Welcome!

I reunite identified family photos that I find in antique shops and second hand stores with genealogists and family historians. If you see one of your ancestors here and would like to obtain the original, feel free to contact me. Donations of pre-1920 photographs are also most welcome. I hope you enjoy your visit!
~The Archivist


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Marriage of George Ealey and Malissa Rader, Clay County, Indiana, 1882




Rarely do I stumble upon 130-year-old marriage licenses in second hand shops, but this past weekend I was lucky enough to do just that. The Marriage License I found belonged to George Ealey and Malissa E. Rader from Clay County, Indiana, dated October 7, 1882. I also found a number of photographs, a marriage certificate and elementary school diplomas all relating to various lines of their descendants.

On Indiana Marriages, 1811-1959 at familysearch.org I learned that the couple married the day after the license was issued, October 8, 1882.  George was the son of William and Wealthy Hicks Ealey, and Malissa's parents were Philip Rader and Elizabeth Marburger Rader.  (Note:  The index shows the bride's surname as "Ruder," but I believe this to be a transcription error.)

Malissa died less than two years later, on January 12, 1884.  She is buried in Center Point Cemetery, Center Point, Indiana, according to Find-a-Grave.  From what I can tell there was at least one child by this marriage:  Ora Ealey, born 1879.  

While looking in the Indiana Marriages database, I also discovered that George Ealey married a second time in 1886 to Phoebe Loveall (Lawall?), and again in 1919 to Rilda Gray Mace.  The Ealeys lived in Jackson, Clay County, Indiana.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mrs. Lillie Sims, Chinook, Montana, 1916


There's something about this photograph of "Mrs. Lillie Sims" that I like.   Lily seems like a no-nonsense, self-assured woman with a touch of panache.   I wonder if those who knew her would describe her that way.   The reverse of this postcard portrait tells us, in very neat handwriting, that it "was taken in Chinook, Mont. Dec. 1916"

I started to look for Lillie in the 1920 census, and found her exactly where the postcard suggested we look, in Chinook, Blaine County, Montana.  She is 51 years old in 1920, which tells us, that, in the above photograph, Lillie is approximately 47 years old. She was born in Illinois.  Her husband is listed as A. W. Sims, 49, born in Canada and a rancher.  There are four children living with them:  Leah, 23; Irling, 15; Lois, 12; and Frances W., 7.

I went backwards, to the 1910 census and found Lillie, 42 in Chinook.  She is living with her children:  Gladies Cockrill, 16; Leah Cockrill, 13; Bruce Sims, 8; Irling Sims, 6; and Lois Sims, 3.  Even though Lillie is listed as married, her husband is not recorded in the household.  I thought I'd look for him.  I did find an Amandus Wilson Sims working as a farmhand in Cypress, Chouteau County, Montana in 1910.  He is listed as "married," but his wife isn't living in the same household. 

I moved on to the 1930 census and Lillie H. Sims, 62 is now living in Hamilton, Ravalli County, Montana with her two daughters, Frances W. Sims, 18 & Leah M. Cockrill, 32.   No A.W.  I found Amandus Wilson Sims in Spring Coulee, Montana with his son Irling, Irling's wife Iva and son Philip.  The dates match Lillie's son Irving.

Onto Lillie's marriage records.  According to the Brigham Young University-Idaho's Western States Marriage Index Lillie Hesselgrove married James R. Cockrill in Fort Benton, Chouteau Co., Montana on the 22nd of August 1892.  The bride and groom were both 24 years old.

I did not find Lillie's marriage to Amandus Wilson Sims.  

Finally, I searched for Lily in the 1880 census, and found her in Richmond, McHenry County, Illinois.  Her parents are Robert Hesselgrave, 68 and Sylvania Hesselgrave, 49.  Lily also has a brother, Robert, aged 14.

According to the Montana Death Index, 1860-2007, Lillie's first husband, James Robertson Cockrill, died 5 Apr 1943.  Her second husband, Amandus Wilson Sims died 22 May 1959 in Park County, Montana.  Lillie Hesselgrave Sims passed away at age 81 on June 13, 1949.

From "Liberty County Times," June 16, 1949

For anyone interested in Chinook, Montana, there is a book called Chinook: The First 100 Years that contains wonderful photographs of its early days.





Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cute as a Button: The O'Brien Girls, Minneapolis, MN; circa 1908


These two adorable cherubs are identified as "My cousins. Daughters of Micke O'Brien, my mother's brother" on the back of this photograph.  The photographer was Stanislaw Kierski, who operated his studio on the south-east corner of 5th Street and Central Avenue, Minneapolis, between 1907 & 1908.

A look at the 1901 US Federal Census for Minnesota was a bit disheartening.  There are well over 40 Michael O'Briens in the State at the time, far more if you count other variations.  Of course I have no way of knowing if the O'Briens even lived in Minnesota.

If I restrict the search to Minneapolis only, I narrow it down to six possibilities.  None really seem like a good fit.  One Michael O'Brien had children about this age, but it's such a long shot.  If we had the given names of the children, I would feel so much better speculating about their identity.

If, by some miracle, you think you may know who these girls are, I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Funeral Card Friday; John Henry Mercel, 1873-1951, Teeterville, Ontario




In memoriam:  Funeral services for John Henry Mercel, born Windham Township, September 9th, 1873.  Passed away at Teeterville, Ontario, Tuesday, November 27th, 1951.  Interment:  Vanessa Cemetery.

My first stop was the Ontario, Canada Births, 1869-1913 database on Ancestry.  John Henry Mercel was born  9 September 1873 to Alexander Mercel, a yeoman from Norfolk County, Ontario, and Elizabeth Henry.

In the 1891 we get a more complete look at the family in Windham Township, Norforlk North, Ontario:  Alex, 56, and children, William, 23; Alex, 21; Linore, 19; John, 17; and George, 13.  Elizabeth Henry does not show up as Alexander's wife.  His wife here is "Annie, 54."

