Do you have DAMAGED PHOTOS that break your heart because you can’t appreciate the picture while fixating on the ugly part? I do and I was never able to use the photos in family projects because I couldn’t restore them to their former glory.
Thanks to MyHeritage.com, it is now simple, quick, easy and free (some limitations apply) to return the photos to better than new. Here’s how:
First, upload your photo to be repaired by logging into MyHeritage.com and click on Photos in the ribbon, then click the Upload box on the right.
Once uploaded, the photo appears with your media items. Now, click the photo needing to be repaired.
Above the photo on the right hand side, the following options are shown: Repair, Enhance, Colorize, Animate. To correct the photo it’s recommended you select options from left to right.
Once I click Repair and MyHeritage.com does it’s magic, the photo will be shown as follows:
Much improved but still not perfect. Sure, I can clip out the damage to the upper portions of the photo but I want to restore the picture to as close as new as possible so here’s what I’m going to do – On the upper left hand side of the photo, click on the gear icon which is the settings option. The photos are first repaired Gently – that’s the default setting. I’m going to click the box Extensive Repair Option and Preview. Now look at what it does:
Isn’t that AMAZING?! You can stop there but I wanted to make the photo even more defined so I next clicked on Enhance. Here’s what the result was:
Due to the size limitation on my blog, the subtle improvements are not as apparent as on my larger computer screen but when you try it you’ll notice the difference. Next I decided to go ahead and colorize it. I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of colorizing because I like to know FOR SURE if what I’m presenting in my research is accurate. It is fun, however, to imagine what the original outfits looked like so I decided to click the Colorize button to see what the program would select:
I again used the Settings (gear icon) to tweak the saturation manually as the first colorization picture showed a pink hue on right side of the dress. Knowing the individuals as I did, that wouldn’t have been the color choice. The brown/silver grey was more in keeping with the time period (1917) fashion and the wearer’s preference. In my excitement to get the photo corrected I neglected to tell you who the people are! This is a photo of my paternal grandparents, Edwin and Lola Landfair Leininger, and their oldest child, my dad, Orlo Guy Leininger. He was born June 4, 1917 so I guess this must be a photo that commemorated his first Christmas. Nothing was written on the photo back (of course). I received the photo 5 years after my father’s death in a box that was kept in a damp unheated northern Indiana basement for probably at least 10 years. I’m fortunate that the photo survived, albeit damaged. I’m thrilled that it has been restored. Thanks, MyHeritage.com for your new feature! For the ethic minded, I also appreciate that MyHeritage.com acknowledges that the photo was altered. You can see the After written in the upper left hand corner of the photo and on the bottom left, icons appear showing exactly what features were used to change the original picture. I’ve blogged before about the animation feature but it has since added many new features, too. I couldn’t resist animating my Dad, I’m sure he would approve:
Set your alarm and check out MyHeritage.com for a wonderful new feature that will be rolled out tomorrow. I promised Daniel Horowitz I wouldn’t tell you WHAT it is but I don’t want you to miss it as I think you’ll be as excited as I am to give it a try.
I absolutely adore those unexpected finds, don’t you?! During my two week hiatus I decided I’d try to solve a John Duer (1801-1885) mystery. I wasn’t able to do that yet but I have made some tremendous progress and want to share how I came to put the pieces together to answer my question – Why is it written on Mary Jane Morrison Duer’s 1866 tombstone “Wife of John Duer” when John was married to Margaret Ann Martz Searight Duer at the time of Jane’s death? I have never found a marriage record for the 2nd marriage nor have I found a divorce record for the first wife. Was there more than one John Duer? (Yes, there are many!) Was John polygamous? (Could be but I haven’t found that in the Duer line. They were Quakers, Presbyterians and then Independent Christians.)
John and Jane are my paternal third great grandparents. No one ever mentioned them but in all fairness, I was not close to my father’s side of the family so I never got much family information about anyone. Duer cousins I have connected with have no information, either.
I love researching the Duers for several reasons – 1. They are complex in that they reuse the same names every generation – John, William, Thomas, and they all have large families so separating who is who is a wonderful mind puzzle. 2. Records are scarce – they don’t leave many records and they just disappear in thin air. 3. Somehow, every time I go back to working on those lines a strange event occurs to help me find the information. That kind of happened again Christmas night which I think was the most perfect gift I received.
