26 January 2015

One Name Place Study: Townsends Series Begins

Howdy Folks! I'm going to get genealogy crazy. I'm trying to crack through a brick wall for my Civil War ancestor William James Townsend. Starting in January of last year, I shared William's pension file and the things I learned and the questions I still had.

William Townsend Pension Declaration


The pension file gave me a few new pieces of information and the story of how William became blind. Unfortunately, no siblings or parental information was found. How can I find these pieces of information?

Start with What You Know

William James Townsend
  • born abt 1842 in Ohio1,2,
    • Birth records don't become available until 1867
  • 1860 resides in Madison Township, Franklin County, Ohio3
    • Single, farm laborer, boarding in home of Robert Henderson
  • June 1863.. Madison Township, Franklin County, Ohio4
    • Civil War Draft Registration
    • Single, farm laborer
    • Recorded same time as John Townsend, married, age 27 of Madison
  • May 1864 - August 1864 Serves in Co K 133 Regt Ohio Infantry Volunteers5
  • 10 Nov 1864 marries Mary Claybaugh (1846 - 1916 of Franklin County, Ohio)6
  • 1870  resides Hamilton, Franklin, Ohio1
    • William is listed as a 26 year-old farm laborer. Mary is 22 and a house keeper. They have four children living with them. (Nancy, Ida, William, Mary Ella)
  • 1880 resides Hamilton, Franklin, Ohio2
    • William is listed as a 36 year-old farm laborer. Mary is 32 and a house keeper. They have four children living with them. (William, John, Harry, Emma)
  • 13 Nov 1889  died in Edward's Station, Franklin, Ohio, United States7
    • Edward's Station was a railroad town in Madison Township
  • 1889 buried in Obetz Cemetery in Obetz, Franklin, Ohio, United States8
    • Mary also buried in Obetz but does not have a stone
Gravestone for William James Townsend
Gravestone for William James Townsend
Obetz Cemetery, Franklin County, Ohio
Photo by Chad Graham


I know that William and Mary Townsend (or Townson) had the following children:
  1. Nancy Elizabeth Townsend Miller (1865-1925)
  2. Ida Jane Townsend Sanborn (1864-1941)
  3. William James Townsend (1868-1929)
  4. Mary Ella (or Etta) Townsend (1869-1874)
  5. John Edward Townsend (1873-1950)
  6. Louisa D Townsend (1875 -?)
  7. Harry Augustus Townsend (1877-1918)
  8. Emma Virginia Townsend (1880-1943)
  9. Samuel Leroy Townsend (1884-?)
  10. Ethel May Townsend Anthony (1887-1956)
All of the children were born in Franklin County. Most state they were born in Hamilton with a few exceptions. Ida Jane and Emma say they were born in Valley Crossing. Valley Crossing was a  railroad junction town, located north of Williams Road on Groveport Road within the Hamilton Township. Louisa and Ethel's birth town is listed as Madison. 

After marrying, Samuel out of the state of Ohio. Ethel moved to Toledo, Ohio. The remaining family members lived within Franklin County. Most of the children, as well as the parents, are buried in Obetz Cemetery. John and Mary Ella don't appear to have been buried in this cemetery, however their burial location has not been determined. 

Much of the children vital dates are found in the census and vital records, although some records have not been located. According to Mary's Widow Pension in 1890, the  family was not part of a church and no baptism records should be found.

Now What? 

I believe that William purchased land, Mary sold it upon his death and acquired a smaller property in Madison Township. I am having trouble finding land and probate records for the Townson/Townsend name that would be my family.

I have not attempted newspaper research because many Columbus, Ohio papers that I believe I need are not online and I don't currently have time to do 'old school' newspaper research. Perhaps there will be obituaries and other tidbits around the 1840s for Townsend births. Perhaps there will be an obituary around Nov 1889 for William's death. Perhaps there will be a marriage announcement in 1864 for William and Mary's marriage. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

So what can I do to attempt to piece together William's lineage and other relatives? The answer comes as a result of Where's Ida in the 1880 US Census. Stay tuned for the next installment.



1. 1870  US Census: Ancestry.com, 1870 United States Federal Census, Year: 1870; Census Place: Hamilton, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: M593_1200; Page: 509A; Image: 229; Family History Library Film: 552699.
2. 1880 US Census: Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1880 United States Federal Census, Year: 1880; Census Place: Hamilton, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: 1015; Family History Film: 1255015; Page: 188A; Enumeration District: 9; Image: 0479.
3. 1860 US Census: "U.S. Census Population Schedule, 1860" database, FamilySearch; (http:/familysearch.org). Madison, Franklin, Ohio, , 66, 262, Robert Henderson, Head of Household; NARA microfilm publication 803962, .
4. Ancestry.com. U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
5. Union Regimental Histories, The Civil War Archive (http://www.civilwararchive.com), taken from Source - "A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion" by Frederick H. Dyer (Part 3), 133rd Regiment Infantry; Historical Data Systems, comp., American Civil War Regiments, Source: The Union Army, vol. 2. 
6 Family Search, "Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958" database, (http:/www.familysearch.org) : Entry for William Townsend, 10 November 1864; Civil War Pension file for William James Townson Col K  Reg 133rd
 Civil War Pension file for William James Townson Col K  Reg 133rd; Franklin County Chapter of The Ohio Genealogical Society, compiled, Franklin County, Ohio Cemeteries: Vol I - XI (N.p.: n.p., 1980-1987, 1997), IX :70, William James Townsend. 
8 Find A Grave Memorial #98018586

Blogiversary Book Sale

Earlier this month marked the 4th anniversary of  A Patient Genealogist. Geneabloggers always reminds me of this Blogiversary date, otherwise I would simply forget. Thank you Thom. I was honored to be featured in the May I Introduce You Series on Geneabloggers as well. What a treat!

