thegenealogygirl


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Photograph Showcase: Three Guardian Angels

 

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Great Grandmas – Mary Jo Shumway, Deane Alice Duval, & Charlotte Whitesides

 

That wee little chap up there is my amazing oldest.  A few months after he was finally home from the NICU, we had a family gathering all about him in Lewiston, Idaho.  Those lovely ladies with him are three of his great-grandmothers who traveled from Star Valley, Wyoming, Kaysville, Utah, & Spokane, Washington to join us that day.

Now that boy of mine is nearly twenty and serving an LDS mission in South Carolina.  He has been gone for 20 months & 2 days.  He will be home this August.

Four months after my son left, Grandma Mary Jo passed peacefully in a nursing home from Alzheimer’s.  Nine months after that, Grandma Deane passed peacefully at home from Leukemia.  And then on Tuesday, Grandma Charlotte passed peacefully in a care center from Liver Cancer.

And so, that amazing boy of mine has gained three guardian angels who have loved him his whole life long.  I can’t think of three women I would trust more to watch over my boy.

 

 

Do you have a living grandparent?  If so, call them today.  If you are the living grandparent, reach out to your precious grandbabies today.  That link is so precious.  ❤️

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: Introducing John Baptiste Jerrain

John Baptiste Jerrain and Willow Jeane

John Baptiste Jerrain & Willow Jeane

Many years ago, my Grandma’s Maffit cousins decided to put together a book about their family.  It was quite an extensive effort.  Emails and phone calls went back and forth across the US as cousins tried to identify family members in old photo albums, recall family stories, and put the best information together that they could.  Somehow, I didn’t end up with a copy of that book.

Weird, right?

Well, ever since I found out about it – too late to get a copy – I have been trying to get my hands on the CD of photos that was created at the time the book was finished.  It has not been a fruitful effort.

But then.

Several weeks ago, I was at my parent’s home to help my mom for a few days.  She mentioned that the plastic tub sitting on the guest bed was some family history “stuff” from Grandma’s house that I may want to look through.  It sat for a few days before I got to it.  There were plenty of interesting items.  Partway through the collection, I came across a CD that was marked “SAVE” in big black sharpie.

At this point, I must interrupt myself to share with you, dear reader, that my Grandma was notorious for throwing away family treasures.  I will not subject you to the pains of rattling off a list of the items I know she tossed, or my speculation on what else may have been cast aside.  Except I can’t help myself.  Here is one small example – she had about 13 large tintypes that were not labeled.  She showed them to me and said she would be scanning them.  Somehow they ended up in the trash and if she ever scanned them, I don’t know where the scans ended up.  Her reasoning?  They weren’t labeled anyway.  Sigh.

So there I was, sitting on the guest bed, looking at a CD that Grandma had loudly labeled “SAVE” and hoping it was the CD of precious images from the Maffit family book.  I hopefully and joyfully added it to my already bursting suitcase.

Later that day, I mentioned to my Mom that I thought I had found a CD I had been hoping to get my hands on for years.  She tried to tell me I couldn’t take it.  Oh boy!  She hadn’t even looked in the tub, but when she thought there was something good, she wanted to hang onto it.  I just told her nope, I was taking it.  And I would share.  She couldn’t really argue.  Haha.

Finally last week I had a minute to download the photos from the CD.  It absolutely was what I thought it was!  Hooray!!

 

And so, I would like to introduce you to my 3rd great-grandfather, John Baptiste Jerrain.  Doesn’t he look dapper in his bowtie?

 

{Insert major genealogy happy dance here!!  🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉}

 

The photo is labeled with two names, John Baptiste Jerrain & Willow Jeane.  The person who shared the photo was my Grandma’s 1st cousin, Willow Jeane, great-granddaughter of Grandpa Jerrain.  That Willow Jeane was born 6 years after Grandpa Jerrain died.  However, he had another granddaughter named Willow Jeane who was born in 1904, 26 years before Grandpa Jerrain passed.  He also had another great-granddaughter named Willow Jeane who was born in 1929, 1 year before his death.  Based on the age of the child, I would imagine that IF this child is Willow Jeane, she is Willow Jeane Jerrain, born in 1904, daughter of Prudent Arthur Jerrain & Jessie Campbell Shirky.

