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

27 January 2016

Choosing the Right 80s Color Palette

80s Scrapbook Color Schemes


Last year, I showcased the late 70s Scrapbook album that I created. Many readers were so inspired by "That 70s Scrapbook" and it was fun to hear what pages they liked and why. This year, I'm going to back to the 80s.

80s Rocker Costume
I Love Rock n Roll! 
Okay, not this way! That's the late 80s  and was a super fun office party with my husband.
Seriously, I'm going back to the 80s to work on my heritage scrapbook. I'm excited about this project, but I'm discovering there are some color choices. Which one will work best?

26 January 2016

3 Reasons to Stop Researching and Start Writing

Genealogy Stop Researching Start Writing


In January, I detailed the research discoveries of my maternal great grandmother who had remained a mystery for many decades because she died after giving birth to my grandmother. This child was placed for adoption and eventually became my grandmother.

I also began sharing pieces of the story about my immigrant 3rd great-grandfather Joseph Geißler who settled in Franklin County, Ohio. Thus far, I have shared stories his birth and life in Baden, his coming to America, and his planting roots in Prairie Township. I will be sharing more about Joseph in coming months, so stay tuned.

But why would I write Joseph's story when I could be seeking out more records?
Isn't research more exciting?
Isn't research discoveries the trigger for many genealogy happy dances?

The short answer is that stories drive research.

Guiding Principles for Writing Reason Statements


A reader asked me, "I would love to know the kinds of phrases you enter into those reason statement boxes on FamilySearch.org, because I'm always stymied by what exactly to say that explains the situation."

If you aren't aware, FamilySearch.org 'pesters' you with a box that says "Reason ..." when you attach a record to a person in the family tree or when you make changes to any fields on a person's profile. They ask for reasons when you merge, delete, or edit relationships. Whenever you are prompted on FamilySearch by these boxes,  Fill in the Box.

Since asking for more participation in filling out those boxes, readers have asked me how to write better statements. I am happy to share my recommendations.

25 January 2016

Joseph Geissler: Coming to America

Geiszlers in Columbus, Ohio


The previous post about Joseph Geißler reviewed that he was born in Baden about 1836 and included a brief history of Baden, focusing on the political climate in the 1840s before Joseph's likely immigration to the United States of America. This post considers the migration process, even though I have yet to discover a passenger list with my relative on it. Perhaps you'll see why in reviewing this article.

Coming to America

Joseph's naturalization process was completed in 1858 when he was around 22 years-old.i The naturalization process generally took about 5 years from start to finish. He would have been 17 when he initiated the process in 1853. If he, and his family, arrived in America during the early 1850s, he was likely in Baden at the time of the 1848 revolutions and was a part of the migration from the home and.  The only question is where he would go and did he travel alone?

23 January 2016

What does the word Innovator Mean?



What does the word 'innovate' or more specifically 'innovator' mean?

To me, it means someone who brings a new or radically different product to market (or academia) that will transform the way I do something.

Dictionary.com suggests that an innovator is one who "introduces something new; make changes in anything established."

With this being said, some of you might know where I'm headed with this. I'm not attempting to be critical. I'm actually seeking for understanding as yo no entiendo. I don't understand the word 'innovator' as it applies to the Innovator Showdown a the RootsTech conference.

20 January 2016

Where I'm From Poem Scrapbook

Where I'm From Poem Photobook


In November 2015, Lisa Louise Cooke published a Genealogy Gems podcast featuring Kentucky poet laureate George Ella Lyon on the show.  The show was fantastic and inspiring. It had a great call to action, "Write a poem about your family and where you're from."

Lisa offered listeners who accepted the challenge and called in to her show the opportunity to win some great prizes. The deadline for the contest was December 31st. A Patient Genealogist Devon Noel Lee (er, hem, me) had a poem written about my husband's side of the family long before the deadline. But I should also call myself A Procrastinating Genealogist because I never called into the show to read my poem. When I heard the small number of entrants, I could have kicked myself for being slow on the draw. Way to go those who followed the call to action!

18 January 2016

Joseph Geissler: Birth and Baden

Geiszler Genealogy Birth and Baden


Joseph Geißler is my fraternal great-grandfather. He's the man all the Geiszler descendants in Columbus, Ohio want to learn about and see if there's any way we can crack his brick wall open a bit. I have found that by writing a narrative about an ancestor, it helps me to analyze what I know, what I don't know, and what I may be able to discovery.

Each week, I'm going to share my research into Joseph Geißler's life. First I will share what I know about Joseph in a chronological story format. After that overview is finished, I'll share some of the analysis of other research and theories that have been tossed about. Hopefully, some of the theories will then ultimate die out, while others might shed new light and connect me with new leads for Joseph.  Check out the end of this post for links to other posts in the series, as they become available.

Let's get started.

The German immigrant to Ohio, USA named Joseph Geißler was born about 1836 in Baden.i In the 1830s-40s, The Grand Duchy of Baden was a crescent-shaped wedge that wrapped around the Kingdom of Wurtenberg, touched the Grand Duchy of Hessen and the Pfalz which was part of the Kingdom of Bavaria, and shared its western border with eastern France.

14 January 2016

A Final Surprise About Agnes Anderson


This is the last in the series of discoveries an amazing volunteer blessed me with prior to Christmas. To sum up, I posted a query about the brick wall of my grandmother Louise Long's birth mother Agnes Anderson. A volunteer named Shelly found a second informant on Agnes's death and then set out to find out who this person was.
The previous posts detailed how we learned this informant is Robinson Peter Sparks (sometimes called Richard P Sparks or Peter Sparks). He is Agnes's uncle through her mother Amanda Sparks Anderson. I also left off saying that Shelley had one more surprise for me, and for me it's a doozy.

