Learning to Use Book Scanner

BookScanner320Several months ago, the Seneca Free Library added a book scanner in the genealogy room. My husband was likely one of the first to utilize this tool. Yesterday, I decided to figure out how to use it for a project that I’ve wanted to complete for a couple of years.

Having worked with technology, I didn’t think it would be that difficult to figure out. To my surprise, I faced a major obstacle when I first sat down in front of the scanner. I couldn’t find the button to turn it on! Fortunately, my husband was near a phone and able to walk me thru turning the computer on and getting started.

  • To turn on — There is a button on the underneath side to turn the computer on. The button is on the right side about 1 inch from the edge.
  • There is a password to login to the computer. The library staff can provide that password.
  • There is a button on the scanner that looks like a white triangle to turn the scanner on. This button is blue when the scanner is on.
  • The icon for the scanning software was in the middle of the screen. Clicking this icon opens the software
  • Once the software is opened, my husband advised that I select ‘Custom Scan’. This allowed me to select options for the scan. I selected the following options on the ‘Custom Scan’ screen.
    • File Type – Document
    • Destination – USB Drive
    • File Format — PDF (other options include jpg)
    • Convert OCR – Yes

Armed with his directions, I was able to start scanning.

  • To scan, I simply put the document on the black felt about 1″ from the back edge. Since I wanted to make sure I would be able to easily print the PDF file, I wanted to keep the items within an 8.5″ x 11″ space. Thus, I used the LTR guides on the left and right side as a guide for where to place my documents. Once the items were in place I clicked the SCAN or CONTINUE SCAN button on the computer.
  • Once finished with the documents, I clicked the finish button. This opened a ‘document review’ screen. On this screen, I was able to rotate the item.
  • I also discovered that I needed to pay attention to the center of the screen where it showed the scanned image and a red outline. This red line indicates what will be included in the final outcome. In some cases, I needed to bring this line was cutting off some text. In other cases, it was only including part of what I scanned.
  • When I finished reviewing the output, I clicked ‘SAVE’ and the pdf file was saved to my USB flash drive.

In my one hour of scanning I was able scan about 1/3 of one box of 3×5 notecards. Hopefully, I will be able to make it to the library to finish this box of documents this week.

I’m hoping to learn how to use this book scanner to scan the following types of records:

  • Photo Albums
  • Scrapbooks
  • Journals


DNA Captures a Criminal

In case you haven’t heard, the investigators in the “Golden State Killer” case used DNA found at several murder scenes to capture the criminal. This person’s DNA was not already in the criminal justice system. Instead, the investigators utilized tools similar to those used by genetic genealogists to identify relatives and ultimately identify the murder suspect. Dick Eastman’s blog, “DNA that Cracked the ‘Golden State Killer’ Case came from Genealogy Websites” contains more information on the use of the DNA including links to two news articles on the topic. The Time Magazine article “How Did They Catch the Golden State Killer” also discusses the work of the investigators.

This use of genetic genealogy has been a hot topic on various Facebook groups. As with every issue in society today, there are multiple viewpoints on the issue. I have read many of these posts and comments and can understand the poster’s concern.

I haven’t formed a firm opinion either way, but I would like to share my thinking about the issue.

  • I spit into a test tube to have my DNA tested at Ancestry. This test is called an autosomal DNA test. These autosomal tests do not sequence the entire length of the DNA. Instead they test for an identified set of markers helpful for proving relationship. These are not the same set of markers that forensic scientists test for in criminal investigations. (See DNA Testing vs. Codis, Criminal Database by Emily Aulicino, Genetic Genealogy)
  • I have been researching my family history for forty years. I’m not sure exactly when I first started sharing my research online, but my original site was at Yahoo’s GeoCities: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/3208/geneal.htm [My site is cited by Steve Shook in his site: Silvernale-Shook Genealogy.] Over the years, my data has been shared on a variety of sites: GeoCities, RootsWeb, Family History Hosting, and thru my RootsMagic site.
  • I have a public, searchable family tree on Ancestry called Heartland Genealogy. I’m not sure when I uploaded my first tree, but it was quite a few years ago. I have freely shared Gedcom files with other researchers and sites. My data was contributed to various projects included One World Tree and Ancestral file.
  • Ancestry privatizes information for living people in trees. In addition, I rarely add a living person to my online tree at Ancestry. Nor do I include living people in Gedcom files or in my RootsMagic upload. Since this is true of most genealogists, I’m fairly certain that the criminal investigators had to go to a lot of work to identify the suspect’s family. This work likely included digging thru newspaper articles and public records.
  • With my DNA I have LOTS of cousin matches (over 1200 pages worth). We all have a lot of relatives — and we are all related.
  • I recently made a connection with a granddaughter of a first cousin that was unknown to the family. Without DNA testing, we would not have found each other and I would have never been able to share my grandparents story with her!

