Recently on a beautiful spring (in Florida – the robins just returned so hang in there northerners) afternoon, family members invited me to go to lunch at a local cafe in our downtown area. Because this was a spur of the moment invitation, I hadn’t changed from my casual Saturday morning attire. I was wearing my recent Christmas gift from my sister-in-law pictured above and a pair of jeans.
When our waitress, Melissa, who has given me permission to identify her and share this story, handed us the menus, I found her staring at my t-shirt. She immediately asked, “Are you a gynecologist?” My family burst out laughing. “No,” I replied, “I’m a genealogist.” Obviously, the way I was seated at the table Melissa could not clearly read my t-shirt.
Melissa asked what a genealogist did and I explained that I was like a family historian. A family member added that I help people find their past. I added, “For people who are adopted and want to know about their birth parents, I’d work with their DNA. For everyone, I would search for old records and photos to help them prove a family story.” Melissa shook her head yes, she understood.
As we dined, Melissa returned to check on us several times; each time she had another genealogical question.
The word genealogy is derived from Greek meaning the study of generations. It surprises me that in a study done in December 2018 in the U.S., 34% of the respondents could not name their grandparents. I’m never bothered by people asking how to get information to help them discover their past so I wasn’t bothered by Melissa’s questions. Research shows that genealogy is one of the largest hobbies and I’m happy to add more people who are interested.
Valentine’s is around the corner and here’s a quick gift idea for family – a poster of your family tree. I discovered that Geneanet has some free templates that make awesome (inexpensive) gifts. I did this last minute before Christmas and the results were beautiful.
If you have a Geneanet tree you can follow the instructions below. If not, first you need to create an account a thttps://en.geneanet.org/ Although they have a premium service, which is a nice option, you don’t have to pay to become a member and upload a tree.
Download wherever you’ve saved your family tree and then upload to Geneanet on the ribbon under Family Tree – Import/Export a Family Tree. Depending on the size of your tree, this may take a few minutes.
Once your tree is uploaded, open up the individual (or yourself) that you want to start as the base of your chart. Then click on Charts & Lists – Ancestry – Printable Family Tree. There are several templates from which you can select. I chose a fan design and used a tree in the background on one and a lion on another. You can also select up to 10 generations to include. I saved it to a thumb drive and then took it to my closest big box office supply store. They quickly printed it for me on poster paper and the cost was $3.17 ($1.08 a piece with tax). Make sure you tell the sales person to leave a border around the poster if you intend to get it framed. I didn’t which I should have.
The only downside is that GENEANET is printed in large letters at the bottom right but for the price, I believe it’s worth the advertising.
Now just think – you’re family will stop asking you how so and so is related and when great grandpa died. Well, maybe if your family is like mine they’ll continue to ask but that’s okay, you can redirect them to the chart. I call it baby steps in training them to be interested in genealogy.
Happy New Year! I took a few weeks off from blogging and am delighted to be back. My blogging break, however, didn’t include a break from genealogy so in the next few weeks I’ll be writing about my recent discoveries, insights and well, dumb luck, which I’ll explain below.
I have always loved the holidays and it seems every year I get a genealogy gift from the universe. This year, I got an extra special one.
I’m not talking about the unexpected adorable t-shirt my sister-in-law bought me that says “Genealogist because Freakin Miracle Worker is not a Job Title” or the archival pens I found in my stocking (thanks, hubby). It’s those Santa gifts that I cherish because they come when I least expect it and make me scratch my head trying to figure out how in the world they even came about.
Trying to bring logic to the situation, I came up with a formula P1 + P2 = P3 whereas P1 is persistence, P2 is patience and together they equal P3 which is prosperity. Perhaps there is no logic involved and as I said earlier, this was just dumb luck.
This year, a few days after Thanksgiving, I saw a comment posted on Ancestry.com about one of the 10,000 plus pictures I’ve uploaded. Yes, I know that those pictures I uploaded give Ancestry rights. I understand I own the photos but these long dead people I do not own so I believe in sharing their lives. Legally, they lost their rights when they died so I have taken responsibility to track who is taking those shared photos. I figure it’s the least I can do to honor them.
The Ancestry comment was from an individual I did not know; he had identified the people in the photo above I had attached to my grandmother Lola Landfair Leininger. Most of the photos I inherited were not labeled so I placed all the photos under my grandmother’s tab as I assumed they had meaning to her since she had passed them to my father. I did not get the photos until long after both of them died and there was no family members left to identify them.
Around 2005, after a series of hurricanes had hit our area and being tired of lugging them around as we evacuated, I decided to scan and save the photos to CD. I titled them Leininger Family Photos but that turned out to be a mistake. Leininger was my grandmother’s married name; I realized that many of these undated photos had clues that showed they predated her marriage and if she was the care taker of them, then the older ones would be Landfair and Kuhn (my great grandmother’s line) photos. At the time I saved to CD, I uploaded to Ancestry but I didn’t realize that saving them as Leininger wasn’t helpful to any other surnames related to that family as they wouldn’t have shown up in an Ancestry search for those other lines.
Over the years, I have received a number of inquiries from Leiningers who asked for more details about a photo or two. I always persistently made a copy of the CD and mailed it off asking only that the receiver notify me of anyone they identify but none were ever able to help.
On Christmas Eve day I received an email that he had identified several more individuals that were closely related to him – his grandfather as a child and his great-grandfather. He had never seen those photos and was so excited he was going to take the photos with him to share with his family to see if they could identify others. Nine of the photos were eventually claimed as his closer family.
So, you can imagine my surprise and delight after patiently waiting 13 years to receive a comment identifying the Landfair children. How did this poster know that these were Landfair children? He had inherited the same photo that was clearly marked with their names. I mailed off the CD to him but with the busyness of the season, didn’t give it much thought.
In speaking with his older relatives, one who is in her 90’s, he learned that our shared great-great grandfather, Peter Landfair, had only one photo ever taken of himself. He did it because his family was insistent he be photographed and I know that I don’t own that one photo because family lore says he was photographed with his back to the camera. I would never know this story if I hadn’t shared the CD with this distant cousin.
On a side note, while sharing the photos he learned that a stash of them is residing in an unheated barn in the midwest. (Yep, that would be my family; mine were found in an unheated damp basement). He hadn’t been aware of that and plans to rescue them this month. I’m hoping that he finds that backside photo. Even if he doesn’t, I feel that the photos will lead to genealogy prosperity with lines we currently have no photos for and perhaps, we’ll be able to connect with others and gain even more goodies.
My New Year’s resolution is to continue blogging, sharing and connecting. I’m also wishing you and yours Genealogy Prosperity in 2019.