So, what happened to John Henry's mother, Elizabeth Henry? A quick check of Ontario Deaths, 1889-1938, answers that. She died of "congestive chill" on 2 May 1881, at age 38; Annie is Alexander's second wife.  I found John Henry Mercel in the interments list for Vanessa Cemetery in Vanessa, Ontario: 
Mercel, John Henry, b. 1873, d. 1951, h/o Vera Mercel(Green) b. 1884, d. 1971, w/o John Henry Mercel. 

I couldn't find a marriage record for John and Vera Green, but it seems Vera did not marry again after John passed away in 1951.  She passed away in 1971.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

To an Unknown Cousin: Anna Ydse, Norway to Mary Ellingsen, Saskatchewan, 1913


I was happy to find this letter at an antique shop in Alberta over a decade ago.  Because I learned a wee bit of Norwegian back in my university days, I could read its contents and recognize that it contained some useful genealogical information.  It was written by Anna Ydse,and mailed from Wærdalen (Verdal), Nord Trøndelag, Norway in 1913, and addressed to Mrs. Mary Ellingan (Ellingsen?) in Webster, Saskatchewan, Canada.  I have attempted to translate portions of the letter for you.

The letter begins,  "[Dear] Unknown Cousin!  With that, I send you a few words even though I've never seen you.  You probably wonder who on earth I am!  I am the daughter of your uncle Oluf, but you know don't know him either. We were in Sweden when you were at home. It is now 7 years since we came here to Vardalen and we have purchased Lillesan, if you know where it is, it isn't far from Rinbret." Anna goes on to talk about her sister Martine, and brother Johan, and her own future plans.

"I've heard that you have your home in Canada and there you have done very well, that you have a kind man and small children and everyone is thriving. I have also have a little boy of three years who makes me very happy. His father is also in Canada, so perhaps I will also have a home there!"  She concludes her letter with good wishes from various family members, and adds a postscript, "I hope you will answer my letter."
We know that Anna Ydse's letter was answered, because Mary wrote on the back of the envelope in Norwegian, "replied april 1 1913."

I found Anna Oline Ydse, born December 23, 1883 in the 1910 Norwegian Census, living at the farm, Lillesand in Verdal, with her parents Oluf and Mali Ydse.  The three year old son Anna mentions in her letter is Henrik Oscar Henriksen, born February 5, 1910 in Verdal, so he is just a few months old when the 1910 census was taken.

I wonder if Anna Ydse and her husband Mr. Henriksen ever settled in Canada?  A little more digging could probably answer that. 

UPDATE!  January 30, 2012:  I just mailed off Anna Ydse's letter to a family member in Norway.  How fitting that it's heading back to Verdal.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What-A-Shame Wednesday: Four Generations from Sweden


Four generations of men:  the eldest, 83 years.  The youngest, little Edmund, is six weeks.  Unfortunately, I can not decipher the handwriting in the corner.  I believe this family is Swedish, because of the caption words år (year) and vecker (weeks).  Men's fashions are difficult to date, but if I had to guess, I would pinpoint this one around 1910 and add a liberal leeway.

What a shame there isn't more to go on.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Corner of Broad & Erie Avenue, Unknown City, Frances E. Noonan, 1918


This is Frances E. Noonan, who was 8 months old when this portrait was photographed.  There is a date provided,  3/4/1918, but it's unclear if this is her birth date, or the date of the sitting.  The photographer's name is embossed in the lower left corner:  "Williams, Broad & Erie Ave."  Using the streets mentioned, I've tried to identify the city in which this photo was taken.  Perhaps it is Philadelphia, but it could be a number of other locations as well.

I searched for Frances E. Noonan in some of the genealogy databases without finding anything I considered a firm possibility.

Have you any leads to send my way?  I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Following the Trail of the Mustard King: Fred Stanley Pease, 1870-1951, from Minnesota to Alberta




Yesterday I posted a photograph of Lelah (Lee) Ward Pease, of Redwood Falls, MN.   I found this young man's photograph along with Lelah's portrait.  He is identified on the back of the photo as "Fred Pease."  It was taken at the C. S. Peck studio in Zumbrota, Minnesota.  It's fairly easy to date the photo because, according to the Minnesota Historical Society's Directory of Minnesota Photographers, the studio was only in business from 1882-1883.

Fred looks like he is about 11 or 12 years old in the photograph.  I recall from my Lelah and Edward Pease research, that there was a Fred S. Pease living with them in their Kintire home in 1895.  I operated on the assumption that Fred was probably Edward's brother.  I confirmed this with a search of the 1880 Census.  I found Edward A. Peas, 17, with his younger brother Frederick, 9, living in Zumbrota, MN with their parents Columbus and Mary Peas, and youngest brother, Gilbert H. Peas, 5.  Frederick was born in Missouri.

In 1870 the family lived in Breckinridge, Caldwell Co., Missouri.  Frederick hasn't been born yet.

I don't find anything in the US records for this particular Frederick Pease after the 1910 US Federal Census, but I do pick him up in the 1916 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, living in the Lethbridge district (Milk River) with his wife Anna, 40, and children, Fay, Lynn, Francis, Roy and Maxine.  I consulted the local history book Milk River Country by Alice A. Campbell to find a four-page history on the Fred Pease family, which confirmed the above information.  It also provides details into their lives in Minnesota, and Fred's journey to Canada, where he ran a successful farming operation.  He was dubbed "The Mustard King of North America" in 1950 after producing a mustard crop unrivalled by any producer in the US or Canada at the time. 

