Free Updates

Let us tell you when new posts are added!

Email:

Navigation

Categories

Search

Archives

<April 2014>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
303112345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930123
45678910

by Maureen A. Taylor

More Links










# Monday, March 29, 2010
Motherhood Times Three
Posted by Maureen

Judy Linnebach sent me this haunting photo of a couple and their three babies. That's right, triplets! I don't have all the answers yet, I'm still working on it. I'll post the second installment next week.

triplets.jpg
This image has obviously been enhanced by the photographer—the man's beard, her hair and all their eyes have additional dark ink added to them. The baby on the right has eyes dotted in. Blue or light green eyes tend to appear very light in early photographs so it's not unusual to see this type of enhancement.

Since I'm still gathering facts about this picture, the family and the photographer, I have some general impressions but no real answers yet. 
I have, however, learned a lot about multiple births in the 19th century.

A century before fertility treatments made multiple births relatively common, it was unusual to bear more than two babies at once. According to George Milby Gould and Walter Lytle Pyle, authors of Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine, published in 1904 (available on Google Books), most multiple births in the 19th century were to women in the age range of 30 to 34, and heredity was a factor. The odds of having a multiple birth varied by country. In Germany, for instance, it was one in 7,910.

They cite examples of multiple births including a Mrs. Page of Texas, who gave birth to quadruplets in 1890 and was such a sensation that the family toured the following cities: Denver, St. Joseph, Omaha, Nebraska City, and then Boston. She'd already given birth to three sets of twins.  I'd love to see a picture of this family! There were 14 children.

Judy wrote that she "hoped this photo is enough to pique my interest." Absolutely! It's a complicated story, so bear with me while we sort it out.


children | unusual photos
Monday, March 29, 2010 4:01:13 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [9]
# 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]