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Posts Tagged ‘Photographs’

The topic for the 79th Carnival of Genealogy is Family Reunions.  Since I have posted several topics about this subject, I won’t repeat! 

My first post was Family Reunions. This was an article concerning preparations for the big event. I also included information about the reunions I attended as a child.

This post, Past Reunions, concerned the newspaper articles and a Reunion Minutes book that was kept. It never ceases to amaze me the gems we find in news articles or through our ancestors’ careful note taking!

In the article, Wilt Cousins, I mentioned the reunions my maternal grandmother’s side of the family had each year and added more information about those in that branch. Toward the end of the article I urged everyone to document the pertinent points of the reunion – who, what, where, why, and how. If our ancestors had done this, we might not have so many questions now!

I’ve included several photographs scattered throughout all the articles – a mixture of very old to new.

Oftentimes reunions aren’t just large everyone-from-each-branch type of events.  More than not they are get-togethers for scattered members of the family when they come together for graduations, births, weddings, and funerals.  Such was the case for my family this past spring as we gathered for my Mom’s memorial service. 

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My first cousins – Jane, Judy, Jack (siblings), and my sister and I.  Two of our cousins weren’t able to attend and of course, my brother, was in our hearts.  We are the ones, now, to move forward and make sure our parents and grandparents and all those who have gone on before us, are kept in our hearts and memories.  We will be the ones to share stories, to reminisce and provide family “lore” for our children and grandchildren.

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I wrote this post about wanting to meet Maureen Taylor of Photo Detective fame and show her the portraits I’ve acquired.  Yesterday I had an opportunity to photograph the portraits – since they are way too large to scan – and look them over a little more.  I had to experiment a little because each time I used a flash, it would create a glare on the picture.  Thinking I might need to have my photographer daughter set up her studio lights & take pictures just so I can have better quality digital shots.  I don’t want to expose these fragile pieces to harsh lights any more than I should though. 

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This is a crayon/charcoal rendering of my 2nd great-grandmother, Malissa (Goul) Blazer.  The portrait is at least 16×20.  There aren’t any artist’s marks or other identifying features.  I think the drawing was made from a photograph rather than at a sitting. 

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This is another large rendering of my great-grandmother, Katie (Blazer) Johnson.  She is young and it is my thought that she wasn’t married yet.  Below is a photo that shows Katie about the same age – quite probably the photo that the drawing was made from.  The “smudge” on the lower corner of the picture appears to be an artist’s mark – except it really is just a smudge of some sort.

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This portrait of the Johnson family (below) appears to be an enlargement of a regular photograph.  It was very difficult to photograph.  Whatever material or chemical process was used, made areas of it too shiny to capture correctly.  This picture is poster sized.  The original photograph would have been made between 1906-1908.  I don’t know what year the enlargement would have been made.

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This is the only picture I have of my maternal great-grandparents’ (Katie and John Johnson) family that included both my grandfather (younger boy), Glen Johnson, and his older brother, Letis.  In fact, this was the first picture I saw of my great-uncle.

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Above is my other maternal great-grandfather, Joseph N. Wilt.  Written on the back of this 16×20 is my great-grandmother’s name (Martha Wilt) and her address.  There are also indications on how much brown, gray and black to use on the drawing.  All indications to me that they were still married at the time – which would have been before 1909.

Below are other renderings that were packed with those above.  Some of these people are still a mystery to me.

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This is actually a photograph (above) that is 16×20.  My mother seemed to think this was my grandfather’s baby sister, Mary, before she died.  Others seem to think it is a little boy – not a little girl.  When I look at this picture, I see resemblences to other member of my family in the eyes and mouth.

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My mother told me the child above is her brother, Glen, as a baby.  I have no reason to believe otherwise.  This is a drawing – slightly smaller than 16×20.

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The drawing above is of an unknown woman.  My mother told me she thought it was a sister of my 2nd great-grandmother, Malissa. I’m more inclined to believe it is my great-grandmother’s sister, Rachel (Blazer) Given.  I’ve seen pictures of her other sister, Martha “Mattie”, and this isn’t her. 

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My grandfather, Glen Johnson (baby) and his older brother, Letis, with the family dogs. 

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This is another photograph that has been enlarged.  It is of my grandfather, Glen Johnson, at Shadyside Park, close to his home in Madison County, Indiana.  Again this was very hard to photograph due to the materials or chemical used in the process.  The size is smaller than a 16×20.

My biggest challenge will be to figure out what to do with these rather large pictures.  I don’t have enough wall space to have them framed and hung.  Nor would I want them exposed to bright sunlight.  I’ll gladly accept any recommendations and suggestions.  Perhaps Maureen Taylor herself might give me some pointers!

