Sunday, November 27, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

Her Pecan Pie - Family Recipe Friday

My daughter, home for Thanksgiving, suggested we bake pecan pie. Handily, I had pecans in the cupboard and, voilĂ , Thanksgiving Day dessert (in addition to the traditional pumpkin pie, of course).

Making, baking, and eating this pie sent me into reminiscences. When I was a child I wasn't a huge lover of tree nuts but pecans fell into favor in my taste buds when my dear grandmother began making this pie. Who could not love pecans when they are presented in this sweet, rich, flavorful filling, then baked to perfection? Not me.

Gramma probably clipped this recipe from a newspaper. Disappointingly, I didn't find the clipping - or a hand-written version of the recipe - in her recipe box. Perhaps she memorized it. In my childhood transcription of the recipe, I omitted the quantity of salt to include. We rectify the problem by adding a teaspoon (already included below). Here's the recipe for your baking (and eating) pleasure.
Pecan Pie

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup (light works fine)
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans [but we enjoy them whole]

Allow the butter to stand in a covered medium mixing bowl at room temperature until it is extremely soft. Add sugar, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla; with a sturdy hand rotary beater or mixing spoon, beat until thoroughly blended.

Add eggs and beat gently just until blended.

Fold in pecans.

Pour into 9" pastry shell. Bake in moderate (370-degree) oven on the rack directly below the center rack until top is toasted brown and filling is set in center when pie is gently shaken, 40-50 minutes. Pastry edge should be browned and the bottom pastry a pale gold. If top of pie gets very dark toward end of baking time, place a tent of foil over it.

Cool on wire rack. If desired, serve with unsweetened whipped cream.

In past years we've always had to put a tent around the crust toward the end of baking time. This year my daughter make an oil crust and no tenting was necessary. I suppose oil crusts will become a family tradition, too.

Happy eating.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Greetings

I wish for you, dear readers, the blessings of family, home, health, happiness, and gratitude on this Thanksgiving Day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flow'r, sun and moon and stars of light,
Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love, brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above, for all gentle thoughts and mild,
Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gust in Early Photobooth Photos?

The question is not whether these are photos of Gust Doyle. We know for certain these are him. The question is whether or not they are photobooth photos. The original of these two photos (combined on the same paper) is about 2" by 3", which is about the size of old photobooth photos.

Gust was born on November 17, 1888. If he was about 14 or 15 in these photos, that puts the date at 1902-03. Wade's Photobooth Gallery offers a brief history of the development of the photobooth. The first patent for an automatic photography machine was filed in 1889, but it wasn't until 1925 that the idea took off and they became successful.

Or maybe these photos were taken by a photographer in a studio and these two, printed on the same sheet, were proofs.

Who knows. Photobooth photos or not, it's still the anniversary of the day my grandfather was born and I want to wish him a very Happy Birthday!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Reviewing Civil War Compiled Military Service Records

Not long ago I wrote a post about ordering a Civil War Compiled Military Service Record from NARA for my great-great-grandfather, Ellis H. Bickerstaff. NARA said it could take four to six weeks for the file to arrive so I settled in for the wait, anticipating a nice, bulky bunch of photocopies. Surprise! The envelope arrived last Friday, just over three weeks from the date I ordered it. Surprise again! (And disappointment, too.) There were only 2 pages of records in it.

I had hoped these records might shed some light on events in Ellis's past that led him to commit suicide. They don't. But I did learn some things I didn't know.
  • Ellis enlisted in Steubenville, Ohio, and mustered in at Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio, a (current) distance of about 150 miles.
  • He enlisted on Monday, May 2, 1864, to serve for a period of 100 days. He mustered in on Sunday, May 15, 1864 and mustered out on Friday, September 2, 1864. From muster in to muster out, he served for 110 days.
  • Ellis was 24 when he enlisted.
  • He had blue eyes, brown hair, a fair complexion, and was 6' tall.
Ellis left behind a wife, Emma Nelson Bickerstaff, and one daughter, Susan, who was not yet two years old. A son was born in 1864 but I don't know if it was before Ellis left or after he returned. Ellis and Emma married on September 1, 1861. He was discharged one day after their third anniversary.
The first page may be an index but to what I don't know. It doesn't correlate to the other pages that arrived.

