Free Updates

Let us tell you when new posts are added!

Email:

Navigation

Categories
September, 2014 (5)
August, 2014 (4)
July, 2014 (4)
June, 2014 (5)
May, 2014 (4)
April, 2014 (4)
March, 2014 (5)
February, 2014 (4)
January, 2014 (4)
December, 2013 (5)
November, 2013 (4)
October, 2013 (4)
September, 2013 (5)
August, 2013 (4)
July, 2013 (4)
June, 2013 (5)
May, 2013 (4)
April, 2013 (5)
March, 2013 (4)
February, 2013 (4)
January, 2013 (4)
December, 2012 (5)
November, 2012 (4)
October, 2012 (5)
September, 2012 (4)
August, 2012 (5)
July, 2012 (5)
June, 2012 (4)
May, 2012 (4)
April, 2012 (5)
March, 2012 (4)
February, 2012 (4)
January, 2012 (5)
December, 2011 (5)
November, 2011 (4)
October, 2011 (5)
September, 2011 (4)
August, 2011 (5)
July, 2011 (5)
June, 2011 (6)
May, 2011 (7)
April, 2011 (4)
March, 2011 (5)
February, 2011 (3)
January, 2011 (5)
December, 2010 (4)
November, 2010 (5)
October, 2010 (4)
September, 2010 (4)
August, 2010 (5)
July, 2010 (4)
June, 2010 (5)
May, 2010 (4)
April, 2010 (4)
March, 2010 (5)
February, 2010 (4)
January, 2010 (4)
December, 2009 (3)
November, 2009 (5)
October, 2009 (4)
September, 2009 (4)
August, 2009 (5)
July, 2009 (4)
June, 2009 (5)
May, 2009 (4)
April, 2009 (5)
March, 2009 (6)
February, 2009 (5)
January, 2009 (5)
December, 2008 (4)
November, 2008 (4)
October, 2008 (6)
September, 2008 (5)
August, 2008 (5)
July, 2008 (4)
June, 2008 (6)
May, 2008 (5)
April, 2008 (5)
March, 2008 (4)
February, 2008 (4)
January, 2008 (5)
December, 2007 (4)
November, 2007 (4)
October, 2007 (6)
September, 2007 (4)
August, 2007 (4)
July, 2007 (5)
June, 2007 (4)
May, 2007 (3)
April, 2007 (2)
March, 2007 (1)

Search

Archives

<March 2010>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
28123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031123
45678910

by Maureen A. Taylor

More Links










# Monday, March 22, 2010
A Women's History Month Salute: Spanish American War Style
Posted by Maureen

Surrounded by recuperating soldiers and orderlies is Deb Wilson's great-aunt Mary L. Keeler, also known as Molly.  She served as nurse during the Spanish American War (1898-99) at Fort Monroe, Va., as well as in Cuba and Puerto Rico. 

Deb knows this is her aunt, but the names of all the soldiers and other staff are unknown, as is the identity of the photographer.

Spanish American War (2).jpg

Molly appears to be the only woman in the image. On the left is a small table with an American flag, a vase of flowers and other small items.

I never really know where some of these picture stories are going to take me. Now that I've started researching this image, I wonder about the purpose behind it. An article on "Women Nurses in the Spanish-American War" in Minerva: Quarterly Report on Women and the Military by Mercedes H. Graf (article date March 22, 2001, available on Highbeam.com) revealed that female nurses were a controversial topic during the war. Molly's decision to use her nursing skills was a ground-breaking one.

Traditionally, since the end of the Civil War, men had done the nursing in the military. However, during the Spanish American War, Surgeon General George M. Stemberg knew that women nurses would be needed to help care for injured troops and those ill from yellow fever, malaria and typhoid. According to the article, shortly after the start of the war, the military added 100 women nurses. Was Molly one of those women? Or could she have been among the 32 nurses who'd already had yellow fever and were sent to Cuba to help with the epidemic? There's a bigger story in this photo than just the names of the men. This picture makes me want to know more about Molly and her service.

From the article, I learned that in 1898 the average nurse earned $30 a month plus a daily ration. By 1899, nursing applicants had to sign a one- year contract, and they received $40 a month for stateside service and an extra $10 per month for service outside the United States. Between April 25, 1898, and July 1, 1899, only 1,563 nurses served the more than 250,000 troops.

