Photo Restorations by Tim G.

Breathing new life into old photos since 2012.

Page 3 of 8

Find-A-Grave Community Day 2014, Part 1: Fernwood Cemetery

The Lansdowne Find-A-Grave Meetup, gathered at Fernwood Cemetery for Community Day.

The Lansdowne Find-A-Grave Meetup, gathered for Community Day. Photo by sid, annotated by sneakersox.

This past Saturday, October 18th, was Find-A-Grave Community Day. I made myself useful and joined the Lansdowne meetup at Fernwood Cemetery in Yeadon. This fine historic cemetery is located just outside of West Philadelphia. Despite the best efforts of its friendly and helpful staff, 384 unfulfilled requests have been left to accumulate there. Local Find-A-Graver Jenn O. decided to do something about that, and so she organized the Lansdowne meetup using Fernwood cemetery maps that she accumulated after years of research, and burial locations culled from’s Pennsylviana Church and Town records.

Eleven of us met at the cemetery at 10:00 for introductions, assignments, e-mail exchange, and a group photo. Two additional gravers joined us shortly thereafter. We each went off to separate sections to fulfill our assignments, and occasionally met one another out in the field and shared our successes. Most of us continued photographing until about two o’clock.

Find-A-Graver CLC cameos in this photo of the Beath family monument.

Find-A-Graver CLC cameos in this photo of the Beath family monument.

We didn’t plan to reconvene after the event. For next time, I’m submitting a motion to meet up afterwards for pizza and stories. Despite not having reconvened at the cemetery after the event, we have since re-connected by e-mail, and we are looking forward to future Find-A-Grave meetup events.

Fernwood’s Find-A-Grave stats, as of Saturday morning were 10757 interments and 384 photo requests. It’s current stats, as of noontime, Monday, October 20, are: 11,136 interments and 298 photo requests, and that is despite 11 new requests having been entered since the start of the event. Needless to say, we put a rather large dent in Fernwood’s requests list, and substantially expanded its database. Many thanks to Jenn O. for organizing the meetup, and for my other fellow gravers for their great work!

I was quite pleased with the way many of my own photo contributions turned out. After finishing my assignments there, I rolled on over to my favorite adopted cemetery, Philadelphia National Cemetery, and many took more photos there. Those photos will be the subject of the sequel to this post, due out later this week. For now, enjoy my contributions to Find-A-Grave Community Day with the Lansdowne Meetup!:  Continue reading

Command Line Genealogy: Filtering City Directories from

The 1848 Philadelphia City Directory, filtered on the Linux command line to show all entries that include the word 'Montgomery'.

The 1848 Philadelphia City Directory, filtered to show all entries that include the word ‘Montgomery’.

Fear not! It’s easier than you think!

☞ Background: I want a concise list of everyone who lived on Montgomery Avenue in Philadelphia in 1848.

I have a cemetery return for a baby girl named Mary Pickersgill, who died in 1848 and was buried in the now-defunct Mutual of Kensington Cemetery, in the then-newly consolidated city of Philadelphia. I suspect she is a lost sister of my great-great-great-grandfather, who was born William Harrison Pickersgill in February of 1846. The parents of these children, especially their father, is mysterious.  Continue reading

A Splendid Time at the 2014 Bucks County Ancestry Fair!


Here I am, enjoying myself at the fair.

I’m reporting back this week from last Saturday’s  Eighth Annual Bucks County Ancestry Fair, hosted by the Bucks County Visitor’s Center, and organized by the Bucks County Genealogical Society. It was a fantastic event, and such a pleasure to meet and mingle with genealogical community of Northeast Philadelphia and Lower Bucks County. I was so very heartened by everybody’s interest and appreciation of my work. I distributed a great deal of postcards and business cards, so more folks now know where to find me!  Continue reading

Question from Mrs. Kelsey Siano: Will I make your Genealogy Blog?

The bridal party gathered for Mr. & Mrs. Siano's first dance as husband and wife.

The bridal party gathered for Mr. & Mrs. Siano’s first dance as husband and wife.

Answer: Yes, you will!

My delightfully spunky 2nd cousin, Kelsey Campbell, made a fine update to the family tree yesterday, September 20th, 2014, as she married her fiancée Johnny Siano at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church in South Philadelphia. The reception was held at Front & Palmer caterers.  Continue reading

Genealogy Tip: Trouble Transcribing? Google the Legal Boilerplate

I have a tip for you today regarding the transcription of old documents—especially legal documents, like deeds and wills. This was inspired today by a tweet from requesting transcription assistance via the twittersphere. Here is the tweet:

Clicking through, the document is again reproduced at the Brooklyn Ancestry blog. Looking at a document like this, one might be tempted to think: “Wow. Look at this. It’s handwritten. Someone put a lot of care and original thought into this. It must be unique. How will I ever decipher it?” Don’t despair. Your document may not be as unique as it looks.  Continue reading

This Weekend: I’m Tabling the Bucks County Ancestry Fair


A scene from the Bucks County Ancestry Fair, 2013. Image from the Bucks County Genealogical Society’s ‘Ancestry Fair’ home page.

I’d like to take a moment to invite one and all to the Bucks County Ancestry Fair this weekend. The Bucks County Genealogical Society will host the event this Saturday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Bucks County Visitors Center, 3207 Street Road, Bensalem, PA 19020. There will be plenty of great speakers and tables, including Joyce Homan of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania. For more information, see the event page at The Bucks County Genealogical Society website.

Bring some pictures with you to the event. I will have my scanner with me. Time permitting, I may attempt some light restorations on site. I will offer quotes for heavier restorations and add them to my work queue. Like everyone else who will be at the event, I am a genealogy buff, so I would love to chat family history!

I will be leaving in a bit of a haste later in the afternoon to join in the celebration of the marriage of my wonderful cousin Kelsey to her fiancee, Johnny. That’s going to be blast, and I send my early congratulations out to this fine couple!

Mapping and Rendering Cemeteries with LibreCAD and Blender

BlenderGravesWhile on unintentional hiatus from my 52 Ancestors Challenge, I’ve discovered two fabulous software packages that might make my family history research a little more colorful: LibreCAD and Blender. These dicoveries came about last week as I fulfilled some Find-A-Grave photo requests at a tiny little hideaway called the Cheltenham Methodist Episcopal Churchyard. Of twenty-five photo outstanding requests, I managed to fulfill only three, and this is almost certainly due to the other other stones either not existing or being totally illegible. I thought I might do each photo requester a favor by mapping the locations of all the stones on this small patch of land and what inscriptions, if any, remained legible upon them. That way, each requester could rest assured that their requests had been fulfilled as well as can be.  Continue reading

Moderate Alteration: Bringing Out Faded Lettering


I’d file this Find-A-Grave experiment under Moderate Alterations. The first priority here was to make the writing on this weathered gravestone legible. The second priority was to make it so that a person unfamiliar with the original photo would not realize that it had been modified. The last priority was staying true to the original image. As you can see, I’ve tampered with the stone’s color. I think the experiment was moderately successful. Do you? Your mileage may vary. See Mr. Malady’s Find-A-Grave memorialValue: $20.

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