thegenealogygirl


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This and That

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My littlest darling battling a yucky stomach flu.

The last week has been rough at our house.  The stomach flu made its way through all of us with the exception of my husband.  Despite spending the majority of my time being a human pillow for my feverish, sleepy little lad, I did have some cool genealogy moments.

But first!

Exactly one year ago today, we said goodbye to our missionary.  One year down, one to go!  🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉  Here is my favorite picture from that day.

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And Second – 

Momma C is a woman in South Carolina who loves Mormon Missionaries.  She adopts them, trains them to say “Yes ma’am”, take out her garbage, and bring in her groceries.  In return she feeds them – a lot, calls their mothers every week, and sends text messages with pictures.  My missionary has been in that area for exactly 8 days.  I’ve gotten 2 phone calls, 17 text messages, and 16 photos from Momma C during those 8 days.  What an awesome service!  What makes it even more remarkable to me is that Momma C is a staunch Baptist, raised by a Baptist Preacher whose best friend happened to be a Mormon Bishop.  What a great reminder she is that we really don’t have to have the same beliefs or viewpoints to just love and serve each other.  And as she said, “We really do believe mostly the same things”.  Bless her, for focusing on our similarities, not our differences.  ❤️

Now for the genealogy.

 

 

On Sunday I was fortunate enough to teach a group of 15 and 16 year olds a little bit about Family History.  I love doing that!

In preparing, I revisited one of my earliest “hunts” – Helen Boles.  Helen is my 3rd great grandaunt.  Learning her story took quite a bit of digging.  I planned to tell her story as part of my class, so I wanted the details to be fresh in my mind.  While reviewing, I also reviewed my Ancestry hints for Helen, her husband John, her children, and grandchildren.  Ancestry had a hint for a FindAGrave entry for Helen’s husband John.

The hint was accurate.  But even better was the fact that someone had uploaded a photo of the headstone!  Helen had paid for a monument and included information about her husband, granddaughter, and great-grandson on the stone.  This act of love just added to my depth of feeling for Helen.

This headstone find sent me on the hunt for other cemeteries in Scotland that might have been added to FindAGrave.  Then I just branched out and found a handful of headstones for my Boles family from Scotland.  Among them:

  • James Thomson Boles (grandson of Helen Boles), wife Mary Ann Storey, and sons James Thomson Boles and John Albert Storey Boles.  Scotland
  • James Boles (nephew of Helen Boles), wife Jessie Ferguson, and daughter Annie McFarlane Boles.  Scotland
  • Barbara Crow Boles (granddaughter of Helen Boles), and husband Robert Smith Yuille.  Scotland
  • Isabella Boles (mystery great granddaughter of Helen Boles), and husband James Moffat Marr.  Scotland
  • Isabella Muir Boles (niece of Helen Boles), and husband Alexander Kirkwood.  Ontario, Canada
  • John McLaren Boles (nephew of Helen Boles), and wife Jean/Jane Penman.  Ontario, Canada

There were a few other Boles entries in these cemeteries, but without the stones for confirmation, they are still hanging out on my “likely” list.

In the past, I haven’t had much luck finding cemeteries or headstones for family members outside of the US.  These new finds were especially exciting.

I am so grateful for the individuals who photographed the headstones and added them to FindAGrave.  This act of service helped me learn more about many of my family members.  But even better than learning more, was the connection I felt when viewing the stones, particularly the one that Helen had made for her husband, granddaughter, and great-grandson.

 

How about you?  Have you found any cemeteries or headstones on FindAGrave outside of the US?

 

Or even better, have you helped to photograph a foreign or obscure cemetery and uploaded the photos to FindAGrave?

 

If so, I commend you for your great service.

 

Happy Thursday!  My kids start school next week – more time for genealogy.  😉

 


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Photograph Showcase: Grandpa Costello & His Guitar, aka Photo Heaven ❤️

COSTELLO, John playing his guitar, November 1960

John Costello, November 1960. Photo courtesy of Barbara Costello.

In May of this year, I shared my joy at finding 7 seconds of video of my great grandfather, John Costello.  In that post I shared that I have exactly 5 photos of my great grandfather.

Guess what?

That is not the case any longer!!

 

{Insert major genealogy happy dancing & celebrating right here.}

 

In July, my sister visited our grandaunt Barbara.  Barbara is the widow of Dan Costello.  Dan is the son of our great grandfather, John Costello.

Aunt Barbara sent my sister home with a lovely chalk drawing created by John’s wife, that I shared last week.  She also sent her home with a small, but very precious, bundle of photographs for me to scan and return.

This photo of Grandpa Costello was among them.  My heart is bursting with joy to see Grandpa Costello in – what I am guessing is his living room? – playing his guitar.  He didn’t like having his picture taken, so each photo is extra special.  Here is, as a 67 year old man, still playing his guitar.  Be still my heart.

❤️

 

Have you been blessed to have photos shared with you, photos you weren’t expecting to ever see?

 

 

ps – Thank you!! for all of the input and advice about my letter collection.  I really appreciate each of your comments, emails, and poll answers.  Between all of you and some conversations with family, I think I have made a tentative plan.  I think.  The part I know for sure is that I will not be sharing the letters here.  My goal is to be ready to begin sharing them with family in January.

As a side note, my sister talked me through every possible way of sharing, all of the issues to consider – both for those who are deceased and those who are living, plus the time required for each avenue.  In all of that discussing, she helped me have an interesting and very valuable a-ha moment.  There are letters missing.  I know this for sure.  There are also letters that have been edited by scissors or permanent marker – by Grandma.  That leads us to believe that she definitely destroyed many letters, leaving no trace, and that the ones that remain that were marked “destroy”, were either too special to her to destroy or she changed her mind about their fate.  We can’t know for certain, but it has impacted our position on how to handle those letters.  One thing all of this has caused me to reflect upon, is what my own wishes are for my personal items like journals and letters.  Hopefully I can make my wishes clear so one day my granddaughter will know exactly what I would have wanted her to do.

