30 March 2015

Houston Family History Conference on April 25, Register Now

Family History Conference in Houston, Texas April 25, 2015
Family History Conference in Houston, Texas April 25, 2015

Howdy y'all. In case you didn't know, I now live in Texas. As such, I now am available to teach family history and scrapbooking classes in the area. My first opportunity to teach will be April 25, 2015 in the northeast corner of Houston, Texas at the Family History: Connecting Generations conference sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Registration is open to folks in the area until April 18th. Class sizes may be limited, so be sure to register early. There is no lunch provided, so be sure to bring something with you! Additionally, this conference is not just for adults. Teenagers are welcome and there are three classes specifically for them (meaning, adults can't register for them!!!). However, teens may nave interest in other class offerings and they are absolutely encouraged to take the class that best fits their needs and interests.

This conference has a wide variety of course offerings in three hours, so something should catch your interest. If you want to take one of my classes, they are:
  • Digitizing Grandma's Stuff: With an emphasis on scanning and photography (you've seen many such tips in my Treasure Chest Thursday series)
  • Writing Stories When No One Is Here to Tell Them: A demonstration on how to change the names, dates, and places on our charts into stories using the sources you have previously accessed. (My Narrative Project Series on this blog, in 45 minutes)

If you or anyone you know is in the local Houston area and wants to come, I'd love to see you there. Be sure to tell me you're a fan of A Patient Genealogist.

27 March 2015

Photo Friday: High School Rings Have Two Sides

Yesterday, I shared the importance of photographing all sides of a treasure, especially a ring rich in history and symbolism. Today, these photos are a follow-up to that reasoning.

Columbus South High School 1996 Senior Ring
Columbus South High School 1996 Senior Ring
Unlike my Aggie ring, I do not know the significance of the symbols for my mother's high school ring. I do know the "S" on the shield represents South High School from Columbus, Ohio. I know there is a 66 for the year that my mother graduated. The remaining symbols have no meaning for me.

However, the ring is a treasure for both my my mother and me. My mother gave me her Senior Ring when I was old enough to wear it with it not falling off. I wore this ring throughout high school and would eventually design my high school ring to resemble hers. The ring connects me to my mother and I to her.

Columbus South High School 1996 Senior Ring
Columbus South High School 1996 Senior Ring
To photograph this ring, I place it in a light box. I have purchased a Table Top Studio (not an affiliate link, I just like the product. I enjoy being able to collapse the studio and put it away, rather than store a cardboard box and attempt to be delicate with tissue paper. Many people would say, just make one every time, it's cheaper. Maybe in terms of dollars, but for me, I don't want to spend my time (which has a cost) making a light box every time.

The Table Top Studio comes with two lights and I'm aware they become very hot, very quickly. I will turn them on and off frequently to prevent a possible fire from overheating.

I used the Aperture Priority (AV) setting on my camera and focused on making adjustments to produce a nice white background and a focused image. The settings were: f / 7.1, ISO 100, Exp Bias +1.7 with Pattern Metering and no flash. Perhaps I can fine tune the settings on the camera to make a jewelry magazine quality image, but I like what I have. The focus is on the ring and the ring brings back memories.

What I also noticed was there is a chip of some kind on one side of my mother's ring. Unfortunately, she's not here for me to talk about what happened to damage the ring. However, I love that the chip is there. It means the ring was worn. It was worn by mom and it was worn by me.

Had I not photographed both sides of the ring, I might not have noticed the chip.

26 March 2015

Treasure Chest Thursday: All Sides of My Aggie Ring

In the past four posts, I have shared some of the lessons I have learned with my new dSLR camera. Today, I wish to review something I posted three years ago, the concept of playing and photographing an object from different angles.

Aggie Ring
Honoring the men and women who serve our country and are Aggies!

Texas A&M University is a college rich in tradition, with one of the most visible being the Aggie Ring. There are plenty of photographs available online of the ring, which is rich in symbolism and history.  However, these photos are of MY ring. I know in family history, Ron Tanner wants us not to have "My-tree-itis" and I'm on board with that fully. I don't think he would mind me wanting photographs of My Aggie Ring rather than 'any' Aggie Ring in My personal history. I wouldn't be a true Aggie if I didn't have pride in My ring.

