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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Thursday
    Aug122010

    Whether To Scan or Photograph Old Documents

    Sometimes family historians have little choice when copying documents or photographs. Whether visiting relatives to share photographs or courthouses to research deeds, we are more likely to carry a digital camera than a scanner.

    In this week’s eNews from the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Michael Leclerc discusses the relative merits of both scanning and photocopying as a means for duplicating original photos and documents.  He particularly cautions against using a scanner, with its bright light, for fragile originals,

    Documents that are in fragile condition, with faded writing, should not be scanned. The bright light can cause even more fading. If they must be scanned, you must be certain to scan them as few times as possible. Every time the image is exposed to the bright light, you are causing damage. Sometimes the damage is not visible to the naked eye, but it will eventually show up in the document.

    Michael goes on to describe a safer practice by using a tripod-mounted camera to photograph documents and images, and notes, “Scanners and cameras take the same types of digital images (TIFFs, JPEGs, etc.). A scanner is, in reality, just a fancy camera.”

    After seeing Ancestry.com’s scanning setup for conferences, I can see where each method has its merits. Scanning can be automated with a sheet-feeding machine, or set up to perform photo-corrections during the scanning. This saves considerable time on the processing and editing end, making a scanner a good choice for newer, less-fragile objects.

    A photo copy stand, however, like the one used to copy my old newspapers and described in an earlier post, was even quicker in copying than a scanner. The real delay was in moving and setting up each shot.

    I primarily scan old photos and documents to create archive TIFF copies. This format is unsupported by my digital camera, but better for archiving than JPG. An alternative would be to shoot photos in JPG and convert to TIFF for archiving.

    Michael makes an excellent case for using a camera to copy fragile or old photos and documents and reinforces the usability of a digital camera.  

    Further Reading:

    Research Recommendations: Scanning vs. Photographing
    by Michael J. Leclerc  (NEHGS eNews August 11, 2010)

    Ancestry.com Scans Old Newspapers, Freedom from the Flatbed

    

    Wednesday
    Aug112010

    Not So Wordless Wednesday: A Birthday Story, One Year Ago Today

    . . . I woke to a unique birthday surprise. My mother, Suzanne Freeman, had written a guest post for Shades of the Departed, kindly published by our friend footnoteMaven.

     

    Twice Told Tuesday: A Birthday Story

     

    Mom was so excited to attend the SCGS Jamboree in 2009 and meet the many bloggers and genealogists she followed. I am not sure where she got the idea for the article, and how she concocted the scheme to post it on Shades, but she was delighted with her own cleverness.

    I tried to persuade her to write her own blog, even setting up a sample page for her, "Mercy Me!" and printing the name on her contact cards, but she liked being a guest author best. This June, she enjoyed seeing her blogger friends, especially footnoteMaven and Thomas MacEntee, again in Burbank.

    Mom has never been one to let a birthday slip by. Our childhood celebrations were extravaganas of creative energy. Each party was fully themed: balloons, Flower Power (must have been the 60's; I really remember that one), a teenage candlelight dinner in the dining room for the birthday girl and friends.

    Mother and daughter, August 11, 1955

    Sadly, Mom has been ill this summer, and isn't up to her usual birthday hijinks but I know she is dreaming up more surprises than ever! Her own birthday isn't until January, so I have some time to plan something exceptional for her!

    Tuesday
    Aug102010

    Tombstone Tuesday: James and Mercy Winsor Eternally Entwined

    James Winsor and Mercy Mathewson Winsor

    East Clarendon Cemetery, Rutland, Vermont

    A Lilac Grows Between their Graves, Eternally Entwined

    Thursday
    Aug052010

    Help Solve the Mystery with our Family Home Tour Photos!

    Last week I posted an article and birthday party photo of my mom and aunt with Mom's school friend Princess Usha, Dating a Photo of Princess Usha at the Brown Girls' Party. Notes on the back of the photo identified one location for the photo, but Mom remembered living at a different address when she was friends with the Princess. Could we determine the correct house from the photograph?