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When the subject for the 64th Edition of Carnival of Genealogy was announced, I wondered what I could submit.  Somewhere in my files and books are many pictures of winter activities and snow – with some included below.  Since I’ve lived in Texas for the better part of (almost) 30 years, I haven’t seen as much snow as I did when I grew up in southwestern Ohio.  So when we have snow in north Texas, it makes news – big news! 

Local stations interrupt most of the morning and daily television programs to report on the weather – with the same scene of people sliding on ice on the highways and the same scene (over and over!) of people sliding on bridges.  I often wonder – how many times can you report the same story every ten minutes.  Nothing has changed! 

Not only do schools shut down when the roads have a hint of ice, but businesses, churches, and government offices.  People rush the grocery as if they will be holed up for weeks (maybe a couple days!).  And unless you live way out in the country, there’s usually a 7-11 within a block or two.

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We never know how to dress in the winter time.  Case in point – the picture at left was taken on New Year’s Day 2005!  My daughter was wearing shorts because the temperature was in the 70p2020170s!

This picture was taken on February 2, 2007.  At least the snow was “pretty” instead of just wet and yucky!  Unfortunately, this was one of those days when it was non-stop news reports.

The following pictures were taken in the 60s in Ohio.  This is the front of the house I grew up in and ice coated trees.  Usually, from January – March this was the norm!   Winter time and cold weather normally meant heavy winter coats, mittens or gloves, a hat and a scarf.  Until I was in 6th60snow grade, girls weren’t allowed to wear pants to school so in winter time, I wore winter “leggings” in order to keep my legs warm.  I also had heavy snow boots that went on over my shoes.  In 2nd grade, I had a pair of red knee high boots.  These were “fashion” boots – not snow boots yet I somehow convinced myself that I didn’t need snowboots over these.  The cold seeped in and so did the wet! 60s-96

Children in my neighborhood never seemed to mind the cold weather.  We were outside all of the time building snowmen, snow forts, making snow angels, and throwing snowballs at one another.  A neighbor of mine used to go to his grandmother’s house nearby that had a really nice hill on the property.  We’d have 4-5 kids on a big sled and ride down that hill – only to have to carry the sled back up to do it again!  When I was about 7, my parents got me a snow disk.  We didn’t have any “hills” in our yard except for the pool embankment into the yard.  Even so, I spent a good number of hours just riding that thing down three feet of “hill”.

In January 1978 a Blizzard hit the midwest.  I woke up one morning not too long after we’d just started back to classes after the Christmas break and realized that I’d overslept!  Mom told me there were no classes and no one was driving anywhere.  I looked outside and all I saw was a wall of white.  We were out of school for almost a week due to the blizzard.  Since we had used more than our allotment of snow days, school didn’t end until June 20 something that year!  Then the school board decided we should start in August instead of the normal “after Labor Day” – putting our summer vacation less than we’d ever had before.  That is one thing I don’t miss about the midwest – all the snow!

So in honor of the (lack of) real winter weather here in North Texas, I took several of my February 2007 Texas snow pictures and created a digital scrapbook page.texas_snow

(Digital page and elements designed by Wendy Littrell.  Original slides or digital images in possession of Wendy Littrell (Address for private use).

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Our basement decorated for Christmas, mid 1960s
Photographed by Gene Amore
Digital scan in possession of Wendy Littrell (Address for private use).

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Well, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
Tell me, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
‘Cause I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
written by Pete Townshend

glen-johnson-unknown-childI posted this picture on August 22, 2008 for Freaky Friday – 3rd Edition.  It is a picture of my grandfather (older child) and another unknown child.  I believe my grandfather was probably about 10 when this picture was taken and I am led to believe (due to the clothing) that the unknown child is a boy about 4-6 years old.  My grandfather didn’t have any younger brothers.  His foster sister was 12 years younger than my grandfather so it couldn’t possibly be her – dressed in pants.

So I ask – who are you little boy?  Could you possibly be a relative?

Possibilities include: Floyd Tyler b. June 13, 1906.  He was my grandfather’s first cousin, son of his paternal aunt, Olive Belle (Johnson) Tyler.  That would mean (since my grandfather was born in Nov. 1898) that Floyd would have been 8 years younger than my grandfather.  I haven’t determined if Floyd was born in Indiana but I do know he spent most of his life in and around Calhoun County, Michigan and was buried there.  However, some of his older siblings were born in Howard County, Indiana.

