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30 January 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Penny's Charm Bracelet

The summer before my mother passed away, she brought me a large bag of her jewelry. Among other things, I found this charm bracelet. I remember my mother used to wear charm bracelets when I was little. She had three different ones and she wore them with great pride to work and church. As I got older, and she quite working, she didn't wear the bracelets as much.  Although the memory of her wearing bracelets has stuck with me, I don't know the stories behind each charm. She passed away before I could ask her. I challenge you to photograph the charm bracelets in your collections and identify what the different pieces mean. Having a photo is wonderful. Recording the memories is better.

Family Heirloom Charm Bracelet
Charm Bracelet
Canon PowerShot SX110 IS
f/5, exp 1/6 sec, bias +0.7, ISO 80
Focal length: 18 mm ; Center Weight Average metering

I really love photographing in a light box. Makes the challenge of photographing objects at the 'right' time for natural light become a non-issue. For a home educating mother, I don't always have time to photograph when the sun decides it's ready to provide the 'right' light.

I've decided that I don't like to photograph jewelry on cardboard. I like jewelry to be on a material. I could iron out the material if I wanted to be persnickety. But, a little wrinkle in time never hurt anyone. (Okay, bad pun, but you get the idea).

Family Memorabilia Charm Bracelet
Charm Bracelet: Charms Turned
Canon PowerShot SX110 IS
f/5, exp 1/6 sec, bias +0.7, ISO 80
Focal length: 18 mm ; Center Weight Average metering
When you work with charm bracelets, pay attention to details. I changed the orientation of one charm and I think it improved the quality of the photo. I don't know that you'll be able to see every charm as clearly as you'd like. But you can see most of them well enough to know what they depict. Play around with the charms and their orientation until you have something that works.

Family History Charm Bracelet
Brightened with Photo Editor

This last photo shows you the power of editing your photos. Ideally, you'll want to do as much as you can with your camera to have a great photo. Then, all you have to do is a mild tweak and you're set (if you even have to do that). In PhotoShop Elements, I duplicated the image and screened the duplicated image on top of the lower image at about 80%. 100% screen gave the bracelet a washed out look. 80% brightened up the photo and the background and took away the dullness.

If you think your photo needs a pop, consider using blending modes on your camera and see what punch you can give them. Have fun photographing your heirloom charm bracelets. I have a few more examples of mom's bracelets in the coming weeks.

29 January 2014

Heritage Scrapbook Page: Fathers Page - Sherman Brown

Heritage albums look nice when you pick one color scheme and stick with it throughout the scrapbook. You never have to worry about things clashing. Instead, you have continuity and a complete story. And, your reader will focus on the photos and the stories of your family history album rather than the decorative elements.

With that said, here is this week's heritage scrapbook page idea. The page is a father's page featuring Sherman Brown.

creating a heritage album
Heritage Scrapbook Father's Page Idea
Scrapbook Kit: Americana by No Reimer Reason

Now, I don't mind patter, but this striped pattern can be overpowering in large doses. When I placed Sherman's photo on the background without a mat, the photo was lost in the background. At first, I had all of the elements: the mini-family tree, the journaling block, and the photo with the same colored border/mat. That didn't look right and the photo, because of its size, did not grab my attention. By choose the red from the background paper as the photo mat, the photo now is in balance with the other elements of the page.

If you want to learn more using mini-family trees, you should refer to my previous blog post Using Mini-Trees on Your Layouts.

On this layout, I use more embellishments than the previous layouts. This layout lends itself nicely to more embellishments. Yet, the accents to stay in a supporting role. The Americana kit compliments the sepia photograph so nicely. It's really worth checking out. Give love to Amber Reimer for creating this kit when you do.

If you missed the Baby Page or the Childhood Page for the "60 Years of Lewis Brown" scrapbook, you can revisit those links here and here.

To learn what additional pages you should include in a family history scrapbook, purchase the eBook Create a Family History Scrapbook Digitally in 12 Simple Steps at

27 January 2014

Amanuensis Monday: Another Affidavit from Mary Townsend

Last week, I posted the first affidavit from Mary Townsend. It seems she had to reapply for a Pension in 1890, after initially applying in 1889 after her husband William James Townsend's death.