We can’t put DNA technology back in the bottle and pretend we don’t have this ability. Thus, the discussions need to continue on how this technology can and will be utilized.


PFC Lovell Mentzer

While searching the Yates Center News for an article stating that Cleo B. Peake was awarded the purple heart, I discovered another cousin killed during World War II: PFC Lovell Mentzer.

Notice of the death of Private First Class Lovell J. Mentzer first appeared in the May 3, 1945 issue of the Yates Center News on Page 1.

1945-May3-YatesCenterNews-Death-LovellMentzer350PFC Lovell Mentzer

Killed in Germany
Mr. and Mrs. E. E. Mentzer received the information Tuesday from the War Department that their son, Private First Class Lovell J. Mentzer had died in Germany.
Nineteen-year-old Lovell had seen ten and one-half months service in the European theatre. Graduating from Yates Center high school with the class of ’44 he was inducted in the army and trained for an infantryman. In the latter part of last November he was sent over seas and was with the Seventh Army
Private Mentzer has five brothers in the service, Technician Fourth Grade Keith in south Pacific, Corporal Talmadge (Tye) in England, T/5 Burdette with the AAF at Coffeyville, T/5 Edward at the home on furlough, Lt. Austin (j.G.), Corpus Christi, Tex

On June 14, 1945, the Yates Center News had a notice of the memorial service on page 1.

1945-Jun14-MemorialService-Mentzer-Lovell350Memorial Services for Lovell Mentzer
Memorial services for PFC Lovell J. Mentzer will be held Sunday afternoon June 17 at 2:30 o’clock at the Methodist church. Rev. O. W. Dewey, pastor of the church, and the American Legion will conduct the services.
PFC Mentzer lost his life while in combat duty in Germany in April. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. E. E. Mentzer.
Ask War Dads to Attend
Officials of the local War Dad chapter request that as many of the War Dad members who can, to attend the memorial services for Pfc. Mentzer.

A June issue of the 1945 Yates Center News included the obituary. Unfortunately, I ran out of time and did not get the obituary transcribed and the quality of my picture is too poor to transcribe the obituary from the image. Check back later and I will get the obituary transcribed.


Protestor in the Family – E O Briles

40yrsagoThe Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) states that as a genealogist I should do reasonably exhaustive research. So, when my grandmother left me a group of ‘Years Ago’ clippings stating that my grandfather, E. O. Briles had been arrested, I did what I thought was reasonably exhaustive research.

First, I visited the Kansas State Historical Society to read the Emporia Gazette from the time period. I then obtained the police and district court case files. I have looked in the obvious places to find documentation of my grandfather’s protest movement.

About two weeks ago, I was handed another source – a clipping ‘from a recent shopper.’ I would never have thought of looking thru shoppers for information! (In Kansas – particularly in smaller communities – a shopper is a weekly publication full of advertising.) Evidently, the Flint Hills Shopper has a ‘History of Lyon County’ column provided by the Lyon County Historical Society titled True Tales from the Tallgrass.

The March 6, 2018 issue of the Flint Hills Shopper contained the story of my grandfather, E. O. Briles.


Lessons learned:

  • Research never ends
  • Look everywhere — including the local ‘shopper’

Cleo Byron Peake – Lost at Sea

While going thru Ancestry Hints for my Wells line, I found an intriguing military record for a distant cousin, Byron Peake (Cleo Byron Peake). The records said he was reported missing in action on 28 April 1944. (“World War II and Korean Conflict Veterans Interred Overseas.” Database. Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com : 2018.)


