Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wonderful Readers' Top Picks for 2011

As the sun sets on 2011, sit back and enjoy your top 12 picks at The Turning of Generations for this past year. According to Google Analytics these are the most viewed posts this year, so they really are the top pick of my Wonderful Readers.
  1. Using Land Records to Solve Genealogical Problems. This particular series was about William Ballenger's Military Warrant file. Several individual posts in this series made the top 10 so I've combined this into one selection pointing you to the summary post which has links to the individual posts in the series. I was surprised this was so popular and I think we partly have Randy Seaver to thank for highlighting it in his weekly Best of the Genea-Blogs.
  2. Metadata, Image Files and Migration. Something we will want to think more about with some of our projects this coming year for The 21st Century Organized Family Historian (see #8 below). Nira Porter Chambliss of The Door Keepers provided a link in the comments to a really helpful article.
  3. 98th  Edition of COG - Document Analysis! Bessie Maud Passmore Birth Certificate. This post was actually published in October 2010 and for some reason continues to remain high on the hit list with readers. I did go a little overboard with my creative use of metaphor but why it's so popular is a mystery to me. Maybe there are a lot of Passmore researchers out there? Thanks go to Jasia, and her Carnival of Genealogy, for providing the topic for a popular post and one that has put me in contact with a distant cousin.
  4. Mt. St. Helens Eruption - Disasters. A topic that surely is high in search hits, this was part of Amy Coffin's (We Tree Blog) 2011 series, 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History.
  5. How Do You Organize Your Blog Reading? A topic I still am tinkering with, I'm glad it generated interest.
  6. When is it OK to Throw an Old Photo Away? Sorting Saturday. There was some excellent discussion in the comments on this post and I suspect we will continue to ponder and discuss it in the New Year (see #8 below).
  7. A Look at a Cash Entry Land File - The Summary. I'm pleased you Wonderful Readers have taken an interest in land files. It's a topic I'm finding very interesting and productive as far as making progress in my research. I haven't yet covered the ever popular Homestead Files. Look for that series in 2012. I'm putting a different spin on it.
  8. Introducing the 21st Century Organized Family Historian (#21COFH). I am shocked, pleased, humbled and a little intimidated to see that this one post in the last few days of 2011 made the top 12 for the year! There has been a debate raging in my mind for the last several months as to whether or not to do this series as I wasn't sure if there would really be much interest. Considering that this one post generated an all time high in daily hits to The Turning of Generations, I would say there is some pent up interest in the community! My hope (besides getting this family archival mess straightened up) is that we all can learn from each other by going through this process. Let's get it done!
  9. Treasure Chest Thursday - The Time Capsule - Part 2. This series is from 2010 and while I'm not sure why this one post from the series popped up as number 9 but I'm really glad. Examining and preserving the contents of a suitcase of my great grandmother, Frances Lowe, was a favorite project. I've updated the post to include links to the other articles in the series.
  10. The Green 1964 Chevy Impala. This was another 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History, the topic of which was - cars. Classic cars are always fun.
  11. COG-Scrapbooking Your Family History! Frances Lowe Another  Carnival of Genealogy topic, scrapbooking of any kind is always fun.
  12. Progress on the Archival Closet on Sorting Saturday. This is the perfect post to end your list of top choices from 2011. Progress has been made! More progress will occur in 2012. I think I see an Archival Room in my future!
Have a safe and Happy New Year!

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Introducing The 21st Century Organized Family Historian

Compliments of freeclipartnow

In 2012 you can look right here, at The Turning of Generations, every Sunday, for my new series The 21st Century Organized Family Historian.

I'm finding myself in an interesting position in the aftermath of clearing out The Family Home, as the curator of my family's archives. But this family's archives cover a span of over 130 years from the earlier years of photography, a time when letters were handwritten or typed and copies were made with carbon paper, through the digital age of today. Somehow I've got to get this mess mass of information organized so that it will be useful not only for myself but future generations. It needs to be preserved but also presented in a way that will appeal to my children's generation; a generation that was born in the digital age.

(OK, read between the lines here - my house is a freaking mess now and I want to get it cleaned up and get on with life and family history. There. I said it!)

Since I know I'm not alone in this position, I'm working on a weekly series with small projects so we can take baby steps toward getting our family's materials organized in a useful and appealing way.

Each week I will post a "project" that can be completed in one week. These will be based on the many projects from my family archives. Then in a separate post, I'll explain the specific task I chose and how I completed it. I hope you Wonderful Readers will participate by posting comments or in your own separate post with:
  1. Suggestions for how we might go about completing our projects, or
  2. A project of your own based upon the posted "assignment."
I hope many of you will be moved to participate regularly or when the topic moves you. In the process we will get control of this mess err, mass of material and information in a way that will allow us and those who come after to use it effectively in this 21st century digital age.

I'm working on a badge for participants to display on their blogs or web pages so stay tuned...

Related posts in reverse chronological order:

Develop a Digital Organizational Scheme - Week 2
Resources for Organizing the Family Archive
Week1 - Holiday Greeting Cards

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's Going to Happen

I've decided. We are going to do it. Check back in a couple days to find out more!

