Monday, March 16, 2015

Packing Up and Moving Out

Please don't be offended, It isn't you, it's me.

I have not maintained my genealogy site in several years. Having your first baby right before turning 39 has away of distracting you from your hobbies of the past. At last, however, the Little Miss is a bit more independent, and Mamma is itching to do some more digging.

Since last using this site, I created a Mommy blog over on wordpress, and it just makes more sense to me to manage all my blogs at one place. So please, if you want to keep up with my ancestry goings-on, please follow me over to my new page:

Thanks! I hope to see you there!

(I will most likely disable this old address eventually, but we'll let it set here a bit, in case any of those gazillion queries I've posted on ancestry sites lead someone here!)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Papaw Ebb, Retouched

This project is a photo of my great grandfather, Ebb Tomblin. Papaw Ebb was born in the Logan, West Virginia area, and moved to Thurman, Ohio as an adult. His farmhouse became the center of our family's life; the best of my childhood memories took place at that house. Papaw Ebb passed away in 1979, when I was only five years old, so I only have a few scattered memories of him. However, the home he established for his family left a legacy for us all. The home is empty and abandoned now, but his legacy lives on, because for the past twenty years or more, the road that house stood has been known as "Ebb Tomblin Road". So here is a young photo of Ebb, lovingly restored to be passed on for many more generations.


(color adjust)

 (tears, mold stains, blemishes removed)

(background changed)


Sunday, September 18, 2011

More Weekend Photo Restoration

Tackled a bit more of a challenge this afternoon, while watching NFL. This picture did not have names on it, but I am pretty sure it's my grandma, Nellie, and her sister, Darlene. I chose it because of the tears and mold stains. It was a small picture, just a little over 1in, but I scanned it in at 300dpi, and then resized it to a 4.5x6in picture (I was afraid to go larger, as this picture was already pretty grainy.) Fortunately, the photo had a plain background, so to save time, I cropped it out entirely, and replaced it with a canvas photoshop background. There are few details I am not totally happy with, but this was a two hour project... with a little more time, I think I could be really happy with the results. But alas, it's bedtime, and I want to post it! So here it is:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Photo Retouching and Colorization

As I said in my last post, I've been getting re-interested in restoring some old family photos. I've started pretty simple, and am working my way up to a very badly damaged photo of who I believe is my grandmother's cousin. Today, I played around with a lovely photo of my grandmother, Nellie Joyce Tomblin Cummons. I will show you three versions of the picture, 1) my original scan, 2)cropped to 8x10 with black and white levels adjustment and blemishes removed, and 3) a colorized version of the photo.


(resized, b&w adjustment, blemish removal)


I'm always torn between color and black and white photos. I love black and white, it softens features and gives everything a romantic feel. Sometimes, however, I forget that although pictures were black and white, life very much happened in color! When I started working on this picture, I only noticed Gran's lovely white dress and strappy shoes. It was only when I started to colorize the photo that I realized her dress was not indicitive of the time of year the background suggests. I noticed the bare trees, the empty fields, and the leaves around her feet. So, I created a color pallete of fall colors from this picture on flickr to try and recreate an accurate background. What do you think?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Reach For The Stars!!

I've been recovering from some health issues the past week, and spent lots of time looking through old pictures and such. I found this one of my dad (the one with the hair dryer - thingy on) and my uncle, Steve (the one holding my dad at gunpoint), and it just makes me giggle everytime I see it. It reminds me of something off A Christmas Story ("You'll shoot your eye out!!")
 Anyway, I played around with some simple color adjustments in photoshop. A while back I had gotten pretty good at photo restoration, but like so many other things, I get sidetracked and things get put on the back burner. I hope to work my way back into some tougher projects... I have several photos that need serious work, and maybe someday I'll be able to offer my services to other genealogists.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Grandma's Treasures

My last blog post was on April 9th. In it, I stated that grandma was doing very well, and we all hoped she'd be home from the nursing home soon. As it turned out, the only time she left the nursing home was to go to the hospital, and there she passed away on April 18th. She had suffered for the past two years, and we were glad for her sake, that when the end came, it came quickly. We held a beautiful memorial service for her, a celebration of life, with many of her children and grandchildren singing her favorite songs. Then we drove 4 1/2 hours to "take her home" to her the place she was born and raised; the place she wanted to be laid to rest.
As weeks passed, my mom and I began going through grandma's things, (she had lived with my mom and stepfather for the past year, when she wasn't in the nursing home) and oh, the treasures we found! While putting away her "underthings' we ran across her marriage certificate from 1947, that she swore she had lost! We discovered pictures in recipe boxes, newsclippings stuffed into nooks and crannys. Each of these items was like a little kiss from grandma, and slowly helped to heal the sadness of our loss. I miss you grandma, but am so glad your suffering has ended!
(This picture was among our finds... the first picture I've ever seen of grandma's mother-in-law, my great grandmother, Vernon McFann Malone.)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Little Help from "Big Nuts" (Evans of Jackson County, Ohio)

