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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mysteries in my Family Tree - Part 3

Richard Flanagan who went to London is not much of a mystery in and of himself.  We know all about his origins, ancestry back to about 1690 Ireland, and who he married along with his immediate family.  Richard even had letters that are preserved that give you an insight into what he was like and the thoughts he shared with his uncle and brothers.  The letters are quite amazing.  For anyone related to him, I would imagine that even one letter might glean interest in this Richard Flanagan.

Richard Flanagan of Termonfechin, Louth, Ireland was not the first Richard Flanagan from this part of the world.   I count at least six Richard Flanagan's in my family line.  Three of them in Napa, California and three of them in Termonfechin.   They each have very specific stories and histories in and of themselves.  One of the three from Termonfechin moved to London.  He is the Richard Flanagan who might have descendants that we'd like to find.   The mystery continues as I run aground in search of any family.

This Richard Flanagan was born in 1830 Termonfechin, Louth, Ireland, the oldest child of John Flanagan and Anne Maguire.  By at least 1861, he is living in London, England working for the Crown.  Specifically, he was a customs officer.  On January 24, 1871, he married Maria Cutler.  They lived in Hackney St. John, Deptford, London, England.  Now, I have no idea if I indicated this location correctly.  London is a big place with titles for different areas of the city.  I see Hackney and Deptford mentioned all over source documents along with Lewisham.  Because I am no expert in geography for London, I am at a bit of a loss in my exact description of where they lived.  I can map these locations on Google Maps and pretty much find the general area of London in which they lived.  That said, I am pretty sure that I would never be able to find it on my own if I went there.

So, on 7 Sept. 1873, Kathleen Anne Flanagan was born.  I have her birth location as Poplar, London, England.  Richard and Maria had only one child.  On 7 July 1878, Richard Flanagan died in London, England.  His health had been failing him as he indicated to his family in letters.  I am not certain that we know what he died of.  My husband said to me that if he was a customs officer, can you imagine what he might have been exposed to doing that job?  That's an interesting point.

At some point, Maria must have communicated with the Flanagan's in Termonfechin about Kathleen's marriage to Henry Wingrove on 6 June 1900.  The Flanagan's also knew about her son, Norman Richard Wingrove, born 10 March 1902.  That's where the trail found in the family records ended until I picked up the torch to find the Wingrove's.  I found a few more of Kathleen's children , Norah and Eric, but the trail stops for me in 1911 moving forward in time to present day.  Do we have some unknowing Wingrove/Flanagan relatives in modern times?   That remains a mystery.

My full research is contained in this blog at the following links:

Wingroves - Part 1 - September 15, 2010
Wingroves - Part 2 - September 16, 2010
Wingroves - Part 3 - September 17, 2010
Flanagan Wingrove - Termonfechin to London - October 25, 2010

I have sought and continue to seek this Wingrove Family.  We have a very interesting Flanagan Family History to share.

Next up....Owen McLaughlin.............

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mysteries in my Family Tree - Part 2

Thomas Flanagan was born in 1836 at the Flanagan Farm in Termonfechin, Louth, Ireland.  His parents were John Flanagan (1805-1891) and Anne Maguire (1810-1867).  For the first 14 years of his life, Thomas lived in Termonfechin.  Just as his siblings, he would have learned to read and write proficiently and knew how to farm the land.

In 1850, Thomas Flanagan left Termonfechin never to be seen or heard from again.  It is presumed that he went to Dublin, Ireland.  The family has always considered that he must have died there.  That may be the case.  There was apparently no further word from Thomas after he left home.  This is rather uncharacteristic for members of this family.  Even in a bleak moment of dissatisfaction with the "Grandfather" at the Flanagan Farm at the time, the family members still wrote home after leaving Ireland for good.

Flanagan Farm Aerial

So what did come of Thomas Flanagan?  Did he make it to Dublin?  Did he live there and die there?  Did he leave Ireland?  Did he change his name?

Trying to find Thomas is and will continue to be like finding a needle in a haystack.  The name Flanagan itself is not uncommon.  Searching Irish records turns up plenty of Thomas Flanagan's.  The sad thing about Thomas is that there is a story there, long or short, that remains a mystery.

To be continued...............  

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mysteries in my Family Tree - Part 1

Everyone loves a mystery, right?  When it comes to one's family tree, most people hope that the mysteries are cleared up quickly and easily.   That hope can sometimes be dashed by the fact that there just is not enough information preserved to trace a line back in time.  Eventually, a researcher hits a brick wall.  I have broken through a few brick walls and continue blazing my family tree back in time.

