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29 February 2016

Joseph Geissler: Gone to Soon

Death of Joseph Geiszler

Would German Immigrant Joseph Geißler have to fight with the Union forces in the North? That's where we left off in last week's post.

The first three days of July 1863 would become some of the most infamous dates in Civil War history. In Pennsylvania, the largest number of casualties of the entire war occurred at the Battle of Gettysburg.i In the mean time, the beginning of Morgan's Raid was on going in Tennessee and moving into Kentucky. The intended goal was to draw the attention of the Union Army of Ohio away from other activities. Morgan rode into Kentucky on July 2.ii These events were occurring during the first Wednesday through Friday of the dry month.

On July 4, bulletins from Washington arrived in Columbus stating that the Union army should receive high praise and honor. For the next few days, the reports of significant success for the Union Army arrived, but the scope of the loss created great anxiety as published in the Ohio State Journal on July 6.iii

23 February 2016

How to Write a Birth Index Reason Statement

Writing reason statements for acutal documents can be fun. But what do you do when you have an index that does not link to an original source? What would you write in your reasons statement boxes on FamilySearch?

Remember to follow the Guiding Principle to record as much information to help you remember why you attached a particular record to the family tree.

Here's an example of a source that can be found on It is related to Fidelia E. Cartzdafner (FS - LCV9-VXN)'s daughter's birth. I had researched Fidelia because she is the daughter of one of my great-grandfathers.

22 February 2016

Joseph Geissler: Another Land in Crisis

Geiszlers in Prairie, Ohio in 1860s

As we continue the story of Joseph and Caroline (Mack) Geißler, we enter the 1860s with them farming their land in Prairie Township, Franklin County, Ohio with one son, Henry Joseph Geißler, and grieving the recent loss of their oldest son, Carl Geißler.

Interestingly, husband and wife are listed in the 1860 US Census as attending school.i Several adults in the community are as well. Perhaps they understood attending school as the German associations that provided English lessons to immigrants in German Village.

The family would grieve for almost two years before another child joined the family. Unfortunately, the birth of this daughter came at a perilous time for the German immigrant's new homeland. The American Civil War had broken on 12 April 1861, when Confederate forces fired upon Fort Sumter. Caroline would deliver her daughter Mary Elizabeth Geißler 12 days later on April 24th.ii At the time of Lizzie's birth, their son Henry was shy of his second birthday.

17 February 2016

Heritage Scrapbook: Elementary in the 80s

School records and photos are so fun to discover for our ancestors. But, do you have documents from when you were in school? How are you going to show case those records?

altered alpha - Kiss WInter Blues; Chalkboard & crayons - Ramona Preschool;
scallop edge, yellow tag, & flowers - Coreen Silke - Spa Holiday; yellow paper - Triple J Designs Sun Kissed

Normally I scrapbook using templates. They're fast, easy to use, and take the guess work out of designing a page. That's power scrapbooking. For this collection of items, I had to give it a go without assistance and it was challenging.

16 February 2016

Another Marriage Record Reason Statement

Previously, I wrote a reason statement for a marriage index record following my guiding principles of providing enough information to remember why I attached a source on FamilySearch.

I have another example for us to examine. This time it is a marriage record that doesn't provide a lot of identifying information. I have to share my speculation of why I believe this record to be connected to Samuel Bailey Barton.

Marriage record for Samuel Bailey Barton and Nancy Miller
"Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 20 January 2016), S. B. Barton and Nancy A. Miller, 01 Sep 1885; citing Franklin, Ohio, United States, reference p161; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 285,150.

15 February 2016

Joseph Geissler: Tragedy in Prairie

Death of Carl Geissler of Prairie, Franklin County, Ohio

In previous posts, we followed the origins of Joseph Geißler from his origins in Baden to his arrival in Franklin County, Ohio. His marriage to Caroline Mack to the birth of a son and becoming a naturalized citizen. I ended the last post with the birth of his second son and a hint that tragedy would soon strike. Today, the eluded to story is revealed.