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Busted on Christmas Eve - Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Compliments of
The Vintage Cottage

This is my contribution for Randy Seaver's SNGF - Being Santa Claus.

The mission:

1) Tell us your favorite memory of "being Santa Claus." Have you ever put on the red suit? Were you Santa Claus to your children or grandchildren? Did you bring gifts to people out of the love in your heart?

2) Tell us in a comment to this blog post, in your own blog post, in a Facebook status or a Google Plus stream post.


Most parents are familiar with the Christmas Eve ritual of putting together Santa's gifts on Christmas Eve. Our family is no different. Except I also wrap the stocking stuffers and a gift from Santa in wrapping paper different from that of the rest of the family. On this particular year, our youngest was maybe 3. Definitely young enough to really believe in Santa Claus. The children were tucked all snug in their beds and I had Santa gifts spread all over the living room floor for assembly and special wrapping treatment. It looked just like Santa's workshop.

All of a sudden this tiny voice behind me spoke! This "Santa" freaked out and froze. I was caught. Red handed. I don't remember why she was out of bed but Husband was a quick thinker swooping her up and flying up the stairs and out of sight with our little darling. Apparently she was sleep walking (for the first time), wasn't coherent and had no memory of the incident in the morning. Whew!!! Santa was off the hook and a merry Christmas was had by all.

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday season!

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Thursday, December 22, 2011

2012 Family History Expos Call For Bloggers of Honor

This just out from Family History Expos for those interested in being Bloggers of Honor for Family History Expos in early 2012:

Family History Expos is now accepting applications from those interested in participating as Bloggers of Honor at one of the following 2012 Expos:

Yuma Arizona Expo January 17
Hilton Garden Inn / Pivot Point Conference Center
310 Madison
Yuma, AZ 85364

Mesa Arizona Expo January 20-21
Mesa Convention Center
263 N. Center Street
Mesa, AZ 85201

St. George Utah Expo February 24-25
The Dixie Center
1835 Convention Center Dr.
St. George, UT 84790

Types of Blogs that will qualify you as a Blogger of Honor:
  • Family History or Genealogy Blog
  • Family History Product or Service Provider
  • Library, Archive or Research Center
  • Professional Genealogist
  • Preservation Awareness
  • Restoration Projects
  • Information Provider
  • Other Blogs of Historical Interest
Chosen Bloggers of Honor will receive:
  • Full Registration Benefits
  • Listing on Event Website with Hotlink to Blog
  • Promotion on Family History Expos Blog
  • Gift Bag Provided by Expo Sponsors and Exhibitors
Bloggers of Honor will be expected to:
  • Announce the Expo and Sponsors
  • Promote Expo Speakers, Exhibitors, and Activities
  • Share Press Release Information
  • Highlight Websites, Tools, and Discoveries Made
  • Share Blogging Tips with Attendees
  • Report Daily on Presentations and Exhibits
  • Summarize Overall Expo Experience
To be considered as a Blogger of Honor fill out the application below and submit to Family History Expos at

Your Full Name:
Email Address:
Blog URL:
Blog Description:
Which Event(s):
Three References:
  1. Name and contact information (Phone and email address)
  2. Name and contact information (Phone and email address)
  3. Name and contact information (Phone and email address)
300 word essay on why you want to be a Blogger of Honor:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

ProGen Month 2

When my kids were in the public school system, I was on an advisory council at our high school. One day our principal gave a presentation on how education has changed since we were in school. Today some very odd combinations of majors can lead to careers in unexpected fields. At the root of his talk was this concept of the need for people of all ages today to become "lifelong learners."

Education and Careers were the topics of our second month of ProGen and I was reminded of our principal's presentation. Not only can interesting combinations of college majors lead you to unexpected careers, but the experiences and education we obtain in our jobs can lead to yet other interesting and even more fulfilling fields of work later in life. Consider this possibility: a business major in college gets a job with a title insurance company investigating the validity of the title to properties that are being sold. Down the road, that individual starts a business as a house historian. I'm making that particular example up but stop and think about it. What do you have in your educational, work background or even hobbies that could lend itself to the broad field of genealogy and family history?

My take aways this month: think outside of the box and be a "lifelong learner." I think being a lifelong learner comes naturally to family historians and genealogists. We have a natural hunger to know more. Otherwise we wouldn't be interested in our family history would we?

The lightbulb moment actually came after our assignments were completed. I realized, as a "lifelong learner" who also loves photography and has a humongous collection of family photos spanning more than 125 years, that I need to learn more about the history of photography. Particularly the printing of older photos and recognizing identifying features in and about those pictures that will help in dating and identifying the subjects and their surroundings. That lesson was learned from the series, Using Indirect Evidence to Identify a Photo, and the wonderful comments and assistance I received from readers. Thank you!

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

CSI & Genealogy?

Tonight's episode of CSI combined murder and genealogy! A real genealogy drama episode. I never would have expected it but frankly tonight's CSI was delightful. They did a wonderful job of portraying genealogy and genealogists. I agree with Greta's conclusion - a spinoff would be grand!