The week before Christmas I re-analyzed all the information I had on the family and began to sort out some anomalies. I discovered that a Find-A-Grave memorial for a John Fred Duer is in error. I’ve written to my distant cousin to have it corrected. The mistake was in plain site on the page and I’m embarrassed I didn’t catch it years ago. The memorial shows that the man was 102-3 when he died – possible but unlikely. Looking at the individual who requested the tombstone, I realized that two Johns – John Fred and John B. had been merged. The birthdate for John B. was entered with the death date for John Fred. The tombstone does not provide a birth date.
John B. was John and Jane’s son; John Fred[eric] was the son of Charles Edward and Almeda Buckmaster Duer. Charles Edward was the son of John and 2nd wife Margaret Martz Duer. John Fred’s mother had requested the military tombstone for her son who had served in World War 1. John B. was dead before World War 1 and too old to serve.
I can understand how the mistake happened – most of John and Jane’s children are buried in Kessler Cemetery, Mercer, Ohio. John B., however, is not – he is buried in Backestro Cemetery, Adams, Indiana. John and Margaret lived in Adams, Indiana so you would think they would be buried there but Margaret, Charles Edward and John Fred are buried in Kessler. No one knows where John, husband of Jane and Margaret, was buried. My guess is Kessler in an unmarked grave. I’ve checked with those who oversee the cemetery and there is a depression next to Jane’s grave that was possibly an interment. My guess is that the family didn’t pay for a tombstone. More on that in another blog sometime.
My working theory is that some of John and Jane’s children were not wild about his second marriage to Margaret. Hence, they would put the “wife of John” on Jane’s tombstone to validate their mother’s marriage to their father. I wanted to narrow down the time period of when the couple split and try to determine how John met Margaret since she was in the next state. I’ll write more about that another time, too.
My thought was to check out, in detail, all of the players – meaning looking more closely at all of the children of the two couples and their spouses. I used Excel to list all of them, the date and the place where I had a record they could be found. I realized there was a lot I did not know. I’ll be writing in the next few weeks about some of the interesting and sad finds I made but for now, back to the Christmas night find.
I was using FamilySearch.org image feature which I highly recommend. If you haven’t used it you must because almost all of the wonderful information I have compiled lately on this family is from this unindexed, convoluted place. You must try it! Images do not mean pictures as in photos. Images mean they are a picture of a document. They look just like the other microfilmed documents that are indexed on the site. The images are not always orderly, meaning you might find a death record next to a marriage consent. You must take it slow, examine closely and click away.
To use images, sign into Familysearch.org, on the ribbon click “Search” and the “Images.” Under “Place” type whatever area you are researching. In this case, I was looking for a deed record for Mercer County, Ohio because John and Jane were last found together there in July 1860 in the US Federal Census. I entered in Place “United States, Ohio, Mercer” and clicked Search Image Groups. When I try to duplicate that search today, however, it will only let me enter Ohio, United States. Don’t know why it’s been changed but no worries! On the left hand side of the screen “Places Within” is a drop down so I will scroll to Mercer [County]. There are 321 record types to look at – woo hoo, that’s a lot of info that may or may not be relevant.
The 1860 US federal census showed John and Jane living two residences away from their married daughter, Maria Duer Kuhn, in Liberty Township, Mercer, Ohio. Liberty Township should have been where I was looking for a record of the deed for the property but I didn’t find that township specifically. (I first tried the Mercer County, Ohio property appraiser site and did not find the record there). With the options limited, I clicked on FamilySearch.org on Celina, Land Record 1834-2003, etc. I was thinking that Celina was the county seat and that’s where the deed may have been recorded.
Remember, these images are not indexed so I decided I would open the page to as full a view as possible (meaning I clicked the > on the right hand side and was just mindlessly clicking image after image zeroing in on the years 1850 (when I last knew the family was in Killbuck, Holmes, Ohio based on the census and 1866 when John and Margaret had their first child together and Jane died. Sometime in those 16 years perhaps there was a deed in Mercer and I wanted to know which wife was on it.) Turns out that wasn’t correct but that’s another story…
It was a very good practice that I had first become familiar with children and their spouses. After just a few minutes, on image 130 of 1112, I discovered the record at the top of the page. Look at the second from last entry above for Grantees Ceraldo, John F. & Mary Ceraldo.