Tent hospitals such as the ward depicted here were commonplace. On the Nebraska GenWeb site is a list of Spanish American War Camps compiled by Fred Greguras.

Discovering the names of the men in the picture is a tough challenge. Spread the word about this picture, and let's try to put names to their faces. Finding out more about Molly's military service may provide a few leads.

Does an image in your family photos depict an important piece of American history?  Take a closer look and find the Molly in your family.

1890s photos | Military photos | women
Monday, March 22, 2010 5:25:32 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Monday, March 15, 2010
London Report Part 2
Posted by Maureen

On the last day of the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! family history show in London, I spent time in the military pavilion. The booths in the event are grouped by type of vendor. That means all the Irish vendors are in one area, Scottish in another, and all the general larger vendors are in the center of the hall.

This year the military booths were all upstairs on the balcony. There were specific experts there to look at military memorabilia—badges, uniforms, and swords for instance. This is an interesting concept.  I'd love to see more military groups involved at US genealogy conferences.

First stop was the Royal British Legion which had a display of poppies. This group has a travel group, Poppy Travel. They coordinate tours of military sites. Folks show them pictures taken during a war and they can put together a tour based on the locations in the images. I had a nice chat with Frank Baldwin of Poppy Travel standing next to the man constructed out of poppies.



Next, I spent time in The War Graves Photographic Project speaking with Project coordinator Steve Rogers (below). If you have an ancestor who died in an overseas conflict and was buried there, this is a website worth a second glance. They are photographing all the non-US military graves. The website explains:
The aim of The War Graves Photographic Project is to photograph every war grave, individual memorial, MoD grave, and family memorial of serving military personnel from WWI to the present day and make these available within a searchable database. 
It's an ambitious project with the goal of documenting 1.75 million graves!



The Royal Air Force Museum also had a booth. I collected information that may solve a friend's research dilemma.

The Western Front Association booth drew my attention because of a large poster of the Missing Men of the Somme. It's a collection of pictures of men missing in action from World War I.



This booth also had an online database of World War I cemeteries.



I spent the rest of my trip visiting friends who took me to Windsor Castle and the area around Stonehenge. They've been recently bitten by the genealogy bug (gasp!). It's turning into a one-name study of their last name—Chun. Turns out there were only 40-something people with that surname in the 1881 British census. If you're researching anyone with the Chun surname, e-mail me.

What a trip! I looked at lots of picture, gave a lecture, finally got to see Windsor Castle and learned a lot of new things.  I also bought new images to use in my lectures and articles. <smile> 

I'll be back next week with a picture submitted by one of you.

Genealogy events | Military photos | organizations | photo news
Monday, March 15, 2010 12:41:12 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, March 08, 2010
Who Do You Think You Are? Live London 2010
Posted by Maureen

Last week, as you know, I was in London for the Who Do You Think You Are? 2010 event.  It was fantastic fun, just like last year.

I was on the job meeting British fans of this column and looking at lots of pictures. There are subtle differences between photos taken here and overseas. For instance, tintypes weren't very common in the U.K., but ambrotypes (images on glass) were in abundance.

I have a few photos of the event to show you and I'll have another report in a week or so.



This year there was a North American section in the exhibit hall. Guess who was there? Josh Taylor of the American "Who Do You Think You Are?" program, and Michael LeClerc, both friends from Boston's New England Historic Genealogical Society. Traffic in their booth was steady. It appears that many Brits were looking for information on family who ended up in America <smile>.



The folks at FindMyPast.com used costume guides to help visitors search their site.



It wasn't strictly genealogy. Marks and Spencer staged an exhibit of material from its corporate archive. If you're not familiar with the name, it belongs to one of England's largest department stores.



Family Tree DNA had another huge booth this year and business was brisk with lots of folks taking DNA test kits. I stopped by (in my new English woolen sweater) to chat with Emily Auclino, a Facebook friend. I'm a bit jet-lagged in this picture.



Sunday, I spent a couple of hours in the military pavilion talking about photo projects. I'll have more to share next week. It was fascinating.  I loved the mix of history and genealogy at this event.