Rather than call the end to the current research a "brick wall", I think I will change it to "a stop".  Sometimes you've got to stop the research for a while and allow time, resources, and maybe some people to catch up.  I had thought for a long time that I'd hit a brick wall in my research in Ireland but am now beginning to realize that it is just "a stop" for now.  A stop on one line gives me the chance to go work on yet another family line.  I can even do some "clean up" on my family tree.  Lord knows that's system does not always populate information in the most neat, complete fashion.
So what about those mysteries?  What ever happened to Thomas Flanagan of Termonfechin, Louth, Ireland?  What about Richard Flanagan who went to London's family line?  Who was Owen McLaughlin and how was he related to the McLaughlin's found in the Irish Settlement in Newport, New York?  I find these mysteries in my family tree to be rather fascinating.

The first two mysteries are little different than what most people may expect.  Instead of working back in time to find ancestors, our Flanagan Family in Ireland is actually looking for their descendants, if there are any.  You'd think that moving forward in time would be an advantage.  It is in England but only until 1911 when records then cease to be available from then to present day because of privacy reasons.  And, I am not sure how to go about researching a person who disappeared to Dublin, Ireland around 1850.  He is presumed to have died there.  Will we ever find out what really happened to Thomas Flanagan?

Descendants aside, the Irish Settlement in Newport, New York, found people holding close ties to each other to create and maintain a community in the early to late 1800s.  Owen McLaughlin appears to be the mystery cousin to my McLaughlin's.  Is he really that much of a mystery though?  We have quite a bit of information about him.

To be continued..............

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Photo Tips and Tricks - Part 3

Even in the world of social media and handy apps to help you along with uploading photos,  I shy away from relying on those types of photos as my copy.  You can download a photo right off Facebook or the internet but it's not going to be the best quality.

Instagram is an interesting photo program that Facebook recently purchased.  It can give a photo that nostalgic 1970s color photo effect.   I must admit to having plenty of photos with that effect in my own personal photo album from my childhood.  I don't need more plus I wouldn't want to apply that "effect" to photos found on my family tree.  That's just my personal preference plus those photos in my own personal album look that way because they are faded and old.

Preservation and, in some cases, restoration of an old photo is necessary.  That's where Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Elements comes in handy.  For me, I can pluck a photo off the internet, from an email or scan an old photo and, basically, make it look better.  I have zoomed, cropped, and retouched photos to my delight.  The basic functions included in Photoshop Elements make it fairly easy for anyone to enhance a photo.  The following was literally thumbnail in printed form found in my grandma's album.  It's amazing what zoom and resizing the photo can do.

Mary Borchers ------ Maria Luise Katharine Vienop, Circa 1900

Now actually fixing a photo, can be a little more involved.  My MIL asked my husband to see what he could do with an old photo of his great grandfather.  The photo was at least an 11 X 17 and had a rather large tear in it that crossed the portrait up to the check of his great grandfather.   What a shame this would be without Photoshop.

Armed with a plan and technology, my husband first tried to scan the photo but that did not produce a workable result.  Next,  he laid the photo flat under some large books for a week or so.   The photo would just curl up on it's own so this was a very necessary step in the process.  Once the photo was flat, he setup a make shift easel/stand for the photo rather than laying it horizontal.  He got the lighting up to his liking in our office and took some photos with our Nikon SLR Digital Camera.  This photo of a photo really did work but he was only half way there.

The final part of this process was to open this photo in Photoshop and repair the tear that was still showing.  Photoshop can work miracles for sure.  Suffice it to say that the photo no longer has a tear.

William Ross

Fixing and/or repairing a photo can be quite rewarding.  When you've only got a handful of old photos of ancestors, pulling out the best of each photo can be done so well with current technology.  I feel as though I've just touched on the tip of the iceberg in photo enhancement.  I am so fortunate to have these tools at my fingertips.

Compressing A Photo

Uploading to a website or emailing a photo may force you to downsize it a bit.  Good quality photos tend to be over 600 DPI and/or 1MB or larger.  Generally, websites will not allow this size photo to be uploaded because of space.  You may even run into issues trying to email an 8MB photo to someone.

To send a "right sized" photo or complete an upload when your hand is forced to do so, you will want to compress the photo.  Photoshop Elements allows you to adjust pixels and resize the photo plus change the quality level.  In the absence of a program like this, what does one use?   I have used the compression tool found in MS PowerPoint but that is geared toward the photo living within a PowerPoint presentation or project.