Civil War Pension Affidavit from Mary Townsend

State of Ohio
County of Franklin } SS.

In the matter of Pension Claim No. 422.500 of Mary Townsend widow of William J Townsend late of Co “K”, 133rd Reg't, Ohio Infantry Vols.

Personally came before me a __________ in and for said County and State, Mary Townsend aged 44 years. No. ___________ St.

Citizen of the town of Edward Station County of Franklin State of Ohio well known to me to be reputable and entitled to credit, and who, being duly sworn, declares in relations to aforesaid case as follows:

I am the claimant above named my husband William J Townsend did no serve in the military or naval service of the United States after his discharge from Co. “K” 133rd Regt. Ohio Inft. Vols. On August 20, 1864.

Unfortunately, the bottom of the letter was not scanned by the person I hired to do the work. I don't have a signature or a date for the affidavit.  Based on the date stamp from the Pension office, this one was completed sometime in late 1890 and early 1891.

23 January 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Personalized Bear

Growing up with an unusual name like Devon, I rarely found my name on anything mass marketed. As a youngster, it really bothered me. All my girl friends would have cool personalize things, but not me. Looking back, I realized that it wasn't really personalized if every Jennifer had a backpack with that name on it. They'd all be copycats. As a family historian, I realize that having a fairly unique name might be a blessing for future generations. When they talk about Grandma Devon, they'll all know who they're talking about. Not so for Grandma Pheobe or Grandma Elizabeth.

In any case, I wanted to show you how playing with your settings and the angles of your lighting can achieve a professional look with amateur skills. Remember, all professional photographers were once amateurs.

Here you can see a personalized name bear that I hung in my bedroom throughout high school and part of college. (Can you believe a 'hip' university student would have such a childish thing on their wall? Well, when this is the only personalized thing I've ever had, you bet!)

Photographing Memorabilia
Personalized Memento
Canon PowerShot SX110 IS
f/5, exp 1/4 sec, ISO 200
Focal length: 12 mm ; Spot metering

This first photograph is nice. I like it and could use it with the story I just shared and my family members will be tickled to see what I finally had with my name on it. However, I wanted a more white out background. So, I lowered the ISO value, dropped by f-stop value, and zoomed in a little closer. All of this was done in the AV mode on my camera (not ready to go fully manual yet).

Photograph High School Memoriabilia
Personalized Memento
Canon PowerShot SX110 IS
f/3.5, exp 1/10 sec, ISO 100
Focal length: 14 mm ; Spot metering

Wow, what a difference. Now, I'll admit I took numerous shots before this one was what I was after, but that's all apart of learning. And, my family members won't have to see all the rejects. Only the keepers. So have fun remembering the things you wished for as a child and finally got. Photograph by playing around with the settings on your camera. And you'll have quite a few keepers. Good luck!

22 January 2014

Heritage Scrapbooking: Childhood Page, Americana Theme

Last week, you saw the first in a series of posts about my grandfather's heritage scrapbook. My grandfather Lewis Brown was a military hero who died when I was very little. I don't remember him but my mother thought he was an All-American dad. So, I chose an All-American theme for his heritage scrapbook.

Heritage Scrapbook Page Ideas
Heritage Scrapbook Childhood Page Ideas
Page Kit: Americana by No Reimer Reason
With this page, I wanted to highlight the fact that my grandfather and his brother Harry over time. Harry and Lew had two much other brothers but they were out of the house when the boys were fairly young. So, Harry and Lew were photographed together without their older brothers. I'm very fortunate to have a photo of Harry, Lewis and their parents Sherman Lewis Brown and Emma Virginia (Townsend) Brown. (Emma is the daughter of William Townsend who I've been featuring on Amanuensis Monday).

To create the title element, I used a paper from the Americana Kit, filled it into a rounded corner rectangle shape, and then added some beveling. The only other embellishment I used was a fastener for the family photo in hopes that the little touch would draw your eye up to the family photo and down to the journaling. Generally, I focus on the photos of the boys so I needed a little something to say 'hey, there's something over here!"

