story of the prairie diamond. Yes I wore this ring until my engagement ring was presented by my now husband of quite a few years.

Oh... and I popped the levels in PhotoShop Elements. Now I have the perfect picture for the wonderful story about my wonderful mother-in-law.

Who doesn't want something from Tiffany's?

13 March 2013

Heritage Scrapbooking: Keep The Story Brief

I have enjoyed sharing with you various pages from the heritage albums about my mother and father. If you've missed any of them, be sure to check out the posts in the HeritageScrapbooking thread.

This week I wanted to focus a bit on the journaling block. When creating a family history album, you want to keep your writing short and focused. Knowing the focus of your album helps you determine what needs to be shared in each project. So let's focus on the decisions I had about Lura Maude Smith's scrapbook page.

Lura Maude Smith is my mother's grandmother. For a focused scrapbook about the life of Penny Brown, I should mention the grandmother she never met. My focused album will be brief so that it gets finished, so Lura will only receive one page layout to tell who she is.

heritage scrapbooking ideas
How to keep your journaling brief in a family history scrapbook

The key things to share about Lura are who she is in terms of lineage, vital information, and any brief anecdotes that make her a little more real. Here is the journaling from this page:

Lura Maud Smith was born on 9 Feb 1884 in Bay City, Michigan. She was the daughter of Andrew Nelson Smith (of Central College, Ohio) and Emma Ward (of Bay City, Michigan). They were married in Tuscola, Michigan.

At age nine, Lura was left an only child after her mother and her baby brother died in 1893. Andrew married Mary Etta Webb but she eventually was placed in an asylum.

It is believed that Lura was not able to have children. Lura and Harry adopted two daughters, Marguerite in 1916 and Louise in 1920.

Lura was a devoted wife and mother. She also wore glasses. Her daughter Louise admits to cheating at card games by reading her mother's cards in those glasses.

Louise described her mother as a genteel lady who was very nice looking. Lura was a homemaker and her relatives were fond of her cooking.

Lura died on 7 May 1934 at the age of 50 in Columbus, Ohio.

As you can see, I shared some information about the death of Lura's mother and the fate of her step-mother. I shared the belief in Lura's barrenness and the adoption of two girls. I didn't need to include the daughter's full names and birth dates as they are included on a facing page about Lura's husband Harry. And since this page comes after Louise's page, the logical conclusion of the album's reader is that the Louise spoken of is the one on the previous page. (This is another reason I like bound albums. The story can be told using less words because of the arrangement of scrapbook pages).

I do have spelling errors on the page, but in an updated versions of this scrapbook, I shall fix those mistakes.

There are more photos and more stories that I could share about Lura. Since I know the purpose of her story in this scrapbook, I was easily able to focus in on the most important information. I hope my sharing this process will help you know what to include in your scrapbook pages.

08 March 2013

Patience for a Civil War Pension File

Okay... so $80 and 120 days are the price to hopefully obtain a Civil War Pension file for my Grandpa Lew's maternal grandfather William Townsend. I am HOPING beyond hope that there will be clues to my 2nd Great Grandfather Townsend. He is a family history brick wall of great proportions. Many genealogy sites say some nuggets are bound to be in the file. Fingers crossed and all that.

Unfortunately, this is a lesson in PATIENCE. And despite the fact that my genealogy website is named A Patient Genealogist, it's more a satirical title. When I want to know something, I'm FAR from patient. Once I hear something, I'll let you know.

07 March 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Photographing Plaques

Reflective surfaces on your artifacts are a p-a-i-n to photograph. If you have been out photographing tombstones, you know exactly what I mean. Having yourself reflecting back out of a tombstone isn't exactly what we're going for. The same goes with any plaque or artifact that you have.

Last year, my friend helped me photograph a trophy from when I was in color guard. He taught me the concept of 'just play'. For the most part, I do play around but I'm still trying to understand a common starting point with regards to photographing objects. That way I have some direction to go from rather than starting at random and going in the wrong direction for too long.

