19 May 2015

Black Sheep of the Family

I think I've actually written about my great grand uncle before. I never even knew about Leonard Rollett until a few years ago when I finally broke through who his parents were and subsequently discovered him as the brother of my great grandmother May Rollett.

Leonard Rollett was born 7 Jan 1908 in Missouri to David Rollett and Rosa (Clark) Rollett. He died at the young age of  21 on 31 July 1931. When I discovered this it automatically had my attention. I've come across other family members that died at young ages and I find myself digging for answers. How did they die? Why so young?

The one thing I love about doing research on my Missouri ancestors is the availability of birth and death records at Missouri Digital Heritage. I found Leonard's death certificate while searching through looking for any records of his father, mother or siblings. On his death certificate for cause of death was "homicide, fire arm" and for contributory "shot by officer." Knowing that there had to be a story, I went searching for newspaper articles. In this case I was not disappointed.

And there you have it. I have a robber in my family tree. This is a story I can tell to my kids to remind them the crime doesn't pay. His partner in crime, Flutty, received 5 years for his involvement in the crime.
Leonard's sister May left behind her husband and four children and never looked back (as far as I know). I really would like to know more about this family. Crime and irresponsibility seem to be a part of their lives. 

12 May 2015

So Young, Yet Such a Man

Once again it's time for another #52Ancestors post. I've written about my 3x great grandfather many times. First because he was such a mystery to all of us, but now that I've solved the mystery, I write about him because his life was what novels are made of.

William George Woolsey was born in Iowa on 15 Dec 1865 to Richard W Woolsey and Charollette Ann (Beck) Woolsey. William refused to talk about his parents or his family. When asked by his children and grandchildren where he was from or who is parents were his response was, "I was born in Iowa and ran away as a young lad from an abusive Irish step mother, and that's all I'm going to say about that." Well he was successful in keeping the family, for generations, from finding out about his past until a couple years ago when someone saw a post I put on a forum and knew about a William Woolsey in their family who was born in Iowa and ran away from home. When we began putting the pieces together we all understood why.

In order to understand William's hatred for his parents we need to back up in time a bit. At the time of William's birth the Civil War had just ended. Charlotte lost her first husband and the father of her first three  children on 3 Apr 1863, John Nolan. Richard Woolsey, too, had suffered the loss of his first wife Alice Susan (Buck) Woolsey in 1862. Richard and Alice had six children. It would appear from the trail of records that Richard and Charlotte were devastated and lost after their first spouses died.

Richard then married Charlotte on  6 Sep 1863 in LaGrange, IN. Then William was born two years later into a very large blended family. I'm not sure what went wrong, but by 1870 Richard is no longer in the picture. He and his six children are living in Creswell, Cowley, KS. Shortly after this Richard built the first hotel in Arkansas City, KS known then as the Woolsey House and he in turn was endearingly known as Uncle Dick. I have never found a record of divorce, but clearly they were no longer together because Charlotte was living in Lincoln, Linn, KS with her four children, William being one of them and only four years old at the time.

By 1875 Charlotte is still living in Lincoln, KS, but now under a new name. She is in the home of James Kennedy (Kenneda). She is listed as C.A. Kennedy. James has three children from a previous marriage, Charlotte has her three Nolan children and William Woolsey and then together James and Charlotte have an eight month old Ella. Dear Lord, talk about a blended family of monstrous proportions. Poor William must have really felt left out, being the only Woolsey in the home. Charlotte then died in Linn County on 13 Apr 1876 at the age of 38.

At this point William is left without a mother and has a father chasing gold across the country. William is only 11 years old at this point. Even if his father was not a part of his life it became clear that at least his Woolsey half-siblings were when I found him in the 1880 census living in the home of his half sister Eva (Woolsey) Brown. In this census he is enumerated by his middle name, George. What I find strange is that he is listed as a boarder instead of half-brother-in-law. Then again when you look at that title I can see why, boarder was just easier to record. He at one time in his life mentioned that he named two of his daughter after his sisters, Eva and Minnie, however, Minnie turned out to be a niece, a daughter of his half-sister Caroline, but close enough. 