Could this child be glen-johnson-unknown-child-2Earl Goul, born June 15, 1904 and six years younger than my grandfather?  Earl was the second cousin of his as his grandfather, John Wesley Goul, was brother to my grandfather’s grandmother, Malissa Goul.  Earl was born in Delaware County, Indiana but spent time and died in Madison County, Indiana (where my grandfather was born and raised).

A very good possibility – looking at the following photos – is that this child is my grandfather’s half-uncle’s son, Guy Leston Johnson.  However, I would have to be off on the ages of both boys  as Guy was 10 years younger than my grandfather.  Here are the photos – the black and white was the earlier of the two photos.

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 Whomever he is, this unknown little boy will continue to be a mystery to me until I determine his name and relationship.  Have you seen him before?  Perhaps in that stack of photos your great-grandparents left you?  Or in a framed photo hanging on a friend’s wall? 

This is why it is very important to not only label photographs – but to list the relationship of those in the photo.  Even if I had a name – would I be able to connect the dots back to my grandfather? 

This post was written for the 9th Edition Smile for the Camera – Who Are You.

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“Official” Isaac Hayes, Tina Turner, Booker T & the MG’s Rest Stop westbound on I-40 in Madison County, Tennessee.

Photographed November 22, 2008.  Digital photo owned by Wendy Littrell (address for private use).

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Miriam Robbins Midkiff, of Ancestories2 and Ancestories issued a new word prompt on her Ancestories2 blog. The word prompt is Fall.

“How do you feel about fall? Is it a favorite season, or do you prefer another?”

When I was growing up in southwestern Ohio, I loved fall!  The changing colors, going back to school, Fall Festivals at schools and around the community, the smell of a fire in the fireplace, the warmth of “Indian Summer” days, and the beginning of the new television schedule!

“What are you favorite fall activities (indoor or out)?”

Once we had a “weeny” roast at my brother’s house in their outdoor firepit.  The temp was in the low 40s so everyone was bundled in coats and hats and either sat out by the fire or in their enclosed patio area.  My sister-in-law made hot apple cider complete with real cinnamon sticks and cloves.  After the hot dog dinner, we all roasted marshmallows over the fire.  Another activity I enjoyed as a kid was the large piles of leaves we would jump into!  As an adult one of our annual activities includes attending our community’s Western Day festival in the old part of our city.  There is lots of history to the shops on Main Street.  Each year there are bands that play on the stages set up, a longhorn cattle drive down Main Street along with a parade, gun fight re-enactments, and a chance to catch up with people I don’t see very often.

“What are your favorite fall sports (to watch or play)?”

In high school the thing to do was go to the football games each Friday at home and spend most of the game wandering below the stands socializing!  Then after the game we’d all meet up at the local pizza hangout.  Living in Texas now (especially when I had children in high school), Friday nights just aren’t the same unless we are at the local high school football game!  Between the annual rivalry game that was played at Texas Stadium in Irving and having a son in band for many years, we always spent home games on Fridays at the high school stadium – eating hot dogs or nachos and hoping for our team to win!

“Do you have a favorite fall outfit to wear?  Cordouroy slacks and plaid flannel shirt, a cozy sweater, etc.?”

I don’t necessarily have a fall outfit that I pull out at the first sign of chilly weather but I have a pair of flannel pajamas that are nice and warm that I only wear in the fall and winter (and here in Texas that is only when the temps are low).  I have a nice pair of lined wool slacks that I wear to church when the weather is cool to keep my legs warm. 

“Do you have any particular household or garden chores that you regularly do just in autumn?”

No – other than get the living room set up in order to put up the Christmas Tree after Thanksgiving.

“Have you ever gone leaf peeping?”

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Well I had to google this term as it’s not something I’ve ever heard before!  I guess you could say that on my recent road trip from Texas to Ohio a couple weeks ago, I did take pictures of the trees and changing leaves as we made our way north.  Where I’m at the leaves change & fall – no chance to photograph them unless you are really quick!  I see a lot of interesting colors on the leaves that have already fallen – not much on the trees themselves!  But I love to look at others’ pictures of fall foilage!

“What observances of nature do you regularly watch (birds flying south, squirrels preparing for winter, etc.)?”

The birds come here – so instead of watching them fly south (like I did when I was young & in Ohio), I watch them land in my yard.  Then I watch the dog chase them away!  I do see some squirrels around – but they are mainly sitting on the fence antagonizing the dog! 

“What flowers that bloom during this season do you especially like?”