Notice I have a little captioning sentence under the boys' photos to say who they were and when they might have been taken.

I thought I'd also mention now why I use so few embellishments in this album. The focal person is my grandfather Lewis Brown. Since he is my grandfather, he is a male. I know that seems obvious. But the point is, when the subject is male, it's best if we don't get carried away with embellishments and decorative elements. For some, my pages may be boring. But to those who understand the mood I'm portraying with this album, they understand why it's so understated.

To learn what additional pages you should include in a family history scrapbook, purchase the eBook Create a Family History Scrapbook Digitally in 12 Simple Steps at

20 January 2014

Amanuensis Monday: Mary Townsend's Wife Affidavit

This installment of William James Townsend's Civil War pension file opens the  voice of Mary (Clabaugh) Townsend to me to an extent. I do not know if she wrote her affidavit. However, this is her testimony and I feel like she's speaking to anyone who would listen, not knowing that someday a great+ granddaughter would hear.

Civil War Widows Pension Mary Clabaugh Townsend
Mary (Clabaugh) Townsend's statement for Widow's Pension

State of Ohio
County of Franklin } SS.

In the matter of Pension Cliam No. 422.500
Mary Townsend widow of William J Townsend late of Co “K” 133rd Reg't, Ohio Inft Vols.

Personally came before me, a Notary Public in and for said County and State, Mary Townsend, aged ___ years, NO. St.
Citizen of town of Edwards Station County of Franklin State of Ohio well known to me to be reputable and entitled to credit, and who, being duly sworn, declares in relation to aforesaid case as follows:

I am the claimant named above I am not able to furnish Public or Church record of the dates of Births of my children for the reason that there is no such record in existance. I have furnished the best testimony I am able to procure showing the dates of their births. Since the death of my husband I have sold off some little personal property left by him at his death and have bought a small house and lot in the village of Edwards Station Franklin Co, Ohio for which I agreed to pay four hundred dollars and of which amount I have paid two hundred and sixteen dollars and I yet owe one hundred and eighty four dollars with intrest at 8: from August 3, 1890 and for which payment I am relying on my claim for pension wherewith to pay. My said little house renders me no income but gives me a place for myself and children to live. I have no other property and no money only as I earn it by day work.

And she further say that her knowledge of the above facts is obtained from the following sources, viz: that she is the claimant and that he has no interest or concern in this matter.

Signature of Affiant Mrs Mary Townsend

US Pension Office stamp Jun 18 1891

  • Mary may not have been a church goer as there are not birth/baptism records recorded at a church. She also does not have any civil documents pertaining to the births of her children.
  • After her husband's death, she sold his property and bought a home in Edwards Station, Franklin, Ohio. The purchase date might have been 3 August 1890. Mary agreed to pay $400 dollars for the new home and had paid $216 prior to the pension claim. The balance is $184 with interest.
  • She's hoping to receive a pension to finish paying for the home.
  • She earns money as a day laborer.
  • Are purchase/sale records available for William's family home and Mary's home in Edwards Station?

16 January 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Grouping My Medals

Previously, I had shared with you the photographs of individuals medals that I earned in high school. If each individual medal had a significant story, then photographing them separately and recording the memories for each would be fine. However, I was not a prolific writer in high school so I did not record the memories of every medal that I earned. Instead, I remember being in band and going to the annual solo and ensemble competition. I normally took a solo piece for the oboe and for the flute, though I played oboe in the concert band during school. Oboe and flute have such similar fingering, that I could switch easily, even though the embrasure was quite different.

Collection of High School Solo & Ensemble Medals
Collection of High School Solo & Ensemble Medals
Canon PowerShot SX110 IS
f/5, exp 1/15 sec, bias +0.7, ISO 100
Focal length: 10mm; Spot metering

In any case, with the collection of medals, I can remember that I generally received a top score from my participation. One time, a combination of two flutes, two clarinets and an oboe sounded interesting but for some reason we crashed and burned during the performance. I know we didn't receive a top score and quite possibly the lowest score that I ever earned in high school competitions of this kind. I'm sure that when I finally sit down to record more memories of high school solo & ensemble competition, that more memories will come. Having my artifacts grouped in this way takes the pressure off me to remember each piece and every date. Instead, I can focus on the overall experiences and any specific memories as they come.