What a treasure.

There are so many wonderful photos on the CD.  I am delighted!

 

But there is one more thing.  I almost hate to mention it.  But here goes.

 

The photos were scanned using what was likely the best scanning technology at the time.  Quite a long time ago.  Most of the photos are very, very small digital files.  Like very, very, very small.  This is one of the largest ones, by at least triple.  So if you are one of my Maffit cousins who happens to have any of the old originals of the family photos, how about scanning them again?  Or mailing them to this cousin to promptly scan and mail back to you?  I promise to share my scans.  🙂

 

 

Happy Monday, I hope a long sought for family treasure makes its way to you very, very soon!    xoxo

 

 

ps – Monday is not my normal day for a Photograph Showcase post, I have several other posts that are in varying stages of completion that were intended for today.  But I was so distracted by the joys of seeing my 3rd great-grandfather that I just had to share – TODAY!

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: The Anniversary Pendant

 

DUVAL, Deane, wearing the aniversary pendant

Deane Alice Duval, wearing her mother’s anniversary pendant

When you are the daughter of photographers, you have your picture taken a lot.

Like, a lot, a lot.

So when you are the great-granddaughter of photographers, you have seen a lot of photos of your Grandma.

Like, a lot, a lot.

So sometimes, the photos kind of blur together in your memory.  And sometimes, bits of stories and treasures in those photos go unnoticed.

And then, every now and again, a detail pops out of a photo and smacks you in the face for the first time.  The detail was always there, but it went completely unnoticed until one day, it didn’t.

I scanned this photo.  A long time ago.  But I scanned it.  That means I looked at it at least three times.  Once before I put it on the glass, once on my computer screen, and then again when I pulled it off the glass.  But who knows how many other times I looked at it?  I don’t.

But just last night when I was flipping through images to choose a photo to share, a detail in this photo jumped right out at me for the first time.

 

DUVAL, Deane, wearing the aniversary pendant - crop

The pendant my Grandma is wearing didn’t belong to her.  I don’t know if it ever did.

There have been three owners that I know of.

First – my great-grandmother, Hope Estelle Maffit.  According to my mother, it was an anniversary gift given on the first anniversary of her marriage to my great-grandfather in 1931.

Second – my mother.  I remember her wearing it a lot when I was growing up.  Only ever on Sundays, but still, she wore it a lot.  I frequently wore my mother’s jewelry but I don’t remember ever wearing this.  I loved it, but I never wore it.  Maybe I wasn’t allowed.  I don’t remember.

Third – me.  A surprise.  Last year when I went for a visit, my mom gave it to me.  I didn’t know what to say.  I don’t think I ever told her how much I loved it.  But of all the pieces of jewelry she owned, it was the one item I would have chosen for myself after she is gone.

Treasure doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about it.

But finding it in this photograph last night – there just aren’t words to explain how this photograph struck me.

Four generation of women.

One pendant.  A gift to symbolize love.  A love that is one-eighth of my story.

 

A treasure, to be sure.

 


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Photograph Showcase: The First Image From A Precious Collection

costello08 - cropped, lightened - 2x, and sharpened - smaller 6000

This beautiful family portrait was given to me by my Grandma several years ago.  It is an 11×17″ photo of my Grandma, my mother, and my mother’s siblings.  My darling Mom is wearing the blue striped dress.

This portrait was one of many in a large Kodak envelope.  All of the photos were taken by my Great-Grandmother Estelle Duval at her studio – Duval Portraits in Spokane, Washington.  Most of the photos in this envelope were hand colored with oil paints by Grandma Duval.  She was remarkably talented.

For the past several years – maybe 7 or so – these photos have been patiently waiting for some attention.  Well, two weeks ago when I scanned the Telesphore Brouillette book, I also scanned all 28 of the 11×17″ portraits.

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It felt pretty fantastic to finally get these treasures scanned.  I just needed some time and access to a large, high-quality flat-bed scanner.  Thank you, BYU for helping me out!

