Tombstone Tuesday – Edward Bell Conwell, Jr.

Welcome to another edition of Tombstone Tuesday!

Today we’re not straying very far from last week’s tombstone.  It belongs to my maternal grandfather, Edward Bell Conwell, Jr.  Edward was the second of eight children of Edward Bell Conwell, Sr. and Zella May (McCabe) Conwell.  He had five brothers (one older, four younger) and two sisters (one older, one younger).

Edward was born 23 April 1904 in Kansas City, Jackson, Missouri and died 18 March 2000 in Atlantic, Cass, Iowa.  He is buried in between his first wife, Ada Jane (Correll) Conwell, and his second wife, Edith Marie (Brown) Conwell (my grandmother) in Mount Washington Cemetery in Independence, Jackson, Missouri.  He was a fifty year member of the Masons (A.F. & A.M.) and served in the U.S. Navy for a period of time, receiving a medical discharge for stomach issues.

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Talking Tech: Family tree apps for the iPad

Since getting back into working on my family history I’ve been searching for ways to be mobile and stay organized while being mobile.  I migrated from a desktop to a laptop several years ago and, while I love my Family TreeMaker program on my laptop, I just felt the laptop was still a little too much to take on a trip to the library or on a research trip.  Plus I didn’t care so much for the integration with Ancestry.  Don’t get me wrong, I get the why of the partnership and I see the benefits BUT…I’m also a clean-data-hound.  I work in databases everyday at my job so I see what dirty data can do and I’ve spent, literally, hours cleaning up dirty data.  So consequently, I’m pretty strict about what data I bring into my tree.

Enter scene: the iPad.

Oh yes, I went hard-core iThing.  I didn’t believe D1 when he told me they were addictive items.  Actually, this really started with the gift of an iPhone, courtesy of D1.  Yes, the same person who gave me the warning about the iAddiction started me down the iRoad.

Okay, I hear you, I’m rambling.  Back to the point: the iPad.  When I got my iPad I decided to see what I could do with it with genealogy.  I’m still learning about new apps genealogists are using (I recently discovered Evernote) but my first order of business was to find a family tree app because I really wanted to replace taking my laptop with me to the library (sorry Acer, I still love you, I just don’t love lugging you around).  So I set out searching and decided to do a series of blog posts about my app discoveries in hopes of helping others who are looking for good apps for their iPads.

I knew many of the computer family tree programs had accessory apps for their programs: Ancestry, Legacy, etc. but this isn’t what I wanted.  This clean-data freak wanted a stand-alone iPad app that was more than just a GEDCOM viewer.  I wanted to be able to add data, pictures and possibly even attach documents.

So what are the apps you ask?  I’ll be reviewing GedView by David Knight, MobileFamilyTree 7 by Synium Software, Heredis by BSD Concept and a fairly new app called LiveHistory Genealogy by AlgoCoil.  So let’s get started!  Oh, and here’s my transparency disclosure: MobileFamilyTree, Heredis and LiveHistory provided copies of their apps free of charge for me to review.  I appreciate their willingness to do so but want to assure my readers that it in no way influences my opinion of these apps.


I stumbled on GedView right after getting my first iPhone and I did pay for the app.  I absolutely don’t regret having paid for it either.  At $3.99 it was worth every penny.  The current version is 3.4.1 and there are several good reviews on GedView in the app store.

There are several good things about GedView.  The interface is clean, basic and fairly user friendly.  If you’re looking for a pretty interface, however, this app is not for you.  The interface is functional, not beautiful.  The developer spent his time working on the functionality of this app, which matters to me more than how the app looks.

Individual Detail View

The GEDCOM download/import features are extremely easy to use and getting my GEDCOM file imported was no problem at all.  I love that for larger GEDCOM files you’re able to start the download and leave the app and the download will continue.  A notification will pop up when when the file has finished importing.

When it comes to entering data, the good functionality continues.  There is a great list of events you can add to each individual record.  From birth to probate and everything in between there were things I hadn’t even considered adding to my database.  There are fields for LDS information and a field for organization codes (which I love due to the filing system I use for my paperwork).

