thegenealogygirl


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Photograph Showcase: Grandpa at 16

PETERSON, Ronald Skeen, 16 years - smaller for FT

Ronald Skeen Peterson, 16 years old

Wasn’t my Grandpa a handsome young man?  He looks so young and yet I know his face.  I know how it will change and age.  I also see my dad and his brothers in his face.

He was such a good man.  I can see that too, even in his young 16 year old eyes.  What a treasure to find this picture recently.

 


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Learning New Things

ELLIS, Margaret, toddler - smaller for FT

My sweet grandmother, Mary Margaret Ellis.

Last week was filled with learning new things.  On Thursday night I made my favorite discovery of the week while working at my local Family History Center.

This time of year I know that if the weather is nice we usually don’t have patrons come into the center.  Last Thursday was an especially nice day so I took a small stack of photos with me to scan.  The only patrons that came in were either attending a class or they were using one of the scanners and didn’t need assistance.  So, I spent my whole 2 hour shift scanning.

As I worked through the stack I had brought, I found a small bundle of negatives inside of a letter written to my grandmother by her older sister Beth.  I was excited to see what the photos were and held a bunch up to the light.  There were some sweet little gems in there.  As I was checking them out, a fellow consultant walked into the room and said, “You know our scanner can scan negatives don’t you?”

Well blow me down!

 

I DID NOT know that.

I got a quick lesson and proceeded to scan the stack of negatives.  Among them was this very sweet photo of my grandmother that I don’t recall having seen before.  A new treasure that I am delighted to have!

I have so many photo negatives at home.  SO. MANY.

Now that I know I can scan them at the center, I can save a bunch of pennies I was planning to spend having them professionally digitized.

But now I wonder how it would do with more modern photos?  Like the thousands of negatives I have saved from my whole life…

The lesson?

Know what resources are freely available to you.

 

I have been working at my local Family History Center for nearly 5 years.  I use the scanner all of the time and had no idea it could do this!  Such a happy discovery.

Happy Monday, I hope you make a fantastic genealogy discovery today!

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: Adorable Grandmother

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I recently found this beautiful 8×10 photo of my grandmother in pristine condition, in a picture frame, in a stack of picture frames, in the closet of a guest room in my parent’s home.  With my mother’s permission, I rescued the dusty frame from the pile.

This adorable little girl was the only child at the time this photo was taken.  She was 22 months old.  The photo was taken at The Twitter Studio in Great Falls, Montana.  The photo was later hand-painted with oil paints.  Because there is evidence that the photograph was removed and returned to the frame – the paper backing is torn and taped back together with very old cellophane tape with the studio sticker still on the paper backing – I believe that it was hand-painted by my great grandmother Hope Estelle Maffit.

I love her little dress, socks, and shoes.  I also love that her hair isn’t overly styled.  It looks like her mother just worked with her natural curls.  I wonder if the stuffed dog belonged to my grandmother or if it was a toy in the studio used to help children hold still?

I’m so delighted that my mother was willing to let me rescue and scan this photo while it was still in such perfect condition.  A treasure for sure!


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Photograph Showcase: My Darling Grandmother

ELLIS, Margaret, age 10 looking over shoulder - smaller

Mary Margaret Ellis, age 10

I love everything about this sweet photograph.  The details on the dress, the cute pose, my Grandma’s ringlets, her lovely smile, the flowers in her hair, and mostly her eyes.  Those beautiful eyes that I remember so well.

A nice original print of this photo has been prominently displayed in my Uncle’s home for years.  It is housed in a beautiful oval frame and greets you as you walk into the main part of their home.  I have often considered asking to scan it but never did because oval photos are a pain to deal with.  Well, a few weeks ago I discovered this print in the many boxes I received.  It was happily still a rectangle.  I scanned it last week and have been enjoying it ever since.  Happy, happy day!!


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FamilySearch Book Scanning Service

Title Page - FWE Book

Title Page for a Family Record Book kept by my 2nd great grandfather Frederick William Ellis.

Among the many cool things in the boxes that belonged to my grandmother was a Family Record Book that her grandfather had kept.  It has a bunch of information that I already knew but it was handwritten by my 2nd great grandfather.  Such a treasure!  And while I say that it is information that I already knew, I think the important thing here is that he actually knew many of these people personally so his record will contain hidden gems that may help answer questions.

Like most of my genealogy adventures, I try to digitize and share what I find in a way that is useful for my family members.  Only one person can physically possess this book at a time but I certainly don’t want it’s existence to only benefit me.

That’s where FamilySearch comes in to help me out.  They offer a free book scanning service during RootsTech.  So I took my book along to RootsTech and had it scanned for free.  That book is now digitized and available on FamilySearch under the “Search” tab in the “Books” collection.  You can find it here.

If you have a book that is not under copyright, or a book that you own the copyright to, or a book that is under copyright but you get signed permission from the copyright holder, you can take that book to RootsTech and have it scanned.  A very cool service.

Additionally, FamilySearch will accept donations of items like journals, family Bibles, compiled histories and so on.  You can stipulate in your donation that they must scan the item and make it publicly available and they will!  The item will then be stored appropriately and can be viewed in person by family members at the Church Archives building.  This is a great option if you have an old item that is in danger of deterioration or if you have special family items and no one to care for them after you pass.  They have different storage methods including very cold storage that they use to help preserve really old items.  In fact, if your item is stored in one of these cold storage areas you have to make an appointment to view your item well in advance so they can slowly bring it to room temperature for your viewing.

I am so grateful for the many free services FamilySearch offers that help me to make my genealogy work available to my family members in a free and easily searchable way.  This book is a treasure and now it can be treasured in every household that descends from Frederick William Ellis and not just in my home.

