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31 March 2014

Amanuenses Monday: Widow Pension Dropped

Civil War Widow Pension: Mary Clabaugh Townsend
Civil War Widow Pension: Mary Clabaugh Townsend

This document is fairly straight forward. It signals that the end of the file is soon to be closed as Mary Townsend has died and a pension is no longer payable.


Oct 3 1916
Certificate No. 320542
Class ACT OF APRIL 19, 1908
Pensioner Mary Townsend
Soldier William J Townsend

The Commissioner of Pensions.

I have the honor to report that the name of the above-described pensioner who was last paid at $12 to JUN 1 1916 has this day been dropped from the roll because of death August 28 1916

Very respectfully
Chief, Finance Division


- Mary (Clabaugh) Townsend died 28 August 1916.
- Mary's final Pension payment was in 1 Jun 1916 for the amount of $12.
- Mary had received the pension for 24 years (1892 - 1916)


- How often were the payments made?
-  The original amount was $16 because of Mary ($8) and four minor children ($8). If the pension never increased, then who were the additional children providing Mary with $4 per payment and what happened to them upon their mother's death? Or, did the Pension amount increase at some point?

28 March 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Photographing a Small Scout Pin

Many of the treasures we have in our collection of family artifacts are small. When I say small, I mean about the size of a dime.

There are a couple things you can do. First, you will want to use a light box.

Light box for small object photography.
Light box for small object photography.

Next, you will want to turn off or take off your flash. The light filtered through the box will be sufficient. Next, you will want to set your camera to two very important settings. AV, for aperture priority, and Macro, for close up photography. Finally, drop the ISO as low as you can (80 - 100).

Place your object inside the light box and take a few trial photos. Make sure they don't look blurry in your LCD when you press the playback button. Try zooming in in the review screen to ensure the quality of the photos.

Photographing Childhood Memorabilia
Cub Scout Award
f/4, ISO 80, exp 1/5 sec,  +0.7 bias
Center Weight Average Metering

Though I often dream of having amazing, professional quality photos. I realize that having a photograph of your object is good enough for the vast majority of family historians. It's better to have this photograph than nothing at all. Cut yourself some slack. We should be patient genealogists after all.

Once you have a photograph that meets your needs, I offer one more recommendations. Crop the photo. No one really wants to focus on the background.

Photographing Childhood Memorabilia
Cropped Cut Scout Award

In looking back at this photograph, I would love to have adjusted the lights on the left side of the light box to provide more light to that side, rather than shadow. It's okay to examine our work to see how we can improve. Now, all that's left with this photograph is to record the experiences of Cub Scouting and put the photo and text together in the family files.

Good luck with your photography. Feel free to let me know the successes you have with your photography in the comments below.

26 March 2014

Heritage Scrapbooking: Color Scheme Part Three

When you create a heritage scrapbook, unity and flow are greatly improved when you pick one color scheme for your albums and stick to it, especially for small projects such as the ones I suggest in my book Create a Family History Scrapbook Digitally in 12 Simple Steps.

About this time last year, I shared the completed collection of scrapbook pages from my parents' separate scrapbooks . If you missed it, you can find the posts Using Color Schemes and Color Scheme Part Two.

Over the past weeks, I have shared with you some of the pages from my Grandpa Lew's scrapbook. Today, I want to share with you a recap of the color scheme that I used for the album. Thankfully, the color scheme was easy to use as I had a kit with plenty of options to choose from.

Americana by No Reimer Reason
Americana Kit by No Reimer Reason

The designer Amber Reimer of No Reimer Reason has some wonderful designs, one of which is called Americana. This kit was the primary kit that I used for Grandpa Lew's album. I used a few additional embellishments from a kit called Home of the Brave by Nikki Barber. I found that kit at

Family Tree Scrapbook Layout
Family Tree Layout

Funeral Layout with Documents

Heritage Scrapbook Layout Baby Page
Baby Page Layout with Documents
Heritage Scrapbook Layout Childhood
Childhood Layout

Military Page - Right

Story Page - Clubs

Story Page - Clubs

As you can see, I utilized some pieces of the base kit with a few supplements from a secondary kit. The bulk of the design focused on the photos, documents, and stories of my grandfather. When you make a heritage album, I hope you'll be inspired by how simplicity really makes a wonderful tribute for your loved ones. When you have a book like this complete, you have a memorial ready to be used as a funeral book that people can view when they attend services. You can also have a great gift for the featured person while they're living. Or, such books can be treasures for those who are missing the ones they love.

