Saturday, May 31, 2014

Down in New Orleans

If this young woman is who I think she is, this photo would date to the late 1870s.  In fact, it could very well be a pre-wedding portrait.

The photographer was B & G Moses of New Orleans, Louisiana.  I was able to find out a bit about this photography studio which was operated by brothers Bernard and Gustave Moses, originally from Bavaria and who immigrated to New Orleans.  At the time of this photo they were operating a gallery on the corner of Camp and Canal Streets.  They were both intermittently active with photography work in New Orleans from 1854 until their deaths.  The gallery was shut down in 1861 when the brothers joined the Confederate Army, Gustave serving as a 1st Lt in the 21st Louisiana Infantry.  After the war, they revived their gallery in 1866.  Gustave took his business to other parts from time to time, but always returned to New Orleans.

The young lady in this portrait is identified as Edelia Weinberg.  I was never able to locate her in any census records, but I did find a New Orleans marriage record where Edelia Weinberg married Lewis H. Goldman on July 31, 1878.

The only other records I could find for this couple were their burial in the Jewish Cemetery in Monroe, Ouachita Parish, Louisiana.  Edelia Weinberg Goldman was born in Castor, Bienville Parish, Louisiana on May 17, 1859 and died November 1, 1891.  Lewis Goldman was born August 11, 1854 and died October 12, 1913.

Despite her somewhat portly stature (some part of that which might be petticoats) and black dress, Edelia's features are quite young and she could easily be 18 or 19 in this photo, which would date just before her marriage.  In fact, it could even be the portrait of a bride, since wedding dresses at that time were very likely to be dark colors.  She is wearing rings on both hands, the one on her left hand having a large stone, which could be an engagement ring.  (Engagement rings weren't necessarily diamonds at that point in time.)  It does not seem that there is a wedding band as well, so I am inclined to think this was the portrait of a young woman about to be married.

But I'm a romantic.  So who knows?


Friday, May 30, 2014

Genealogists Love Puzzles

Revisiting the box of Rescued Ancestor photos since I started this blog has had some unforeseen benefits.  For the last couple of years I have struggled with "researcher's block".  This is a malady similar to writer's block.  When you hit researcher's block, you just can't seem to get focused enough to make any progress to that next generation back.  

When you are a new genealogist, you can just go lickety split, finding records everywhere you look.  When you are an old genealogist, you spend a lot of your time trying to batter down the inevitable brick walls you run into, when you just cannot find that elusive ancestor that will break the log jam and send you off and running again.  You begin to doubt your abilities and wonder if you just aren't that good a researcher.

The brief research exercises that these photos are presenting to me are reminding me that I actually do know what I'm doing.  Today is a nice case study in using tiny clues to find answers.

This photo was purchased in a Smithville antique store and while there is some identification, it is not complete enough to immediately latch onto the right family.

The reverse of this photo is printed with the Post Card markings to enable it to be mailed.  In the name and address area is written "Mrs. Jennie Williamson".

On the front is written:
Uncle John, Aunt Lizzie & family
Mama & C. J. visiting them at their home in Hazen
Carlley 4 years old

To begin with, I had no idea if Mrs. Jennie Williamson was the owner of the photo or someone to whom the photo was given (relative or not).  In either case, the front of the photo refers to Uncle John and Aunt Lizzie, so the last name of the couple would probably not be Williamson.  If Jennie was family and it was her aunt and uncle, then Uncle John could be her mother's brother or her father's brother and even if I could puzzle out Jennie's maiden name, I still had only a 50% chance of it tying to this couple.

I first tried narrowing down the location of Hazen.  There are a few in the United States, but the first one that caught my eye was Hazen, Prairie County, Arkansas.  I had no reason, really, to pursue this except for the fact that I've done research in Prairie County on my McAfee line and it was the closest Hazen to Texas.  I had to start somewhere, so I set my mind on Arkansas.  Then I tried to decide what time period we were dealing with here.   I decided to focus on the turn of the century.  My first search involved looking for a John and Lizzie or Elizabeth who lived in Hazen in 1900.  There was one couple named John and Lizzie Anderson, but nothing else fit.