Additionally, I used to use a website known as Picnik.   What happened to Picnik?  Well, if you go to that website it does say that "The Picnik is over."  It refers you to Google+ (yes, Google Plus).  I have not explored this option.  I use Google products but have not gotten into the "Google Plus" mode.  Never fear though, you can find "online quick use" compression tools.  I just "Google" it.  No pun intended.

In the end, I still have a call out for photos of my family to relatives who may be just discovering the treasures that they have hidden in a drawer, box or storage somewhere.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Photo Tips and Tricks - Part 2

With so many options available to manage photos, what works best?  There is the traditional practice of printing them out, followed by the storage of them electronically, and then there's online storage.  Whatever option you pick for photo storage depends on your purpose in using the photos.

Personally, my goal is to print and/or reproduce only the very best photos for framing and physically sharing with others.  With so many sharing options and a large volume of photos, I do not print much in the way of individual photos these days.  I do love making photo books via Shutterfly and find the process and end result quite satisfying.  I must admit that even in the face of the top quality photo book, nothing beats an actual printed photo on appropriate photo paper.

Storing photos electronically on a CD, USB drive, hard drive or the like is a great way to stay organized and manage a large volume of photos.  I find this task to be daunting at times and must continue to persevere in order to backup my photos.  As most people would agree, electronically storing anything that you value requires a duplication of it to protect from loss.  So...Backup!  Backup!  Backup!  This so definitely applies to your photos, especially old photos of your ancestors.

With my genealogy projects, printing and producing a physical book or album kind of defeats my overall purpose of sharing my family tree experience with whomever wants to read about it in the here and now online but also with my family near and far.  Don't get me wrong, at some point I will produce a bound book for my own family.  In the meantime, I work hard to not hide my family tree research away in a drawer or closet in my home for my children to find when they are old and gray.   Sharing photos and information online is my way of preserving this information including photos in an open forum.

While my blog is wide open to whomever reads my genealogy journal, my Shutterfly photo share site is exclusive to family members associated with my genealogy.  I set this share site up many months ago.  To be honest, I have not added many photos recently but will soon.  It is just sitting there for now.  In the future, I plan to continue loading photos in accordance with my overall family tree project.  That way sharing a photo becomes quick and easy.

When I upload a photo to my blog, Google places it into Picassa.  Picassa is yet another photo sharing site.  This is done by default so it really is a no brainer for me to use Picassa.  I have not used the site for separate uploads in an effort to keep that storage location exclusive to photos posted to my blog.

Storing photos can be a big deal.   What about fixing a photo?  See my next post for the results of fxing the following photo:

William Ross

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Photo Tips and Tricks - Part 1

I wish that I had a photo for each and every person on my family tree.  To be able to gaze into their faces is quite an experience in and of itself, especially the very first time you lay eyes on your great great grandparents, the uncle who was a medical doctor who died young, or the uncle who saved the farm in Ireland.

My old HP scanner from circa 2000 just could not handle the job of scanning photos.  It was actually designed to scan text and documents rather than pictures.  As you can see, the scanner puts lines through the photos even after having the glass cleaned and appropriate maintenance done to the machine.  Even 1200 DPI scanning did not improve the photo quality either.  It just made the lines worse.  Anna and Dorothy Borchers deserve better, right?

Anna Marie Jackel Borchers and Dorothy Marie Borchers Flanagan Circa 1925, Napa, CA

In 2011, we purchased an Epson Perfection V500 Photo Scanner.  It is solely a scanner and not a printer combo like so many are these days.  This scanner does fabulous work.  I dare only scan photos at 1200 DPI that I will save on my own computer.  At that quality level, they take up a whole lot of space.  At 600 DPI, you will find that most websites will allow you to upload a photo of that quality.  I have found that 300 DPI is the default scanning quality level and just does not cut it.  I recommend to everyone to shoot for at least 600 DPI.  Once it is uploaded to a website it may only reflect 200 DPI or less.  

Mystery Photo....Possibly a Strehlow on my Borchers Side

Anyway, I'm not sure that I should get too technical about photo quality and size.  I have found that from a "Mega Bytes" perspective, the largest that most websites will accept is 1 MB.  Websites, in general, don't want photos hogging up the space online. My suggestion to everyone is to save your photos at high quality somewhere on a CD, USB drive, or hard drive, knowing that if you post them online, they are usually at a degraded quality.  That shouldn't stop people from sharing photos though on a website.

If your photo is too large to upload, you'll need to compress the photo.  This basically takes the quality and size of the photo down a few notches for sure.  I will revisit this topic later.

More on scanning..........Forget the photocopier or color copier these days.  Those are tools of the 1990s and Xerox in their heyday.  Trust me, I know all too well the machines that could produce so much and yet are so outdated these days.  The scanner is the way to go.