Have fun making your family history albums. Feel free to leave a link to your projects so we can all see what you've created.

24 March 2014

Amanuensis Monday: Civil War Pension Payment

If you've read this far through the Civil War Pension file of my great grandfather William James Townsend (or Townson), thank you. If you're just finding this series, feel free to click on the Civil War Pension label to read more.

The Pension Application for William and his widow was approved. Today's post shares the schedule of payments for Mary and her children. I can't imagine how $8 for Mary and $2 per child for a total of $16 per month was able to provide enough support for the family. However, Mary was planning on using the money to off set the cost of purchasing a smaller home after the death of William. Perhaps that was enough and she would continue to take in washing and odd jobs throughout the remainder of her life.

Civil War Pension William Townsend
Civil War Pension Schedule for Mary Townsend and children

Act of June 27, 1890

Widow's Pension

Claimant Mary Townsend
P.O. Edward
County Franklin, State Ohio 
      Soldier William J Townsend
Rank Private, Co K
Regiment 133” Ohio Vol Infy  

Rate, $8 month, commencing July 14, 1890, and $2 per month additional for each child, as follows:

(four lines skipped before the children are listed)

Harry A Born, Feby 27', 1875
Sixteen, Feby 26', 1891
Commencing July 14, 1890
Emma V Born January 15, 1879
Sixteen, January 14', 1895
Commencing July 14, 1890
Samuel L Born July 8, 1884
Sixteen, July 7, 1900
Commencing July 14, 1890
Ethel M Born Sept 27', 1887
Sixteen, Sept 26', 1903
Commencing July 14, 1890

Recognized Attorney
Name A.H. Addington
P.O. Columbus, Ohio

Fee $10.00, Agent to pay.
No Articles Filed


Submitted for Admission, Dec 21”, 1891, EB W Getmik, Examiner.

Approved for Admission
Jan 9, 1892 Geo. N Smith, Legal Reviewr.

The soldier was pensioned at $12.00 per month for disease of eyes – result of erysipilas

Enlisted May 2, 1864
and honorably disch'd Aug 20, 1864
Re-enlisted (none)

Died Nov. 13, 1889
Declaration filed July 14, 1890

Soldier’s app'n filed Feby 4, 1884
Clt's app'n under other laws May 12, 1890
Former marriage of none
Daeth of former none
Clt's marriage to soldier Nov 10, 1864
Cl't not remarried


I didn't really learn anything new about my family members in terms of vital information. However, this record provided some contextual background for the Pension process. I learned that the attorney received $10 and how much my widowed grandmother would receive. At some point, I could do a comparison to today's dollars to interpret how much that is. However, I could also see the prices of items in the 1890s to see just how much Mary and her children would be able to buy.

If you have a Civil War Relative and you haven't checked into their Civil War Service files or the Pension files, you should definitely spend some time doing it.

20 March 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Cub Scout Additional Patches

In watching Roots Tech again and again, Judy Russell's Friday Keynote mentioned how in three generations the memories of people and their stories will be lost. How sad that even in our own lives, the stories are lost if we don't write them down. I'm going to share with you some items that my mother-in-law saved for my husband from his adventures in Cub Scouting.

Great Salt Lake BSA Patches
(ISO 100, f/5, exp 1/4, bias +0.7, AV, Macro Focus, Center Weight Average)
Great Salt Lake BSA Patches
(ISO 100, f/5, exp 1/5, bias +0.7, AV, Macro Focus, Center Weight Average)

Great Salt Lake BSA Patches
(ISO 100, f/5, exp 1/5, bias +0.7, AV, Macro Focus, Center Weight Average)
Great Salt Lake BSA Patches
(ISO 100, f/5, exp 1/5, bias +0.7, AV, Macro Focus, Center Weight Average)

Great Salt Lake BSA Patches
(ISO 100, f/5, exp 1/5, bias +0.7, AV, Macro Focus, Center Weight Average)

My MIL did an awesome job. Unfortunately, from these patches below... my husband doesn't remember much of the events. One could wonder whether the patches should be saved any longer. Hmmm... so, if memories fail the living and we're forgotten in three generations, I suppose that we really should figure out a way to record our memories as they happen. Hmmm... what to do?