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Monday, December 12, 2011

She Educates and She Entertains

Yep, she's at it again. Sheri Fenley, aka The Educated Genealogist has taken another break from educating her fans to do some entertaining. Today yours truly is a featured "guest." Hop on over and check out the latest edition of Sheri's Christmas Video Series.

Since it's windy and rainy here in Arizona today, I'll have another cup of that hot chocolate, please!

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Saturday, December 10, 2011

And Then It Was Gone

Please enjoy this morning's total lunar eclipse over Phoenix, Arizona.

The moon is still there but you have to look really closely.

And then it was gone. Poof! I thought it would reappear but it never did. I imagine it either set or descended into the haze along the horizon. We were left with this brilliant burst of color instead.

Photos taken by Michelle Goodrum.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Friday, December 9, 2011

That's One Small Step for Man - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

Photo by J. Richard Roos
I always was and still am fascinated by outer space so it's no surprise that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's becoming the first two men to walk on the moon is deeply etched in my mind.

Our family was on Whidbey Island, Washington that hot, sunny day on July 21, 1969. Our black and white TV was showing transmissions from space while us kids played on the beach, anxiously running inside every so often to see if it the Eagle had landed. I don't remember the harrowing search for a landing spot or how close they came to running out of fuel. I just remember a spaceship setting down on the moon! After the Eagle landed, I remember Mom telling us that the astronauts had to take a nap before they could go for their moon walk. That meant we had to wait. Sheez!! I've always wondered if they really slept! Would you have been able to? I don't think I could have!!

It was a long afternoon for this 9 year old girl. Finally, sometime after we had eaten dinner and us kids returned to play on the beach, someone called to us that it was time. It was so incredibly exciting then and now to think of a human being walking on the moon. I still like to sit and look at the moon on a nice evening and think about those days and what it must have been like for those men to see an earthrise. I still love to watch documentaries about the moon program.

True to form, Dad was there with his camera taking pictures of the fuzzy images from space appearing on TV. I am so glad that he did! You have to use your imagination a little to decipher the picture but then if you were watching TV on July 21, 1969, it shouldn't be too diffucult.

Amy Coffin's series, 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is a series of blogging prompts that "invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants."

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Scrapbook template is "Colorful Memories" designed by Story Rock and can be found at

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Don't Miss Out on Early Bird Registration

The Family History Expo is coming to Mesa, Arizona on January 20-21, 2012. The Early Bird Registration rate of $49 for both days expire very soon - December 12th. After that the rate for the entire conference will be $99.00. Don't miss out!

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Dear Genea Santa

Dear Genea Santa,

I have been a very good girl this year. I have been going to school regularly to become a better genealogist and family historian and have been working hard to organize my family's papers I was so fortunate to inherit.

It would be great if you could put a monopod and an Eye-Fi card in my stocking so that I can better keep up with the family history we will be creating next year. Also, if you could give me the clue I need to determine for sure who William H. Ballinger's parents are that would be awesome!

It wouldn't hurt if you could also point me in the right direction to find Daniel A. Robinson's parents. I'm getting burned out on him too!

Thank you so much Genea Santa!

Head on over to Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun for your mission.
© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Artwork compliments of Dana's Footprint Designs.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Using Indirect Evidence to Identify a Photo - Summary

For the last several days, we have been examining this photo for clues and researching to see if we can answer the question, "Is the woman in the photo Mary Ann (Ballenger) Woods?" I believe the answer to be yes. Let's summarize and see if you agree.

The clues provided in the photo:
  • The photo was taken in Denver.
  • The photographer is G.R. Appel, 1579 Larimer Street, Denver, Colorado.
  • On the back of the photo, Frances (Robinson) Lowe wrote "Walt Wood's mother." Frances is the daughter of Nancy Robinson mentioned below.
  1. Using the prior series, about Mary Ann Ballenger,  I was able to link Mary Ann to her parents, and 2 siblings, Nancy and John via a census record. And have linked her to Boulder, Colorado (the home of the Ballenger family in the 1860's, 70's and possibly early 1880's). Using the previously discussed newspaper article, which is transcribed below, we can link Mary Ann to Boulder, Colorado and to her sister Nancy. 

Returns After Many Years.
Mrs. Milton Y. Woods, of Telluride, is in the city, accompanied by her three children. They are domiciled at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Dan Robinson. Mrs. Woods is a sister of Mrs. Robinson, and in her girlhood days was well and favorable known as Miss Mary Ballinger. She comes to spend a short time with her relatives and friends, all of whom receive her cordially. It is about fifteen years since the visitor chose the southern part of the state as her home.
2. In Part 1 of this series, we linked Mary and her husband Milton to their son Walter W. Woods(possibly the person named on the back of the photo)  by using the 1900 and 1910 Census. In 1900, they are living in Telluride which is in the southern part of Colorado (consistent with the newspaper article).