John and Jane’s daughter, Mary Ann, has been elusive and here I found a deed record for her and her husband in 1887. I about jumped out of my chair!
All I knew of Mary was that she had married twice, to a James Furman in July 1875 and to John L. Ceraldo in April 1879, both in Mercer County, Indiana. I can’t find her in the 1860 or 1900 census. There is a child, Daniel, listed with the couple in 1870 US federal census, however, it must be from a previous relationship of John’s. That is the only record for the child I could find. No marriage record for a possible first wife. No burial records. Nada!
John Ceraldo was a naturalized citizen having been born in Mexico and serving in the cavalry for the Union during the Civil War. He could not read nor write so his name is spelled in multiple ways in the few records found. The couple eventually ended up in Michigan where Mary died in 1909. Sadly, John, the informant, knew John Duer was Mary’s father but did not mention Jane as her mother. The mother space is recorded as Unknown. Jane, having died in 1866, probably never met John but why didn’t Mary ever talk about her? This seemed to be a pattern with the younger children of John and Jane as James William and Angeline’s death certificates list an incorrect first name or record unknown. More Duer mysteries! Why was Jane forgotten by her youngest children?
What was so awesome about this find was that I wasn’t looking for it. I also was able to place the couple in Ohio as they had not yet relocated to Michigan. The gap between 1880 and 1900 is large so any find in that period is just wonderful. I also discovered they continued living in Jefferson Township, since at least 1870, and not Liberty Township where siblings had settled.
I don’t know the relationship of Daniel Webster, also listed as a Grantee, is to the couple. That’s another clue I have to pursue.
On Tuesday, a new FREE database became available – Enslaved: People of the Historic Slave Trade lists 500,000 individual names of the once enslaved. You may browse by entering a person’s name, place, event or source. I gave it a whirl yesterday and although I didn’t find what I was looking for, think it’s a wonderful source to add to every genealogists’ tool kit.
The site is definitely a work in progress but then, so is every genealogical database. The goal is to enter as many names/places/events that documented an enslaved individual. With many records held in private hands, that has made the endeavor all the more difficult.
It’s been estimated that there were over 10 million Africans who survived the passage to the new world in bondage. The majority were transported to South America, Brazil in particular.
The enslaved who resided in Roman Catholic areas were often Baptized. Hence, names are more likely available. Unfortunately, that was not always the case. Entering the search term “Brazil” in the database provided me with 45,753 responses but the majority do not provide a name for the enslaved. Instead, a name of the seller or purchaser is given with a date.
I have been trying to identify the names of the enslaved individuals who were probably brought from Barbados to the New Jersey Colony by my 7th “great*” STEP grandmother, Thomasin Hassell Holinshead about 1720. Thomasin’s father was a sugar planter in Barbados. No records have been found of his death or the sale of his plantation although the location has been discovered on island maps.
Thomasin’s husband, my 7th great* grandfather, Daniel Hollin[g]shead was not a man of means but happened to marry for the second time the sugar heiress’ daughter. Within four years of the marriage they had relocated to New Jersey where Daniel sold vast tracks of wilderness. He died intestate (of course!) in 1730.
I only know of the enslaved individuals from Thomasin’s will of 3 Jan 1757 made in Somerset, New Jersey. She interestingly selected her youngest daughter, Elizabeth, to serve as administrator. Records exist that Thomasin was not pleased with her oldest son, Francis, who had served as administrator for his father, Daniel’s estate as he squandered most of the funds. Thomasin left him and her other surviving children 1 shilling, about $15.30 in today’s money. Says alot!
The clip above shows the part of the will that provides me the clue that Thomasin had enslaved individuals. I do not know:
How long they had been with her?