Many years ago when my second oldest daughter was in the high school choir, one of their fundraisers was selling pansies in October.  We ordered quite a few and planted them in an circular garden out front and then in an area in the back.  They stayed really pretty clear through the fall and most of the winter.  Of course they were purple pansies! 

pa140040“Do you visit any orchards, pumpkin patches or corn mazes?”

A few years ago I took one of my grandsons to the local pumpkin patch in mid-October.  There were many child-friendly activities for him, and we also took a hayride around the pumpkin patch. 

“What about the local fair?”

I’ve only been to the county fair once and that was only because my daughter’s choir was performing.  Our Texas State Fair is held in the fall but I have never gone.  Too many people, not thrilled with the (lack of) security, too expensive and not my cup of tea!  When I was in Junior High, my mom and I worked the school’s PTA fall fair.  We spent several hours in the soda truck selling sodas to fair-goers.  That was always a lot of fun – unfortunately for a few days afterwards I would always come down with laryngitus!

“Do you do any kind of harvesting or food preparation (canning, drying, smoking)?

No! Nada!

“What about hunting?”

No – never had the opportunity or place to go.

“Do you do any kind of fall traveling, other than holiday travels?”

Growing up we’d usually go visit my mom’s brother in Battle Creek and/or my dad’s two brothers outside of Detroit.  In 1966 my parents and I took a month long trip from Ohio to California and back in the fall.  And a couple weeks ago my sister and I took a road trip from Texas to Ohio to visit our Mom.  The other trips my family has taken have all been Thanksgiving trips to the farm in Missouri.

pb270365“Which is your favorite fall holiday, and why (Hallowe’en, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, or others)?

I always loved Halloween growing up because it allowed me to indulge my passion to dress up in different costumes.  I still love the holiday and watching my kids and now my grandkids dress up in costume and have fun!  Thanksgiving has always come in a close second (as my birthday is really close to Thanksgiving!) – with family around, lots of food, and of course the Cowboys football game!

“What are your favorite fresh foods that are in season at this time? Favorite fall recipes or beverages?”

Pumpkin pie!  I also hated sweet potatoes as a kid and it’s only been in the last 15 years that I’ve been able to eat them willingly!  I love baked sweet potatoes with butter and brown sugar on them as well as sweet potato casserole.  I look forward to apple cider in the fall and making a cauliflower casserole.  I’m also not a turkey all year round person!  So I look forward to cooking the big bird at Thanksgiving along with all the trimmings.  Until I stopped eating whole eggs, I looked forward to the first jugs of egg nog in the supermarket!  Those containers never last long at my house!

“Share favorite fall memories from your childhood.”

This particular memory has to be from my teen years.  Since I loved Halloween but at age 13 was “too old” to go out on beggar’s night any more, I looked forward to having a costume party.  The only problem was I wasn’t allowed to have a “boy/girl” party until I was 16 and since my birthday fell after Halloween (and after Thanksgiving!), I lobbied for and won the debate and was able to have my costume party at age 15 right before my birthday.  The theme was to come dressed as your favorite rock star or musician or celebrity.  There were about 15 people there which my brother insisted that he “chaperone”.  After an hour in the basement listening to our 70s music and watching us talk and dance, my brother went up to sit with my mom proclaiming us “Boring” (which meant we weren’t doing anything we shouldn’t be doing!).  My other favorite autumn memories are of my birthdays.  As a child I’d have friends or neighbors over to celebrate.  Normally we still had family in town from the Thanksgiving holiday.  Many times we had left over turkey – which ceased when I was about 13 and started insisting on pizza.  As a teen there were slumber parties on or close to my birthday.  An equally fun memory was going to the local charity run “haunted houses” as a teenager.  That was when they only cost $1 to get in and volunteers ran and acted in the houses.  All the money went to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  A bunch of us – either high school friends or my church youth group would go a few weekends prior to Halloween and have fun.  For awhile a friend and I would always walk the annual “Hike for the Handicap” or March of Dimes walk each fall.  Normally it would be about a ten-mile trek around one of the neighboring cities.  We didn’t raise much money but we sure had a good time.  And a few years ago, my daughter and I participated in the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Dallas.

“What do you like least about this season?”

The unpredictable weather!  Here in Texas Halloween normally marks the time when the weather turns really cold and biting – but this year it was still warm and nice. 

“What family birthdays, anniversaries, or events are commemorated in the fall?  Are there any signficant family history events that occurred during the summer?”

My mother’s birthday is at the end of September and as a young teen, I always made sure to make her a cake and employed some of my friends to help me surprise her when she got home from work.  My birthday is in November and my sister’s and my daughter’s wedding anniversaries are in October. 

What about you?  What are your answers?

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