thegenealogygirl


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Treasures: The Old Ellis Family Photo Album

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Wow, isn’t she a beauty?

 

That lovely red album up there was created by my great-grandmother, Blanche Octavia Huband.  The cover of the album is very worn, in fact, the front cover is completely detached from the spine, but the inside of the album is in perfect condition.

The photos are pristine.  Many of them are 8x10s or 5x7s.   They are a wonderful collection of the best photos of Grandma Ellis’ children, grandchildren, and other family members.  It is exactly what a photo album should be – the best of the best, representing everyone you love.

Because the album is so well preserved and orderly, I will be scanning the photos in order and sharing the entire album one photo at a time in the order Grandma Ellis has arranged them in her album.

To that end, I’m going to be starting a new series of posts here entitled “Ellis Album”.  This post serves as an introduction to that series.  I think I’ll shoot for one post each week.  I’m so excited to preserve and share this wonderful album.  I hope my distant Ellis cousins will find it here and enjoy!

 

ps – Grandma Ellis was brilliant in her use of photo corners.  She picked good ones, they still work and are still attached to the pages.  ❤️

pps – I know I said I’m going to share every photo in the order she put them in the album, but I’m waffling on one thing, should I share the photos of living people…?  (With permission, of course.)  Or just acknowledge that I have skipped a photo(s) because some of the subjects are living and cousins should reach out if interested…?  Hmmm…

 

 


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Cousins All Around

Last week I had a very unexpected experience.  I met a cousin that I had never heard of before.  We were in the same place, I heard his last name, then where he was from and had to interrupt to ask if he was related to my GrandAunt Beth‘s husband, Uncle Darwin.  After all, they share the same last name, a last name I’ve only ever heard in my own family, and they are from the same city about 2 hours North of me.

He responded with, “Yes, I am related to Darwin and Beth.”  At first, I was thinking that he was acknowledging his relationship to Beth through marriage.  I was wrong.  As we talked it became clear that he is actually more closely related to Aunt Beth – and to me! – than to Uncle Darwin.  This man and I share the common ancestors of Frederick William Ellis & Susan Kaziah Davis, pictured above.  We are second cousins once removed!

As we talked, I mentioned that I have a few family treasures from Frederick & Susan and invited him to stop by my home the next day to have a look.  He was staying with his daughter who lives in the next town, just minutes from my home.

The very next day, my newly discovered cousin came to my home, so did my Uncle.  We looked at some family treasures, talked about our shared family members, and were in awe of some of the artifacts that have survived all these years.  He especially enjoyed going through the Family Record book kept by Frederick.  He lovingly stroked the pages as he saw the names of his mother, grandparents, and then his own name, and the names of some of his siblings handwritten by his great-grandfather.  It was a beautiful moment.  We had a mini-Ellis family reunion right in my piano room.  It was a wonderful two hours of sharing.

My cousin is in his upper 80s, yet he is a second cousin to my father who is in his mid-60s.  Despite the geographic distance, the age difference, and never having met before – nor even hearing of each other before, we discovered our connection at a very unexpected moment.

And now I can’t help but wonder, how many cousin connections are all around me as I go about my daily life?  How many cousins have I spoken with and not known they were my cousin?  How many treasures do I hold that would mean so much to my unknown loved ones if only I realized who they were, how we connect and invited them to stop by and spend a little time enjoying the treasures of our shared ancestors?

This wonderful cousin is the first one to ever take me up on an offer to stop by to see some family heirlooms.  I hope he won’t be the last.

And now, I fear, I will become that person who obsessively tries to analyze everyone’s tree in my head while I talk to them.  But that’s not a bad thing, right?  😉

Our visit has prompted me to review some treasures that I can’t wait any longer to share.  My next several posts will focus on this part of my tree.  I’ve already begun scanning.  Are you excited?!  I am.  ❤

 

ps – This means the several posts I have been working on for weeks are being pushed back again.  Do you ever find yourself experiencing genealogy ADHD?  That’s what I feel like this week.  So much to share – so little time!  Can’t focus or finish because of the wonderful interruptions.  And I suddenly feel even more sorry for my child with ADHD.  I feel it with genealogy, he feels it all the time.