I dropped that line of inquiry for the moment and decided to look for the only name I really had that was somewhat unique, "Carlley" who was 4 years old in the photo.  I dropped back to Texas, since that was where the photo was found, and ran a scan for a Carlley who was born in Texas between 1890 and 1910.  I found a possible match to a Carl Jeffrey Williamson who was born in 1905.  A "CJ" and "Williamson" together seemed promising, so I went back to Ancestry and started poking around public family trees and census records and bit by bit, the family relationships began to emerge.

As it turns out, I was a bit off on the time frame.  The Carl Jeffrey Williamson I found was actually the son of the Carlley Jeffrey Williamson who was 4 years old in the photo.  Carlley was born in 1878, so if he was 4 years old at the time of the photo, the photo was taken in 1882.

Carlley's mother was Mary Virginia Carlley Williamson, who I'm betting was the Jennie Williamson noted on the reverse.  Mary Virginia had a brother named John R. Carlley who married Sarah Elizabeth Anderson and John and "Lizzie" lived in Hazen, Prairie County, Arkansas.

So I have every reason to believe that this is a photo of John and Sarah Elizabeth Carlley's family, along with John's sister Jennie and her son Carlley.    Now who is marked "X" in the photo, I'm not entirely sure.  I would have sworn that was a little girl, but it is the only one in the picture who might be 4 years old and is standing behind a bush, so I can't really tell what kind of clothes the child is wearing. Likewise I would estimate that the woman in black is older than the 32 that Mary Virginia would have been at the time, but folks seemed to age more rapidly back then and the woman is somewhat heavyset and could look older as a result.  I made no attempt to figure out who was who among the other young folks.

The writing on the front of the photo must have been done by one of Mary Virginia's children.  She was married twice, first to a Mr. Price with whom she had a son Earnest, then to John Jeffrey Williamson, with whom she had Mamie, Mary Evelyn, Carlley and Ellon.  

Maybe I'm completely off base, but I feel pretty good that I've identified the right family.  Carlley "C. J." Williamson became an attorney who practiced in Lockhart.  He died in 1943.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My First Rescue

I know which of the photo rescues was my first.  I was prowling the Elgin Antique Mall, as I am wont to do regularly, and was flipping through a bin of assorted paper ephemera when I flipped to an original Naturalization Certificate.  I was appalled to see it there.  I had the same reaction as if I had stumbled across someone's original Birth Certificate.  "This should not be for sale in an antique shop!  I must do something about this!"

So I bought it and brought it home and had some vague idea that maybe I could find a descendant of the man and who might want it returned to the family archives.  It was many years ago and the Internet resources for genealogical research were not as far along as they are now.  I was able to find a reference in the Social Security Death Index and that was all.

Today I made a new search and picked up a bit more information thanks to Family Search and Ancestry and Find a Grave.

The Naturalization Certificate that started it all was issued on March 22, 1956, to Mr. Ernests Kroms, then residing in Beeville, Texas.   It gives his date of birth as January 14, 1892, a former native of Latvia.  He is shown as married, light complexion, blue eyes, gray hair, 5 feet 5 inches tall, and weighing 135 pounds with no visible distinctive marks.  He was granted naturalization by the US Federal Court, Southern District, Corpus Christi, Texas.  Tucked into the folder is his original Social Security card.

With the addition of Texas Death record images on Family Search, I was able to pull Mr. Krom's death certificate.    This source provided the date of death on March 26, 1978, from a myocardial infarction, while living at the Trinity Lutheran Home in Round Rock, Texas.  He was 86 at the time of his death and married, so apparently his wife survived him.  His father's name is given as Jakob Kroms.  His birthplace is given as Russia.  He was buried in Palm Valley Lutheran Church Cemetery.