    Letters addressed to family members should have helped narrow the field, but instead they expanded the the possibilities to four houses -- (address and dates of letters)

    • 512 E. 20th Street, Santa Ana (7 Oct 1938 - 6 Jun 1939)
    • 901 W. 3rd Street, Santa Ana (12 Dec 1939 - 16 Feb 1940)
    • 1912 Spurgeon, Santa Ana (6 Dec 1940 - 19 Dec 1940)
    • 1315 N. Broadway, Santa Ana (3 Jan 1941 - 17 Jun 1944)

     

    512 E. 20th Street

    The houses on 3rd Street and on Spurgeon were no longer standing when we looked for them on our Family Home Tour in June 2010; however we were able to photograph a house of a style similar to the Spurgeon house located across the street from the original address.

     

    1912 North Spurgeon is now an apartment building. This house located across the street looked much the same as their old home, according to Suzanne and Frances.

     

    1315 N. Broadway, big Victorian

    After posting the original party photograph I looked through Mom’s photos again and found another picture that had been mounted in her album. This snapshot shows more of the house, including a pillared porch. Details from both photos indicate

    • narrow wood siding with waist-high trim board
    • a good-sized covered porch supported by Classical columns located on the corner of the house
    • steps to the porch from a concrete walkway
    • simple wood-framed windows and doors
    • a hint of rafter in the upper right-hand corner of the picture indicates a roof gable over the porch or a wrap-around eave from a hip roof
    • house situated on a corner lot

    Birthday Party for Susie or Frances Brown, ca 1940.

    Looking at the photos once more, it seems that

    • The style is not Victorian, eliminating the house at 1315 North Broadway.
    • The eaves and lot situation of the house at 512 E. 20th conflict with the party photo house.
    • Therefore the house pictured must be either Spurgeon or the missing 3rd Street house.

    Mr. Curator moonlights as a General Contractor and thinks that houses opposite each other on Spurgeon Street could have been mirror opposites. If so, this house would be very similar to the one shown in the party photograph. The 2010 home has obviously been extensively remodeled; it may have had an original wood front porch with columns. The stone siding added to the lower portion may have originally been wood with a trim board. The house also shows a wrap-around eave suggested in the original party photo.

    What do you think? Is this the right house, or should we keep looking?

    Tuesday
    Aug032010

    DO Try This With Your Photos At Home

    I like seeing the past and present merge by using layers of both historic and present day maps on Google Earth, but morphing photographs is even better.

    The Ghosts of World War II's Past on My Modern Met showcases scenes from World War Two merged with the same location today. Buildings scarred and cratered from bombings are seen as pale foundations for new construction; pitted roads and armed blockades appear in contrast to a calm country village landscape.

    This kind of photo blending has also led to the Looking Into the Past flickr group. Some images show an enlarged photo held up for a present-day photograph; others are obvious photo editing projects. Several include tips and ideas for making your own morphed photos.

    There's even a new iPhone app from the Museum of London called Streetmuseum that makes historic art and photo images available to users. Find an image on your iPhone, hold up the phone and snap a present-day photo for a "window through time." A few years ago we toured London and tried to imagine past events and places; it would have been so much better with on-site acess to historic images. I hope more cities add this kind of interactive tourist guide.

    For now, I would like to take some of our old house photos and create a similar image; imagine the "new" creations, and even "revised" history we could write!

    Wednesday
    Jul212010

    Wordless Wednesday: Dating a Photo of Princess Usha at the Brown Girls' Party

    Mom remembers this special birthday party attended by her school friend, Princess Usha Holkar. A note on the back also identifies other friends Patty and Betty Bright, and Mom's sister, Fran, in the back row sticking out her tongue at the camera. The young woman next to Fran may have been Usha's governess.

     

    "Party Picture, 1912 N. Spurgeon, Santa Ana, Ca, Front Row L-R Patty Bright,
    Kathy Bright, Susie [Brown], Usha, Fran in back sticking out tongue"

    "Party Picture" photograph, in Susie (Brown) Freeman Photo Album, ca. 1942, unpaginated;
    privately held by Denise Levenick, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Pasadena, Caliifornia, 2010.