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: Ferris Whitesides Sketch & The Google PhotoScan App

WHITESIDES, Ferris, sketch

This cool sketch is of my husband’s great grandfather, Ferris Whitesides.  He happens to be my husband’s namesake.  On Sunday we visited his daughter, my husband’s grandmother.

This sketch hangs in her basement.  It is large and framed, with glass.  The sketch has hung in the basement for as long as I’ve known Grandma, more than 20 years.  It’s the kind of item that is difficult to scan and even more difficult to “borrow” to scan.

I decided to try out the new Google PhotoScan app to capture a scan of this precious family treasure.  I was surprised by how easy it was to use and how well it did in poor conditions.  The lighting in the basement is not good and the glare on the glass is very noticeable.  The app took care of most of that.  You can see a lighter spot on the right side of the image.  This is where the majority of the glare was.  But overall, not bad at all.

I think I am going to play with the app some more and see how it compares to a variety of other scanning and photo taking options.  The real test will come with printing the different images.  We’ll see what the quality differences are.

 

Have you tried the new Google PhotoScan app?

 

 

ps – I feel like I have a genealogy sports injury.  I found out I have a cataract in my right eye.  What on earth?!  I’m 40.  Four-oh.  The worst part is when they fix it, I’ll have to sit on the bench for a bit.  Sigh.  But the bright side is when they remove the lens, they will put in one that is my prescription.  I will get to ditch my glasses and contacts.  Hooray!  Now, here’s hoping they get bad enough to fix this year since I’ve met my deductible already…

 


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Photograph Showcase: Grandma and Her Fancy Dress

ELLIS, Mary Margaret, wearing black sequined dress in snow - smaller

This photo of my Grandma, Mary Margaret Ellis, comes from a bundle of negatives found in her collection.   She has an engagement ring on, so I am guessing this was taken sometime while my Grandpa was on his LDS mission in New Zealand.  I need to do a little digging to nail down those dates.

I love the details of her dress.  She made most of her own dresses.  I wonder if she made this one too?  It’s a little bit fancy, I wonder what it was for?  They got married in June so I don’t think it was for any wedding festivities.

 


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Photograph Showcase: Ronald Peterson, age 31

PETERSON, Ronald, 31 years old portrait

This is my Grandpa, Ronald Skeen Peterson, in 1957 at the age of 31.

Two years later he was hired by Utah State University as a counselor.  He would very shortly be made head of the department.  He taught abnormal psychology while running the counseling and testing department for the remainder of his years at USU.

Prior to his hire by USU, he worked as a counselor at the University of Oregon where he completed his PhD work in psychology.

I wonder if this lovely portrait was taken for the University of Oregon or on the occasion of his graduation?  I need to nail down the dates of a few things and I might be able to make a more accurate guess.

Either way – it’s a beautiful photo.  It has a rather large orangish-brown stain across his forehead and off to the side.  It cleaned up nicely in photoshop.  Ahhhhh photoshop, a photo preservers best friend.  😉

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: Finding the Original of a Favorite Photo

PETERSON, Ronald as young boy in front of house - smaller

I LOVE this darling little photo of my Grandpa from 1931.  I love his happy smile, that jaunty tie, and the cute little tip of his ankle.  I’ve seen this photo in several places – my dad’s Book of Remembrance created by his mother, my Grandma’s Book of Remembrance, and in bundles of favorite photos that my Grandma made copies of for loved ones.  This is a well known photo for me.

I was sooooo delighted to find the original of this precious photo.  The color difference was a bit hard for me to adjust to.  So I played with a few filters in Photoshop.  Which do you like best?

PETERSON, Ronald 1931

The original – there is some discoloration seen throughout the photo.

PETERSON, Ronald 1931 - b&w

This filter is called “Black and White Beauty”.

PETERSON, Ronald 1931, pw b&w

This filter is called “Pioneer Woman Black & White”.

PETERSON, Ronald 1931 - l&e

This filter is called “Lovely and Ethereal”.

I don’t normally use photo filters on old family photos.  But something about the state of this photo seemed to call for a little editing.  Which do you like best?  How do you feel about filters and old family photos?  Are you a photo purist?  I like to edit out scratches, tears, dust, and other damage, but I usually leave the color alone, unless it is orange from an old magnetic album.  The orange is too much for me to leave alone.

 

Happy Thursday, I hope you make a delightful photo discovery today!

 

All filters are courtesy of the Pioneer Woman and can be found here.

 

 

ps – You may have noticed my absence in reading, commenting, and responding these last few weeks.  I have been on a WILD and rewarding DNA ride that I hope to be able to tell you all about one day.  Let’s just say, when they warn you that when you DNA test you might find a family secret – well, I can now attest to that being completely true.

 


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Photograph Showcase: Grandma Margaret and her Violin

ELLIS, Margaret playing her violin - smaller

This beautiful photo of my Grandma was found amongst a bundle of negatives from her collection.  Because it was a negative, there is no information about the photograph.  I know that it is my Grandmother, Mary Margaret Ellis.  She played the violin and the piano.  She also had a beautiful singing voice.  I love seeing her here as a young, and clearly dedicated, musician.  Isn’t she darling?

What a treasure!

 

ps – I will be in letter sorting heaven for the next few days while most of my family is on a boys only adventure.  Would it be rude to put a Do Not Disturb sign on my front door?  😉

 

*Post updated with photo turned to the correct direction.  Grandma was right handed and her sister noticed that the original posting had the photo backwards.