Ancestry now has images available for some Texas Naturalization Records, so I was able to locate Mr. Kroms' Petition for Naturalization, which has a good deal more information on it than the Certificate.    He was born in Riga, Latvia.  His occupation was Furniture Repairman.  He was married on November 11, 1922, to Natalye (no maiden name given) in Riga, Latvia.  She was born September 27, 1897, also in Riga.  They had two children:  Velta (female), born in Riga on August 31, 1923, and Martins (male), born in Riga on October 31, 1931.  Both children are shown currently living in Latvia.  Ernests arrived in the United States at the port of New Orleans, Louisiana, on the ship General Taylor on October 16, 1950.  He did not request any name change.

A photograph of Mr. Kroms' tombstone can be found here on FindAGrave.  Mrs. Kroms is not listed in the cemetery, nor can I find a death certificate for her.  A search for an obit was unsuccessful.  One wonders if Mrs. Kroms returned to Latvia to her children or remarried after her husband's death.

This is the one I can blame for getting me started in the ancestor rescue business.  I may have to stop by Palm Valley Lutheran Church one of these days on my way home from work and visit his grave.


Meal Time

When I purchased this photo, I knew it would be a walk in the park to figure out where these men came from.  They are all identified on the reverse and about half of them have unusual names. Should be a snap, right?

That would be no, actually.

I just knew that this was a group of friends getting together for a meal while on a hunting trip or some group activity like that.  Or maybe they all worked together on the same ranch.  And maybe I would never know why they were all eating together, but at least I would know what town they lived in.

I had no trouble finding some of the odder names in the census indexes for 1920, 1930 and 1940.  There might be a half dozen men in the index with that same unusual name, and once I found the next unusual name, I would be able to zero in on the common location.

But, alas, the unusually named men in this photo would have three or four matches across the United States but I never managed to get even two of them in the same place.

The only location given on the reverse is "Kitchen of the old house".  I'm thinking this dates to the 1930s era, but I'm not a expert on dating photographs so I really don't know.  This is a photograph that is printed on the reverse with Post Card markings.

The gentlemen breaking bread together (actually it looks like a big bowl of beans there in the middle) are identified as:

Oliver Gullickson
G. G. Hitchcock
Rob Taylor
Alex Johnson
Walter Smith
Will Eldred
Martin McEldowney
Frank Bollis
Mr. Trimbell (could be Tombell)
Lee Gilfillan


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Eye-witness to History

Photos are not the only things I rescue.  I've also rescued autograph albums, funeral notices, and a few letters among other odds and ends.  Today I want to share one of the letters that I acquired.  I think this one probably came from eBay during the period of time I was heavily researching the Texas City Disaster.  

My father's family was deeply affected by the events in Texas City, Texas, on April 16, 1947, when a ship lying at harbor and loaded with ammonium nitrate fertilizer caught fire and exploded.  Loss of life and property was horrendous.  My family was fortunate in that not one of the 21 family members living there at the time was killed.  In 2005 I did extensive research and interviewing of the surviving family members to compile a time line of the events as they were seen by my family.  If you are interested, you can read the articles I wrote by following this link:   Family Reunion (Frankum) 2005.

As a result of that project, I acquired a lot of material to support my research.  One was this letter, written by a resident of Texas City and reporting her family's experiences to a relative living in Paris, Texas.  This is a lengthy letter, but I did not want to omit anything.

Dear Margaret & all,

     We were so glad to hear from you.  I had been thinking about you & knowing I should write you--but there has been so much confusion I couldn't think straight.

