thegenealogygirl


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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: Christmas 1952

 

COSTELLO Christmas, 25 December 1952

25 December 1952, from l-r:  Uncle Frank (barely peeking out), Auntie V, Grandma Deane holding Uncle C.

I love this adorable Christmas photo!

 

There is just so much to love about it.  The little Charlie Brown Christmas tree in the center of the room may be my favorite part.  It’s so perfect for my sweet little Auntie V to help decorate and enjoy.  But then there is my Grandma, squatting down, wearing peep-toe heels, holding a baby and somehow keeping her balance.  And what about that strand of pearls?  This may be the only time I’ve ever seen her wearing a strand of pearls.  My Grandma was more the hunting and fishing type.  I also love the ball toy.  My own children had two different updated versions of this same toy.  And of course, that hobby horse is fantastic!  One last little gem to point out is Grandma’s only sibling peeking in just a tiny bit from the left.

Do you have any favorite family Christmas photos?

 

 

And just for fun – here is the original scan before I worked a little PhotoShop magic:

img258

I straightened, cropped, edited out dust and adhesive residue, and repaired the portions that were torn away by tape.  I prefer to remove distractions from old photos.  How do you feel about editing old photos?

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: Christmas is Definitely Cuter with Children and Kittens

costello3 edited

I love this photo of my uncle!  This is another portrait taken by his grandmother, my great-grandmother, Hope Estelle Maffit.  I also display this photo during December.  The original was cut into this strange shape before it came to me.  It has a piece of cardboard attached at the back to serve as a stand.  You can see a bit of it peeking out from behind.  I spent a little time editing to make it appear as a full image once again.

Here is the original scan:

costello3, unedited

Do you have any photos that could use a little editing love?  What programs have you tried?  I’m a PhotoShop purist.

 

Happy Thursday, I hope you are enjoying the December festivities!

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: Christmas Cuties

costello2 - smaller

Aren’t my aunt and uncle adorable?!

This is another 11×17″ portrait that I recently scanned.  It was taken in 1954 by my great-grandmother, Hope Estelle Maffit Duval.  I’ve been wondering if the star was crafted out of tin foil.  What do you think?

The last several Decembers this photo has been on display in my piano room.  Do you like to use vintage family photos as holiday decorations?

 

Happy Thursday, I hope you find a precious family photo to preserve and share today!

 

 


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A Little Preservation on the Fly

 

IMG_9075

Grandpa, my Hubby, and my two younger fellas.

 

When my husband was born he had 12 living grandparents.

TWELVE!

Twelve actual direct-line grandparents of varying degrees.  Two of those 12 were 2nd great-grandparents.  One born in 1887 and the other born in 1882.  If we want to count 2nd spouses after a grandparent being widowed, the number is even higher.

Well, now he is down to two.  Two grandparents.  One grandfather and one grandmother on different sides of his tree.

Over Thanksgiving, we were able to spend some time with that grandfather.  The morning we left, we stopped in to say goodbye to Grandpa.  There are several lovely photos on display in his home.  Photos that I’ve never seen anywhere else.

So, I followed my own advice.  I pulled out my phone, snapped some photos using the Google PhotoScan app and then sat down with Grandpa and labeled the photos right in the FamilySearch Memories app.  This photo could use a few touch-ups in Photoshop, but I got the details I need in a safe place that was fast and easy to use.  On the left, my scan, on the right, the tagged photo in the FS Memories app.

I captured seven photos and got some of the details behind those photos.  It only took about ten minutes.  A very well spent ten minutes.

But even better than getting a little preservation work done for my husband and children was the interest it sparked in my husband last night when I spent some time editing one of the photos.

The original looked liked this:

533325517.760264

It was a particularly difficult photo to scan because the glass on the frame is domed.  It’s a 5-generation photo with the baby being my mother-in-law.  It’s old and has been in that frame for a long time.  Not the kind of item I want to take out of the frame to scan with an app.  Too much risk of damage.  The only way to get a good scan was to have my husband hold the frame.  The fourth scan finally turned out fairly well.  But you will notice there is an area on the right at about shoulder height to grandpa that you can see the reflection of the dining room light fixture.  A little editing in photoshop cleaned that right up:

STEED, 5 generation photo

I also removed the distracting elements, also known as my hubby’s hands.  😉

Well, after editing, I uploaded the photo to FamilySearch and was tagging everyone.  My husband walked by, noticed what I was doing, and then suddenly – there he was, sitting on the couch next to me learning about his family.

Those ten minutes of preservation at Grandpa’s house turned into so much more than just snapping a few photos.  My husband has actual questions about some of his ancestors.  Questions he wants answers to.

I’ll tell you what – that is a first around here!

 

 

Have you tried the Google PhotoScan app?  What about the FamilySearch Memories app?

 

Happy Tuesday, I hope you preserve a special memory today!

 

 


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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.

IMG_9003

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:

costello08 - cropped - smaller

And here it is lightened up a bit:

costello08 - cropped, lightened - smaller

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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Photograph Showcase: A Sneaky Photo for a son in the Army

 

COTELLO, John, 1940s, sent to Dan in the Army

John Costello, 1940s, photo sent to son Dan who was serving in the Army.

 

This photo of my great grandfather, John Costello, was sent to his son Dan while Dan was serving in the Army during WWII.  John didn’t like to have his photo taken.  Apparently, he also didn’t like his photo shared.

There are two notes on the back of this photo written by two different women at two different times.

COTELLO, John, 1940s, sent to Dan in the Army - photo back

The first note was written by John’s wife, Mary Brown Young, and reads:

“Dad would Have a fit if he knew I was sending you this picture.  But it was the best of Him.  see your Garage?”

The second note was written later by Dan’s wife, my Grand Aunt Barbara, and reads:

“194+

Dan asked for pictures of his Mom & Dad, when he was in the army”

 

I so am glad that Uncle Dan asked for photos!  That request meant that this photo stayed with Dan & Barbara and made its way to me.  It is one of so very few photos of John Costello.  I treasure each one.

 

ps – I love the hat!  How about you?