Biggerstaff, Ellis H.
Co. D, 157 Ohio Infantry,
(National Guard.)

Private | Private
1 - 26171747
2 - 26171830
3 - 26171812
4 [through 50 are blank]
Number of personal papers herein 0
Book Mark : [blank]
See also [blank]
The second paper in the envelope is divided into 3 columns. Two are Muster Rolls, the other is a Muster-out Roll. They are in reverse chronological order on the paper. I separated them when I scanned them and I've transcribed them below in chronological order.

B | 157 | Ohio N. G.
Ellis H. Biggerstaff
Pri., Co. D, 157 Reg't Ohio National Guard Inf.
Appears on
Company Muster and Descriptive Roll
of the organization named above. Roll dated
Camp Chase, O., May 15, 1864.
Where born Jefferson Co. O.
Age 24 y'rs; occupation Farmer
When enlisted May 2, 1864.*
Where enlisted Steubenville, O.*
For what period enlisted 100 days.*
Eyes Blue; hair Brown
Complexion Fair; Height 6 ft. ___ in.
When mustered in May 15 , 1864.
Muster-in to date May 15, 1864.
Where mustered in Camp Chase
Bounty paid $ [blank]; due $ [blank]
Where credited [blank]
Company to which assigned [blank]
*Muster and descriptive, muster and muster-out rolls show enrollment of all men of this company as of same date.
Book mark: [blank]
Owsley [?] [signature]

B. | 157 | Ohio N. G.
Ellis H. Biggerstaff
Pri., Co. D, 157 Reg't Ohio National Guard Inf.
Appears on
Company Muster Roll
for May 15, to June 30, 1864.
Present or absent Present
Stoppage $ [blank]
Due Gov't $ [blank]
Remarks: [blank]
Book mark: [blank]
W. T. Owsley [signature]
B | 157 | Ohio N. G.
Ellis H. Biggerstaff
Pri., Co. D, 157 Reg't Ohio National Guard Inf.
Age 24 years.
Appears on Co. Muster-out Roll, dated
Camp Chase, Sept. 2, 1864.
Muster-out to date Sept. 2, 1864.
Last paid to June 30, 1864.
Clothing account:
Last settled [blank]; drawn since $ [blank]
Due soldier $ [blank] due U. S. $ [blank]Amt. for cloth'g in kind or money adv'd $19 10/100
Due U.S. for arms, equipments, &c., $ [blank]Bounty paid $ [blank]
Remarks: [blank]
From Second Auditor's Roll [rubber stamped]
Book mark [blank]
W. T. Owsley [signature]
If any of you readers have insights about these records that I may have missed, I'd be grateful to hear from you. With this information is there a way to tell where Ellis served and whether his company and/or regiment fought in any battles? Thanks.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Reasons to Cherish a Photograph

Some photographs are so beautiful that one can't help but enjoy, appreciate, and cherish them. The view may be spectacular; the composition nearly perfect; the colors delightful....

I cherish this photo because it shows the faces of family members long since gone from this life. It contains the images of my great-grandparents, Henry and Elizabeth Meinzen, with two of their daughters, three sons-in-law, three grandchildren, and a lady (the tall one) who was probably a family friend.

I cherish this photo because it tells me some things about Henry and Elizabeth:
-- They were short. Their daughters (behind Elizabeth and between Elizabeth and Henry) were no more than 5'5". Henry and Elizabeth are shorter by at least an inch or two.
-- Henry smoked a pipe.
-- Elizabeth must not have been a vain person or she would have stayed away from public view after her face became disfigured with cancer.

