Monday, August 25, 2008

Show and Not Tell?

The 55th Carnival of Genealogy asks us to return to our school days and participate in the grade-school favorite activity of "Show and Tell".

"... the topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy will be: Show and Tell! Remember that fun little exercise you used to do in your grade school days? Here’s your chance to do it again. Show us and tell us about an heirloom, a special photo, a valuable document, or a significant person that is a very special part of your family history. Don’t be shy now, show us what you’ve got! This is all about bragging rights so don’t hesitate to make the rest of us green with envy! This is your chance to brag, brag, brag, without seeming like a braggart (you can’t be a braggart when you’re merely following directions ;-)… so show and tell!"

I've posted my Show and Tell artifact about one year ago, after packing up my father's home in Scottsdale, Arizona. Among the photo albums and pictures was a simple black box. When I first saw the box I couldn't imagine what was inside it. It looked old, though.
When opened, it appears to be what was then known as a "Sick Call Box" or a "Last Rites Box".

Let's take a closer look.

There are two of these trays in the box, engraved in script with what looks to be either I H S or H S.
A vial for the holy water.

Two white cloths.
Two Crucifixes.

There were actually three Beeswax candles.
Baffingly, a spoon and
two sets of keys.

I have no idea what the keys might have been for. They were made by the American Lock Co. I wonder if the numbers on them could tell us anything? I would doubt it.

While I can s how you this item and its contents, I cannot tell you it's origins. Dad does not know the origin of this box; only that it has been in his family since he was a little boy. He suspects it's from his paternal McHUGH line but admits it could have been his maternal HODICK line. His maternal grandparents, died in the 1950's, so if it was one of theirs, he likely would remember. We do not know when his paternal grandparents died; they were born in the 1850' and '60's. Dad knows that his grandmother, Mary (GRIFFIN) McHUGH, lived to an old age whereas his grandfather Dennis McHUGH, died either before he was born or when he was a very young boy, as he has no recollection of him. If it was one of the grandparents', I'd guess his paternal grandfather Dennis Joseph McHUGH. But it easily could have been one of his great-grandparents' or an uncle or aunt or.... well, you get the picture.

I can tell you one thing about this box, though: Judging by the smell, it's old.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Will I See You ... In NoVEMber...

At the ?

B.A.D.: Blog Action Day Talks About Poverty

Blog Action Day is coming on October 15th. Watch for Genea-Bloggers around the world to write about how poverty played a role in our family histories, whether that be in the form of living in poverty, helping those living in poverty, or working to avoid living in poverty. Better yet, if you have a blog, participate in the event yourself. Use the theme of your blog to talk about poverty.

Problems don't go away by ignoring them. Talking is not enough to solve the problem, but it's a start. Register your blog HERE and post about Poverty on October 15th.


Well, look who's made a "Best Of" list. Alltop is a site that lists the "Best Of" things on the Internet, and this blog has made the list in the Genealogy category! WOOHOO!.

Alltop. We're kind of a big deal.

I'd like to thank .... oh, okay, I'll spare you the speech. Suffice it to say it is nice to see my work listed. More than that, it's very nice to see so many Genea-Bloggers listed on this site. It's a nice testament to the work put into the sites that chronicle our research, our stories, our community and genealogical resources!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

My Favorite Photograph

This month's edition of the Blog Carnival I Smile for the Camera asks participants to submit one photo that is considered to be "the favorite". What, I'm supposed to choose just one photo of thousands as a favorite? Just ONE photo?

Well, I suppose if I eliminate all 982 pictures of IZZIE from the running, it might be almost do-able.
Shall I pick the one of my mother's mother as a child on her confirmation day, taken in about 1914? Or my father's parents on their wedding day in 1925? What about the collection of DOYLEs and TIGHEs from the 1930's in Pittston, PA? Or of my father's sister Marianne as an infant, holding a baby doll? Or of Marianne in a yard saluting? What about the one of my parents on their wedding day, cutting the cake with their parents standing next to them? What about the only known picture of my father's oldest sister, Patsy, shortly before she died as a baby? Or the cousins or uncles of my father, dressed in togas (perhaps I'll spare you all of that one). What about my mother's parents holding their first grandchild? Or the family picture of the James O'ROURKE/Mary KEARNS family, which was found as a tiny, less-than-1" x 1"-photo with no identifiying information on it, that scanned to reveal an image of a family that is remarkably clear? Oh it's so difficult to decide. Why oh why did fM have to ask us to choose just ONE photo?