My starting point tends to be the same now for my artifacts. For small objects, I set up by light box near a window when the natural light is soft. I do not use a flash. I place my camera on a tripod and shoot in the AV setting. I drop my ISO setting to 100 and turn on the macro focus setting. From there, I often play between the center weight average metering and the spot metering. For me, the spot metering blows out the white background most of the time. I often like this effect. But for other objects, it doesn't work. And sometimes when the photo looks great on the camera LCD monitor, I have to make adjustments on my computer later.

Here's what I've come up with.

Photographing heritage memorabilia
Etched Wood Film Plaque
f /3.5, exp 0.6, ISO 80, Center Weight Average metering

Disregarding the angle of this photo, I love the detail of the wood. There is no reflection in the black film covering. And you can not only see the etched detail but the scratches this plaque incurred through the moves I've made. Thankfully I learned one more trick... adjusting levels using PhotoShop Elements or PaintShop Pro.

Pageant Award Plaque after adjusting the levels in PaintShop Pro

With a little sliding of the level meters, I think this photo really pops. I might still play with the photograph in PhotoShop Elements, but perhaps not. I think this will look nice on a scrapbook page or family history book section about my participation in pageants and the year I won Miss Palestine.

06 March 2013

Heritage Scrapbooking: Using Paper Memorabilia

I've shared a number of different types of scrapbook pages you might want to include in your family history album. If you've missed any post, check out the heritage scrapbooking posts that you've missed by clicking here.

As you might have seen in my Treasure Chest Thursday and Photo Friday posts, I have preserved a lot of artifacts digitally. Now that they are digitzed, I can use them in my scrapbook layouts. One such layout belongs to my mother's grandmother Emma Virginia Townsend Brown.

Include memorabilia in heritage albums
Using artifacts in family history scrapbooks.

I do not have a lot of things or photos belonging to Emma even though her daughter-in-law Louise (my grandmother) lived with her until Emma passed. For Emma's scrapbook page, I wanted to include the two photos that I do have. I also had a bit of biographical information, so her text spot is larger than some of my other pages in mom's heritage album. You can see I continue with the green, tan, and gold color scheme throughout mom's pages.

But that's not why I'm showing of this page. I LOVE the "Emma V Brown" paper that I have in my document collection. I believe this was obtained in Emma's family bible among some other small random pieces of paper. When the family documents passed to me, I've kept this faded news print paper. I would love to know why Emma had this made... it's printed and on newsprint paper. Why would she have this done?

Regardless, I have loved this crazy piece of paper with Great Grandma Emma's name on it. And, my love for this 'trivial' piece of paper that has been in my possession since 1994, and my mother's since 1977, prompted me to include it on Emma's heritage page. I don't think I really needed the extra title on brown texture paper. However, I used both 'titles' and to me they don't conflict.

So... if you have similar pieces of paper in your genealogical stash... consider using them on your family history scrapbook pages. Be sure to digitize the artifact so that you don't have to use the original.

04 March 2013

Mystery Monday: Where is Wittenberg Lutheran Cemetery?

I am completely stumped by a reference in a Death Certificate. The reference is for Elizabeth nee Pusecker was buried in Wittenberg Lutheran Cemetery in Ohio. I have no idea where that Wittenberg Lutheran Cemetery is or was.

Elizabeth Pusecker Death Certificate
Family Search, "Ohio Death, 1908-1957" database, (http:/ :
Entry for Elizabeth Pusecker, died 11 February 1913 Source Film: 1953599, Reference No: fn 8754.
  Here's what I know about this 'non-relative' relative. Elizabeth is second wife of Karl Friedrich Pusecker (9 May 1808 - 11 Nov 1886). Karl Pusecker traveled from Gillersheim, Northeim, Niedersachsen, Germany to America with my fourth great-grandmother Heinrich Andreas M├Ąck (29 Jun 1811 - 29 Nov 1868). The two families settled down in Franklin County, Ohio by 1855. Heinrich's son Heinrich Ludwig married Karl's daughter Caroline Pusecker.

In any case, Karl's first wife and mother to Caroline died in 1856. Karl remarried Magdalena Ackerman in 1857. Magdelena died in March 1879. Then Karl married Elizabeth Hoffman in October 1879. Hoffman is said to be Elizabeth's married name, rather than her maiden name.

