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30 July 2015

Ask the Readers: What would you say?

Family Tree Scrapbook page.

Last night, I was granted access to someone's tree prior to our meeting to discuss where she could start. I have often said that if you think you're tree is all done, think again. Last night, I bumped into a tree that for a beginner's perspective has been all done.

The woman's great-grandfathers had all been Mormon Pioneers and the vast majority of them had immigrated from Sweden. The tree on was full of names, dates, places, sources, and photos.  I went back to a great-grandfather and looked at descendant the descendant view. I found nearly every person on the tree with photos and sources, but a few sources that had been overlooked or newly placed on FamliySearch since the family historian last logged in.

I have some thoughts on what to tell this woman, but I'll put the question before you. This woman wants to follow the counsel given at RootsTech in 2015 to "Find, Take, and Teach." Given the  full, sourced nature of her tree, I have this question.

What would you say to a person whose family tree is full
and looks like it has all been done?

Please include your reposes below, including a link to your post about this topic of your blog if applicable. You can also join the discussion on my Facebook page or Twitter account.

I will share a few of my thoughts and the best of my readers comments in an upcoming post. 

27 July 2015

Great Tips on Basic Genealogy

Once you have mapped our the basic structure of your family tree or you have discovered what others have created for you, then what? How do you go from what you know to what you don't know?

There are a lot of resources that can help you, but one provides you with bite size tips daily. The resources is Genealogy Tip of The Day. With permission from the site owner, I'm sharing a few tips from recent years related to the basics of genealogy that even I need to be reminded of regularly.

Can You State Your Problem

Can you state your genealogical problem in one sentence? (read more)

I do attempt to state my problems well, as I have done with the search for relatives of William James Townsends. My current research problem is "Are the Townsends of Franklin County, Ohio in the 1880 US Census relatives to my William James Townsend?"

Writing Genealogical Queries

Before you post a genealogy query online, think about how easy you are making it for someone else to help you. (read more)

I don't often leave genealogy queries online but this is a great tip for when I do!

Jumping to Assumed Conclusions

One way to avoid doing this is to constantly ask yourself "why?" (read more)

Yep! I did it. I jumped to conclusions and mixed up two Caroline Pueseckers as one.

Think About Why You Didn't Find It

Whenever I have a difficult time finding something, I try and ask myself “why was this hard to find?   (read more)

I'm having a hard time finding divorce records for several Geizler relatives. I think I haven't found them yet is because they are not available online for the time periods I desire to search. This is a project for when traveling to court house records in Franklin County, Ohio is more feasible.

One Document Is Not Necessarily Proof

One document provides information and a "proof" is usually an analysis of that document and what it says... (read more)

I like this tip because it's less about the need for more than one document for 'proof' but rather the need to provide the analysis of the document as to why it pertains to different individuals.

Reasonably Doubting Genealogical Proof

Beyond reasonable doubt is usually too high a bar for genealogical researchers to cross. Preponderance of the evidence and reasonable suspicion are usually a little too low... (read more)

This tip was a bit longer than usual, but well worth the read. I have recently taught an intro to class and discussed the need to add sources to the family trees. I often say without sources, you might as well say you're related to Mickey Mouse. There was a lawyer in my class and we discussed these very terms and how they relate to genealogy. So glad I can now just send a link to a great tip.

Do You Look for Context

No event happens in a vacuum. (read more)

This very tip helped me understand what might be the story of my Grandma Evaline Townley why she appeared in a City Directory at the age of 22 and then disappeared from records until she married at 32. Her mother passed away after the City Directory was created and left three younger brothers without a woman to care for the home. By looking at events in context, I think I know what Evaline was doing.

As you can see, Genealogy Tip of The Day is a great resource. Add it to your must read blogs.

22 July 2015

Heritage Scrapbooking: Bold Background Color for 70s Photos

Can you go bold with retro photos? Often color schemes that work best with older photos are subdued and neutral. Neutral and subdued can often negatively impact a story you wish to share. Sometimes it is better to go bold, even on the entire page.

