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by Maureen A. Taylor

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# Monday, May 26, 2008
Military Memories
Posted by Maureen

In honor of Memorial Day, I'll mention two items appropriate for the occasion. First, if you enjoyed the books Dating Old Photographs and More Dating Old Photographs (Moorshead Magazines), then you're going to love the new one in the series. Dating Military Photographs will let you compare all your mysterious military images to those other people have submitted.

If you'd like to contribute a few pictures, you can read more about the project on the Family Chronicle Web site. The editors are looking for images of miltary personnel from the Mexican War up to and including World War I. The editors have asked for a little information about each picture, such as when the person served.

Speaking of World War I, attendees at the National Genealogical Society conference in Kansas City were treated to one of the country's best museums (that's my opinion anyway). Who knew the city housed a museum dedicated to World War I? I didn't. A colleague suggested it was well worth a visit. She was right! The National World War One Museum was a visual experience:
  • Visitors watch two movies about the time period that include actual footage from the era.
  • A recreated trench lets you experience how scary it must have been to fight from those mud-walled pits.
  • There are tanks and uniforms galore as well as a poppy field of honor for those who died during the war.
The uniform displays alone taught me a few things about military attire during that world war. If you get a chance to visit Kansas City, make sure you include a visit to this museum.

If you have an image of an ancestor in a World War I uniform, send it to me.  I'll feature it next week.


Military photos | photo-research tips
Monday, May 26, 2008 2:50:34 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, May 19, 2008
Fraternal Insignia
Posted by Maureen

Linda Matthews was just one of the people who answered my call for pictures of ancestors in fraternal uniforms. She inherited this wonderful photo of her cousin Carl Lager.

051908lager.jpg

Carl was born April 23, 1854, in Sweden, and died Feb. 15, 1935, in Henry County, Ill.  According to a short biography of him in the three-volume History of Swedes in Illinois (published in 1908 and available on Google Book Search), he was a Mason, a Knight Templar, an Odd Fellow, a Knight of Pythias and a Mystic Shriner.

He also was a Major in the Patriarchs Miiltant, the uniformed branch of the Odd Fellows. Matthews wondered about his uniform in this photo and suggested it's Patriarchs Militant attire.



She's right. The three interlocking rings is the symbol for the Odd Fellows while the symbol on his hat identifies the specific group within the organization.
 
051908head.jpg

You'll find photos of the insignia on his hat online .

men | organizations
Monday, May 19, 2008 4:56:14 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Friday, May 09, 2008
Fraternal Membership Clue
Posted by Maureen

David Farmer wrote asking about a photo of his paternal grandfather. It's on metal and depicts Charles Birchfield Farmer in his work clothes.

051208b.jpg

Charlie Birchfield Farmer was a farmer. He stands in front of a barn and an old wheel. Tucked into his overalls is a pistol, and slung across his chest is a canteen for when he got thirsty working in the fields. 

Farmer was born in 1885 in northeast Tennessee and lived in southwest Virginia. This image depicts him in the early part of the 20th century. as a young man, so I'd estimate this was taken before 1910. Any gun experts out there want to take a look at his pistol?  That could narrow the time frame even further.

Photographs could appear on any type of surface that could be coated with light-sensitive chemicals, such as metal, leather, fabric and porcelain. In this case, it's a metal frame.



The most unusual part of the image wasn't its setting, but the letters and symbols surrounding Farmer's portrait. David wants to know what the letters FLT mean.

The interlocking three rings at the top of the frame indicate Farmer was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the FLT—that stands for the group's slogan, "Friendship, Love, Truth."

If you have an image of an ancestor in a fraternal costume, send it in. I'll feature it in an upcoming column.

1900-1910 photos | men | unusual surfaces
Friday, May 09, 2008 3:30:57 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
Locks and Lace
Posted by Maureen


050808Earl Lamson.jpg


I couldn't resist posting this photo submitted by Cyndi Fraser.  This little boy is Charles E. Lamson, born November 20, 1899 in Minnesota.   Sears Roebuck's sold similar blouses for 50 cents.

Thank you Cyndi!


1900-1910 photos
Friday, May 09, 2008 2:58:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, May 05, 2008
Curly Locks: A Trend Revealed
Posted by Maureen

I asked for it. I posted a request for images of curly-headed tots and now I've got several. Thank you!!

They confirm my hypothesis about boys and hair. It appears that in the early 20th century, there was a trend—little boys with long hair and hair bows. They look just like their sisters. What's a genealogist to do to tell them apart? 

Family traditions, oral histories and good old-fashioned genealogical research are the only ways to tell the boys from the girls in these cases. Don't jump to conclusions when you see a bow in this period—you might be wrong. Add up the kids in the family, ask older relatives if they know who's who, and try to match up their ages to kids in the photo using census returns and other documents.

Here's an image Esther Thompson sent me: 


Her emails says it all "This is a picture of my great-grandparents William and Ida Johnson, and the boy in the front with the curls (and bow in his hair) is my grandfather Andrew Clyde Johnson, born in 1897. I got this picture from my Dad's sister and when I asked her who the little girl was, she said, 'that little girl is your grandfather.' I couldn't believe it."

Here's a close-up. Enjoy!

050608 child.jpg

1900-1910 photos | children | group photos
Monday, May 05, 2008 4:26:17 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]