I don't find Richard in the 1875 Kansas State Census, probably because he has caught "gold fever" and is off chasing his pot at the end of the rainbow. In 1880, however, Richard is in Sauk City, Whatcom, WA. He is just one of the many miners hoping to strike it rich. I don't know when Richard left Sauk City. What I have been able to determine is that the original Sauk City was destroyed by fire (all except the general store of George Perrault) in 1889. I wouldn't be surprised if Richard through in the towel and took off at that point, but unfortunately that is likely lost with time.

Sometimes before 1900 Richard starts mining in Faulkner, Sierra, New Mexico where he was enumerated in 1900 on the US Census. I think it's very likely that he had been there for many years. He had an established mine and was again well known in the area. In some newspaper account Hillsboro is mentioned. Faulkner no longer exists and Hillsboro is an unincorporated town, basically a ghost town. I'd love to go visit this old mining ghost town some time. It's where he spent his last years until he fell ill. He was then brought home to Arkansas City, KS by his children where he died 21 Oct 1908. In his obituary each of his children is mentioned, including William, who's "whereabouts unknown."

At no point do I ever find any indication that Richard was involved in his life. At least Eva was, though no one knows for how long he was able to be with his Woolsey siblings. This mystery drove me crazy for years, and if it hadn't been for someone from the other side of that story in the family, I may never have solved it. Message boards have brought about such break throughs on more than one occasion. When you have a mystery, don't forget to use the message board. You never know who will be reading and knows the other half of the story you are looking for.

The amazing part is that John Woolsey who solved the mystery when he found my post was also born and raised in the same town in Modesto, CA as I was. He told me one time that he had asked his dad before if he was related to the Woolsey's in the phone book, and it turns out that he was. The Woolsey names he had seen and asked about where my grandfather and father (and his siblings). It makes you realize what a small world we live in and that we may be more closely related to our neighbors than we realize.

28 April 2015

Life Wasn't Easy

As part of this week's #52Ancestors "Where there's a will" I will write about my husband's grandmother. I have written about her many times. She is a dear sweet woman who has lived through some very difficult times, especially in her childhood.

Estelle Conner was born the 25 May 1929 in Hollis, OK in a little one room wooden shack to Ernest Ghamo Conner and Flora Mae Manning. She was a twin, but her twin brother died shortly after birth. By 1930 Ernest had picked up his small family and moved to Brown County, TX. He was likely following work, which he would do for a large portion of his life.

Let's back up and understand Ernest a bit. He wasn't called Ernest by his family. He was known as Joe Conner. He was born in Williamson, TX to William Monroe Conner and Laura Alice Barnett in 1898. They would spend the next 20 years moving around Texas. They were farmers after all and likely following farm work, but not having land of their own. Eventually they settled down in Harmon County, OK and owned a farm of their own. Unfortunately after William's death in 1936 Laura would loose the farm due to taxes. Ernest had 14 siblings. Can you imagine having that many siblings to share with?! As if life in rural Texas wasn't hard enough, I'm sure it was made more difficult by the shear number of mouths to feed. Yet somehow they came together and remained a very tight and loving family.

Rumor has it (according to Aunt Mattie) that Flora's family disowned her because she married an Indian (Ernest). My research isn't turning up enough Indian in the family to actually call Ernest Native American. Just speculation on my part, but I'd say it had more to do with their age than the fact that he had a small drop of Indian blood in him. Ernest was 13 years her senior and when Estelle and her twin brother were born, Flora was only 18 years old, so she was likely around 17 when they were married. I have yet to find that record.

Anyway Ernest and Flora end up in Amarillo, TX. In 1940 he is listed as a "common laborer" for the WPA. That was farm labor or ranching. Since the rest of his life involved moving farm to farm as a farm laborer and grandma never mentioned him as a cowboy, I'd say it's safe to say he was doing farm labor.

Ernest and Flora would go on to have four more children all born in TX: Mattie Josephine, Lotti "Laura" Bell, Billie Joe and Geneva. Geneva and Flora died shortly after Geneva was born due to complications of the birth in Mar 1940.  In the 1940 census taken on April 13 Ernest is renting a home in Amarillo. In the household are his four living children, Laura (his mother) and his two youngest sibling. What is unknown is how Ernest and his mother end up back in Hollis and the children removed from him. It may be that Laura traveled to Amarillo with her last two children still at home to help him with his children after the death of his wife and was in the process of bringing him and the children back to her home when the census was taken.