 


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Catching Up & A Special Gift

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Me, at Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz, California

March & April have been bananas for me!  March started off while I was at RootsTech.  I had a week of catch up and then I was off to Washington to help my Mom & Auntie V.  Then the first week of April was Spring Break and our California adventure.  And then, I buried myself with a bigger than expected project.

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My amazing oldest

You see, my amazing oldest son, who is serving as a missionary, is about to turn 20.  He is a happy, fun-loving kid who inspired this funny photoshop creation.  He really is the center person.  A friend put his head over the two Sister Missionaries heads.  It was Valentine’s Day in this photo and a nice old man had purchased flowers for the Sister Missionaries and somehow my funny boy was asked to hand them the flowers, and from there, we got this delightful creation.

But, back to his upcoming birthday.  I asked him what he wanted or needed.  He said he wanted nothing now, and requested that I just save a little money for him to buy new clothes when he gets home.  An understandable request.  But it’s like he didn’t know who he was talking to.  😉

Of course, I couldn’t do nothing to mark the end of his teenage years!  I’m a fan of meaningful gifts.  So after plenty of mulling, I decided he would be getting 20 gifts of 20 items to celebrate his passage into his twenties.  Now if you are thinking that is basically the exact opposite of what he requested you would kind of be right.  But most of the gifts cost absolutely nothing.  Or almost nothing.

As a family, we put together several things like – 20 jokes, 20 ridiculous pieces of advice, 20 birthday wishes and so on.  The two items that took me the most time were 20 favorite memories of him and 20 ancestor cards.  For the 20 favorite memories, I made a list of several off the top of my head, but I even went through some journals and typed up a few entries that were especially sweet.

And then we get to the gift that was my favorite.  Twenty ancestor cards.  Ahhhhh.  Genealogy gifts are my favorite.  The ancestor cards were created using Adobe Illustrator.  I then printed them as 4×6 photos at Costco.   Here are two of the cards I created:

mary brown young ancestor card-01

seth maffit ancestor card-01

I simplified things to try to appeal to my son.  I reduced place names to city & state or city & country.  I shared some highlights from the person’s life.  Things I thought might interest my son a bit.  I intentionally chose ancestors who were immigrants, some type of pioneer, or someone who overcame big challenges.  I wanted him to see how diverse our family history is.  I wanted him to be able to draw some strength from his ancestors’ stories.  I hope this gift will be interesting and meaningful to him.  But the good news is that I LOVED making it.  So even if it isn’t his favorite, it was worth the time I spent.  Now I need to go back over them and perfect them a bit and share them with my siblings.

Now that the 20 gifts of 20 things are all done and in the mail, and I’m back home for a while, I have some serious catching up to do!  I’m behind on everything.  😉

 

 

Happy Friday, I hope you make a fantastic genealogy discovery this weekend!  xoxo

 

 

ps – I’m sorry I haven’t been around to read any of your wonderful posts in a few months.  Hopefully, I’ll be back to my normal routine again soon!  I’ve missed hearing about your genealogy successes.  ❤

 

 


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Two FamilySearch Classes this Week

FamilySearch_Logo

Sunday night I taught a class at my local Family History Center, Finding “Hidden” Records on FamilySearch.

I covered everything from this blog post and then some.  I really love teaching.  So it was a great time for me.  And bonus, my students were pretty happy too.

Well, today I get to teach a group of 10 and 11-year-old girls.  I have ten minutes.  Ten minutes is not a lot of time.  You really can’t cover a lot in ten minutes.  So I am going for quality.  We are going to talk about preserving memories.  I’ll tell them a story or two.  I’ll show them how to add a photo and an audio recording to FamilySearch from the app.  Then I am going to challenge them to go home and add 3 photos and 3 audio recordings to FamilySearch using the FS app.

I will send them home with this handout:

FS app with gg address

I hope at least one of those little girls will feel a nudge towards her ancestors.

 

Wish me luck!

 

 

ps – Those girls?  They are members of my church.  We have a program called Activity Days that is for 8-12 year old girls.  They meet twice each month and learn new things, complete service projects, or participate in some sort of activity.  I was asked to help out this time.  If you are an Activity Days Leader and come across this post, please feel free to use my handout.

