Sunday, October 31, 2010

Genealogists Are Always Willing to Help One Another

One of the people I am researching is William Langdon, a first cousin of my grandfather Bill Kelly. Information about him was elusive for the period of 1915 until his death in 1957 for quite some time. Then I discovered that he went by the name Jack Langdon. I wrote about this discovery earlier this year.

That information took me on a search for his first wife, Sarah. Those of you who do research in Missouri know what a wonderful resource the Missouri Digital Heritage site is. It has actual copies of death certificates from 1910 - 1959.

It was on that site that I found the death certificate of Mr. Langdon's wife, Sarah Elizabeth Langdon. Since her husband was buried in Missouri, I was intrigued by the fact that her body was sent to Woodlawn Cemtery in Jackson, Michigan. As I generally do when I find burial information, I create a memorial on the FindAGrave web site, if one does not exist. I made the entry in a Woodlawn Cemetery in Michigan, and placed a request for a tombstone photograph.

In a few weeks, I heard from a FindAGrave photo volunteer who said that Sarah was not buried in that cemetery. I did some more checking and discovered that the correct name of the cemetery was Woodland Cemetery, not Woodlawn as listed on the death certificate. So I changed Sarah's memorial on FindAGrave. Based on the maiden name given on the death certificate, I entered her maiden name as Irick.

Another FindAGrave volunteer who specializes in that geographic area and has created more than 60,000 memorials on the site contacted me. The maiden name of Irick was puzzling her because it didn't ring any bells. She contacted the cemetery with the information from the death certificate to locate the grave. The cemetery records matched the dates of birth and death, but the name on the tombstone was Sarah Grover. My FindAGrave friend did some more sleuthing since she was not aware of any Irick family in the area and she quickly determined that Sarah's maiden name was Quick, not Irick. Ah .... trying to decipher handwriting is not always an easy task!

From this point, Sarah's story began to make sense. Frank Grover was her first husband when they lived in Michigan. They moved to Missouri, where he died. His body was returned to Michigan for burial. After Frank's death, she married Jack Langdon. At the time of her second marriage, she was about 61 and Jack was 38. It was Jack's first marriage, so I know there's a story there! Now just to find it.

Sarah and Frank had a son. I'm speculating that he had something to do with his mother's body being returned to Michigan to be buried next to her first husband. And Sarah's tombstone carries the surname Grover, not Langdon. I think there's a story to be found there as well.

I share this scenario to demonstrate a couple things. One - things are not always as they seem and sometimes you just have to keep digging deeper to find information. And - genealogists are people who are very willing to help out another researcher in finding those facts. I probably would have left Sarah "Irick" buried in the wrong cemetery with a different surname had this wonderful lady not contacted me who was just as interested in the mystery as I was.

Since our correspondence, I've been able to add a few more members of Sarah's immediate family.

Sunday's Obituary - Ann Jane McVoy Landon

The subject of this skietch was born in Columbia County, New York, July 11, 1817 and died at the home of her son, George Landon, west of Ashland, January 15, 1904, aged 86 years, 6 months and 4 days. She moved with her parents to Tioga County, Pennsylvania, and in 1837, at the age of 20 years, she was married to Daniel Landon.  There were born to them ten children, seven sons and three daughters, one son and her husband having preceded her to the better land.
She came with her family to Nebraska in 1870 and settled west of Ashland, where the remaining years of her life were spent.
The funeral took place from the home on Sunday, the 17th instant, at 11 o'clock, Elder C. A. Huyck of Ashland conducting the services. The interment was made in the Greenwood cemetery.
Source: Ashland Gazette, Ashland, NE, January 29, 1904

Daniel Landon
and Wife
Ann Landon
Greenwood Cemetery, Greenwood, Nebraska
Relationship to me: second great grandmother

Happy Halloween - 1914

This postcard was sent by Emma Landon Bellinger to her granddaughter, Maxine Kelly. The card is postmarked University Place, Nebraska on October 2, 1914. Little Maxine was just two months old. She died the following September. Emma also died the following year. They are buried close to each other in the Greenwood Cemetery, Greenwood, Nebraska.


Dear Little Maxine,

How are you getting along these fine days. When are you coming to see grandma again. With love.

Maxine Dorothy Kelly
Relationships: Maxine was my aunt and Emma was my great grandmother.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

GOGS - Omaha conference was great!

Today marked the fall conference of the Greater Omaha Genealogical Society. There was a turnout of more than 100 genealogists for the event that was held at the Nebraska Methodist College in Omaha.

Highlights of the day

Land Records

Lynne Farr took the mystery out of land records for me and gave me a little more confidence in tackling this aspect of genealogy research. Visiting with her later, she advised me to take it all one step, one piece at a time. Something she said that really stood out was, "If your ancestor arrived before the Civil War, there is an 80 to 90 per cent chance that they are listed on a land record." That's pretty encouraging! She also recommended that we check out the rejected applications for land because they often have even more information of value to genealogists since the applicants were trying very hard to prove their right to the land.

Oral Histories

Former teacher and librarian, Lucille Saunders is a Storyteller who can really spin a yarn. Ask her to tell you about the time she was in jail! She and her colleagues from OOPS (Omaha Organization for the Purpose of Storytelling) demonstrated how to turn the facts about your ancestors into real-life stories. Honestly, I got chills up my back during a couple of the stories, and one brought tears to my eyes. One of the group was a delightful lady who is 91 years young. The group has a Facebook page; I encourage you to check it out. The group meets at an Omaha bookstore once a month to tell their stories and help one another craft their stories. Listening to them really helped me get some ideas on how to tell my ancestor's stories.