     No, I hadn't moved.  I still live in my tiny garage apt., not but a block from Bay St. & Monsanto was located in Bay - just a few blocks down.  My apt. is still standing & we're able to live in it.  I just don't see how it stood.  It was pretty well wrecked, all windows were out & lots of things broken.  I was standing in the bathroom looking out the window when it started.  Oh! it was horrible.  I knew my landlady was washing down in the garage - so I just thought something exploded down under me.  The whole house was moving--furniture literally shaking up & down, glass blowing everywhere.  I knew I had to get out.  I had to run through the whole house to get out the front door.  I don't see how I did that without bad injury.  The explosions were still coming fast.   It seemed the earth was rocking.  I ran out in the alley (which was very dangerous because of light wires etc.) and ran for Rubye's.  She lives in the next block.  I got there before she got out of the house.  She said she would never forget how I looked.  My face was covered with blood, but I didn't know it.  We started for the school to get Dot.  Rubye was praying.  It really looked like the school was burning.  A woman picked us up.  When we got there Rubye went in one gate & I went in the other.  I saw Dot immediately.  She didn't get a scratch.  Other children were bleeding & crying.  We knew we must run away from the explosion.  Joye lives on the other side of town, so we started there.  After we had run for several blocks (all this time stuff was flying in the air, people were hurt & everyone running wild) another friend picked us up.  We went to Joye's.  She was gone & had taken Pepper's pictures.  Her house just had one window gone as she lives further away.  We went to the depot.  Joye, Rubye, Dot & Diana left town.  Jake & I went to La Marque.  We didn't see Geneva until late that eve.  Jake & I came back & saw them.  Doyle had his head cut pretty bad.  The door blew in & hit him.  They had been helping in a hospital all day.  Geneva said it was awful.  They took Doyle's parents & left town that night.  Alf didn't get with Rubye & Dot until the next day.  As you know we had another explosion about 1 the next morn.  I was horrified.  Honeyboy called Mama after it was all over & he was here during the explosion Thur. morn, all day Thur. & Fri.  The army had sent them to help.  If we had known he was here we would have gone crazy.  He told Mama he didn't see how he or any of us was alive.  We have friends & neighbors who are dead or missing.  Joye's next door neighbor was a great big man & his remains was sewed up in a bundle.  Oh! it's awful.  They've never found my neighbor at the back of me.  Oh, yes, while I was running behind a two story house, a huge piece of that ship fell on the top of it, went through & buried itself in the ground.  That's how close to death all of us were.  Most of the Terminal force is gone.  I'm so thankful Jake worked at the depot.  Lots of times he had chances to go down to the other offices, but didn't go.  I doubt if he gets a vacation this summer.  I may come home before long.

     We may get to move in a few days.  We got a letter from the man yesterday & he said we could have the house, as soon as the people who are in it move.  They are building a house & it looks like its about ready.

     We went out to the edge of town & got groceries.  Most stores were ruined.  Papa came down on Thur. nite.  He said we'd never know what he & Mama suffered.  I know it's through the mercy of God that we are all here.  One man who had an apt. where Rubye lives was killed.

     Oh, yes, where I plan to move is at La Marque.  That's a suburb or community here.  I believe we will really like it.

     Well, tell everyone hello.  I guess you're tired reading this.

     Write us.

     Love, Bee, Jake

P.S.  I forgot to tell you why my face was bloody.  I got a little cut under my eye, one in my ear & on my thumb.  I got a pretty deep one on my back, but it's ok now.


The Monsanto plant collapsed in the explosion, killing 145 of the 450 shift workers on duty.

The second explosion was another ship, also loaded with fertilizer, and which caught fire possibly from the debris from the first ship and exploded in the middle of the next night.

I was able to determine that Bee and Jake were Mr. and Mrs. C. N. Shoemake.  Joye was Bee's sister, Mrs. Joye Cox.  Bee died in 1983 and Jake died in 1997.  They are buried in Hopkins County, Texas.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Memorial Day

Today I share 2 military photo rescues, one from World War II and one from (I believe) World War I.

This first photo is of a group of five soldiers out for a little R&R in San Francisco.  The photo is one of those snapped by a nightclub photographer and inserted into a souvenir folder.  The five soldiers signed the inside of the folder and added their home addresses.  I've been pondering just what would prompt them to do something like that.  Did they all get a copy of the photo and all sign each one or was there just this one photo?  And if it was just one, who bought it and why did everyone include their address and rank?  