 

pps – If you are interested in my overly detailed handout from my Finding “Hidden” Records on FamilySearch class, send me an email and I’ll happily share.  Email address on sidebar. 

 


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Treasures: Susan Kaziah Davis History

Susan Kaziah Davis

Susan Kaziah Davis is my 2nd great grandmother.  In 1915, at the age of 65, she wrote a brief sketch of her life.  This manuscript was passed down to her son Claude Albert Ellis, and to Claude’s daughter Mary Margaret Ellis, and to Margaret’s son Blake, and then to me.  Margaret is my grandmother and Blake is my uncle.

This brief sketch was used as the basis for a longer personal history written by Susan and her son Claude.  That history can be found here.

The full resolution scans for this handwritten sketch can be found here.  Smaller images of this sketch are presented here in order:

Transcription of Susan’s history:

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Ogden Utah

April 28th, 1915

A Brief Sketch of the life, & happenings of Susean K. Ellis, Wife of F. W. Ellis. and Daughter of Sarah E, & Edward G. Davis, Born Jan 28th, 1850, Bath Summerset England,

My Mother and Father joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, about the year 1849, just a short time preceeding my birth, I being born with my

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eye lids sealed together, but through the anointing with oil, and the faith of my mother, I was made to see,

I was blessed with a name by Bro Kendel.

My Father was made president of the Bath branch of the Church, and Counsel meetings were held at our home every monday evening,

Our doors alway’s remained open to welcome any of the servent’s

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of God,

When about twelve years of age, I went to work at the Corset factory, where my Father was engaged as a presser, and two of my sisters as seamstresses,

A year later after my Father’s death, my Mother had to begin work in order that we might obtain a living, We continued working at this factory for five years longer, “And were greatly favored, & respected by our head Maneager”

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When we decided to emigrate to Utah,

During our short stay in England as members of the Church, we rec’d great persecution from mob’s, which gathered to persecute the saints,

Many times my Father had to remain at the Poleace Station the greater part of the night, to avoid being mobed, and our windows were broken in with rocks from the hand’s of our enemies,

I was very sickly

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the greater part of my younger life, and when we decided to come to Utah, A great many people tried to perswade Mother to leave me in England with them, as they thought it impossible for me to stand the voyage across the water, and told mother that she would barry me in on the ocean, but through the faith, & ambition of my mother, & the goodness of the Lord, I was permitted to come to Zion,

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We sailed from England on the ship Colorado, Tues, july 14th, 1868, with a company of six hundred (600) saints, under the direction of William B, Preston,

After a voyage of about two week’s, we arrived in New York, July 28th, 1868, The Company continued on as far as Benton Neb, arriving Aug 7th, 1868,

We left Benton Aug 14th, 1868, for Utah, with an Ox team company, numbering 61 wagon’s, & 411 passengers, under direction of Capt. Daniel D. McArthur,

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arriving in Salt Lake valley in Sept 3 1868,

There were six deaths on the journey,  One being a young man by the name of Harry Popel, who was acciedently shot, “Also one birth”

Our journey accross the plain’s was very pleasant considering the mode of travel, The evenings were spent singing hyms, and listening to our brethern talk, We had not the hard-ships to indure which some companies had,

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We were meet in Salt Lake City by Sister Irish, who took us to her home, that we might rest for a few days,

I went to work at the “Salt Lake House” as Chambermaid, with Mr Little, as owner, After two months service I went to live with a family by name of Foalsome, staying with them about four month’s, I then went to live with a family by name of George Alder, for two month’s, Here I took sick with Typhoid feaver,

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and Erysipelas, and was under the care of Sister Polly Felt, for seven weeks I was very sick, but rec’d the best of care,

While in the City I took an active part in the seventeenth ward choir, under direction of F. W. Ellis,

In July 1869, I accompanied Bros James Ward, F. W. Ellis, & Miss Marry an Ellis, to North Ogden, and made my home with Bro. & Sis Ellis, at Plesant weiv [Pleasant View],

I also lived a short time with Sister Lizia Brown,

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On the 6th, of sept 1869, three month’s later, I was married to T. W. Ellis [Frederick William Ellis], in the Endowment House at Salt Lake City, by Bro Daniel H, Well’s,