Organizing Your Files

After lunch we were entertained by Cyndy Salzmann, America's Clutter Coach (TM). In addition to her business of helping people organize their lives, she has written nonfiction and fiction books and has taken up the genealogy rein from one of her aunts. She encouraged discussion on binders vs. file folders, letter size vs. legal size, what to do with those oversized documents, color coding. Bottom line - there's no right or wrong way to organize your genealogy files, but once you design your system, stick with it. Check out Cyndy's blog, as well as her author page on Next to genealogy, there's nothing I enjoy more than a good mystery story, so as soon as I got home, I downloaded her mystery novel, Crime and Clutter (Friday Afternoon Club Mystery Series #2) for my Kindle.

What You Can Do With a Digital Camera

Pitch-hitting for Jeff Ramsell on this topic was Jim Ferguson, a former press photographer for UPI and the Sun. There was a lot of technical talk about megapixels, ISO, and a phrase I haven't heard in about 30 years: "Tri-X." Old 35mm film aficionados will remember that 400 ASA film. It was my standard for many years. He offered some tips on providing alternate light sources when photographing tombstones, and some of the perils of being a photographer who is a world traveler. Bottom line: set your camera to take photos at the highest resolution possible. You can always make the file size smaller later via your photo editing software. For those who don't want to shell out the big bucks for Photoshop, he recommended Adobe Photoshop Elements 9.

The conference also provided a nice opportunity to network and meet new people. As always whenever I attend one of these conferences, I am reminded of how much more I have to learn!

The Spring 2011 conference of GOGS will be held April 9, 2011. Featured speaker will be announced at a later date.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Follow Friday: Around the Blogosphere - Oct 29

Here are some of my favorite posts from the past week.

Finding Genealogy Clues in Historical Books - Diane at Genealogy Insider

A summary of the blogs at the National Archives on Prologue: Pieces of History by Rob

Backing Up the Right Stuff - A Lesson Learned by Sue Maxwell on Granite Genealogy

Working on the Railroad by Gena Philibert Ortega - great resources for anyone whose ancestors have a railroad connection

Formula for creating and remembering passwords shared by Tika on Tika's Thoughts and Teachings

Posting past marriages with grace - by Texicanwife on Mountain Genealogist

Are You a Family Historian? Then write about it - from Family History Writing

The Melting Pot of Tourism - places to visit in western Nebraska by Nebraska Outback

and just about everyone's favorite post from the past week: In Which I Piss Off Pretty Much the Entire Genealogy Establishment - sit back and get ready to laugh with this post by Kerry Scott at Clue Wagon.

School Days - Greenwood Nebraska 1929

Greenwood Public School
Greenwood, Nebraska

Greenwood School Students - 1929
Seventh and Eighth Grades
Teacher: Miss Oseth Kemp (married name: Stradley)
Back Row: Millard Anderson, Donald Weimer, Louis Stevenson, Wilson Lambert, Jennings Sorman, Austin Kyles, James Brown

Middle Row: Herman Fredrick, Phyllis Weideman, Fern Dalbow, Alene Weiderman, Bonita Mcleaur, Margaret Kelly, Lyle Anderson

Front Row: Miss Oseth Kemp, Billy Pailing, Garwood Anderson, Anna Nichols, Marjorie Newkirk, George Rouse, Wayne Armstrong

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Those Places Thursday: the men of Greenwood Nebraska

This photograph shows a gathering of men of Greenwood, Nebraska. Second from the left, with the cane and pointing, is my great grandfather, Daniel Kelly. The man indicated as "E.L." is E. L. McDonald, who was a long time grocer in the village. I even remember "Mac's" grocery store when I was a youngster. The other fellow who is labeled (whose initials I can't decipher) is also pointing. So I wonder if Dan and this fellow are supposed to be pointing in the same direction - perhaps at Mac? There's no other identifying information on the photograph.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wedding Wednesday: Lillian Fitzgerald and Chauncy Abbott, Jr

October 11, 1909

Mary Lillian Geraldine Fitzgerald, daughter of Mrs. Mary Fitzgerald, was married yesterday morning at St. Theresa's - pro-cathedral to Chauncey Abbott, Jr, of Schuyler, in one of the most beautifully arranged weddings which has taken place in Lincoln. The ceremony was performed in the presence of' about 250 invited friends, who were also present at the reception which followed at the home of Mr. and Mrs. O. E. Rector, 415 South Fifteenth street. The impressive ceremony was performed by Bishop Bonacum, assisted by Father Bradley and Dr. O'Loughlln.