Left to right, are:
T/Sgt. J. P. Beckett, Uvalde, Texas
         A search for additional information to identify Sgt. Beckett was unsuccessful
S/Sgt. Alvin G. White, Maynardville, Tennessee
        WWII enlistment records show that St. White was born 1918 in Tennessee and
        died 1993 in Florida.
M/Sgt. Jim Marvin(?), of Pennsylvania
        This soldier's handwriting is so atrocious that the name is in question and the address
        is unreadable.  No further information found.
S/Sgt. Jack H. Kraft,  Columbus, Ohio
        WWII enlistment records show that Sgt. Kraft was born 1916 in Ohio and died 1973 in Ohio.
S/Sgt. Anthony F. Govekar,  Franklin Borough, Pennsylvania
        WWII enlistment records show that Sgt. Govekar was b. 1920 in Pennsylvania and died
        2010 in Florida

Just for fun, I tried looking up some information on Chez Paree.  I'm not sure what kind of place it was in the 1940s, but apparently it was a pretty wild joint in later years.  I think it's still in business at a slightly different location, but I confess I was leary of continuing my search for fear of what I might see.  Something tells me it was a pretty wild joint even as early as when these fellows paid it a visit.  

Another photo rescue with a military flavor looks like it was taken in the World War I years.  The young man looks so very young that I might have mistaken him for a Boy Scout - if not for that holster on his hip.

On the reverse is written Homer Raney, with no location or any other information.  There is no photography mark to help narrow the search.

Unfortunately I have not been able to identify exactly where this young man lived.  There were several potential Homer Raneys for the time period.

As I look at this photo, I think of one of my ancestors who served in WWI, was injured, survived and made it home, only to die of typhoid shortly afterwards.  This young man doesn't look old enough to be shaving yet, much less facing the horrors that were waiting for him in Europe.  I wonder if he made it home.


Peas in a Pod

I just knew when I bought this picture on eBay that it would be a piece of cake to run down the background on these two ladies.  The photographer was Bryan in Elgin, Texas.  Bryan was in operation in Elgin between 1896 and 1900, so the time frame was easier to nail down than usual.

But, despite looking in all the usual places, I have yet to place these two ladies, who are identified on the back as Emilie Urban and Rosa Urban of Elgin.  There is an Urban family or two in the area, but so far no sign of Emilie or Rosa and how they connect.

I'm assuming these ladies are sisters.  They have similar features, not to mention identical dresses.  I've wondered if they are twin sisters.

And the hair….have you ever seen wider parts down the middle?


Saturday, May 24, 2014

And now for a little something different

I bought this postcard style photo on eBay, not because I was rescuing it for genealogical purposes.  I bought it just because it made me smile.

It turned out that there was some identification on the reverse, none the less, but it is not enough that I have been able to locate the person in online databases.

In the corner is what may be a date, but the writing is so squiggly I can't quite decide what it says.  Also the initials POV are shown, which I think may stand for "Point of View", which I've seen before on this style of community snapshot.

On the back, written in block letters is "At El Campo Tex, V A Foster and Pet Pig".

Every time I look at this photo, I think Mr. Foster is saying "Nothing strange about this….I'm walking muh pig!".


Friday, May 23, 2014

A Melodious Life

Mrs. Mary Rich Lyon is today's rescued ancestor.  

This photo was a studio portrait taken at Prawitz in St. Joseph, Missouri, on February 7, 1935.  It commemorates Mrs. Lyon's "golden anniversary as organist".

 A little online digging revealed that Mrs. Mary Rich Lyon was the long time and celebrated organist at Christ Episcopal Church in St. Joseph.

Mrs. Lyon was born Mary Hannah Corrine Rich to parents Moses and Helen (Hinsdale) Rich in New York in 1858.  About 1880 she married to David Canfield Lyon and the couple had 3 children: Ada, Helen and Richard.  Mrs. Lyon was widowed before 1900 and is found in several censuses in St. Joseph, Missouri, through the most recently available one of 1940.  She is sometimes shown with the occupation of "music teacher" and sometime as "organist".  No record is found of her death, but a newspaper article published when she was in her 80s mentions that her daughter Helen is coming in to live with and take care of her.

Other interesting tidbits surfaced as I was wandering around the Internet, including the fact that her mother Helen published a volume of poetry and her daughter Ada was a career woman who made a name for herself as society editor of the St. Joseph Daily Press for over 50 years.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ben, Hen, Bill, Chill - Filer Men

Today we have a nice portrait of four men that presents a bit of a puzzle, but I feel sure it is solvable with a little bit of effort.

