Friday, September 22, 2017

Lost & Found - Family Photos at the Flea Market

Hello everyone and Happy Equinox - OK, equinox is actually tomorrow but does it really matter that I am a day early? I took the day off work today to get a few things done around the house and to make my reservations for RootsTech 2018. RootsTech is the largest genealogy conference as far as I know. If you haven't gone, make sure you add it to your bucket list.

I was running around on Facebook while trying to figure out what I was going to do and then I ran across Elizabeth O'Neal's post about the Genealogy Blog Party theme of the month - Lost & Found. See the post at her My Descendant's Ancestors blog site. So, I decided to write about he Lost photos that I have Found in the hopes that those who have Lost them will see the story and ask me for them back.

I often visit flea markets and antique shows to find vendors who specialize in old photos. These vendors have box after box of old photos they have found but their intent is to make money on them, not necessarily to return them to their families. I often wonder how the photos came into their possession - Were they sold at yard sales by ancestors who no longer wanted them? Were they orphaned by a family member who died and had no one to pass them on to? Were they part of an assorted box of stuff found at an estate sale? The answer to those questions is different for each photo. Many of the photos have no identifying information on them but frequently I can find some with information that allows me to begin searching for matches and potential families. This blog post will list some of the photos I have rescued and what I have learned about each one. I have also tried to link each one to a person on and have provided the PID# in their description so they can be found easily. The caption on each photo is the text that was written on its back.

Great Grandmother Kellogg (mother of Ann Marie Kellog m. Hiram Paulding, USA)

Based on the information on the back of this photo and matching it to information on, I believe Great Grandmother Kellog's name was Mary Ann Tuthill (FamilySearch PID #LH3M-K4H). Mary Ann was born around 1782 in New Canaan, Connecticut. Her husband was Jonathan Warren Kellogg. Her daughter Ann Marie Kellogg was born 11 July 1807 in Flatbush, New York and died 7 January 1894 in Long Island, New York. Ann's husband, Hiram Paulding was born 11 December 1797 in Cortland, New York and died 20 October 1878 in Huntington, Long Island, New York. I really love this photo, not only because of the age but also because it shows what appears to be a very strong matriarch of the family.

It isn't often that you find complete extended families in a flea market collection. But the following group of photos is an extraordinary find consisting of 9 photos in total. This family consists of Moots, Munns, and a Boughton.

Abbie Boughton - sister of Mary Elizabeth Boughton Munn (Greatgrandmother). Died of TB.
This picture of Abbie Boughton had a great amount of information that helped me identify her. First of all, her sister is listed as Mary Elizabeth Boughton and Mary's husband is a Munn. I was able to find Mary Elizabeth Boughton Munn on FamilySearch (PID #LRK7-F4V) along with her husband, James L Munn, and three children. However, Abbie was not listed on FamilySearch.

James Munn - Dick
This photo is James Munn, the son of Mary Elizabeth Boughton and James Munn, Sr. James can be found on FamilySearch (PID #LRK7-LQP) with his family. James was born about 1865. How do I know this was James Munn, Jr. and not the father? Well, I am not 100 percent sure that it is, but I can make a guess based on the next photo.

Helen Munn

Helen Munn, (FamilySearch PID #LZ6R-T8Q), is the daughter of  Mary Elizabeth Boughton and James Munn, Sr. and the sister of James Munn, Jr. These family connections are proved by the various census records for the family. Since the pictures of James and Helen are from the same photo studio, and they appear to be similar in age, I assumed the photo of James was of the son and not the father. James and Helen also had a sister, Felicia Carrie Mun but I don't have any pictures of her. Interestingly though, I do have pictures of Felicia's husband, Melvin Moot, and their son, Carl Moot.

Melvin Moot - about 18
Melvin Moot - age 20 some

These two pictures of Melvin Moot (FamilySearch PID #KH7D-LBW) are taken in two different studios in New York. Melvin was born 22 December 1864 in Richmondville, New York and died 22 June 1945 in Richmondville. Melvin and Felicia had a son, Carl Melvin Moot.

Carl Moot
Carl Moot

Carl Moot (FamilySearch PID #LJKJ-QCQ) was born 18 February 1888 in Richmondville, New York and died in August 1967. Carl had some friends named Newlin Beard, Bill Paul and Roscoe Paul, as evidenced by the next picture.