The church had been elaborately decorated In pink roses and smilax. Four prie dieu in white satin were decorated with smilax across the front, the greenery placed In the form of large hearts. Pink tulle bows at the end of each pew formed part of the church decoration, and roses were everywhere to add to the beauty.
Mrs. Carrie B. Raymond presided at the organ, playing a program of music, with the Lohengrin bridal chorus as the introductory to the ceremony and the Mendelseohn wedding march as the bridal party left the church.
Those of the bridal party were Mrs. O. E. Rector, sister of the bride, [note: Mrs. O. E. Rector was the sister of Lillian's mother] who wore a gown of pink panne velvet, with elaborate trimmings of gold embroidery, the dress made princess, with a train. With this she wore a large gold cloth picture hat with pink plumes, and shoes of gold cloth.
She carried an old-fashioned bouquet of pink roses. Little Ruth Fltzgerald. niece of the bride, who was the ring bearer, wore a pink silk, with pink hat. The bride wore a white brocade satin. with an over-dress of white chiffon, which reached in drapery effect nearly to the floor, with a finishing fold of the chiffon and real point lace. The drapery around the yoke was of the same lace, and the dress was cut in the princess style, with a long train, and with this she wore a long veil, held In place by a spray of real orange blossoms. Long gloves were worn with this costume and a large bouquet of lillies of the valley was carried. The only ornament worn was a diamond heart, the gift of the groom to the bride.
The groom was attended by Isaac Lorenze of Milwaukee, and the four ushers were Paul Fitzgerald, Lincoln; Wells Abbott, Schuyler; John Sumner, Schuyler, and O. E. Rector, Lincoln.
At the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Rector, where the reception was held following the ceremony, the decorations were entirely of pink roses and smilax. Smilax wound around the pillars and through the stair railings and baskets of the roses were placed in every nook about the rooms, with streamers of pink robbon, and above the large window in the parlor, where the bride and groom received the guests, were laid roses and smilax. In the dining room smilax and roses were arranged on the curtains and on the tables in great quantities.
Those in the receiving line were Mrs. O. E. Rector, Mrs. Mary Fitzgerald, mother of the bride; Mr. and Mrs. Chauncey Abbott, Sr. and Mr. and Mrs. Chauncey Abbott, Jr.
Those assisting in the dining room were Mesdames H. L. Lau, L. F. Searles, C. G. Crittenden, W. F. Kelley and W. M. Leonard. In the hall on the second floor Mr. M. Kelley of Greenwood and Miss Inman of Lincoln served the punch.
The gifts received by Mr. and Mrs. Abbott were elegant and numerous. A sliver coffee urn, which had been used by the great grandmother of the groom, was among the beautiful pieces of silver. A set of six pieces of solid silver from the groom's parents, a cabinet of silver and a chest of linen from the mother of the bride were among the gifts.
Mrs. Mary Fitzgerald wore a gown of black lace over silk, with diamond ornaments; Mrs. Chauncey Abbott, Sr., wore a gray velvet dress embroidered in gold, with diamond pins.
Mr. and Mrs. Abbott left in the afternoon for an eight weeks trip to the Hawaiian islands. They will be at home late in the fall at Schuyler, Neb., where the groom is engaged in business.
Miss Fitzgerald is the daughter of the late John Fitzgerald, one of the old settlers of Llincoln and has made this city her home all her life. Mr. Abbott comes of a family who are also old settlers of this state.
Source: Nebraska State Journal, October 12, 1909
Lillian's relationship to me: First cousin, twice removed

Wordless Wednesday - Bill Kelly - my grandfather

Bill Kelly
Greenwood, Nebraska

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesday's Tip: Getting the musty odor out of old photos and documents

We've all been there - we've discovered faded photographs and documents in a basement, attic or storage facility. You immediately recognize the smell.

Today, this blog is turned over to readers to offer their tips. What are some effective and harmless ways to get rid of that odor?

Please share your experiences and comments below.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Love Letter to Grandma from Grandpa

Greenwood, Neb.
March 20-1910

Dear Friend received your card and upon this date was very glad to hear from you everything here is fine and dandy.

I have got my ida of you write down here and ask me why I never come up.

Do you expect me to come without you asking me? if so Just name the day.

I saw your Papa down here the other day and I didn't hardly know him it surprised me to see him in Greenwood and more

as if you asked about mother she is feeling fine the last few weeks and of course I am the same. as it is late I will close.

From your loving Friend.


hoping to here from you soon.


This letter was written by my grandfather, William Kelly, to my grandmother, Sina Bellinger, in March 1910. They were married October 8, 1913. They were married 42 years, until her death in 1955.

Bill and Sina Kelly
Greenwood, Nebraska

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Halloween Memories and Costumes

Lorine McGinnis Schulze of the Olive Tree Genealogy blog is sharing memories of Halloween costumes today. One costume of mine immediately came to mind and I was able to find the photograph in a matter of seconds.

This is the costume I wore circa 1958 in Greenwood, Nebraska. I wore a mask that portrayed a Japanese lady. My "hair" was actually a combination winter cap/scarf that my Mom fashioned into a quasi-wig.

My dress was an old white sheet. I think that I must have colored some Halloween designs on it - black cats, pumpkins and the like.

In our small town, we didn't go door-to-door but just to the homes of people we knew. This photo was taken by our neighbor, Dorothy Maher, at her home across the street. From Dorothy's I went to the Buckingham's home. Mrs. Buckingham apparently thought I was this little Japanese woman who came knocking on her door on the evening on October 31. Or maybe she was just going along and humoring me! What I remember is that when I left her house, my "hair" got caught in the screen door and I went a little crazy trying to free myself!

Some time later, Dorothy shared a story that she had a visitor who was looking through her photographs and asked her about the Japanese lady. Someone apparently thought that it was the real deal.

