31 July 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Oops! Check Your Photos Before You Leave

My shadow while volunteering in the Green Lawn Cemetery
Do I really need to say any more? Had I taken the time to check my camera before leaving this section, I wouldn't have to request someone else to take a better photo of Effie V Baumgartner on my behalf.

Why didn't I? Well, the sun was fairly bright and I am unable to review photos I take in my LCD monitor on my digital camera very well in such lighting. But that can easily be solved by reviewing the photos while inside my car before going to a separate section.

However, this is really something I should have seen while I was framing up my shot. My kids love to laugh at this photo because of mommy being in it. They call it a grave stone blooper!

Tombstone Tuesday is a blogging prompt supported by GeneaBloggers. To participate, create a post which includes an image of a gravestone of one or more ancestors and it may also include a brief description of the image or the ancestor. Hopefully it can also include stones that you photographed for other's benefit.

Journey to the Past: Sunset Cemetery, Galloway, Ohio


I LOVE my GPS, but it isn't fool proof. Or, this owner doesn't really know how to make it work. In any case, you HAVE to know that Sunset Cemetery is in Galloway not in Columbus. Otherwise, you'll be 30 minutes on the WRONG side of Columbus. Thankfully, when I figured this out, a wonderful brake shop took pity on this crazy lady with no cell phone, called the cemetery and I got my GPS pointed in the right direction.

Photo by Brent Nimmo posted on FindAGrave.com
I'll admit that Sunset Cemetery had me worried prior to my arrival. I was told that they couldn't give me a section map and that they'd take me to my stones when I arrived. Really? I don't want to set an appointment that I can't keep. I want a flexible schedule to visit cemeteries. However, the cemetery took the names I was interested in (so I limited it to family only).

When I got to the right side of town, I saw a very nice cemetery. When I went inside the office, I was so pleased. Bill had made sure that the staff knew I was coming, who I was looking for, and had prepared a map with highlighted section information for me. THANK YOU!

All was set and off I went to find my Dad's uncle George Barton GEISZLER and his wife Mary Ruth Smith GEISZLER. I had hoped to find a stone for Thomas Tillinghart MULFORD, but he apparently doesn't have a marker. 

The cemetery provided me with a labeled aerial map. Sweet. I could see things like trees to orient me. Then I had the easy to read and understand section map. I soon found George and Mary Ruth. I snapped 50 photos in all and left the cemetery. 

George Barton Geiszler
Sunset Cemetery

THANK YOU Sunset cemetery for being so easy to deal with. I had dreaded going out there based on phone conversations (the whole meet with someone to go to the sections), but I should not have. All cemeteries should be as easy to work with as you and St. Joseph's cemetery.

This is another installment in a lengthy multi-series post about the fantastic research trip I took to Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. If you're just joining the this series, you'll be able to see every post under the label Research Trip.

30 July 2012

Journey to the Past: St. Joseph's Cemetery


Photo by Brent Nimmo, posted at FindAGrave.com
As I headed to St.Joseph's Cemetery, I was confident that I could find those I sought quickly. I had previously contacted St. Joseph's regarding only family names that I sought. The office worker was so friendly and helpful. She sent me everything I needed to have success in this cemetery. When I opened my mail from St. Joseph's, I had a clearly legible section map. There were reference stones and an arrow pointing to the plots I was seeking. Additionally, I received copies of the burial records. To say they were what I wish all cemeteries would be more like, is an under statement. 

St. Joseph's is a Catholic cemetery and I've never seen or been in one of these dedicated spaces. It literally took my breath away. It was a peaceful and BEAUTIFUL cemetery. Despite the heavy traffic and construction on High Street on its border, the sound in the cemetery was like being in a paradise.

The landscaping, section markers, statues, alcove in a hill, and more were so picturesque, I would have loved to spent the entire day photographing the details in the cemetery along with the persons I sought after. However, I decided I should focus on the names (but I regret not photographing my favorite parts of this beautiful cemetery). 

John and Mary Mack
St. Joseph's Cemetery
Photo by Devon Lee

I found the names I sought in less minutes per section than any other cemetery trip. I can't say enough how important section maps and reference markers are for locating stones. It helps TREMENDOUSLY. That only made me appreciative of St. Joseph's Cemetery. I couldn't understand why Green Lawn Cemetery, which has over 160,000 burials doesn't have this computer system. I didn't even have to bother the office while I was there. I know a database such as this comes at a cost. However, St. Joseph must realize this is money well spent for a cemetery. I can understand that Oak Grove, East Lawn, and Obetz probably don't have enough money for something as fancy. However, computerize records would be a great help. Though, I still give Oak Grove credit for being helpful and willing.

Which names were I seeking? Primarily Louis Mack and his wife Catherine. Louis is a nephew to my 3rd great grandmother Caroline Mack Billman Geiszler. I was also looking for Aleta Geiszler, wife of William Joseph who was buried in East Lawn Cemetery with no stone. Additionally, I was looking for the parents of Aleta's daughter-in-law, Rose May Schoppelrei,

Aleta Bower Geiszler

I had so much fun in St. Joseph's Cemetery that I took 125 photos. (Compare this to the 45 I'd taken for the two previous cemeteries!). I would have liked to take 500 photos in this cemetery (including non-markers), but I still had more cemeteries to visit. So, I left.