Bold Background Scrapbook Paper for 70s Photos
San Antonio Trip: kit - 'Giving Thanks' by Stacey’s Scraps,
altered heart - Chore Day by Correen Silke,
button - Autumn Leafs at O'Scrap Blog Train

San Antonio, Texas has a vibrant Spanish culture. These photos of my family going on a rare vacation should not play up the browns of the faded Alamo (in photos, if not in real life). Instead, the better choice would be to focus on the emotions the city brings.
For more tips on what goes into a Family History Scrapbook, order my eBook Creating A Family History Scrapbook Digitally in Twelve Simple Steps.

I am not a fan of orange and rarely use it, but when I put together orange, red, green, and yellow, I envision the many housewares and home decorations that have I seen in the abodes of family and friends of Latin heritage, these are the colors that come to mind. I love how the bold colors portray a vibrant, look at me mood. It also downplays, once again, the chopped up photos that persist through this album. I look back on this page and wish I had printed the title bigger, but at least it doesn't say "Title" which has happened on occasion!

For this layout, I pulled the bold pieces from different scrapbook kits. Now, some artists among us may cringe at the colors I pulled together. Other will enjoy the whimsical color combination. The goal of my scrapbook page are not to win awards or critical acclaim. My goals is to tell stories and grab the attention of those reading my books. Keep that in mind when you're afraid to go bold because you don't know how to put things together.

Have fun using bold colors in your 70s themed pages. The only caution I have is to do it intentionally and sparingly. If my entire album was this bold, I think the colors would detract from the stories inside. A touch of attention grabbing orange and red can make a wonderful statement.

Now that I have shared my bold use of color with a 70s themed scrapbook, go and create a layout with your family photos. Come back and share a link in the comments section below.

21 July 2015

Fabulous Find: Her Ancestor Served with Swamp Fox!

Have you discovered Colleen G. (Brown) Pasquale's blog? 

From her About Me page she says:
"If you see a lady with a camera around her neck, notebook in hand & cassette recorder in her pocket, that's me.  
I am the person in the family who pesters everyone for family stories, memorabilia and photos. I love genealogy, photography, quilting & mostly, my family!"
I laughed when I imagined the lovely blonde retired elementary school teacher with a camera around her neck pestering her relatives for family stories. Kindred spirits are we!

Walt Disney Swamp Fox ad from

Recently she posted about her connection to Swamp Fox. I loved when she said of her discovery, "Suddenly my family was excited about this ancestor & his service. We all remembered learning about the Swamp Fox & watching his tale being told on the ‘Wonderful World of Disney’ when we were children."

I can only imagine how cool this connection would be. Most of my relatives have little connection to the famous, so I'll just say I have a friend who had an ancestor who fought with the Robin Hood of the American Revolution.

Go check out Colleen's blog.

19 July 2015

The Balance Between Overt and Hiding My Light

Where are the LDS Family History Bloggers?
Where are the Mormon Family History Bloggers?
In May, James Tanner posted the question  Where are the LDS Family History Blogs?
"... there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of blogs posted by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There just do not seem to be a significant number of them that focus on family history per se in the Church."
He wanted to compile a list of blogs that discuss LDS Family History topics prominently. He says:
"Do not bother to send me links to blogs that do not prominently announce their orientation. Just because you are member of the Church and write a blog does not mean you write about family history in the Church."
This blog post has stayed with me as I pondered the topic. Many thoughts have circulated in my mind. I do have the LDS tag on my blog at Geneablogger's Blog Roll, but I don't think that I'll make James' blog roll and I'll share why in a moment. Before I continue, I must say how thankful I am for the thought provoking exercise that ensued following that post.

There are several things that I have thought about and am still considering related to "Where are the LDS family history bloggers?" The preliminary topics of concern that come to mind initially are these:

Don't Wish To Speak For the Church

If I write posts about LDS Family History in an authoritative tone, would I cross the line of representing myself as speaking for the church? I would hate to be called out by church leaders saying somehow I've crossed the line.

There are so many LDS blogs, magazines, and online alternative media sites. They cross the line more times than they should. I don't want to fall into that trap.

I'd rather post information that is useful for anyone, rather than only targeting LDS church members who are involved in family history .

Don't Want To Seem Critical of Leaders

The flip-side of sounding like I speak for the church, I would like to discuss issues that may seem critical, but in no way reflects that I do not sustain my church leaders.