Oh, Okay. But it doesn't mean I have to be happy about it.
Hey. No one said I couldn't take several pictures and merge them into one!

Top, L-R: The HODICK family in 1918 (my father's mother is standing in rear at left with the bow in her hair); My father Dennis at about age 9 or so (1946); My father's sister Marianne.

Bottom L-R: My father's sister Patsy; My mother in her adolescence; My mother's mother in about 1914.

Seriously, there are hundreds of other photos I could choose, and to be honest, many others that would probably rank a bit higher than some of these. However, I chose these pictures of my parents, aunts and grandparents in their youth because seeing them in their youth reminds me that they were not just my aunts, my parents and my grandparents. They were people who brought their personalities and experiences to their roles as my aunts, my parents and my grandparents.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Genea-Bloggers Games!

Over the past few months, almost 100 genealogy bloggers and/or enthusiasts signed on with Facebook ( Thanks to the work of a talented and dedicated group of people, there is now a Genea-Bloggers group on Facebook at

Also thanks to the work foa talented and dedicated group of people, there will be the Summer 2008 Genea-Bloggers Group Games starting, why, tomorrow of course! To see what the fuss is all about, check out Miriam's blog post HERE. And thanks to THE footnoteMaven, we even have our own logo.

P.S. I will be participating in most activities over at my Genealogy Research Blog at THE ORACLE OF OMcHODOY.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

TIFF, JPG, Photo Editing

I've been pondering lately the potential worthiness of re-scanning all of the family photos that I have. See, when I started this whole thing, I didn't do it right. When I brought home the old family albums after visiting my niece several years ago, I immediately went out and bought a scanner. I dug right in and started scanning. Didn't do an ounce of research. Just started scanning.

Now, three years later, I learn that it's better to scan in TIFF format and not JPG format. I learn that it's better to scan at a minimum of 300 dpi and not the scanner's default of 200 dpi. I learn that 600 dpi is even better. I also learn that TIFF files are bigger, and 600 dpi is quite burdensome too.

So here I am pondering the enormous task of re-scanning at least 809 photographs in the right format. As I was pondering all of this in the back of my mind, I organized my computer room once again, in preparation of the task at hand. This meant putting up the folding table in an aleady crowded room, so I'd have some room to work without the risk of spilling drinks on the pictures, since I tend to always have a drink by the computer.
Then I ran up to Michaels to see if they had any photo-handling gloves. They didn't, but they did have lots of other stuff. I decided to buy a few packs of scrapbooking paper kits to experiment as I work on the scanning.See that red, white and blue paper? Aunt Marianne would look SO GOOD saluting in one of those frames. Then I came home and scanned a picture of my father's mother (Marianne's mother, too!) on her wedding day. I saved it first as a 600 dpi TIFF file, but boy did my computer slowwwwwwww down! So I deleted it and re-scanned it at 300 dpi, and saved it in TIFF format twice, once smaller for a blog post and once at the default. The smaller one ended up a bit blurred.

After I scanned the image and saved it in the formats, I opened up my MS Picture It! 2003 to clean up a little of the dust.

As I was working on the picture, I noticed that, on the MS Picture It! Program, it gave me the option to save it in several different formats, including TIFF. So I opened an old photo that I've had for a long time, then clicked on "Save As" and changed the format from JPG to TIF. It worked!

So tonight I learned that I do not need to re-scan all the pictures to save them in TIFF format. Now it's simply a matter of whether or not it would be worth it to re-scan the photos in order to gain 100 dpi (remember, all photos scanned up until about a month ago were scanned at 200 dpi). I guess my next test will be to scan one picture in 200 dpi and then again in 300 dpi, then print them up.

What do you all think?

BFF Award

Looking 4 Ancestors gave me a new award called the Blogging Friends Forever Award.

Here are the rules:
1. Only 5 people are allowed to receive this award
2. 4 of them followers of your blog.
3. One has to be new to your blog and live in another part of the world.
4. You must link back to who ever gave you the award.

I don't know if I can find 5 people anywhere that haven't gotten this award yet, much less someone in another part of the world, but here goes:

I'll start with Elizabeth of Little Bytes of Life.

Then I'll move on to Denise of Family Matters

Then I saw some awesome pictures at Terry Thornton's Hill Country of Monroe County.

And then Lori Thornton of Smoky Mountain Family Historian

And finally, Donna of Waiting for Lauren Elizabeth.

I don't think any of these are from out of the country, but let's assume at least one of them has spent some time out of the country. I'll stretch that as far as I can!