The only bummer, and it is a very slight bummer, is that many of these precious photos were printed on textured paper.  The scans exaggerate the texture and the photos come out much darker than they really are.  Here is the original scan:

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And here it is lightened up a bit:

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And here it is with a little bit of sharpening:

costello08 - cropped, lightened, and sharpened - smaller

And then finally, with some more sharpening and another layer of lightening:

costello08 - cropped, lightened - 2x, and sharpened - smaller 6000

Which version appeals most to you?

 

I am sooooo happy to have finally scanned these treasures!

 

 

Happy Thursday, I will be enjoying lots of family time next week for Thanksgiving.  I’ll be taking the week off.  If you are also celebrating Thanksgiving, may I suggest that you spend some time preserving memories?  The FamilySearch Memories app is free and a fantastic way to record audio.  It can record segments up to 15-minutes in length.  Get your family talking about their favorite memories of loved ones now gone and record those gems.  Have the Google PhotoScan app ready to go so you can scan any photos that catch your eye.  Remember, the app isn’t nearly as good as a scanner, but sometimes, it’s the only thing you’ve got.  I hope you have a blessed and thankful week!  I am thankful for each of you who make my genealogy experience so much richer.  xoxo

 

 


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One Last Tether

Rulon and Naomi family, from original

The Family of Rulon Powell Peterson & Naomi Skeen; back l-r: Marilyn Peterson, Ronald Skeen Peterson, Janice Peterson; front l-r: Lowell Skeen Peterson, Rulon Powell Peterson, Wayne Skeen Peterson, Naomi Skeen, Darrell Skeen Peterson.

 

From this wonderful family, only one remains.  One last tether to my Grandpa, his siblings, and his parents.  To living memories of growing up on a cattle ranch, working hard, serving others, helping strengthen a community, and serving God.

We lost Darrell first in 1947 at the tender age of 14.

Naomi followed in 1957.

Rulon in 1985.

Ronald in 1997.

Marilyn in 2013.

Janice in 2016.

And then last Sunday, on the 29th of October, Lowell slipped from this life.

I imagine that was a joyful reunion for this precious family that I love.

On Saturday we honored Uncle Lowell’s remarkable life.  As I sat there mourning with my family, listening to the accomplishments of a life well lived, I was in awe.  Uncle Lowell was a humble and kind man.  For me, he was a gentle reminder of the Grandpa I lost when I was just 20.  His voice, his manner, his movements, echoed those of his oldest brother.  I sat with him many times, sharing family stories, listening to him talk about the Grandpa that I love and miss.  But in all of those conversations, he never spoke about himself.  I always knew he was remarkable, simply for being him.  What I didn’t know was the impact he had on so many.  I could rattle off a list of accomplishments that would impress you, but I think the only one that really matters is that his entire life’s work and love focused on his wife, his 7 children, his 33 grandchildren, and his 12 great-grandchildren.  But for me personally, I will forever be grateful that he always made me feel loved and reminded me of my Grandpa.

And now, there is one last tether to this beloved family.  My Grandpa’s youngest brother, Uncle Wayne.  Like Uncle Lowell, he has a way of making me feel the warmth and love of my Grandpa.  I hope he stays with us for many years to come.

But it must feel so lonely to be the last.

 

 

This beautiful song is one that I have loved for many years.  It also happens to be one of the seven songs Uncle Lowell requested for his funeral.  Very fitting for a farmer and cattle rancher.  It was sung by his lovely granddaughters.  I hope you will enjoy it and be touched by his love for inspiring music.

 

Lyrics:

In the quiet misty morning

When the moon has gone to bed,

When the sparrows stop their singing

And the sky is clear and red,

When the summer’s ceased its gleaming

When the corn is past its prime,

When adventure’s lost its meaning –

I’ll be homeward bound in time

Bind me not to the pasture

Chain me not to the plow

Set me free to find my calling

And I’ll return to you somehow

If you find it’s me you’re missing

If you’re hoping I’ll return,

To your thoughts I’ll soon be listening,

And in the road I’ll stop and turn

Then the wind will set me racing

As my journey nears its end

And the path I’ll be retracing

When I’m homeward bound again

Bind me not to the pasture

Chain me not to the plow

Set me free to find my calling

And I’ll return to you somehow

In the quiet misty morning

When the moon has gone to bed,

When the sparrows stop their singing

I’ll be homeward bound again.