According to the write-up Fred Pease died August 17, 1951 in Milk River.  He was survived by his wife, Anna Muetzel Pease.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

With a Ribbon on Top: Lelah Ward Pease, Redwood Falls, MN, 1900



I have to admit, I'm not one to identify a woman by her husband's first name (for example, "Mrs. John Smith.")  Even so, I do appreciate it when vintage photos are identified this way, provided the woman's given name is mentioned as well.  It helps tremendously with the research.  I am fascinated by our subject's hairstyle, piled high with a ribbon at the very top.  I would date this photograph around 1900-1905, perhaps earlier.  This photo was inscribed:  "Lee Pease, Mrs. Ed. Pease."  The portrait was taken by Danish-born photographer, Niels B. Andersen who opened his studio in Redwood Falls, Minnesota in 1884 and remained in business there for three decades. (For an excellent biographical article on N.B. Andersen, written by Troy Krause for the Redwood Falls Gazette, click here

"Lee" is actually "Lelah" Pease.  She can be found in the 1895 Minnesota State Census for Kintire, Redwood County, Minnesota, along with her husband, Edward A, 32; daughter Zoa, 8; and son, Ward, 4.  Two of Edwards siblings are also living with the family.  Lelah is 30 years old.

In the next few censuses, the family is residing in Redwood Falls, Redwood County, Minnesota.  They have two other children:  Thelma, born 1896, and Edward, born 1902.  In the 1900 census, Edward A. Pease's mother, Mary A. Pease is living with them; she was born January 1933 in New York State.

I thought I'd try to trace Zoa because of her uncommon name, to see if I could find mention of her mother's maiden name.  In the 1910 Census for Redmond, I found (Mary) Zoa with her husband Raymond P. Tenney and son, George R. Tenney, age 1.   I then found Zoa's death record in the Minnesota Death Index, 1908-2002 which shows she died in Ramsay Co., MN in 1974.  Her mother's maiden name is listed as "Ward."

I had tried previously to find Ed and Lelah Pease's marriage in  Minnesota Marriages, 1849-1950 index, and didn't have any luck.  But when I search by Lelah's maiden name, I found out why I couldn't find it earlier.   Edward's last name was spelled "Peace" in the record.  They were married in Zumbrota, Goodhue County, Minnesota on November 20, 1884.

For those researching in Redwood County, Minnesota, I found two history books, which provide excellent background information on the area:

1) Redwood: The Story of a County by Wayne E. Webb
2) History of Redwood County by Franklin Curtiss-Wedge

The Redwood Falls Public Library has a helpful list of local resources, so be sure to check it out if you have roots there.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Mystery of Two Names: Fred Lueben or Ernest Koch, Horicon, WI ca. 1890s?


I find this to be a strange portrait with its empty chair and unusual composition.  The focus seems to be on the bare wall, which, if you look at it carefully appears to have a few odd shadows cast there.  There's also that ribbon tied to the chair.  What might its significance be?

The photograph was taken at the Sawyer studio in Horicon, Wisconsin.  The photo is labelled, "Fred Lueben" on the front and ""Ernest Ludwig Koch, 1850-1928" on the back, which creates a bit of a problem. Which name is correct?

I found two Fred or Frederich Luebens in the 1880 Census, living in Hubbard, Dodge County, Wisconsin:
Fred Lueben, 44 (b.1836), Prussia and his son, Fred, age 11, born 1869 in Wisconsin.

I also found an Ernst Koch in the same census for Hubbard, age 29, son of  John and Maria Koch.

I thought I would check Ancestry to see if there were any uploaded pictures of people with either of these names, and surprisingly, I lucked out.  There were actually photos of both on Family Trees there.  I found pictures of the two Fred Luebens first, and felt that they were not a match to the fellow in the photo.  Then I found a Koch family portrait, and who do I see wearing exactly the same clothes, holding onto the same hat, in the very same studio?  Mr. Ernest Ludvig/Louis Koch!  (For Ancestry subscribers:  http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/7092393/person/-1023459439).  According to the obituary, which appeared in a German-language newspaper, Ernest Louis Koch was born in Alt Rudnitz, Brandenburg, Germany on the 29th July 1850.  He married Marg. (Maria) Henrietta Melchert in 1880.  Ernest died the 3rd of April, 1928 at the age of 77 years, 8 months and 4 days. The photo on the Ancestry tree is dated 1898, a little later than I would have guessed.

And, thus ends the search.  I am still curious about the composition of this picture and the empty chair.  Any thoughts?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Funeral Card Friday: Ferris A. E. Donnell, Cookstown, Ontario, 1877-1960





Today's Funeral Card is in memory of Ferris A. E. Donnell, who was born in Cookstown, Ontario in 1877 (birth year written in ink on card) and died in Toronto on Feb 27, 1960.  He was buried in St. John's Anglican Church Cemetery in Cookstown.

The marriage record I found for Ferris Arnold Donnell is heavily smudged and difficult to read, but I believe it tells us that he married Addie Lawrence, daughter of Alexander and Elizabeth (Drinkall) Lawrence on 28 July 1903 in Simcoe County, Ontario.  His parents are listed as James Donnell and Mary Evens.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Gravestone of Jacob & Casandra Gibbons, Lucas Co., OH, 1910s


This postcard photograph of the gravestone of Jacob B. Gibbons and his wife, Casandra, was sent to me by a reader from Minnesota, who picked up the postcard at an antique store. (Thanks so much, Alma!) At the time the photo was taken, Casandra had not yet passed away.  Unfortunately, there aren't any other notations on the card, so I didn't know where stone was located.

My first stop was to "Find-A-Grave," and although I did not find a photograph of this gravestone, I did find an entry for the couple, and their burial location.  Along with the information, someone had also provided a scan of Jacob's death record.

Here's what we now know:

The couple, as well as their two sons, were buried in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Neapolis, Lucas County, Ohio.