How many people know that even if you don't have a scanner at home, you can access one quite easily to produce a great photo?  The Costco's, Rite Aid's, and Walgreen's of the world still have photo departments.  I think that I even spotted one at my local Target.  I hardly ever print out photos any longer.  When I do, Costco is my choice photo lab.  Heck, they produce wonderful prints right on site at a bargain price.

The other point I'd like to make about these places is that they tend to have a scanner.  You can scan photos (provided they are not copyrighted) and get more copies.  I have not yet tested the capabilities of these machines but wonder if there is also a way to share the photos with others via an online service similar to, Shutterfly (who just bought out Kodak Gallery), or Snap Fish.  I'm am thinking there is probably a share option.   You just need to have the person's email you want to send the photo to handy.

This is where I will ask my readers if they know of share options on these in-store scanners.  Does that exist?  It would certainly make sharing photos by those who do not have a scanner much easier.  If anyone has experience with this, let us all know here in the comments section of this blog post.

Smart Phone Scanning Options

With the advanced camera technology on modern day Smart Phones, I have found photos are starting to turn out pretty great.  My own iPhone is a 3GS or something like that.  The photos are OK provided you're outside in good light and close to the person that you are photographing.  Mind you, I'm not a big mobile phone person and don't even have a data plan.

On the other hand, my husband has the iPhone 4GS something or other.  He's got all the bells and whistles on his phone.  For those of you who are adept, he can even make his phone a "hot spot" for me to mooch of off the internet connection when we are together and away from home.  The other thing that his phone can do is take pretty awesome photos.  Even taking a photo of a photo produces a pretty great result.  The phone can also scan documents, photos, and text.  It's like having a hand held scanner with you all of the time.

In the absence of a full fledged scanner, these Smart Phones do the trick.  I had a relative send me the following photo/scan of a photo from her phone.  It worked out pretty darn great.

McLaughlin Family Circa 1919, Napa, CA

To be continued..........................

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Photos and Photography

Since around 2001, I have been honing my photography skills.  My husband definitely introduced me to "real" photography.  What I mean by "real" is the use of professional and semi-professional level equipment to take photos.  The other goal early on for me was to use the available technology that was out there.  Cameras and the way we take, display, and store photos, along with the quantity in which we take them has changed so much in the past 10 years.  I can hardly manage the quantity but I think I've got the technology down which includes how to retouch photos in a basic fashion and store them appropriately.

My learning curve in photography really peeked in 2005 when we had a couple of  "point and shoot" digital cameras that were great at the time.  We also had a Nikon SLR film camera from 2003.  Yes, a film camera that even now takes the most awesome photos.   The only drawback is that it is film.  A film camera does force you to be smart about your photo taking.  It can really make you get it right the first time.  The other catch is that you can't preview what you've taken on the back of the camera.  I must admit though, our film camera does such an awesome job that it is almost fool proof.

2003 Castaway Cay, Bahamas
Since about 2008, the film camera has been sitting in the closet.  Even though we'd be sure to have the photos put on a CD when we'd have the film developed, we no longer pull that camera out.  The best use of that camera now is not just to show our children a little piece of history but that camera takes the best black and white photos using good old black and white film.  We now use our Nikon Digital SLR.  It takes amazing photos and you can take them in large quantities.  I am, however, beginning to realize less is more.  If I take 200 photos at an event, I try to keep only the best and essential photos.  You can over do it with digital photography.

Whether it's my volunteer work on the school yearbook, school photographer at my daughter's school, or work on my family tree, photos are everywhere in my life.  They can tell a story or just solidify family memories.  I love photos in general.  The older photos that people have either sent to me or I have come across in my own collection, are truly a way to peek at the past and at those who came before us.

So, I think I will try to embark on a few part blog post about photography and photos as it relates to and is useful in genealogy and building your family tree.  The next post will be on July 11th.  I hope to offer tips, solutions, and share ideas about this very important subject within genealogy - Photos!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Irish Settlement Cemetery - Newport, New York

As is my practice these days, I am posting a recent email correspondence about a very important subject in my family research - Old St. Patrick's Cemetery at the Irish Settlement in Newport, New York.

May 19, 2012

Hi P and J,

I recently received a message online from someone that Old St. Patrick’s Cemetery at the Irish Settlement is in jeopardy of basically disappearing.  From what it sounds like, there are only around 50 identifiable headstones of the 240 or so buried in this location. 