What better way can I celebrate both events than to share a gift with my readers?

My gift to you is placing my three Kindle books on sale at Amazon.com. If you have thought about purchasing any of these books but were hesitant, now is the time. Today, the eBooks are on sale for only $0.99. The price will increase gradually until they reach their original price on February 1st. To take the greatest advantage of this sale, purchase today.

Additionally, you can get a copy of my husband's humorous personal history associated with High School English class. As always, that Kindle book is $0.99.

Click on any of the links below to go directly to the book order page.


21st Century Family Historian

Power Scrapbooking Get Caught Up
How to Fail English with Style


As part of this sale, I have one small request. If you do purchased or have purchased one of these books and enjoyed them, please leave reviews on Amazon.com. That would be the best anniversary present this blogger could receive.


21 January 2015

Heritage Scrapbooking: Downplaying the Cut Photos

Are you fortunate enough to have all of your photos that were not 'Creative Memory-ed' or just butchered? If so, this post is not for you. If you do have a collection of photos that were 'shaped' photos, you'll remember the post I shared discussing what to do about these photos.

Scrapbook Layout Christmas Vintage
Brown Christmas: Growing Pains Scrapped All I Want For Christmas Kit

One idea I had was to use a technique called 'masking' I would create a more pleasing shape and then create a blending mask to soften the edges and shape. I'd blend the photo into a neutral background such as black or brown.  I soon learned that this technique could be effective but was extremely time consuming.

For this layout, I simply decided to make the odd shapes less noticeable by placing the them on a pattern paper mat. When I chose a paper for the mat that was more simple, the poor cutting stood out. When I chose a busier pattern paper, the 'whack job' was not the thing I noticed most.

Scrapbook Layouts with bad photo cut outs
Geiszler Christmas: Growing Pains Scrapped All I Want For Christmas Kit

I'm not 100% certain that everything plays nicely visually on this layout, but at least you can see how you can use a busy pattern paper, cut into a regular shape to over come the short comings of not properly caring for photos.

Before we leave this topic, let me reassert my best advice for scrapbooking...

Scan your photos before you use them in your paper scrapbooks. 

Find Me On Facebook

Devon Noel Lee A Patient Genealogist
This year, I hope to reach out to more of my readers, many whom are new to me thanks to the  "May I Introduce You..." Geneablogger feature that ran on Jan 12, 2012. Thank you Jana for featuring me!

Welcome to my humble efforts to teach and inspire individuals to participate in family history while also searching for my own ancestors in the process.

I have started a Facebook Fan Page A Patient Genealogist. I hope this will provide Facebook users with an additional way to contact me, ask questions, leave feedback and more. This avenue of communication will also allow me to share some of the useful blog posts I discover by other genealogy, scrapbooking, and memory preservation bloggers. For several years I wanted to share these posts with my readers but was not prepared to write a full post about the usefulness of said posts. Facebook seems like a great option.

Finally, this Fan Page will allow more direct communication with me as the contact form on my About Me page has been sketchy at best in its functionality. If you want to send me a message that isn't meant for public commentary, you can use the About Me contact for or leave a message for me on my  A Patient Genealogist Fan Page

I hope you'll join me there!

- Devon Noel Lee

19 January 2015

Motivation Monday: Begin With the End In Mind

Whenever folks attempt to promote doing family history or genealogy, few talk about what the end result of a particular project is. Sure there is always more family history that can be done, but for the vast majority of the people I meet, that is not an attractive incentive to participate in this genealogy.

Louise Long Brown Family Tree
A typical family tree.
If you're wanting to do something to capture and preserve your family history, might I offer the best advice you'll ever receive.

Know What You Want to Do BEFORE You Start.

How will you know when you can stop doing family history and feel a sense of accomplishment if you do not know what your end goal is?



Would a runner really want to enter a race with no defined finish line? Sure, some runners would and could participate in a marathon, but many more can not. Without knowing the end goal, few would attempt to run a course because they'd never be able to start saying, "5 more miles to go, 3 more miles, 1 more mile, just to that tree... ah, I'm done!"

So before you say, "I'm going to work on my family history" and start plowing ahead, define your goals.

Ask yourself, "Why am I doing family history?" Is your answer listed below?