Jacob B. Gibbons was born in Pennsylvania, on the 2nd of June 1829.  His parents were Joseph and Sarah (Barger) Gibbons.  His profession is listed as "mason."  He married Cssandra Barger, daughter of Jacob Barger and Harriet Tyson.  Jacob died on December 24, 1910.  Casandra was born on the 12 July 1838 in York County, Pennsylvania.  She died March 20, 1915.

According to the information on Find-A-Grave, the couple had two children:  Murrey C. Gibbons (1872-1936) and Allen J. Gibbons (1878-1965).

We know that the postcard photograph was probably taken sometime between 1911 and 1915 because Casandra's death date is not provided on the stone. 



Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Boy With the White Sash: Ambris Baldwin, Cabri, Sask., 1916


This young man's portrait was taken by Jackson, in Cabri, Saskatchewan, Canada, sometime around 1916, and I'm not convinced he's enjoying the occasion very much.  This picture, along with another from the same sitting, was found in an antique store in Airdrie, Alberta.  Both photos are identified as, "Ambris Baldwin." 

I found seven-year-old Ambris in the 1916 Census of Canada, Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, living in the Village of Cabri, with his father, Cassie Ambris Baldwin, (b. 1886, Ontario) and his mother, Florence, (b. 1889, England, immig. 1894).

From the Lethbridge Herald, 5 March 1941:


Note that Ambris is now going by "L. Ambris Baldwin."  His wife, Anna Shafer, is the daughter of Mrs. & Mrs. Henry Shafer of Barnwell.   Ambris' cousin, Wallace Baldwin, acted as Best Man.

I also found a write-up in the local history book, Hazlet and Its Heritage, compiled by the Hazlet Historical Society in 1984, about Ambris' mother, Florence E. Brooks Baldwin.  It tells us that she and Cassie married in Elkhorn, Manitoba in 1907.  They set up a homestead in the Waldension Valley district, where Cassie also ran a general store and started the Longworth post office.  He opened a store in the Village of Cabri a short while after.  Ambri's father died in 1918 after being inoculated for influenza.  Florence Brooks Baldwin, born 4 May 1889, Devonport, England, died in 1980 at the age of 91 in the Hazlet area. There may also be a write up in the Through the Years: A History of Cabri local history book, but I haven't been able to locate a copy locally.

L. Ambris Baldwin died February 27, 1985 in Calgary, AB at age 76. (source:  http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~abwcobit/Data/Papers/1985C/CalgaryDeaths1985Page5.html)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Two Stories: Jacob Sedlacek and Henry Strasburg, Omaha, c. 1880, Part Two


Yesterday's post looked at the image of Jacob Sedlacek, the subject of this carte de visite.  Today we see what can find out about the photographer, Henry Strasburg of Omaha, Nebraska.  I'll warn you now, it's a sad story.

In 1870 Henry is living in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa and is employed as a photographer.  The census tell us that he was born around 1845 in Prussia.  He is sharing a place with Ernest Mueller, a fellow  photographer, and Ernest Burhom, a watchmaker.  I couldn't find a studio owned by Ernest Mueller or Henry Strasburg in Council Bluffs, but there is one owned by Joseph Mueller, which was in operation from 1865 until the 1870s, save for a short time in 1866 after the studio burnt to the ground and was rebuilt.  Joseph Mueller had a second studio in Omaha, and if Henry Strasburg worked for Mueller,  this may provide a reason why Strasburg ended up there. (Source: Pioneer photographers from the Mississippi to the continental divide by Peter E. Palmquist, page 455) 
 
Henry was born in 1845, Germany according to the 1880 US Census for Omaha.  His wife, Elizabeth, was born in Kentucky in 1849.  They had four children in 1880:  Rosalie, age six, Heinrich, four; Ottilie, two; and Elise, 6 months.  Henry is listed in the Omaha City Directory for the years 1878 to 1883.  His photographic studio is located at 220 South 13th Street.

I found a website online with a history of the eldest son, Heinrich, which tells us that Henry, Sr. died sometime around 1884, of influenza, shortly after losing both his wife and daughter to the same illness.  This left son Heinrich, and another brother, George, as orphans.  George was adopted by a family, while Heinrich, at the young age of eight, went to work. Note:  I have not been able to find a George Strasburg in any records. This could mean George was born after the 1880 census.

The Douglas County Nebraska Marriage 1854-1881 book, page 150, provided more details about Henry Strasburg's parentage, as well as his wife's.  Henry's parents were Henry and Rosa (Schindler) Strasburg.  Henry (b. ca 1845) married Elise Hocket, age 25, born Louisville, KY.  They were married 21 August 1873.

Since the children of Henry Strasburg were scattered after their parents' deaths, and did not get placed with family, it is probably an indication that the Hocket and Strasburg grandparents were either dead or could not accept the children.

Image of Jacob Sedlacek, photographed by Henry Strasburg

Monday, January 16, 2012

Two Stories: Jacob Sedlacek and Henry Strasburg, Omaha, c. 1880, Part One


 As I research these old photographs, I am very aware that each and every cdv or cabinet card tells two stories:  one that centres around the subject, and one that centres around the photographer.   I'm dividing what started as one post into two.  The first will look at the subject of the photo:  Jacob Sedlacek.  Tomorrow's post will attempt to answer some questions about the photographer:  Henry Strasburg of Omaha.

This particular carte de visite is marked with the subject's name and dates:  "Jacob Sedlacek, 7/25/1851 to 4/14/1915.  I found a Jacob Sedlacek who fits in the 1910  US Federal Census for Richland, Sarpy, Nebraska: Jacob, 54, immig. 1866, b. Austria, with his wife Mary, 49 and children:  Anton, 25; Bessie, 22; James, 20; John, 13; Katie, 11; Emilia, 8 & Anna, 6.   [Daughter, Bessie, married a Mr. Elseman.  She died 27 Dec 1960 in Bellingham, Washington. Source:  Washington Death Certificates, 1907-1960]

The Sedlacek family also appears in the 1900 census for Richland.  Jacob's birth month & year is listed:  Jul 1849.  There are two additional children in this census:  Frank, b. July 1881 and Joseph, born March 1883.