3. We tie Walter Woods to Frances (Robinson) Lowe (former owner of the photograph) in Part 3, by using the 1920 and 1930 census and a get well card and note sent to Frances from Walt and Maude.

4. We can complete the circle by tying Frances (Robinson) Lowe to Nancy (Ballenger) Robinson as her daughter. We haven't discussed it in this article so you will have to take my word for it that I have Family Bible photographs showing Frances' birth in Boulder, her marriage also in Boulder, Frances' death certificate naming Nancy Ballinger as her mother, photos of Nancy that Frances labelled with Nancy's name and identified Nancy as her mother, the 1880 census showing Frances with her parents Dan and Nancy, and much more.

Clues from the photo that are important were discussed in Part 2, and the comments through out this series. The fact that the photo was taken in Denver (or at least the photographer had his studio in Denver) links the woman to the state of Colorado. The puffy sleeves date the photo around the mid 1890s. The photographer was in business at the address listed on the card during the same time frame. Thank you to Brett of Photo Sleuth blog and Sue at Family Folklore blog for your assistance in dating the photo!

What do you think? Is the woman in the photo, identified only as "Walt Wood's mother," Mary Ann (Ballinger) Woods?

Links from this series:
Using Indirect Evidence to Identify a Photo:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Elusive Mary Ann Ballenger
Mary Ann Ballenger Woods Continued

Photo Album Archiving & Digital Sorting - Part 1
Photo Album Archiving & Digital Sorting - Part 2
Photo Album Archiving & Digital Sorting - Part 3
Photo Album Archiving & Digital Sorting - Part 4


1900 U.S. census, Montrose County, Colorado. Population schedule, California Precinct 10, sheet 13 B and 14 A, dwelling 229 & family 250, Milton Y. Woods family; digital image, ( accessed 21 February 2010), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 127.

1910 U.S. census, Montrose County, Colorado. Population schedule, Precinct 106 sheet 6 B, dwelling 139 & family 129, Walter Woods; digital image, ( accessed 26 November 2011), citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 123.
1920 U.S. Census, Rosebud County, Montana. Population schedule, District 121, sheet 1A, family 11, Walter Woods family; digital image, ( : accessed 26 November 2011), citing National Archives microfilm publication T625, roll 975.

1930 U.S. Census, King County, Washington. Population Schedule, North Bend, sheet 4B, Walter Woods family; digital image, ( : accessed 26 November 2011), citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 2490.
Ballenger & Richards, …Annual Denver City Directory…(Denver: Ballenger & Richards, 1892), p. 114, for “Appel, Gustaf R, photographer.” See also Gustaf’s entries under “Appel” in Denver City Directories for subsequent years with varying subtitles, specifically: ( 1894) 120, (1896) 121, (1899) 123.

“Returns After Many Years,” Boulder Daily Camera (Boulder), 7 December 1893, p. 1; digital images, Colorado Historical Newspapers (http://www.coloradohistoricnewspapers.) : accessed 30 November 2011.

Walt and Maude, letter, 14 June 1949, get well card and note; Lowe Family Papers, Privately held by Michelle Goodrum, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Mesa, AZ.
Walt Woods mother. Photograph. Original, privately held by Michelle Goodrum, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]. 2010.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Did It! It's Over!

NaBloPoMo. National Blog Posting Month. One post every day for one month! Whew. It was enough for me. I don't know how Randy Seaver does it!

My objective really was to get rid of some of the backlog of ideas that had built up. Particularly the 52 Weeks of Genealogy and Family History. Objective accomplished - mostly. There's still a few stragglers hanging on that had to be saved for later.

What I learned: An Editorial Calendar really is your friend. At the beginning of the month I laid all the prospective posts out on the calendar. Then I proceeded to change every last one of them. Some were moved to a different day. Others were spread out over multiple days. A few ideas had to be saved for later and of course there were a few posts that just popped up and pre-empted others. Fortunately, I printed the thing out and just marked it up. The calendar is a mess now but I couldn't have done this excercise without it.

I think I will be a regular user of an Editorial Calendar now. It allows you to plan but also to be spontaneous when you need to be.

I connected with other bloggers. You never know which posts will be a hit with someone and that makes blogging fun. Sometimes your posts bring in helpful comments from readers too. Connecting with other people is fun and educational.

Hopefully I improved those writing skills at least a little.

On to December and the holidays! No, you will definitely not be seeing a post a day in December!

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Organize Your Family Archive Webinar

I just finished the "Organize Your Family Archive" webinar with Denise Levenick. All I can say is WOW!! I am not new to this topic and Denise had a fantastic approach to dealing with a large collection (have I ever mentioned I have a large humongous collection?) and some really good suggestions. My favorite had to do with an analogy of creating a parking lot when unpacking a box of items. Not gonna say anymore. You have to watch it for yourself! Check it out!