High School Band Memorabilia
Canon PowerShot SX110 IS
f/5, exp 1/15 sec, bias +0.7, ISO 100
Focal length: 13 mm ; Spot metering

When you photograph your Treasures, be sure to think about how your photos will be used. It might be great to photograph everything separately. Or, you might be better suited to photograph things as a collection.

High School Band Memorabilia
Get in close
Canon PowerShot SX110 IS
f/5, exp 1/15 sec, bias +0.3, ISO 100
Focal length: 16 mm ; Center Weight Average metering

The other tip I want to suggest is get in close. Many professional photography tips tell amateurs that they're biggest mistake is not getting in close. So, play around with getting in close to your objects. Then pick the one you prefer.

15 January 2014

Heritage Scrapbooking: Lewis Brown Birth Page

Last year, I shared the Baby Page that I created for Robert Geiszler's heritage scrapbook. Robert's baby page was not the full story of his birth, but enough to invite my readers to learn more. That's important to remember when you're creating heritage scrapbooks. It's not important to include everything, but enough to be pleasing and informative.

Today, I want to show you another Baby Page. This one comes from the scrapbook that I created entitled "60 Years of Lewis Brown".

Heritage Scrapbook Baby Page Idea
Heritage Scrapbook Baby Page Idea

I do not have any photos of Lewis Brown as a baby. I do have three documents that I including in my family history album: birth records, entry in the family bible, and a baptism record.

Unfortunately, the baptism record was frail when I photographed it and no longer exists. I wish I had known about this earlier enough that I could have saved it. Nevertheless, this piece of Lewis' heritage is in the scrapbook. I enjoy having the handwriting of either Lewis' mother Emma or his father Sherman on the page as recorded in the family Bible. I wish I knew to whom to attribute the handwriting, but it's a glimpse into the family's past. And finally, the birth records show that Lewis was unnamed at the time of his birth but would later be named with the reverse form of his father's name.

These documents aren't 'beautiful' but they are priceless. As such, I need to keep the page decorations to an absolute minimum. Notice the elements are only things anchoring the photos to the page. The page kit I used for the entire scrapbook featuring Lewis Brown is from No Reimer Reason. I can not believe Amber Reimer gave away her Americana Kit for free in the past and that she still has it for free. It's an AWESOME kit. You'll see more uses of that kit in the coming weeks.

I also want you to notice that I have a main text box discussing the birth Lew. Below that, I have used captions to identify what each document is so that anyone who reads his scrapbook will not me to explain what each is. Consider placing captions on your heritage album pages to identify documents or people in photos.

Although this Baby Page isn't cutesy, it is simple and timeless and that's why I strive for in my albums.

To learn what additional pages you should include in a family history scrapbook, purchase the eBook Create a Family History Scrapbook Digitally in 12 Simple Steps at

13 January 2014

Amanuensis Monday: Marriage Record for William James Townsend and Mary Clabaugh

In case you didn't know, Civil War Pension files are potentially filled treasures. One of which is a certificate of marriage for the ancestors I've been featuring... William James Townsend and Mary Clabaugh.

What's interesting is there are two certified copies of the marriage record. The only thing that is different in the date  and the signature of the person completing the certificate verification.

Marriage of William Townsend and Mary Claybaugh
Certificate of Marriage for William Townsend and Mary Clabaugh

Marriage Certification

The Sate of Ohio, Franklin County, SS.

I Certify that I this day solemnized the MARRIAGE of William Townsend with Mary Clabaugh

Witness my Hand, This 10 day of November A.D. 1864
W.W. Kile J.P.