One of many beautiful family markers at St. Joseph's Cemetery.

You can call me morbidly weird if you want. St. Joseph is BEAUTIFUL. It's worth a visit, even if you don't have persons buried there. But I can't thank the staff enough for helping me find my relatives in no time flat.



This is another installment in a lengthy multi-series post about the fantastic research trip I took to Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. If you're just joining the this series, you'll be able to see every post under the label Research Trip.

29 July 2012

Journey to the Past: Oak Grove / Georgesville Cemetery


Entrance to Oak Grave Cemetery
Photo by Dave at FindAGrave
It was 10 am and I felt very discouraged by my venture to Obetz. I had hoped to do so much more work. I had called ahead to Oak Grove and learned there were no cemetery maps but that the cemetery was considered very small. The city of Georgesville cares for this cemetery and if I had a cell phone then someone would meet me there and personally take me to the stone. I don't have a cell phone and didn't know when to make an appointment. So the office had someone go to the cemetery find the stones I was looking for and gave me a rough description of how to find the stones. So with “go to the cemetery care building, travel down the hill and it's a few rows in”, I headed to Oak Grove. 

I didn't NEED to go to Oak Grove but I wanted to see if I could get a better picture than what was placed on Find-A-Grave for Michael and Caroline Billman. Caroline is my 3rd great-grandmother on the Geiszler line (Caroline Mack Geiszler Billma). Michael Billman is her second husband. Her son by her first marriage, my 2nd great-grandfather Henry Joseph GEISZLER, is also supposed to be buried on their plot. The grounds keeper said I would find Michael and Caroline but there was no stone for Henry.

Caroline Mack Geiszler Billman
Oak Grove Cemetery
Find A Grave Memorial #25435992

Apparently, Oak Grove's cemetery records were destroyed by fired at some point. The city has done all that it could to recreate the records but admits a sadness of not having complete records, especially for the older sections of the cemetery.

Oak Grove is a small cemetery. I soon found the building and wasn't exactly sure which way 'down hill' was. However, it's a small cemetery and I figured that I could find it. I thankfully chose the right 'down hill' as I came to an older section of the cemetery with stones that were greatly faded, broken, etc. Just before I had finished walking the entire section, I found the Billmann obelisk. I found the newer stone of Neal Billman their grand son. Try as I might, I couldn't get a better photograph of these older stones as they were inside a heavily shaded area. Water and reflectors just didn't help. (Admittedly I'm not a great photographer). 

Then I noticed two small markers near the obelisk. The stones were weather worn but no carvings could be distinguished. Standing in this section, I'm lead to believe that these stones are for family members of the Billmans. Know that Henry was interred on their section, I believe that one of these stones belongs to my 2nd great-grandfather Henry but I don't know which (and I can't prove my theory). 

Small marker near Billman Obelisk in Oak Grove Cemetery

I was getting hungry and had so many more cemeteries to visit, I didn't take any additional photos and I moved on. So, I only took a total of 5 photographs in this cemetery.


This is another installment in a lengthy multi-series post about the fantastic research trip I took to Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. If you're just joining the this series, you'll be able to see every post under the label Research Trip.

27 July 2012

Photo Friday: Photographing Artifacts 1 (Overview)


After creating my light box, I thought I would instantly get better pictures of the historical artifacts that belonged to my ancestors. I want to hone these skills before I start interviewing people regarding our family history. Unfortunately, I still have a lot to learn about how to take quality pictures to be used in any genealogical publication. As I know many people want to preserve their treasures but may not have the skills necessary to do it, I figured I'd write a series of articles demonstrating what I've learned on the way to taking better photographs of the memorabilia belonging to my ancestors.

Initially I started writing articles about specific items that I photographed for inclusion in this series. I thought by showing the changes I made to my camera and set-up with one object would enable myself and others to clearly see how one can improve the quality of their own photographs. As I was writing the articles, I realized that I should probably demonstrate the group of pictures I photographed in each shooting session and then talk about what I learned specifically about each object. Hopefully this will make the remainder of this series of articles more clear.

Session One:

Time: 2 pm
Light box location: On a bed, in the darkest part of a sunlight room
Lighting: One work light, but not using the window light
Tripod: A gorillapod inside the lightbox

Here are the best photos from this session

Session Two:

Time: 6 pm, same day
Light box location: On a bed
Lighting: A lamp and a work light, no other light
Tripod: A 'regular' tripod
** This was a short session as I needed to do more research


Session Three:

Time: 2 pm, the following day
Light box location: On a desk near the window
Lighting: Using the window light and a work lamp
Tripod: A 'regular' tripod

After doing some research and seeing improved results, I had better results. The photos still could be better, but they are definitely better than point-and-shoot cameras any day. I could easily see myself using any of the pictures in this collection as part of my heritage albums or other genealogy presentations.




Perhaps with a few tweaks in a photo editing program, I can make more improvements to some of these photos, but in the coming series, you'll see what I've learned and what I plan to do to improve the quality of my photos.

My hope in sharing my path to the art of photographing family artifacts is that someone else who has been wanting to undertake such a project but hasn't had the know-how will be inspired and better educated through my efforts.

Journey to the Past: Second Full Cemetery Day Begins


When planning for my trip to Columbus, I had made a master list of all the persons I had hoped to find in Franklin County cemeteries. I then called all of the cemeteries to see if I could get a plot map so that when I arrived on the scene, at whatever time, I could go directly to the plots snap my photos and move on. I attempted to stress the importance that depending upon people to personally show me the plots would slow me down and advanced preparation was needed.