Seriously, I left feeling like I can get through all of this stuff. It can be done.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Disclaimer: I paid for this webinar with my hard earned money and it was worth every penny. I am not affialiated in any way with Family Tree University. Just a regular ol' customer.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Using Indirect Evidence to Identify a Photo - Part 3

We are attempting to answer the question, Who is the woman in this picture? The notation on the back, which was written by my great grandmother Frances Lowe, says, "Walt Wood's mother." In Part 1, I tied Walt and Mary Ann together using the 1900 and 1910 census. In Part 2, with the help of fellow bloggers, I was able to narrow the time frame the photo was taken to the mid 1890s and then locate the photographer in the Denver City Directories to identify a date range.

Moving on to 1920, we find Walter is married to Maud (or Mand) with a son, Kenneth, and living in Rosebud County, Montana. He is 30, born in Colorado with his mother also born in Colorado. So not all of the information is consistent but it is pretty close.

At this point you might be wondering why I believe this Walter W. Woods in Rosebud, Montana to be the same as the one we have been following in Colorado. A little over a year and a half ago, I wrote a four part series, "Photo Album Archiving & Digital Sorting" about one of Mom's very old photo albums. In it is a photo from East Rosebud, Montana. Frances Lowe and her family lived a couple of counties to the west in Stillwater County, so I always wondered why they had this photo. Walter Woods and Frances Lowe were first cousins so that might explain why the Lowe family living in Stillwater County, Montana had a photo of a house in East Rosebud, Montana.

Taking things a step further, in 1930, we find Walter Woods with wife Maud (or Manda, if you believe Ancestry), and son Kenneth living in North Bend, Washington which is where his cousin Frances and her husband Mike Lowe were also living in 1930. When you compare all of the censuses, Walter's info is not completely consistent but it is reasonably close.

Finally, coming full circle, when we examine yet another of Frances Lowe's boxes of pictures and letters, we find a get well card address to Frances. It is postmarked 14 June 1949 in Snoqualmie, Washington just a stones throw up the road from North Bend. It is signed "Maud and Walt" and refers to visiting Kenneth. It starts out "Dear Cousin".

So we have tied Frances and Walt together which explains why Frances would have had this photo and written "Walt Wood's mother" on the back.

Later this week, I'll try to sum it all up and you can decide if you think the woman in the photo who is identified only as "Walt Woods mother" is in fact Mary Ann (Ballenger) Woods.


1920 U.S. Census, Rosebud County, Montana. Population schedule, District 121, sheet 1A, family 11, Walter Woods family; digital image, ( : accessed 26 November 2011), citing National Archives microfilm publication T625, roll 975.

1930 U.S. Census, King County, Washington. Population Schedule, North Bend, sheet 4B,  Walter Woods family; digital image, ( : accessed 26 November 2011), citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 2490.

Walt and Maude, letter, 14 June 1949, get well card and note; Lowe Family Papers, Privately held by Michelle Goodrum, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Mesa, AZ.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Using Indirect Evidence to Identify a Photo - Part 2

In Part 1, I hypothesized that the woman in this photograph is Mary Ann Woods.

Reader Brett Payne of Photo-Sleuth blog left a comment on yesterday's post stating that the size of the sleeves on the woman in the photograph indicate it was taken in the mid 1890s. What a great clue!

The Denver Public Library has many Denver City Directories digitized and on its website. Brett's clue allowed me to hone in on the directories published in the 1890s. The photographer, G. R. Appel of 1529 Larimer, is first listed in the Denver City Directory in 1892! He continued at that address at least until 1899. I stopped searching at that point.

It seems logical that Mary Ann Woods might have stopped for a portrait in Denver on her trip to Boulder from Telluride in December of 1893.

Tomorrow we will get back to the provenance of the photograph. Today was a short but necessary detour. Thank you again Brett!

Ballenger & Richards, …Annual Denver City Directory…(Denver: Ballenger & Richards, 1892), p. 114, for “Appel, Gustaf R, photographer.” See also Gustaf’s entries under “Appel” in Denver City Directories for subsequent years with varying subtitles, specifically:  ( 1894) 120, (1896) 121, (1899) 123.

Walt Woods mother. Photograph. Original, privately held by Michelle Goodrum, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]. 2010.

“Returns After Many Years,” Boulder Daily Camera (Boulder), 7 December 1893, p. 1; digital images, Colorado Historical Newspapers ( : accessed 28 September 2007).

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Using Indirect Evidence to Identify a Photo - Part 1

If you look closely you can see the words, "For Frank" written in pencil under the picture. Frank was my great grandmother, Frances Lowe's nickname.
Have you ever wondered who the person in an old photo is and if you will ever figure it out? My great grandmother Frances Lowe had plenty of pictures in her old candy boxes where she stored photos, cards and letters. This one had me baffled for years. This is what Frances wrote on the back:

Recently, while looking for something, I ran across this picture once again. Immediately, light bulb came on. I think I know who this is! Follow along with me and see if you are convinced I have the answer to the question - Who is the woman in the picture? If not challenge me! Where else should I research? What else should be considered?

The clues:
  • The photo was taken in Denver.
  • The photographer is G.R. Appel, 1579 Larimer Street, Denver, Colorado.
  • According to Frances, the woman is Walt Woods mother.
Back in the very early days of this blog, I wrote two pieces about Mary Ann Ballenger, including a timeline of her life. Right there is Walter Woods! Take a moment and at least read the second piece on Mary Ann Ballenger Woods. I'm not going anywhere...

