Malachi's Promise "And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers...." Malachi 4:6

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

From JPEG to TIFF - Tuesday's Tip

This is new information to me.  I thought I'd share, though I know those of you with photography experience will know way more about this than I do.

I use Picasa for photo organization and manipulation but it doesn't allow me to save photos as .tif files.  I recently realized that the free program,, will save a .jpg file as a .tif file.

This is exciting news to me because photographs stored as .tif files are more stable than .jpg files.

I can open the program, open a .jpg image, do nothing at all to it, and save it as a .tif file.

I have a few precious photographs that cousins have sent as .jpg files.  I don't want them to lose a single pixel of clarity.  Learning that they can be saved as .tif files has given me much peace of mind.
Photographs that I've taken on my camera and uploaded to my computer are automatically stored as .jpg files.  Now I can save them as .tif files and they will be safe from deterioration, too. was already on my computer but you can learn more about it and download it at or from at

For those of you who know less than I do about image storage....

Photo images can be stored as several different kinds of files.  The two most common to me are JPEG files and TIFF files.  You can tell the difference by the extension at the end of an image.  It will be .jpg or .tif.

JPEG or .jpg files
When I move photo images from my digital camera to my computer they are stored as .jpg files.  I need .jpg files to upload them to blogger so I can share them, but .jpg files gradually lose clarity when they're opened, manipulated, then saved.

TIFF or .tif files
Photos stored as .tif files never lose clarity no matter how many times they are opened, manipulated, and resaved as .tif files.  I cannot upload .tif files to blogger but for long-term storage of precious family photographs, .tif files are more reliable.

Some photographs are so important I don't want to lose a single pixel of a photograph.  Those are files I will save as .tif files.

My scanner gives me the option to save photos as .jpg or .tif files.  I sometimes save them both ways but if I know I'm going to alter the photo in Picasa by straightening it or adjusting the lighting, etc., then I save it only as a .tif file.  If I want to make changes and share it on this blog, I can do so and save it as a .jpg file and also as a .tif file. has capabilities in addition to saving photos as .tif files.  I'm just beginning to learn about those.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Driving Lessons - Book of Me

There were no seat belts in the 1950s:  just long bench seats, front and back, from one side of the car to the other.  Of course, the average speed limit during my youngest years was probably about 35 miles/hour.  Even now, echoing in my ears, comes my grandmother's cry to my grandfather, "Slow down, Bob!  You're going too fast!  The speed limit's 35 and you're going 36!"  I think Gramma must have enjoyed riding at the gentle speed of a horse-drawn buggy.  What would she do at today's 70 or 80 miles/hour speeds?!

Riding with My Grandparents
My grandparents had a car similar to the one pictured at right.  My grandfather was always the driver,  my grandmother the back-seat driver in the passenger's front seat.  She never had a driver's license.  When I was the only other rider in the car I  nestled between them in the front seat unable to see out the windows.  If there were other young riders, we rode in the back and three adults squeezed into the front.

One time my grandmother rode in the back seat between my cousin and me.  The curvy road and my grandfather's somewhat faster speed caused the three of us in the back to lean first one way, then the other.  It was such fun because my grandmother exaggerated the leans and laughed with us.

Family Cars
For many years our family had just one car.  Mom could usually arrange her needs groceries or appointments around my father's work schedule.  She occasionally borrowed my grandfather's car if there was an emergency or my father's work schedule overlapped some other appointment and he was working afternoon shift.

In the late 1950s my parents bought a new Ford with an automatic transmission.  My father took us all for a ride the evening he brought it home.  He and my mother gave careful attention to the car to see if they could tell when it shifted.  To me, at the age of 7 or 8, the point of a car was to go -- it didn't matter how.

Sometime in the mid-1960s my father bought two older model Fords, maybe 1952 and 1953 versions.  Both had standard transmission.  Even as a teen I loved old.  They seemed to have just the right amount of character.  One went to college with my brother, the other took my father to work and brought him home.