Looking for the Details in Photographs

Paul Daniel Kelly - and who else?
Over the last 30 years I've looked at this photograph of my grand uncle, Paul Kelly, hundreds of times.

Recently I opened the digital file of the scan of this photograph and I was quite surprised by what I discovered. There are two women in this photograph! Can you find them? Click on the image to see the High-Resolution scan. It's a little bit like Where's Waldo!

Mystery Ladies behind the Tree
Today's photo editing software allows us the opportunity to dig deep into those family photos. High definition scans can be enlarged to the point of being able to examine every detail. You never know what you might find, so always look very closely at those old photographs.

If not, you might not be able to see the ladies for the trees!

Railroad Reminiscences - John Fitzgerald breaks ground in Plattsmouth

John Fitzgerald
Railroad Contractor, Banker, Millionaire
Since the railroad figures prominently in the lives of several of my ancestors, I've decided to add a new blogging theme, Railroad Reminiscences, to share some of the stories of ancestors and relatives who worked on the railroad.

John Fitzgerald was a railroad contractor responsible for laying many of the primary railroad tracks throughout the Midwest. Fitzgerald was the husband of my great grand aunt, Mary Kelly. Mary was the sister of my great grandfather, Daniel Kelly.

Even as a youngster, this photograph grabbed my attention. Fitzgerald epitomized the Irish Catholic immigrant who created a better life in his new country.

He was born in Limerick county, Ireland in 1829.

The following is from Johnson's History of Nebraska by Harrison Johnson, 1880, page 242.

Groundbreaking in Plattsmouth, Nebraska

At a special election held in Plattsmouth on April 24, 1869, $50,000 in bonds were voted by the city, and donations made by individual citizens of a large number of city lots to the B. & M. Railway Company, on condition that the Company should erect there, and maintain depot, shops, and general fixtures, making and continuing Plattsmouth the headquarters of the Company in Nebraska; putting the road through to the west end of the County, all in good running order and actual operation, within sixteen months after June 3, 1869. These conditions were accepted by the company, and the contract closed by W. Thielson, the authorized agent of the Company, and the City Council, June 15, 1869. Early in July, in the presence of a large crowd of spectators, John Fitzgerald, at the foot of Main street, in Plattsmouth, displayed his strength and skill in "breaking ground" for the railroad track. In September, 1869, in a still larger and more excited crowd, the first locomotive, the "American Eagle," was landed and gave her first scream on Nebraska soil. The long wished, and long listened for whistle was now a matter of unquestionable fact upon the streets of Plattsmouth.

Sunday's Obituary - Amanda Stover Pecht

Amanda Melvina Stover Pecht
my 2nd great grandmother
Mrs. Amanda Petch (sic), wife of Mr. John Petch (sic), died at this place Wednesday p.m., about 5 o'clock, after a lingering sickness of more than a year, of chronic ailments, aged about 52 years, and was buried yesterday at Rose Mound cemetery south of this place. She has been a sufferer from disease almost from the settlement here and her trouble has been at times almost unbearable. Mr. Petch (sic) and family came to this section from Lena, Ill., some twenty years ago and have many friends and relatives at Republic and in the country (sic) south of this who hold them in high esteem that will be true mourners of her death. - from the Hardy Herald

Source: The Nelson (Nebraska) Gazette, Thursday, August 30, 1894; pg. 3

Rose Mound Cemetery
Republic County, Kansas

Sunday Supper - Your Grandmother's Dishes

Many of us may have inherited some of the family china or dishes or maybe just a piece or two. There's a web site where you can possibly find out more information about that odd piece that may have been passed down to you.

I've been a customer of Replacements, Ltd. for several years. It's a company with huge warehouse and showroom facilities in North Carolina. My stepmother had purchased some items from them to replace broken pieces. I've done the same, and also completed my china and crystal sets through this company (as well as on eBay).

A few years ago, I flipped over one of the plates in my Grandmother Kelly's set, got the name of the manufacturer and found that the company did indeed, stock replacement pieces for her pattern. I would have used a photo of that for this post, but the dishes are all packed up at the moment and I can't remember the name of the pattern.

If you have some odds and ends, search the web site and see if you can find your family's china pattern. If so, please post your findings in the Comments section below.

Nope, it's not a genealogy web site, but it just might give you some insight to those dishes that your family has eaten Thanksgiving dinner on for many generations.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Replacements, Ltd., just a long time satisfied customer.

10/25/2010 UPDATE: You can get a "Featured Dinnerware of the Week" gadget for iGoogle:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Review: Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner - Part 2

It's easy to say that the Flip-Pal mobile scanner is going to meet my expectations for a versatile portable scanning device. Part 1 of this review demonstrated the scanning, color correction and stitching features.

You absolutely cannot beat this device based on its size and weight, which make it extremely portable. To get an idea of its size, below is my netbook computer and on the right is the Flip-Pal scanner.

Both devices could easily fit in the carrying case for my netbook, however, there may be times when I only need to use the scanner. So I stopped by Staples today and found a carrying case that is perfect for the scanner and has plenty of room for extra batteries. And from what I read in the user's manual, this scanner will definitely use plenty of batteries.