Some sort of volunteer project took place at one point…maybe by the Boy Scouts…..which involved moving and lining up all of the remaining headstones on the site.   I guess the headstones no longer rest where they were originally laid for the most part.  Anyway,  I am not sure that this is something new.  You may already know this.  The cemetery is quite old but still marked from the roadside from what I understand.

I thought that I’d share the comments below from one R.W.  She is a volunteer who helps on Find A Grave and found me online.  I was able to tell her who the Mahardy’s were but I don’t know about the rest she indicates in her information below.

She has photographed a few headstones for me at this location.

Given that McLaughlin’s and Maxwell’s are here and at St. John’s Cemetery, I thought I’d let you know. 

Also, I went through my notes again to locate where Joseph Patrick Maxwell is buried.  Everything I have points to St. John’s Cemetery in Newport.  While his wife, Judith “Julia” Shaffrey Maxwell, is buried at the Irish Settlement Cemetery, my notes indicate specifically that Joseph Patrick is buried at St. John’s.  I noticed online at Find A Grave that many, many Maxwell’s of our line are buried there but JP’s grave is not indicated.  It is sad to say but I wonder if it is unmarked.



Sent: Sunday, May 06, 2012 4:22 PM
Subject: Old St. Patrick's Cemetery

Here is the list that I would like to share with you to get your reaction to it. 

At the old St. Patrick's Cemetery a list of names was posted by somebody.  It looks like it has been there at least a couple of years but there is no indication who posted it or when it was posted (possibly part of the misguided Boy Scout project of years past).  There is no other information at all. There is no indication where the person who posted the list found the names and there are no dates. We found the Cullin/Cullen stones and the name is spelled both ways -- parents one way and children the other.  We'll blame that one on the stone carver.  I did not find both husband and wife Bahen/Beahen stones so I don't know if that is the fault of the stone carver or the person who made the list.  Mahada is probably Mike Mahardy since we know that he is buried in the cemetery and doesn't appear on this list.  John Broscaru's name may be spelled incorrectly, if not, then he is the only Romanian in Newport.  And I have never known anyone named Behamam -- in Newport or anywhere else. Here is the list:

Barney, Nancy
Barry, Patrick
Bartol, Andrew
Beahen, Elizabeth
Bahen, Patrick
Behamam, Catherine
Bell, Mary
Bowers, Ann
Boylan, Catherine
Boylan, Luke
Boylan, Margaret
Brayton, Lydia
Brayton, Mercy
Brayton, Neil
Broscaru, John
Bullard, Bezaleel
Butler, (Mrs.)
Butler, Mary
Carver, (Mrs.)
Cary, Daniel
Casey, William (Mrs.)
Clark, James
Clark, Michael (Mrs.)
Clark, Peter
Clarke, Mary
Clifford, Daniel
Clifford, Mary
Conway, Mary
Corcoran, Michael
Cullen, James
Cullin, Bridget
Cullin, James
Curtin, Mary M.
Daily, Jo (Mrs.)
Daley, Patrick
Daley, William
Daly, Elizabeth
Dempsey, (Mrs.)
Dempsy, (Miss)
Desmond, Jeremiah
Dewyer, Patrick
Dorcy, Morris
Doyle, May
Drum, William
Duffy, Nancy
Dwyer, Patrick
Eaton, Albert
Eaton, Luther
Fitzsimons, Cathenne
Flavin, Martin (Mrs.)
Fox, Charles
Fox, James
Fox, Michael
Fox, Thomas
Gartland, Hannah
Gartland, James
Hardy, (Mrs.)
Harkins, Avis
Harkins, James
Hawkins, Daniel
Hawkins, James
Lynch, (Mrs.)
Lynch, Morris
Mahada, Michael
Mahoney, Kate
Martin, Aaron
Martin, Daniel
Martin, Patrick
Maxwell, (Miss)
Maxwell, (Mrs.)
Maxwell, Catherine
Maxwell, Julia
Maxwell, Mary
McCabe, Andrew
McCaul, Bernard
McGinnis, Anne
McLaughlin, James
McLaughlin, Mary
McLaughlin, Michael
McNaley, Elizabeth
Mulerhill, Bridget
Mulerhill, Daniel
Murphy, Carrett
Murray, Mary
Nolan, Elizabeth
O’Riley, James
Pierce, Anne
Pierce, William
Riley, (Mrs.)
Riley, Bridget
Riley, Majorie
Rounds, Reuben
Scanlon, Martin
Spain, Charles
Spain, James (Mrs.)
Spain, Mary
Spain, Stephen
Spellman, Patrick (Mrs.)
Sullivan, James
Tassel, Ann
Ward (son)
Ward, Philip
Young, Caty