Learning to Drive with My Father
As my 16th birthday approached I eagerly looked forward to learning to drive and anticipated the freedom driving could bring.  My mother taught me to drive in the new Ford with automatic transmission but my father seemed to think it was important for me to learn to drive standard, too.

My first driving lesson with Dad took place in the large and nearly-empty parking lot of a shopping center several miles from our home.  My father drove there, stopped the car between the parking lanes, and we traded places.  I'm certain that his instruction included an explanation of the H configuration of the movement of the stick shift.  I'm also certain that he explained the necessity of when and how to put in the clutch before shifting.  But I don't remember any other instruction from him.

I felt extremely pleased with myself when I manged to shift into first without stalling or grinding the gears.  I happily drove up and down the parking lanes and around the perimeter of the parking lot.  I drove until my father couldn't stand it any more.  He looked at me and said, "When are you going to speed up and shift out of first?"  I remember thinking, "What?  You want me to shift gears again?!"  He had explained to me about three gears but I definitely didn't understand the concept of gears and speed.  I shifted gears and drove a little faster.  I can't remember if I ever got the car into third gear.

I guess my father wanted the driving to include more than just driving.  (He obviously didn't yet have a clue that I was a slower learner in the driving department.)  He decided I should learn to park.  Not parallel park; just steer the car into the center of a parking space and stop.  The parking lot had painted lines marking the spaces and concrete dividers between opposite parking space.  He had me pull into one of the parking spaces.  Yes, I steered just fine but my clutching and braking abilities were minimal.  The car came to a stop with the front tires on the other side of the concrete divider.  Whoops!  My father sometimes had a terrible temper and I was sure I was in trouble.  But no, Dad got out, examined the situation, and we traded places.  He backed the car over the barrier and we resumed the parking lesson.  He was determined that I learn to pull into a parking space.  I was determined, too, but just not coordinated enough to manage it.  Once again the car went over the divider.

That was it!  My father's patience was gone.  The lesson was over.  We traded places, he maneuvered the car back over the barrier, and we drove home.  In silence.  My father never again gave me a single driving lesson, and to this day I can't drive a car with standard transmission.  (But I passed the driving test in the car with an automatic transmission with near-perfect scores.)

The First Accident
During a senior day picnic in high school I was driving my father's little red Valiant convertible, the one he drove to and from work.  He let me use it on the condition that I be very, very careful and that I not put the top down.  (I'm sure he had visions of a carload of girls screaming their way through Mill Creek Park.)  A group of us were standing in a parking lot getting ready to leave when another student pulled up in his car.  We were all talking as I stood at the back of my dad's car.  The boy in the car must had let his foot off the brake because he was gradually moving toward my father's car.  I didn't notice but a friend pushed me out of the way just before his car hit my father's.  It was a small dent but one that my father did not miss.  When I got home I explained what happened and commented, "Better the bumper than my knee."  My father said no more about it.

The Second Accident
Mineral Ridge's Main Street is a long, slow hill, easing down from north to south for a mile or more.  It was a state route used by trucks to travel from Warren to Youngstown and, a little later, to the interstate just south of the Ridge.  Semi-trucks with a full load could quickly pick up speed as they rolled down the hill.

I was headed south in my parent's recently purchased Chrysler waiting for a break in traffic to make a left turn onto a side street near the post office.  I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw a truck higher on the hill, a ways behind me.  I looked ahead continuing to watch for the break in traffic.  When I next glanced in my rear view mirror I realized that the truck was much closer and wasn't slowing down.  The next thing I knew I was being propelled toward a tree on the opposite side of Main Street by the truck. 
The car narrowly missed oncoming traffic in the opposite lane, glanced off a tree, and came to a stop before it hit the house.  The truck missed oncoming traffic, the tree, and the house, continued in a semi-circle, and crashed into the post office.  I was shaken up but not harmed.  I hesitated to drive but my parents and brother insisted that I get behind the wheel again soon.  I did, but not the wheel of that car.  It was totaled.