  • Curiosity
  • Gain admittance into fraternal organizations
  • Gain admittance into historical lineage based societies
  • Write tribute pieces, such as eulogies 
  • Share family stories at family reunion
  • Research a person for a reenactment
  • School assignments
  • Write entries for city or county histories
  • Prove whether a family legend is true (we’re ⅛ Cherokee or we’re related to the Hatfields and McCoys)
  • Preserve your family history for future generations 
  • Remember the loved ones who have passed
  • Religious reasons
  • Guilt, you know you should be doing this

All of these reasons are valid, no matter what anyone else says. The key is to know your reason. Why are YOU getting, or staying, involved in family history?

Once you know your motivation, you will be guided in what you want to accomplish. You will be able to focus your efforts and energies and feel a sense of satisfaction.



When you begin with the end in mind, perhaps the "Spirit of Elijah" will grab a hold of you and you will start other projects for other reasons. If you are immune to the genealogy bug, you'll pursue other interests. Regardless of what happens after you have accomplished your goal, you will certainly feel like you have crossed a finish line.

14 January 2015

Power Scrapbooking: Organize your photos

Power Scrapbooking: Get Caught Up No Matter Your Scrapbook Style continues to sell so well at Amazon.com. I thank everyone who has bought the book, shared a link, or recommended the book to others.

It's a New Year and many folks are making goals and planning projects. As such I wanted to challenge you to set a goal that would support your scrapbooking or family history projects in the coming year.

Organize your printed photos
Make 2015 the year you organize your photo collection.

A fantastic goal for this year would be to organize your photo collection. Even A Patient Genealogist who writes about organizing photos in each of her three books, had a pile of loose photos that needed to be organized this year. Shocking, I know.

When I began reorganizing my photos, I had a few decisions to make:
  • How would I organize the photos of my family as a child, as a spouse/mother, and the historical photos? 
  • Should I keep them in one box? 
  • Should I lump them all together? 
  • What do I do about photos that are of extended family from the same years when I was a wife/mother but I wasn't involved in? 
  • How would I organize/store photos that do not fit into a standard photo storage box?


Organize your printed photos
Grouping Photos by family (and incidentally color type)
These are all wonderful questions that FEW how-to articles address. So, I'll share my thoughts and hope you can decide how you would handle these situations.
  • Generally speaking, I organized my photos chronologically. 
  • I separate out photos into three 'groups'
    • My photo collection as a child
    • My photo collection as a wife/mother
    • Extended family
      • My father's line
      • My mother's line
      • My husband's line*
  • The above groups go into separate boxes (with the extended family sharing one box)
  • Over-sized photos go into a file folder when possible
As I was organizing photos, I came across loose papers that also needed to be filed. I will keep documents that fit in the photo box with the photos they apply to. For documents larger than the photo box, I placed them with the over-sided photos in applicable file folders.

Another thing to consider, that might cause much dispute, is whether to keep the 'cases' and covers for various photos and documents. For instance, should I keep the diploma holder and document, or discard the holder and keep just the paper? I opted for the document only as it would conserve space and be easier to file. 

When you have your loose photos organized, determine if your photos albums are doing more harm to your photos than good. If the albums falling apart, the glue line albums (popular in the 70s), or are not acid-free, you'll want to carefully remove your photos and file them into your organized photos.

Organizing Printed Photos
Sorting Photos by family, by year, and then by subtopic. More tips available
in any of my three books at Amazon.com


If you want more tips on organizing your photos, consider getting your own copy of my Power Scrapbooking eBook or my newest book 21st Century Family Historian

12 January 2015

Avoid Too Many Topics Too Little Time

Have you ever been to a meeting with a limited amount of time but the speaker was given far too many topics to include in that time period? How successful are these meetings, seminars, or classes? If you answered, not very, you would be right. Topics presented at a rapid pace without much time for depth isn't necessarily worth the time someone puts into creating or attending the presentation.

I recently attended a local conference where the speaker was asked to talk about Ancestry.com. That's a pretty broad topic. In the class, the knowledgeable instructor attempted to cover, getting familiar with the different tabs offered on Ancestry's menu, genealogy proof, a third topic and then the newest topic of LDS Access to Ancestry.com. All of these topics can stand alone. All of these topics crammed into one 45 minute class is just not well done, no matter how amazing the teacher. By the way, I really felt sorry for this presenter. He did a great job with this impossible task.


By breaking up topics into small chunks, more depth can be covered and class interaction with the instructor can happen. When participants engage in their learning, they retain more.

When a conference wants to offer a class, the planners would do well to provide detailed and limited scope of what topics the class should cover. The presenter would do well to take the scope and cover as much as the recommendations as possible without too much that learning and discussion is impeded. After crafting your class, provide conference planners with an accurate description of the topics covered and the skill set needed prior to attended the class.

This request probably only applies to conferences where no "Call for Papers" takes place; however, the tips do apply to planner who are selecting which proposed presentation will be the most effective and well received.

Let us recognize that many local family history conferences are hosted by volunteers. Additionally, many presenters are volunteers themselves. Should you find yourself having to plan a conference, many topics that take a conference from good to great aren't discussed. Hopefully, this piece and others I share will help you prepare for a great conference.

By the way, this is applicable to situations beyond a family history conference. 

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