The photograph was taken by Gilbert photography in Frostburg, Maryland.

I think I have located the two men in the front row in the census records and Ancestry public family trees.  On the reverse they are identified as Ben Filer and Bill Filer.  The two young men standing behind them are "Hen" Filer and "Chill" Filer.

My first thought was that we had two fathers and two sons here, especially since the names of the older/younger counterparts rhyme.  I've not been able to confirm that, however.

I first checked the census records and discovered that brothers Benjamin Chas. Filer and William Filer were born in Pennsylvania, but were living in Maryland in 1900.  Benjamin was married by that time, but William was still living with their parents, Benjamin and Fannie. Father and both sons are shown as coal miners.

Moving over to the public family trees on Ancestry I discovered that Benjamin was born in September 1875, married in 1899 to Rachel Folk, and died in 1959 in Maryland.  William was born in 1877, married in 1915 to Mary Duren and no information was available as to his death.  While Benjamin has quite a few children listed, there is no likely candidate shown to be a son named "Hen", which I am guessing might be a nickname for Henry.  Of course it could be a nickname for any number of reasons that have nothing to do with his actual name.

No one had any information regarding William's children.

But, in my opinion, this looks like two brothers and the next generation.  I hope somebody knows their stories.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Vance Smith

I did not realize until I started poking around Ancestry that this photo has Bastrop connections, so hopefully it will find a home locally.

This young man is identified as Vance A. Smith, S.M.B.A., 1918.  The photographer's stamp is Jno. Carter of Luling, Texas.

To begin with, my theory was that the S.M.B.A. might refer to the San Marcos Baptist Academy.  This looks like a school boy to me, somewhere between the age of 12 and 16.  A check of Ancestry provided two public family trees that help tie down the identification.

Vance Allen Smith was born January 22, 1903, in Gonzales, Texas.  His parents are William A. and Ella Mae Smith and in 1920 the three are living in Gonzales.

By 1930, the family has relocated to Bastrop, Texas, and William is a druggist, with Vance working as a clerk in the drugstore.  Vance has a young wife (15 to his 25) named Ruby J.

The person who posted the family tree has also posted a photo of "Maw Maw and Paw Paw" and the man in that photo is undeniably the same person shown here.

In the family tree, Vance's wife is shown as Effie Geisert and a child named Ruby J is listed.  I was unable to find a marriage record, but the 1930 census definitely shows the daughter-in-law of William Smith as Ruby J.  It could be the census taker muddled the name of the wife and a child that failed to get enumerated.  Hard to say, but there is enough information here to begin a search - even with the last name of Smith.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Man of Learning

This is a distinguished looking gentleman whose portrait was taken by E. W. Smart of Gill Street in Exeter, New Hampshire.

On the reverse is handwritten an identification of James Andrew Gibson, Syracuse, NY, and an additional note of P.E.A. '98.

My immediate thought was that P.E.A. might refer to some kind of Academy, but in this photo he looks too old to have been a student at an Academy.  I thought maybe he might be a teacher instead.

And my hunch that he might be a teacher eventually was proved correct. I fruitlessly poked around for awhile online, looking for an Academy in New York that might be a match for P.E.A.  It wasn't until I moved to Ancestry that the pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place.

With a bit of research in the Ancestry public family trees, I believe I have identified this man as James Andrew Gibson Jr., who was born in 1874 in Chicago, but who was living in Syracuse, New York, in 1880.

In 1901, James married Eva Linwood Brown in Exeter, New Hampshire.  In Exeter is a school known as the Philips Exeter Academy.  So my theory is that James was a teacher at Philips Exeter Academy when this photo was taken, just 3 years before he married a local girl.

In 1902 James graduated from Harvard University and became a professor at the University of Missouri.  He remained in Missouri and died in Springfield in 1942.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Lena Feris

This photo is identified the way you wish all photos would be.  Unfortunately, I am as guilty as anybody in not being thorough with identifying the photos in my own collection.  I should take a lesson here.

The photographer stamp shows Donaldson Studio, 927 F. Street, Washington, D. C.  I'm so glad I did not have to try finding a connection in Washington, D. C., because from what I find online this lady never lived anywhere close.  Perhaps this photo was taken while on a trip.