I joined the Relief Society in 1869, shortly after arriving in North Ogden, and with a number of other’s we used to walk from Plesant view, to North Ogden each week to our meeting, & choir practise, I acted as a visiting teacher until just about four years ago,

My Husband was asked to take charge of

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the coaperative store, which then stood on the East corner of the old Dudman lot,

This necessitated our moving to North Ogden, which we did, and lived in one log room just behind the store, “which was used partly for a granery” Until four month’s after our first baby was born, When we moved to where we now live,

In 1881, My Husband was married to Sarah Jane, Barker, Both Family’s lived

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together until the persecution started, and my Husband then built another home at Plesant view,

My Husband was taken to the Penitentiary Dec 13th, 1886, where he served a term of six month’s, and then again later, the 13th, Dec 1890, he was made to serve two month’s more, This was a hard trial for me, having such poor health at that time, and a large family to take care of,

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In 1893, My Husband recd a call to the Australian Mission, which he accepted, and left Nov 6th, He was gone for 2 1/2 years, during which time we did every thing possible to support him, & ourselves,

Two of My boy’s also have filled mission’s of late, My oldest son “Freddie” spent two years in the Western States mission, and my youngest son “Claude” spent two year’s in

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the Eastern States Mission, The oldest son, “William” of the second Family spent 4 1/2 years in the Japanese Mission,

I am happy to state that I have been priveleged to go through the temple a number of times, and do work in behalf of our dead relative’s,

I am the Mother of ten (10) Children, six boy’s, & four Girls, all “but one” of which are living at the present time, and all but

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two have made their home’s in the Idaho Country,

I am now (65) years of age, and am enjoying better health than when a girl alout the age of 18 year’s,

 

There is something extra special about reading a sketch of someone’s life in their own handwriting.  Even though there are more detailed histories of her, this one is my favorite.  I feel like the items she chose to include on these brief 15 pages must have been the very dearest to her heart or the most painful.

I am grateful for Susan and her life.  I’m grateful for the fine son she raised who grew up to be the father of my own beloved Grandmother.  I’m thankful that this treasure found its way to me.  And lastly, I am thankful for the technology that has allowed me to preserve and share this family treasure.

 

Happy Monday, I hope you have a meaningful genealogy experience today!

 


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A Special Christmas Gift & the Lesson FamilySearch Taught Me

A Special Christmas Gift

Every year for Christmas I try to give my parents and siblings a meaningful family history gift.  Sometimes it’s simple, sometimes it’s not.  What it always is, is a work of the heart.

This past Christmas, the gift was fairly simple, but definitely meaningful.  And because it was created based on a family treasure found in my grandmother’s archives, I gave this particular gift to my children, my parents and siblings, my uncles and cousins, and my grandmother’s only living sibling.

So what was this special token of our shared heritage?

A slim, 23 page book.

The first 15 pages were a carefully scanned copy of a handwritten personal history recorded by my 2nd great grandmother Susan Kaziah Davis.

Susan is my Grandma’s Grandma.  Susan was born in 1850 in Bath, Somerset, England to Edward George Davis and Sarah Esther Mudd.  Edward and Sarah had joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1849.  They continued to live in England for several years.  After Edward’s death in 1863, Sarah and the children worked hard to earn enough money for passage to America and the journey to Utah.  They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on the 3rd of September, 1868, having travelled by wagon train.  This makes Sarah, Susan, and the other children Mormon Pioneers.

At the age of 65, Susan wrote a 15 page personal history.  Later, Susan and her son Claude, my great grandfather, used this handwritten history to write a more complete history of Susan’s life.

The original 15 pages are handwritten by Susan in her beautiful penmanship.  I have that original handwritten history and wanted my whole family to be able to enjoy it.

I used a local printshop that I trust to create the scan.  They scanned it in black and white and printed it on a creamy colored cardstock that was similar to the color of the original paper.  I created 8 additional pages that were added after the history.  The print shop printed them up and bound them with a small spiral binding at the top.  Here is one of the books.

Susan Kaziah Davis book

I tried to keep it almost as simple as I found it.  I added my extra pages after Susan’s own writing.  I wanted my family to be able to discover her life from her own writing, just like I had, when I found this treasure.