In Douglas County Nebraska Marriage 1854-1881 I found "Jacob Sedlacek, [29, Omaha, born Bohemia, father: John Sedlacek, mother: Mary Milarik (Milnarik)] married Mary Pivonka [19, Omaha, b. Bohemia father: James Pivonka, mother: Anna Kolar.] Marriage date: 6 March 1880."

Find-a-Grave provides a picture of Jacob's final resting place.  His gravestone reads, b. 25 Jul 1850, d. 11 Apr. 1916.  While these dates do not match the photo's exactly, I'm not too concerned.  The dates differ throughout most of the records I've looked at.  The person who wrote this down on the photo could have been operating from memory.  I notice they are a year off on both dates, but have the correct months. 

Be sure to drop by for tomorrow's post about photographer, Henry Strasburg.

UPDATE December 1, 2013:  The image of Jacob Sedlacek has been reunited with a great grandchild. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mystery Home #2: Any Watsons Recognize It?


 I was pleased as punch when the first Mystery Home photo I posted had such a happy result.  I'm not so confident about this one.  This postcard photograph was not posted through the mail.  It doesn't have a location written anywhere on it.  Here's what we know:


It reads, "This view is made from the south east.  Sister Stella sits in the buggy.  Orville can see the horse that Grand Pa used to drive.  Old Pet."  It is addressed to Mr and Mrs Watson Peebles.

Any ideas?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Another Photo from Worthington, MN: Anna Bebensee, ca. 1905




Meet "Anna Bebbensee," as she has been identified on the back of this photo. She was born the 29th of October 1890 in Worthington, Minnesota and married William Pamperin on the 27th of September 1909 in Shelby, Iowa.  This photo was taken at the Yates Studio in Worthington, Nobles Co., Minnesota somewhere around 1905, I believe.  Lillian and Margaret Yates were sisters who operated a studio there between 1902-1906. 

This fits with what I've learned about Anna.  I found Anna's photo with a grouping of other Worthington photos.  One of theses photos was a portrait of an older woman named "Anna Pamperin."  A Pamperin relative claimed the picture shortly after, but it wasn't until recently that I realized Anna Pamperin and Anna Bebensee are the same person.  Unfortunately, I no longer have a record of where I sent that Pamperin photo so many years ago.

I found five-year-old Anna in the 1895 Minnesota State census.  She is living with her parents, William and Marie (Wohlguest/Wohlgast) Bebensee.  She is still with her family in Nobles County by the time of the 1900 census.  I found the definitive link to the Pamperin family in the Shelby County, Iowa marriages: Anna Elizabeth Bebensee, b. 1890 married William Pamperin on the 27 Sept. 1909. 

Will and Anna moved to Shelby, Shelby County, Iowa where they lived until at least 1930.  At the time of that year's census, the Pamperin family, now consisting of William, Anna and daughter, Isla (Ida), 9, lived on East Center Street in Shelby.  William was the manager of a pool hall.

I don't know what happens to the family after that, except that I found Anna Pamperin (nee Bebensee) in the California Death Index.   She died 15 January 1981 in San Diego.



Friday, January 13, 2012

Look Closely: Clarence & Harold Crane, 1913, S. Dakota


These two boys are "Clarence and Harold Crane, ages 4 & 6 years," according to the handwritten inscription on the back of the postcard photograph.

That's all I had to go on for information, so I went to the 1920 US Census and searched for two brothers with these names and the same age spread.  I found one possibility in Liberty, Lyman, South Dakota:  Clarence Crane, b. 1910 Nebraska, and Harold Crane, b. 1908 Nebraska, sons of William W. & Carrie Crane.

It was probably them, but Crane is a fairly common name and I wished I had something more definitive.

The postcard did not have a stamp so it appeared it was not sent through the mail.



That's when I put it aside.  When I took it out again to scan the photo, I noticed that indentation just under "Name and Address Here" line.  Was that a postmark?  I looked closer.  It wasn't a postmark per se.  It was the impression of a postmark.  The photo must have been sent through the mail in an envelope.  When the postmaster stamped the envelope, it left an impression on the photo.  With a magnifying glass I could read, "Aug 12 5 pm 1913  S. Dak"  The town name is not readable.

Now I feel better labelling this photo "Clarence and Harold Crane from Liberty, South Dakota, 1913"

UPDATE:  Just after writing this, a Crane descendant from Oklahoma contacted me about the photo.  It looks as if this one has been reunited, and it's on its way!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Cabinet Card from Mankato: Otto Brandt, ca. 1890




This is "Mr. Otto Brandt, 20 years old.". It also has the following message: "Send it to Emma."

The picture was taken at the Keene Studio in Mankato, Minnesota on 803 & 805 S. Front Street. The Minnesota Historical Society's Directory of Minnesota Photographers tells us that George Eldon Keene operated the studio (at this address) between 1888 and 1905.  I believe this is one of the earlier photographs out of that studio because the imprint is less ornate on the face of the card, without any studio information whatsoever on the back.

There are several possible matches in the 1900 US census (Minnesota) for Otto Brandt, born somewhere between 1868 and 1875, none specifically from Mankato.  The handwriting on the back, while in English, does have a European style.  This could mean Otto was born overseas.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Just a name: Alvina Sauser. Photo from Rhineland-Palantinate, Germany ca. 1880s

There's very little information to go on with this photograph.  There is only the name, "Alvina Sauser" and the comment, "Farm in Germany where mother stays when their family were in Germany."  I don't know if Alvina Sauser is the the name of one of the girls, or the name of the mother.