Other Thoughts on Cars and Driving
One difference between my grandmother and me is that I love speed.  I know she would not like riding me with, but of course, I would drive to please her (as much as possible) if she were still here.  I enjoy driving, especially when I can go fast without concern for getting a ticket.  (Wyoming is a wonderful state to drive through because the state troopers ignore speed limits on the interstate.  (Yes, a Wyoming state trooper told me that!))  It's easy to enjoy the speed of 70 or 80 or 90 miles/hour in that wide, open state.  (And of course, because the state is so big and barren, you want to drive fast to get through it.)

I've owned several cars through the years.  They took me where I needed to go but not a single one of them was exceptional.  I now drive an older model, cherry red Honda CRV.  I love that car.  My daughter was still at home when we bought it car.  We were never in the habit of naming cars but she decided we should name the car Arvey.  Then we beeped the horn and realized the car was an R-V-etta, not an Arvey.  Little R-V-etta doesn't have much get-up-and-go but once she gets going she speeds along with the best of them.  We cooperate with each other and manage just fine.

. . . . . . . . . .

This is another post in The Book of Me series, created by Julie Goucher of Anglers Rest.

The topic was Cars and Transport.  The suggestions included:  Did you have a car in your family whilst you were growing up?   What methods of transport were there?  And what did you & your family typically use?  Your Driving Test.  Where Did you learn?  Can you drive?  Your first car?  Do you name your cars?  Can you remember the registration details?  And perhaps explain what the registration mean.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Of Orphans and Widows

After I learned that John Froman died between 1870 and 1880, I learned that his children had been assigned a guardian through the court even though their mother was alive.  I was new to family history at the time and wondered if their mother, Catherine (Saylor) Froman, was unfit to care for her children for some reason:  perhaps she had a physical handicap, emotional problems, or some medical condition that prevented it.

I recently obtained the Orphan's Court files for all of John's children which caused me to further question the reasons behind assigning a guardian to children whose mother was still alive.  When I wrote about Tressa Froman's petition for guardianship I mused about this situation.  Thank you to my brother, Bob, for his insight that women in that time period essentially had no rights and, therefore, could not guard the rights of her children.  An adult male would need to become their legal guardian.  I had not thought in legal terms, only in terms of the modern dictionary definition of the word orphan:  a child who has lost both parents.  Knowing the standing of a widow in the late 1800s and the legal definition of orphan changed my understanding of the situation of both Catherine and her children.

Wendy of Jollette, Etc. also responded and provided a link to Orphans and Guardians at Bob Baird's Bob's Genealogy Filing Cabinet.  Thank you, Wendy. 

Bob gives a history of the legal aspect of an orphan, discusses the role of guardian, guardianship versus custody, and the rights of orphans.

Several of his statements added insight and answered questions:
  • The "guardian's responsibility was focused on the property of the orphan "rather than on the orphan himself."  His primary purpose "was to provide for management of the orphan's estate...."
  • "The guardian’s primary role was management and preservation of the inherited property until the child reached majority and could manage it themselves."
  • "It should be noted that guardians could be at considerable financial risk, for they were personally liable for loss of the child’s property.  (That was the purpose of the guardian bond.)"
All of those statements helped me understand the situation of Tressa Froman and her siblings after the death of their father.  It's true their father died with property but considering other circumstances it seems to have been essential for them to have a guardian.  All things considered, $100.00 does not seem as large a sum of money for bond as I originally thought.

If you're interested in this topic, I encourage you to read Bob Baird's post, Orphans and Guardians.


Monday, March 31, 2014

August 18, 1920 - A Day for the Ladies

This is one last post for 2014 Women's History Month, beginning with the briefest of history lessons about the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution.


Proposing an amendment to the Constitution extending the right of suffrage to women....


The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex....

The resolution that become the 19th amendment was submitted to Congress for ratification on May 19, 1919.  In less than a month, on June 16, Ohio ratified it and just a week later, on June 24, Pennsylvania ratified it.  (Those are important states to my ancestors.)  But in order to become an amendment, three fourths of the states had to pass it.  It wasn't until August 18, 1920 that Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment.  Secretary of State, Bainbridge Colby, certified the ratification on August 26, 1920.