On Tuesday, May 22nd, I had six cemeteries to visit. I thought I had mapped out a circular pattern of driving but I'd soon learn that I was criss-crossing all over the county. I chose Obetz Cemetery as it had the largest number of persons that I was seeking. It was till to get the day started!

When I called Obetz Cemetery, I was told they had no cemetery maps to hand out. Essentially, I had to go into the office and I would be directed from there. I was informed that the Columbus Metropolitan Library had section and plot information and that I should check there and bring these numbers in. I actually found this information online at Obetz Cemetery Burials.

I searched the records and found several names that were listed as part of the cemetery but with no section/plot numbers. The person on the phone did not know why this would be the case. Everyone, according to him, had information on the library rolls.

Obetz Cemetery, Franklin County, Ohio
Photo by Brent Nimmo
In any case, I proceeded to Obetz Cemetery at around 8:30 am. I had 35 names to find, 30 of which were volunteer names. I had hoped that I would be able to get pointed in the right direction in the cemetery. In the office, I found a worker who was bothered by my request for assistance on several names that had no section number.

I shared how I had researched in the library rolls and found the names listed but no plot information. He said that every stone has now been indexed, but not necessarily every plot. He shared that it really depended about who the record creator was and that Obetz hasn't always had the best people creating records. So, it didn't surprise him that the people with death dates in the 1920-1940s didn't have plot information recorded. And that if there were no stones, they really didn't know where these persons were buried. Nevertheless, he proceeded to the safe to pull out burial records for the Townsend families and the Geisler families.

I had hope to find the Geisler family members that were related to me through HattieElizabeth Brown GEISLER (13 Dec 1871 - 26 Jul 1917). Hattie's parents brother Sherman Lewis BROWN and wife Emma Virginia Townsend BROWN were buried in this cemetery and I would seek after them later (as I had section information on them). Hattie's was supposed to be buried next to her husband George Washington GEISLER (14 Jul 1867 - 3 Feb 1947). Additional Geisler family members buried in Obetz should be:

Michael Carrington Geisler (20 Nov 1831 - 1 Oct 1920), George's father
Jane Drew Geisler (12 May 1838 - 5 Mar 1928), George's step-mother
James Pleasant Geisler, (22 Jul 1858 - 20 Dec 1946), George's brother
Barbara E Geisler Miller (1865 – 1943), George's sister
Harry E Geisler (7 Jun 1889 - 21 Jan 1933), George's son

After searching the burial cards, none of these names appeared. How sad. So what happened? No one really knows.

The next name I had no plot information for was William James TOWNSEND (3 May 1868 - 15 Jul 1929). William is the brother to my great-grandmother Emma Virginia Townsend BROWN who again, I would be seeking out later. A number of Townsend names were found in the burial cards, but not William James Townsend. Again, what happened? Again, no one really knows.

Well, that solved the problem of why relatives are listed in the rolls without plot numbers. When someone went around Obetz to match records with tombstones, no stones were found for these persons. Where are they buried?

Even though the gentleman questioned me repeatedly about if these names were family members (they are, thankfully), he was kind enough to help me though he wasn't the regular office worker. I do need to give acknowledgment of that.

The next problem was to actually find the stones in a cemetery that had no overall all cemetery maps or individual section maps. The man said that the sections were marked with pillars near each section and that the sections were small enough that I could easily walk them and find the stones. If I had trouble, to come back in and he'd help me.

Doubting whether this would work, I headed out to the first section. In section 12 which is right outside the office door, I quickly found a name I was looking for: James RITTER ( - 1958). This was a volunteer name and I was happy to be able to do this service.

Find A Grave Memorial# 64790286
Obetz Cemetery
 I found some Geisler names in this section and figured that even though I didn't have the original Geisler's on my list that these might be needed on Find-A-Grave. I thought that was quick and painless.

Florence Jane Geisler
Find A Grave Memorial #64803904
Obetz Cemetery

I was ready to move over to section 18 because it was the next section that I recognized that I needed. I searched the entire section for Catherine Townsend, Nancy Smith, and Ralph Joiner. I came up empty handed after an hour of searching. It was wonderful to walk through rows and see volunteers planting flags on veteran's graves. What a special tribute for the upcoming memorial weekend. I loved seeing the activity of this 'small' cemetery with the grounds being mowed and trimmed and perhaps a plot being dug up. However, without a map, I knew I could not spend an hour searching out each name. I needed to know exactly where I was going.

I headed back to the office and was directed to the most important plot of all, my 2nd great-grandparents. In looking at the plot book, their names were not recorded in it. I was prepared to not find their stones. The gentleman had an uncle buried in this section and gave me some reference points. I also snapped a picture of the plot book page so that if I had trouble, I could reorient myself using the camera's photo. (Obetz should really turn these into copies for visitors).

I soon found Sherman and Emma Brown and I left the cemetery.

