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The Majesty of Side-Lit Gravestones

September 27, 2015

“The biggest improvement in my photos since I learned to take the lens cap off.” ~ ajmexico

WillsThe next big thing, not only in my own genealogy, but also for the genealogical research services that I will begin to offer this fall, will be gravestone photos lit from the side by an off-camera flash. I’m hard pressed to imagine a better method for photographing gravestones. This method produces higher contrast without recourse to smearing foreign substances onto the fragile monuments with grubby hands. No chalk, no flour, just pure white light.  Read more…

Another Splendid Event: The 9th Annual Bucks County Ancestry Fair

September 26, 2015


Attending the 9th Annual Bucks County Ancestry Fair last week was a joy. No surprise there, as last year’s fair was similarly enjoyable. This year’s fair, however, drew a larger crowd at a larger venue: Bucks County Community College, in Newtown. Many thanks to Jeff Sipler, Chris Roberts, and the rest of the crew at the Bucks County Genealogical Society for putting on the event.  Read more…

Vindicating an Ancestor: My Recent Visit to the National Archives of Philadelphia

August 23, 2015
Liar, liar. Pants on fire.

Liar, liar. Pants on fire.

The newspapers at have a way of busting my bubble. Just when I get to thinking about how clean all of my perfect ancestors’ hands were, along comes a article to sully them. I call it “The Bad News Report”. So far, the bad news has been that an ancestor of mine hit somebody with a car. To date, I believe the investigations have found no fault, but it’s still unfortunate to read.

newspaperarticleMy most recent Fulton discovery turned up something a little more criminally culpable. “William P. Harrison,” an article from the first day of March, 1898, stated, “pleaded guilty to a fraud in a pension matter,” and was sentenced to one year in prison by “Judge Butler”.

My grandmother’s great-grandfather was named William P. Harrison, who served honorably in the Civil War before marrying his wife, Harriet, and fathering five children with her. He worked as a car inspector for the Pennsylvania Rail Road for most of his adult life. To the best of my knowledge, William was a model American citizen.  Read more…

Major Restoration: Replacing missing parts

August 19, 2015


Here is one of my better efforts. I’m guessing is that this one got wet in a picture frame and stuck to the glass. If you have a photo stuck to glass, you’re better off leaving it stuck. Don’t try to peel it away. You can scan the photo while it’s still on the glass and send it my way for a quick clean-up. If however, you’ve got hold of a photo that’s had some portions peeled away, not all is lost. With some time and imagination, I can set it right. I’d quote this one in in the upper range: $60 for a major restoration.

Tutorial: How I prepare my newspaper articles for genealogy

August 7, 2015

I’ve got new tutorial video up today. In this one, I basically ramble as I prepare a newspaper article for presentation in my genealogy. When researching on such sites as Chronicling America and Fulton History, I like to download the full page containing the relevant article. I then crop out the relevant article and make that the first page of a PDF file. I leave the full page as the second page of the PDF file, but I highlight the relevant portions. If, as in this case, only a small portion of an article is relevant, I’ll make faux tears in it to show that I’ve skipped some of the article. The software I’m using here is the GIMP image editor and the PDF Split and Merge document editor. Although I’m using Linux in this video, the software is available for all platforms. Enjoy!

Photo Restorations by Tim G. to table the Bucks County Ancestry Fair

August 3, 2015


It is with great pleasure that I announce my attendance at the upcoming 9th Annual Bucks County Ancestry Fair! This will be my second fair, albeit this time at it’s new location at the Bucks County Community College. I had a splendid at last year’s fair, and I look forward to doing the same this September. I will have my scanner with me again, so bring a small photo or two from your collection that is in need of repair! I will scan your photos at the fair and repair them over the following few weeks. First come, first served! I’ve also got a door prize this time around: Two free repairs via e-mail for the lucky winner! For further information about the Bucks County Ancestry Fair, visit the event web site at I look forward to meeting you and your ancestors!

Tutorials: Upgrading GRAMPS on Debian Jessie

June 14, 2015

I made a new video this week: How to upgrade GRAMPS on Debian Jessie. More accurately, I’m narrating the upgrading of GRAMPS on my own computer. Some aspects of this upgrade, such as the directories when I store my exports, will be unique to my computer, but hopefully you will get the gist.

The video is long, and probably could have been shorter. But hey, I was enjoying myself. Note also that the command I used to uninstall the previous version of GRAMPS was not written correctly on the instruction card. The correct command for me was:

$ sudo apt-get remove python3-gramps

This command may vary based on your previous installations. It may end with either python-gramps or simply gramps.

Lastly, important links for this video are the GRAMPS home page, and the GRAMPS download page. Enjoy upgrading GRAMPS!


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