I want to be able to address some family history culture issues that I do not understand or wish could be improved. If I say I'm an LDS Family History blog and I 'go negative,' would I be inviting a spirit of contention? Would I be found to be contradicting my resolve to support my leaders?

I don't believe in the extremes of blindly following my leaders or rejecting my leaders whole cloth because I do not like a particular policy or action. I believe there is nothing wrong with advocating change in the LDS culture as it pertains to family history so long as it benefits members of the church and the overall genealogical community. Should I point out things that sound negative, I want my readers to know I do support my church leaders because I know they love the Lord.

Don't Want to Seem to Profit From Our Callings

I've searched the LDS site for the specific policy that relates to this topic, but I can't find it. I'd love to see the official statement for the policy that says we should not be directly profiting from our callings. But then, my relatives reminded me there doesn't need to be an official statement from the church because it's actually a fundamental principle found in the Book of Mormon and in the Bible.

  • "Men preaching and setting themselves up for a light to the world that they may get gain and praise of the world; they do not seek the welfare of Zion" (2 Ne. 26:29).
  • "Feed the flock of God, not for filthy lucre" (1 Pet. 5:2)

For some, these scriptures may seem unclear, but they relate to priest-craft. Priest-craft is essentially using your position in a church (bishop, deacon, women's leader, or family history consultant) to directly profit from. Profiting from your calling should be avoided.

This is a tricky issue to balance. A building contractor may be used by other members of his flock to build their houses but he should not be telling them they must use his services or feel ill will toward someone who choose a competitor's company. A parishioner (ward member) should not be using a member directory lists to promote their wares or inform others that their service or gadget is endorsed by church leaders. Any such activity would be in the realm of profiting from your calling (or priest-craft).

How does this apply to me? I have written a book about family history. Folks at church think that's so cool and often talk about how everyone should buy my book when we're in church meetings. I stop them cold on this. When we're outside church meetings and I'm not wearing a family history calling hat, anyone can promote my book and I'll gladly promote it as well. However, I will not tell anyone to buy my books when I'm in the role of my calling. And I will not be upset if someone does not buy my books or purchases other books on the same subject. When I am serving as family history consultant, I am 'feeding the flock of God' and nothing else.

If I were to be more overt about LDS Family History topics on my blog, would a reader be able to differentiate between when I'm acting in my calling and when I'm not? If they can not, then I should not promote my books or I should not be discussing LDS topics on my blog.

Don't Want a Narrow Focus

When I started to consider LDS Family History specific topics, I realized this focus would be too narrow for me. I like to talk about photographing memorabilia. Is that a LDS specific topic? I like to talk about scanning photos and documents and then using these image files to create scrapbooks. Is that LDS Specific?

In the years I have been doing family history and then blogging, I have had a handful of LDS specific topics to discuss. I would be completely limiting myself by focusing on just LDS specific topics.

Besides Mormons and Jews, who else defines their Family History in Religious Terms?

My final thought that is a potential reason myself and others are family history bloggers who happen to be LDS rather than LDS family history bloggers is this whole issue of religion in genealogy. Are there believers who talk about family history in relation to their religion? I did stumble across a Catholic family history group. So, perhaps there are. I didn't find anything when I searched for other faiths. Besides gaining access to a particular church record set, is there really a reason to blog about the religion and the family history issues together? Oh wait, Mormons have a stronger religious reason to do family history and we should blog about that. However, this brings me back to the first point of speaking for the church.

Devon Noel Lee Family History Conference Speaker
Sharing My Family History Knowledge

But is there room to blog about LDS Topics on this blog?

The above listed reasons weigh against being an overt LDS Family History blog. My thoughts are certainly not fully analyzed. It's the compilation of the thoughts that the original blog post prompted. Do you think I'm over thinking these things? Am I missing something else worth considering? I welcome further discussion in the comments thread as we analyze the issues for or against being a religious themed family history blog. 

Despite the concerns previously mentioned, I wanted to examine why someone would want to have an LDS Family History blog. I started pondering upon my unique gifts and talents. The perspective I have. The fact that I have some things I would like to share with my fellow LDS family history consultants or general church members. Perhaps these topics will not appeal to many of my blog followers who have supported me or will support me in the future.

