Monday, December 13, 2010

A Photobook for Father's Day, 2010

Several months ago, I posted a blog entry for Mother's Day which featured an album of vintage and recent photographs of my mother. I used an online photo album called "Snapfish dot com" to create a photobook which I then presented to Mom for Mother's Day. At the time, I proposed to create a similar photo album for my father. And now, several months after June, I finally present my "Father's Day" PhotoBook. Actually, my father died many years ago, in 1973, so I do not have as many pictures of him as I did of my mother. I have learned a little more about the process of creating Photobooks. I was able to place 104 pictures into 32 pages of my Father's album. (For Mom's PhotoBook, I placed 45 pictures into 20 pages).

Image 1 (above): Cover of my Father's Day PhotoBook. It is 8.5 x 10.5 inches, landscape orientation.

Image 2 (above): Father's Day Photobook, Page 2 and 3. My objective in these books is to present a bit of genealogy of my parents as well as a chronology of events in their lives. On the left page, I show an abbreviated pedigree of my father's known ancestors including their images. (click to enlarge) The chart was created with Microsoft Power Point. On the right page are my father's biological parents (Streich and Russell) and adopted parents (Kramp and Streich). Dad was adopted by his aunt (Otto Streich's sister). Note that I made a grievous mistake and captioned both pictures as "biological" parents. Unfortunately, I couldn't afford an editor. So, I corrected the caption on the far right with a Sharpie marker. Realize that these are limited printings of the book. So mistakes like these are easy to correct even though it looks like heck. There may be a second edition published some day with the corrections.

Image 3 (above): Father's Day Photobook, page 16 and 17.
More pages of the Photobook showing different templates in which up to 8 photos are placed on a page. On left page, are pictures of my father, mother, and their first child (me). On the right, are images of my father's career represented by a Linotype machine and a vintage picture of the Washington (District of Columbia) Evening Star- one of Dad's early employers.

I have dozens of pictures of my father which do not appear in this Photobook. It's difficult to choose the best representative pictures. So, as in the case of my mother, I plan to create a more comprehensive slide show on my online, Roxio PhotoShow site on the Internet.

Photobook of my Mother and a link to her Roxio PhotoShow.

Blog Caroling: Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht

It is time again for Footnote Maven's third annual Blog Caroling challenge to all bloggers of genealogy (Geneabloggers). So, come along and sing with Bob and Ben one of our most beloved Christmas carols, "Silent Night".


The Christmas carol "Silent Night" was written as a poem in 1816 by an Austrian priest, Joseph Mohr. It was performed for the first time at Midnight Mass, Christmas Eve, in 1818, at St. Nicholas Church, in the small alpine village called Oberndorf. Mohr's friend, Franz Xavier Gruber, composed the melody for Silent Night. It was written to be played on the guitar since, according to legend, the church's organ was broken. According to Wikipedia, the original church was destroyed in a flood in the early twentieth century, but a memorial chapel was built as replacement. The chapel is located next to a museum built as an exhibit regarding the history and legends the popular Christmas carol.


Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht
Alles Schläft, ein-sam wacht
Nur das traute hoch heilige Paar.
Holder Knabe im lok-kigen Haar,
Schlaf in himmliseher Ruh
Schlaf in himmlescher Ruh

Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht
Hirten erat kund gemacht
Durch der Engel Halleluja
Tënt es laut von fern und nah:
Christ, der Retter ist da
Christ, der Retter ist da

Stille Nacht, Helige Nacht
Gottes Sohn, o wie lacht
Lieb' aus Deinem gottlichen Mund
Da uns schlägt die rettende Stund'
Christ, in Deiner Geburt
Christ, in Deiner Geburt

C'mon, I'm sure you know the English version.

To read other Geneablogger's favorite Christmas Carols, go to: Footnote Maven's Traditional Blog Caroling.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Another way to "publish" one's genealogy: electronic digital readers

It's difficult for me to stop collecting genealogical data and take the time to publish what I have gathered into a printed book with hard covers. There always seems to be one more fact to uncover, one more census to consult, one more relative to interview, and so on. However, along the way, I have faithfully entered most of my data into my chosen genealogical computer program- which happens to be Ancestral Quest (AQ) by Incline Software. Every two or three years, I create Modified Register Reports for several end-of-the-line ancestors. I take the option to save the reports in Adobe's pdf format and then take the files to Kinko's Copy Shop or similar place to be printed on their laser printer. Finally, I bind the reports with plastic combs. I consider these reports to be interim. Almost immediately I begin to make corrections with my red pen. One can see so many errors once a report is printed. And yes, I find new ideas for further research and further put off the final printing.