I, CHARLES G. SAFFIN, Judge of the Probate Court within and for the County of Franklin, State of Ohio, do herby certify that the foregoing is a full and correct copy of the CERTIFACTE OF MARRIAGE of the parties therein named, as the same appears of record and on file in said Court, to wit:

Marriage Record No. 8, Page 440

In Testimony Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and the seal of said Court, at Columbus, this 29th day of August 1891

Lorenzo D Hagerty, Probate Judge
by Albert Rickenbacher, Dpy Clk

Marriage of William Townsend and Mary Claybaugh
Second copy of Certificate of Marriage for
William Townsend and Mary Clabaugh

The great thing about having two copies, is that you can pick the handwriting that you prefer. I chose the first because it was more pleasing to my eye.

Marriage of William Townsend and Mary Clabaugh
Marriage of William Townsend and Mary Clabaugh

If you discover that you have a Civil War ancestor, check out Kimberly Powell's article Researching Civil War Ancestors to learn what you need to know and where you need to look to find out more. Good luck.

10 January 2014

Top Ten Memorabilia Posts of 2013

Alright, alright! Enough 2013 recap. Get on with 2014 already. Right? Wrong. This is the last one and features the Top Ten Memorabilia Photography posts from last year. I hope you've been inspired and will make this the year you photograph the stuff of your or your ancestors' lives.

Photograph your personal history
Concert Program
"Modern" Personal History
Are you ready for photograph?

When Photography is bettern than scanning
Photograph, Don't Scan
Photography really is better
How to Photograph Letterman Jacket
How to Photograph a Letterman Jacket
Math Olympiad
What can a Math Olympiad Tell You About Your Relative?
Memorabilia Tells a lot about Family History
Talent Ancestors
Cross Stitch
Was your ancestor crafty?
Photography Childhood Heirlooms
Baby Clothes
What ancestor didn't start out as a baby?
Let the Artifacts Tell Story
Let the Artifacts Tell Story
Photography Childhood Heirlooms
Baby Toys
Nothing says childhood like toys
Why Two Aggies Have a longhorn Flag
Why Two Aggies Have a longhorn Flag
(The lower case L on longhorn is intentional)

That's a pretty inspiring collection. Have fun photographing your collection of stuff in 2014!

09 January 2014

Top Ten Patient Genealogist Posts of 2013

Lewis and Lousie Brown Swan Club Columbus Ohio
Lew and Louise Brown
1972 Swan Club Party
Yesterday, I shared my Top Ten Heritage Scrapbooking Posts for 2013. Today, I'm going to share the Top Ten most popular posts on this blog that are not related to family history scrapbooks or photographing your memorabilia. Tomorrow will be the last Top Ten with the Top Ten Memorabilia posts.

  1. Witness Statement for William James Townson
  2. Genealogists are not being pushed out, Reinforcements are being invited in
  3. You mean my Family History Isn't Done?
  4. Is this German Scan Readable for Translation?
    (The answer was Yes! And I need to post the translation)
  5. Organizing With Evernote
  6. Hobbies and Interest of Lewis Brown
  7. Evaline Townley's Family by Birth
  8. Followers Have Become My New Muse
  9. Professor R Victor Zumstein
  10. Death and Drinking Problems

Now, some of you might be sick of Top Ten 2013 posts by now. There were some people wrapping up the year before the year was over. Me? Well, I was enjoying time with my in-laws who were visiting from far, far away. I hope you'll forgive me for putting blogging on hold while I lived my family history.

08 January 2014

Top Ten Heritage Scrapbooking Posts of 2013

Howdy Folks! Can you believe 2014 is eight days old? I remember my newborns being that old and that's when the weight of being a newborn mom kicked it. I'm planning for great things to happen this year and I hope you are too.

Family History Scrapbook Funeral Page
Closing page for Robert Geiszler's Heritage Album
Family History Scrapbook page uses:
Death Certificate and Funeral Program
This year I'll be sharing some of the pages of the heritage scrapbook pages I created featuring my Grandpa Lew and my Grannie. Look for those in the coming weeks. Until they're finally ready for reveal, I want to review the Top Ten Posts on Heritage Scrapbooking from last year. I hope next year's Top Ten list will be just as exciting.