Okay, that last paragraph was full of fun, but here's what I really want you to understand about photographing an object, especially a ring. You need to photograph each side of the ring. One side of the Aggie ring symbolizes the State of Texas, the desire for peace, and the strength to fight if necessary. The other side symbolizes the men and women of Texas who have and will continue to fight for their homeland (can you tell A&M was/is a military college?) and our dual allegiance to Texas and the United States of America. The shield honors the 13 original colonies but reminds the ring bearer to protect the good name of Texas A&M.  The front of my ring has the year of my Senior Class '98. I didn't graduate in '98 because I extended my program by a year to include a co-op, but I will forever be part of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Class of '98.

Photographing Your College Ring
Proud to be a member of the Class of '98
Without photographing each side of this ring, I would slowly forget the meaning etched into a ring I wear daily on the hand opposite my wedding band. My children would not know just how much meaning this ring has in it's design and the pride I have wearing it.

When I include these pictures in my personal history, I would have many stories to share. First, I would have the story of when I picked up the ring. I actually picked it up alone because I couldn't make it to the Alumni Center with anyone else in my class of '98 that I knew at the same time. I remember standing in line on a lovely morning wearing my Aggie Sweater Vest. A Party Pics photographer was on hand to photograph this special moment and I am so glad it didn't go undocumented.

Photographing Your College Ring
Texas Aggie ring, the side symbolizing Texas, the desire for peace but a
willingness to fight if called upon.

I can share the story of dunking my ring in a LARGE bowl of ice cream at Swensons with my room mate. There is another Aggie Ring Dunk tradition involving alcohol, but I don't drink so ice cream was the choice. Friends, and my fiance, came to enjoy the dunking tradition. My friend Kristi didn't eat her fair share of the ice cream and I still remember the brain freeze from that day!

Devon Geiszler, Aggie Class of 98
Look at me decked out the day I received my Aggie Senior Ring! Gig'em Class of '98!


Finally (and continually), there are many stories of meeting Aggies throughout the country because they recognize the hardware on my finger. It's big. It makes a statement. And it's a magnet for other Aggies. In fact, the most recent experience occured when I was standing in line with my family to meet Pocahontas in Walt Disney World. The man in front of me asked me, "What class?" as he pointed to the ring. That's the near universal sign that the person asking the question knows what the ring on my hand is. He didn't need to say, "Are you an Aggie?" He didn't need to ask, "Is that an Aggie Ring?" A fellow Ag recognized the ring and asked the appropriate question. We proceeded to talk as if we'd known each other back in Aggieland as we awaited the Native American Disney Princess. The Aggie ring unites Aggies around the world, and even in the land of a mouse.

Be sure to photograph all sides of your rings and heirlooms. Many objects have rich symbolism that should also be explained. And as you photograph these objects, be sure to record the stories that aren't apparent from the photograph.

24 March 2015

One Name Study: Who else is in 1880?

Tessa Keough discussed the basics of a One Name Studies in her One Name Study entitled "Who Does That?" An Introduction to One-Name (Surname) Studies. I loved the title and the question "Who Does That?" My answer is, "I do! Well, sort of."

In quickly researching the concept of searching for the occurrences of one name in one place and best practices for the process, I have found several One Name Study organizations. That is a little more intense than what I'm seeking to accomplish I simply want to see if any other Townsends in Franklin County, Ohio are possibly related to William James Townsend, my 2nd great-grandfather. If I find a Townsend living in Franklin County who is not likely to be a relative, I will stop researching that line rather than become an expert knowing all the migration and back story. For those who seek to have guild approved studies, I wish you all the best in your endeavors.  

Given that William James Townsend is in the 1880 US Census and there is a possible brother in the same census, where it is likely that his daughter is living, I want to see what other Townsend families are in the 1880 US Census to see if I may find other relatives. 

Steps Taken:
  1. Used Ancestry.com (best way to do this) 
  2. Selected Census Research and filtered to 1880 US Census. 
  3. Entered the following terms, on 1880 US Census Search page: 
    • Towns?n* for last name
    • Lived in Franklin County, Ohio, USA
  4. Pressed Search
Ancestry returned the following list of individuals, which I then organized by town and only listed the head of household (or Townsends in other homes):

Hamilton, Franklin, Ohio:
  • Elizabeth Townsend. B 1838 in Scotland
  • William Townsend b 1842 in Ohio (38, laborer, parents from OH)

Truro, Franklin, Ohio:
  • John Townsend b. 1814 in Maryland (parents born in MD)

