Discovering a Signature for Joseph Gesizler

Family history is easier with the help of a research database and a tool that provides search suggestions. My database of preference is RootsMagic and the search suggestion tool is GenSmarts. Now, GenSmarts doesn't look for hints and find possible records for me. Instead, it has a list of possible record sets that are online and off that may contain further information to pursue. I really love that the possibilities recommend things offline as I wouldn't know these record sets exist without the help of the GenSmarts tool.

Recently, GenSmarts recommended looking for the marriage certificate of my 3rd great-grandmother Caroline Mack (b. 18 March 1838 - d. 11 Oct 1904) to her second husband Michael Billman (b 13 Oct 1832 - 1 Aug 1884). I reviewed my entry for Caroline in my RootsMagic database. In so doing, I noticed that the second marriage record has already been sourced. Yeah, me! However, the first marriage to my 3rd great-grandfather Joseph Geißler was not sourced. Thus, I decided to explore the marriage certificate once again.

Searching for Marriage Record on Family Search

I went to and selected the Search > Records links. On the search form, I typed in Caroline's name and chose the Life Event of "Any." In the Any Place filed, I keyed in Ohio, United States.

Record Suggestions on FamilySearch

I received over 5,000 hits. I wanted to look specifically at marriage records in Ohio. So I added the place of Franklin County, Ohio to the "Search with a life Event" options in the left side bar.

Marriage Record Suggestions on FamilySearch

Caroline married Michael Billman after the death of her first husband Joseph Geißler, whose name is spelled without any consistency. When I noticed three record hints for the last name Gesley or Geissler, I knew I had the right woman with the right husband and I now had proof of their marriage and the correct dates!

There are two marriage record that have an image, one for Joseph Gesley and another for Joseph Geissler. The third suggestion is an index to the marriage record of Joseph Gesley that has an image.

"Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 19 November 2011), Joseph Geissler and Caroline Mack, 16 Feb 1856; citing Franklin, Ohio, United States, reference vol. 2 p. 389 cn. 3; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 285,170.
The first image is for the marriage license which was issued in 16 February 1856. On this record, Joseph was required to sign his name! Happy Dance!!!!

Joseph Geiszler of Franklin County, Ohio, Signature
Joseph's signature on Marriage License

Joseph's signature is very German and includes the beta letter known as eszett. Translate into that name into English! I can see why this record has the recorder writing Gesley (and someone indexing the Germanic signature as Geissler).  In any case, this marriage license led to the following marriage record.

"Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 19 November 2011), Joseph Gesley and Caroline Mack, 19 Feb 1856; citing Franklin, Ohio, United States, reference v6 p263; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 285,144.

On 19 Feb 1856, Thomas Oharea, Justice of the Peace, solemnized their marriage. This record corrects that family records that said they were married on the 16th. The license was issued on the 16th and the marriage occured on the 19th, although the 16th in the outer left column could be confusing, The testimony by Mr. Oharea says the date was the 19th.

As grateful as I am to discover these records, I was hoping the marriage documents had more information. Alas, they did not. Yet, I am so ecstatic to have a peak at my 3rd great-grandfather's own handwriting.

My new wish is for a signature expert, like the one for celebrities on Pawn Stars, that could help me decipher hidden clues of Joseph's origin with a signature such as his.

Further Reading:
Surname Saturday - Geiszler Family

Tech Tuesday - Personal History

I have been taking a break from the blog but I haven't abandoned it. I have a bazillion posts that I need to write, but I thought I'd write a quick one.

One of the easiest forms of digital scrapbooking is creating a blog and then printing it. However, what if you don't want your personal and family information made available on the internet? Well, create a 'blog' on your own computer. Most every computer comes with a text program (MS Word, Open Office Writer, and Apple TextEdit).

All you need to do is create a text document.Set up the document 'blog style' in that you have a title for your entry, a photo, and the date. I love to include the week day on my entries. But that's just me.

In any case, add your entries for a year and save them on your computer. When you're ready to print, save the file to PDF and submit the PDF to For a reasonable price, you can get a laminate, hard cover book that has your offline blog printed in one place.

That's really all there is too it. If you want more technical specifics, I'll be happy to share. However, this is enough to get you started thinking and have a resource of where to print.

By the way, this application can easily adapt to family history purposes. Someday I might do one so that I have a sample of what I mean. I just know that printing books has never been easier, or more affordable. All we have to do know is find the time to create so we can share.
By the way... many people ask when I have time to do something like this while raising the kids and handling my other responsibilities. The secret is I don't do this everyday. (I probably should, but I don't). When i have chunks of free time throughout the year, I'll write a week's or a month's worth of entries. I also would rather work on personal and family history than to watch TV. So, it can be done. Hope that is helpful to know.


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