Cleo Peake has two Find a Grave memorials – one in England and one in Kansas. His Kansas memorial states that he died in the English Channel. (Find a Grave, database and images, Find a Grave (www.findagrave.com : viewed online April 2018), memorial for PFC Byron Peake (1914-1944), Find a Grave Memorial no. #56877325.)


Since I was unsure how to record a “missing in action” for a death event or two different memorials, I turned to the RootsMagic Users Group on Facebook for help.


From Facebook, it was suggested that I put in the missing date as an ‘abt’ date for the death and then cite the “missing in action” source. I also learned a new term, cenotaph.

Based on the definition of cenotaph, Cleo Peake likely has two cenotaphs and no actual burial.

Facebook also suggested checking Fold3 to see if Cleo Peake was ever declared dead. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find more specific information about Cleo Peake on Fold3.

Since I was driving thru Topeka, Kansas and had time, I stopped at the Kansas State Historical Society to use their Kansas newspaper collection. I hit ‘pay dirt’ on roll Y37 of the Yates Center News.

Thursday, May 18, 1944
page 1
PFC Byron Peak Reported Missing
Chas J. Peake received a telegram from the War Department May 11, reporting that his son Pfc Cleo Byron Peake was reported missing in action since April 28.
“Byron” as he was known to all his friends, was with the 3206 Q.M. Service Co. Special Supply Troops. It was the duty of his company to take supplies of food and ammunition to the forces at the fighting front. It is believed that it was on one of these amphibious missions, possibly to Italy, that they met with misfortune.
Relatives have made contact with some of the families of Byron’s close buddies to find out that these buddies have also been reported missing since April 28. Most of these friend believe that the boys are prisoner of war.



Thursday Jun 15, 1944
page 1
Missing in Action over Italy
PFC Cleo Byron Peake who is reported missing in action over Italy since April 28. He was connected with the 3206 QM Service Co., special Supply troop






Thursday August 17, 1944
page 1
Confirms death of PFC Byron Peake
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Peake have a letter this week from the War Department confirming the death of their son, PVC. Cleo Byron Peak, reported missing in April:
The letter states:
“It is with profound regret that I confirm the recent telegram informing you of the death of your son, Private First Class Cleo Byron Peak of the Quartermaster Corps, who was previously reported missing in action April 28 1844, in the English Channel.
“An official message has now been received which states that he was killed in action on the date he was previously reported missing in action.
“I realize the burden of anxiety that has been yours since he was first reported missing in action and deeply regret the sorrow this later report brings you. May the knowledge that he made the supreme sacrifice for his home and country be a source of sustaining comfort.
J. A. Ulio, Major General, The Adjutant General.”


August 31, 1944
page 2
Cleo Byron Peake
Cleo Byron Peake, only son of Charles J and Mary E Peake, was born March 10, 1914, near Yates Center, Kans. He gave his life for his country in the early dawn of April 28, 1944 somewhere off the southwestern coast of England, where his company had gone for pre-invasion rehearsal. German E boats darted in and sank the two LST crafts loaded with troops of his company. The crafts sank at once. It is thought that the bodies of 312 soldiers, first reported as missing, were still in the crafts when they went down.
Byron’s mother died when he was five years of age. His father took him and his sister to the home of their grandparents, where he lived until he was inducted into the army.
Byron received his grade school education in the Finney rural school where he always stood at the head of his class. He attended the Yates Center high school four years, where he made an outstanding record as a student making the highest grade of any boy in his class for the entire four years. He was also elected as a member of the national Honor Society, selection being based on scholarship, character school spirit and activities. He graduated with the class of 1932.
Byron accepted Christ at the age of 14 years and always lived an upright Christian life. He was a member of the Christian church. He loved music and all things good and beautiful, He was by nature very studious , a great reader and a deep thinker. He had truly a brilliant mind. Byron was inducted into he Army; February 5, 1943. He received his basic training and rifle practice at Camp Young. He was also trained for a while at Camp Haen. He received warehouse training and Camp Ono, spent five weeks and Donley , in the heart of the desert, for rail head training. All of these camps being in California.
Byron received his Amphibious training at Fort Pierce, Fla. he was then sent to Camp Pickett, Va., for more rifle training and three moths intensive training in other lines, including physical condition. He belonged to the 3206 quartermaster’s Service Co, special Supply troops. He knew the grave danger his training would cause him to face yet he never faltered, answering the call of duty just as he had been doing all his life. He went overseas in January and was stationed in England.
Byron is survived by his father, stepmother, sister Mrs. Vernona Volland, brother-in-law, Virgil Volland, a niece, little Barbara Sue. Alsy by his aunt Susie Peake, of the home, who was a mother to him,an aunt Mrs. Dolla Beavers of Malta, Mont. He is also survived by the following uncles, A. L. Peake of the home, John R. Peake, Chester, Nebr. Jess and Frank Wells of Lawrence, Kans, a number of cousins, one step-sister and three brothers and other relatives and legions of friends.
Memorial services were held Sunday afternoon, August 27 at the Christian church, conducted by the pastor Rev. Miles M. Cook, and the American Legion.