Regardless of how or when, Joe's children were taken from him and put into an orphanage in Tipton, OK. She wasn't in the home for long. It wasn't a bad place to live, they just missed their dad. He wanted his children back and the only way to do that was to get married again. Supposedly in that day people in the infinite (misguide) wisdom thought that a father was not capable of raising children on his own. So he married a widow who had a fifteen year old son. Her name was Bernice. Joe was able then to get his children back, but life with Bernice was anything but good. Estelle's only fond memories in that home was of a colored maid who loved the kids. She couldn't remember her name, but loved her. Joe finally had enough of this woman and how she made the children feel, so he packed them up and snuck away in the middle of the night. He went back to Oklahoma about 80 miles from his mother where they all helped him pick cotton on a cotton farm. From then on the children would go with him, living in tents on farms and help him with farm work.

A photo I restored of Grandma Estelle and two of her siblings: Laura (L) and Billie (R). Grandma is in the center.
Estelle never got more than a fifth grade education. She was too busy working on farms with her dad to survive and helping her dad raise her younger siblings, that education wasn't that important. I know at this point some of you may be thinking they were right to take the kids from him, but it only broke his and the children's hearts to be away from each other. Life was hard, but it made grandma and her siblings strong, independent, self sufficient people.

When he went back to Amarillo, TX he meet Curley, the woman he would later marry and spend the rest of his life with. The kids all loved her. Grandma missed her mother, but Curley was her second mother and she loved her just as much.

Joe was never able to afford a headstone to put on his wife or baby girl's grave. Several years ago my mother-in-law took Grandma on a road trip before her memory became too bad. They were able to visit the graves of Flora and Geneva Conner. Grandma was so moved that not only did they not have a headstone but the little bricks with their first name had to have layers of dirt removed before they could be seen. Grandma went that day and paid for headstone to be put on their graves.

10 April 2015

Living 100 years

Can you imagine it? Few can even imagine living to be 100 years old, but Emily Lutitia (Scott) Hoard experience exactly that and she lived in two centuries at that. Can you imagine all that she saw and experienced in her life time?

Let me put her life time into perspective. Emily was born 1 Sept 1848 in Metamora, Franklin, Indiana. Now let's think about that for a minute. She would have been 15 when the Civil War began. Knowing what I've learned about this side of my family I believe they were very loving and very likely against slavery. When she was a child slavery was still legal, travel was horse and wagon, the west was still being discovered!

In 1850 Emily is found in the census as a two year old living with her parents and her maternal grandmother in Center, Marion, IN. Next we see the family in the Iowa state census for 1856 in Union, Lucas, IA. There are now two more family members; A.F who is 5 (Alexander) and M.E who is 2.

So far no more records have been found for any of the family members between 1856 and 1866 when Emily shows up on 12 Jul 1866 in Platte City, Platte, MO where she marries James W Hoard.  According to a deposition Emily gave for her pension file they left for Jackson co., MO in 1868 and then back to Platte co., MO in the spring of 1869.

There are then no records found for George and Aner, or the boys, until 1880. In 1870 Emily and James are in Carroll, Platte, MO. It's very likely that George and Aner are in this part of Missouri at this time, just no records have been located. In 1870 census Emily and James have two boys; Thomas - 3 and George - 1. During this time period she would have likely heard of many of the Indian wars that happened in and around the states she was living in. As much as I believe the US government wronged the Native Americans I can also understand the fear of Indian attacks that someone like my 3rd great grandmother would have felt. One of the saddest and most disturbing Indian battles was the Battle of Wounded Knee, which occurred on 29 Dec 1890. It's likely Emily and James would have been in NE or MO at that time. I would have loved to have known how this effected her.

In 1880 George and Aner are living in Plum Creek, NE while 160 miles away Emily and James are in Vesta, NE. Vesta is just over the MO border from where George and Aner are buried in Mulberry, Crawford County, Kansas, USA.