However, I am getting to the age at which I believe I must stop and publish my findings. I do not want to take any of this genealogical information with me to the grave- as many of my relatives have already done.

Publishing and printing is expensive. My brother-in-law recently contracted a professional printer to make 150 copies of his McCutcheon Line. It cost thousands of dollars- and that's just for one family line. Nevertheless, each book is invaluable. His genealogy is archived in libraries all around the country including the Congressional and LDS Libraries. His data are carved in granite and will be here for many generations to enjoy.

So, I plan to have my genealogies professionally printed. Nevermind the cost. I'll mortgage my house if I have to.

IN THE MEANTIME, I came across a new technology that might be used to simply and quickly archive genealogical data. I am talking about electronic digital readers (e readers). A large portion of the market is cornered by Barnes and Noble's "Nook",'s "Kindle", and Sony's "eReader". These readers usually cost less than $150. After looking at the features of each of these models, I settled on Sony's eReader (Trade Mark). In particular, I was looking for a device in which:

1. A media card could be inserted into the e-reader and loaded with my OWN pdf files.

2. A reader that could be turned on its long side (landscape orientation) so that more of the text would be visible, left to right.

Let me break here and show a few images of the Sony eReader that I purchased. I loaded the Reader with a 2GB SD media card containing Modified Register Reports (MRR) in pdf format which were created in Ancestral Quest. The card was inserted into a slot on top of the Reader. Realize that these images are photos of the reader.

Image 1. (below). Sony eReader (Trade Mark), vertical orientation, small font (shows whole page). MRR for Joseph Austel, page 1 of 115. Adobe pdf format.

In Ancestral Quest, one can add a primary image to the vital statistics and biological notes for each individual. It would be extremely difficult to read the text in this set up of the Sony eReader. Now, if we go to the next image:

Image 2. Sony eReader set in Landscape orientation, medium-size font. MRR for Joseph Austel, p. 1 of 115. Adobe pdf format.

In this setting, I could easily read the text in the report. Though I can't read the whole page, top to bottom, I can drag my finger across the screen to scroll down to the rest of the page. The reader automatically re-formats the text of the original pdf file such that the width of the lines is not cropped. In other words, the text is re-flowed.

Image 3. Sony eReader (TM), showing the editing feature: add a free-hand note or type one.

The last image shows the editing feature. I can add notes either in free-hand as shown using a stylus, or call up a box and virtual keyboard and type in a note.
The notes do not affect the original pdf file. Also, I can call up all the notes at once for a specific book (pdf file).

I have loaded my SD media card with 14 individual, Modified Register Reports (books) each of which were originally created in Ancestral Quest as a pdf file. The pdf files range from 100 to 300 pages. In addition, I also loaded 15 Scrapbook reports in pdf format. The SD card can be removed from the eReader; inserted into a computer; and then read in the Adobe Reader application. I made a copy of the SD media card with all of its pdf files and gave it to my brother to be used as a back-up.

One can also load jpeg images and mp3 audio files into the eReader. Images are seen in black and white on this eReader, but Barnes and Noble is now marketing a "Color Nook".

I believe the Nook and Kindle readers to not have the capability of loading SD media cards. Therefore, electronic books have to be downloaded from the Internet either wirelessly or via a computer. The "3G" readers can connect to the Internet directly for downloads. Unless you have your genealogy posted in a book at Amazon or B&N, you can not load your own genealogy into their readers. However, I recently discovered that a fellow genealogist, Thomas MacEntee, posted a Guide entitled, "A Genealogy Blog Primer. Everything You Wanted to Know About Genealogy Blogs but Were Afraid to Ask". The Primer is free and can be downloaded as a pdf file fom LuLu bookstores.

One final note. After saying all this, I do not like to read my genealogy books on the eReader. My old eyes get tired reading the text against a light grey background. Even the e-reader manufacturers say that traditional books are still easier to read. I saw a recent advertisement which claimed that their "new" reader had 5o percent greater contrast. The Color Nooks might be easier on the eyes. This technology is still young but growing fast. And I must admit- it is more convenient to carry around an electronic reader rather than a case of traditional books.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Experiment: Linking images between this blog and my Picasa Photo Albums

The image below shows my home-made tool for collecting juicy plums from high up in the tree. A cut-up, plastic milk carton is attached to a leaf rake. Click on image to enlarge. It will take you to my Picasa web site. Click on your browser's "back arrow" key to return to this blog.