Organizers of this London event estimate that at least 15,000 people attend this three-day trade show. There are lectures, too. Attendees pay a per day ticket price of about $33. This includes admission to lectures, if you're lucky enough to get one. You have to wait in a line for tickets for specific lectures.

With Friday's successful launch of the American version of "Who Do You Think You Are?", I predict that a similar event in the United States is in our future.

Genealogy events
Monday, March 08, 2010 4:34:11 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, March 01, 2010
The Photo Detective Has Flown the Coop
Posted by Maureen



I'm happy to report I'm in London at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live family history show. I'll be presenting a class on “More Than Scraps and Paste: Scrapbooks and Family History,”  and I’ll be back next week with photos and details from this incredible three-day event.
  
Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the March 5 premiere date of the US version of the television show "Who Do You Think You Are?"  

Thank you to Kathleen Conway for this bird photo! See our video For more readers' pictures of ancestral family pets.


Pets | Videos
Monday, March 01, 2010 6:26:48 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, February 22, 2010
A Success Story: A Graduation Class Identified
Posted by Maureen

Months ago, I wrote a Photo Detective column for the March 2010 issue of Family Tree Magazine called "The Graduates." It was about the chance discovery of a photograph stuck behind the lath in a bathroom wall in Sandi Alex's house in Camas, Washington.   This story has a happy ending!
Mott Camas WA Pic (2).jpg
Sandi told an elderly neighbor who'd lived on their street her whole life about the photo. That neighbor thought maybe the picture once belonged to the Mott Family who'd built Sandi's house.

Being a genealogist, Sandi wanted to reunite the picture with a member of that family so she posted a query on genealogy message boards including the Mott surname forum on Ancestry.com. Judy Strong saw that posting and contacted Sandi. Judy's paternal relatives were the Mott's. They'd lived in that house until 1959.

I knew from their attire, props and pose that it was a graduation picture and I worked with Sandi and Judy to try to figure out the names of the students and the teacher.  We also tried to discover why the image was in the house since it didn't appear to feature any of the Mott's. We had a couple of ideas, but nothing definite.

The final identification came from a Family Tree Magazine subscriber. Janet Cosgrove of Yamhill, Oregon wrote to the editors. "Today I received the March 2010 issue in the mail and was flipping thru the pages, when I saw "The Graduates" picture and was shocked to see my maternal grandmother in it."  We were equally surprised. 

Janet not only knew her grandmother, she had a date and the names of the people in the image. Amazing! Her great-uncle had listed all their names on the back of a copy of the original picture.

From left to right are Harold Peterson, Esther Jones, Marie Schrohe, Mabel Nielsen, and Edith Anderson (the teacher).  Janet's maternal grandmother taught this small class at the Constance School in Green Valley, Waupaca, Wisconsin. This is the graduating class of 1915.

It's so interesting when photos are suddenly identified. I wonder if the family living in the house ever missed the picture. It didn't depict any of the Mott's but Janet thought that perhaps Esther Jones was the daughter of the widow Sarah Rodwell Jones that I mentioned in the magazine article. She was related to Mrs. Emma Mott.

This photo is a great story--it's about youth, young love and family. Turns out that the teacher ended up teaching for only two years. She married the older brother of her student Harold Peterson.

Case Closed!


1910s photos | children | group photos
Monday, February 22, 2010 7:09:43 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, February 15, 2010
Friends and Neighbors
Posted by Maureen

A couple of weeks ago, I presented several lectures at the San Luis Obispo Genealogical Society conference.  I had great time and got to look at some interesting pictures. Roma Miller showed me this snapshot.

RomaMillerCaroline.jpg

This was in Roma's box of photos from her step-grandfather's family mixed in with other family photos. On the back it says, "Caroline 1927." But who's Caroline and where was it taken?

Look carefully at this image. See the shadow of the photographer at the bottom? It's a great shot of someone taking a picture of this woman. his or her arms are raised, holding the camera. 

Next look to the right of Caroline—there is a child. This little kid wears overalls and has his head bowed down. The short pants signify a boy, as does the haircut. This "baby cut" was similar to what we'd call a bowl cut—ear-length on the sides and bangs.

Caroline wears a simple daytime dress. She's probably busy taking care of the her child and the housework. The style of this dress makes me wonder if she could be pregnant. It's very loose-fitting. Her hair is one of the short cuts popular in the 1920s. I think it looks a lot like either something called the "Senorita" or the "Broadway."