Emily would then live out the rest of her life in Kansas from 1900 until she dies in 1948. She lived in Harvey, Latham and Union, Kansas. In 1903 the The Wright Brothers Make the First Flight at Kitty Hawk and the First Silent Movie, The Great Train Robbery comes out. I wonder if she would have seen it, or maybe her boys and their families? Her husband, James Hoard, died on the train to Arkansas to visit family on 14 Jun 1911. A year later The Titanic Sinks. She would have witnessed both World Wars and seen sons and grandsons go off to war. She must have been a woman with wonderful Karma because from what I've seen all of her sons and grandsons that would have served returned home to have families and live long lives. In many cases her sons and daughters lived into their 80's and a couple of the daughters to 98. I'd say the longevity gene was strong in her family.

In the 1920's she would have seen the beginning of Prohibition in the U.S., The First Talking Movie, The Jazz Singer, and First Mickey Mouse Cartoon. In 1920 she is living along at the age of 71 in Union, Butler, KS. In 1929 the Great Depression began. I do not know where she was in 1930 after the Depression began. I can only imagine that she must be living with one of her children at this point, but my 1940 she is once again living along in Latham, Butler, KS. Though Roy is living near by it is still amazing that a 91 year old woman is living on her own. In 1934 she would have been in the midst of The Dust Bowl and yet she stayed. The Hoard family was not one easily driven out of the Great Plains.

I've often been asked if I could go back in time and spend time with an ancestor, who would it be? Emily would be one such ancestor. I can only imagine the stories that she could have told. 100 years of life spanning the most volatile, industrious, changing, progressing two centuries in American history.

Emily died, just shy of her 100th birthday on 28 Mar 1948 in Wichita, Sedgwick, KS. She was then laid to rest beside her husband, James in the Latham Cemetery in Latham, KS.

In the photo L to R: Emily (Scott) Hoard, Thomas Hoard, Roy Hoard and Fontana Hoard. 4 generations of Hoards.

31 March 2015

Never forget

This week's challenge in #52Ancestors is "Favorite Photo." I would have to say of all the photos I now have of my ancestors one of my all time favorites is not what you'd expect. I doesn't have someone's face, but tells me so much about my great grandfather, General Martin Hayes.

My favorite photo is a photo of this cabin where Martin Hayes was born. And to make it an even great treasuer, on the back in my great great grandmother's, Mary Jane (Vest) Hayes, writing is a note to him. "To Martin a Reminder Mother." She was reminding him to never forget where he came from.
General Martin Hayes was born 4 Apr 1907 in Hominy, OK to James Martin Hayes and Mary Jane (Vest) Hayes. Martin lived in and around Hominy until he was in his 30's. The last known record of him living in Hominy is the 1940 census. Though his obit states that he moved to Turlock, CA in 1941. On 17 Oct 1943 Martin enlisted in the Army to serve in WWII from Sacramento, CA. Note that he was given the name of General Martin Hayes as a child. He was not a General in the army, at least not that I know of.  By 1950 he moved his family to Modesto, CA. He died on 17 Dec 1960 in Turlock, CA.
This photo will always be a treasure as it truly represents many of my family lines and the hardships they endured. It just shows where my strength and ambition comes from.


26 September 2014

A Case of Murder

It all began with a death certificate. My Woolsey ancestry can drive me crazy sometimes when I hit brick walls, so I've gotten in the habit of looking at everyone and trying to find everything possible even on distant connections. I was looking at the family of Minnie Agnes (Woolsey) Tandy, my grandfather's aunt when I stumbled across this death certificate for her daughter Amie Urisa Tandy. Normally I would just capture the dates and places and move on in order to establish connections to my direct line, but then I notice the cause of death "punctured lung - gunshot wound, Hemothorax and Severed Spinal Cord" That alone just sounded so sad. I realized though that there had to be a story to this, so I began to search for newspaper articles on Newspapers.com.
I was shocked to discover that my grandfather's very own cousin was shot and murdered by her own husband Leo Nichols. Leo had come home drunk and began taunting his son Bobby Jack by shooting at him! I can only imagine the horror a mother must feel to witness her husband shooting at their own child. She confronted Leo and he turned his attention on her. He began shooting at her. Bobby Jack recalls on the stand that he saw his mother jump. He thought at first she had jumped out of the way, but in fact she had been shot and the impact of the bullet threw her body.
The Sheriff would later recall that he came to the home to find a woman moaning. She lay on the floor in her own blood screaming.
Leo Nichols was found guilty and given a life sentence. I never could find anything more on Bobby Jack Nichols. I can only imagine how hard it would have been on a little boy to witness his father shoot his mother. Bobby was only eight years old at the time. This was a sad sorry to discover in my family.
Amie Nichols, Ancestry.com. Texas, Death Certificates, 1903–1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.