The photo ws taken by J. (or F.) Laux, who had studios in on Schloss-Strasse 49, Coblenz, Germany and on Rhein-Strasse 45, Neuwied, Germany.  I am guessing it was taken during the latter part of the 1880s or early 1890s.

It's not much to go on.  I had a quick peek on Ancestry and there are a number of Alvina Sausers.  The problem is I don't know if I should be looking for Alvina in Germany or in the US.

Add this one to the long-shot list!



Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Georgina Palmer Paul, Brockville, Ontario circa 1898-1905



Todays' photo is of "Georgina Paul," taken in Brockville, Ontario at Murray & Sons. It isn't dated but I've researched the studio a bit  in an attempt to pinpoint the date of the photograph.  George Bennett Murray, a photographer from Quebec, came to Brockville, Ontario in 1869.  His son, Alex B. Murray, joined the business in 1890s.  Apparently the company was in existence until the mid-1970s, when it was owned & operated by George Murray's grandson.  Because the imprint reads "Murray & Sons" we can conclude the photo was made sometime after 1890.   Apparently, Glenn Lockwood, author of  The Story of Brockville : Men and Women Making a Canadian Community on the United States Frontier, 1749-2007 writes about the history of the Murray photographers in his book. 

Here's what I found on Georgina.  She appears in the 1911 Census for Brockville living with her husband William Paul, b. Aug 1877 on 204 Perth Street.  Georgina's birth date is recorded as March of 1877,  the last digit is overwritten so it is difficult to read.

She was married in Brockville on September 17, 1902.  Her parents are listed as James and Margaret (Ingram) Palmer.  William was born in Elizabethtown in 1877 to Isaac & Emily (Elliott) Paul. 

Before Georgina was married she worked as a domestic in Brockville (1901 census).  Her birth record shows her birth date as 10 March 1876.

Going even further back, to 1891, Georgina is living with her parents and two sisters, Beckie (b. 1881) and Katie (b.1886)  in Brockville. 

I'm undecided about the dating of this photograph.  I think it could be taken anywhere from the late 1890s to about 1905.  Any guesses?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Faintly Yours: Arthur Loftus Amys, Peterborough, Ontario, ca. 1880s


I really had to squint and place the photo under strong light to read the swirling inscription on the back of this photo.  But there it was, ever so faintly, "Arthur L. Amys."  A search of the Canadian censuses found Arthur in the 1871 Census for Peterborough West, Ontario.  His parents are Philip Amys, 34, mother Matilda, 37, and older twins, Thomas F. H., and Anna C., 3.  Arthur is 9 months old.

Arthur Loftus Amys married Jean Helen Jenkins, daughter of Charles A. and Elizabeth Jenkins on 27 Apr 1895 in Welland, Ontario.  Jean Helen was born abt 1871 in Petrolia, Ontario.
According to Ontario, Canada Births, 1869-1913 Arthur was born 20 Jun 1870 in Peterborough and named Charles Arthur Loftus Amys.  Mother Mathilda's maiden name is Steele.

He and his wife had two children:  Annette, born 1895, and Loftus, b. 1896.  The family lived in Port Hope where Arthur L. worked as a bank manager.

This picture is dated "1888" on the front, and was taken at the P. H. Green Studio in Peterborough.  Arthur was about 18 years old.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Woman with Many Names: Sara Miller Pollock Johnson, Missouri, c1890


Sometimes there a thing as too many names, especially when those names, for the most part, are fairly common surnames.  This photo of a very lovely young woman is inscribed on the reverse "Sara Miller Pollock Johnson" in purple ballpoint ink, indicating it was not written at the time the photo was taken.  Sara was photographed in Kansas City, Missouri by D.P. Thomson at 610 Main Street (established 1873).  I was a little wary of researching this one because of the surname issue.  I wasn't sure if Miller was a surname or middle name.  I didn't know if Pollock was a married name, and Johnson was the name of a second husband. 

My concerns were short-lived.  I found Sara M. Pollock's marriage to W. C. Johnson in the Missouri Marriages, 1805-2002 database.  They were married 16 Nov. 1893 in Mexico, Audrain County, Missouri.  The record did not provide ages or birth dates, but a check of the 1910 US Federal Census finds Sarah Johnson, 41, b. Indiana with her husband William, 43, born Kentucky, who is a candy manufacturer.  They are living in the home of Sarah's father, William Pollock, 71 born in Indiana, occupation: miller.  The Johnson's two sons:  Douglas Pollock Johnson, 13 and William Johnson, 10 are also living there as well.

I think I found Sarah's mother in the Mexico City Cemetery Interments for 1908 from the Intelligencer newspaper: Pollock, Mrs. William (Sarah Elizebeth Walker), buried Feb 27, 1908.  This fits with what I found in the 1870 Census for Salt River, Audrain County, Missouri:

William Pollock, 39, b. PA
Sarah Pollock, 31, b. IN
William Pollock, 3, b. PA
Sarah Pollock, 2, b. IN

But, back to the Johnsons.  The 1920 census shows Sarah, her husband and the two boys still living with Sarah's father.

Sometime between 1920 and 30, the Johnsons moved to Ohio.  In the 1930 Census for Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, William is listed as the president of a Candy Factory.  The son, William W., is an attorney for a law firm.  William B. Elam, a nephew, 21, is living with the family.  His occupation is Chemist, Soap factory.  Douglas P. is not part of the household.

I wonder what sort of candy William C. Johnson manufactured?



Saturday, January 7, 2012

Super Sleuth Saturday: The Moustached Man from Wisconsin

I thought it would be a fun idea to post one of my more challenging photos and let my blog readers have a chance to figure out who my mystery subject is without my speculations getting in the way.  I will post what I know about the photograph and see what you can come up with.