Sherman Brown and Emma Townsend Brown
Obetz Cemetery
Click on lists for FindAGrave Memorials
Is it wrong of me to feel so frustrated? A cemetery needs to have a map to had people so they can find their deceased. They should be friendly towards visitors to their cemetery who attempted to call ahead to prepare them for their visit. (I had said I would be looking for 35 names, please be prepared). Also, would it be so hard in 2010 to get a computer to keep the records of the cemetery on? After visiting East Lawn and Obetz, I felt like I could do this job when my kids are grown and gone (and I'd use a computer to do it). It wasn't a "I could do this better than you" but rather a, "I'd really could see myself doing this" thought. How weird!?

Even though I was frustrated and felt that I had wasted so much time in Obetz's cemetery despite my efforts, I took 41 photos, two of which I had planned on taking. I hope that someone who lives in Ohio would simply go to Obetz and snap photos without bothering the office. Post them to Find-A-Grave, and then we'd all be blessed.

This is another installment in a lengthy multi-series post about the fantastic research trip I took to Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. If you're just joining the this series, you'll be able to see every post under the label Research Trip.

26 July 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Oak Grove Cemetery Needs Help

I have family buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery. I had spoken with grounds crew about several family members buried in this cemetery. When searching for someone whose death certificate stated they were buried in the cemetery, the grounds crew said that a fire in 1940s wiped out records discussing the ownership of plots. In 2011, the Pleasant Township Board of Trustees said they could no long bury people in Oak Grove cemetery because they don't have the plot ownership records and don't know what size the plots are.

The Board of Trustees is asking for help from anyone who might have records about plots in that cemetery. If you're able to help, you can contact them at 614-877-3511.

Man I wish I had more that would be useful rather than a few death records.

Tombstone of Caroline Billman as found in Oak Grove Cemetery

Journey to the Past: East Lawn Cemetery Was a Bust


On Monday, May 21st, I wrapped up my Green Lawn Cemetery venture and had about an hour before I needed to be at my aunt's home for dinner. I had three options. Go to the house, cool off, and wait. Do more volunteer photos in Green Lawn and cool off later. Or go to another cemetery. I thought if I really hurried, I just might make it over to East Lawn Cemetery before the office closed at 4 pm. If I could find the stones I was looking for today, I would have less cemeteries to visit on Tuesday. Plus, the drive to the cemetery in the air conditioned car would cool me off a bit. So I made a valiant effort. 

Photo by Gene, posted on the Find A Grave website.
I arrived at the East Lawn office 10 minutes before the office closed. If I'm not mistaken, the office worker was none to pleased. I simply needed a map to point me in the direction of the stones I sought as I had the lot location. I had called several months before my trip. I had hoped to get a section map and other helpful information prior to arrival. I was told these phone requests were not available and that I should just come in. So, here I was. Doing what I was told to do, just 10 minutes for closing time. Sorry!
I was looking for William Joseph GEISZLER (5 May 1881 – 10 Nov 1935). He's the brother of my great-grandfather George  Joseph GEISZLER (who's cemetery section I have visited on Sunday). The information I had said that he was buried in Section 1-A, space 2 #1696. I had two additional names as requested on Find-A-Grave.

The woman didn't seem pleased that I was trying to seek out these names. She constantly asked if I was there trying to photograph stones as a volunteer. I could tell things wouldn't go well if I said, “well one of them is family and the other two are volunteer names.” I simply said I have plot information, so if she would give me a map, I could be on my way.

She then asked if I knew if the persons I sought had headstones. She gets upset when people come to the cemetery looking for headstones when a plot doesn't have any. She kept asking who told me there would be headstone. I said, a death certificate said the person was buried there. That's why I had come to find the stones. The woman still seemed less than thrilled that I was there but headed to the safe to pull out files for lot #1696.

Another family came in for family plot information, and the lady grumbled. Wow. What had we done? The purpose of a cemetery is to bury our dead and then for ancestors to visit them. I was a little upset when the woman stopped helping me to help this second visitor. But I held my tongue. I didn't want to offend her and perhaps there was a reason she wasn't as friendly as I would have hoped. I wasn't trying to be judgmental. I just wanted a section map.

After helping those who came in after me, the woman finally assisted me. She looked up William Geiszler and confirmed the record that he was indeed buried in the cemetery in the section that I had information on. She gave me a map and then showed me where I MIGHT find the stone. She said it was likely that there would be no stone there because the section was primarily Chinese markers and had few “English” names.

The worker also helped me located the following Find A Grave Requests on the map. One was supposed to be easy to find, Bengerman Matheson (1884 – 1925) in Section 2-B, lot 36 space 3. The other one, Danielle Pickens Block 2, Section 13 South, Grave #2490 would be more difficult.

William Joseph Geiszler
When I headed over to William J Geiszler's plot, I found no stone bearing his name. I was disappointed. How many more Geiszler relatives would have no stone? Why was this so prevalent in that side of my family? I didn't take a photo of the section he was supposed to be buried in. I moved on.

Time for the volunteer names. I sought out Bengerman Matheson's stone but couldn't find one. I believe I read the map correctly, but I couldn't tell where the stone was as I walked the section. This is another case of when a reference marker would have quickly helped me find the stone or the plot without a stone. In either case, I had nothing for the volunteer.

I didn't attempt to seek out Danielle Pickens. She's buried in a newer section of East Lawn. Apparently, this section has people buried according to the date they died. So, if you died in 2009, you'd be interred in the order of your death Jan, Feb, March, etc. If the person was buried and had a stone, it would be easy to locate. If the person's stone had not yet been placed, given that Danielle had died in 2010 it's possible, then there would be a peg in the ground identifying the burial's #. The worker says there was no real map. I could just wander around and see if I found a marker or a number on a peg. That idea had no appeal to me this late in the day. So I left. Hopefully someone else will have better luck.