16 July 2014

Sarah Ann Revell 1838-1892

I've been writing lately about my great grandmother May Elizabeth Rollett and her ancestors, but I've really focused on her grandmother Sarah Ann Revell. I'm lucky that her father was one of the original members of the Reorganized Church of the Latter Day Saints in Nauvoo, OK. As a result there are many records available to me.

The biggest challenge was not being able to find a husband with her in any of the census I found. She was always in the home of her parents Thomas Revell and Elizabeth (Brierly) Revell. In my previous post I showed her with her parents in 1870 and 1880. Between 1870 and 1880 Brierly was born with the same last name as the older children. So where was this elusive husband?

I had read in several accounts of the LDS that her husband's name was Elmer Rollett. One record Early Members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is recorded that Elmer Rollett died in 1866. So if that's the case he can't be the father of Brierly Rollet who was born in 1871. At this point the only thing that I can figure is that Sarah did remarry after Elmer's death to another man by the same last name as Rollett, who according to Brierly's death certificate is named Phillip Rollet born in France. It's likely they weren't even related as Elmer was born in England. I still am searching for records on this Phillip Rollett.

Finally I found Sarah with her first husband in 1860 census in St Louis, MO. They had another child I wasn't aware of, Elmer F Rollett. He is 8 months old. It's likely he died before the 1870 census. Elmer is 43 years old and Sarah is only 22. Elmer was 21 years her senior, but I have yet to find any indication that he was ever married before Sarah.

I did find an Elmer Rollett age 32 in Northern Lights, Philadelphia, PA in 1870 census in the home of John Edgar. I'm not certain, but this could be my Elmer. I've not found any others that match.

I also found Elmer and Sarah's marriage. They were married 16 April 1858 in St Louis, MO. Elmer's first name though was recorded as Abner, or at least that's the way it was transcribed on Ancestry. I'll have to find a way to see the original.

So now to find the second husband Phillip Rollett. This woman's life is getting so interesting.

14 July 2014

May Elizabeth Rollett and Ancestors Part II

I haven't had this much fun researching one of my family lines in probably more than a year, but once again I'm being sucked into the genealogy vortex and I just can't seem to pull away.

I wrote last week about a little minor detail that had gone unnoticed preventing me from discovering my Rollett ancestors in May Elizabeth Rollett and ancestors. Now that I've put the puzzle pieces together here is a bit more about her family. So far I'm able to trace May's father's side back to her great grandfather, Thomas Revel.

Thomas Revel was born on November 4, 1813, in Radford, England. He was married Elizabeth Brierly 28 Jan 1838. He died on April 24, 1896, in DeKalb, Missouri, having lived a long life of 82 years, and was buried there.

According to the book "Roots of the Reorganized Latter Day Saints in Southern Iowa" by Pearl Wilcox Thomas and Elizabeth joined the Latter Day Saints church in 1847 and came to America in 1851. They first went to Utah, but after nothing but disappointment moved to St Louis, MO where they remained until 1861. From there they moved to Council Bluff where they were one of the first to be baptized in the Reorganized Church. Thomas was ordained a elder 1 May 1862 and in 1864 sent on a mission to England. After he returned the family moved to Nauvoo, Hancock County, IL where they lived until 1890. He died in the home of his grandson Brierly R Rollett in DeKalb County, MO.

I did find the family in 1860 in St Louis, Ward 7, MO. In the home is only Thomas and Elizabeth and the name is spelled as Ravell. However they appear to have boarders, unless they are family. There are four other families listed in the same dwelling. Not sure yet if any of them are related.

By 1870 they are now settled in Nauvoo, Hancock, IL. Thomas and Elizabeth with their daughter Sarah Ann Rollett (miss spelled Ballet in the census) and two grand children Elizabeth and Isaiah D Rollett. Isaiah is David Isaiah who was May's father.