But the question I consider is, should I talk about these topics? Is there room at A Patient Genealogist to address the problems, challenges, and possible solutions regarding family history in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? I think there is and I have updated my navigation bar to reflect the place for such topics. As you can see, most of my topics will still be of value to a wide range of individuals. However, my LDS Specific topics can be found under the "Commentary" tab.

Once again, I want to emphasize my great respect for James Tanner's efforts in family history. His query and post have prompted a great mental exercise for me.  I can see where perhaps I could share a few things as they come up.

 I feel compelled to consider how I can be of service to those of my faith you hear the doctrine of the work but are struggling to be involved. Simultaneously, I know I need to be of service to anyone of any faith on the topics I have experience in. Finally, I must also remember to share my personal family history research as a way to draw in new-to-me cousins and hopefully break down some brick walls along the way.

I'd love to hear what you think about either this post and the combination of this post and the one that triggered this response. Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below. And if you are a LDS Focused Family History Blogger, be sure to tell James about your work.

15 July 2015

Tombstone Tuesday: Someone Found Ida's Stone!

Hooray! Someone found Ida's gravestone.

Ida Townsend Sandborn Gravestone, photographed by Dave
Hosted on Memorial #64790553
Ida Jane Townsend is the daughter of William Townsend and Mary Claybaugh (or Clabaugh) of Franklin County, Ohio. William is the focus of my One Name Place study and I wrote about Ida not being in the family home in the 1880 US census. She was in the home of Edward and his wife Louisa who I believe to be her father's brother and sister-in-law.

Ida married Lawrence (or Loren) Sandborn in 1885 and she lived in Columbus, Ohio for the remainder of her life. She had 5 children with Lawrence Sanborn before he is believed to have died around 1907 (if not earlier, a date is unknown at this time). She lived until 1941.

All of this information I have known, but when I visited the Obetz Cemetery in 2012, I could not find the stone. At that time, the cemetery stone location process was very disorganized. A volunteer at FindAGrave did photograph the stone. The only thing I would wish is for more angles of this upright stone. That's just me. I love lots of views of the same vertical stone (including transcription only and plot so I find the stone based on surrounding stones at a later date).

Beggars can't be choosers so I am very excited to see what Ida's stone looks like. Hooray for volunteers!

13 July 2015

One Name Place Study: Fred W Townsend in Columbus

Fred W Townsend of Franklin County Ohio

It's once again time to investigate the Townsends of Franklin County, Ohio in an effort to find relatives of William James Townsend who was born around 1842 in Franklin County, Ohio.

The next Townsend listed in the 1880 US Census is Fred W Townsend.

Fred W Townsend in Columbus, Ohio
1880 US Census, Columbus, Ohio; Entry for Fred W Townsend

Fred's birth is approximated to 1847 as his age is listed as 33 years-old. His birth place is listed as Ohio with his parents from Ohio.  His occupation is a Marble Cutter. He is residing as a boarder in the property owned by Evan Jacobs and his wife Mary.

Could he be a brother to Robert Townsend from the previous post? Fred was a Marble Cutter residing on Front Street which is two streets away from High Street where Robert, a brick mason, was residing. Nothing is conclusive, but it is interesting.

If Fred was kin to my ancestor William, he would be a bit younger. At this time, William was a blind farmer. Had William not returned from the Civil War blind, one could wonder what his occupation was. Would it have been a stone/brick mason job?

Once again, this seems to be the only entry for Fred with a comparable birth date and place and name. Where are you Fred? Are you a cousin?

Previous Posts:
What I Know about William James Townsend

Additional Reading:
That's Everyone Now What?

10 July 2015

Narrative Project: Did You Start?

These past few months I have shared with you simple steps to transform your names, dates, and places into stories. Much like the recipe to making a cake, I demonstrated the steps to expand a family history chart into a paragraph.

Narrative Family History Step One

The hardest part of writing your family's story is getting started. Many individuals will walk you through a number of writing processes. For many folks, these are great workshops and delightful tips. For many others, the tips still evoke a sense of dread. 

I hope you'll review the basic steps I've shared with you which include the following posts.