I don't know where or why this photo was taken, nor do I know the location. Neither do I know the date, though I believe it was taken in the mid-1910s. I cherish it because in some small way it transports me to the life and times of these ancestors. When I look at this photo I wonder what brought the family together that day. Was it a Sunday afternoon picnic? A family reunion? A work party? Who was the photographer? Was it the wife of the third son-in-law? What did they do after they heard the click of the camera? Did the children run off to play with others? Did the men stand around and smoke their pipes while the women sat and visited? Were there other people around? Questions without answers, except in my imagination.

This post is a contribution to celebrate Sepia Saturday 100. Join the celebration!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Hundred and Fifty Years

I wanted to find information about wedding customs in 1861 to go along with this post about the marriage of (James) Andrew Doyle and Elizabeth Jane Laws. I was unsuccessful.

They were married in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, England, on Monday, November 11, 1861.

He was a 25-year-old widower. She was 16. Her parents did not want her to marry him. She married him anyway. (My siblings and I get our strong wills (or is it stubbornness?) from every ancestral line.) He came to the U.S. in 1869. She and their first 4 children followed in October, 1870. They finally settled in Stoneboro, Mercer County, Pennsylvania.

They had 11 children who survived into adulthood. I haven't traced all of their children and their families but I think they may have more than a thousand descendants by now.

Their marriage lasted 46 years, until Andrew's death in July, 1908.

How grateful I am for Elizabeth's strong will -- or I wouldn't be here!

Happy Anniversary, Gramma and Grampa!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

To those who fought to preserve America's freedoms
-- because freedom has always been worth fighting for --
I say thank you for your service
in war and in peace,
at all times, and in all places.
And to family members who have served
-- Ellis H. Bickerstaff --
-- Andrew Bickerstaff --
-- Edward Bickerstaff
James Bickerstaff --
-- William Dray --
-- David Dray --
-- D. Todd Murdock --
-- David Pierce--

Thank You.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Forget Lightbox!

If you want me to be able to see close-ups of your photos or documents, please turn Lightbox off. We geneabloggers sometimes ask our readers to enlarge posted images and look at details in documents to help us decipher words or look for something. Sometimes we post old photos and point out details or ask for help in identifying people. Lightbox is no help! It only enlarges once.

Look! Let me show you with two different images.

First, a census image:

Below is the census image as it appears in the blog post.

Now, without Lightbox, this is what I see when I click the image once:

Still without Lightbox, this is what I see when I click the image again.
Look at how large that is! Even though this is a screenshot, you can almost read it.
It's much larger when we post a copy of the original image.

Finally, with Lightbox -- and it's still too small to read:

Second, with a group photograph:

As it appears in the blog post:

Without Lightbox, after I clicked once on the photo:

Without Lightbox, after I clicked the photo again:

With Lightbox, enlarged to its largest.
It's not even as big as the first enlargement without lightbox!

Do you see what I mean? Lightbox doesn't let us enlarge enough to see real detail, especially if it's a document image or a group photograph. The only advantage to Lightbox (that I can see) is that we can click on the little thumbnail images at the bottom of the screen and see the images in sequence. Being able to click thumbnails (in my opinion) is not worth the trade-off of being able to see larger images.

To turn lightbox off, go to , then to and scroll 2/3 of the way down to where it says . There's a box that will say "yes" or "no." If it says "no," leave it. If it says "yes," click the down arrow and select "no." Scroll to the bottom of the page and click "save settings." Now we'll all be able to see your images.

For those of you who don't have blogs, this post probably won't mean much to you. But just so you know, I'm not using Lightbox which means you'll be able to see the images at their largest if you click once, and then again.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

RootsMagic Webinar - Sources, Citations and Documentation

One of my major concerns about changing genealogy programs was whether the new one would transfer and accept all my old source documentation from PAF (Personal Ancestral File).  I know I have many fewer people in my program than many of you but I certainly did not want to retype and transcribe all the information.   People I knew who used RootsMagic assured me that all the information would transfer.  And it did!   I was thrilled.