    Mom loves removing photos from albums, a trait she shares with her own mother, Arline. I think she hopes to find a hidden caption, and if not, she sometimes she adds her own at this later date. All the bits of information help, even if the notes were written at another time, and we are fortunate to several clues to work with. According to the album index sheet, this was "Frances Party," although Mom remembers it as "her" birthday.

    I thought I might be able to use the list of addresses from our Family Home Tour to help date the  photograph, however Mom's and Auntie's recollections conflict with the address on the back of the photo. Mom remembers playing with Usha when they lived on 20th Street; Frances remembers being in the second grade when the family lived at 1912 North Spurgeon. Fran and Susie both celebrate their birthday in January, but January of which year?

    Was it  January of 1939 (Fran 8, Susie 6), or January 1940 (Fran 9, Susie 7), or January 1941 (Fran 10, Susie 8). I am not sure of Fran's age in second grade. Maybe she can answer that question. She was a smart little girl and may have been young for her grade.

    I also looked at postmarked letters from these years and found three letters addressed to family members at Spurgeon in December of 1940, six letters addressed to the family at 3rd Street from Sept 1939 through Feb 1940; and 10 letters addressed to 20th Street from October 1938 through June 1939; and 44 letters addressed to No. Broadway from 3 Jan 1941 through June 1944. It may be that a closer at the individual letters will show where the family was receiving mail in January of each year, and help  solve this little puzzle.

    From Mom's "Princess Diaries"

    Happy Birthday Princess Usha from your friend Susie Brown

    It's the Holiday Season at Princess Usha's Orange County House

     

    Sunday
    Jul182010

    A Different Family Road Trip

     

    Dear Readers of The Family Curator,

    Only a few weeks ago, the Winsor Women were touring Orange County on a family road trip visiting homes and haunts of my mom's early years in California. This past week, however, my sister and I have been on a different kind of road trip -- to be with Mom in a Tucson hospital following the kind of early morning phone  call that rarely brings good news.

    Everything here is a witness to Mom's dry sense of humor, strong spiritual faith, and love of family and friends. Early in the week, Mom saw the darkening sky through her hospital window and warned us to pull off the road if a monsoon hit while we were driving. Yes, Mom. Late one day, she saw the same sky turn rosy and smiled with the retiree's refrain, "The sky's turning pink... " Yes, Mom. Yesterday, following surgery she whispered, "It's a happy, crappy day." Oh, yes Mom.

    We are warmed by the good wishes from her church, family, friends, and extended community -- including those bloggers and genealogists who met us at Jamboree and through The Family Curator. She loves her "fans" and the comments we have received on articles about her family and experiences. Lately she has been working on a list of "famous people I have met and had my picture taken with." Of course, Princess Usha of Holkar tops the list.

    While Mom rests, I am pulling together notes and stories for the family history she so earnestly wants to know and praying that she will soon be adding to the stories herself.  A few days before she became ill, we discovered the Chamblin-Schiffbauer connection (yes, there was a marriage) and we now have a new family with several male names to research. Maybe we can solve a few more puzzles to share with Mom very very soon.

    Thank you for your good wishes and prayers,

    Denise, The Family Curator

     

    Sunday
    Jul182010

    Four Tried and True Systems for Organizing Genealogy Research

    This article was written for my local genealogy society newsletter. You are welcome to use it in your own society online or print publication; please credit www.TheFamilyCurator.com.

    Genealogists may not see eye to eye on the Perfect Organizational System for data and sources, but they will certainly agree that they would rather spend time finding ancestors than filing papers. The challenge is to create a system that suits the personality and habits of the user and is easy to create and maintain.

    Here are four systems worth investigating –

    Organize Your Paper Files http://www.fileyourpapers.com/

    Genealogical Research Associates recommends using a straightforward numerical system based on Marriage Record Numbers in conjunction with your genealogy database software program. An illustrated tutorial provides step-by-step instructions for setting up and filing papers.