In short, East Lawn Cemetery was a bust. Whether it was because I didn't understand the plot maps or because the worker was less than friendly, I'm not entirely sure. However, if you have to go to East Lawn, be prepared to face questions about why you're seeking after these stones. Know the burial # rather than the plot location as it is far more important in locating a person in this cemetery than anything else. And finally, don't plan your trip to East Lawn when the office should be closing.

I'd recommend volunteers canvasing the entire cemetery. Photograph everything, even if you can't read the Chinese. Take photos of the pegs with numbers. This would greatly reduce the need for photo volunteers to use the office. Perhaps the office worker was just having a bad day. However, if you could avoid using the office, then do it.

Perhaps I shouldn't post this information as it's rather harsh. However, if I had known the experience would have been so difficult, I would have prepared differently. Thus, I share my remarks.

This is another installment in a lengthy multi-series post about the fantastic research trip I took to Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. If you're just joining the this series, you'll be able to see every post under the label Research Trip.

25 July 2012

Journey to the Past: Lessons Learned About Photographing Grave Stones


I was surprised with all the things I learned while I was at the Green Lawn Cemetery.  I had read a lot of great websites about the act of taking grave stones. I did my best to treat the stones carefully and create a clear historical document for other researchers, and myself. I didn't try to be artistic, as I'm not that skilled with a camera yet. However, I did learn a few things that weren't on any list.

Lessons Learned:

  • I really like taking volunteer photographs of grave stones. I look forward to doing some of this in Iowa when I return.
  • Have clear cemetery maps before embarking on a quest. Get 'orientation' stones in large sections to help establish barrings.
  • It's often easier to just snap a section down the line rather than seeking out individual requests.
  • A painter type brush and scrub brush are helpful in preparing stones for photographing.
  • Use a reflector or light blocker more to create even light on a stone.
  • Check a stone's photo before moving on to ensure you have a clear picture. (Perhaps do this in your car if the sun is too bright to read the LCD monitor on your camera)
  • Take LOTS of water
  • A team can cover more ground efficiently rather than a solo volunteer

    Section 35
    Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio

Items to Learn More About

  • How to pace myself so I don't wear out
  • Take photos of the plots with no stones. That photo is just as valuable as the plot with a stone.
  • Take more whole plot photos to see remember the relationship of stones in addition to the head stones.

This is another installment in a lengthy multi-series post about the fantastic research trip I took to Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. If you're just joining the this series, you'll be able to see every post under the label Research Trip.

24 July 2012

Tech Tuesday: I Don't Believe PAF is the Best Program For A Beginner


With so many products that are FamilySearch
certified, I no longer see the need for PAF.
I'm having an ongoing debate with a local family historian about whether or not Personal Ancestral File (PAF) should be used any longer. With so many FamilySearch certified programs (programs that are compatible with the FamilySearch.org website), I no longer see the need to tell people to only use PAF.

Having used PAF for many years, I loved how it was free and very useful. I was able to organize my family information and print reports. I could notice when there were potential problems in my trees and input sources. What I couldn't do was sync my family tree with anything. I had to manually type in each new piece of information. If I found a new bit of information, I had to copy and paste or view and type it into my program. This is VERY time consuming. When I was at the Family History Center recently, I saw a woman with a huge binder of family trees. She was importing these names, dates, and places into PAF one by one and has been working on this at the Family History Center for many weeks.

I remember those days. About a year ago, I lamented about the frustration of not being able to save information directly from family search to my computer. Then a friend told me about RootsMagic Essentials. It's a FamilySearch certified program that syncs with New FamilySearch (the site that has the family trees interconnected, and should now be available to non-LDS persons). The best part is that it is free!

I gave the program a try and I will never go back to PAF. First thing I noticed was how nice RootsMagic looked. Call me crazy but the presentation does make a difference. I love the colors, the sleek design and feeling like I'm using a product designed for the 'modern' day. Now, not everything that looks great, is great.

The pay off for this free program (I know, so punny) is the sync feature. Let's say you have a family tree in an alternative program. You can import a GEDCOM file into RootsMagic. Then, when you connect to your FamilySearch.org account, you match your family to names that are already in the FamilySearch 'tree'. Once you've made a match, you can merge similar records into one (and separate them later if need be). You can easily download or upload information to the new FamilySearch site (i.e. vital information, residence information, etc). If you have a new name not found on FamilySearch (it will make you check before you upload), you can add that name.

If you have a name not included on a tree on FamilySearch but FamilySearch has a record for your person, you can connect them easily. RootsMagic will search for a possible match for the person you want to add. Let's say you have a person connected to their parents and their spouse. Then let's say on new FamilySearch, the tree you've already matched your person to, is found connected with their parents but not their spouse. However, new FamilySearch has an entry for your person with their spouse. With the aid of RootsMagic, you will find this fact out through their search for additional matches feature and will be able to connect your person to their spouse and their parents without creating any new entries for FamilySearch to maintain.

I could go on and one about house fantastic this feature alone is. But I'll stop.