In 1880 they are all still in Nauvoo, Hancock, IL only this time there is another child, Brierly. What I find interesting is that this child has the same name as his siblings, yet two census records have yet to record the father of these children or Sarah's husband. I've never encountered this before over two census records. It makes me wonder if this is the result of a plural marriage. Was she living with her family even though she was one of many wives to an unknown Rollett? I say unknown because I have yet to pin point who really is her husband and the father of these children. On Brierly's death certificate his father was reported to be Phillip Rollett born in France. I do find a marriage record in MO of a Sarah Ann Revel married to an Abner Rollett in 1858. But then there is one more.......in
"The Heritage of Buchanan County, Missouri, 1984
Johnson, Herman, author
Stevenson family biographical information [ca. 1984]
"Faced with the responsibility of raising 6 children, ages 1 to 16, William [Stevenson] remarried on Nove 14, 1880. His second wife was Sarah Ann (Revell) Rollett, widow of Elmer Rollett. Sarah was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Revell."
So now I have another name. How can this man be known by three different names. From everything I read and find William Stevenson was only a second marriage for Sarah, so not likely that she was married to two different Rolletts, and I can see Elmer being mistaken as Abner or visa versa.

Sarah Ann Revell was born on April 29, 1838, in England, the only child (so far known) of Thomas and Elizabeth. She had three children, Elizabeth, David Isaiah & Brierly with Phillip/Elmar/Abner (to be determined) Rollett between 1862 and 1871. She then married William Stevenson and they had one child together, Joseph. She died on April 12, 1892, in Nauvoo, Illinois, at the age of 53.

I'm getting the feeling that David or at least his son Leonard was the black sheep of a strict Mormon family. Leonard if you'll recall I reported in one of my earlier post was a bootlegger shot to death by the Sheriff. A family that with in the span of three generations goes from extremely religious to outlaws. I can't wait to find more.

10 July 2014

May Elizabeth Rollett and ancestors

I have been on the search for my Rollett ancestors for years. I've written about that wonderful brick wall a few times. It's funny how sometime we consider a family line a brick wall, when in fact it's just a mater of not seeing the little details. That was the case with this family. I missed one little detail that blew the flood gates wide open when I finally saw it.

As of a few weeks ago I knew that my great grandmother May Elizabeth Rollett was the daughter of David I Rollett and Rosa D Clark of MO.  I wrote about finding her parents and siblings back in a post in 2011, My Happy Dance. Since then I found myself once again stumped, until last night! That's when I realized my brick wall was self inflicted. I simply was not paying attention to every little detail.

So how did I break through.......
  1. I opened up David I Rollett and Brierly R Rollett's death certificates. I still suspected they were brothers, but needed to connect them. Like I stated in my previous post Brierly was the informant on David's death certificate which clued me in to the possibility that they were brothers or at the very least cousins, being close in age with the same surname.
  2. While looking at Brierley's death certificate I realized (and I still can't believe that I've missed it for so long) that it listed his birth place as Nauvoo, IL. So I looked up what county Nauvoo was in. I find that by searching by city, it's too narrow as people in my family often move around in an area, usually with in a county, but often don't stay put in the same city, especially in a family where one child was said to be born in MO and the other in IL. Knowing from Brierley's death certificate that his parents are Phillip Rollett and Sarah Revel, I began to look for the family. It didn't take long really and I had found a family in 1880 census in Nauvoo, Hancock, IL that partially matched the family I was looking for.
    Thomas Revel 67
    Elizabeth Revel 62
    Sarah Rollet 42
    Elizabeth Rollet 18
    Isaiah Rollet 14
    Briley Rollet 9
The problem was that only two of the four names I was looking for matched and since the only one I had a birth year for was Brierly I still unsure that I had even found the right family. I was darn near ready to give up and mark it as another of many possibilities in this family, when the light bulb went on. Notice the child listed above Briley, Isaiah? I can't believe I had missed it. David's middle initial was "I" so I went back and calculated the age. Isaiah being 14 in 1880 would put his birth at 1866. My David was born in 1866!!!! They are brothers. David was just known by his middle name then!