(If these photos trigger any memories or information from your knowledge base, feel free to share in the comments below.)

19 March 2014

Heritage Scrapbooking: A Final Page about Lew Brown

It seems genealogists love death events because they can provide a wealth of information about an ancestor. I don't know that a scrapbooker (or normal person for that matter), treats death in the same manner. A loved one has passed away and we are often sad and wish that person was still with us. With regard to my Grandpa Lew (or paw-paw as I referred to him in my younger years), he died in my early childhood. His final family history album page will discuss his death.

Heritage Scrapbooking Death and Funeral
Heritage Scrapbooking: A page about death
Most elements from the page kit by No Reimer Reason called Americana;
 Tag from Home of the Brave Kit by Nikki Barber

This page is different from the Funeral Page featuring my father. For my father, I could talk about how he died. For Lew, I could only discuss what caused his death and who survived him. What you share on a funeral page would depend upon what you have available for your use. This photo of my grandfather is how I pictured him. This is what he looked like in the pictures after I was born and was similar to what he looked like near his death. I included a photo of his headstone with American flag because he was 'our soldier'. And I included his funeral program.

All of these elements take center stage and the paper is the same found in the kit I used as the foundation for the entire project. I like the stripes because they are more masculine to me. I don't think imagine my grandfather as a soft, floral kind of guy. He seemed to enjoy life and his family. He lived an All-American life in an All-American town. The stripes project that emotion, rather than something more 'sober'.

The family historian in me says to have fun with death pages (weird, I know). The granddaughter crafting a scrapbooker in me says, do it with taste. I would love to see how you treated the subject of death of your loved one in your heritage albums. Include a link in the comment section below so we can all enjoy.

If you have enjoyed my heritage scrapbooking posts, considering purchasing my eBook family history scrapbook, purchase the eBook Create a Family History Scrapbook Digitally in 12 Simple Steps at I share more pages that help tell the story of your heritage in a way that makes your next project doable. Good luck and happy scrapbooking!

17 March 2014

Amanuensis Monday: Application for Accrued Pension for William Townsend

I can not believe I'm approaching the end of the documents in the Civil War Pension file regarding William James Townsend of Franklin County, Ohio. After Mary (Clabaugh) Townsend submitted her application and supporting affidavits, her pension was accepted and she began receiving a pension until her death in 1916.

This application was to obtain the pension funds that stopped at the death of William up until a Widow's Pension was approved.

Application for Accrued Pension for Mary Townsend
Application for Accrued Pension for Mary Townsend


State of Ohio, County of Franklin SS:

On this 4th day of December, 1889, personally appeared Mary Townsend, who, being duly sworn, declares that she is the lawful widow of William J Townsen, deceased; that he died on the 13th day of November, 1889 that he had been granted a pension by Certificate No. 413380 which is herewith returned; that he had been paid the pension by the Pension Agent at Columbus up to the 4 day of September, 1889; after which date he had not been employed or paid in the Army, Navy or Marine service of the United States; that she was married to said Wm J Townsen on the 10th day of Nov, 1864 at Edwards Station, in the State of Ohio; that her name before said marriage was Mary Clabaugh; the she had not been previously married; that her husband had not been previously married; that she hereby makes application for the pension which had accrued on aforesaid certificate to the date of death; and that her residence is City of Edwards Station, County of Franklin, State of Ohio, and her Post-office address is Edwards Station.

Signed Mrs Mary Townson

Also personally appeared Jacob Miller, residing at Edwards Station, and Alvis Herman Miller, residing at Edwards Station, who, being duly sworn, say that they were present and saw Mary Townson sign her name to the foregoing declaration; that they know her to be the lawful widow of Wm J Townsen, who died on the 13th day of November, 1889; and that their means of knowledge that said parties were husband and wife, and that the husband died on said date, are as follows: They knowing said parties 21 years.