Columbus, Franklin, Ohio:
  • N.S. Towsend. B 1816 in England (user added Norton Strange, parents from England; Professor State University)
  • Wm Townsend b 1820 England  (60, married & single? Patient in Insane Asylum)
  • James Townsend b 1828 in Ohio (carpenter, married, parents born in Ohio, in  Insane Asylum)
  • George A Townsend b 1840 in New York (40, parents from NY, Merchant)
  • Robert Townsend b 1842 in Ohio (38, boarder, single, Brick Moulder, parents from OH & PA)
  • Fred W Townsend b. 1847 in Ohio (33, boarder, single, Marble Cutter, parents from OH)
  • Henry H Townsend b 1845 in PA (35, parents from England, Marble dealer)
  • Ella Townsend b 1855 in Connecticut (25, sister-in-law, works in Box Factory)

Groveport, Franklin, Ohio:
  • Jno Towsend. B 1836 in Ohio (parents from Maryland; Farm Laborer)
  • Edward Townsend b 1855 in Ohio (parents from Maryland, Farming)
  • Perry Townsend b 1855 in Ohio (25, farmer, parents from Ohio)
  • Elisabeth Townsend b 1867 in Ohio (13, servant, parents from Ohio, in the home of Wm and Ruth Wildersmith)

Marion, Franklin, Ohio:
  • F Towsend. B 1835 in England (parents from England; Paper Box Maker)
  • Nettie Townsend b 1858 (22, servant for the Bobbet family who were Gardeners, no birth/parent location provided)

There are around 50 persons (if I include everyone listed in the census) with 17 heads (or other homes). The two names in blue are my great-grandfather William and Edward Townsend, who may be his brother. Right now, the birth locations of Ohio and Maryland look the most promising over the New England and England references. 

What should I do next? If you were me, what would your next step be?


19 March 2015

Thankful Thursday: Transcription and Photo Identification

I have had two things in my family files for a long time:

George Schneitzer, photographed in Columbus, Ohio
George Schneitzer, photographed in Columbus, Ohio

This image from my 2nd Great Granmother Magdalena (Hoppe) Geiszler's photo album.  And this copy of the baptism of my Great Grandfather George Joseph Geiszler as recorded in the German Methodist and Episcopal Church from Franklin County, Ohio.

Baptism of George Joseph Geiszler of Columbus, Franklin, Ohio
Baptism of George Joseph Geiszler of Columbus, Franklin, Ohio

I wanted to add this image to FamilySearch.org for George Geiszler's Memory page; however, I realized that I really wanted to know what this image says. There are amazing folks who seem to enjoy transcribing records. I posted this image with a request for the actual written words on the page and what it would mean in English. Within hours, someone responded to my query on Facebook. I am SO grateful for this service. I always try to not abuse the gift.

Here's what the record says:
Georg? gebor. d. 8 ten Juny 1885. Sohn von
Heinrich und Magdalehna geborn. Hoppe
wurde getauft den 19.ten July 1885.
durch J. Rothweiler
Zeugen Eltern u.
George Schnitzer
Here's  the partial translation:
Georg? gebor. d. 8 ten Juny 1885 son of
Geborn Heinrich and Magdalehna. Hoppe
was baptized the 19.ten July 1885.
by J. Rothweiler
Witness parents u.
George Schnitzer
Do you see the connection of the photo and the record? George Schnitzer witnessed the baptism of George Joseph Geiszler. I am excited to see this connection. Now I need to learn more about what it means to be a witness to a baptism (is this a God Parent situation). Additionally, I now that George played a role in Henry and Maggie's life. He's possibly from the Columbus area. I'm excited to learn more.

I'm so thankful that we have such a great community that wants to help each other. I talk about the beauty of collaboration in my book 21st Century Family Historian. I now have yet another example to add to my chapter.


18 March 2015

Heritage Scrapbooking: Autumn Traditions

Howdy y'all. It's me, A Patient Genealogist, live from the Great State of Texas!

I'm trying to remember my "Texan" roots because I completely forgot "Go Texan Day" (which marks the beginning of the Houston Live Stock Show & Rodeo), Texas Independence Day, and more. Yikes! I've been out of Texas too long folks. However, I'm on the look out for bluebonnets so I can do the crazy thing of taking the family out to a random flower patch just to take photos in the middle of these flowers. You don't know what you have until it's gone. Bluebonnets in March are certainly something I miss dearly when we lived out of state.

Anyway, that's not what you came here for, especially since Bluebonnets and Rodeo are a spring thing, not Autumn.