Let's go back to the woman in the Family History Center. As I entered information from most recent to the distant past, inevitably, I've found persons with trees already completed (or at least started). With RootsMagic, I will tap into that work (through the matching feature). Then, I can download all the family names to my computer without having to type in anything! This woman certainly has names on her records that are found on the new FamilySearch trees (not everything, but you'll be surprised how much has been done through the extraction program). She would save herself a lot of manually inputting this information in. Sure she could make changes once the individual (or family) is added to her tree. The point is, she's get a lot more done with a program that syncs with the new FamilySearch website. And she would help all the 'orphan' branches connect with the main tree. This can not be done easily with PAF.

Additionally, with the products page of FamilySearch.org website downplaying PAF (not like the older websites did) and the fact that PAF does not have any revisions, it will soon be an obsolete program and then what will people use?

So, if you're using PAF and find it awesome. Great. However, I don't like PAF and I don't think it's the easiest thing to teach people new to genealogy to use (as my friend says, the crux of the debate). I will continue to use RootsMagic. If a better program comes along (perhaps one that syncs with Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org (the records side), and new Family Search), then I'll switch to that.


Journey to the Past: Green Lawn Cemetery Section 64

Whew! What a lot of ground I covered on a hot day in Columbus, Ohio. I know I lived in Texas, but gesh, 80 degrees up north was awful. If you're doing cemetery work on a hot day, all I can say is pack A TON of water. 

Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio
Map of Section 64
Click for Larger View


Nevertheless, I was at my final section that I would cover on this trip to Green Lawn Cemetery. I had drive past several soldier sections which were pretty impressive in their own right. And many had flags beside their stones. Soon, more would have the flags in preparation for the Memorial Day weekend. However, I had only had strength and water for one more section then I needed to head to my aunt's home and cool off.



I was returning to the Gerlacher family in this section. My great grand-uncle's wife Clara had another sister buried in Green Lawn along with her husband. Minnie Gerlacher BORST (1888 – 1947) and John M BORST (1886 – 1953). I found a stone for Minnie and her daughter but not one for her husband. Very interesting. I snapped 12 more photos and called it a day.

Minnie F Borst, 1888 - 1947
Section 64
Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio
Find A Grave Memorial # 51614928
 I felt AWESOME having found most of those I sought after. I felt sadness about the plots with no stones or markers of any kind. I had visited with a wonderful cemetery patron. I had been helped by the Green Lawn staff. And I had done some volunteer work. If I had only driven to Columbus for this, I would have gone home happy. But oh no. I had 5 more days to do research. The next day I would be going to several cemeteries throughout Franklin County. And I  would hopefully increase the number of useable photos from  339 to 500.

This is another installment in a lengthy multi-series post about the fantastic research trip I took to Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. If you're just joining the this series, you'll be able to see every post under the label Research Trip.

Tombstone Tuesday: Who is William Hegner?

William Hegner
Section 82, Green Lawn Cemetery
As I was taking volunteer photos, I came across this stone for William Hegner in Section 82. Trouble is, I'm not sure which William Hegner this one is. The a search of Green Lawn Cemetery entries on Find A Grave resulted in two possibilities:

Hegner, William H
b. Sep. 24, 1864 d. Feb. 17, 1938

Hegner, William J
b. 1859 d. Jun. 8, 1917

And it's entirely possible, this is a third William that is not listed in the database. So, I have this great picture, but I can't use it anywhere.

Tombstone Tuesday is a blogging prompt supported by GeneaBloggers. To participate, create a post which includes an image of a gravestone of one or more ancestors and it may also include a brief description of the image or the ancestor. Hopefully it can also include stones that you photographed for other's benefit.

23 July 2012

Journey to the Past: Green Lawn Cemetery Section 62

If you've read this entire series thus far, you're probably wondering when it will ever end. I mean, how much can someone write about their adventures in a cemetery. Well, when the cemetery is as large as Green Lawn and you spend an entire day there, you have covered a lot of ground. Or I just write more than I should. Some say I have the gift of gab as well. Oh well, I promise that this post and the one that follows are the last two specifically about my adventures in Green Lawn Cemetery on May  21st, which happened to be one of my grandmother's birthdays. (I mean, my Grandma Louise had two birthdays).

I have previously discussed Samuel B BARTON (1853-1929). He's not a an ancestor in any direct way. However, he was a mentor to my great grandfather George Joseph Geizler (who I visited first). He was so connected with my great grandfather's family that a) George and Evaline named their first son George Barton Geiszler in honor of Samuel who never had any children and b) Evaline signed Samuel's death certificate and provided all of the necessary family information about him. Additionally, Evaline recorded Samuel's death in her family bible.

Samuel B Barton, 1853 - 1929
Section 62
Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio
Find A Grave Memorial #49751489

Samuel and his second wife Caroline Margaret BERGNER (1876 - 1920) were beside Caroline's parents. I snapped 16 photos and moved on. Grand total 327.

This is another installment in a lengthy multi-series post about the fantastic research trip I took to Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. If you're just joining the this series, you'll be able to see every post under the label Research Trip.

22 July 2012

Journey to the Past: Green Lawn Cemetery Section 75

Thankfully the streak of no stones was apparently at an end. However, the heat of the day was making me want to wrap up quickly, without doing too many additional volunteer photos.

Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio
Map of Section 75
Click for Larger View

Section 75 was next to section 82. I had visited section 82 the day before and found my Great Grandpa George Geiszler's plot. Section 75 had another Geiszler connection.