In any case, I found Elizabeth's death certificate. I find it fascinating that Elizabeth died in the Franklin County Infirmary in 1913. She was a widow and the informant was the Infirmary records department. Whenever I see this, I feel so sad that no family member was the informant. It just seems so sad.

I want to know more about Elizabeth but I can't figure out where Wittenberg Lutheran Cemetery is. It had to have been an active cemetery in 1913. But I can't find reference to it now. I'm not familiar with tracking down Lutheran Church records so I'm completely stumped. Hopefully someone with a little more familiarity with either the Lutheran church records in Franklin County, Ohio or with cemeteries in the area could help me out. My Google searches are coming up empty.


I'm not sure when Wittenberg became St. James Lutheran Church, but I figured out a connection while I was lost on another collateral line. Thanks to an hint, I came across the following death certificate:

Death Certificate for :AMALIA FLADT

Amalia is my the mother-in-law of my 1st cousin 3x removed. That's a pretty close relations, huh? Regardless, I know that Amalia Fladt was buried in Saint James Lutheran Church Cemetery in Hilliard, Franklin County Ohio. But check out where the death certificate says she was buried. You guessed it. Wittenberg Cemetery.

Potential relative mystery solved?
Find A Grave Memorial# 14742872

A quick search for Elizabeths shows a stone for an Elizabeth Hoffman. Now, I'm not 100% certain if this is the Elizabeth I was searching for. It's entirely possible. But I would certainly need someone to visit the stone and transcribe it for me. They maybe, just maybe my mystery would be solved.

01 March 2013

Geiszler Family History: George Joseph Geiszler

I've spent a lot of time on my mother's maiden name line and I'm a bit... well burn out is not the word but it's the one that comes to mind. So I felt like shifting gears a bit. I skipped over my dad and my grand father. I know I should write about them as they are the closest to me. However, Great Grandpa George is Grandpa to my father's living cousins. I visited his three surviving grandchildren, all of whom are girls. I feel drawn to write about him so that I can develop more questions for his living descendants. Plus, I recently received  many wonderful photos of Great Grandpa Geiszler, that I want to share that as well.

George Joseph Geiszler
George J Geiszler
of Columbus, Ohio
abt 1910
My great grandfather is George Joseph Geiszler. George was born on 8 Jun 1886 in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio. George was the son of Henry Joseph Geiszler and Marguerite Magdalena Hoppe. He grew up with an older brother, William Joseph, as two younger siblings had died very young.

As early as 1899 George was working as a laborer while living at his home at 1141 Medill Street. By the 1900 Census, George's situation had not changed... still working, still living at home.

In 1902, George's brother William, age 19, married a woman named Maude Brown. The marriage was over before 1910. One could wonder what impact this had on George as he did not marry until he was 32.

By 1904, George was working as a pattern marker for the railroad. I read somewhere that railroading was the high tech industry of the time. I believe it. Another person said that once you had a job with the railroad, you were set for life. I would love to know if that's true. Regardless, George never stopped working from 1904 until his death in the 70s. Talk about a job for life! His brother, was a blacksmith and even had a shop with the Geiszler name on it.

In 1912, George's brother William married Aleta Bowers. This marriage lasted throughout William's life. At some point, William and George became very estranged. It is believed that the Catholic Aleta wanted to keep the boys separated in hopes that their drinking problems, inspired by their father Henry, would subside. The timing of the separation is unknown, only that they lived in the same town but rarely saw each other. The children of George and William would rarely play with each other as well.


 Having lived 17 hours or more away from family for the majority of my life, I just can't imagine having cousins within a 20 minute drive of me and not spending time with them  The families did correspond as the children of both brothers know of each other and a bit about their lives at present. However, the cousins still don't gather though many still live in Columbus. I don't wish to judge. All I can say is, that I hope time and forgiveness will heal all wounds whether on this earth or in the world to come.


Right now... this is all I know about George as a young man. Well, I also know that his father had a drinking problem. At some point I want to enrich his story by putting more information about history into this narrative. For now, it's a start. I look forward to sharing more about Grandpa George. By the way, the photo above, I saw it for the first time in May 2012 when I traveled to Ohio. I only had pictures of Grandpa George as a really old man in the 1970s. That photo is a great treasure to me. I have even more!!!!

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