One of the selling points of the Flip-Pal scanner is that it can be used without a computer! No cords, no wires. Just grab and go. This makes the Flip-Pal a great device for genealogists. Take it to family reunions when people bring their family photos and albums. Take it on research trips to scan those photos that relatives don't want to turn loose. Use it in research facilities to scan documents or pages from a book (with proper copyright usage, of course!). If there's a wonderful document or photograph that is in the custody of one family member, having a digital scan is the best way to share it with other members of the family. And size no longer matters. Theoretically, you could scan and digitally stitch together a wall mural with this device if you wanted to.

All of the scanning is done right on the Flip-Pal. The scans are saved to a SD memory card. You will have to take the memory card to your computer to do any photo editing and stitching. The scanner comes with a SD to USB adaptor, so if your computer doesn't accept SD cards, it doesn't matter.

The software runs off the SD card and the product manual is also on the SD card. The manual is 18 pages in an Adobe pdf file. I seldom read a product manual - I just start clicking buttons. I did, however, check the manual to see how to remove the cover since I didn't want to break it and wanted to try the Flip part of the scanner. I did read about the batteries and like other digital devices, this is a battery hog. The unit requires four AA batteries (stock up on those today, too). The manual indicates that the scanner will yield about 150 scans on alkaline batteries, about 450 on photo lithium, and about 120 on rechargeable NiMH.

Scanning options are either 300 dpi or 600 dpi. The SD card that comes with the unit has about 1.5 GB available for storing images, which the manual indicates is about 750 scans at 300 dpi or 375 scans at 600 dpi. You can also use any standard SD or SDHC memory card, so if the 2 GB that comes with the unit is not enough, use your 4 GB or 8 GB cards. The toolbox software can be copied onto your own SD card.

If you purchase the Flip-Pal, plan on another $10 - $20 for a netbook sleeve or carrying case. The unit could probably be easily scratched or damaged if you just carry it around without any kind of protective cover.

Plan on stocking up on batteries or get that recharger out. If you're doing a lot of scanning, you'll be going through a lot.

Overall, the positive features of the Flip-Pal far outweigh any drawbacks. It's portable, it's lightweight and versatile. You can scan anywhere - on the kitchen table, at a family picnic, even sitting in bed while watching TV.

The Flip-Pal web site

Disclaimer: I purchased this product directly from the Flip-Pal web site. No compensation of any kind was received for this review.

Review: Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner - Miracles in Minutes - Part 1

I've eagerly been waiting for my Flip-Pal mobile scanner to arrive ever since I ordered it in August. This little gem arrived yesterday and I've been trying out some basic scanning as well as scanning an oversized document to see how the Autostitch software works.

I was scanning some 55 year old snapshots in less than five minutes after opening the box.

First of all, this scanner is fast. I'm used to my flatbed scanner warming up, grinding around taking its sweet time. This scanner was producing images for me in just a few seconds.

Apparently I was pissed off about something!
To the left is just a very ordinary photo of yours truly mugging for the camera. It's fairly typical of Brownie camera photographs processed at the drugstore in the mid-1950s. With some minor adjustments in the contrast, the scan actually looks sharper than the original.

The software that comes with the scanner allows you to make some adjustments with brightness and contrast. I found it to be quite satisfactory for these "quick and dirty" examples. If you want to do more photo restoration in Photoshop or other photo editing software, that would be fine. But for most scans, I think the Flip-Pal software is totally acceptable.

Below is a Before and After example of the type of adjustments you can make on your scanned images. On the left is my original scan and on the right is after I experimented with the brightness and contrast. The original image is one of those small Photo Booth pictures, circa 1940.

The next project was to see just how this works on oversize images. After all, isn't that the reason that a lot of we genealogists are interested in this product?

I went straight for my grandfather's childhood scrapbook of magazine photos of horses, cows and pigs. It's about 12" x 14" - maybe even larger. But it's too big to get a full page on my flatbed scanner. It took me a couple tries to get the auto-stitching software to work, but that was my own fault since I seldom read an instruction manual unless absolutely necessary. Since the software was not recognizing any stitchable regions, I realized that my scans had to overlap with one another. I made 11 scans of the page and here are four of them, just to demonstrate what the individual scanned images look like. Image size is reduced for the blog post.

Funny caption, anyone?

The Flip-Pal software is loaded on the 2GB SD memory card that comes installed on the scanner.

I clicked on the menu item "Stitch Scans", selected the scanned images to sew together and in only a few seconds, I had the following image on my computer screen:

I've left this image at its original size so you can click on it to see the full-size Hi-Res scan. I'll challenge anyone to find each individual scanned image. It absolutely matches perfectly. I even avoided cropping this image so you could seen the overage on the sides where I did the scanning. Well, what can I say? This is one of the two main reasons that I wanted to get this scanner.

Part 2 of this review will focus more on the technical aspects of the product and reason number 2 for my purchase - portability.

The Flip-Pal website

Part 2 of this review

Disclaimer: I purchased this product directly from the Flip-Pal web site. No compensation of any kind was received for this review.

Follow Friday: Around the Blogosphere - Oct 22

Here are my favorite posts from fellow bloggers from the past week:

Nebraska The Heartland - Irish folk singer Ken O'Malley blogs about his tour of Nebraska this week

Graveyard Humor - strange tombstones from Grave Humor

Top Ten Considerations for Donating Your Family Papers by Sassy Jane

Family Search Beta Has a New Look - by Randy Seaver, Geneamusings

Fun at the California Family History Expo - Thomas MacEntee of Destination Austin Family

Ancestry's Relationship Calculator from Dear Myrtle

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wedding Wednesday: Jens Christian Petersen and Caroline Hansen

Jens and Caroline Petersen
December 10, 1892
Black Hawk county, Iowa
My father's grandparents were both born in Denmark and both came to the United States in 1888. Jens arrived with his parents, Peder and Elsia Jeremiasen. The Jeremiasen family's destination was Waterloo, Iowa. Jens and his siblings were listed with the surname Jeremiasen on ship's passenger list. In America, Peder retained the surname Jeremiasen, but all of Peder and Elsia's children took the surname Petersen. Once in America, my Danish ancestors stopped changing the surname with each generation.

I've not yet documented Caroline's arrival in America. Family lore was that she and Jens met on the ship. If that is the case, there is only one possible entry on the ship's passenger list that could be Caroline, a 16 year old female who was unnamed, but listed as Servant with another passenger.

It was just a few weeks ago when I discovered documentation of Jens and Caroline's marriage on Their union is listed in the collection of Iowa Marriages, 1809 - 1992. This record shows that Elsia's maiden name was Lauridsen, not Polsdatter as I had been told by other family members and as was recorded in Jens' obituary. Jens' obituary also reports the family moving to Nebraska from Iowa about ten years before they actually moved. The Petersens moved to Nuckolls county Nebraska about 1905, between the births of two of their children.

On the marriage record, Caroline's parents are listed as Soren Hansen and Christine Nielsen.

The Family Search record shows that Jens and Caroline were married in Black Hawk county, Iowa. The wedding location may have been Cedar Falls, Iowa (that is from my notes from another family member). Cedar Falls is about ten miles from Waterloo, Iowa where the newlyweds lived.

Jens and Caroline Petersen
Hardy, Nebraska
Jens and Caroline were the parents of ten children: Emma Christine, Elmer Martinus, Otto William, Katherine Jereminia, John Theodore, Christine Dorothea (died as an infant), Esther Dorthea, Marvin, Margaret Leona, and Jess Carl.

Jens died in Hardy, Nebraska on August 9, 1948 and Caroline died January 7, 1962. Caroline's grave marker shows the original spelling of her name: Karoline.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesday's Tip: Making Music part of your family history

Everyone loves music. So did our ancestors.

While putting your family's story into historical context, consider taking a look at the music that was popular during their lives. Top 40 or the Hit Parade - whatever it may have been in their time - can help bring the stories about your ancestors to life.

An excellent resource to look into musical heritage is the New York Public Library's digital archives. A fun place to start is with the sheet music covers of American popular song from 1890-1922. You can browse the collection by year or do a search of the collection.

My fellow fans of Dancing With the Stars might enjoy seeing the sheet music for the Argentine Tango (1912). Another selection from 1912 was It's a Long Long Way to Tipperary. World War II brings us songs such as Those Draft-in Blues. With the war over, the Roaring Twenties include such hits as Ain't We Got Fun.

All categories of digital images about music in this archive are listed here.

Music has always been a big part of my life. Anytime I hear songs from the 1960s, I usually always associate the song with what was happening in my life at the time. The same thing was probably true of our ancestors.

Just for fun, a related book: On This Day in Music History: Over 2,000 Popular Music Facts Covering Every Day of the Year (Book)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Madness Monday - Dan Kelly "mad as hell and not going to take it anymore"?

Daniel Kelly
Greenwood, Nebraska
Until a few years ago, I believed that my great grandfather, Daniel Kelly, had three siblings: Mary, Michael (M.C.) and Nellie. As I continued my research, I learned of four other siblings, William Jr., Margaret, John and Thomas.

Reading the local newspaper articles sometimes makes me think that members of the Kelly family spent more time in court than they did farming and raising livestock!

The following newspaper report on one of the many lawsuits involving the family provides some insight regarding the opinions of Dan about his brother Thomas, and may be why I had never heard about some of Dan's siblings before.

Judge Waters yesterday listened to a hearing on objections to the report of Thomas E. Kelly, administrator of the estate of W. D. Kelly, who was a brother of Mrs. Mary Fitzgerald. Mr. Kelly has not filed a report in county court for a term of four years and the attorneys for the various heirs scanned it closely and filed a string of objections. Considerable feeling was shown during the trial by some of the brothers. Dan Kelly, who lives near Greenwood in the course of the hearing had occasion to use the words "---- rogue" with some emphasis in open court. Judge Waters informed him that if he used the word "damn" or "rogue" again in open court he would be sent to jail. The matter was left with the understanding that a final report will be filed.
Source: Nebraska State Journal, Lincoln, Nebraska, March 21, 1902

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Getting in Touch with Irish Heritage Through Music - Ken O'Malley

Ken O'Malley
Ken O'Malley

I'd been hearing about Ken O'Malley from a friend of mine who had been living in L.A. for several years. Singer, storyteller, tour guide, composer - he was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland and has been living in L.A. for about thirty years.

This week marks Ken's first trip to the Midwest, with his concert in Lincoln this afternoon, a concert in Omaha Tuesday night and a concert at the Nebraska Outback House in Sutherland on Wednesday night.

I've been to several Irish/Celtic performances over the years, but none have touched me on a soulful level the way Ken O'Malley's songs did.

With just a "Protestant" guitar (his words!) and a 1908 Gibson mandolin he bought on eBay, O'Malley delighted the audience in the intimate surroundings of the Johnny Carson Theater at the Lied Center for the Performing Arts in Lincoln. His concert was a fundraiser to benefit the Angels Theatre Company.