It looks like the Walt Woods named on the back of the photo is Mary Ann Ballenger Woods son. It gets more interesting when I follow Walt through the census.

Re-examining the 1900 census we see that Walter and his sister are listed at the top of the page with his parents and another sister at the bottom of the previous page. Walter is 12 years old, born in Colorado, his mother is listed as born in Iowa which is consistent with what we know about Mary Ann. They reside in Montrose County, Colorado which is in the southwest part of the state, consistent with the Boulder Daily Camera, 7 December 1893, Boulder Daily Camera newspaper article.

In 1910, Walter is listed as the 24 year old head of household with no one else in the home. Further down the page is Milton, Mary A and Hazel. His birth year is a little different from that listed in the 1900 census but his mother's birthplace of Iowa is consistent.

So nothing directly proves the woman in the photo is Mary Ann (Ballenger) Woods but the evidence indirectly indicates that to be the case.

  1. In December 1893, Mrs. Milton Y. Woods, the former Mary Ballinger, visits her sister, Mrs. Dan (Nancy Ballinger) Robinson in Boulder, Colorado with her 3 children. (Boulder Daily Camera, 7 December 1893, front page).
  2. Mary was living in Telluride, Colorado at the time the news article was written and had moved to the southern part of the state about 15 years earlier.
  3. The 1900 census shows the Woods family including Mary and son Walter living in Montrose County, Colorado.
We have tied Mary and Walter together. Tomorrow I will show how the provenance of the photograph ties these families together.

How is it looking so far?

“Returns After Many Years,” Boulder Daily Camera (Boulder), 7 December 1893, p. 1; digital images, Colorado Historical Newspapers ( : accessed 28 September 2007).

1900 U.S. census, Montrose County, Colorado. Population schedule, California Precinct 10, sheet 13 B and 14 A, dwelling 229 & family 250, Milton Y. Woods family; digital image, ( accessed 21 February 2010), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 127.

1910 U.S. census, Montrose County, Colorado. Population schedule, Precinct 106 sheet 6 B, dwelling 139 & family 129, Walter Woods; digital image, ( accessed 26 November 2011), citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 123.

Walt Woods mother. Photograph. Original, privately held by Michelle Goodrum, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]. 2010.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Friday, November 25, 2011

Input Needed for 2012 Genealogy Blogging Projects

Now that we are nearing the close of 2011, it’s time to begin considering goals for next year, as they relate to family history and this blog. Even though the Family Home has been cleared out and sold, there is still plenty of material to keep going for years to come. One of the things I would like to do is write some mini-series on topics that will help my readers solve their problems, while keeping with the goals of The Turning of Generations: blogging about home sources, developing questions, then researching to find answers and putting together a product of interest to future family members or historians. I need your input. What would you like to read about in 2012? Here is a list of potential topics I have come up with. Do any of them look interesting to you. Or do you have any other ideas where my "expertise" could be of help to you?

  1. How to use genealogical records to identify family photos. In this case, using my great grandparents’ homestead file to identify many of those unknown pictures in Frances Lowe’s candy boxes of pictures (that’s where she stored them, in old candy boxes!).
  2. The ongoing process of sorting and organizing the contents of the Family Home.
  3. How I am organizing and culling several generations of family photos and slides.
  4. The process of organizing, researching and telling Grandpa’s WWI story using his own letters, photos and other documents.
  5. Family lore, fact or fiction? Mom had an inheritance from a Canadian ancestor. Well the inheritance was fact but the circumstances surrounding it had to be considered lore until some solid evidence turned up, which it did. Now to follow the trail…
  6. How to go about verifying a family story. In this case, my husband’s ancestor used to have to hide from the Indians while her parents were away. Allegedly the parents were killed by Indians.
Let me know what you think! I figure this is a win, win situation. You win because you get to read about some things that interest you. I win because a project or two get completed - and there are plenty of those around here!

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Thursday, November 24, 2011

West in New England's Poetry Challenge is Out!

That's right Bill West's Third Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge is out! Hop on over and enjoy. I really like the way he organized the entries by state and country. There's quite an ecclectic collection.

Happy Thanksgiving.

You can read my family's entry The Snob here.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Let's Go Hiking to the Coast - Wordless Wednesday

Tomorrow's Thanksgiving. So let's work up an appetite for our turkey dinner by hiking to the Oregon Coast in Florence. We did this trek in September starting at one of the many parks just south of Florence. I hope it motivates you to get out and get moving tomorrow in preparation for the big feast.

After a picnic lunch, we started down the trail at the top of the bluff.

A significant portion of our hike was in soft sand. Can you spell "workout"? Fortunately the trail through the wooded area was fairly firm so we had a bit of a break.

Then we went through a grassland area. Notice the sand. It's fairly soft.

Up and over a small bluff and we were at the beach and the Pacific Ocean.