Signed Jacob Miller (his mark)

Alvis Herman Miller (his mark)


  • William had received a pension while living up until 4 September 1889.
  • Jacob Miller and Alvis Herman Miller of Edwards Station witnessed Mary's signature on the applications, they know she is William Townsend's widow. They've known the Townsends for 21 years


  • Is it possible that the Townsend name could have more records under the spelling of Townson, or Townsen?
  • Jacob and Alvis Miller, of Edwards Station, have known the Townsends for 21 years. What was their relationship like?

13 March 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Leather Crafts

My husband was active in Cub Scouts, completing the entire program. In addition to having items to decorate his uniform and awards presented that could be worn or hung, my husband also made a lot of things. That's what Cubs do... make things. Among those things were these leather crafts.

Camp Tracy Leather Craft
Camp Tracy Leather Craft
(ISO 100, f/5, exp 1/5, bias +0.7, AV, Macro Focus, Center Weight Average)
Frontier Fort Leather Craft
(ISO 100, f/5, exp 1/5, bias +0.7, AV, Macro Focus, Center Weight Average)
Camp Tracy Leather Craft
Camp Tracy Leather Craft
(ISO 100, f/5, exp 1/5, bias +0.7, AV, Macro Focus, Center Weight Average)
The set up for the photography session is the same as last week. DIY Lightbox, desk lamp light filtered through the tissue paper. Camera on tripod as close as I could physically get with the camera in AV mode. I switched to Macro mode to capture the detail of these small objects and I snapped a lot of photos.

In the past, I've had a tough time with the muslin fabric being very wrinkled. I did spend a lot of time ironing the muslin before this photo shoot. The background doesn't bother me so much. I will spend a few minutes in my photo editor making the images brighter using the levels adjustment. Otherwise, the photos are great.

I would love for anyone in the Great Salt Lake BSA Council who knows the history of Frontier Fort or Camp Tracy to tell me more about these places. Unfortunately, my husband remembers going and the people he went with. These stories are great. I would like to supplement the stories with some 'historical facts' so to speak.

12 March 2014

Heritage Scrapbooking: Timeline for Lew Brown

It seems a great number of people have been enjoying my heritage scrapbook pages. I'm glad you've discovered what I have created. I hope you are inspired to create your own scrapbooks featuring your ancestors. Feel free to leave me some comments, rather than just simply pinning my posts (but the pinning is fun). It's so nice to receive feedback.

The topic of family history albums can turn a lot of people off. It shouldn't. Once you know what you can do, heritage scrapbooks become just as enjoyable as scrapbooking your current family. Click the Heritage Scrapbooking tab above, you can find all of the pages that I have written about.

One of my most popular posts has been Using Timelines. Timelines are an essential page for a family history albums. They are a genealogist's friend and a scrapbooker's dream. They can place facts in order in a way that take less words than other formats. You should definitely include these pages in your next family history project.

Heritage Scrapbook Timeline
Heritage Time Line Featuring Lewis Brown
all products from from Americana Kit by No Reimer Reason

Timelines can vary in style. The previous post shared a ticker style and a vertical listing. With the format above, I share a photo time line across the top of the page. Below each photo, approximate to the decade, I list some of the highlights from Lew's life in that time period. There is a second page to this layout that includes the 1950s, 1960, and 1970s. Since Lew died in 1978, the 1970s are last in the series. (To protect the living, I have not included that page).

Now, I did not have a birth or infant photo of my grandfather from the 1910s, so I used a photo that is actually from the 1920s but the closest baby photo I have. The point in the photo time line is to show a progression of a life. If you don't have something exact, you can fudge a little.

Good luck with your heritage scrapbooking projects. Share a link to your timelines in the comment section below so we can all benefit from inspiration.

If you have enjoyed my heritage scrapbooking posts, considering purchasing my eBook family history scrapbook, purchase the eBook Create a Family History Scrapbook Digitally in 12 Simple Steps at I share more pages that help tell the story of your heritage in a way that makes your next project doable. Good luck and happy scrapbooking!

10 March 2014

Amanuensis Monday: General Affidavit by Mary E Kleinlien

I have been posting various documents found in the Civil War Pension file for William James Townsend. William served in Company K, 133rd Regiment of the Ohio Infantry Volunteers during the Civil War. William did not serve long because he became blind after a surgical treatment for an illness he contracted in the service. William died in 1889 and Mary (Clabaugh) Townsend sought to obtain a Widow's Pension.