Carl Moot, Newlin Beard, Bill Paul, Roscoe Paul

Another family member in this collection was Melvin Moot's brother, Orin Moot (FamilySearch PID #K466-9JB). Orin was born around 1862 and died 22 August 1942 in Albany, New York.

Orin Moot

It is rare to find this large of a family collection in mixed boxes of loose photos. For the descendants of these people this would be a great find, if they could be reunited. If you know any of these families, please have them contact me so they can be reunited with them.

As a genealogist, I find the game of Lost & Found to be a fun and challenging past time. Reuniting people with the images of their long lost relatives brings them happiness and gives me a feeling of success. The research is challenging but rewarding. I have many more photos that still need reuniting with their families and I will continue to hunt for more each opportunity that I get. These lost treasures need to find their families.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

FamilySearch Indexing - Zoning Pilot Project

Ok, I know what you are thinking - Why can't he write on a regular basis like all the other bloggers? The answer is - I don't know. I love to write but I seem to only be able to do it when I get inspired, and then sometimes when I am inspired I don't have the time to focus. So, a few weeks ago I was waiting for my wife in a parking lot, listening to NPR. The program that was on was from The Millennial Podcast titled Nothing to Lose. That show talked about how the host began her podcast and the challenges she faced trying to find her inspiration. It inspired me to think about writing again (that was over a month ago). I had some great ideas but then just never was able to allocate the time to seriously sit down and write. I thought about writing down my ideas, I had many, but that just passed by without being pursued. So, this week when I had a few free hours, I sat down and started a new pilot indexing project for FamilySearch called Zoning. This was a fun project where volunteers view newspaper pages and block out stories with marriage, birth and death information. In the first day I completed over 670 zones in newspapers from Raleigh, North Carolina. I decided that this would be a good story to provide since this such a new project.

So, let's discuss a bit about indexing to start with. Anyone can volunteer to index the records that have already been digitized. To learn more about indexing visit the FamilySearch Indexing webpage. The indexing projects are moving ahead and more records are being made searchable each month. With the success of the indexing program and the addition of more digitized images online there has been a decrease in the need for microfilms to be sent out. Additionally, the cost of copying microfilms has increased substantially over the years. Many of you have probably read that the Family History Library will stop sending out microfilm records at the end of this week (September 7, 2017). The reason they are ending the microfilm rental process is that many of the films are now available online and they believe almost all of them should be available over the next three years, around 2020. Just to point out the major accomplishments achieved already in digitizing microfilm records, think about the following:

  • Almost all of the microfilms rented by patrons in the past 5 years have now been digitized.
  • Over 1.5 million microfilms (1.5 billion images) are now available online.
  • Microfilms are being digitized at the rate of 1,000 rolls per day.
  • Images that have not been indexed are available in the FamilySearch Catalog.

So, why is Zoning important? Zoning serves as the first step in indexing newspaper records. The zoners highlight the regions of each newspaper page that contain marriage, birth and death information that will be useful in our family history research. There are sets of key words that the zoners look for such as adoption, birthday, anniversary, divorce, engagement, estate, obituary, probate, etc.

If you are interested in signing up for the Zoning pilot project click here. Once your request has been approved and you are signed up you can begin zoning.

FamilySearch Zoning Pilot Project - initial view
Each batch consists of five newspaper pages that may or may not contain important information. As you read the page, looking for the key words, you begin to note which articles are subject to zoning. Currently the only events that are being zoned are those that contain birth, marriage or death information. 

Page after it has been Zoned for marriage information

The page above has several articles pertaining to marriage events such as engagements, anniversaries, announcements and marriages. Marriage information is highlighted in orange and the areas in blue are stories that are stitched together over several columns.

Page after it has been Zoned for death information

The page above has several articles pertaining to deaths. These stories are highlighted in green. Also, if you look at the side bar there is a page with a large red X on it. That indicates that there are no stories with birth, marriage, or death information. The large black circles indicate that those pages have been zoned.

Once you have zoned all the pages you can submit them and go on to zone more batches. This project is important for future indexing in that it provides the articles which will be added to the newspaper records.

I know some people have been having trouble indexing records, either because of the difficulty reading them or because of other reasons. This Zoning pilot project is an easy way for those who are having trouble contributing to the Indexing project to provide new records to the FamilySearch records.