We arrived the day after the nesting period for the Snowy Plover had ended. Apparently there were restrictions on where you could walk during designated nesting times.

Even though it was sunny, there was a haze along the coast which made for some interesting pictures.

You never know what will appear. In this case it was the park rangers patrolling the beach.

On the way back, Husband decided to take the short cut up the bluff and through the very deep sand. You can see him starting out in the photo below. Did I mention the sand was very deep and it was uphill? Hehehe.

Me? I took the scenic and shaded route the way we had come down. Did I mention this trail was firm?

I had a lovely, leisurely time snapping pictures on the way back up to the car. Husband not so much. He was found waiting at the car pretty much whupped. Did I mention the sand was deep?

All in all it was a very enjoyable day trip to a location I had been wanting to visit for years decades. We did come through the area in the 1990s but the wind was blowing, it was raining and there were two little kids asleep in the car. No, we did not stop and get out.

I hope you enjoyed this photo essay and find yourself motivated to get out either work up an appetite for your turkey dinner or work off your Thanksgiving Dinner (or whatever dinner you might be enjoying if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving).

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grandma's Kitchen - 52 Weeks

Made using MyMemories and A Fresh
Start Quick Pages by LeeLou Designs..

Grandma's kitchen was small by today's standards, and old, even by 1960s standards. I have many warm memories of "helping" Grandma cook in her kitchen. While unpacking one of the many boxes from my grandparents' house that had been sitting in the Family Home for several decades, I ran across this set of measuring spoons. I immediately recognized it because I used to love to measure out ingredients with these spoons. It now has its own place on our counter at the cabin.

One conversation I remember having with her, while sitting on the countertop one day, was asking how or where people went to the bathroom back in the olden days. Since Grandma grew up out in the country as a little girl, they had an outhouse. I was fascinated by that thought. Not so much anymore today though...ewww.

Amy Coffin's series, 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is a series of blogging prompts that "invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants."

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Monday, November 21, 2011

Adventure in my Grandparent's Bathroom - 52 Weeks

Former home Dick & Margie Roos taken June 1994 by J. Richard Roos.
Cheney, Washington. It's pretty much as I remember it was when I last was there in 1977.

This is part 2 of a 3 part series about my grandparent's home. Yesterday I wrote about their very cool basement. Today, I'll tell you  about a little adventure in their bathroom when I was about five.

One summer day after using Grandma and Grandpa's only bathroom, I found myself locked in. I'm really not sure how that happened but I couldn't open the door to get out. So I called out to the family through the window that was over the steps leading to the back door. Everyone was on the patio which was just beyond the steps and a conference convened at the bathroom window.

Old House Parts
After demonstrating that the vintage lock was jammed and not allow me to turn the glass door nob and open the bathroom door, the search for some rescue supplies began. I'm not sure if someone tried unlocking the door from the other side with a skeleton key, which were in abundance in Grandma and Grandpa's home. I've always wondered about that...but I have to assume they tried this and failed.

So, I waited in the bathroom and visited with whoever was hanging with me at the window. I probably stuck my head down the laundry shute and asked if I could escape that way. I always wanted to do that but was strictly forbidden...

Eventually Grandpa returned with a very long dowel or something that would reach the length of the bathroom. He always had stuff like that around. He had carved the end to fit over the jammed latch and made it a game for me to guide the dowel securely over the latch and help him turn it to unlock the door. Wouldn't you know it worked! I was free!

I was told later that the entire ordeal was made out to be a game so that I wouldn't panic. Dad and Grandpa were really good that way and it worked.

Amy Coffin's series, 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is a series of blogging prompts that "invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants."

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Grandparents had the Coolest House - 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

Richard & Margie Roos home circa 1930.
My grandparents had the coolest house. At least it was cool from the perspective of a little kid. Over the next three days I'll tell you three things about the house, and our adventures there, that made it so great.

First, there was the basement. It was never properly graded and so there was a slope to the floor. Dad's bedroom was down there and since there was a slight slope, if you got out of bed on one side, it was a bit of a drop to the floor! This was where I slept most of the time when we visited. I always made sure to get out of bed on the uphill side until I was older and taller. I loved this room because all of the cabinets and drawers were built into the wall and there were lots of them. They were full of old things like toy soldiers and marbles. Some of those very items have appeared from boxes this past year in our adventure of cleaning out Mom and Dad's house, where I grew up, and have brought back many fond memories.

In addition to Dad's room, there was a dark room for film developing (remember, I'm the 3rd generation of avid amateur photographers). There was a freezer and washing machine too. I don't remember if there was a drier but I do remember there being clothes lines that Grandma used to hang clothes to be dried in the winter.

There also was a door that led out the back of the house to the garage. I remember everyone using that door in the winter instead of the back door to the main floor of the house. That's probably because it was only a few steps from the garage to the basement door and then you were out of the snow and ice.

Finally, there was the back half of the basement that was Grandpa's workshop and storage. Since the floor sloped, the adults had to stoop a little when they got back to this corner. I remember the storage area being kind of dark and creepy. Come to think of it, all of these super old boxes of photos and other papers that I have inherited were probably stored there!