According to Agnes's death record her parents are Wm Anderson of Missouri and Amanda Sparks of Missouri. However, after tracking Agnes through the census records her father is actually from Sweden and her mother is actually from Ohio. By connecting Amanda to her brother Robinson Peter Sparks in 1870, I further establish she's born in Ohio. So, where would I find Amanda in the 1880 US Census? Agnes isn't born for another year and it's said she was born in Evansville, Missouri. So, would Amanda be in Ohio or Missouri?

13 January 2016

The Piece That Ties It Together For Agnes Anderson

Agnes Anderson related to Robinson Sparks


Where I left off in the previous post, I had the possibility of connecting Agnes Anderson, my grandmother's birth mother to Amanda Sparks and her brother Robinson Peter Sparks and 5 additional family members. I had received a Find A Grave link, a 1870 Census record, and death records for R Peter Sparks and a brother George, and a newspaper tidbit about Agnes selling real estate to Robinson Sparks.

If you missed the previous posts, you can catch up with these links:
How Could I Miss That Clue for Agnes Anderson?
The Crack in Agnes's Wall Widens

Let me pause for a moment. I was reading and re-reading these discoveries and becoming more excited. But, the skeptic side of me raise a valid point.  Were these people really my family?

12 January 2016

Must Attend Class at RootsTech 2016

RootsTech 2016 is around the corner and many of the class options are intriguing. There are many classes for beginning genealogists and some for advanced users. One class that will surely be amazing is presented on Friday, February 5th at 1:30 pm and you'll want to be attendance.

For beginner to advanced family historians with some technological know how, have you taken time to edit your audio files? What is the condition of your interviews with ancestors or their musings with a tape recorder? In the interactive "Audacity and the Power of Audio Editing," we'll learn:
... how Audacity, a powerful free editing software, can be used to preserve your cassette recordings and create stories that your family wants to listen to and share with others. This class will teach some audio editing techniques that can improve the quality of your recordings and turn an interview into a collection of stories. The student will learn how to recognize what can be corrected with audio editing and what needs to be corrected before recording.

I received a sneak peek of this presentation and I'm ecstatic. You'll be amazed at the possibilities, the learning, and the presentation in general. Be sure to attend this class: RT2028.

The Crack in Agnes's Brick Wall Widens

Genealogy Brick Wall Cracks Wide

With the help of an amazing volunteer at the US Midwest Genealogy Research Community, my grandmother's birth mother's family is about to be discovered. If you missed the previous post, review it here "How Could I Miss That Clue for Agnes Anderson?"

When I left off, I had the name of R P Sparks of St Louisville, Ohio sitting on Agnes Anderson's death record all this time, just waiting for someone to notice. A fresh set of eyes looked at my document, and found the clue.

But Shelly, the amazing helper from Midwest Genealogy Society group on Facebook, was just getting started.

Two minutes after sharing the death record tidbit, Shelly posted a possible link to a Find A Grave Memorial page for R P Sparks.

How she figured that out is fascinating. All she had was this name and the town of St Louisville, Licking County, Ohio to go off of. No dates, or anything. Perhaps it helps that there are only 43 Sparks listed in Licking County, Ohio on Find A Grave. Anyway, the only R P Sparks is a Robert Peter Sparks of St Louisville!

11 January 2016

How Could I Miss That Clue for Agnes Anderson?

Genealogy Brick Wall Breakthrough

In the early part of December, I was prompted to define my brick walls in the Facebook group called the U.S. Midwest Genealogy Research Community. My family has roots in Central Ohio and I have two family lines that stop short. I know many folks like to help other researchers with no thought of reward other than gratitude. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, I posted two queries and one brought me an early Christmas present.

On Dec 14, I posted a query about Agnes Anderson. She’s my maternal grandmother’s birth grandmother, the Grannie that I created this heritage scrapbook about. Interestingly, that day was the 3rd anniversary of burying my mother. Within a few short hours, several responses appeared and perhaps the women of my mother’s line were guiding me. They wanted to not only make a Merry Christmas but they wanted to turn a tender day into a blessed one.

04 January 2016

One Name Place Study: Jno Townsend of Groveport Ohio

Previously I wrote about the success of finding a relative by using the One Name Place Study method.  Let's continue investigating the remaining Townsends in the 1880 US Census for Franklin County, Ohio.

As you'll remember, I am in the process of investigating 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 one is Jno Townsend born about 1836 in Ohio, with parents originally from Maryland. Jno is working as a farm laborer.

01 January 2016

6 Reasons Why I'm Okay With Being A Little Behind Schedule

A Patient Genealogist Devon Noel Lee

Happy New Year!

Are you ready to roll? Did you do the Genealogy Do-Over, Do-Better, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks or simply started working on your tree in 2015? Have you chosen your project or challenge for this year?

For me, I barely crossed the finish line of the year known as 2015. It was a really great year in our family and in my family history research. I also taught at four new-to-me venues and have a number of opportunities in the works for 2016. I could recap 2015, but it's going to take me awhile before I can. You see, I'm a little behind schedule. I could lay out my goals for 2016, but once again, I'm a little behind schedule in making those plans.

Want to know a little secret?