The house is a two-story dwelling with a bow window in the style of the late 19th century. It's a Victorian-style house with a tall picket fence in the front and a wrought iron gate. In the background, a latticework wall surrounds a doorway with stairs.

Roma and I talked about ways to identify this woman.
  • Ask the owner: The child is about the right age to be her step-grandfather—could this be him and his mother? Nope. He doesn't recognize the woman.
  • Post it online: I'm helping out by featuring it in this column. Roma has also uploaded the picture to DeadFred.com 
  • Contact extended family: Roma sent out a mass e-mail to all her relatives. Success!
A cousin identified the woman and the location. It was a neighbor of Roma's maternal great-aunt when they lived in Oakdale, Calif. A quick check of the 1930 federal census should result in a last name (as long as Caroline remained in the area). Roma may never know who took this picture, but it could be someone related to her great-aunt.

On the surface it's such a simple portrait of a young mother, but when you add in the child, the house and the photographer, it's the beginning of a story and evidence of a friendship between neighbors.

There is one other reason I love this picture. It's a perfect example of how family collections of photos contain more than just blood relatives. There are usually friends and neighbors mixed in as well.


1920s photos | children | house/building photos | women
Monday, February 15, 2010 4:03:53 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, February 08, 2010
The Search for Annie Moore
Posted by Maureen

If you don't know who Annie Moore is, you haven't been following Megan Smolenyak's research on her.  For several years, Megan has been intrigued by her. Annie Moore was the first person to step foot on Ellis Island when it opened Jan. 1, 1892—a pretty significant first. There wasn't much known about her until Megan started digging. 

You know how research can lead to one thing and another? Well, that's what happened with Annie. Before long, Megan found two of Annie's relatives with images purported to show this mysterious woman. They claimed they had seen a photo of her at Ellis Island.

It's a long story. I've featured the research done so far on both Annie and the pictures on my own blog last week. Megan and I have been trying to verify the identity of the image of three children and figure out where it was taken.

There are folks on both sides of this photo problem. Megan and I have to do more research, and we'd love to see the original picture.

Rather than link to all the research in this column, you can view the image and click through the links provided in my blog. It's a complicated piece of photo research.

Comments are graciously accepted! 


1890s photos | children | Immigrant Photos | photo-research tips
Monday, February 08, 2010 7:01:23 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, February 01, 2010
How to Win the Family Photo Lottery
Posted by Maureen

I've lost track of exactly how long I've been writing this column. The first edition of my book Uncovering Your Ancestry Through Family Photographs was published in 2000, and I started this column in February of the following year. 

That means you've been reading about identifying family photographs for nine years. That's a lot of pictures!

Anyone can submit photos to be featured in this space or in my Photo Detective column in Family Tree Magazine. Under the Navigation heading at the left is a link to How to Submit Your Photo.

While I look at and file each of the e-mails I receive from readers, you can increase the odds that you'll win this picture lottery by doing the following:
  • Use Family Tree Magazine in the subject line of your email.

  • Send me a question about the image, as well as anything at all you know or don't know about it.

  • Your contact information—name, address and telephone number. While I'm not apt to call overseas, if you live in the United States or Canada, don't be surprised to hear me on the other end of the telephone. I like to talk with folks about their pictures. It's amazing how much more can be learned through a conversation rather than an email.  Obviously, I love having unlimited long-distance calling! <smile>

  • In order to really see the details in your pictures, I need them submitted in at least 300 dpi.  If you send them smaller, all I can see when I enlarge a detail is a blur of pixels.
FatherAngelledit.jpg

This isn't too bad, but if I were to enlarge it any further it wouldn't be usable.
  • Don't forget to send me a scan of the back of the photo if it has any information or a photographer's name and address.
If you'd like to submit a picture but you don't have a scanner, it is possible to send a copy of an image via regular mail. You can make a copy using one of those retail photo kiosks.  The mailing instructions are in the link on the left.

One more thing—my e-mail archive goes back several years, so keep checking your e-mail. If you change e-mail addresses or telephone numbers, please resend your image with the new contact information.  A lot of the e-mail inquires I respond to for additional data never get answered by the photo's submitter. 