Are you up for the challenge?  Here's the picture:


There is only this inscription on the back of the photograph:


Provenance can help make connections and narrow down the research area.  I found this photograph at an antique store on Vancouver Island, BC, in a pile of photos which contained a few identified pictures:

1)  A portrait photo of Julius J. Neuman, taken at the Ridgeway Studio, Madision Wisconsin, circa 1900-1910.  I've reunited this photo with a family member already.  Julius moved to Saskatchewan, Canada sometime after the photo was taken.

2) A cabinet card photo of Louis A. Schilling and Ida Amelia Koch Schilling, taken at the H.F. Mielenz Studio in Stanton, Nebraska circa 1890s.  This photograph has been reunited with a family member in Alabama.

3) A cabinet card photo of Fred Leuben, taken at the Sawyer Studio, Horicon, Wisconsin circa late 1880s-1890s. 

The three photographs found with the mystery photograph must have some connection to each other, however remotely.

So, who is this mystery man?


Friday, January 6, 2012

A Genealogist's Dream: Lily Vera Duncan, Rockland, Ontario, 1902


This girl is a star in my book.  She inscribed the back of her photo so there would be no question about her identity.  She lets us know that her name is Lily Vera Duncan, but that she goes by the name Vera.  She gives us her birth date:  November 26, 1891.  She tells us when this photo was taken:  Dec. '02, so we know that she has just turned 11 years old in this photograph.  She even tells us that the intended recipients were  "Arthur and Vina."  The front of the photo gives us a location.

Her birth record is easy to find.  A search of the Ontario, Canada Births, 1869-1913 database leads us to her birth record which  shows Lily Vera Duncan was born on the date Vera provides on the photo, in Rockland, Prescott & Russell County, Ontario.  Her parents are James Duncan and Ellen F. V. Woodly.

Vera shows up in the 1901 Canadian Census for Rockland, Russell, Ontario living with her parents James A. Duncan, 54 and Ellen Duncan, 41, with her siblings Clarence, 14; Elsie, 13; and her grandmother, Susan Woodley, 81. 

I can not find Vera in the 1911 or 1916 census.  I don't see her in the US Census, either.  I find her again in the British Columbia Marriages database, when on the 3rd of September 1913, she marries Nelson A. Harkness in Vancouver, BC.  I noticed that there is a Nelson Alexander Harkness attending the University of Chicago in 1912.  Perhaps they married after he graduated.

I thought I'd check to see if Nelson Harkness served in the First World War.  He joined the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force as a Chaplain and on his attestation paper he lists his address as Westbank, BC.  His wife is listed as Vera L. Harkness.

According to the British Columbia Death Index, Vera died 11 July 1972 at the age of 80 years.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Colenbrander Brothers from Sioux Center, Iowa, 1918


This postcard photograph is nicely labelled on the back:




Way back in the 1990s I reunited some Lammers and Van De Braake family photos from Iowa.  At the time I figured this Colenbrander photo was related in some way to them, but the recipient of the other photos decided against taking it.

I started my search guessing that it was taken circa 1915-1920 because of the postcard format, and the style of clothing of the older boy.  I searched in the 1920 census for Gerrit Colenbrander first.   I found Gerrit "Kalenbrander", 38, born Holland,  along with his wife, Winnie, age 38; sons John A., 7 years old, born Iowa; and Egbert A. J., 2 years and 4 months, born Iowa.   They are living in Sioux, Iowa. 

In the 1925 Iowa Census we learn that Winnie's parents were Eibert den Herder and Mins Leemhuil, b. Netherlands.  She is listed as a widow, and is living with her son, Arend J. Colenbrander, 12. Gerrit and Egbert are not listed.  

I then searched the Iowa Gravestone Photo Project since I couldn't find Gerrit or Bert's death records on Ancestry.  I found a double gravestone from Memory Gardens Cemetery in Sioux Center, Iowa:

        COLENBRANDER
FATHER                       SON
Gerrit                            Bert
Oct 7  1881-                 Sept. 9, 1917-
Sept. 18, 1921              Nov 27, 1921 (death dates on the stone difficult to read)

Apparently Arend J. Colenbrander also went by the name John, or sometimes, Arie.   According to John's birth record, he was born Dec. 3, 1912.  His mother Winnie's maiden name is Den Herder.  He married Mary Vande Berg on May 18, 1937 in Sioux Center.  He died Nov. 5, 1976 and is also buried in the Memory Gardens Cemetery in Sioux Center, Iowa.



Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Beware the Wandering E: Virginia Comly, Hastings, Nebraska, 1886



The reverse of this cabinet card reads, "Virginia Comly, 10 months, 1886."   The photograph was taken at the Churchill Studio, opposite the New Opera House in Hastings, Nebraska.  I found the Comly family in four different censuses, with four different spellings:  Comley, Comely, Comly and Conely.  That "e" sure wanders!

Virginia first appears on the 1885 Nebraska Census for Hastings, Adams County.  She is living with her parents W. J. Comley, 36 and Virginia, 40, and sister Ella, age 8.

She also appears on the 1900 US Federal Census in Hastings, Ward 2, Adams County, Nebraska.  Her mother's first name is shown as Anna now, and her sister,"Elinore M."  Her father's first name appears as William.  His birthplace is PA, while Anna's is OH.  The 1900 census tells us that Virginia was born in March of 1885, which means the photograph was taken in January of 1886.

In the 1910 Census, Virginia and Ella no longer appear with their parents, still living in Hastings.  I lose track of Virginia after the 1900 census.

If you have Adams County, Nebraska roots, I found two items that might be of interest.  Your local library might be able to bring in a copy for you on interlibrary loan.
The first book is titled Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Adams, Clay, Hall and Hamilton Counties, Nebraska and the second is Adams County, Nebraska: A Pictorial History. I doubt if there would be anything in either book specifically on the Comly family, but they would likely provide helpful background information on the area.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Another Weatherald Connection: Yours Truly, J. C. West, 1910s


While there isn't a photographer's imprint or place name provided on this photograph, we do have the subject's signature on the front, which reads, "Yours truly, J. C. West."  Normally, I wouldn't hold out much hope of figuring out who this individual was because of the fairly common surname, and the lack of a given name.  But provenance is everything with a photo like this.