Maybe it's because I've been spending so much time learning about my Irish ancestors and their lives in America that his music touched me on such an emotional level. I could shut my eyes and feel myself transported to the homeland of my ancestors, imagining the difficulties they experienced that caused them to board a ship and come to the United States in 1850. As he sang and played some of the traditional Irish folk songs, I could envision my ancestors listening to this style of music 160 years ago.

He performed songs from his albums, traditional songs and some that he composed. Among my favorites from O'Maille were City of Chicago, Mick Ryan's Lament, Westport Town, Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore, Heaven Knows, I'm a Rover and Homes of Donegal - well, actually, I like the entire CD! There were also several selections he performed from his CD with the Twilight Lords, Women of Ireland. I'll have some more favorites to add to the list from that CD if I ever stop listening to O'Maille.

He also told some stories about the songs and weaved some Irish history into the fabric of his performance. He was quite engaging, but as Lincoln audiences are a bit subdued, I hope that our applause was enough confirmation of our enjoyment of his music.

A trio of dancers from the Thunder on the Plains Project  also performed the traditional Irish step dance, accompanied by O'Malley on mandolin. That added even more to an enjoyable afternoon.

I would certainly encourage any genealogist to get out of the libraries and courthouses on occasion and take in some of the opportunities to experience some of the cultural heritage activities that come your way. After today's concert, I really believe that my Irish soul is a lot closer to the surface and I feel an even greater connection to my Irish roots.

Thanks to my long time friend, Jan, for introducing me to the music of Ken O'Malley.

Ken O'Malley's web site

Sunday's Obituary - Emma Harriet Landon Bellinger

Emma Harriet Landon Bellinger
1862 - 1915 or 1916

Mrs. John W. Bellinger
Harriett Emma Landon was born August 13, 1862 in Sharon, Wisconsin, and with her parents moved to Nebraska in 1870. She was united in marriage to John W. Bellinger November 12, 1879. To this union three children were born. - Harry Bellinger of Omaha, Mrs. Will Kelly of Greenwood, and Clifford Bellinger of Lincoln. she united with the Greenwood Methodist church in 1900, of which she has been a faithful member. She died December 31, 1915, at the age of 53 years, 4 months and 18 days. She leaves to mourn her loss, her husband, three children, two grandchildren and one sister, Mrs. Margaret Loder of Waverly, and a host of friends. The funeral services were conducted by Rev. Wilton from the M.E. church Monday afternoon at 2 o'clock, and the body laid to rest in Greenwood cemetery.
Source: Ashland (Nebraska) Gazette, January 6, 1916

Greenwood Gazette
Greenwood, Nebraska
date unknown

John and Emma Bellinger
Greenwood Cemetery
Greenwood, Cass county, Nebraska
Genealogy is not an exact science. Information we discover often just provides clues that allow us to make inferences. We do the best with the clues we find.
Emma Harriet Landon Bellinger was my great grandmother. Or perhaps she was Harriet Emma Landon Bellinger. Sources differ on which of her names came first. She was known as Emma.
She died on December 31, 1915. Or maybe it was January 1, 1916.
She was 53 years old when she died. Or maybe she was 63.
She was born in Sharon, Wisconsin. Or maybe she was born in Belvidere, Illinois.
Her surviving daughter was Mrs. W. L. Kelly, not Mrs. W. O. Kelly as one of the death notices states.

Cass County Nebraska - web site resources

Plattsmouth is the county seat of Cass County, Nebraska where a lot of my research is focused. The city of Plattsmouth web site is located at

Once on the page, click on Departments, then select Library for the new web location of the Plattsmouth Library. The library can also be found on Facebook.

Under the Living in Plattsmouth menu item, you'll find a link to the Cass County Museum - an essential research location for anyone doing research in the county.

Also of help is the Cass County web site. Here's a quick look at the history and towns of Cass county.

Another interesting web site is the Plattsmouth Covservancy. Who's up for the Haunted Victorian Ghost Walk? That will take place October 22 and 23. I might be interested if it wasn't after dark! BOO!

Nebraska State Government Resources for Genealogists

Today's Tip will focus on genealogy resources available on the State of Nebraska's official government web sites. While many of the government pages merely provide links to other online resources, there are a few gems to be found along the way. If your genealogy has any Nebraska ties, I hope you'll find a couple resources you may not have seen before.

A couple years ago, the State of Nebraska revamped its online presence to this dynamic site that was intended to serve as a portal to all state government services in one location. Personally, I find it cumbersome and much too difficult to find what I'm looking for most of the time. If I need to find something quickly, I've learned to go to Google to search within this site. To save you some time and frustration, here are some of the pages of interest to genealogists doing research in Nebraska.

A starting point is a list of links of Genealogy resources: - the links are the usual fare for genealogy researchers and most are general information, not specific to Nebraska (Ancestry, Cyndi's List, FindAGrave . . .)

The State of Nebraska offers free access to Heritage Quest if you are a resident of the state. Your Nebraska driver's license number will get you into this database. Access to eLibrary is also available with a password you can obtain through your Nebraska public library.