Here is one last image from the book.  It’s the family group sheet for Frederick and his wife Susan, written in his own hand.

FWE & SKD family group sheet

 

Happy Wednesday.  I hope you make an amazing genealogy discovery today!

 

Note:  I could only find the information for donating items that are relevant to LDS church history.  I know that FamilySearch accepts donations of other items and stores them properly and digitizes them, I just couldn’t find the appropriate link in the time I have…  I’m off to pick up a preschooler.  If you are interested in this info let me know and I will track it down.


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Understanding Family Tree on FamilySearch – An Introduction

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After my post on Friday about RootsMapper I can see that many of my readers are not completely familiar with Family Tree on FamilySearch.  So here’s the scoop…

FamilySearch.org is a website that includes several parts:

  • Family Tree
  • Memories (which are integrated into Family Tree)
  • Search – this is where you search records
  • Indexing
  • FamilySearch Wiki which includes all sorts of help topics

Why is it important to understand the different parts?

Well, the search feature is sometimes confused with the find feature.

What now?

Yes, it’s confusing.  The search feature allows you to search for records about your family members.  The find feature allows you to search Family Tree to find your family members who exist within the tree.

Does that sound the same?  It’s really not I promise.

This is the point at which it’s important to understand the purpose of Family Tree – which is only ONE part of FamilySearch.org.  Family Tree was created with the intent to be ONE tree representing all of mankind.  The goal is to get us to work together to create the most accurate and complete family tree with every person reflected in that tree only ONE time.  So that means I don’t “have a tree on FamilySearch”, I choose to participate in THE tree on FamilySearch.  That tree is named Family Tree.

It’s at this point that you may be questioning what this experience is like.  Because who wants to constantly collaborate right?  We order loving genealogists like to research something, document our findings, source someone and have it stay just as we left it, right?  Well, if you choose to participate in Family Tree you really need a more community minded perspective.  Successfully participating requires understanding the various types of experiences that occur in the collaboration process so you can preempt some of the problems and it requires patience.

You may be wondering what the benefits are to this type of community effort with the constant changes, mistakes, and disagreements.  Well, let me tell you what I’ve learned.

First, there is a place for everyone in genealogy from beginner to highly specialized expert.  When a beginner jumps in and participates in Family Tree they are bound to make mistakes.  How we approach those beginners can have a huge impact on their future efforts and how we feel about those mistakes.  Everyone brings something to the table and when we have an open mind we can be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

Second, two minds are better than one, and three minds are better than two, and on and on it goes.  When we really collaborate, we can create a much more accurate tree.  Really collaborating doesn’t mean that we are just tolerating other users, it means that we are communicating and working together to gather information, review the data and draw conclusions.  It requires writing good reason statements and leaving detailed notes so that our family members understand our reasoning.  When we take those steps our extended family members are much less likely to change our hard work.

Third, we are related to so many more people than we have met or heard of before.  By participating in Family Tree we can meet new cousins.  These connections are so good.  Guess what?  Physical items like pictures, family bibles, and journals can only be inherited by ONE person.  Connecting on Family Tree can often lead to a happy digital reunion with family heirlooms we didn’t know existed and those heirlooms can lead to more discoveries.  When we put all of our collective pieces together, the story becomes richer and more detailed.

Fourth, learning to have patience with such a massive project and all of the participants leads to personal growth AND cool genealogy discoveries.  Allow me to illustrate with a short version of a cool story.  A while back I got an email from FamilySearch notifying me that a change had been made to someone I was “watching” on Family Tree.  When I looked at it I was completely dismayed to see that “MY” James Young was a total mess.  It took some work to clean everything up and restore order in this part of the tree.  As I worked, I revisited my information about James Young.  He was my current end of line individual.  I hadn’t been able to find his death record.  All of this time cleaning him up led me to finally find that death record and then the death records of his parents.  That beginner making a mess of James Young helped me take my tree back two generations!  A mistake that brought awesome rewards.

If you have ever considered having a tree on FamilySearch I hope you will adjust your thinking and consider PARTICIPATING in Family Tree on FamilySearch.  The more the merrier!  The more experience, the more accurate the tree will be.  Family Tree can use you and your expertise on your family members.  Participating in Family Tree has been a great experience for me.  If you choose to participate I hope it will be a great experience for you too!

 

If you have questions about FamilySearch or Family Tree, please ask.  I am very familiar with utilizing both the tree and the other resources on FamilySearch and I want to share that knowledge.  I would love to use your questions to guide my posts on this topic.

Happy Monday!

 


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Putting Family Stories in Young Hands

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This is my 3 year old jumping for joy the first time he visited the ocean.  January 2016.

I have a lot of little people in my family.  My children, nieces, nephews, and the children of my cousins.  I love these little people.  I also love family history.  Finding ways to put my family history into the hands of the little people in my family is important to me.  But how?

Over the years I have done several different things that have been awesome.  You can find two examples here and here.

Last week Jana Last included my Chatbooks post in her Fab Finds post.  While perusing her list I noticed a post that really spoke to my heart.

Nicole Dyer of Family Locket shared a post entitled “Make Your Family History Book Kid-Friendly“.  It’s a great post with a fabulous idea for making kid-friendly family history books.  I was so excited as I read because it took an idea I have been working on and simplified it.

Now I just have to decide if I want to make individual books about specific ancestors or families OR if I want to do a book that includes whole branches of my tree.  I can’t wait to put this idea to work.  Can you imagine the cool things I could create using her idea and incorporating some of the good stuff from my Grandma’s boxes?

Oh boy, the ideas are just going crazy in my head right now.  I hope Nicole’s fabulous post inspires you too!