    Finally, Get Organized  http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/2009/01/finally-get-organized-jan-2009.html

    Dear Myrtle (speaker and podcaster Pat Richley) describes her system of 3-ring notebooks in the first monthly installment of the series “Finally, Get Organized: January 2009 Checklist.” The monthly PDF checklists highlight different aspects of genealogy work, from organizing files to time management. Find the organizing blog posts by typing “checklist” in the “Search This Blog” search box.

    Organizing Your Files https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Organizing_Your_Files

    Folders, binders, and overall concepts are all discussed in a comprehensive article on the FamilySearch Wiki. Beginning with a discussion of the value of organizing your files, through organizing principles, setting up a system, maintaining your files, and using document numbers for filing, this article lays a good foundation for any genealogy filing system.

    How I Organize My Genealogy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrWf6VmKVCs&feature=related

    Elyse Doerflinger is a college student and experienced genealogy blogger and speaker. She has recorded a series of YouTube videos featuring step-by-step instructions for setting up a genealogy filing system and staying on top of the paper piles. Browse videos by Elyse90505 for more simple, effective filing tips.

    If you haven’t found The Perfect System yet, don’t despair; keep looking and asking questions. And, as you investigate all the many possibilities, use a simple system that helps you stay in control of your research so you can spend your time finding – instead of filing – your ancestors.

    Ten Tips for Organizing Genealogy Research

    1. Sheet Control – Use standard 8 ½ x 11-inch paper for all notes and printouts.
    2. Stay Single – One surname, one locality per sheet for easy filing.
    3. No Repeats – Avoid errors; write legibly the first time.
    4. Dating Yourself – Always write the current date on your research notes.
    5. Be Color Clever – Distinguish family lines with different colored folders, binders, tabs.
    6. File First – File one research trip or effort before starting the next one.
    7. Ask Directions – Write your own filing instructions; a big help when you take a long break.
    8. Supply Closet – Keep a stash of folders, plastic sleeves, tabs, printer ink.
    9. One File at a Time – Work through paper piles steadily; the mess didn’t happen in one day.
    10. KISS – Keep It Simple, Silly! Use an easy to set up, easy to maintain system.

    

    Friday
    Jul092010

    Four Tried and True Systems for Organizing Genealogy Research

    This article was written for my local genealogy society newsletter. You are welcome to use it in your own society online or print publication; please credit www.TheFamilyCurator.com.

    Genealogists may not see eye to eye on the Perfect Organizational System for data and sources, but they will certainly agree that they would rather spend time finding ancestors than filing papers. The challenge is to create a system that suits the personality and habits of the user and is easy to create and maintain.

    Here are four systems worth investigating –

    Organize Your Paper Files http://www.fileyourpapers.com/

    Genealogical Research Associates recommends using a straightforward numerical system based on Marriage Record Numbers in conjunction with your genealogy database software program. An illustrated tutorial provides step-by-step instructions for setting up and filing papers.

    Finally, Get Organized  http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/2009/01/finally-get-organized-jan-2009.html

    Dear Myrtle (speaker and podcaster Pat Richley) describes her system of 3-ring notebooks in the first monthly installment of the series “Finally, Get Organized: January 2009 Checklist.” The monthly PDF checklists highlight different aspects of genealogy work, from organizing files to time management. Find the organizing blog posts by typing “checklist” in the “Search This Blog” search box.

    Organizing Your Files https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Organizing_Your_Files

    Folders, binders, and overall concepts are all discussed in a comprehensive article on the FamilySearch Wiki. Beginning with a discussion of the value of organizing your files, through organizing principles, setting up a system, maintaining your files, and using document numbers for filing, this article lays a good foundation for any genealogy filing system.

    How I Organize My Genealogy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrWf6VmKVCs&feature=related

    Elyse Doerflinger is a college student and experienced genealogy blogger and speaker. She has recorded a series of YouTube videos featuring step-by-step instructions for setting up a genealogy filing system and staying on top of the paper piles. Browse videos by Elyse90505 for more simple, effective filing tips.

    If you haven’t found The Perfect System yet, don’t despair; keep looking and asking questions. And, as you investigate all the many possibilities, use a simple system that helps you stay in control of your research so you can spend your time finding – instead of filing – your ancestors.

