Adding More Useful Descriptive Information to Pictures in FamilySearch

5 Aug

I’ve found that one of the simplest ways to populate my FamilySearch.org “Memories” section is by taking advantage of my own social media accounts. I post pictures and information fairly regularly on Instagram and Facebook. Each day Facebook sends me a memory from a year ago (or two or three…) that shows a picture, the date the picture was posted by me, and whatever information I included when I posted it. Perfect for FamilySearch! I download the picture and add it to FamilySearch.org, taking advantage of the information I have regarding the date, the location, and whatever description I have.

There are two ways to do this. One is pretty good, and one is much better and will better serve my descendants in 200 years. Let me quickly illustrate:

Screen Shot 2018-08-05 at 8.26.06 AMOur son recently took his first golf lesson which ended with a little “tournament”. Being in a rush (as always) I added the picture along with the date, location, and a short description: “William at golf lessons”. That’s fine, but it doesn’t tell me much.

Here is the updated version with more helpful information. It is written in a way that would help anyone fill in the fun details of Will’s life:

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I’ve added a descriptive title as well as filled in the “description” with a more fleshed-out and detailed post: “William at his first golf lessons. His lessons went from June 6 to July 11 and were held once a week at the Skyway Golf Course. This picture was taken right before the closing “tournament”. Each young person was assigned a cart along with three other players (as well as an adult to drive). Will did great and won a new driver for having the longest drive in his group. A great first summer of golf.”

Notice how a descendant, 200 years from now, would learn a lot more about Will from this description than the first description? I suppose I could’ve also added information about where/when he got his clubs, how his grandmother used to play at Skyway for decades, how he didn’t sign up with friends but made some friends at camp, etc. There is a lot that can be done with the “Memories” part of FamilySearch.org that will be a real blessing to our descendants!

Hint: Because I’m often pressed for time, I’ll add pictures to the “Memories” section using the “Memories” app (from FamilySearch.org) and will add what small details I can quickly add. Then, when I’m sitting at my computer and have a little more time, I’ll go update the “description” potion of the picture as well as a good title, etc. It doesn’t always have to happen right when you post the picture/audio/document, etc.

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Suicide Doesn’t Define the Life of My Great-Grandfather…

15 Jul

Note: There is mention of suicide and a few details about the suicide of a specific individual in this article.

“I believe the vast majority of cases will find that these individuals have lived heroic lives and that that suicide will not be a defining characteristic of their eternities.” (Dale G. Renlund)

I grew up knowing only one thing about my great-grandfather Willard: He took his life, leaving a young family to struggle in the wake. There are no pictures of him. No stories. Really no information. He died when his children were very young, so they didn’t have memories of him to pass along to future generations.

A few weeks ago I was pondering the idea that everyone probably wants to be remembered well after they pass away. And Willard wasn’t really remembered at all, other than how he left this life. So I went on a little search to see if there were any other details about him that could be unearthed. Of course, a few dates and a census record exist, but the key was finding a newspaper article detailing his death.

From the Soda Springs Chieftain, December 6, 1911:

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Willard Mickelson, who is well known here, committed suicide last Tuesday night by hanging himself. The only reason that can be given is that after being in poor health all summer he became despondent and decided to end it all in this manner.

Tuesday evening he left home, telling his wife he was going over along the railroad track [to] pick up some coal. That was the last time he was seen alive. Early Wednesday morning Mrs. Mickelson started out to look for him, and in a granary which he had rented from Mr. Edgley, she found his body suspended from the ceiling by a rope and frozen stiff. Word was immediately sent to town and Justice Potter, Deputy Sheriff Christensen, George H. Fisher, Hyrum Toolson and W. E. Settle went out and took the body down.

Word was sent to his relatives in Logan and reached them just when they were at the depot buying tickets to come here to spend Thanksgiving.

Mr. Mickelson came to Bancroft from Logan and took up at homestead upon which he was living. In Logan he had the reputation of being an honest, industrious and respected citizen and he has been considered as such here. Besides his wife and four children he leaves a mother and several brothers to mourn his loss. The body was taken to Logan yesterday where he will be buried in the family [plot] at that place.

I was grateful to find some positive information about great grandpa: He was known as being honest, industrious, and respected. I had found what I was looking for. But there’s more to flesh out the story and gives some context for how his life ended.

  • He was in poor health, which would’ve been very discouraging if you’re trying to homestead a piece of property and make imporvements
  • The night previous he had gone out to gather up coal that had fallen off of the train. That leads me to believe they are struggling financially. It is winter (December) and maybe hard to heat their home.
  • They’ve just had a baby and maybe he is struggling to provide for his four young children.
  • He was just 17 when his father passed away. I’m guessing that was hard. His father was a polygamist and had a number of children. He may not have had a close relationship with his dad. I don’t know if there is any connection there.
  • He is homesteading in Idaho (so was at least one of his brothers). This is very hard work and could’ve been discouraging. His father owned land in Logan, but with multiple sons there wouldn’t have been enough land for everyone to inherit. The family was awarded the land after Willard’s death.

There’s more to Willard’s story than a suicide. And though the way he died certainly is a part of his story, now we know a little more about this “honest, industrious and respected citizen” of both Utah and Idaho.