12 February 2016

One Name Place Study: That's Everyone, Now What?

For about two years, I have been on the hunt to crack through the brick wall of my ancestor William James Townsend. I've previously shared information from his Civil War pension file. I learned many details from the documents in the file but I still had questions left unanswered.

What I know about William James Townsend (b 1842 - d 1889) was detailed in a previous post. In the 1880 Census, I found William but one of his daughters, Ida, was not in his home when she wasn't yet married. The discovery of Ida in the home of another person named Townsend led me to ask the question, who else is in Franklin County, Ohio in the 1880 census with the last name Townsend?

There were around 50 persons named Townsend in the 1880 Census with 15 of those as either heads of the house. My quest launched a monthly series throughout 2015 to analyze the records pertaining to these specific Townsend families and individuals.

Of the Townsends listed, these are the ones that could possibly be related to William.

09 February 2016

How to write a Marriage Record Reason Statement

After reading the plea to fill in the reason statement box and reviewing some basic tips for what to put in the box, do you still need a more concrete examples. Well, you're in luck. I will be sharing various examples of reason statements that I have left behind. Use these as idea generators for how you will write your statements.

"Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007," database with images, FamilySearch (, Henry H Banta and Hazel E Byers, ; citing , county clerk offices, Indiana; FHL microfilm 1,665,896.

I found a marriage record for Henry Horace Banta to Hazel E Byers and I want to attach the record to the FamilySearch Family Tree.  I want to provide as much information that I can remember why I attached this record, including as many of my 5 Dos for writing a statement as possible.

08 February 2016

Joseph Geissler: An American Father

Naturalization of Joseph Geissler

When we left off, Joseph and Caroline had married and purchased property in Prairie Township in 1856. Their land neighbored James Kinnaird and Caroline's father, Heinirch Mack. Additional neighbors included the Puseckers, Strunkenbergs, and Tinappels, all from the same village in Hanover as the Macks.

After over year and a half of marriage, Joseph and Caroline welcomed their first of four children to their family.  Charles “Carl” Geißler was born  17 November 1857, mostly likely in their home in Prairie Township.  Joseph was 21 years of age while Caroline was 19.

What was the origin of this child's name?  In jumping ahead, we discover that the couple's second son would appear to honor Caroline's father and Joseph, himself. Their first daughter's name origin is uncertain but has the same middle name of Caroline's step-mother. Was she thus named in honor of the mother that immigrated with Caroline? Finally, the fourth child has the name of Caroline. With this tradition of honoring their children after family members, who was Karl named after?

03 February 2016

Wanting Wednesday: Can You Help Find the David Kinnaird Diary?

In the post Joseph Geissler: Planting Roots in Prairie, I mentioned that my 3rd great-grandfather, along with two other families purchased property from James Kinnaird of Prairie Township, Franklin County, Ohio in 1856.

In researching James Kinnaird, I learned that he was born 10 August 1825 in Ohio, United States. I find that he marries Melissa Deans on 13 June 1849 in Franklin County, Ohio. In 1853, James Kinnaird marries Jenny Gray on the 27th of October in nearby Fairfield County.ii At the time of the home purchase, James and Jenny would be the likely inhabitants of the Prairie property, which is confirmed by the 1860 US Census record.iii James would remain in Prairie the remainder of his life.

80s Style Easter Layout

Circle tag - Connie Prince, Happy Home Body; Word Art - ABC Do The Bunny Hop; blue papers (altered)- Triple J Designs, Sun Kissed;
white paper - Lyllah Raven - Refreshing; Buckle - Hummie's World - Course 2 Lesson 31; Ribbon - Sheila Reid - That Teenage Life

For my mother, Easter was a very big deal. She loved buying my brother and me new clothes and Easter baskets when we were younger. As we grew up and times got tough, the new clothes and baskets were no longer part of our yearly bounty. Even though I wasn't a girl who loved dresses, I loved this adorable dress with a bonnet and matching person. I always felt so pretty in this dress and really missed it when I grew out of it.