Scrapbooking Badly Cut Photos
Autumn Traditions: Change Is Good kit by Amber Shaw


This layout emphasizes the importance of making the best out of a bad situation. From previous layouts, you know that about 10 years ago, I chopped up my photos to be 'artist' with my scrapbook (to be polite). The whack job I did on my photos is irreparable. At the time, I did not know about scanning photos before using them in paper scrapbooks. What is done, is done. The question is, what to do about it now?

This layout was a free-form 9-photo layout with a spot for journaling, a title, and another piece of mom's story telling. It combines Halloween, Thanksgiving, and romping in the leaves. Again, I had a lot of trouble correcting the colors of these 1970s photos, so I let them emphasize the photo paper quality of the era. With the soft pattern paper and a few pieces of Washi-Tape, the look is complete.

This arrangement deemphasizes the chopped photos. A perfectionist might attempt to further downplay the less than perfect shapes; however, collages were a big thing throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s. The cluster positioning seems to compliment that trends as well.

The more I look at this simple design, the happier I am with it. What do you think?

To learn how you can get caught up with your scrapbooking projects, order my popular eBook Power Scrapbooking: Get Caught Up No Matter Your Scrapbook Style.

16 March 2015

Motivational Monday: Learning What To Do Next

"You've Mastered the Census Basic Search, Now What?
Can you believe that RootsTech 2015 was a month ago? I am certainly not ready to forget all the things I learned. This post might be followed up with a few other reviews of seminars presented.

 Karen Auman presented, "You've Mastered the Census Basic Search, Now What?" She was easy to listen to for this hearing impaired listener. Her presentation was well organized and thought out. If Karen was in my area, I would take another workshop from her.

Karen's organized approach introduced four areas to answer the "Now What?" portion of her topic. The first step was to make a plan. I cringe whenever I hear the need to plan. It's a weakness of my when I'm in a curious mode. When I'm in a 'formal mode', I'm a champion of planning. I'll admit that the curiosity research is more frequent than the formal.

While attending a local workshop at a library, I asked the presenter if she ever got to a point where she didn't 'plan' her research. Did she just do what needed to be done?  She said that in some cases, yes, but she preferred to plan things out.

When I'm looking for something, I just go look for it. Sometimes I'll document when I strike out. Sometimes, I won't. However, I have seen the value of starting some To Do Lists as I worked on my Narrative Project. Perhaps that's my plan. I know specific questions, gaps, and holes I have and I make a note to research how I can resolve said issues. I can see the benefit in a formal research project the idea to plan the question you're trying to answer.

If you're driven primarily by curiosity, planning may just happen naturally and fluidly. When curiosity strikes, I often go where the paper trail takes me, attaching sources to my online trees along the way. I also leave reason statements as to why I attached said sources (especially in FamilySearch). It's not planned but it is documented.

Now... despite my internal conflict, I continued to listen to Karen and benefited greatly. I won't go into too much details because you should listen to her rather reading my post. (Plus, I don't want to violate copyright. )

Karen had some wonderful nuggets sprinkled throughout her class.  One statement was "Rivers were the roads in America."

I have often wondered about why my ancestors settled where they did in Gainsboro, Ontario, Canada and in Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. Karen suggested looking at topographical maps for a similar, yet different end purpose. Knowing the geography might help me understand the area better. Add to that local histories, which I have dabbled a little into, and I may come to understand my ancestors and the places they called home. I suppose I need to add maps and local histories to my To Do list.

Karen descried a detailed method for discovering what records to look for, if they exist, that could help you answer questions you may have (your plan). Reviewing her presentation will certainly remind me of underutilized resources when I become stumped.

As one point, Karen displayed a small sample of the variations of her Auman last name. I certainly need to follow her advice to make a similar list with my Geiszler, Hoppe, and Zumstein names. Perhaps some of my brick walls are there because I haven't compiled a similiar alternate name spelling list.

One more great tip was to use Google Search as a 'wild card'to just she what you may find. She emphasizes this to take place after you have searched methodically. What a great tip! I hadn't embraced Googling my family history because I am so frequently unsuccessful. In considering her advise, perhaps I'll add a Google challenge occasionally for fun.

I do hope I haven't given away all of Karen's tips. She's a gem of a presenter and gave me much to think about. Thank you so much!

To review this session or others from the February conference, visit RootsTech.org and select Watch 2015 Sessions.

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