More tomorrow...

Adventure in my Grandparents' Bathroom

Amy Coffin's series, 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is a series of blogging prompts that "invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants."

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Day at the County Recorder's Office-Part 2

Courtesy of

...Continued from yesterday...You can read Part 1 if you missed it and would like to catch up.

Upon arrival at the Boulder County Recorder's Office, with my prioritized lists, I presented myself at the front desk and explained that I would like to look up some old deeds, marriage records and other documents. The nice person behind the desk asked if I had used the fische before and took me over to explain the system before turning me loose.

All of their older documents are on fische, organized by book and page number with some documents having been digitized.

First, using the information printed out from their online system, I looked up each item to see if it had been digitized. Very few had but those that were had been scanned at a very high resolution so the copy printed out very clear.

Next, it was on to the fische. Since I had the book and page number of each document I was after, it was very easy to pull the fische one by one, find the page and make a copy from the reader. I made sure to note the book and page number on each copy.

I had been warned that sometimes the printer in the fische reader could be temperamental and after a couple of jams, I asked if it would be OK if I were to unjam it the next time there was a problem. The lady was more than happy to show me how and she went back to work and so did I. I always like to ask before messing with other people's equipment because sometimes they don't like you doing that.

So what can you find in the Recorder's Office? Here's a list of some of the types of documents I pulled. I'm still transcribing, citing and digesting the information. The time period of documents I looked at covered the early 1860s through the 1950s. That's close to 100 years!
  • Marriage certificate
  • Deeds
  • Patent (as in land patent)
  • Quit Claim Deed
  • Deed of Trust
  • Warranty Deed
  • Notice of Intent to Hold Mining Claims (lots of those)
  • Mortgage
  • Sheriff's Certificate of Purchase
  • Contracts
  • Notary Public Commission
  • Location Certificate (related to mining)
  • Bond Official
  • Satisfaction of Judgement
  • Chattel Mortgage
  • Cemetery Deed
  • Power of Attorney
There are probably a couple of other types of documents that I missed. As you can see there's quite a variety of information in the County Recorder's office about your ancestors. Each one contains clues about their lives, the people they associated with and when and where.

Boulder's Recorder Office seems to be pretty modern and it was easy to locate records by doing my homework ahead of time. If you haven't visited the Recorder's Office where your ancestor lived, it could prove to be a very productive experience. I hope you give it a try.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Day at the County Recorder's Office

Courtesy of

Last summer I had the opportunity to visit the Boulder County Recorder's office to retrieve a number of documents recorded by my ancestors. As it turns out some of them were rather "active" in that regard and this has turned into a fairly significant project. Today, I want to share with you the planning that went into this trip and my experiences in a Recorder's Office in the hope that it will encourage you to visit, if you haven't. I also hope you might share some of your experiences with us if you have.

First, I asked for advice. Since I am a member of the Boulder Genealogical Society, I contacted one of their members who was able to provide some fantastic pointers allowing me to prepare a list of documents I was seeking. She also explained the organizational system of the records and mentioned that the staff are very helpful (whew! for some reason I was intimidated by the thought of going into a place of business and asking for historical records).

Next, as instructed, I went to their online site to search records. I was able to compile lists of the documents I was interested in. Imagine my surprise when, by extending the search periods past the times my ancestors lived in the area (and even past their death dates, items appeared in the 1930s and 1940s. There was even one in 1951, decades after he had passed away.

Now with my compiled lists, I prioritized the items I would be looking for.

Finally, I checked the hours of operations and obtained a map to get to the office.

I was ready to go to the Recorder's Office. Tomorrow we will talk about my visit.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Another of My Favorite Android Apps...

Courtesy of

A while back I wrote about my new smart phone and asked for advice about Android Apps for genealogy. GeneaPopPop of Stardust 'n' Roots responded that he had CamScanner that allows him "to take pictures of documents, crop them, save as PDF, and email to my desktop." I had heard of this app but hadn't really given it much thought since I figured the same thing could accomplished by taking a picture and editing it with the Photo Editor. GeneaPopPop spurred me to download the CamScanner and give it a try. Boy am I glad I did. Thank you GeneaPopPop for mentioning the CamScanner!!

So why is the CamScanner better than the Photo Editor for documents? Here are two reasons:

  1. It really cleans up the image making it clearer and much more readable. It looks just like the original document.
  2. If you have a multipage document, you can combine them all into one pdf file.
Fortunately, this app was free to download to my particular phone which was an added benefit. I hope this helps you if you are searching for apps for your Android. More to come...

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

Disclaimer: I have not been paid or compensated in any way for the products mentioned in this post. I'm just expressing my opinions and experiences.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

College Football Fun - Go Ducks - Wordless Wednesday

The University of Oregon Ducks have quite the pre-game ceremony which includes their mascot leading the football team into the stadium on a motorcycle. Fun!

University of Oregon Duck. Digital Photograph. 29 October 2011; original taken by and privately held by Michelle Goodrum, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]. 2011.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum