How to Spiff Up Your Old Photos

Photo Editing for Genealogists Workshop

From October 31 to November 6, 2016, you can pick my brain about anything to do with photo editing. It’s all happening in the Photo Editing for Genealogists Workshop sponsored by Family Tree University.

In the “other” part of my life I’m a life-long photographer, photo editor, and iPhoneographer. I love editing photos – especially when it comes to old family photos or new shots taken of cemeteries or ancestral homesteads.

I’ll be in the workshop every day, posting even more information about photo editing as well as answering any questions you have about photo editing challenges. Come join me – we will have such fun and you will come away with lots of new skills.

The course can be accessed anytime, anywhere, with a computer, tablet or smartphone.

Lydia Ann Hatton, My 2nd Great-Grandmother

Lydia Ann Hatton Geneaogy

I wish I knew more about Lydia Ann. I was fortunate to find the cemetery in which she was buried (Reed Cemetery, near Harrisonville, Missouri), although finding her tombstone wasn’t as easy as many of the old stones had been knocked over and covered with dirt. Lydia Ann’s read:

DIED MAR 7, 1871
AGED 44 YRS, 1 MO, & 3 Ds.
Also Her Infant

As far as I know, she and John had 10 children, the last one buried with her. John outlived her by 35 years, dying in 1906.

Something that I wonder about – they were married on New Year’s Eve, 1843. Why did they pick that date?

Massachusetts – Home of Presidents

Massachusetts 1788

On February 6, 1788, Massachusetts became the 6th state to join the Union. The birthplace of John Adams, John Quincy Adams and John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Massachusetts has long been associated with leadership as well as the American Revolution.

Massachusetts ranks 44th in land mass, and 13th in population. The state flower is the Mayflower, the bird the chickadee, and its tree the American elm. The Massachusetts’ state flag has a white field with a blue shield picturing the image of a Native American, Massachuset. He holds a bow in one hand and an arrow in the other. Around the shield is a blue ribbon with the motto: ” By the Sword We Seek Peace, but Peace Only Under Liberty”.

Plymouth Rock, the landing place of the Pilgrims, is still visible. It is about the size of a coffee table, composed of glacial moraine. The date 1620 is cut into its surface. The Rock was dragged around the town of Plymouth by ox teams to inspire Revolutionaries, and later gouged and scraped by 19th-century souvenir hunters. It now rests near the head of Plymouth Harbor.

Another historical landmark in Massachusetts is the USS Constitution ‘Old Ironsides’, the oldest fully commissioned vessel in the US Navy. It is permanently berthed at Charlestown Navy Yard.

If your family has been in America for a century or more, it’s likely at least one branch resided in Massachusetts.

Ask the Kids – Stories Are Everywhere

Stories are everywhere - ask the kids

If you’re still looking for a family story, stop asking the adults and start asking the kids. Start with questions like:

  • what’s your favorite color
  • what sport do you love
  • where do you want to go on vacation
  • what’s your funniest story
  • if you could be a pirate what would you do

I think you’ll find that before long you’ll have more stories than you have time to write about. Save them – especially now that smartphones have mics and video you can even record them. Think about what a great gift this would be to give you now-10-year-old in 15 years from now.

Share a story in the comments below, or post on Twitter using the hashtag #storiesareeverywhere

Henry Clay and the Missouri Compromise 1820

Missouri Compromise

“I’d rather be right . . . “

Henry Clay was the promoter of the Missouri Compromise of 1820, the Compromise of 1850, and twice an unsuccessful Whig candidate for the Presidency.

Clay was born in Kentucky, studied under George Wythe, and was a successful lawyer in both civil and criminal cases. He served as counsel for Aaron Burr in 1806, during a grand jury investigation of Burr’s plans to establish an independent empire in the Southwest. In 1811, Clay was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and was a leader in pushing the country into the War of 1812. While in Congress, he became one of the most powerful, legislators in U.S. history. He served as Speaker of the House longer than anyone in 19th Century America, and transformed the office to one of enormous power and influence.

In 1957, a Senate committee headed by John F. Kennedy, named Clay the greatest Senator in the country’s history.

Clay’s most notable legacy comes from his role as the “Great Pacificator” – – the man who worked out compromises which helped keep the Union intact during the turbulent times in the two decades before the Civil War.

Interestingly, although Clay often spoke against slavery, he, at one time, owned over 60 slaves, and in fact felt they should be sent back to Africa. Had Clay lived longer, it’s believed he would have fought to the very end to avoid the Civil War. “If any man wants the key to my heart,” he said “let him take the key of the Union.”

During a speech in 1846, Clay spoke one of his most memorable lines. “I’d rather be right than President.”