Help Us Find the Owner of this Grave Marker

manin templeton grave marker

The grave marker shown above has been located on a run down property in Portland, Oregon during a renovation. Your help is needed in understanding more about the marker and hopefully return it to the family of the persons listed on the marker.

Grave Marker Details

Francis Day Manin
1909 – 1974

Susan Manin Smith
1937 -

Teddy Templeton Jr.
1955 – 1975

Also inscribed in the upper left: “15-428.” Could this be a plot number meaning the marker was removed from a cemetery?

The Power of Collaborative Research

I know that the genealogy community is good at these collaborative projects and we appreciate the sense of stewardship that the general contractors have for the marker. Let’s help reunite it with the family and perhaps learn why it ended up at this abandoned property.

Note: Please don’t post information on living persons and don’t contact the descendants or owners directly. Email me at and I’ll pass on contact info to the property owners so they can reach out to the family.

©2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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Protect Your Genealogy Research From Winter Damage

Protect Your Genealogy from Winter Damage

Once Winter arrives and the Christmas holiday are at full speed, our view of the winter weather can be very romantic and idealistic. It looks just like the photo above, right? But once the holiday season fades and you are confronted with three or more months of below zero temperatures, snow and wind, it looks and feels more like this:

Chicago Winter

That is the view from my living room window here in Chicago on the north side of Lake Michigan. There was almost a foot of snow last week and there is another 10 inches in progress.  The winds are 30 miles per hour and soon the temperature will drop to -20F (that’s -28C) overnight. Tomorrow’s high is forecast to be -10F.

How Winter Can Impact Our Genealogy Records

Believe it or not, even with your various genealogy records – photos, documents, computer files – all stored safely indoors, they are still at risk of damage.  How so? Here are some common Winter-related dilemmas:

  • Pipes can freeze and burst, covering your records in water (and other unsightly stuff). This is more common than you realize and not just in winter – what if your neighbor’s bathtub overflowed or there was some other problem that impacted your condo or apartment? If you are storing items in cardboard boxes or metal filing cabinets, those items are at risk!
  • Electric outages. Electric outages happen all year round and they can impact your computer and the data stored on hard drives.
  • Fire.  With the cold weather comes an increase in fires due to space heaters and other items used to keep warm.
  • Heat.  If you have forced air heat like I do, you already know that EVERYTHING gets dry. This means records, photos etc.  Humidifiers can help but few of us can maintain humidity levels found in archival repositories for records.

What You Can Do To Winterize Your Genealogy

Here are some ideas on how to protect your research from damage:

  • Rubber or Plastic Totes. I know that many of you will say that these items are not “archivally sound” and emit gases etc. But I’d rather have protection from water damage and place my items in cardboard boxes INSIDE these totes than lose them forever. Click here for deals on storage totes.
  • External Hard Drives. Besides having a cloud computing storage account on Dropbox or one of the other sites, consider a small external hard drive that you can use for backups. Then you can place it in a safe place like a fire safe or a plastic tote. Click here for deals on external hard drives.
  • Humidifiers. Put moisture back in the air indoors – not only will you feel better, your skin will thank you and your paper items will probably do better as well! Click here for deals on large humidifiers.

©2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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2014: Putting the “Gee” Back in Genealogy

Put the "Gee" Back in Genealogy

Each year, starting in early December, I begin to review the goings on of the current year and pondering goals for the next. Being a “glass half-full” kind of guy, I’ve always seen the Winter Solstice around 21 December as a hopeful event: the days keep getting longer and the earth sits in quiet anticipation of what is to come.

I can’t have blasts of creativity or showers of ideas without a quiet time of hibernation, of idea incubation. This is just how I am wired and a work methodology that I’ve come to respect and honor. Generating goals, ideas, concepts and laying them out for the next year is hard work but filled with many rewards.

For 2014, I’m willing to share my genealogy goals publicly for various reasons. First, there’s something to be said about stating a goal, in print or voicing it out and coming back periodically to read or listen to it. A goal that sits in my mind is not fully formed: it has no substance, no form until I can state it and then let it go.

Another reason for goal sharing: I hope it can inspire you to set your own goals related to genealogy and family history. What you set out to accomplish might be very similar to some of my goals; in fact, you’re encourage to literally “steal” them and add your own twist to them.

Genealogy: Where Did The Wonder Go?

Remember when you first started your family history journey? Were you overwhelmed with all the information, amazed at all the possibilities, astounded by the variety of resources? Like a kid in a candy store or a child during Christmastime, you were excited and full of energy, ready to venture off in search of your ancestors.

Over time, as the years went by, you fell into a groove and learned about specific records sets, how to visit a court house or archive, attended a few genealogy conferences and even joined a genealogy society or two. Searching for those ancestors felt comfortable yet at times life got in the way and you had to put research on the back burner.

Have you ever felt “blah” about your genealogy research? Was it a matter of how to pick it up again or where to start? What about inspiration? Have you ever felt “left behind” when it came to technology or some of the newer resources used by other researchers?

I’ve experienced each and every one of these emotions and feelings and held these same thoughts in my mind. Worse yet, I became discouraged sometimes due to my own mechanisms and sometimes because I listened to some of the negativity that comes with any community, even the genealogy community.

Theme for 2014: Reclaiming the Wonder of Genealogy

Here are my resolutions for rediscovering that awe and wonder in genealogy

  • Goals Get Results. Set goals and don’t be afraid to re-examine them periodically. Goals aren’t just for the new year; goals can offer constant guidance.
  • Get Educated. Attend workshops and conferences in person as well as webinars and other online events. Set out educational goals, identify areas where you need more knowledge to be a better researcher.
  • Grab the Ring. There is so much available right now in the genealogy community in terms of resources, assistance and encouragement. You need to take the first step and get in the saddle then reach out for that brass ring!
  • Get Out! Remember not everything is online and you have to get out and away from your research comfort zone. Whether it is visiting a new repository while attending a national conference or making better use of your local public library, there are certain resources that just won’t come to your doorstep – go out and get them!
  • Grow, Grow, Grow. Be open to new approaches to your research, like using a research log or the to do list that comes with a genealogy database program. Don’t be afraid of not following the same path as everyone else. This means developing your own tools and methods based on accepted genealogy research practices.
  • Give and Guide. Think of all those who helped you get started and pointed you in the right direction when it came to finding your roots. There will always be a need for those who take time out of their own research to give guidance to others.
  • Go After Genuine. Seek the best evidence and the best methods to present that evidence. Take the time to do it right and achieve genuine results in your research.
  • Grateful and Graceful. Thank those who contribute to your success and make sure they are recognized for their work. Be grateful with grace and offer to return the favor.
  • Gravitate to Good. Ignore negativity and those who insist “you’re doing it wrong” yet refuse to offer helpful guidance. Invest in good, seek out where it lives and hang out with those who understand the power of a giving community.
  • Go Bold. Do something radical like starting your genealogy database from scratch. Try something new; stop doing what you’ve always been doing. A well-thought out approach can still be gutsy and may be just the change you need.

What Will 2014 Hold for You?

Whether or not you believe a new year means new approaches and new habits, realize that you can take hold of your genealogy at any time during the year and give it a jump start. Go out and grab hold of everything you ever wanted when it comes to finding out more about your ancestors. Go and find the “gee” in genealogy and never let it go.

If not now, when?

©2013, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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