    Ten Tips for Organizing Genealogy Research

    1. Sheet Control – Use standard 8 ½ x 11-inch paper for all notes and printouts.
    2. Stay Single – One surname, one locality per sheet for easy filing.
    3. No Repeats – Avoid errors; write legibly the first time.
    4. Dating Yourself – Always write the current date on your research notes.
    5. Be Color Clever – Distinguish family lines with different colored folders, binders, tabs.
    6. File First – File one research trip or effort before starting the next one.
    7. Ask Directions – Write your own filing instructions; a big help when you take a long break.
    8. Supply Closet – Keep a stash of folders, plastic sleeves, tabs, printer ink.
    9. One File at a Time – Work through paper piles steadily; the mess didn’t happen in one day.
    10. KISS – Keep It Simple, Silly! Use an easy to set up, easy to maintain system.
    Thursday
    Jul082010

    What I Use for What I Do

    GeneaBloggers has issued a “call to share” genealogy tech tools via a “What I Do” meme. I like Thomas MacEntee’s post today at Destination Austin Family because it addresses my nosier nature and answers that burning question, “Hey, what do you use to . .  ?.”

    More importantly, as Thomas notes, “this meme is important to the genealogy blogging community because it gives others an idea of how we achieve the genealogy "voodoo" that we do do so well.”

    I hope other genealogy bloggers will pick up the theme and share their tools as well, and remember to add a little biographical note to give context to the list.

    CV – Although I have used Apple Macs in the past, I now use PCs only, and rely on several PC-only software programs for some of my most essential tasks. I’ve added my specific favorites to the list in the Genealogy tool section.

    • Genealogy database: Legacy FamilyTree 7.4, RootsMagic 4
    • Genealogy tools:  Transcript, CensusTracker (couldn’t do without it)
    • Writing and Research Tools: Evernote for Desktop, Online, Blackberry, iPod Touch
    • Archive and Research Database: AskSam (full-text searchable for transcribed letters and documents from my family archive)
    • Photo Organization, Meta Tagging, and File Conversion: Adobe PhotoShop Elements 7.0 (for personal and family photos); Adobe Lightroom 2 (for genealogy photos, scanned images); XnView (free version, for quick review, splitting multi-page TIFF images into individual JPGs, other tasks)
    • PDF generator: PDF Creator (easy and free)
    • Blog: SquareSpace (not free, but loaded with features and great spam filters)
    • Car audio: whatever’s in my car!
    • Other tech stuff: audiobooks from Audible.com and my local public library

    Thanks for the great topic, Thomas.

    

    Wednesday
    Jul072010

    Wordless Wednesday: Family Home Tour Edition, 2

     

    Arline Kinsel Brown in front of the American Legion Hall
    Orange, California, ca. 1946

    Suzanne Freeman in front of the American Legion Building
    Orange, California, 2010

    Sunday
    Jul042010

    Put Another Candle on the Blog Birthday Cake

    Has it been three years already? I was blogging on various subjects when The Family Curator was launched July 4, 2007, but I never imagined that my student family history project would start a long-term affair with genealogy blogging.

    Anniversaries are a good time to reflect on highlights of the year past, and this year I want to thank some of the special bloggers I have been honored to meet in Real Life after a first acquaintance began online.

    On The Family Curator’s First Blogiversary in 2008, I was excited to announce the publication of my guest column, “Reading Women’s Lives,” for footnoteMaven’s Shades of the Departed. This was be the beginning of a wonderful new friendship with the Belle of the Blogs. footnoteMaven has been a model of professionalism, generosity, courtesy, and kindness. Truly, she is a lovely light in the genealogy blogosphere.

    By my Second Blogiversary in 2009, I had met several bloggers in Real Time, and counted myself fortunate indeed to be the beneficiary of their experience and advice. At first, I was surprised to find that Randy Seaver was a living, breathing person; his ability to write well, research thoroughly, enjoy his grandchildren, and dote on his lovely wife seemed like more than any one person could accomplish. Randy defies all limits, however. He really is a Genealogy Blogger Extraordinaire.