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: The Marriage That Stuck

wedding

I was 8 1/2 years old when my Grandma married my Grandpa.

The funny thing about that is until just now, I thought I was 10 when they were married.  In fact, I have said that very phrase, “I was 10 when my Grandma married my Grandpa”, over and over again.  Except that I wasn’t 10.  I was 8 1/2.

I was there when they got married on the reservation in Wellpinit, Washington.  I have a few memories of that day.  But now, I wonder how accurate those memories are.

I remember something about my Grandma needing to be adopted by a bird-clan mother so she could marry Grandpa on the res.  But is that even a thing?  A bird-clan mother?  I don’t know.

I remember my Mom making a joke that Grandma had just married her brother since they had the same bird-clan mother.  Grandma didn’t find that joke particularly amusing.  But did my Mom really make that joke to her own mother?

I remember the drums, and the jingling of bells on my Grandma’s clothing.  But as I look at the photo I don’t see any of the small metal bells I am picturing when I hear the sound in my memory.  Bells that aren’t shiny at all.  Small, handmade bells that dangle at the end of a strand of beads.  But were there really bells?

I remember playing outside under some very large pine trees.  There were pine needles and cones everywhere.  But there are pine trees everywhere in Spokane.  Did I really play under them on that day on the res?

I remember my Mom making some comment that this marriage might be the one that finally sticks.  I remember my Grandma saying something about how if you get married on the res you can’t ever divorce.  I didn’t understand why that mattered so much to my Mom that day.  I do now.

This wasn’t Grandma’s first or second marriage.  The number was higher.  But it was the first marriage during my lifetime.  It was the first time I had a Grandpa on my Mom’s side of the family.

Of course, my Mom has a father.  A father she shares with all three of her siblings.  A father who is still alive.  A father I met once when I was 16.  A father I have spoken with twice on the phone.  And while you would be accurate if you called him my grandfather, he was never my Grandpa.

But this man, the man my Grandma married on the Reservation when I was 8 1/2, he became my Grandpa.  And that, in the end, is the only memory from that day that really matters.

This was the marriage that stuck.

And I am so very glad.

 

 

ps – This photo is not the one I remember seeing of this day.  The photo my Mom has of this day is not as happy.  It’s more formal and posed.  This photo only exists on the wall of Grandma & Grandpa’s home.  During my final visit to my Grandma in the days before her death, I used the Google photoscan app to preserve a copy of this happy photo for myself.  And once again, I am so very glad.

 

 


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Worldwide Indexing Event – Will You Join Us?

 

This video gets right to the heart of what Indexers do for Researchers.

Indexers help make genealogy better.  They help make genealogy from home possible.

FamilySearch is holding another Worldwide Indexing Event this week!

 

FS indexing

 

Will you join us?

 

I hope so!

Here is my invitation to you:

 

First, if you have never indexed, visit this FamilySearch page, scroll down and click on the blue ‘Try it out!’ button on the ‘Try a Guided Tour’ section.  After you complete the tour, index one batch.

Second, if you are an avid genealogist, I invite you to reflect back on 2017.  How many major new discoveries did you make this year?  How many of those discoveries were aided by an indexed record?  I invite you to index one batch for every major discovery you made this year.  Spread your joy to other researchers by indexing!

Third, will you spread the news about the FamilySearch Worldwide Indexing Event?  You can visit this page, add your email address to be ‘counted in’, and then invite your family and friends on Facebook, Twitter, or by email simply by clicking a few links.

 

Can you imagine what we could accomplish together if we all just indexed one batch this week?

 

What discoveries have you made because of indexers?

 

Here’s one last video.  I promise, indexing is easier than you think!

 

 

Will you join the ranks of Genealogy Superheroes by indexing?

 

gg - indexing superhero - small