On the reverse is found the following information about Lena and her family:

     Lena Feris
     Fort Worth, Texas             Fannie mother/Perry father

     Fred, Perry, Bess, Myrtle, Marie, Leonard, Louis, Tootsie
     brothers and sisters

At the very bottom of the reverse is a notation of LUX 2-'09, which I theorize means this photo was taken in February of 1909.  Lena would have been 20 years old.

There are numerous public family trees in Ancestry that flesh the family out a bit.  Lena Agnes Feris was born 1889 in Bosque County, Texas.  In 1911 she married Carl Baylis Stolper in Tarrant County, Texas.  The couple lived for a period of time in Kansas but eventually moved back to Texas and Lena died in Baytown in 1979.  She is buried in Arlington, Texas.  I don't find any mention of children.

Lena's parents were Milton Perry Feris and Fannie Christine Drahn.  There are additional children shown in the online databases, but all the names shown fit into the posted records.  Fred was Charles Frederick, Perry was Milton Perry Jr., Marie was Mamie Marie, Louis was Henry Louis and Leonard was John Leonard.  Bess, Myrtle and Tootsie are shown with just those names in the records I found.

I was hopeful when I purchased this photo that it would fit into the Ferris/Farris family that my own family lines intermarried with, but it doesn't seem there is any connection.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Father and Son

This photo has proved to be an aggravation so far as finding anything whatsoever online that might relate to this father and son.

In the interest of full disclosure, this photo is extremely faded and has a bad crack along the bottom third.  I have enhanced and darkened the scan to achieve detail.

The photographer was LaTier of 510 Commercial Street in Waterloo, Iowa.  The handwritten identification on the reverse is O. J. Fulbriton (or could be Fulburton) and son.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sweetness and Innocence

Today's rescued photo is, I believe, a confirmation photo. 

The photo was taken by M. E. Muench photographer, located at 1472 Third Ave, in New York City.

Handwritten on the back is the identification of this sweet little girl as Sophie Bielenberg Dettmar, with the notation that it was taken on April 30, 1876.

I have found a possible match in the marriage records of Manhattan with the marriage on July 18, 1897, between Sophie Bielenberg and Adolp J. Dittmer.  I've not been able to find them in the census records for 1900.  (There is a Sophie Dittmer, aged 32, living in Manhattan as a dressmaker and shown as single.  Maybe Adolp died shortly after the marriage?)


Friday, May 16, 2014

What a beautiful baby, Mrs. Davis!

Today's photo was rescued by friend Lana from an antique store in the Hill Country and she put in a little research effort to make a more definitive identification.

This sweet little baby was photographed by Farris of Corry, Pennsylvania (the stamp is a bit difficult to read, but I'm fairly sure that is what it says).

On the reverse is written Chas Sewall Davis, born Sept 8 '03, taken Dec 8 '03.

Lana found a record of Charles Davis in the Social Security Death Index.  Charles Davis was born September 8, 1903, and died June 1975.  His last residence is shown as Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.

Further research into the census records found Charles S. Davis living with his family in Allentown Ward, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, in 1920.

Members of the 1920 household are:
Herbert W. Davis, age 38, a Burger at Hess Bros. Dry Goods
Bessie M. Davis, wife, age 36
Charles S. Davis, son, age 17
Eloise W. Davis, daughter, age 14
Belle H. Williams, mother-in-law, age 57
Hatte I Williams, sister-in-law, age 31


Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Couple of Haas Photos

As I mentioned yesterday, I believe these next two photos may be connected to the Hunter photos.  They are both from Michigan photographers and the handwriting on the back has some common elements to the writing on the Hunter photos.

Alas, I have been unable to find any census records to tie these two together, let alone tie them to the Hunters.  All I have is a hunch that they are connected in some way.

This sweet little lady is identified as Lillie Haas Allen, daughter of Fred Haas.  The photographer's stamp is  Hamilton's of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

And this dapper gent is  Edwin B. Haas, further identified as "Nim's" brother, and the date 1886 is written in ink in another hand.  The photographer is Thurston of Coopersville (no state is shown, but one of the Hunter photos was taken in Coopersville, Michigan, so I'm deducing that it is the same Coopersville).