    I also met Thomas MacEntee, a GeneaBlogger genius ready to lend a helping hand with my tech questions and blogging conundrums. What fun to discover that we both shared a love of the New York countryside, and even more fun to work together on the blogger welcome bags for Jamboree.

    Then, there was Amy Coffin of WeTree and Craig Manson of Geneablogie whose passion and persistence motivated me to keep digging when I was ready to throw in the towel. Kathryn Doyle and Elizabeth O’Neal who opened my eyes to Twitter and Facebook; they made it look sooooo easy. Sheri Fenley, Cheryl Palmer, and Susan Kitchens who made it all sooooo fun.  And so many more bloggers…  

    Each person I met online long before we met face-to-face, and those meetings did not disappoint.

    In 2010, I have been able to shake hands, share a meal, and swap tales with even more genealogy bloggers and readers. I loved getting to know Miriam Midkiff, the brains behind the monthly Scanfest, as well as organized pros like Steve Danko, Canadian blogger and fellow-welcome-bagger Joan Miller, travelling blogger Becky Wiseman, enthusiastic young bloggers A.C. Ivory and Elyse Doerflinger, and many more...  These are only some of the wonderful genealogy bloggers I have been able to meet in person.

    It’s a fine journey, and the best part is that there is still so much more to come. Thank you, friends, for three great years. Happy Blogiversary !

    Wednesday
    Jun302010

    Wordless Wednesday: Family Home Tour Edition ca. 1946, 2010

    Lemon Street Court Apartments, Orange, California
    Suzanne Brown, ca. 1946

    Lemon Street Court Apartments, Orange, California
    Suzanne Brown, 2010

    Monday
    Jun282010

    Family Home Tour Update, in Which Together We Enjoy a “Happy Crappy Day”

    Memory is a strange thing. Recently, my sister and I joined my mother and her sister on a “Family Home Tour” of their old homes in Orange County. For many families, this would involve two or three stops for photos and then adjournment for lunch. Our day was quite different.

    Grandfather Brown was a house painter and wallpaper hanger by trade, and found a steady market in exchanging work for housing. For the family of four, this meant frequent moves to a new home, sometimes around the corner or down the block, at other times a bit further away.

    Mom made a list of the homes she remembered, numbering them in order from their early years in California until the house that she “was married from.” She was able to name 13 houses.

    Her sister, two years older, made a similar list. Auntie named 15 houses.

    We knew it would be an interesting day when we started off. It was typical Los Angeles June Gloom, cloudy in the morning with a promise for afternoon sunny skies. As we navigated the freeways from Pasadena to Orange County, Mom casually remarked,

    “Well, it sure is a ‘Happy Crappy Day.’ That’s what your Aunt Lucy used to call a day like this, ‘A Happy Crappy Day’ not good for anything except playing cards and drinking.”

    I nearly crashed the car. Oh, this was going to be a very interesting day.

    The Aunt we would be meeting was the third-grade school teacher Aunt, not to be confused with Aunt Lucy of the “Happy Crappy Day.” Auntie would never be caught playing cards and drinking in the middle of the day; in fact, she might play cards, but iced tea is her drink of choice. She never forgets a birthday or special occasion and she makes me want to be a better Aunt to my nieces and nephews. She is, in one word, “Wonderful.”

    We met Auntie and my sister in Santa Ana and spent some minutes working out our route. After determining that we would not be going to their earliest homes in Anaheim, it seemed prudent just to get in the car and hope someone could navigate us to the first address.

    After a few rough starts involving wrong turns and misremembered landmarks, my sister quietly deployed her iPhone GPS. The site of the first house is now an apartment building, although modest houses across the street are witness to an earlier neighborhood character.

    The fun really started on North Broadway, now a busy commercial avenue. Both Mom and Auntie remembered the house numbers where they lived, and we even had a photograph of one place with the address written in pencil on the back. The problem was that the photo just didn’t look much like the present day structure. We couldn’t figure out how the porch was remodeled to look like it does today.