  1. Funeral Pages
  2. Color Schemes Part Two
  3. Using Timelines
  4. Don't Overlap the Documents
  5. Story Pages
  6. Using Color Schemes
  7. Father's Pages
  8. Using Paper Memorabilia
  9. Baby Layouts
  10. Prepare To Digitize Your Old Photos and Documents

So there you have it. Have fun reviewing these great posts and inspiration.

07 January 2014

Tech Tuesday: Photographic Family Tree Online at FamilySearch

FamilySearch Family Tree keeps getting better and better. It's an absolute exciting time to be involved in genealogy online. I invite everyone to make sure the basics of your family tree is online at You might not be a family history enthusiasts, but you can help those who are.

I'm so excited, I'm bursting to share this super cool new feature called Portrait Pedigree. Follow the link to learn more particulars. If you're a visual person, you're going to be ecstatic. So let's see why I'm so excited.

Family Trees of the past.

Traditional Tree View

2013 FamilySearch Introduces Fan Chart

Fan Chart.

2014 FamilySearch Introduces Portrait Pedigree

Portrait Pedigree is here!!!!

I'm grateful for the Pedigree charts of the past, but those are seriously visually boring. Enter the fan chart. You can pack a lot of people onto a fan chart with a link to see their personal information. This keeps the visual clean and simple. The Portrait Pedigree chart packs a HUGE punch and is an invitation. Look at those awesome PEOPLE starting back at me. And oops! I see where I need to add more photos.

I can't praise FamilySearch enough for figuring out that photos and stories are the heart of family history and invite anyone to participate. If you haven't done any family history ever or you thought it was boring when you did, it's time to be excited. It's time to help.

Get out those old photos of your parents, grand parents, and beyond. Scan them and upload them to the FamilySearch Family Tree. The website is free to anyone, but you do need to set up an account. There is a great Getting Started section to help anyone unfamiliar with the website.

If your only contribution to your family history is to make sure your family tree is online at and that the photos in your collection of your ancestors are uploaded, then I say HURRAH! Now, go upload some photos and check out your Portrait Pedigree chart.

Personal History Through Blog Books, Scrapbook Later

Family Scrapbook Cover Page
Family Scrapbook featuring trip to Texas!

Many times, overwhelmed mommas are inspired to ask me about scrapbooking their children's lives but they don't have the supplies, knowledge, or time to get started. I see the distraught faces and want to give them a HUGE hug for the desire to preserve their children's memories (and their own). Some are crafty. Some, not so much. But everyone who has asked me, wants to create a memory book for their family.

To those sweet women (and men), I say this... start small. What's more important, that you record your memory or that you make a crafty project about a memory? It's recording the memory in words and pictures where possible.

Personal History Through Blog Book
Cover for my annual blog book

I offer this tip. Make a blog book. A blog book is simply this... blog like entries recorded on your computer that is printed at the end of the year. Here are the steps to making a blog book, then I'll share why I do it this way.

  1. Use a text program such as MS Word Mac Text Edit, or OO Writer.
  2. Create one document per month and save the file with the month and year (01 Jan 2014, 02 Feb 2014, etc) in the file name.
  3. Format your page to have at least a 1 inch margin on all sides.
  4. On the first page, type the month  and year again (this will be the title for each month's chapter).
  5. Create a blog like entry. Give your entry a date, a title if you like, insert a photo (or two) and then write about the memory. You can capture memories without photos as well. Just be sure to date your entries.
  6. When the year is complete, export your documents to individual PDF files. Then use a PDF editor to merge the PDF files into one text document.
  7. Upload to your content file to a Print-on-Demand company such as
  8. Follow the websites book compilation instructions and then order your book.
The steps are pretty simple. You can get more complicated if you want. My husband formats our book so there is plenty of gutter margin space. He also makes sure that there is enough border space around my inserted photos. And he likes to have every month start on the right hand page. So, he'll add extra pages if necessary to format the book. I'm so grateful for his help. You don't necessarily have to get involved with all of this formatting. I would suggest having that one in margin on all sides. Be sure to check with your print-on-demand company to see if there are other formatting recommendations.