Caroline Mack GEISZLER BILLMANN's grand daughter (through her second husband) Emma Stone's in-law were buried in section 84. Caroline's daughter from her first marriage, to Joseph Gei├čler, resulted in three living children, one of which was Mary Elizabeth Geiszler GRENER

Mary Elizabeth's marriage to Conrad GRENER Sr, resulted in eight children. One of these children was Fredericka “Freda” Grener (1890 - 1980) who married Harry E BARNES (1888 - 1924). So essentially, I was looking for Caroline's granddaughter from her first marriage after visiting her granddaughter's in-laws from her second marriage in adjacent sections of the cemetery. Okay, I KNOW this is a tangled tree, but it's just so fascinating!

Additionally, I found it interesting that first cousins Freda Barnes and George Joseph Geiszler (from the first day's visit) were buried so close together in the cemetery.

Freda W Barnes, 1890 - 1980
Section 75
Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio
Find A Grave Memorial #68487179

 Anyway, I quickly found the Freda's stone. My stamina was winding down as the water was running out so I snapped 14 photos and moved on. Grand total 311 useable photos.

This is another installment in a lengthy multi-series post about the fantastic research trip I took to Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. If you're just joining the this series, you'll be able to see every post under the label Research Trip.

21 July 2012

Journey to the Past: Green Lawn Cemetery Section 84


I was finally working my was south and figuring a did have some time to take a few additional photos. So, when I went to Section 84, I took a few more volunteer photos. Section 84 doesn't have a definite break on the end where the names I was seeking were located. More like a large patch of grass before the next section starts. I almost missed the stones but thankfully a section marker alerted to me that I was in a new section and I back tracked a few paces.
Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio
Section 84
Click for Larger View

I really like these names. I honestly know little about William Marshall STONE (1856 – 1922) and Sara Jane Geisler (1860 – 1926) but I like the tree twist. 

Sarah J Stone, 1860 - 1926
Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio
Section 84


Sarah is the sister-in-law to my great grand-aunt Hattie Elizabeth Brown GEISLER. Now, that Geisler name is very intriguing, isn't it? Because I have so many Geiszler's on my family tree. However, I have not made any firm link between Sarah Jane's Geisler (no Z) with my Geiszler (with Z) line, other than this one. Well, there's another.

Here's where it gets really cool. Sarah Jane had a daughter name Emma MaySTONE (1881-1953). Emma May married Thomas George BILLMANN (1874-1965). Thomas George is the son of my 3rd great-grandmother Caroline Mack GEISZLER BILLMANN. Two things stand out. First, that perhaps the Geisler and Geiszler's are related and I might have clues about Caroline's first husband Joseph Gei├čler (whose family members I do not know). Second, my mother's line and my father's line converged in a tangle before they wed. I think that's cool. I guess it pays to do the distant cousin's work too. Otherwise, I would not have seen this interesting connection. I have no idea how to create a tree of this, but it's fun to see.

In any case, I snapped 7 photos in this section and moved on. Grand total 297 useable photos.

This is another installment in a lengthy multi-series post about the fantastic research trip I took to Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. If you're just joining the this series, you'll be able to see every post under the label Research Trip.

20 July 2012

Photo Friday: My Two Important Tools


Before I launch into a discussion of the photos I've taken, I thought it would be of value to share the two most important tools for photography that I use. These items are my digital camera and my tripod. Since I'm not sure how much you've gleaned about me, I'll share it briefly so that you can understand why I've chosen what I've chosen.

I am the home educator for my five children aged elementary school and younger. My husband has a wonderful job as an engineer and we believe strongly in being self-reliant, living within our means, and preparing for our own future. Those things added together dictate our budget being relatively small for luxury items of any kind. A professional grade digital camera and a high quality tripod are not items of necessity and therefore not in the budget. However, a good quality mid-size digital camera has been a wonderful addition to our family's love of taking pictures. A decent tripod obtained at Wal-Mart has served our purposes without a huge expense.

There are three 'types' of digital cameras available. These three categories are point-and-shoot, compact systems, and DSLR. DSLR what I consider professional quality as they are sold to accommodate different camera lens upon the body of the camera. On BestBuy.com the cheapest DSLR with body and lens was $469. It has more than enough megapixels to produce top notch photographs, especially since most of us are not going to print anything larger than an 8x10 (actually, I doubt we'll print anything larger than a 4x6). The camera has HD video recording, if you want to use it. It has a wide angle lens. It has a built in flash, but most photographers purchase an adjustable flash and mount it onto the camera for better light control (another $50 minimum). You'll definitely want a special carrying case for this kind of camera, so that's an added expense. You can set these cameras to automatic shooting, however, the whole point of a DSLR is to adjust the camera manually to capture quality pictures. If you have the technical know how and the budget (or lavish gift givers), then you can look into these cameras. I think around the holidays you can pick up some good deals, but the cameras and all the accessories is way out of my skill set and budget at present time.