Now I can add anther generation to my tree. I have been busy over the last two days finding more records and attaching to my tree records. My tree is once again going. Not only did this census confirm that Sarah and Phillip (based on the death certificate) were David's parents and that Brierley was his brother, but I also now know that Thomas and Elizabeth Revel were their grandparents! I'm off to do more research on another generation!

25 April 2014

Minor photo restoration

This is a photo of my mother and her sisters in Mexico. With this one I started by removing the scratches and spots as always. Then I began to selectively correct the contrast in layers. I created a layer and selected all the washed out white areas and brought some of the detail back. Then by selecting different areas on the photo I was able to adjust them individually until they all worked together. This was such a cute photo of them and now I can give them and even cuter version of the photo.

23 April 2014

Severely Damaged Photo restoration

This photo was approximately six hours of restoration. I started with the background. A solid background is the easiest to repair. After repairing the cracks there was discoloration and tail-tail signs of the restoration in the background. So I used a fill with very little opacity to help blend the background. This would not be an option if the background had any sort of pattern. Solid background are a gem as a result. That's where the easy part ended. In the most severely damaged part of his hair  I had to use a healing patch from another cleaned up portion of his hair that matched as closely as possible. Then blending is makes it look normal.

The rest of the restoration was pretty straight forward healing and cloning, keeping a close eye on shadows and lines that need to be maintained. Then a little selective color adjustment and some added film grain and I have a completely restored school photo of my dad.

21 April 2014

Restored photo to Art piece

This is the original photo of my grandmother Mary Ellen (Hayes) Roe. This took a lot of hours of work to clone and heal all the little spots of damage in the photo and remove the writing on her shoulder

Here is the photo part way through the restoration. As you can see there are still little specs in the photo. So I continued to clean up the photo and balance the levels.
Once the photo was cleaned up I began the fun part of recoloring the photo. By selecting each portion of the photo I wanted to recolor and then choose the "Hue/Saturation" option to create a layer. I could then adjust the Hue and Saturation until I got the desired colored. This is the best option especially when working with the face. However, you can also create again a layer with each new color and set the color using a brush and color in the area you desire (this was what I did for the shirt), this option is tricky and not always user friendly.


Here is the final result of a completely restored and recolored photo of Mary Ellen (Hayes) Roe. This is one of my favorite photos of her. I believe she was about 15 years old in this one.
For photo restoration contact me at amygennut at gmail dot com

07 April 2014

New fun tool on Ancestry

This is really cool. With the new tool on Ancestry.com you can create "Story" pages of your ancestors from the photos and documents that you have collected. So far it looks like it does a pretty good job of telling the story from the data. Again though what you put into it is what you will get out of it.

Here is the "Story" for my great grandmother Mary Joann (Williamson) Woolsey

Also on my dad's side of the family is my 3rd great grandfather Curtis Grubb Beeson A confederate Civil War Veteran. Though there is much more to his story that I have at home on his computer, Ancestry.com has put together his story as I have entered it into their data base. What it doesn't show are the pictures I have gathered of the Beeson property and graves. He lost the Beeson property after the war as his records that proved he was the owner of the land were burned during the war. Though he was wealthy and unfortunately owned slaves, he died a poor man not long after the war ended.

This is pretty cool. I will have to make efforts to put more into my Ancestry data base so that I can compile more complete stories of my ancestors.

27 November 2013

Extreme photo restoration.

Here is a before and after of the photo I just finished restoring of my mother. It's one of my favorite photos of her. This one was an extreme challenge since the emulsion on the photo was deteriorating so badly. I'm not very happy with the hair, but it's probably as good as it's going to get considering there wasn't much of the hair to work with. I had to recreate the right eye, since there wasn't enough of it to use the healing function to restore it.

12 March 2013

Restored Memories

I have been extremely busy lately. I'm now a volunteer with CARE for Sandy. I'm putting my skills to good use to restore photos that were damaged in Hurricane Sandy. At the same time I'm working on some of my own family photos. Here are just a few of the photos I've restored form my collection.

This photo is of my mother (striped shirt), her twin (blue), their baby sister (sitting), and their parents.
This is a photo of my grandma and grandpa Roe


These two ended up in my Jenkins genealogy book that I just finished. Yes I finally finished my Jenkins book! Woohoo!!!!!!