I have tried to find a will for administrator Elizabeth but her life is sketchy. Mug books mention that she married late in life and had no children. Her husband’s name has been recorded as Thomas Dean of Abington but that, too, is odd. Elizabeth’s brother, William, had relocated to Bucks County, Pennsylvania and named a daughter Elizabeth. That Elizabeth was the second wife of Thomas Bean of Abington. I’ve seen dates of birth for Thomas Bean ranging over 20 years so maybe there was more than 1 as there was more than 1 Elizabeth Hollinshead. No record for a Dean was ever found.
I tried the enslaved database to see if I could find any sale for a Holinshead (with multiple spellings) for New Jersey or Pennsylvania. Zilch. Then tried for New Jersey which lists 78 people and Pennsylvania, showing 244. None were in the areas I was looking for – Somerset County, New Jersey and Buck’s County, Pennsylvania.
Although I wasn’t successful I applaud the site for it’s compilations so far, ease of use and making it free which ironically, lists all those who weren’t.
*NOTE – clearly they weren’t so great enslaving individuals and other records found show Thomasin wasn’t so great to my 6th great grandmother, her only stepchild, but that’s another story.
Ancestry.com has again updated their DNA Results Summary. Sure, it’s only as accurate as the number of people who have tested. What my latest results tell me is that Ancestry has had a whole lot more Swedish, German and Slavs testing and not many Balkans.
I know this because the updated results show I am 42% Eastern European and Russian and 41% Germanic Europe.
In Ancestry’s last update, I was considered French; today I am of German ancestry.
My paternal line would not have thought much of that finding; with a name like Leininger they would have accepted the Germanic Europe as fact. The truth is more complex – the ancestors that were forgotten most likely would have been livid with the designation as they considered themselves French. My two times great grandmother was christened as Marie Marguerite not the Germanic Maria Margarette. Her spouse was christened Jean Leininger and not Johan. They resided in the Palatinate, the region that flipped several time between what is now Germany and France. They wisely spoke both French and German. Funny that the land has stopped switching but the ethnicity indicators haven’t. Ancestry would be smart to have a Palatine region noted instead of moving ethnicity results every update.
Interestingly, the results do include 5% of an ethnicity estimate as French and the region is the Riviera, where my Lamphere’s (Landfairs) did reside in the 1600’s prior to fleeing France for London and then Ireland and then Virginia. It appears they intermarried with relatives and others who fled with them and that is somewhat supported in that I now have no Irish identified. Well, that’s not quite true, either…
My Irish is encompassed under my Scottish designation.
I also find it interesting that I have Welsh separated from England (which encompasses Northwestern Europe now). I am most definitely Welsh with my people moving to Cheshire for a time. That is shown in the map, along with the northwest section of France. That is also correct as I have some William the Conqueror folks originating in that French region.
My maternal line, though, would have my grandmother in requesting her money back.
Family stories shared by my grandmother say her side moved to the what is now the outskirts of Zagreb, Croatia around the time of Christ because of overpopulation on the island to the south where they once resided. That would most likely have been Kos Island, part of Greece today. The now defunct National Geographic project did route my ancestry on that trail. Grandma said my grandfather’s people had already been in the Zagreb region when her people arrived and they had been Gypsies. National Geographic’s results showed that, too. Using records, I can show that my maternal line was in the Zagreb region as far back as the 1600’s. Based on a title the family was awarded, I can show some were in the region as early as the 1100’s. For 900 years, they resided in a small area in what is now known as Croatia. According to Ancestry, I’m 3% Balkan.
Explaining to my grandmother how Ancestry obtains their results would have been maddening. I’m sure some of you are going to have to try with an older relative. I send you good thoughts in doing that!
I am quite impressed, though, with Ancestry and their Swedish results. Look above as I have shown how Southern Sweden is shown by region. I have worked very hard to get most of my husband’s Swedish lines identified and they are from the area Ancestry identified. I’m looking forward to someday seeing a trend like this for my other ethnicities.
Ancestry has also released a section called StoryScout. It’s housed under DNA and includes information that you may have provided in a tree. I didn’t spend much time on this but I did take a look and it reminded me of something that is important to do and I honestly fail at it.
