Thursday, September 17, 2015

Well That's Weird

I love it when I come across something unusual or strange while doing my family history work. A week or so ago, I had just that experience.

While researching my ancestors Samuel West and Mary Ann Prugh of Madison County, Ohio, I found I needed a source for their marriage date.

Fortunately, FamilySearch has Ohio County Marriages online, indexed, and digital images attached. I quickly found them. Here is a screenshot of that marriage record.

Notice anything weird about that date? It is 29 Feb 1839. Twenty-nine February? That meant they were married on a leap cool! That is when I realized the problem. The year 1839 wasn't a leap year!

I wonder if they were actually married on the 28th? Or maybe it was March 1st?

Here's my theory. I noticed that the rest of the marriage book is not exactly in chronological order. It is close, but there are a few marriages recorded out of sequence. Next, I see that this marriage was not recorded until April, so several weeks had passed. Perhaps the justice of peace had just written down the 29th of February by mistake in his notes or he was trying to recall the date from memory. After all, I am always getting the dates wrong when writing a check! (As a genealogist, I probably shouldn't admit to always getting dates wrong...but you know what I mean!)

Another possible theory is the clerk that was recording the marriages transcribed the date wrong when writing it into this marriage book.

Whatever the reason for the inaccurate date, I think it is fair to say they were likely married in February and it couldn't have been on the 29th.

Several months ago, while working on Ancestry, I had another weird experience while looking at a census. I couldn't quite make out the name, so I had to zoom in on the image. When I did, the strangest thing happened! A picture of an old man with a little girl sitting on his lap just popped up right there on the page. I shrunk the image down and poof, they disappeared. I again zoomed in and there the picture was again. I knew no one would ever believe me, so I took a screenshot of the image.

See! I told you! Isn't that the strangest thing!?

Like I said, I just love running across these weird little things. Have you found an unusual or strange record lately or in the past? What has been your craziest find?

Want to read other spooky and strange genealogy readings? Try this!
Haunting Illnesses of the Past

Friday, September 4, 2015

My First Blog Book Has Arrived!

creating a blog bookMy very first blog book has arrived and I am thrilled! There are a few things about printing the blog book that I wish I'd known sooner.

In my last post, I wrote about creating my first blog book. (You can read that here.) I used a blog-to-print, online service called blog2print. For about $17.00, blog2print "slurped" my blog posts and formatted them into book form.

The bottom line? I was very happy with the results, but I will do some things differently next time.

What I Did and What I'd Do Different

I ordered a soft cover book with a total number of 24 pages. I felt a soft cover book fit the number of pages better than a hard cover book. I was happy with this choice. I would likely choose to do a soft cover book for anything under 50 pages.

I set my book to "compact" for the page layout, but should have chosen "snapshot." By choosing "compact," I allowed the system to move my photos around to make the best use of space. Unfortunately, many of my captions were printed in unusual places and even on different pages altogether. Next time, I will choose the "snapshot" layout.

I did NOT add a page break in between posts. I did this to save space and unneeded pages. This was a good choice and I was happy with the look. I will definitely do that again.

I chose to print in color. The majority of my photos were color to begin with. For this reason, I had my book printed in color. The additional cost was very minimal and I am happy with the choice. I would base this decision on whether the majority of the images you are printing are color or black and white.

I added my name as author. At the last minute, a fellow blogger mentioned they had forgotten to add their name as author of their book. I wanted to make sure my name appeared on the front cover. There was no field on the set-up page to add an author's name. Instead, I used the "side text" on the front cover to add "By Amie Bowser Tennant."

The Results

The cover was perfect! The image looked great and my name appeared on the side as author.

All the images were clear and just what I had hoped.

My first page looked like this:

Notice, the posts were formatted to come one after the other; I like that. However, by choosing the "compact" page format, the captions of my photos were added to the text in some unexpected places, as I mentioned before.

If you notice in the image above, the screenshot of a FamilySearch page has the caption a paragraph away. Now look at the bottom image. I had created a caption prior to uploading the image to my blog post. In that way, the caption is "stuck" to the image and you avoid this problem of captions not being with their appropriate images.

Was that a bit confusing? Don't worry, there is an easier way. If I had chosen the "snapshot" page layout, then the page would be formatted with my captions closer to the actual image. See image below as an example.

The BEST thing to do when using blog2print service is to add your captions to your photos before adding them to the post. The next best thing would be to choose the "snapshot" page layout option. If you are not pleased with either of these options, I would suggest using another service all together. allows you to edit each page and by so doing, you will not have the caption-picture problem. It is more editing work on your part, but you may be happier with the results.


Before you place your order, ask relatives if they would like a copy! Whoops, I didn't do that. I was so excited to make my first book that I didn't even think about offering the option to the family. Several family members are now interested in purchasing a copy as well. It is not difficult to order more, but some forward thinking would have avoided having to order again.

Overall, this was a wonderful, easy, and pretty successful venture. I am anxious to continue printing my blogs into book format in the future. Maybe you should try it too!

If you enjoyed this article about blog books, read my earlier post:
"Creating Your First Blog Book: Here's How"