Privacy issues have limited access to some records for genealogists. The basic procedures for obtaining records is on the Health and Human Services web site. The state rules and regulations for release of records for genealogical purposes is in Chapter 3 of Nebraska Administrative Code 174. You have better access to records if you are a certified historian or a an enrolled student of history working on a specific project or an employed member of the news media.

Information about where to obtain birth, marriage, death and divorce certificates is on this page, although it is primarily a list of links to external sites.

The State Library Commission hosts a blog which announces different libraries in Nebraska as each attains an online presence. You can subscribe to this blog in your RSS reader to receive updates. Here are a couple examples of the libraries on the site:

This page has links to libraries in Nebraska, links to their social networking sites, and indicates if they have WiFi access or a catalog online. This is a good starting point for your local research.

Nebraska Memories is another government web site operated by the Nebraska Library Commission. Subtitled "Making Nebraska's Past Unforgettable" you can browse or search a variety of digital images on such categories as portraits, sports, music scores, animals, maps, government, education, business, disasters and more. I can easily get lost on this site for quite a while.

If your research leads to a famous Nebraskan, there are several links on this page. I have to toot my own horn a little bit since the page links to my web site (another of my passions in addition to genealogy).

The Nebraska State Historical Society provides a wealth of information and resources online. Since I've already written a blog post about their resources, I'll direct you to that post rather than repeat it here. But here is a link to the Society's page about doing genealogy research.

If you are researching property in Nebraska, here's a nice 60 page guidebook with a lot of great tips. A link in this book took me to an interesting map labeled "Ghost Towns of Cass County" as well as a 1908 map of Lancaster county. Even if you don't have a Nebraska connection, this publication also serves as a good resource on land and property research. This publication may just be the best "Easter egg" that I discovered while surfing sites to include in this post. It's a pdf file that you can download.

You can search court cases, but you need to get a User ID and password. Presently, the fee is $15 per search.

The Secretary of State's office has some information that may be of value to researchers, although this information may be more recent in nature. One of the databases is on registered voters, which I've used a time or two.

The Unclaimed Property division of the State Treasurer's department might yield results on missing relatives. This is a searchable database of money sitting around in bank accounts or safe deposit boxes. Whoa, Nellie! I just found a listing for less than $300 for one of my Dad's aunts who died in 1982. I told you that you might find something here!

I hope these links provide Nebraska researchers with a few resources they may not have seen before. If you come across other gems or links on any State of Nebraska government web site, please share them in the comments section below.

Sunday Supper: Homemade Ice Cream

As the end of summer draws to a close, I'm looking back at one of my favorite and funniest childhood memories.

Homemade ice cream was always a favorite treat at our house, even though it took hours and a lot of hard labor to make it. I remember my Mom putting all of the ingredients in the tall silver cylinder and packing the wooden tub with a combination of ice and rock salt.

Then the tub was turned over to my Dad and any other strong man who was available to undertake the job of turning the hand crank for what seemed like half a day to this eight year old. It was a lot of work and the cranking had to remain constant. I would usually beg to get in a few turns of the crank until it wore me out - which didn't take too long.

Relatives on Dad's side of the family had a habit of "just dropping by" which probably was why I developed a life long resentment about anyone who stopped by my house without  advance notice. I digress. Rewind back to about 1959 when the relatives invited themselves over for homemade ice cream (okay, it was my grandmother and my aunt's family). At least that's how I remember it. Mom and Dad were a bit ticked off because none of the guests ever helped out with the work of cranking the ice cream, but were more than willing to eat it.

So - my parents hatched a plan! Dad and I got in the car with the silver cylinder, drove eight miles to the next town which had a Dairy Queen. He turned over the cylinder and asked them to fill it up with the delicious vanilla soft serve. All the way home, I was warned that I had better keep my mouth shut about this dastardly plot. Once home, Mom and Dad packed the bucket with ice and rock salt so it appeared that all of the hard work was over by the time the relatives arrived.

When it came time for dessert, we all sat around the big dining room table as the bowls of ice cream and spoons were handed out. My grandmother took her first bite and exclaimed, "This is so good. It tastes just like Dairy Queen!"

I could hardly contain myself and dove under the table with some lame excuse - probably about dropping my napkin or something. I knew that I couldn't give away the secret, so I really had to behave while we all finished eating our Sunday treat.

Mom, Dad and I laughed about this for years and never once gave up the secret (until now). But to this day, I can't have an ice cream cone from Dairy Queen without remembering the Great Ice Cream Scandal of 1959.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Upcoming Events in Omaha

Greater Omaha Genealogical Society fall conference

The Greater Omaha Genealogical Society fall conference will be October 30, 2010 at Nebraska Methodist College, 720 N. 87th St., Omaha. Advance registration is $20 for membership and $30 for nonmembers. Lunch is available for $4.50

Sessions include:
  • Land Records - presented by Lynne A. Farr
  • Oral Histories - presented by Lucille Saunders
  • Organizing Your Files - presented by Cyndy Salzmann
  • What You Can Do With a Digital Camera - presented by Jeff Ramsell

Tombstone Tour of Omaha Cemeteries

A motor coach tour of three Omaha cemeteries led by Joni Fogarty is planned for October 24, 2010. The tour includes Forest Lawn, Holy Sepulchre and and Prospect Hill. Cost is $40 and registration deadline is October 19.

For more information and to register, click here.

If you can't make the cemetery tour, I recommend a virtual visit at the Graveyards of Omaha, a wonderful site by Marta Dawes.