A few days ago I found another document for a family member and decided to add it to RootsMagic instead of PAF.   But when I began entering the information, I wasn't sure how to do it.  I decided to watch "Sources, Citations and Documentation with RootsMagic."   I went to the list of RootsMagic webinars and clicked on the "watch" tab.   When nothing happened I downloaded it and watched it without problem.

Bruce Buzbee, the founder of RootsMagic, gave the presentation.  He began with the basics by explaining the difference between a source and a citation.  This is an important difference that every family historian and genealogist needs to know, not just those who use RootsMagic.  (A source is the physical document; a citation is the reference to the source and tells someone else how to find the same source.)

He explained how to use the Master Source and the Source Details (much better than I will do here).  The Master Source could be a book, a census report, a birth certificate, an obituary, etc.   It is that part of a citation that is reusable such as title, author, publisher, etc.  The Source Details are the part of the citation that's different for each time it's used, such as for several different people.  All of the Master Sources can be used for different people and events without having to retype all the citation information. PAF offered this option but in a slightly different format.

One function of RootsMagic that I think is excellent is the option to claim the value of each source used for an individual as original or derivative; to claim the information as primary or secondary; and to claim the evidence as direct, indirect, or negative; or don't know for any of those.  The strength of this option is that the person entering the data has to carefully analyze and evaluate the data she's entering.  Doing that will build a stronger case for each person in the program.

My first reaction to this option was negative:  I envisioned all the work necessary to go back through all my sources to note every one of them (for every individual) in each category.  Then I realized that it doesn't all have to be done immediately or in one sitting.  I can add the quality information over time.

Another great thing about RootsMagic is that when one enters the source data, one can use a template to fill in the blanks and a citation is created that follows the criteria in Elizabeth Shown Mills's Evidence Explained.  It's like magic!  It's wonderful.   From that citation, a footnote is created as well as a bibliographic entry.  There is also the option to make your own "free form" citation in whatever format you choose.

Now, to the negative:   At the beginning of this post I said that it was important to me that my sources moved from PAF to RootsMagic.  They did.  But alas, the sources that are transferred from PAF do not automatically transfer into the perfect source citation format.  One either can either change them by hand, leave them, or wait until a program that's in the works behind the scenes at RootsMagic is finished and made available to the public.  Since I'm not intending to publish my information anytime soon, I'll wait.   Unless something pressing comes us.

The webinar was chock full of information and worth my time to watch it.   One of the great things about RootsMagic's webinars is that they are free, whether or not you own and/or use the program.  If you're considering purchasing the program, I'd encourage you to watch one or several webinars.  It may help you decide whether to buy it or not.  If you're new to family history and are uncertain about documenting your finds; about the difference between sources and citations; or want to know why they're important the introductory information in this webinar will be worth your time.

Maybe I can like RootsMagic.


Copyright ©2011-2017 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Girl with the Round Glasses

Geraldine Mae was known to me as Aunt Jeree. She was my mother's next youngest sister, born to William Carl Robert and Emma (Bickerstaff) Meinzen on November 7, 1918. She passed away in the fall of 1984 at just 66 years of age.

Remembering you, Aunt Jeree, and wishing you a happy birthday.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

One Lovely Blog Award

In early March I received the One Lovely Blog Award from Julie at Anglers Rest and Yvonne at The Mashburn Collection. I thanked them both for the gracious gift but didn't fulfill the responsibilities which go with receipt of the award, namely, passing it on to recently discovered blogs. Since then I've been noticing new blogs that I particularly appreciate. It is with great pleasure that I pass on the One Lovely Blog Award to the blogs/bloggers listed below. I hope you'll go visit their blogs and give a few words of congratulations.

For the recipients of One Lovely Blog Award, these are the expectations that go along with receipt of the award:
  • Accept the award and post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted the award and their blog link.
  • Pass the award on to 10 other blogs that you've newly discovered.
  • Remember to contact the award recipients to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Congratulations, bloggers!
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