Last week, I shared a affidavit from 19 year-old Charles Kleinline. Today, I have one from Mary E Kleinlien, aged 45.

General Affidavit by Mary E Klineline
General Affidavit by Mary E Klineline
for Civil War Widow's Pension belonging to Mary Townsend

State of Ohio
County of Franklin, SS

In the matter of Pension Claim No. 422.500 of Mary, widow of Wm J Townsend late of Co. “K”, 133rd Reg't, Ohio Inft Vol.
Personally came before me, a Notary Public in and for said County and State, Mary E Kleinlein aged 45 years

Citizen of the 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 have been known the claimant since her girlhood and live neighbor to her and we are the best of friends. I know that she has no means of support other than her own daily labor, and I know that she does labor hard to maintain herself and her children. I also know that she has purchased a small house and lot in the village of Edwards which in my judgment is not worth over four hundred dollars and I dont think it would bring that amount at a forced sale. She lives in said house as a home and it does not bring her any income whatever and she has no other property except some scant house hold goods. And nothing but her labor to bring her an income. I am not related to the claimant. I know that she has not remarried since the soldiers death and that none of her children have died since soldiers death.

Singed Mary E Kleinlien

  • Mary Kleinlien, 45, is a resident of Edward's Station.
  • Mary Kleinlien has known Mary Townsend since they were little girls.
  • They are not only neighbors but best friends
  • Mary Kleinlien attests to the poor condition of Mary Townsend's home and her labor to support her family.
  • Is Mary Kleinlien the mother of Charles Kleinlien? 
  • When were the two Mary's neighbors... chilldhood, adulthood, or after Mary sold her married home to buy the $400 home in Edward's Station?
  • Did Mary Townsend choose a home close to Mary Kleinlien after her husband's death by the latter's instance?
  • Are the two Marys more closely related that best friends?
  • Can I find Mary Kleinlien in Census records where Mary Townsend grew up?

06 March 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Cub Belt Loops and Awards

Last week, I opened up my Treasure Chest and began sharing my husband's Cub Scout items. The first post in the series include items that were on his Cub Scout Uniform. This week continues with more scouting treasures centered around belt loops and awards.

Boy Scout Belt Loops Family History
Cub Scout Belt Loops
(ISO 100, f/5, exp 1/10, bias +0.7, AV, Macro Focus, Center Weight Average)

Belt Loops are some of the quickest awards to earn as a Cub Scout in a variety of Academic and Sporting focuses. Here is a sample of the loops that adored by husband's belt as a young elementary aged kiddo.

Personal History and Scouting
Cub Scout 15er Award
(ISO 100, f/5, exp 1/10, bias +0.7, AV, Macro Focus, Center Weight Average)
This award was presented to Cub Scouts who earned 15 Activity Badges. Although I don't have all the belt loops and badges, this award is evident of how active his pack, his family, and/or he was in earning awards. I don't know if this award is still presented these days. My boys are certainly in the running for it if they are.

Personal History and Scouting
Additional Cub Scout Patches

The top patch is the Recruiter patch, as the name suggests. When a new scout joins a unit, and is a referral from another scout, that referring scout can earn the Recruiter badge. Apparently, my husband helped refer a scout. Hopefully it wasn't his younger brother! That would be cheating.

The two panda bear patches are the the World Conservation awards. These patches involve a different set of requirements depending upon whether the boy is a Wolf, Bear, or Webelo. It also involves a conservation project. So, my husband's troop must have done something worthwhile for the environment!

Alright... so that's the run down on what the patches are. Knowing is half the battle right? So, how did I photograph these babies?

I used a white muslin fabric draped over a pile of craft fiber fill. I placed this inside a light box and filtered desk lamp light through tissue paper attached to the cardboard construction. I placed my handy dandy camera on a tripod, got in close, and set the camera to AV priority. You can see the settings I used (or the camera adjusted for me).

I will brighten things up a bit using the levels adjustment in my photo editing program. Then the photos will be ready to go along with this factual information, and the memories my husband does have of being a Cub Scout in Utah.