I'd like to share more but my time is more limited and I need to turn my attention to finishing my family narratives.  Please use the comment forms below to let me know how your story writing adventure is coming along. Perhaps one of you would like to include a sample of your efforts, based on my tips, as a guest post. If that interests you, visit me on my Facebook page or Twitter Account.  Or you can use the contact form on the side navigation bar!

While working on the next draft, I might stumble upon a few more things that I can share with you. I do hope you'll get started knowing it is easier than you ever thought possible. 

08 July 2015

Heritage Scrapbooking: Meaningful Stories

Don't Go Home!!!! That's what I have always wanted to say to my relatives who come to visit and had to return home.

Heritage Scrapbook Layout Meaningful Story
Don't Go Home: Refreshing kit by Arizona Girl

The young woman in the blue jacket is my beloved Aunt Shelley. She is younger than my mother by more than a decade. After moving to Texas, I had missed her greatly.

Actually, most of these photos were not taken on the same day. The arrival photo of Shelley in front of the Welcome to Houston sign was certainly from the first day of the trip. The photo inside our white van was likely from another trip. It's okay to use photos from different parts of an event to tell the story better. I did not want my Grannie and Shelley to leave Texas. These photos help tell the story.

Additionally, I chose this blue color scheme to help express my sad mood. Color can help set the mood. Yes it compliments Shelley's jacket from South High and other clothing choices well. However, I intentionally chose the blue hue because it's most often associated with sadness.

Be sure to tell your stories using color and photos, even from different segments of an event. The more meaningful your scrapbook pages, the more they'll be treasured in years to come.

For more tips on what goes into a Family History Scrapbook, order my eBook Creating A Family History Scrapbook Digitally in Twelve Simple Steps

07 July 2015

Tech Tuesday: Working with Ancestry and Family Search This Morning

Thoughts after playing with genealogy this morning. Thumbs up for having a list of hints so I can find people to work on rather than staring at a tree and saying, "where do I start?" Thumbs down for 'new view' not having a link to the FamilySearch website for LDS accounts. Makes transferring information too difficult. Thumbs down for crashing while I was comparing person profiles and wanting to transfer information between the two sites. Thumbs down for not having a compiled 'hint' page on the main page or the upper menu bar to direct me to the hints on person profiles. Thumbs up for pestering me to documenting why I make the changes that I do.

All in all, I discovered two children and a wife of the husband of a great aunt. They were in the FamilySearch system as floating families but now they are linked into a main branch. Did I 'find' new names? Nope. But I did clean up the tree a bit.

I LOVE Twisted Twigs on Gnarled Branches by the way

HISTORY: Thumbs down for the burning of the 1890 census. Oh how often I bump into the need for this record set to help me understand the stories of ancestors.

What Thumb up/down ratings would you give these sites from your recent research attempts?

06 July 2015

Why are my ancestor's headstone featured on FamilySearch?

On May 24th, I received an email from FamilySearch saying they created a special memorial page for my family where I could, as they say, "view your ancestors’ headstones and celebrate the lives of your loved ones."

Family Search 'Special Memorial' Page Email
Family Search 'Special Memorial' Page Email

William James Townsend is my Civil War ancestor that I have been researching and writing about in my One Name Place study. I was intrigued. What new campaign is going on? So, I clicked on "See My Ancestors' Headstones" and saw this welcome page.

FamilySearch Campaign Ancestors Headstones

There is William and then there is Edward Bangs. Who is Edward and how is he related to me?

If the FamilySearch tree is to be believed, then Edward is a grandfather of mine 14 generations back. There's just one problem.

Portion of relationship from myself to Edward Bangs

I have established and documented the relationships between myself and Sarah Burr Sherwood. I have established the relationship to her mother Deborah Burr. Sadly, the family connections break down a bit. The documentation seems sketchy regarding the relationship of Deborah to the father Capt. George Burr. And then suddenly there is a last name change from George Burr to his father David Crosby?

The trouble is that Sarah Burr Sherwood was born in 1800 in Connecticut, This fact introduces the joys and challenges of New England research. I can't fully establish the relationship of Deborah Burr (FS id LH5F-LZH) to the father Capt. George Burr and mother Mabel Wakeman. George would have been 47 at Deborah's birth with Mabel being 41. Those ages are not entirely unheard of. However, I'm focused on folks in Columbus, Ohio and I am not ready to explore New England research in the 1700s. So, I let it be.