Text Document for Blog Book


Why do I do this method?
  1. I use my blog book to capture my memories until I have time to make a scrapbook page.
  2. By using photos for my entries, I can write a month (or sometimes three) later rather than daily.
  3. I don't want to share all of our family details with the world, this 'blog' is entirely off line.
  4. I don't journal.
  5. I don't have to scrapbook every memory.
If I was in a habit of writing daily or weekly, I wouldn't forget all of the awesome details of my family's life. However, I'm a busy mother and sometimes, I am unable to write about the great times as often as I would like. I can write every month or so and I don't forget as much as I would if I try to write about my experiences a year or more after the experience. I can't remember last January very well, but December and November are fairly fresh in my mind (thanks to those photos).

Here's another great secret. Have your spouse and kids help you with your blogging (or whoever makes up your family). I'll take photos of my kid's events and then have them tell me their memories of it. I'll say, "Uno says...." to help the reader of this blog book know that these are Uno's words and not mine. Takes a HUGE load off my shoulders. The rest of the book is written from my voice. I say, "I", "me", "my", etc. Don't try to write as a narrator. Write as yourself and your other family members to help add their voice to your family project.

Scrapbooking can happen later. But if I don't have the
memories recorded, I won't have anything to write.
I know that if there is a year when scrapbooking is not possible, I have the memories will be ready and waiting. Perhaps you never create a scrapbook. Your blog book is does what your goal of scrapbooking seeks to accomplish.

Some day I might not want to scrapbook. Maybe my kids will do all of their own scrapbooking. I know the memories are recorded and waiting to be put in another format. Isn't that comforting?

Most importantly, I won't have to put every photo in a scrapbook. What a relief! Some photos are only triggers to remember something funny, interesting, or even sad in our lives. I can write about the memory in my blog book and I am free from having to put it into a scrapbook. I only scrapbook memories and events that a) have a lot of photos and b) are worth scrapbooking.

I'm sure there is much more that I could share in this How To Record Your Personal History post. However, I'll leave the comment section for additional discussion on anything I've neglected to cover.

My greatest desire for anyone who wants to capture the memories that are happening daily is this: RECORD SOMETHING.

Find a way that works for you. But don't forget to take photos, label them, and write down the memory that goes with them. Some day, either you or someone else can convert those memories into a presentation. But without the memories recorded... no one can't do it.

Breathe easy. You can do it.

06 January 2014

Amanuenses Monday: Declaration for Widow's Pension June 1890

It seems that Mary (Clabaugh) Townsend of Franklin County, Ohio had to file a second Widow's Pension in 1890 following the one completed in November 1889 following her husband William James Townsend's death. (click here for previous pension file)

Declaration for Widow's Army Pension for Mary Townsend

Act of June 27, 1890

This Must be Executed Before a Court of Record or Some Officer Thereof Having Custody of its Seal.

State of Ohio, County of Franklin, ss:

ON THIS 5th, day of July, A.D. one thousand eight hundred and ninety personally appeared before me, a Deputy Clerk of the Common Pleas court, the same being a Court of Record within and for the County and State aforesaid, Mary Townsend, aged 43 years, a resident of the Town of Edwards Station, County of Franklin, State of Ohio, who, being duly sworn according to law, declares that she is the widow of William J Townsend who enlisted under the name of William J Townsend at Groveport Ohio on the 2nd day of May A.D. 1864, in as a private of Company “K” 133 rd Ohio Inft Vols and served at least ninety days in the late war of the Rebellion, who was HONORABLY DISCHARGED at Camp Chase Ohio August 20, 1864, and died November 13, 1889

That she was married under the name of Mary Clabaugh, to said William J Townsend, on the 10th day of November 1864 by William Kyle JP at Franklin Co. Ohio there being no legal barrier to such marriage that neither herself or her husband had been married previous to this marriage to each other.

That she has not remarried since the death of the said William J Townsend.

