Category Archives: Photos

RIP Opa – Joseph Francis Eiswerth (1921-2013)

My grandfather, Joseph Francis Eiswerth, passed away on Friday, March 1, 2013. This is my tribute to my “Opa Joe.”

Joseph Francis Eiswerth was born 18 September 1921 in East Palestine, Columbiana County, Ohio. He was the only child of Edward Charles Eiswerth and Angela Catherine Kavcic (anglicized Couchie). His father, Edward, had traveled west from central Pennsylvania to find work.

When Joseph was a few years old, the family moved back to Limestone Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, where Edward had been raised.

Joseph attended school in a one room schoolhouse run by the nuns at Immaculate Conception Church in Bastress, Pennsylvania.

Joseph stayed on the farm with his parents until his 21st birthday when he enlisted in the United States Navy. He served at Quonset Point, Rhode Island and in 1945 on the inaugural voyage of the USS Helena (into a hurricane). He was discharged on 29 October 1945.

After WWII, he moved to Williamsport, Pennsylvania to get a better education and life than he could have had on the farm. He met and married Evelyn Marie Eck on 5 November 1946 at St. Boniface Church. The video below is from their wedding day (with Oma’s graduation at the beginning).

He worked 2nd shift while attending Williamsport Technical Institute. There he met Guy Reeder and Art Shaw and together they formed a construction partnership called Eiswerth, Reeder and Shaw (names listed in alphabetical order to be fair.)

He even built his own house in 1954. Here it is in 1971 getting a new roof.

Joseph and Evelyn had 7 children in the span of 6 years (the first two were twins).

My family lived in Ohio, so we always spent a week at Oma and Opa’s over the summer and had another visit at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Below is a picture of my brother and me with Oma and Opa. Opa loved to wrestle with his grandkids.

Dinner at Thanksgiving of 1989.
The whole family at Thanksgiving 1990. (The youngest grandchild is missing from this photo since he wasn’t born yet.)

Between high school, college and moving to Fort Wayne, I haven’t seen my grandparents much over the last 15 years. But I was lucky to have a change to visit my grandparents during the summer of 2010 and 2011.

Opa will be buried on Tuesday, March 5 at St. Boniface Cemetery.

You might not have wanted to answer my genealogy questions, but I’ll still miss you, Opa.

You can read other blog post about Opa that my dad wrote for my blog a couple of years ago:
Sentimental Sunday – What My Dad Learned about His Dad – Part 1
Sentimental Sunday – What My Dad Learned about His Dad – Part 2
Sentimental Sunday – What My Dad Learned about His Dad – Part 3
Sentimental Sunday – What My Dad Learned about His Dad – Part 4
Sentimental Sunday – Grandfather in WWII
Sentimental Sunday – Horses and Baseball

Organizing my Digital Photos with Lightroom

One of my genealogy goals this year was to digitize all the slides at my grandma’s house. I knew that she had a lot, but I didn’t realize that it would take 3 trips and months to finish just the scanning of the slides.

Then I took another trip to visit my dad’s side of the family in Pennsylvania. There I was able to scan a few photo albums. I also scanned all the photos at my parents’ house while I was there.

By the end of the summer, I had tons of digital photos from many families and across many decades. The problem was that when I wanted one to add to a blog post or for my family history books, I couldn’t find the one I knew I had. If I couldn’t find the ones I remembered, imagine trying to find the rest.

Over the summer, I used a few different software programs to add metadata to my photos with varying degrees of success. In the end, I decided to purchase Adobe Lightroom.

Lightroom lets me import all my photos. It allows me to add tags and copyright information during the import process. I can add tags in batches or tag individual photos. I can add captions. I can move photos between folders within the program. I can rename groups of photos using a variety of their preset naming structures or create my own.

I love being able to sort the photos in a variety of ways. User order is my favorite. Since I have photos from a variety of collections for the same event, I was able to put them in order. Lightroom also lets you compare two photos and decide which is best. You can then delete the other one or rate the two photos. For example, these features came in handy when I was trying to organize a group of family photos taken in 1991. My grandfather liked to take a large family photo, then photos of each of his daughters’ families, then just the grandchildren and so on. I had scans of photos from my grandma’s collection and from my parents. I really didn’t need 4 copies of the same picture, so I organized the photos by who was in them and then compared each photo. Then I could just keep the best ones.

Lightroom was just what I needed to organize all those photos. I haven’t even discussed the photo editing side of the software. I haven’t used it much yet, but I plan to use it more now that everything is organized.

The next photo project? Scanning and organizing all the photos in my closet. Good thing my husband got me a Flip-Pal at FGS.

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this review. The links above are Amazon affiliate links. I get a small percentage of your purchase price at no additional cost to you. I do not see or fulfill your order.

12 Days of Family and Genealogy – Scanning

This post is part of my series of the 12 days I spent with my parents visiting family and doing genealogy research.

My scanner was one of the major items that I had to pack for this trip. I was hoping to find more old photos in Pennsylvania and I scored! I was able to scan 3 albums from my grandparents house. Not only did they contain photos, but there were also a few documents. In another post I will write about the draft cards that I found.
On returning to Cincinnati, I visited my grandma and returned the boxes of slides that I had borrowed and pick up the last batch. My mom found this last batch the last time I was visiting (when I thought I was getting the last batch). Most of them are unlabeled and are probably just vacation pictures from my grandparents’ many trips (which there in about 30 more boxes that I’m not scanning). But hopefully I’ll find something interesting.
I also borrowed my dad’s collection of slides. Luckily not all of these cubes are filled.
The one thing I like about scanning all of the family slides is that most of them are labeled better than the pictures and old movies that I have already digitized. Putting them all together gives me a better idea of when and where the photos were taken.
While I was at my parents, I also scanned 3 boxes of photos. Now I just need to organize and label them all. But I think I’ll wait until I finish with the slides and have everything to compare.