Our Family (as of 2015)…

27 Jul

I’m using this image in another project but needed to have it posted online here…disregard 🙂

More family history coming soon…

 

Mickelsons 2015

How We Found the “lost children”…

17 Oct

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 11.36.13 PMPoking through Puzzilla led me to August and Mary (Gilbert) Schuck. August is one of the sons of my great-great-great grandparents, Jacob and Elizabeth Schuck. I noticed that August and his wife only had two children listed, which wouldn’t be out of the ordinary except that they lived in the 1870’s when birth control wasn’t the norm, and having more than two children was. So, curious, I decided to try to see if August and Mary had more children that we didn’t know about.

I’ll make a long story much shorter…

I wound up in the 1910 US Census because I knew that it would list the number of children a mother gave birth to as well as the number of children that were still living in 1910. If there was a difference, then we’d know there were more children (assuming that she reported correctly). Here’s what I found:

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 10.49.03 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 10.48.55 PMNoticed that she has listed 6 children being born, but only 3 still living? There was the clue I needed. Now, knowing that three children weren’t still alive in 1910, I started searching death records with August and Mary as the parents. Very quickly I found two death records, one for Addison and one for George. Both died before they were 6,  but not as infants, so I’d like to find the cause of death, but I haven’t searched that far yet and I’m not sure I’ll be able to find the causes. Here are their indexed death records:

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 10.51.39 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 10.51.10 PM

I would imagine that 1879 and 1880 were tough years for the Schuck family. And, as you can tell from my story, I haven’t found the other two missing children. We’ll see what we can find in the coming weeks.

You’ll notice that the death record has a street address where the family lived when these two young boys passed away. Using Google Maps, I found the area and where their home would’ve been, but the house or building has been, sadly, torn down.

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 11.07.20 PM

A Helpful Military Record…

26 May

Yes, it has been a while. I had a string of good genealogical luck some time ago, but found myself frustrated and busy and thus my efforts tapered a bit. Also, my free Ancestry account ran out and I found it inconvenient to go to the local Family History Library to continue to access Ancestry.

But that all changed a week or two ago when I was invited to obtain a free Ancestry account! So, here I am, and I hope to be here more often…

Today is Memorial Day, so I decided to see what was out there regarding my uncle Leon Mickelson. I found the following record:

Image

I knew everything on here, so no new information to report. But what is useful here are the newspaper article references that may share a little more about my uncle and his life and sacrifice. The newspapers listed are Herald Journal, Salt Lake Tribune, and the Deseret News. I don’t know which paper “Tele” refers to, or “Let” either. So, I’ll need to look that up.

Making Corrections in FamilySearch.org….

8 Sep

The new FamilySearch.org is a great website for family history. But along with all of the new features (which I won’t cover and probably don’t even know the half of) there are some negatives. Well, they are perceived negatives. Maybe they’re not negative at all…In fact, what started as a negative will probably turn out positive. Here’s what happened…

My son Parker was a little curious about our family history so I logged him onto his own account where he started searching around through our family tree. He bumped into John J. Roberts, who is my great-grandfather. I never knew him, but I know both of his daughters and his granddaughter (my mother). Parker noticed that there were two Elaines in John and Kate’s family. One is still alive (my grandma) and one died in 1994.

Doesn’t make sense.

I know some families had two children with the same given name, but this isn’t that family. I called mom just to confirm. I also checked the census, which confirmed only one Elaine.

So I deleted the relationship on FamilySearch, left a detailed note explaining why I deleted the relationship, and attached the census record. I also personally contacted the guy who added Elaine Fae to start a dialogue, just in case there is something I’m missing.

Though it is frustrating that anyone can just come around and add anyone they’d like with no documentation, I can also delete stuff and have a conversation about the issues in the family. I like that…

Long Lost Baby Charles! (not lost anymore…)

7 Feb

I recently discovered some things about Pauline. But that wasn’t all…

While I was searching for Pauline’s maiden name, I happened to notice this little tidbit of information on the 1900 US Census record for Charles and Pauline Ziesel:

Screen shot 2013-02-07 at 5.47.26 AM

Notice the little “3” and “2”? Apparently Pauline is reporting that she had given birth to three children, but only two were living. In our records, we have that Charles and Pauline had three children (eventually), so the real report (10 years later) would be “4” and “3”, right? Right.

I didn’t pay too much attention because I was pretty focused on finding her maiden name. But, mental note

Later that day (the day I discovered Pauline’s maiden name, “Schafer” or “Shaffer”) I was meandering through some Pennsylvania town records, hunting down the Ziesel family name and I came across this:

Screen shot 2013-02-07 at 6.00.24 AM

Hard to read, I know. But it says that a Charles R. Ziesel had died after living 10 weeks. I can’t tell what the cause of death was (influenza? cholera? I can’t read it). And if you look across the ledger you’ll find this:

Screen shot 2013-02-07 at 6.03.47 AM

Parents are “Chas + Pauline” and the address is 1235 Huntington which is the address you’ll find them at in other documents.

I also noticed a larger-than-normal gap in the birth years for Pauline…babies born in 1886, 1891, and then 1902. 1894, the year of little Charles Raymond’s birth/death, is a perfect fit. I did eventually find baby Charles with almost no information, connected to a Charles and Pauline on FamilySearch.org, but there was no information otherwise, except a middle name. I don’t know how they found the middle name. There must be some other document out there with the info, but I don’t have it (yet). A birth record? Some church record?

Welcome (back) to the family little Charles!

UPDATE:

Just found this:

Screen shot 2013-02-07 at 6.16.54 AM

 

This must be the record where you’d find baby Charles’ middle name. The only problem is that Ancestry indexed the father as Charles Schaefer, which is Pauline’s maiden name, not Charles’ last name. I’ll go to the Family History Center and check it out this week…