As stated in the various newspaper accounts, Cleo Byron Peake was a member of the 3206 Quartermasters’ Service Company. During April of 1944, this Company was participating in ‘Exercise Tiger‘ which was a rehearsal for the D-Day invasion. During the operation, German E-Boats stumbled upon the ships and fired upon them. Of the 251 members of the 3206 Quartermasters’ Service Company, 201 were killed or wounded during the German attack. According to the Exercise Tiger Memorial website, Cleo Peake was aboard LST 531 which sank within 6 minutes of being hit by a torpedo. The LST 531 had 424 Army and Navy personnel aboard when it sank. (List of honored dead) (Exercise Tiger – Wikipedia)

Cleo B. Peake was awarded the Purple Heart.

Ancestry Indexing Saga Continues

I just visited with Ancestry again about my tree not being indexed (for the 8th time). Support says that trees were last indexed on October 10, 2017 (over 6 months ago). Unfortunately, they could not give me an expected timeline for the indexing of trees.

For the back story on this issue, see the following blogs:

Don’t Forget the Book!

For the April meeting of the Topeka Genealogical Society‘s ‘Brick Wall Study Group’, we were supposed to bring one of our brick walls to the April meeting yesterday. The intent was that we would discuss our brick wall with another member of the group and get their input. (And then we would discuss their brick wall and provide input.)

For this task, I decided to take one of my SMITH brick walls. In 1833, my ancestor, Nelson G. Crawford, married Martha Smith in Warren County, Indiana. Even though I have Martha’s life documented after her marriage, I have no information on her parents or siblings.

hannah smithHowever, I remembered that I had seen a tombstone for Hannah Smith in the West Lebanon City Cemetery to the East of the plots for Nelson and Martha Crawford. Because my memory says that Hannah was buried close to Martha Crawford Smith, I elected to try and prove that Hannah was Martha’s mother.

So, I went to the meeting armed with SMITH census and marriage records to try and find Martha’s father and/or siblings. As we visited about this research, we kept returning to my recollection of the placement of the stones and whether I could find anything to validate my memory. Unfortunately, I couldn’t rely  my recent set of photos from the West Lebanon Cemetery, since the Hannah Smith stone was not found. Nor can I rely on Find a Grave for help, since that site does not show a Hannah Smith in the West Lebanon Cemetery.

That’s when we turned to the book I had brought along: Warren County, Indiana Cemetery Inscriptions, Volume II by Rosella Jenkins (c1985). There is information in this book for Hannah Smith on page 87.


From studying the book, we made the following observations:

  • Hannah Smith is listed in Stack 3 of the West Lebanon City Cemetery
  • Hannah Smith is listed on the same page as Nelson G. Crawford and Martha Crawford
  • The names are NOT in alphabetical order
  • Based on the ‘introduction’ to the book the information was obtained by reading the stones
    • “This volume of cemetery inscriptions includes …”
    • “Every time I found a stone so weathered as to be almost impossible to read, I would think that perhaps this very stone would be just the one someone needed for their records.”
  • Hannah Smith is listed just above William C. Crawford (d. 1868). This William C. Crawford is believed to be a son of Nelson G. Crawford and Martha Smith Crawford.

Based on the order in the book, we believe that it is possible that Hannah Smith was the mother of Martha and grandmother of William C. Crawford.

Without this book, I would not have been able to

  • verify that the stone for Hannah Smith was in the West Lebanon Cemetery at some point in time
  • see the possible family connection based on the closeness of Hannah Smith’s grave to the Crawford family graves.
  • seen that Hannah Smith’s stone was next to William C. Crawford’s stone.

