Monday, December 15, 2008

Three genealogical presents I would like to see under my Christmas Tree

The topic for the 62nd edition Carnival of Genealogy is “Three Wishes”. We bloggers of genealogy were given the challenge to write a letter to Santa asking him to grant us three gifts from our ancestors. We all know that Santa has been around for a very long time and must therefore know a lot of history and would certainly sympathize with us and grant us our wishes. All we have to do is ask, right?

The first gift on my list would be the Brooch that was worn my paternal grandmother, Mrs. Emily Strike, born Russell, in at least three pictures which I have seen of her as a young woman. I noticed that there seems to be a miniature portrait on the face of the brooch. Emily’s mother died about 1892 in Houtzdale, Pennsylvania, and left five young children, two boys and three girls, on the hands of the father, Thomas W. Russell. Emily the third-born child who survived (the first two children died early) was about 12 years old. The oldest girl in the family, Jane Ann, was not much older. Nevertheless, the three girls in the family took the mother's place and kept the house clean and their father and brothers well fed. The only existing picture of the mother, who was the former Eleanor Hartley, might be the image on Emily’s brooch. Unfortunately, the brooch has not been seen for years. I hope that it may still be in the hands of one of Emily’s descendants. Actually, writing up this wish list has given me renewed motivation to ask around for it.

The picture below shows Emily on the left wearing the brooch and on the right, Emily’s younger sister, Janet Russell.

I have been over this picture, particularly the brooch with a magnifying glass, but the resolution does not allow me to indentify the image with certainty. I can not even make out the person's gender. Recently, I have thought the image might be Emily’s husband, Otto Strike, rather than her mother. I overlayed a close-up scan of the broach with a scan of Otto as a young man (see picture below). The picture of Otto was actually cropped from what I presume is a wedding picture of Emily and Otto. Is that Otto in the brooch? Was it customary to have a picture of a woman's husband, or perhaps her betrothed, on a brooch?

My Second Gift Wish:

I lived in Geneva, Switzerland, for two years (1973-1974) on a research fellowship. While there, I bought this carving of a man blowing the Alphorn. My maternal grandmother was born in Canton Thurgau, Switzerland in 1894.

I am thinking big here. I do not know where I would store such an instrument. So, my practical wish would be to have someone show me how to make just one long, sweet sound from the alphorn. Christmas morning, around 6 am, would be a good time.
Third Gift Wish (is that all?):

The image above shows my mother visiting her first cousin, Martina Rink, in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, in the Spring of 1974. Martina died the next year after this picture was taken. Martina was never married, and she had one brother with whom we have lost touch. My third wish is to take a second look at the photo album which lies under Martina’s hand- if it still exists. The ultimate gift would be to have the album on my shelf. Too bad personal scanners were not common in 1974.
1. My mother was the daughter of Margaret Austel; and Martina, the daughter of Ida Austel. To undestand more of this relationship, see previous entry, "Austel Line ... Introduction to the first generation".
2. See what gifts other Genealogy Bloogers wished from their ancestors; sorry, only 3 gift requests allowed.

1 comment:

Sheri said...

Emily and Janet look like they could be twins! You know, footnoteMaven you love to see this photo - she has a thing for ladies wearing glasses in old photos!