What of my direct-line female ancestors who were living at the time?  Were they eager to vote for a president during their first time in the voting booths?  Did they follow politics?  Did they have strong opinions about local events?  I don't know and probably never will unless I find one of their names in a newspaper.  Still, I'm interested to think of these first-time female voters in my family.

I have eight direct-line ancestors who were living in August, 1920.

My mom, Audrey (Meinzen) Doyle, was born on June 5, 1915.  She would have been five in 1920.  Although she grew into an adult who was avidly interested in politics I'm positive that she couldn't have cared less, or understood less, what women having the right to vote meant.  As an adult she was grateful to have the right to vote.

My grandmother, Emma (Bickerstaff) Meinzen, was born July 6, 1892.  She would have been nearly 28 the first year she would have been able to vote.  At the time she had two small daughters and a strong-will husband.  Was she interested in politics?  Did she have opinions as strong as her husband? 

Mary (Thompson) Bickerstaff was born on 26 Oct 1872.  She would have been 47 when the amendment was passed but probably 48 by the time she first voted.  She lived in small, peaceful Mineral Ridge.  She may have kept up with issues and candidates through local newspapers.  She may have been thrilled to be able to vote.  She had 19 more years to enter a polling both.

Lydia (Bell) Thompson, born May 8, 1851, was 69 years old when the amendment was certified.  As far as I know, Lydia was literate but at 69, would she have been interested in women's rights, in politics?  She lived until February, 1930, so she would have had nearly 10 years to cast her vote in elections.

Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen was born on August 24, 1852.  During the year and months that the 19th amendment was being ratified, she was dealing with cancer on her face.  She died two months before women were given the right to vote.  Was she interested in women having the right to vote?  As an illiterate adult, would she have voted?

Elvira (Bartley) Gerner turned 66 in 1920.  Of all of my direct-line female ancestors, I can imagine her being interested and opinionated about women being able to vote.  She was a midwife, had her own buggy, and hitched her own horse to help women in need in her community.  She lived another 23 years.

Tressa Rose (Froman) Doyle was born in 1867.  She was 52 or 53 when she would have had the first opportunity to vote.  Family tradition says she was strong-willed, but there's no information about whether she was interested in politics or interested in being able to cast her first vote for a president.  She would have been able to vote 15 more times.

Catherine (Saylor) Froman is my oldest female ancestor who was alive when women were given the right to vote.  She was 76; born in Germany on June 5, 1844.  Her husband, also born in Germany, became a natrualized citizen which, I believe, gave both of them the right to vote.  Catherine became a widow at a very young age, left with 7 little children.  Perhaps she was too overwhelmed to be interested in voting, or perhaps her English was limited.  Or maybe she was thrilled to be in America and have the right to cast a vote in the first election in which women in America could vote.  She would have been able to vote for eight years.

Having written this post I realized that I truly know nothing about my female ancestors' voting habits.  I wonder if voters lists are available for the areas in which they lived.  It's a new area of research for me so I will have a lot to learn when I begin that search.

Do you know if any of your female ancestors voted in the first election in which women in America could vote?  Do you have any ancestors who actively participated in the efforts to help women get the right to vote?  Do you know the voting history or political leanings of any of your female ancestors?

You can read more about the 19th Amendment on NARA's Featured Documents.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Overlapping Lives

During this Women's History Month I've been thinking about the mothers and daughters, grandmothers and granddaughters among my ancestors and how much time - how many years - their lives overlapped. 

Audrey, Emma, Mary
My mom, Audrey (Meinzen) Doyle, was born in 1915.
Her mother, Emma (Bickerstaff) Meinzen, died in 1973.
Audrey was 58 when her mother died.

Emma was born in 1893.
Her mother, Mary (Thompson) Bickerstaff, died in 1940.
Emma was 53 when her mother died.
Audrey was 25 when her grandmother died.

Mary was born in 1872.
Her mother, Lydia (Bell) Thompson, died in 1930.
Mary was 58 when her mother died.
Emma was 37 when her grandmother died.
Audrey was 15 when her great-grandmother died.  Again, she didn't have much contact because this grandmother lived a day's drive away.