The section is based on census and military records from the 20th century. Sure, I’ve saved those records to my ancestors 20 plus years ago. I know where they lived, who they lived with, blah blah blah. What gave me pause, however, was that it correctly showed my maternal grandfather and noted that his income was nearly twice that of an average man at the time. He made $1400.00 per year when the average was in the mid $700.00’s. Wow. This explained to me why my immigrant family could afford a car in the 1920’s, a phone in the 1930’s, travel to California in the 1940’s and to Europe in the ’60’s. Now I understand why grandma, when babysitting me, would drag me to the nice stores and dress shops and had her hair done each week. Duh! They never flaunted their wealth and dutifully shipped supplies several times a year back to the old country. Thanks, Ancestry, for taking one small data point in the census and giving me an insight I hadn’t he thought about. Try it, it might work for you, too.
I’ve been consumed with my Hollingsheads for the last two months so I’ve not blogged about a few awesome resources I’ve come across that may benefit you. Some are free, some are not. Here they are:
MyHeritage Photo Enhancer is a wonderful tool not just to fix blurry photos but also get a better view of fuzzy documents. I tried this out in June when I was having difficulty transcribing handwriting from a Quaker document. I also tried it on an extremely blurry group photo I had of my husband’s Harbaughs but the original photo was too small so it didn’t work well. You can read more about this here.
New York Genealogical and Biographical Society began Beta testing in March their new online collections. I was not a participant due to other commitments though I did use it briefly in June and July when I was in need of New York records. Here’s more info about the update.
Want to attend a training/conference/Zoom/GoToMeeting, etc. session but know you’re not available at the day/time it’s being presented? No worries – most organizations will record and make the session available for viewing later. Go ahead and sign up anyway. You’ll probably get an email with a link to view later. I had to miss an APG Virtual Chapter meeting in June and an American Ancestors class in July but was able to watch what I missed at my convenience later. So, go ahead and sign up for the event even if you can’t attend!
Academia.edu is a new tool in my toolbox and I honestly couldn’t have analyzed my Hollingsheads in Barbados as I did without it! There is a membership fee, ballpark about $50 annually, that I’ve more than gotten my money’s worth in the last two months. The site allows you access to unlimited journal articles and papers by educators on a wide variety of topics. I selected history and the Caribbean in particular to learn more about the time period I was researching (1650-1750). That allowed me access to archaeological studies recently done to gain a better perspective of what life was like then, historical works revisited (so I could easily find primary sources), and opportunity to contact social scientists with questions directly. The site is not just for history enthusiasts but that’s the only part I’ve used. Membership also provides you your own website, which I have not set up since I already have my own, but it’s a nice feature and looks like it’s quick and easy to use if you’re new to webdesign. If you’ve used JStor, this is similar but I’ve found that it contains more info if you’re focusing on a sliver of time and place.
Don’t forget YouTube and your local Genealogy Society! I recently watched a wonderful video about River Pirates. I had no idea there was such a thing in the Midwest, nor was I aware of some of the terror that reigned in small communities due to deranged families. It also never occurred to me that there was poor workmanship back in those days that resulted in lives and supplies being lost. I heard about the topic from my local genealogy society; one of the member’s brother was the speaker and I’m so glad I viewed it. Hubby and I went to school in Indiana and that topic was never addressed in the curriculum!
Last but not least, and probably more important than everything mentioned – if you haven’t noticed Ancestry.com has updated their messaging system. Gone are the folders you may have previously used to save correspondence with other members. You can download it so you don’t lose anything. I strongly urge you to do so TODAY as it will be gone this month. I don’t know what they did yesterday but I had 11 messages. I had recently reached out to several folks who had some Hollingsheads in their trees but it wasn’t 11. In reviewing the messages, I discovered most were not new (9) and the two that were were old – one was from November 2019 and the other from June 24, 2020. Guess they got lost in cyberspace but it did make me look bad as I try to respond within 48 hours! Check out this feature to see if the update they did before dawn’s early light this past week affected your messages.
Found a wonderful site this week that I think you’ll enjoy. Check out The Evolution of the American Census. This interactive site allows you to compare census questions over the years. The presentation is simply awesome! You’ll be able to view information your ancestors were asked to provide along with what the US’s interests were over time. Quite interesting to see the direction the nation took over time.
I just wish this was available in a poster for a ready reference sheet.