     

    1424 North Broadway, Santa Ana, CA, ca 1941

    1424 North Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 2010

    Across the street, however, between the motion of buses and cars we caught a glimpse of the house both sisters remembered fondly. I would remember it too! The grand Victorian is a bit tired, but still the best looking old building on the block.

     

    1315 North Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 2010

    From Broadway, we proceeded to Ross, Halesworth, Willard Junior High (now a modern bunker-style school), Santa Ana Bible Church, 17th Street, and then on to the City of Orange where they lived for nearly six years.

    As we attempted to pinpoint each address, it became clear that memory is a very funny thing. Mom remembered the houses by events and people – the Anaheim flood, a visit from step-sister Lucy, boys picking her up for a date.

    Auntie, on the other hand, recalled each address by what school she attended and what grade she was in at the time. Often, she even knew the name of her teacher.

    When the two sisters didn’t agree on an address, or location, the stories became richer and more colorful as one attempted to “out-remember” the other. I circled some blocks so many times, I am sure the man sitting on his porch reading the paper thought we were checking out the neighborhood for a burglary. My sister was a good sport and jumped out of the car to snap photos when a consensus was finally made.

    After twelve stops and nearly as many photos, we were all brain-tired and thought we had done a good day’s work. We managed to find most of the places on both lists, and to come up with some questions for Part 2.

    Last stop on the Family Home Tour, lunch at PJ's Abbey in Orange,
    California, former First Baptist Church of Orange where
    Mom and Auntie attended popular musical programs.

    Next, I attempt to reconcile the home lists made my Mom and Auntie with old letters from the Family Archive.

    All Photos from the Kinsel Family Papers, privately held by Denise Levenick.

    Saturday
    Jun262010

    Surname Saturday - Who are the Schiffbauer boys and why are you making mischief in my photos?

    I have a similar puzzle to one posed today by Jenna at Desperately Seeking Surnames as she asks, "Who are you Gaines people and why are you in my Grandfather Allen's photo album?" Instead of Gaines, I am looking at the handsome faces of five young men identified as members of the Shiffbauer family of Arrington, Kansas.

    The mystery unveiled at Jamboree when Mom and I showed a group of photos to Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective. We wanted to confirm that the same woman, great-aunt Maud, was pictured in two different images. In one, she is shown with her sister Minnie (my great-grandmother), in the second she is shown with a young man who is identified on the back as Charles Schiffbauer. Instead of one mystery, we found we had two.

    Mystery #1

    The girls' portait is odd because the handwritten inscription on the back seems to identify a male and a female, yet the photo is of two young girls. What do you think? Is that bit of handwriting along the edge something like "for" or another word? I know that Samuel Nelson Chamblin was Minnie's brother. Was the photo made for him? It says, for Maud, presumably a copy for Maud in the photo.

     

    Mystery #2

    Maureen agreed that this portrait is clearly one of the girls from the other photo. They are rather hard to tell apart and very close in age. But why is Maud in this photo with young Charles Schiffbauer in Arrington, Kansas as noted on the back? We know that she married Thomas Saunders and moved to San Leon, Texas. We had never heard about another marriage. Does it look like a graduation photo, or maybe an engagement portrait?

    Then we found more photos of the Schiffbauers. A group portrait of five young men and another group picture with Minnie, two Schiffbauer girls and two Schiffbauer boys. More mystery!

    I ran an search at Ancestry.com and found a large assortment of Schiffbauers living in Arrington and neighboring towns. Our Maud and Minnie Chamblin lived in nearby Muscotah.

    I even found two photos posted on Ancestry by someone who is researching her husband's family line. They show an older Schiffbauer man. When I wrote to her to tell her about our photos she confirmed the relationship, but when I responded with a request for any information about how these two families might be connected my message went unanswered. I hope that she has just been too busy to reply and that I will soon be learning about a new clue to solve the puzzle.

    Photographs:

    Kinsel, Minnie. Photograph. Original image. Privately held by Denise Levenick, Pasadena, CA. 2010.
    Chamblin, Maude. Photograph. Original image. Privately held by Denise Levenick, Pasadena, CA. 2010.