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Hunter Photos

Today we spotlight three photos that are more than likely connected.   This family has also been elusive and I've been unable to tie them down in the census records with any certainty.  All the photos were taken in Michigan and all are identified with similar handwriting.

The first photo is of a couple, Nora (or possibly Flora) and Mark Hunter.  The photographer's stamp is F. J. Payne of Coopersville, Michigan.

This lovely lady is "Aunt" Julia Hunter and is also denoted as "Mother's sister".  The photographer's stamp is H. C. Mann of 72 Canal St, Grand Rapids, Michigan.  (I have a theory about her maiden name.  There are two photos being posted tomorrow that I believe may tie in with this group and could possibly be the maternal side of the family.)

Finally we have "Uncle" Ora Hunter.  Ora is a somewhat unusual name for a man, although I've run into it several times in my own family research.  Still I feel he might be the key to connecting these three photos.  This photographer is also located at 72 Canal St, Grand Rapids, Michigan, but the name is The. Wolfe.  Possibly a partner of Mr. Mann or maybe a previous or future owner of the same photography studio where Julia's photo was taken.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bryan Photos

The following 3 photos are probably connected.  At least two of them are, as they both have the same address label affixed to the reverse.  I have been unable to locate any of these folks in the census with any certainty; several of them are identified with what is obviously a nickname.  They all share the name of "Bryan".

The first photo is identified as Uncle Quin Bryan and wife.  The photographer's stamp is Nelson-Long (possibly Lang) of Moxie, Kansas.  The address label on the reverse shows it once belonged to a Doris Lewis.

Only two of the ladies in this nice group photo are identified.  The second from the left is Minnie Bryan Moore and the fourth from the left is Zora (or maybe Tjora) Bryan Hutchinson.  The photographer stamp is Smith of Chicago.  This photo does not have an address label affixed, but I suspect it is related to the first photo because of the handwriting on the back, which has some of the same peculiarities in the "Q" of Quin and the "Z" of Zora.

The last does have the Doris Lewis address label on the back.  It is a post card format.  Only the middle lady has a full name given and the first name is obviously a nickname, "Tude" Bryan.  The lady on the left is identified as "Wealthy" (quotation marks included) and the initials E.W. are written in smaller writing at the end of that line, perhaps giving a further clue.  The lady on the right is only given the name Liz.

Again the handwriting on this third photo has some peculiarities that lead me to suspect that it may be tied to photo #2.


Monday, May 12, 2014

John Hoffman Family Photograph

Some years ago I began to purchase old photos in antique stores.  It hurts to see old photos lying in a box in a booth, knowing that there is probably some genealogist out there somewhere who would love to have them.  Most of them are completely anonymous, but occasionally you find one with names and/or locations written on the back.  When the price allowed, I began to purchase these genealogical treasures, hoping that I might be able to reunite them with a family member.

Initially I posted these photos on my family website at An American Family, Rescued Ancestors . Many photos are available for viewing there and I will slowly try to transfer them to this blog as I am not currently attempting to update the website.

We will begin with a family portrait of the John Hoffman family.  It was taken by Anderson & Goodwin Co and their label on the back includes the following information:

Mr. John Hoffman & Family
Township Remsen
Size 3x4 (not sure what this means, as the print measures 10"x12")
No. 444
Style Family

In ink along the back edge is written the following names:
Nick, Margaret, Lena, Frances, Kate, Etta, Mary, Herman

This information allowed me to find the family in the 1880 and 1900 censuses:

1880, Plymouth County, Iowa
John, age 31, b. Luxemburg
Margaret, age 29
Margaret, age 5
Nick, age 4
Lena, age 1
Anna, age 2 months

1900, Remsen, Plymouth County, Iowa
John Hoffman, age 52, hotel keeper
Marerate, age 49
Nick, age 24
Lena, age 21
Franziska, age 15
Herman, age 12
Katherine, age 11
Etta, age 10