These 80s era photos were a challenge to scrapbook because I had poorly cut two of the photos. So, I matted these pictures and chose a layout that intentionally shifts your eyes. You have to work hard to notice the poorly cut photos, and that was by design.

pastel with pop 80s color scheme for scrapbooking
Pastel with pop 80s color palette

I chose papers that matched my pastel 80s color palette and matched my dress, but relied heavily on the dress for color choices.

I have rarely used a buckle on my layouts, but a scrapbooking challenge from a Facebook group I belong to prompted me to follow the steps of a My Corner Online's tutorial. I love these easy to follow PhotoShop Elements tutorials. After fOnce I saw the challenge and the tutorial, I knew I had to use a ribbon and buckle on this layout. There's a buckle on my purse, and the element seemed to fit.

This Easter layout was a fun addition to my personal heritage scrapbook and the overall design compliments the challenges of the photo and helps me remember one of my favorite dresses. That's a win-win.

What memories do you have Easter when you were a child? Do you have photos that showcase those memories?

Turn your memories and photos into a scrapbook page and then share a link to your designs in the comment section. If you finish your layout before this Easter, you could print out a single page and frame it to display at this year's Easter celebration. Think of the conversations you'll have with your family about the holiday from this fun task.

Further Reading:
Choosing the Right 80s Color Scheme
That 70s Scrapbook
Use Busy Patterns to Hide Flaws
It's Okay to Fail
Collage With  a Purpose

02 February 2016

5 Dos and 5 Don'ts of Writing Reason Statements

How to Write Genealogy Reason Statements
Reasons statements may seem burdensome and overwhelming at first. Having attempted to teach this to new users of FamilySearch, I know that it's painstaking. However, it's crucial to building one accurate family tree.

With that said, here are a few 5 Dos and 5 Don'ts for Writing a Reason Statement.

How far can you go back?

How far back can you trace your family tree

Oh how I love folks who are trying to engage me in conversation. They overhear me talking about family history and are bursting to join in. They have been bitten by the bug and they think they've discovered a kindred spirit. They gush as they excitedly ask, "How far have you gotten back?"

Yep. That's the first question out of their mouths.

That first question tells me nearly everything I need to know about the person and their passion in family history. Please forgive the judgement, but I have yet to be proven wrong in my analysis. The people who eagerly ask this question are name gatherers. The people who ask causally are trying to make polite conversation. Passionate family historians and genealogists ask a variety of other questions.

Then, the name gatherers display great disappointment when I say, "Oh, only about the 1850s in Ohio and a little further back in Canada."

They sigh and say, "That's too bad." Then they rapidly launch into, "I have my lines back to the 1500s and into royalty."

Yep. Name gatherers.

01 February 2016

Joseph Geissler: Planting Roots in Prairie

Joseph Geissler in Praire, Franklin County, Ohio

Joseph Geißler was born in Baden about 1836 in immigrated to Franklin County, Ohio no later than 1856. 1856 marks the year that he went from being a single man with no other family in the county to a married man with in-laws and property.

Planting Roots in Prairie

Before completing his naturalization process in 1858, Joseph experienced several life-changing events: he married, purchased property, and became a father.


At the age of twenty, Joseph obtained a license to marry 17-year-old Caroline Mäck dated 16 February 1856. Their differing faiths resulted in their marriage not being performed in either's church. Joseph practiced the Catholic religion and Caroline was Lutheran which prevented their wedding from being held in either church. As such, they were united in marriage by the Justice of Peace Thomas O'Hara on 19 February 1856.i At the time of their nuptials, it is believed that Joseph had already started his naturalization process. Once complete, Caroline would also become a naturalized citizen because of this marriage.