This experience has reinforced the concepts that

  • not everything is online
  • in some cases, context is lost when the data is placed online (For example, Find a Grave does not help determine who was buried next to whom.)
  • books are valuable resources for genealogical research
  • libraries provide access to resources not available online

When all else fails, go old school:

visit a genealogy library and

open the books to see what clues are hidden inside!


DNA Puzzle – Crawford Line

When I spit in a test tube for my first DNA test, I had high hopes of proving a relationship to another Crawford line and ultimately breaking through our brick wall in early Kentucky. Those hopes were greatly diminished when I wasn’t a match to a known descendant of the James and Martha (Knight) Crawford line.

However, I had matches to descendants of William N. Crawford of Washington and Isaac and Nancy (Miller) Crawford of Kentucky. Those matches have revived hopes of figuring out how my Crawford line fits into the greater Crawford genealogy.

Since I have those matches ‘painted’ on DNA painter, I decided to experiment to see how they overlapped with DNA from my 2nd cousins.


The above picture shows the DNA Painter results when I turn off my other lines.

  • Blue — Crawford-Hammond descendants (my 2nd cousins)
  • Yellow — Sellers — have no idea how related but Crawford family lived near Sellars
  • Dark Green — Ralston-McCormick — Grandparents of Josie Hammond (Crawford-Hammond line)
  • Tan – William N Crawford of Washington
  • Orange – Isaac Crawford of Garrard County, Kentucky

I expected to see overlap between my blue areas and the dark green Ralston-McCormick since everyone in the Crawford-Hammond group descends from James Barr Ralston and Nancy Jane McCormick. The Crawford-Hammond group represents my great-grandparents while the Ralston-McCormick represents my 3rd great-grandparents. Could this generational difference explain the lack of overlap between these two groups?

I was hoping to see overlap between my blue (Crawford-Hammond) and the other Crawford lines (tan or orange). Unfortunately, I can’t see this overlap. However, there is an overlap between the tan and orange on Chromosome 1.


Does this overlap indicate that these two Crawford lines are related?

Is the lack of overlap with my Crawford line (blue) due to the fact that we have to go back at least 8 generations to find a common ancestor? OR does it indicate we are not related?

I posted a question about this issue in the DNA Painter User Group on Facebook and got some excellent advice.

First, since the Crawford, William N  and the Crawford, Isaac Garrard KY  both match me on Chromosome 1 between 74,314,526 and 82,818,466 we are likely all related.

Second, the fact that the Crawford-Hammond group does not match in this area of Chromosome 1 likely does not indicate a lack of relationship. This can be explained by the distance we have to go back to find a common ancestor.

Based on the advice from the Facebook group, I started looking at how ‘Crawford, William N’ and ‘Crawford, Isaac’ compare to each other on Family Tree DNA’s chromosome browser. While playing around with Crawford matches and the Chromosome Browser, I found two more Crawford matches on Chromosome 1.


Now, to try and figure out how we are all related!



On a Map – Briles Homestead

The Alexander Briles homestead was located South of current highway 58 into Leroy, Kansas and East of Highway 75.


The homestead is over a mile East of Crandall Cemetery.


Alexander Briles is not buried in Crandall Cemetery. Instead, Alexander and most of his children are buried in Big Creek Cemetery.


Big Creek Cemetery is located on the West side of Highway 75 and North of Highway 58 going into Gridley.


Come ‘Paint’ With Me

DNAPainterLast month, I was introduced to DNA Painter thru a DNA study group sponsored by the Topeka Genealogical Society. Although I haven’t done a lot of ‘painting’, I think this tool may help me figure out relationships to mysterious matches.

Before I can use DNA Painter with unknown matches, I need to ‘paint’ more known matches. Unfortunately, the vast majority of my identified cousin matches are on Ancestry which doesn’t provide a chromosome map. Thus, I’m hoping some of these cousins will help me ‘paint’ more DNA connections by transferring their DNA to GedMatch or vendors accepting DNA transfer for free.

The transfer process is fairly simple — but time consuming.

By transferring your data to one of these sites, I can do a one-to-one match comparison to get the segment data needed for painting. Watch for updates as I get more cousin data to work with!