Images and media can be added and you can add notes and details to any photos you add.  Individuals can be bookmarked for quick access.  You can add GPS coordinates to the record, however, GedView cannot locate the coordinates on its own.  Once the coordinates are added, however, GedView can map the location.

Some really cool options: you can make a phone call from within the app if phone numbers have been entered, emails can be composed by simply clicking on an email address on file in the app.  There are several customizable settings and the users manual is absolutely positively FANTASTIC!!!!  It contains clickable links to take you directly to the item you want to learn about and the descriptions are very good.  The other really awesome item is that there is an area for citations.  It contains a field for text from the source which is useful for including the quote where the information came from.

With the good there always comes some bad.  The biggest downfall with this app for me was that there are no fields for middle name, suffix or nickname so, in my database, those items are included with other fields.  I was also disappointed to discover that you’re unable to indicate if a child is adopted, biological or a step-child.  These two items bother me quite a bit because I feel those fields are pretty standard these days.

Other items I feel could be updated or streamlined:

  • Being able to indicate whether a significant other is a spouse or life partner would be ideal
  • Adding marriages is a clunky process.  You have to add an entirely new family and you can’t add the marriage in the individual’s record…understandable but not ideal
  • Reports are basic, you get a pedigree chart and family group record only
  • The search function is very simple but is not a “one-stop shop”.  There is a search area for name, forename and file number.  You can also search by going to the Index or Family screen and tapping the letter of the surname you want to go to.

GedView is a somewhat limited app.  HOWEVER, it is a work horse app that is dependable and I would definitely recommend it for someone who wanted a basic app with few bells and whistles.  People are are just starting out using the iPhone or iPad will find this app good to use.  Anyone who wants an app with few bells and whistles but lots of functionality will be very happy with this app.  And at $3.99 this app is worth every penny.  Bonus: this app works on both the iPad and the iPhone.

Grade given: Definite A

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Follow Friday: Carolina Girl Genealogy

Purely by chance I stumbled across Carolina Girl’s blog.  I was searching something genealogy-related (hey, what can I say, I’ve slept since then!) and ran across her post “Blogging + Cousin Bait = Mystery Picture Success!”.  It was such an enjoyable read that I started looking at her other posts and now I subscribe to her blog as well as following her on Twitter.  She has an honest, unpretentious writing style that appeals to me as a non-professional genealogist.  And I absolutely adore her “This Week On My Family History Calendar” posts.  It’s such a unique idea!

And, Cheri, if you’re reading this, I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU!!!  Your encouragement to start my own blog was the last push I needed to take the leap and do it!

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Around the Town Thursday – Liberty Memorial

Welcome to Around the Town Thursday!  Around the Town Thursday is a way for me to highlight interesting, fun or useful places around my beautiful hometown of Kansas City.

In the spotlight today is one of my favorite places: The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial.

Liberty Memorial (during maintenance)

The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial is the United States’ one and only World War I museum.  It was that way from the beginning and in 2004 the Memorial finally got designated by Congress as the nation’s one and only official World War I museum.  The official museum website has a great brief history at the Museum and Memorial page but, in brief, Kansas Citians rallied after the war ended to memorialize the sacrifices made by those who served during The Great War.  In a mere 10 days, Kansas City raised over $2 million to create this memorial.

The Memorial suffered after many years and fell into disrepair and was eventually closed due to dangerous conditions in different parts of the Memorial.  But in 1998, Kansas Citians rallied once again, this time to save the Memorial.  Restoration of the Memorial began and the Memorial was re-opened to the public in 2006 at a grand celebration.

I was just 29 years old when the Memorial was scheduled to re-open on May 25, 2002.  My son was twelve that year.  On a whim, we got in the car the day of the re-dedication and went to watch the festivities.  Many famous people were there making speeches, Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts paraded around the circle drive along with military units, retired military and many local bands.  And I believe, if my memory serves me correctly, it was even attended by one of the last surviving World War I veterans at that time.  Little did I realize that was to be the beginning of my fascination with the Memorial.  I have since begun volunteering at this wonderful museum.  It’s amazing to be surrounded by so many fantastically preserved artifacts.  The amount of information housed in the museum is overwhelming at times.  I learn something new every time I work a volunteer shift.