In any case, what then happens is that Capt. George Burr (FS id L434-54Q) then has two sets of parents: Andrew Burr and Sarah Sturges and then David Crosby and an unnamed wife. David Crosby (FS id LZ63-GKR) has 16 children of which, George is the only one with the last name of Burr. David has 6 marriage relationships, many with unknown spouses and then multiple parental links. This time period is the 1700-1760s, again in New England area. The alternate names include variations on Crosby but also the name Lemuel! Do you want to talk about HEADACHE? I'm not touching this tree segment with a 3 foot pole (or a longer one).

The problems from that point backward to Capt Edward Bangs continue to make my head spin.

At the bottom of the Ancestor Headstone memorial page, I'm asked "Did you enjoy discovering these headstones?"

Honestly? No.
  1.  No other stones were corralled onto this page since 24 May and it's over a month later. There are other stones online. Why have these not been pulled to the memorial page?
  2. The inaccuracies of the 'junk' on FamilySearch (and elsewhere for that matter) and how easy it is to think, "Oh, I have an early American ancestor" when in actuality, the validity of the relationship tree from me to this supposed ancestor is full of holes.
  3. The whole memorial campaign doesn't make any sense to me. Why was this created? Why have FamilySearch engineers spent time developing this if more information (compliant #1) doesn't populate and the overall purpose of this kind of page is unclear? 

From what I gather, this campaign is a partnership with BillionGraves as the "View Headstone" link takes you off the FamilySearch website to BillionGraves and the direct stone. That's all well and good but the execution and the explanation needs more clarity.

I hope someday someone can help me understand the originals of Sarah Burr Sherwood and her mother Deborah from Connecticut who are documented early settlers of Richland County, Ohio. Until I'm much older and let my gray start showing, I'm going to leave this branch alone because if I attempted to tackle the problem now, I would speed up the graying and aging problem while I still have my five children in the home.

What do you think of the campaign or the trouble of the Burrs?

02 July 2015

Heritage Scrapbooking: Family Tree Pages

Digital Family Tree Scrapbook Page
Family Tree for Lewis and Louise Brown
For the past few weeks, I've shared information about selecting color for a scrapbook page and creating a cover page. Today, I'm going to talk about an essential layout that you must include in your heritage scrapbooks.

Family Tree Pages should be one of the first pages included in any heritage scrapbook. Why? Because nearly everyone turns this kind of layout first when they initially flip through a family history scrapbook. My mother did it. My aunts did it. Other friends and strangers have done it when they looked at my completed projects.

This is the photo family tree layout that I created for my maternal line. There are several to point out.

  1. You are not limited to name and date trees. 
  2. You can include photos, especially in a scrapbook
  3. You might want to limit genealogical information on the layout to reduce visual chaos.

If you don't have photos for everyone, you can still include what you have. Who knows, in the future you just might come across a photo to add to complete the tree. You can print a copy of the photo for inclusion in a traditional album or drop in the photo for reprint for a digital album.If you print scrapbook layouts as single sheets and insert them in an album, you're set. Reprint that page and update your album.

If you want to personalize the tree further, you could include the child on the trunk of the tree. If the couple, that branaches into the separate lines on the tree, has more than one child, then you can swap out the child's photo at the base for each person's album. That way, you're only making one basic layout and then changing it for different projects!

Have fun and be creative. If you struggle in the creativity department, some wonderful designers have created templates to simply your tasks. Check out this great tool.

Heritage Album Family tree template

If you are creating a digital scrapbook, you can find a brush that will stamp a template on your page in Photoshop Elements. Follow the link for the included picture if you would like to follow that route.

I make my own tree using boxes and lines in Photoshop Elements. It was a little time consuming, but worth the effort.

Other family tree designs include (with a link to more details about these pages):

Family Tree Fan Chart Scrapbook Layout
Fan Chart Scrapbook Layout

Traditional Family Tree Scrapbook Layout
Traditional Pedigree Chart Layout

Family Tree Scrapbook Layout
Variation on the first tree in this post.

If you liked this post, you'll like my book called Creating a Family History Scrapbook Digitally in 12 Simple Steps available through Amazon.