05 March 2014

Heritage Scrapbooking: Work and Play

As I've shared before, Story Pages make up the bulk of a heritage scrapbook album. For my Grandpa Lew's project, I was blessed to have had access to a variety of artifacts representing his vocational and recreational sides of life. I know, big words to say "Work and Play".

In this layout, I only knew the basic facts about his participation in the Swans Club, Shriners, a bowling league and working for Borden. I do not have any 'great stories' from each. A two page layout featuring all of these items, plus a photo of him after playing a 'pick-up' baseball game with friends, makes for a great story page.

As you can see, I emphasized the artifacts and the journaling plays a supporting role. With all of the interest on the page in the photos of my handsome grandfather and his stuff, I kept the decorative elements to a bare minimum. Those choices makes these layouts informative and full of interest.

heritage scrapbook page ideas
Work & Play, papers, rick rack, ribbon from Americana Kit by No
Reimer Reaon
; Button from Home of the Brave Kit by Nikki Barber
Journaling: After the war, Lew had several jobs: driving trucks, delivering bread to homes, managing a bowling alley (Swan Lanes), and finally working for Borden's delivering milk to homes. 
Lew liked ballroom dancing and he was really good. His daughters fondly remember dancing with their father. He owned a horse named Don at one point, but sold him before the girls knew anything about it. He was also active in playing a variety of sports with friends whenever he could.

Work & Play, papers, round button, ribbon from Americana Kit by No
Reimer Reaon
; Square buttons from Home of the Brave Kit by Nikki Barber
JournalingDuring his adult life, he belonged to several clubs. Lew joined the Swan Club because his buddies were in it. He was also a Mason and part of the Shriner's Association. 
Lewis was a competitive bowler on weekends. He won several watches, money, and a silver tea service. Working as a bowling alley manager certainly helped in this hobby. 
Lew loved to golf and watch football. He was an usher for the Ohio State University football stadium whenever his delivery schedule permitted.
The great thing about digital scrapbooking when you're creating your own pages, versus using a drag and drop scrapbooking services, is the ability to easily mix and match elements from various scrapbook designers. In previous posts, I've shared the different page examples over that past few weeks featuring items found in the free kit provided by Amber Reimer of No Reimer Reason. (Click here, here, here)

 Americana Kit by No Reimer Reaon

I can not believe she still gives this kit away for free. If you haven't grabbed it, you should. And Amber should really consider charging a small fee for her awesome kit. Tell Amber thank you when you do.

Additionally, designer Nikki Barber has a patriotic themed kit that has a lot of great embellishments in it that I felt complimented Amber's kit nicely. I love the option to mix and match these items to create a patriotic theme with an increased variety of options.

I hope you're inspired to capture the interests of the folks in your family tree. Share a link in the comment section to your heritage scrapbook pages featuring the interests of your ancestor.

03 March 2014

Amanuensis Monday: General Affidavit by Charles E Klineline

The Civil War Pension file for William James Townsend has a lot of affidavits to attest to the situation of William's widow Mary (Clabaugh) Townsend. The next of which was provided by Charles E Klineline.

General Affidavit by Charles E Klineline
General Affidavit provided by Charles E Klineline
for Mary Townsend, widow of William James Townsend.

State of Ohio
County of Franklin, SS

In the matter of Pension Claim No. 422.500 of Mary, widow of Wm J Townsend late of Co. “K”, 133rd Reg't, Ohio Inft Vol.
Personally came before me, a Notary Public in and for said County and State, Charles F Kleinline aged 19 years

Citizen of the 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 have been acquainted with claimant ever since I can remember. I know that she owns a house and lot: that is worth perhaps three hundred dollars: and that she owns a small amount of household goods: has no income of any kind except what she earns by hard work: She does washing and house cleaning: and whatever she can get to do. I also know that she has not remarried since her Husbands death which occurred some eighteen month ago. I also know that she has four children who are under sixteen years of age.

And I further say that my knowledge of the above facts is obtained from the following sources, viz: as state above.