Beulah, Elvira
Beulah Gerner, my father's mother, was born in 1888.
Her mother, Elvira (Bartley) Gerner, died in 1943.
Unfortunately Beulah died in 1913.  They had only 25 years together.

Elvira was born in 1854.
Her mother, Rebecca (Smith) Bartley died in 1899.
Elvira was 45 when her mother died.

Tressa (Froman) Doyle, my father's paternal grandmother, was born in 1867.
Her mother, Catherine (Saylor) Froman died in 1928.
Tressa was 61 when her mother died.

. . . . .
I been thinking, too, about what skills and values the older generation taught their daughters and granddaughters.  I know some things my grandmother taught my mother, and can imagine some things my great-grandmothers taught my grandmothers, but I need to do a little more research before writing that post.  The times in which they lived, especially two generations apart, would have changed some of the details of their lives.  A post for another time.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Section of Real Life & Family History

In the telling of a story the narrator takes a bit from life as definitely and completely as one would cut out a paper doll, trimming away all of the flimsy sheet excepting the figure.  A section of real life is not so detached and finished, for the causes and consequences of it reach backward and forward and across the world....

There are those who would call it the end of the story....  To say the story is finished is not true, for no mere story can ever be complete, no family history contain a beginning or an end.  One may only cut out a bit from life, trimming away all that went before and all that will come after.

first and last paragraphs of the novel
 Spring Came On Forever by Bess Streeter Aldrich

Friday, March 28, 2014

Mom's Pies, The Great Depression, and Rationing

I'm sure you've heard others praise their mother's pies.  They talk about the perfection of the filling -- just enough sugar, a perfect combination of spices, not runny but not dry; and the crust - tender, flaky, melt-in-your mouth.  Perhaps your mother was one of those ladies who baked perfect pies.  But my mother was not.  Her pie fillings were generally good; but the crusts were another story completely.  The crusts were tough, sometimes cut-with-a-knife tough, sometimes almost cardboard tough.  (Forgive me, Mom, if this truth hurts your feelings.)  If I could manage it under the watchful eye of my mother, I ate the filling and left the crust on my plate. 

I knew my mom didn't learn to bake pies from her mom, my grandmother, because my grandmother's pies were perfection.  Everything about her pies was perfect.  They were delectable with just enough thickening to keep the filling from being runny; not too sweet, not at all sour but tart when necessary.  And her crusts truly did melt in our mouths.  I thought perhaps my grandmother had tried to teach my mom to bake pies but my mom just didn't have the touch. 

Imagine my surprise when I saw a 4-H blue ribbon among my mother's things.  She never once mentioned having been in 4-H.  Imagine my even greater surprise when I discovered the ribbon was for a pie she'd baked!  A blue ribbon for a pie my mom baked?!  Maybe the blue ribbon pie was a fluke.

I mulled over that pie and blue ribbon for a while.  It gradually began to make sense.

My mother was a child of the depression.  She turned 14 just a few months before that awful Black Friday in October, 1929.  Everything must have changed for her and her family after that.  Plentiful was probably no longer a word in their vocabulary nor a description of food in their larder.  What food they had was probably not used for such treats as delectable pies.  Surely the blue ribbon had been won the year before.

Having been a child of the Great Depression, she became a mother during that same Depression, then during the rationing of World War II.  What her mother may have been able to obtain during the Depression could have been beyond my mother's reach during the time rationing was enforced. 

During those difficult years, my mother seemed to have adopted an that she carried throughout the rest of her life:  an attitude of  "make do or do without," an attitude of scrimping and saving (of food as well as all other necessities) for some future possible need.  An attitude that a pie is still edible even if the crust is tough.  Several pies with less shortening could mean a cake or cookies later or shortening for some other purpose.  After all, having lived through the depression, World War II, and rationing, one could never tell what the future might bring and what would be needed to survive through it.  

As a descendant it's easy to take things at face value or to assume I understand situations based on my own experiences.  But the times in which my ancestors lived is very different from the time in which I live.  I keep learning, in new ways for each ancestor, that things aren't always as they appear.  There may be more to the story than meets the eye. 

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