My only other wish was that we could all view the 1950 US Federal census now while we were still home. Alas, that’s two years off in the future.
Without a doubt, researching African American genealogy in the U.S. has never been easy, even though Alex Haley made it look like it was in Roots. Sure, you can go back to the 1870 census but it often takes hours of Boots on the Ground to determine lineage before the Civil War.
Perhaps that’s about to change! Coming soon, an online database thanks to the University of Michigan’s Enslaved: Peoples of the Historic Slave Trade study that is partnering with organizations to link databases and attempt to match individuals as they moved from place to place. I first read about this amazing work in the January-February 2020 Smithsonian article, Tracing the Enslaved by Amy Crawford. Although the database combining multiple records held in archives around the globe is not yet available, it’s scheduled to be open soon.
In the meantime, try researching the Slave Societies Digital Archive, the brainchild of Jane Landers of Vanderbilt University. Begun in 2003, over 700,000 pages of documents have been digitized from Brazil, Columbia, Cuba, Angola and Florida (which was then Spanish). Many of the documents are religious because these once Spanish held territories had a different view of Africans; they were thought to be more souls to save for Catholicism, thus they recorded Baptisms and other vitals.
While you were partying away the holidays, you might have missed the announcement from Curtis Rogers, founder of GEDMatch, that he has sold his business to Verogen, Inc.
What does this mean to you? Well, stay tuned as for now, not much but in the ever changing world of genealogy it could be something later.
I’m not surprised by the sale; GEDMatch was having a difficult time moving the company forward (ie. the website was early millenium when they started) and with policy, such as what constituted adherence to their guidelines ethically regarding privacy and usage by 3rd party sources. I’ve blogged about last year (The Dark Side of DNA) if you’d like details.
Personally, I’ve left my DNA open to view. This may be a naive decision but I think it’s the most ethical for the moment. I don’t care if I’m contacted by the police searching for a relative. No one is going to steal the limited DNA available and clone me (I have heard that claim from a few clients). On the contrary, I may connect with others who hold the answers to which I seek. And maybe not!
Like every decision we make daily, there are pros and cons. I’m taking a wait and see attitude with this sale and will keep you informed of any new developments.
Notice the new Hints feature on Ancestry? It appears at the top of the Hints page in the middle below the ribbon:
To become a part of the Beta test group, simply toggle the button “BETA OFF” to the right to become “BETA ON.”
If you aren’t into Beta testing, here’s what changes you would see – after the two pictures of Joseph Reid, notice there is a “Quick Compare” toggle on the right side of the screen. I have the feature disabled below so all you see in the last column for the Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982 is Different and New:
What was different and new? Joseph was misspelled on the Texas Death Certificate as Joshph which is why it is noted as different from what I have in my tree, Joseph. I did not have Joseph’s spouse and children so that information would be “New” to me. Other options are Same (for the named individual) and Match (for a spouse or child).
When you toggle from right to left the Quick Compare button, you see the following:
So now I see what exactly is the difference from my tree and the record (which was what I figured – Joseph was spelled differently, duh!). It also provides the birth date and place I had in my tree. I had Ohio but the death record stated Pennsylvania, USA.
Compare is a nice feature as you can see the differences between the new record and what’s already saved in your tree without having to leave the Hints page. I don’t use Hints often, though, so it’s not likely I’ll be toggling for Quick Compares frequently.
This is how I use Hints – If I have Hints on, I always click Ignore. I do this because the Hint never goes away, it simply disables the waving leaf. If I ever want to see the Hint I ignored, all I need to do is go to the Hints section of an individual as seen below (Click on Hints, it’s in the same line with LifeStory):
Clicking on Ignored will allow me to look at those Ignored Hints again.
If you are looking at Hints for everyone in your tree (by clicking the leaf on the upper right hand corner and selecting your tree) in the Beta option, when you click Ignore you get the following:
I would click “I already have this information.” as I don’t need the same picture saved twice.
If you’d like to offer your input in making Ancestry.com’s Hints better, give the Beta test a try.
Next week, I’m going to blog about why I have Joseph Reid, the father-in-law of my husband’s 5th cousin twice removed. Stay tuned.