Photograph Showcase: Seeing Grandpa Costello’s Smile

COSTELLO, John and Mary family 1950 Chritmas time

John & Mary Costello Family, 1950, Spokane, Washington

Do you see that happy Grandpa sitting front and center with one of his sweet grand-babies kissing the top of his head?  Do you see that beautiful and happy smile on his face?

Well so do I!!


I have seen two other photos from this particular sitting.  In both of them, Grandpa Costello is not looking at the camera.

So imagine my delight when my sister brought this photo to me.  For the first time ever, I was seeing a photograph of my Great Grandpa Costello looking at the camera and smiling.  Really smiling.  ❤

But I have to give credit where credit is due.  See that lovely, happy woman on the back row on the far right?  That is my grandaunt Barbara.  She sent my sister home with a bundle of photos for me to scan.  This little treasure was amongst them.

I am so grateful to Aunt Barbara for sharing and especially to my sister for making an impromptu visit to our Aunt.

If you’ve been reading along for a while you may remember that I discovered 7 seconds of video of Grandpa Costello earlier this year.  In that video Grandpa is definitely smiling, so this photo isn’t the first time I’m seeing his smile, but it is the first high quality photo with his smile.

I think that the important lesson in all of this is that we can’t ever consider our efforts “done”.  I’ve talked to Aunt Barbara several times over the years.  I’ve visited her in her home and interviewed her and Uncle Dan.  I’ve exchanged letters asking questions.  But this past Spring I specifically sent her a letter asking if she had any photos of Grandpa Costello that I might scan.  Because of my letter, she had gathered a small group of photos and then had them all ready to send with my sister when she visited.  Her bundle included several photos of my Great Grandpa Costello that I had never seen.  That my mom had never seen.  These photos may have NEVER made it to my branch of our tree if I hadn’t thought to ask Aunt Barbara about photos of my Great Grandpa Costello.

So, keep asking questions of your oldest living relatives.  I thought I had gleaned every detail I could from Aunt Barbara.  I hadn’t.  I wonder what else I might learn the next time I visit her?


Happy Thursday, I hope you think of a great question to ask one of you oldest living relatives today!




ps – Because only three family members in this photo have passed on, I am not labeling this photo here.  If you are a family member and want the names, shoot me an email.  I will add a detailed description of the photo in my private Ancestry tree.



How I Share: Family Card Game Awesomeness

ufgc - for ggEvery year for Christmas I give some sort of Family History gift to my siblings and parents.

Over the years I have come up with some good, some mediocre, and some off-the-charts-amazing gift ideas.  My goal is always to share something about our family in a bite size way.  This past Christmas I outdid myself.

Totally.  Outdid.  Myself.

I created – The Ultimate Family Card Game.

First things first – are you wondering how I count this as a ‘Family History’ gift?  I will admit it is a bit of a stretch.  But, only a bit.  It contains some awesome history of the family I grew up in and our next generation – the adorable grandchildren.  It doesn’t go any farther back than that but I feel like this is a crucial part of Family History Love.  Plus it has my parents’ adorable baby pictures – they’re old enough that those pictures are plenty historical right?  Crickets?  Okay, they aren’t that old but still, my point is valid.

What is this game?  My version has 60 cards, 5 suits, 12 cards per suit.  Each family member is represented by two cards – one has a current picture and one has an early childhood picture.  Each family unit is represented by two family photos.  Every card has a ‘match’.  The cards were printed double-sided, in color, on high quality, thick paper.  It is smooth with a bit of a sheen.  They feel really nice in your hands and shuffle well.  Plus, I put them in a cute tin.  We use it to play: Go Fish {two card match version, much faster}, Memory, War, Slap Jack {possibly the best part of this game is you get to choose who to slap…}, Rummy, Phase 10, B.S., Old Maid, etc.

My favorite part of this game?  All the warm fuzzy family love we feel while playing of course!  Lots of ‘remember whens’ and ‘look how cutes’.  Plus it is great for the generation of young cousins who live far apart and don’t see each other nearly often enough.

My whole family loved this game.  My mom and one of my sisters asked what company I used to create it.  Best. Compliment. Ever.  I created the entire game and had it printed at a local print shop.

I have already planned my gift for next Christmas.  I set the bar pretty high in 2013.  I hope I won’t be disappointing anyone next year.

Do you give Family History gifts?  If so, what have you given?

By request, I created a listing for this game in my etsy shop here.
I am working on creating a listing that is a set of detailed instructions and files so you can create your own game.