Singed Sharer K (or R) Kleineline

  • 19 year old Charles Kleinline is from Edwards Station
  • Being much younger than Mary, he's known her all of his life
  • He places the value of her home at $300 and says Mary has a small assortment of household goods.
  • Charles attests to Mary's work for income of laundry and house cleaning.
  • Who is Charles Kleinline? How close does he live to Mary Townsend in Edwards Station?
  • Why would someone so young be signing an affidavit for someone much older?

02 March 2014

Family History Writing Challenge Final Tally

On February 28, the month long Family History Writing Challenge officially ended. I am glad that I took the challenge to write about my family members by turning their names, dates, and places into a genealogical narrative at the barest minimum.

I have added items to my research to do list involving missing factual information and sources, as well as questions to better understand the local history of the areas my family lived. When I am ready to turn my attention to research again, I will know what to look for. What an unexpected benefit.

My purpose was to use the challenged to continue my New Year's Resolution to write, write, and write some more this year. Although I could not write every day, I feel I established habits that will enable me to do what I plan on doing. It is nice to have a New Year's Resolution that I am still working on March 2nd! How about you?

For my own memories, I will include the individuals I spent time working on, the date I wrote and the number of words written. This way, I can see patterns of writing or just have inspiration on the days when the genealogy gets too hard.

Date Word Count  Ancestor Tally
2/1 789 William Joseph Geiszler 789
2/2 676 Infant Geiszler, Annie M Geiszler,
William Talbot Peak (part 1)
2/3 1,239  William T Peak (part 2) 2,704
2/5 1,030  Evaline Townley (part 1) 3,734

RootsTech Break
2/10 766 Evaline Townley (part 2) 4,500
2/12 568  William R Peak 5,068
2/17 1,045  Robert Walter Zumstein (part 1) 6,113
2/19 649   Robert Walter Zumstein (part 2) 6,672
2/22 972  Adeline Snyder 7,734
2/23 1,684 Alonzo Comfort 9,418
2/25 926 Myra Marr 10,344
2/27 1,461 Joseph Geisler 11,805
2/28 1920 Caroline Mack 13,725

I look at this list of twelve individuals who I had the opportunity to focus on. I had to make some decisions. When I started working on William R Peak, I made the decision to focus my energies at present on the parents in the preceding generations and revisit the children later. There are thousands of children of my direct ancestors and I need to focus my attention on the parents first and then work on the children in years to come. Otherwise, I will only work on one branch of my family, and there is still Mom's side to work on.

I am suspecting an interesting theme as I work backward through my tree. I suspect the total number of words for the mothers will decrease considerably (along the lines of Adeline Snyder and Myra Marr). Working from the present backwards in the fifth generation, the women will not appear in Census records and the like. Primarily their life sketch will talk about relationship issues when they appear on life events such as birth, marriage and death. The husbands will be the ones who have the longer story. With no living person to share the memories, I suppose that will do.

I also chose a stopping point. A few of my lines bump into large families in early colonial history. These individuals have a lot of people linking into them and difficult histories to sort through. I am not ready to talk those elephants. I'd rather attempt to work on the lines that no one seems to know where they point. They might be perpetual brick walls, but that would be best for my energies. As such I plan on stopping my narrative project at the seventh generation back from my father. I have to leave something for my kids to explore, right?

Overall, this experience is fun. I've learned a lot. I was surprised how many words I could write on an ancestor when I started out with birth, marriage, and death facts on a pedigree chart. I am so thankful for all the research efforts I have done in the past that made this process simple. I could not have done as much without RootsMagic to keep all the facts organized and to help me see the life events (birth, marriage, death) of siblings, parents, and children. I would love to be able to select who I could place on the time-line (grandparents and step parent, children, siblings would be nice).

I also decided that if I were to do a similar goal like this again, I would need to focus on the number of individuals I work on rather than a word count. There is no way I could accurately predict how many words I could write on this style of writing project. However, I could easily decide to write about 12 to 15 individuals in a month .

With a variety of writing projects on my plate, I doubt that I will be able to write about 15 ancestors in March. I also will pass on the Fearless Females writing challenge. Instead, I will just keep pressing ahead with the goal of completing the paternal historical sketches of my father to the seventh generation and my mother to the same. My timeline is by the end of the year, which always me to hvae time for making memories with the living while I'm writing.

Thank you Lynn for the writing challenge. I really enjoyed it.