Scanning Slides Update

One of my 2011 genealogy goals is to scan all the slides at my grandma’s house. There are 3 shelves of boxes containing 100 slide carousels. There are 14 boxes on each shelf. So I have around 4200 slides to scan.

In January, I wrote a post about my beginning attempts to scan those slides. I started by using one of the slide converters that is really a light box scanner. I decided that it was too much work to place the slides into the tray and manually line up each slide. If I didn’t have a lot of slides to scan, this would be a good, cheap choice to scan them all. But that is not the case for me.

When I got my new laptop last year, I found out that my old scanner was not compatible with Windows 7. So I had been scanning with my netbook and then transferring the files to my laptop. So I was in the market for a new flat bed scanner. So with a little cooking, cleaning, and eye batting, I got my husband to buy me a new one.

He purchases the CanoScan 8800F (Amazon affiliate link) for me. It is massive, but it is so much faster than my old scanner. It makes me wonder why I didn’t purchase a new scanner long ago. I had no idea how much faster scanners now work. I don’t even want to think of how much time I wasted waiting for my old scanner to do its thing.

The CanoScan 8800F can scan slides and film. It scans 4 slides at a time. You just lay them in the tray, preview the images, select which to scan and scan away. Scanning slides takes FOREVER, but this new scanner makes it a pretty hands off experience. I’ve been scanning the slides and participating in Scanfest or watching genealogy webinars while waiting for it to complete each set of scans.

The other thing I like about my new scanner is that it recognizes when you are scanning multiple items and can automatically crop them into separate image files. With my old scanner, I would scan each photo separately, then crop it. Now I just lay 4 photos on the glass and let it scan and it leaves me with 4 files. It’s great!

Now I just need to work on adding metadata to all these images.


Disclosure: The link for the scanner is to my Amazon affiliate link. It allows me to get a small percentage of your purchases, but it doesn’t tell me if you bought it.

Scanning Slides and Making Videos

One of my 2011 Genealogy Resolutions is the scan all of the slides in my grandma’s house. Cheryl at the Twice Upon a Time blog asked me how I planned to scan the photos. So I will try to explain it to everyone.
This fall I purchased a VuPoint Film and Slide Converter (Amazon affiliate link). I purchased mine from Woot! as one of their daily deals (But who knows when or if it will ever come up again.
Last week I pulled out a tray of 30 slides to use as an example. It was labeled “RR Engines and River” and the photos were most likely taken by my grandfather, who loved both.
I placed the slides into the tray and pushed them through the VuPoint Converter. I used the software that came with the device to save the slides to my computer as TIF files. Once you get the hang of it, it doesn’t take long to scan each slide. Below is one of the images (click on it to make it larger).
One of the hardest parts is getting the slide into the tray in the right orientation. But if I get it wrong, I just do some photo editing. You also have to wiggle the tray around in the converter in order to get the entire image in the viewer. It isn’t difficult, but requires a little patience and a fine touch. You can always edit out any black stripes on the sides later.
My grandfather also made his own slides and the two cardboard pieces don’t always line up straight. This problems makes it difficult to open the slide tray sometimes. Extra trays are available and I may order more soon.
After I scanned an entire tray of slides, I made them into a slide show using Windows Live Movie Maker (a free program). I used one of the transitions that looked like slides changing on a projector. I also used a visual effect to make the images black and white in order to get rid of the purple tinge on this set of slides.

This was not the best set of slides to use as an example. I tested out the converter using the set of slides from my grandparents’ honeymoon in 1949. They were in color and looked great after digitizing.

If anyone has any more questions about my slide scanning, let me know. I’ll have a better grasp of it as I start to scan the 100 slide trays and continue to refine my process.

Disclosure: No one paid me for this post, but I did use my Amazon affiliate links. I won’t know if you bought anything, but I will get a small percentage of your purchase price at no extra charge to you.

There’s one in every family! – Opposites – COG 100

It’s the final day for submissions to the 100th Carnival of Genealogy. Congratulations and a big thank you to Jasia for being a leader in the genealogy blogging community and coming up with 100 topics for everyone to write and read.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about until yesterday while driving to work. I thought about the video my aunt gave me this summer of my grandparents’ wedding day in the fall of 1946. My favorite part of the video is when my grandparents are standing for formal photos with my great-grandparents. On the one side are my Oma’s parents. Her father is doing a jig, while his wife looks on slightly embarrassed, but laughing none the less. Now I thought about how we all have one member of our family who is goofy and doing weird things. But then I realized that that describes my entire family.

So then I thought about the other side of that video, my Opa’s parents. While my great grandfather, Eugene Eck, is dancing and having a good time. Edward Eiswerth is standing straight and I’m pretty sure he’s wondering what his son was thinking marrying into this crazy family. Don’t we all have that one serious relative who refuses to join in the fun?

There’s one set of opposites in every family. Enjoy the video below of the two sides of my family tree. (The fun starts at the 2 minute mark.)