In the 8 additional pages, I included a letter from me, a few photos of Susan (reprints of scans), a photo of Susan’s mother Sarah, a lovely family group sheet for Susan, her husband and children, and one for Sarah, Edward and their children.  I also created a relationship chart so that each recipient would know how they are related to Susan.  Here are the 8 pages, in the order found in the book, with names of living people edited out except for mine.

I was very happy with this small gift I was able to share with my family.

The next step for me was a more permanent preservation effort for the handwritten history.

I instantly thought of the free FamilySearch book scanning service at RootsTech.  I had used this service at RootsTech in 2016 and was very happy with the quality of the scan.  The item I scanned that year was a Family Record book kept by Susan’s husband Frederick William Ellis.  Here are two sample pages from that scan:

The book can be found in the FamilySearch Catalog here.  The actual images of the book can be found here.

The scans turned out great!  I was very pleased and thought this was a great way to preserve something for my extended family with little work on my part.  The book is 86 pages long and while I certainly could have scanned them, this saved me lots of time.

Because of my previous experience with the FamilySearch Book Scanning service at RootsTech, I decided Susan’s handwritten history would be one of two books I had scanned at RootsTech 2017.

When I picked up my precious manuscript from the book scanning booth I very nearly walked over to a different booth that accepts donations of family items about early Mormon Pioneers.  I almost donated this small history so it could be preserved and available for all of Susan’s descendants to view in person at the Church History Library.  I had already recreated a physical copy for my family.  I had already had a nice scan created by FamilySearch.  Donating it would ensure it’s preservation.  But some nagging feeling caused me to keep on walking.

After I returned home from RootsTech, I checked for my book to show up in the catalog several times.  Eventually I quit checking and forgot about it until last week when I checked again.  I was very puzzled when I couldn’t find it.  I tried a bunch of tricks and I just wasn’t tracking it down.  So I got extra creative and finally – there it was.  The catalog name isn’t the best – A Brief sketch of the Life & Happenings of Susean (Susan) K. Ellis.  The catalog entry can be found here.  And the images of the scans can be found here.

Here is the first page from that scan:

FS scan of SKD history

I was sooooo disappointed in this scan!  They scanned it in black and white.  And at a low resolution.

Can I just say how glad I am that I did not donate Susan’s precious manuscript?!

After discovering this huge disappointment, I decided to scan the small treasure myself last week.  I used a flatbed scanner and scanned each page at a very high resolution and saved them as a .tiff file.

Here is the first page at about one fourth the size of my scan and saved as a .jpeg.  It looks so much better than the FS scan!

SKD history page 1

So what is the lesson?

 

I don’t know why I experienced such drastic quality differences with the FamilySearch Book Scanning service, but I did.  In the future, I will not waste my time having them scan something so small.  And I will definitely NEVER assume their scan has me covered and donate an item before making sure the scan is the quality I expect.

FamilySearch has earned my trust time and again.  I almost let that well deserved trust cause me to donate an item before it had been properly scanned.  I would have been heartbroken at my unnecessary loss.

I still trust FamilySearch and love their generous, inclusive, and vast efforts to help all people learn about their family’s history.

But I have now learned that my trust has a very important limit.  Everything I consider donating will be properly scanned and saved to various locations before I even talk about making that donation.

 

 

Have you ever used the FamilySearch Book Scanning service?  If so, what was your experience like?

 

Do you like to give family history gifts to your family?  If so, what types of gifts have you given?

 

 

Happy Monday, I hope you are able to properly preserve and share a family treasure very soon!

 

 

ps – I will post my scans and a transcription of Susan’s history in an upcoming post for my extended family to find and enjoy.

 


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Family Reunion Bingo Games!

Reunion at Lagoon 1926

Isn’t this photo awesome?!  This Family Reunion photo was taken at Lagoon* in 1926.  The family gathered are the descendants of my 2nd great grandparents Frederick William Ellis and Susan Kaziah Davis.

My family still holds three different reunions today.  They look a little something like this.

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Great Grandchildren of Ronald & Margaret

I really love family reunions but one of the main challenges is getting everyone talking to each other.  It’s easy for the siblings and first cousins, but second cousins and cousins from different generations?  Not so easy.  Everyone experiences the same silly obstacle – they feel dumb asking people’s names.  We always have name-tags available but hardly anyone puts one on.