Another type of digital camera is the point-and-shoot. The key point about these features is you generally can not adjust the camera's settings to manually improve the quality of your pictures. The camera picks the settings and you get what you get. Some people can get nice pictures with these cameras. I find them frustrating. We purchased one for about $30 for our kids as they want to begin taking pictures. I don't want to let them use my $200 camera because they are young and prone to dropping it. It's great for their needs but the pictures just aren't always that great. Perhaps I spent too little, but again it's a camera for my kids to play with photography. If they break it, I'm not out a lot of money.
I use the Canon PowerShot SX110

The category of camera's I prefer are the compact systems. Apparently since I was in the market, they have made some that have interchangeable lens, but the prices are in line with the DSLR, so why not shell out the big bucks for a high quality camera? In any case, I use a Canon PowerShot SX110 camera. It's a few years old, but I found a Canon PowerShot SX130IS on Amazon for a list price of $299 and a sale price of $140 plus free shipping. Now that's a steal to me. I can't spend more than $150 every 5+ years on a camera (that's $30/per year for the engineering types).

I like this camera because it has a variety of automatic settings from portrait, landscape, and pets/children. But, I also have the option to set the camera in partial and fully manual modes. This way, whenever I don't have time or knowledge to know what settings to use, I can simply let the camera choose the settings and take decent photographs. On the other hand, when I have the time and I care about the quality of the photographs, I can use the different manual modes to improve the quality of my pictures. The only draw back is that I can't adjust the angle of my flash. Perhaps newer models of my camera might have the ability to adjust the flash angle, but I'm not in the market for a new camera so I don't really know.

As for my tripod, I picked up and Inland Pro Floor Standing Tripod for about $20. Although professional photographers would be squeamish using such a cheap tripod, I've had no problems with it for my camera needs.

So there you have it. Those are my two tools.

Journey to the Past: Green Lawn Cemetery Section 47


After the disappointments of finding no stones, I was hoping to continue the roll that started in section 112. Section 47 was well laid out and the map was easy to understand.

Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio
Map of Section 47
Click for Larger View


In section 47, I found Spencer Columbus RANCK (1877-1961) . He is the son of my great-great aunt Elizabeth Jane BrownRANCK (1850-1900). I've liked that name Spencer Columbus and his father's Jefferson Babcock. They are names that stand out and when I come across them, I know they are my family members. In any case, Spencer and his wife Marie A SHIMPF's stones were easy to find. I snapped 9 photos and moved on. Grand total of 290 useable.

Spencer C Ranck, 1877 - 1961
Section 47
Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Franklin, Ohio
Find A Grave  Memorial #
46154782

This is another installment in a lengthy multi-series post about the fantastic research trip I took to Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. If you're just joining the this series, you'll be able to see every post under the label Research Trip.

HELP!!!! What do you say when calling up a distant cousin?

Okay... I am hot on the trail of tracking down another one of my mother's cousin. This one is living and connected with my Mystery Monday Samuel Brown. The only question is... what do I say?

Sure, I should dial the phone and say "Hello!" or "Howdy!" or something like that. But I don't know her last name, just her maiden name. If I said, "Is Janice Brown there?" and she's something entirely different, will she think I'm a telemarketer? Or, do I say, "I'm a genealogist looking for the daughter of Samuel Brown. If you're Janice Brown, then your husband's cousin's wife gave me your phone number. Could we chat?"

I know there must be someone out there to help me out with my nerves. And Samuel Brown's daughter's husband's cousin's wife did give me her phone number. Maybe I should ask for the daughter's married name. That might smooth out the telemarketer fear.

But then again, I might just be able to say, "Hi. I'm Devon Lee and (insert husband's cousin's wife's name) gave me your phone number. Is now a good time to talk about your father Samuel Brown?"

Gesh. Does anyone else have trouble thinking of what to say?

19 July 2012

Journey to the Past: Green Lawn Cemetery Section 112


SECTION 30 again....

I had absolutely no luck finding Leslie Akison's stone after walking the section twice. Perhaps there is no stone. Perhaps I needed reference points. Perhaps there is a stone but it's so faded that it's hard to read. Since his stone is giving me fits to find, I'm moving on. Someone else will have to confirm whether there is a stone or not.

Section P again....

Section P was hard to swallow. I had hoped to find my 3rd Great-Grandfather Charles GORDON in this section. He's buried on his sons-in-law's plot. Their names should be easy to find. I had orientation markers to help me find the plot. When I got there, the tears returned. No stones, for any of the family members. Perhaps I should have photographed the empty plot, which I absolutely knew was theirs, but I just needed to wipe the tears and move on.

Section L again....

Although section L held the father of my great-grandfather's second wife, finding another location without a headstone was wearing out my emotions. I had to move on to something were I would find success

Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio
Map of Section 112, oriented to north
Click for larger view

SECTION 112


Ahhh!!! Section 112. Although I'm really branching far into the Gerlacher family even though I'm not directly related to them, after going to Clara Gerlacher Peak's plot it was cool to visit her uncle Frederick GERLACHER's (1896-1969). For one thing, I FOUND a stone. For another, it was large and easy to spot from the road. And, it was in the shade. That's the aahhh, that started this notation.

Larger Marker for Frederick Gerlacher
Section 112
Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio
Fred Gerlacher 1897 - 1969
Section 112
Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio
Find A Grave Memorial #
74322778

I didn't take too many photos as it was getting late in the afternoon. The heat was really getting to me and I had so many more sections to visit. I only took 6 photos in this section. Grand total 281 useable photos.
 
This is another installment in a lengthy multi-series post about the fantastic research trip I took to Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. If you're just joining the this series, you'll be able to see every post under the label Research Trip.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...