I love working on your photo mysteries!!  Keep the emails coming in.


photo-research tips
Monday, February 01, 2010 5:21:48 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, January 25, 2010
Photo Fun with Friends
Posted by Maureen

Way back in August, I asked for photos of people smiling. In response to that request Teri Colglazier sent me this photo.

ColglazierHOBO 8 1880 a (2).jpg
The woman in the back left has a toothy grin, probably because this group of friends has decided to have fun in front of the camera. No costumes were necessary—instead, a hand-painted board on the feet of the men proclaims: "The Hobo 8."  (There are eight young people in this photo.)

Teri thought that underneath the word hobo was a number 80. I'm not sure. It looks like it could be Ho with Bo beneath it. If it's a number, it's not a year.

While older folks often posed for pictures in their Sunday best, it wasn't unusual for young people to go to the studio dressed in casual clothes. The two men on the right wear big sweaters that could be worn today. In the back row, all four young women wear white blouses paired with dark skirts, belted at the waist. The little details in this photo provide a time frame:
  • The straw hat worn by one of the young men. It has a narrow brim and and wide ribbon.  The shape and style of hat brims and ribbons change from decade to decade in the early 20th century. He could work in an office.
  • The fellow on the far right has a flat-topped cap—all the rage in the second decade of the 20th century

  • The other two men wear a type of sports cap and a fedora style hat also in style in that period.

  • The smiling woman arranged her hair so that it forms a ridge on the top of her head. The woman next to her has her hair pulled back casually in a bow.

  • The woman on the far right is the most conservatively dressed with a Gibson girl-style high-neck blouse and full hairstyle.
The detail that clinches the date is the mob cap worn by the woman second from the right. I've seen photos of this type of hat on women working around the house in the period just prior to World War I. 

The facts add up to the photo being taken between 1910 and 1916.

Teri now has to figure out who's in the picture. In her e-mail, she mentioned that her family kept every photo ever taken or given to them by family and friends. She thinks the man third from the left could be a family member, but she's not positive.

Anyone out there recognize these people, photographed in McLean County, Ill.?


1910s photos | group photos | hairstyles
Monday, January 25, 2010 11:08:44 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, January 18, 2010
Head Toppers
Posted by Maureen

As you know I love hairstyles, but I'm also a hat person. No, I don't wear one, but I wish I did.  Given this fascination with brimmed accessories, is it any wonder I couldn't pass up Bro. Joseph F. Martin's challenge?

This photo depicts his great-grandparents Nicholas and Marcyanna Kaptur in front of their home in Detroit. Standing next to them are their daughters Emily and Constance.

KapturFamilyDetroit.jpg

It's a wonderful snapshot.  Bro. Martin would like to know when the picture was taken but can't identify the hats.

I've spent the morning studying their hats. From left to right, there's a wonderful array of chapeaus. Dating and identifying a hat relies on a few things such as size and shape of the crown, size and shape of the brim, decorations (if any) and then the other details in the picture.  The final bit is important because very often, historic hat styles return to current fashion. If you don't look at the context of the hat you could have the wrong decade or even century.  

Great-grandmother Maryanna has a fascinating hat with a narrow brim and puffy mushroom looking crown. Her warm-weather straw hat is accented by a wide ribbon. Her husband wears a soft felt hat with a boxy crown and a wide brim. Next to him is one of their daughters, looking quite fashionable in a soft brimmed cloche hat. Her sister wears a smaller hat with what looks like a folded-back brim. 

Maryanna's dress with its drop waist and sailor-style collar is much older than the photo; I think from circa 1920. Older folks in photos tend to wear older styles rather than the current trends, but there are exceptions. The daughter standing second from left wears a lovely summer dress with narrow sleeves topped with full caps, and belted at the natural waist. It's the most fashionable outfit in the photo, stylish around 1925-1929.  Her sister wears a drop-waist dress from about 1925.

In this case, the dress styles and dates vary, but it appears that everyone's hat is contemporary to the late 1920s. The family is in the 1930 federal census as Nicholas, 68; Mary, 67; Constance, 26; Joseph, 26; and Emily, 23.  So where's Joseph in this snapshot? I don't have proof, but he's probably the one behind the camera.


1920s photos | group photos
Monday, January 18, 2010 4:53:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]