I found Mr. West (and several other pictures of him) with a grouping of photographs that I've already blogged about:  Miss Maud Weatherald, and the Marwoods.  On a hunch I searched for a link between the Weatherald family and the West family and found one.  Maud Weatherald's sister, Edith Marion Weatherald (b. abt. 1868) married a man named John Charles West on the 19th of June 1918 in Hamilton Co, Wentworth, Ontario.  The marriage record tells us that John West was a widower, and 47 years old at the time of the marriage.  Edith was 50.  John's parents are listed as John West and Jeannette Anderson and he is said to have been born at "St. George."  His occupation is "traveler."

I located John's first marriage in the Ontario Marriages database on Ancestry.  His first wife's name was Ella Christie, born in Smithville, Ontario in 1873, daughter of Robert and Caroline Christie.  John West's occupation at that time is listed as photographer.  He was living in Buffalo, NY at the time, but the marriage took place in St. Catharines, Ontario, Christmas Day, 1895.

Ella and John lived in Buffalo, at least at the time of the 1910 US Federal Census.  John's occupation is listed as "Commercial Traveller, Kodak Co."

At some point between 1911 and 1916 the Wests moved back to Canada.  Ella passed away from heart failure in 1916 in Essex, Ontario.  Her parents are listed as Robt. Christie and Caroline Turney.  J.C. West is the informant.

According to the entry I found in the Ontario Deaths, 1869-1938 database, John Charles West died on 14 July 1936 in Toronto, Ontario, at the age of 65 years.  His birth date is provided:  June 9, 1871 as well as his occupation ,"Demonstrator, Canadian Kodak Co."  These details were provided by his second wife, Mrs. Edith West.  J.C. West was buried in Park Lawn Cemetery, July 16, 1936.

Update (from Facebook) January 4, 2011:   Ontario Genealogy Society, Toronto Branch member Jane MacNamara has tracked down a death notice in the Toronto Daily Star (16 July 1936) that confirms the WEATHERALD connection and tells us a bit more about the WEST family. The notice reads:

WEST - Suddenly, at his residence, 10 Alhambra Ave., Toronto, John C. West, beloved husband of Edith M. Weatherald and brother of Christina, Agnes and Robert West of Paris, Ontario, aged 65 years.
Remains resting in Wm. Speers chapel, 2926 Dundas street (near Keele). Service in the chapel, Thursday, 3 p.m. Interment Park Lawn Cemetery.

Thanks so much, OGS Toronto & Jane MacNamara for tracking down the obituary for us!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Which Theodore Truslow? 1897, Concord, New Hampshire


This is an image of "Theodore Truslow," taken at the Kimball Studio in Concord, New Hampshire.  It is dated on the back, 1897. 

I couldn't find anything that I felt was a definitive match in the US Census or Canadian censuses.  To me, the boy in the photo looks about 13 years old.  I found two Theodore Truslows in the 1900 census for New York but one was born in 1880 (too old) and the other born 1891 (seems too young).  I couldn't find any Truslows living in New Hampshire in the latter part of the 1890s or early 1900s.  There are many, many Truslows in Virginia at the time.  None seem to be named Theodore.  Of course, we don't have the 1890 census which would have been the ideal resource.

So who is this Theodore Truslow?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sunday's Child: Master Clifford Brown, Bristol, Tennessee, 1894


This young fella is identified as "Master Clifford Brown" on the reverse of this cabinet card photograph circa 1890s.

A search of the 1900 US Census provided 11 hits on the name "Clifford Brown" born between 1880 and 1900 in Tennessee.  There was only one from Bristol, Sullivan County, TN:  Clifford M. Brown, b. May 1892 in TN, son of Walter Brown, and living with his father and step-mother, Clenna Brown.  This birth date fits in with the time period of the cabinet card.

In 1910, Clifford M. Brown was eighteen years old and  living in Civil District 16, Sullivan Co., TN in the home of his uncle Dr. Fred Massengill and Fred's wife, Eulalia Massengill.

At the time of the his WW1 draft registration, Clifford is living in Bluefield, West Virginia, and working in the hardware store there.  He also registered for the WWII draft and is found living with his Aunt Sallie J. Smith in Bluefield.

Clifford never married, and died 2 June 1954 in Bluefield at 62 years of age.  He managed a flower shop there for many years.  His parents are listed as Walter K. Brown and Naomi Massengel.

I did a quick search on the photographer S.C. or C.F. Hodges and Hodges Art Gallery.  I couldn't find any reference to S.C. Hodges in the directories or censuses for Bristol that I have access to.  I did find C.F. Hodges listed as an artist in the 1880 census for Bristol, and later, in the 1900 census, as "photographer."  C.F. Hodges died in 1903.  If he was the photographer, the photo would have to have been taken prior to 1903, which is fairly obvious by the style of photograph.

While I can't say for certain Clifford Massengill Brown is the as the young man in the photograph, it's a good possibility.  It would be helpful to locate a photograph of Clifford Massengill Brown to compare it with.

On a side note, I found some references to the Massengill family of Bristol, TN.  Apparently the family was quite influential in the medical sciences.  I would not be surprised if Clifford's uncle, Dr. Fred Massengill, belongs to this family.  It would be interesting to know if Dr. Fred appears in the book I found online called, Sketch of Medicine and Pharmacy and a View of Its Progress by the Massengill Family from the Fifteenth to the Twentieth Century by Samuel Evans Massengill, who started the S.E. Massengill Pharmaceutical Company in Bristol in 1896.