The Memorial was built in the style of Egyptian revival.  There are two sphinxes on the deck of the Memorial and four Guardian Spirits which circle the Memorial tower.

One of the two sphinxes on the Memorial deck
While the Memorial is Egyptian Revival style, the sphinxes are
actually Assyrian in design and not Egyptian Revival


One of the four Guardian Spirits on the tower


One of two satellite exhibit buildings on the deck of the Memorial.
These were original to the Memorial.

And if that’s not impressive enough, the Liberty Memorial is home to one of the most unbelievable pieces of artwork ever created.  Many people aren’t aware of it’s existence until they’re introduced to it at the museum.  Housed in the two satellite exhibit buildings of the Liberty Memorial are pieces of the great Pantheon de la Guerre.  You can read more about the Pantheon de la Guerre here but essentially the Pantheon was a huge (and I mean HUGE) mural painted during the War.  It was so large, it was housed in its own building after it was finished and it was a mural that required one to walk around it to see it all.  402 feet around and 45 feet high, I’ll bet it was a sight to behold when it was whole.

Long story short, the Pantheon traveled to the U.S. for exhibition at a World’s Fair, was forgotten after the fair, resided outside a storage facility for years until it was finally auctioned off.  Purchased by a Baltimore, MD man, William Haussner, it wasn’t until 1957 that a Kansas City artist, Daniel MacMorris, was able to convince Haussner to donate it to the Memorial.  Because of MacMorris’ efforts, the Pantheon is now preserved at the Liberty Memorial and is an amazing testament to the patriotic efforts of many French painters.

The last item at the Memorial to be highlighted is a little known gem: the research center.  There are over 75,000 archival documents and over 8,000 library titles housed in this research center…all for use for free by anyone who may be interested.  There is a research center attendant available to assist you on-site but the research center staff are the only ones with access to the archival collection so they do request that anyone wishing to view items from the archival collection make an appointment with the staff.  More information on the research center can be found here.  The research center is located on the bottom level of the museum building.  Even if you don’t plan to visit the research center, make it a point to go to the bottom level, where you can get a unique view of the poppy field which resides under the glass bridge to the main gallery.  You can also get a view of the base of the tower.

A view of the poppy field from the glass bridge just inside the main entrance of the museum

Another rarely viewed jewel of the Memorial is the Great Frieze on the north wall of the Memorial.  Many people simply don’t take the time to walk down the stairs at either side of the deck to see this beautiful carving.  Keep walking all the way down past the Great Frieze to Pershing Road in front of the Memorial and you’ll get to see the bronze busts of the five Allied leaders present during the original site dedication.

The Great Frieze.  Many visitors miss seeing this great piece of art because
of its location on the front of the museum building.

There is so much to see and experience at the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial.  I highly recommend taking advantage of the fact that the ticket is good for two days.  The cost of the ticket is well worth what’s there.  Before going I recommend looking at their website so you have an idea of what to expect.

Happy exploring!

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Tombstone Tuesday – Edith M. Brown Conwell

Welcome to Tombstone Tuesday!

Today’s tombstone is brought to you from Mount Washington Cemetery in Independence, MO and belongs to my maternal grandmother, Edith Marie (Brown) Conwell.  Edith was the youngest child of Richard Selman Brown and Martha Lucinda (Vaughn) Brown.  She had five older sisters and four older brothers.

Edith was born 1 December 1912 in Campbell, Dunklin, Missouri and died 7 June 1997 in Kansas City, Wyandotte, Kansas.  She is buried next to her husband and my grandfather, Edward B. Conwell, Jr. in Mount Washington Cemetery in Independence, Jackson, Missouri.

Thanks for stopping by Tombstone Tuesday!


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