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by Maureen A. Taylor

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# Monday, December 27, 2010
iPad Apps to Try
Posted by Maureen

I've had an iPad for a few months and I suspect that many readers of this blog own one too. I'm always on the look-out for interesting apps. Here are some that I can't wait to try. You can find all of these by visiting the app store on your iPad.

Flickstackr ($1.99)
I can't wait to see if this one lives up to it's tabletpcreview.com review. It connects to Flickr so you can browse photos, but it also lets you create a photo stack of images you want to save while you are looking.

Sort Shots ($4.99)
This photo-organizing app uses tags to quickly sort through images. It also lets you share photos using Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Picasa.

Photobucket (free)
Just like the photo-sharing website photobucket.com, you can search, sort and share images.

Foto Editor (free)
It doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but you'll be able to make quick and simple edits on your photos on Foto Editor.

Impression (free)
This app will let you put an opaque watermark on your image to make it clear who owns the picture.

The two apps I use the most on my iPad are Ancestry.com's app Tree to Go (free) and Blogshelf ($4.99). Blogshelf organizes all my favorite blogs like books on a shelf. I just love it.

Have fun with your new apps and be sure to mention your favorite apps in the comment section below. I can't wait to try out some new ones.

preserving photos | Web sites
Monday, December 27, 2010 6:18:23 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Monday, December 20, 2010
Season's Greetings
Posted by Maureen

Thank you to all the readers of this column for another year of photo mysteries! I have a holiday card for you on my Vimeo channel. You can watch this photo become a colorized greeting.
3b46146r.jpg
The photograph, titled "Caught in the Act", is from the Library of Congress. It was taken in 1900. Santa's bag of presents hasn't changed too much—he's carrying dolls and a sailing ship. But I think he's a pretty scary-looking Santa.

I have a holiday habit that drives my family crazy—I take photographs of our Christmas tree. It's a picture time capsule. And I have proof that I'm not the only person who does it: The photo of this tree predates my lifetime.
Christmas 1954.jpg
December 1954 is written in unfamiliar handwriting underneath the image. I'll be watching for that couch and those curtains in other family pictures.  This color photo is in serious need of some color correction. All the reds have taken over the image. That's a pretty typical problem with mid-1950s images. 

Cynthia Cox sent me this image from her family collection. It's also dated 1954.
Christmas Morning 1954.jpg
She labeled it, "Christmas morning at the Robert and Helen Cox Family Residence, Los Angeles." It was taken on Dec. 25. The doll was her gift and the fire truck was for her brother. Thank you for your submission, Cindy!

We've been photographing holiday traditions for generations. Last December, I explored the tradition of posing with Santa

You can use the comment section below to tell me what holiday traditions you photograph.

Happy Holidays!


holiday | unusual photos
Monday, December 20, 2010 4:20:14 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [6]
# Monday, December 13, 2010
Immigrant Clues and Family Stories
Posted by Maureen

Poorescan0002 edit.jpg

Terri Poore and her cousin have a lot of questions about this photo. Who, what, when and where is just the beginning.

Unfortunately, the original owner of the picture is currently unknown. Terri's cousin received a copy of it years ago and can't remember who gave him the print.

Terri and her cousin believe the folks in the picture are Felix Horvat (1884-1952), his first wife Sophie (1890-1918) and their daughter Anna 1909-1997).  I agree with this identification.

There is a long complicated story about this couple. It's very important to write down the oral history of your family because you never know when all the pieces will link up. This photo is a perfect example of how stories and pictures are a natural match.

First the facts: Sophie's hat in this picture and her coat date the picture. She is very well-dressed in a heavy wool coat, fur collar and an oversize hat known as a toque. Her hat and clothing combined with the birth date of their daughter date this picture to circa 1910. Toques were all the rage at the end of the first decade of the 20th century.

Her husband wears ethnic dress that identifies him as a resident of Croatia. The family lived in Ljubljujana, Croatia.

Now here's where it gets interesting. Family stories relate how this couple met. He was a country boy who worked as a coach driver for a wealthy family—the Bahuneks. Their daughter ran away with the coachman!  Sophie, her husband Felix and their daughter Anna immigrated to the United States in 1911 and lived in West Virginia for a time. The Bahuneks followed their daughter and also immigrated. 

There is a sad twist to this tale. According to family lore, when Sophie gave birth to Terri's grandfather Nicholas in 1912, Sophie's mother was present for the birth. Her mother and the midwife decided she shouldn't have any more children with that "awful man" so they tried to perform a gynecological procedure to prevent more children. 

The Horvat family moved to Michigan, but Sophie was so ill after the childbirth procedure that Felix allowed her family to move her back to West Virginia so they could care for her. He retained the children. In 1918, Sophie likely died from complications related to that botched procedure.

Family stories also relate how immediately following her death, her husband Felix and her father had a knife fight to determine the custody of the children. Felix won. He took the children back to Michigan and eventually married the children's caretaker, also named Sophie.

This photo is the gateway to an amazing family tale. Present in the image is pictorial evidence of the economic difference between the husband and wife. She's very fashionably dressed while he still wears his native dress. She's the city dweller and he's from the country.

Now Terri is trying to piece together the family history and try to locate living relatives.


1900-1910 photos | children | hats | Immigrant Photos
Monday, December 13, 2010 4:47:53 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, December 06, 2010
Shipboard Clues, Part 3
Posted by Maureen

This week is another installment of Jake Jacoby's photo of a group in his collection. Two weeks ago in Photo Mysteries, A Clue at a Time, I discussed clothing clues.  Last week in Shipboard Clues, I told you what I knew about the caption and the ship.

Photo mysteries take time to solve. I feel like I'm getting closer. After another conversation with Jake, we came to the conclusion that his grandfather might not be greeting a group of immigrants. It could be another occasion.

I've spent a lot of time calling folks knowledgeable about local history in both Mobile, Ala. and Pensacola, Fla., to learn more about the ship. I'm waiting for news.

Two readers of this column wrote to me:

Genealogist Drew Smith also used the search terms german ship baltimore and found a mention of a German ship named the Baltimore that sank at sea Jan. 24, 1897, en route from London to New York. Thank you, Drew!  I followed this lead and discovered a couple of news stories about it. One was in the New York Times and the other is available through the Kentuckiana Digital Library's database of the Daily Evening Bulletin (Maysville, Ky.). 

That Baltimore was commanded by a Capt. Hillman, but as far as I know, it didn't carry passengers. It sank with its cargo of chalk aboard. I'm excited to find a captain with that surname. Perhaps he also commanded a different ship at some time prior to the sinking. Hillman could be the name in the partially missing caption in Jake's picture.

Rachel Peirce's great-grandfather was a ship's captain, and she still has his books. There was a ship Baltimore listed in List of the Merchant Vessels in the United States, 1896 (p. 217). It appears to have been in Mobile, Ala.

I'm also researching packet steam boats that might have operated between Mobile and Pensacola. Quite a few of these boats used Mobile as a port.

I'll end this week with another picture of Jake's grandfather:

GrandpaJacoby copy.jpg

This was a New Year's Eve affair at the Progress Club in Pensacola. The image was taken in 1894. From  left to right are Charles Levy (seated), Lep Hirshman (standing), Joe Jacoby (seated with cane), Nathan Forcheimer (standing) and Ike Hirshman (seated).

Share your family photo stories with future generations in the book Family Tree Legacies: Preserving Memories Throughout Time. Given with printed photos or a family photo CD, it'll be a treasured holiday gift.


1890s photos | group photos | Immigrant Photos | unusual photos
Monday, December 06, 2010 4:43:37 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]