Friday evening, I spent a couple of hours with my maternal grandmother at the nursing home she has been in the past two weeks (we are all hoping that she will be able to return home soon.) We've chatted in the past about her family, but grandma really doesn't have a lot of memories outside of her immediate family. We have especially been lacking when it comes to her father, Harvey Evans, and his family. Harvey died when grandma was a teenager, and she did not know who his parents were. I've tried looking up his name, and what few details I had, but the Evans name is big in southern Ohio, and I was always reluctant to say for sure that the Harveys I turned up were indeed her father's family.
On Friday, I asked her again if she happened to remember any of her dad's siblings, or perhaps any cousins that she had, and we managed to get a little gem! She told me about her dad's brother Elmer (Big Elmer) and his son (Little Elmer). Grandma used to run Malone's Bar in Oak Hill, Ohio and she told about the time when Little Elmer came into the bar and said, "I don't know if you know this or not... but we're cousins!" She also recalled another time when Little Elmer was entering the bar at the same time she was throwing out dirty cleaning water, and she dumped it on him.
Then, with a twinkle in her eye, my 80 year old grandmother told me one other little tidbit about her cousin, "He had a nickname, you know... they called him Big Nuts."
Armed with that little bit of information about Little "Big Nuts" Elmer, and more importantly, Big Elmer, I got online and added a sibling to my Harvey Evans search parameters. And whaddya know... I think I found him!
According to this 1900 census:

Name                   Relation     Birthdate         Age    
Evans, George      head          May 1840       60
     Mary A           wife           Apr 1848        52
     Elmer             son            Feb 1887       13
     Pearl               son            Feb 1887        13
     Harvey          son            Jul 1890           9
    Warren            son            Feb 1895         5
I think I've found my great grandfather, and his parents as well! My next little discovery will confirm my suspicions... Harvey's death certificate.
I don't know how I've missed this document in previous searches, but sometimes there's no explaining how things come together like they do. However, it confirms that George and Mary Ann were indeed Harvey's parents, so at last I have a line to follow... and it's all thanks to "Big Nuts".

Monday, April 4, 2011

I'm a Winner!

I'll share more information as I am able, but I just had to share the news that I just won a one year pro account at!! I have entered so many contests, and never have I won a single thing, so I am absolutely ecstatic right now!

In other news, I haven't blogged properly in a while, but it's that I haven't been busy! I am currently compiling all the information I have gathered on the ancestor of my obsession, James Hamilton Cummons. I am organizing, confirming sources, and building a timeline. My hope is to get a clear picture of the gaps I have in his story, and hopefully get some direction on filling in those gaps.

I am super excited right now, because next week, I am going to visit my Papaw for his 77th birthday, and I am taking an extra day off work to go digging around Cabell County, West Virginia, the place where James settled and raised his family. I have never been to a courthouse or genealogical society to do hands on research before, and that was one of my genea-goals for 2011. If anyone has an advice, direction, or encouragement... I would love to hear from you!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sitting in a Snowstorm, Thinking of Summer

It's been a beautiful day today, watching the snow fall from the window of my office, and now, cozied up at home in my pjs... but I can't help but think ahead to the warm days of summer. One of my genealogy goals for 2011 is to go "on location" somewhere. The closest option was Cabell County, West Virginia... about a 6 hour drive (but only an hour or so from my grandfather's house in southern Ohio.) I've also considered North Carolina, in hopes of uncovering the parents of James Hamilton Cummons. However, over the past few days, a little idea has been forming, and it seems that my husband is in favor of it (after all... I can't haul him off to Timbuktoo, then leave him stranded while I do research the whole time, can I? Hmmm... can I? heehee).

I'm thinking of Maryland. In particular, Point Lookout, Maryland... site of the confederate prison camp where the before-mentioned James Hamilton Cummons was held POW before pledging his allegience to the Union army. You can read about Point Lookout at
What gave me the idea was a web page I ran across this weekend for the Descendants of Point Lookout POW Organization. In May, they are hosting a "pilgrimage" to the site, which could be interesting, or admitedly cheesy... so I'm not 100% sold on going THAT weekend. I think I need more information. However, the location is gorgeous, and from the sounds of it, there is plenty of interesting things to see and experience there.

Of course, on the way to Point Lookout, we would pass through the nation's capitol, which I've only been privileged to see once before (and that, for only a short afternoon during my college years, with friends who were more concerned with finding the Hard Rock Cafe, than taking in American history. Thankfully, the Hard Rock was just down the street from Ford Theater, so at least I got something out of the experience.)

But for now, it's all just a snowy evening dream. By the time warm weather comes, and it's actually time to plan a vacation, I may have uncovered a new piece of family history, and decided on a new place to haul my dear husband!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Genea-Goals for 2011

It's time I get some direction with this blog, and decide where I want to go, and what I want to accomplish this year!

1. I would like to organize my blog by family names, if possible. I tend to jump around with my research, and I think it gets confusing when going back and reading through my blog. I see that you can add stand alone pages, but I'm not sure if that's what I need or not. Does anyone have any suggestions?

2. I need to branch out. I rely so heavily on that when, like now, I have an expired subscription, I flounder, and my research comes to a stand still. I've been to other sites, had some good finds with a free trial on, but I keep coming back to ancestry.

3. I want to blog at least once a week about my ancestry. Even if I haven't uncovered any new information, there are stories to be told, people who need to be remembered. They deserve my attention.

4. I want to research "on location" for my Cummons ancestors, firstly in Huntington, WVA, and then on to Guilford County, North Carolina. I've never done any hands on research before, and won't even know where to begin searching court house records and such like, but I can't help but wonder what treasures are out there that haven't made it to the internet yet!

5. Hopefully, if I can achieve goals 1-4, it will lead me to goal number 5... find concrete information on the parents of James Hamilton Cummons, and with any luck, be able to pinpoint where in Ireland my Cummons ancestors came from, and when they made it to the states!

Well, that's a lot to accomplish, but seeing it all spelled out gives me hope that I'm moving in the right direction! It's time to get my genealogy boots back on!