That she is without other means of support than her daily labor. That names and dates of birth of all children now living under sixteen years of age of the soldier are as follows:

Harry Augustus Townsend, born February 27, 1875
Emma Virginia Townsend, born January 15, 1879
Samuel Leroy Townsend, born July 8, 1884
Ethel May Townsend, born September 27, 1887

That she has heretofore applied for pension and the number of her former application is #422.500

That she makes this declaration for the purpose of being placed on the pension roll of the United States under the provisions of the Act of June 27, 1890. She hereby appoints

A H Addington of Columbus Ohio her true and lawful attorney to prosecute her claim. That her post office address is Edwards Station Franklin County, State of Ohio

Mary E Kleinlin
Cal Towsend
(Two Witnesses)

Mary Townsend
(Signature of Claimant)

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

Also personally appeared Mary E Kleinlin, residing at (left blank) and Cal Towsend, residing at Edwards Station, persons whom I certify to be respectable and entitled to credit, and who, being by me duly sworn, say they were present and saw Mary Townsend claimant, sign her name (or make her mark) to the foregoing declaration; that they have every reason to believe from the appearance of said claimant and an acquainted with her of 27 years and 3 years, respectively, that she is identical person she represents herself to be; and that they have no interest in the prosecution of this claim.

Mary E Kleinlin
Cal Town(illegible)

Widow's Claim
Claimant Mary Townsend
Soldier Wm J Townsend
Service Co K 133rd Ohio Vols
Address Edwards Station Franklin Co, Ohio
Date of Execution July 5, 1890
Filed by A W Addington
Columbus, Ohio


  • Mary was 43 years old when she filed for this Pension on 5 July 1890 (her age was listed as 44 in the prior pension record)
  • Mary was a resident of Edwards station, Franklin, Ohio.
  • William had enlisted  as a private on 2 May 1864,  in Groveport, Ohio.
  • He served more than 90 days and was honorably discharged at Camp Chase  20 August 1864.
  • She married under the name of Mary Clabaugh to William on 10 November 1864 by the Justice of the Peace William Kyle in Franklin County, Ohio. (Neither had been previously married)
  • Birth dates for her children children Harry Augustus, Emma Virginia, Samuel Leroy, and Ethel May.
  • Her witnesses were Mary E Kleinlin and Cal Towsend. 
  • A.H. Addington is her Pension Attorney
  • Where is Edward, Franklin, Ohio?
  • Who is A.H. Addington?
  • Who is Mary E Kleinlin?
  • Who is Cal Townsend?
  • Why did the couple marry by the Justice of the Peace rather than a church?
  • Was anyone a witness to the marriage by the JP? 

03 January 2014

Photo Friday: High School Band Medals

Photograph High Band Memorabilia
f/3.5, exp 1/25, ISO 80
Pattern metering
Last year I had monthly themes for my memorabilia posts. I invited many to participate in my challenges to get your memorabilia out of your attics, garages, closets, and from under your bed. Grab your camera and photograph your stuff. I've shown that you can take some amazing photos, even if your photography ability is near beginner level.

This year, I'm going to focus on writing, writing, writing. Thus, my Photo Friday features will be more brief in nature. I'll share with you some memorabilia photographs and how I took them. I might not go into much detail. But I do hope you'll still find the photos inspiring. Once your items are photographed, you can then include these items in your personal and family histories. Be sure to record why your items were so important to you.

So, without further ado, here's this week's installment.

Photograph High Band Memorabilia
f/3.5, exp 1/40, ISO 80
Pattern metering

Photograph High Band Memorabilia
f/3.5, exp 1/40, ISO 80
Pattern metering

Photograph High Band Memorabilia
f/3.5, exp 1/40, ISO 80
Pattern metering
Photograph High Band Memorabilia
f/3.5, exp 1/40, ISO 80
Pattern metering
Photograph High Band Memorabilia
f/3.5, exp 1/30, ISO 80
Pattern metering
Photograph High Band Memorabilia
f/3.5, exp 1/20, ISO 80
Pattern metering

I used a DIY Light box and used a desk lamp as the source of my light. I love the clarity all of the medals have. These photos were taken using a Canon PowerShot SX110 IS, a compact digital camera that's a step above the point and shoot variety and below a dSLR. I photographed these images using the AV Shooting Mode.