Well, last summer I was in charge of the Rulon and Naomi Peterson Family Reunion.  Rulon and Naomi are my great grandparents.  This reunion is held every summer in late July or early August and includes 4 generations of my family.  I love to see and visit with my Grandpa’s younger siblings.  His brothers remind me so much of my Grandpa that it takes my breath away for just a minute, in a good way.

But all those younger cousins, understandably, gravitate to their grandparents, parents, and first cousins.  I wanted to shake that up and get people interacting more and remembering our family members who are no longer with us.

So, I made two bingo games that required asking people questions.  I had good prizes too.  There were lots of little party favor type prizes for Bingos like stretchy frogs, bouncy balls, suckers, lip balm, packs of gum, etc.  Then I had a few big prizes for the first 5 or so people who earned a blackout – a cool water gun, two $10 gift cards for lunch, and a few other items I’ve forgotten.  In all I spent about $90 from the budget.  And every penny was worth it.

This was the easy Bingo game:

RulonNaomiPetersonFamilyBingo

As soon as I explained the game to the first children to arrive, they instantly starting running around asking everyone the answers.  The adults who were trying to remember things, had to talk to each other about it too.  Lots of good family conversations were going on.  After several kiddos exhausted this Bingo board, they moved on to the harder game.  This one was about our deeper family history.  This entire side of my family are LDS, so you will notice that reflected in both games.

PetersonSkeenFamilyHistoryBingowoutanswers

I really loved the conversations that both Bingo games generated.  We heard some family stories and facts that I had never heard before – and that is saying something!  There was an awesome feeling during this whole reunion as we had dinner and talked, and filled in our Bingo cards.  Our focus was on our family members and we all felt their love and presence with us that night.

After dinner I wrapped things up by sharing that I had recently come into possession of a large collection of family letters including a box of letters written by Naomi.  This is a special treasure for all of us because she died very young, with one child still at home, and left no journals or personal history.  But those five years of letters she wrote to my Grandpa include so much of her heart and life.  I read this little story from one of her letters:

From a letter dated Friday, October 13, 1944, written by Naomi Peterson to Ronald Peterson:

“I must tell you about Janice and Marilyn.  We went in to Lienhardt’s to get the candy last night and when we came home Marilyn’s new robe was over the back of the chair by the telephone.  It looked wet and on further examination I found a pool of water under the chair.  This morning Janice stated to laugh saying she had never seem anything so funny in her life.  Marilyn had filled the bath tub for her bath.  She and Janice were standing by the mirror.  Marilyn says things just to make Janice angry – rather smart you remember.  Janice gave her a disgusted push and sat Marilyn in the tub robe and all.  Her feet were hanging out and her head against the soap dish.  Janice said she went in very gracefully.  Marilyn says there is going to be a big splash one of these times.”

What a treasure.  It was a joy to see everyone’s eyes light up as I told them about the letters and shared this story.  It was a great reunion with a very simple set of activities.

 

If you have a family reunion coming up, I wholeheartedly suggest you consider making your own version of Family Bingo.  Everyone loved it and they were used again at a smaller reunion for one of my Great Uncles and his family.  I also emailed copies to everyone who couldn’t attend including answers for the second Bingo card.

 

If you would like to use my docs as a starting point to make your own, here they are:

PetersonSkeenFamilyHistoryBingowoutanswers

RulonNaomiPetersonFamilyBingo

And if you are related to me and are curious about the answers, here is the copy with answers:

PetersonSkeenFamilyHistoryBingo

 

I will just add one more tip – I did not put a limit on the number of prizes.  I also didn’t worry a lot about the prizes.  The kids knew I had created the game, they would come to me and show me their card and I would send them over to choose their prize.  Some kids made a serious haul, but it kept the conversations going all night.  Plenty of adults and teenagers played too – and took prizes.  I made sure I had a Costco sized bag of High-Chews as backup in case we ran low on prizes, we did use the High-Chews and got very close to running out of everything.

 

Have you ever been in charge of a Family Reunion?  What activities have you enjoyed at Family Reunions?

 

 

*Lagoon is an amusement park here in Utah that started out as a place for bowling, dancing, and eating.  The first thrill ride was added in 1899.

 

Family Reunion Bingo Games