This entry is an experiment. I uploaded the image above from one of my "NON Blog" albums at my Picasa account. When I first set up my blog, all of my images were automatically stored in ONE album called "Life's Journey" at Picasa. It is also the title of my blog. It is now about four years since I started my blog, and I have over 330 images in the "Life's Journey" album at Picasa. I believe the album is too large. In fact, I get the warning "stack overload" when I choose to view this particular album all at once. So, I started a second album at Picasa which I entitled, "Life's Journey, II". In other words, I wanted to stop stuffing all my blogged images into just one album. Incidentally, I have other albums at Picasa which are NOT automatically linked to my blog, such as my High School Reunion album.

Another "bug" in the image-upload process, is that I must upload the image first before adding any text. If I do not follow this order, then I can not enlarge the image by clicking on it in the blog. Also, if I add a second or third image, those images will also not enlarge- UNLESS, I upload all the images at once, and before adding any text.

If anyone has a different method of uploading images (which will enlarge when clicked upon), please post a comment to this entry.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

There is One in Every Family

The challenge this month from our group of Genealogical Bloggers (Geneabloggers) was to create a blog with the theme, "There's One in Every Family". The real challenge of course was to define the one WHAT??? in every family. Is the WHAT a famous person, a black sheep, a renowned artist, a super athlete, an explorer, an adventure who broke out of the family to take a different path than the others? We genealogists look at many families in our research, and I believe there are many people who could fit into the WHAT definition of this theme. However, the person who I certainly HOPE is in every family is the Collector. You might see where I am going here. I am talking about the collectors of family stories, heirlooms, and photographs- essentially, the Family Historians in the family. They not only collect names and dates, but they also collect the information which fills out the character of our ancestors and their descendants- makes them real people.

Family historians never throw anything away that might be of historical significance to the family or might even have the potential of being so.

In my genealogical research, I have often come across several persons in my family who have had the foresight to save stories, pictures, postcards, letters, newspaper clippings, and even the rare journal. My great grandfather, Thomas W. Russell kept an 1880 journal which has survived to this day. Ralph Sherwin, an uncle in my Russell Line, saved a box of vintage photos. Alice Wagner, another aunt, kept all the postcards sent to her by her brother in World War II. The list could go on. It is the job of the family historian to find these collectors in our family and preserve their stash.

Recently, I reconized another person (Theresa) who is the Collector in her own branch of the family. Hopefully, there is at least one in every family. The image below shows a chronological collection of photos of Theresa's mother, Mrs. Shirley Gailliot, nee. Trice. The collection represents several life events of Theresa's Mom.

Theresa displayed her collection on an easel in the lobby of the funeral home in which her mom rested. Thank you Theresa for your exhibit. It reminded me of the happy moments of one member of our family. And my grandchildren will know her too.


Index for Carnival of Genealogy editions at "Creative Gene" blog.

Proposal by Creative Gene for the 100th editon of the Carnival of Genealogy.

Read posts by other Geneabloggers concerning the topic, "There's one in every family".

Friday, July 23, 2010

Angel's Rest

Angel's Rest rises above Pearisburg, Giles County, VA. Many years ago when I was able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, I backpacked to the top and spent the night in my sleeping bag looking up at the stars and down on the twinkling lights of the town. I didn't notice any angels resting nearby on that night, but I think I know why they might have paused to rest here. It is also used by hikers following the Appalachian Trail.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Mom's Day, 2010

Image 1 (below). Front cover of the photo album which I gifted to Mom on Mother's Day this year. That's me with a cowboy holster around my waist kissing Mom; there is a similar picture of my brother and Mom on the inside. By the way, Mom is Mary Margaret, born Gailliot.

Image 2. This 8 x 10 inch, 20-page, landscape-formatted album contains photos of my mother taken throughout her life, in chronological order. Both the front and back of each page have photos.

I was so pleased with the photo album that I ordered two books, one for mom and one for myself. Actually, I received a two-for-one promotional so it was a deal. I created the book from scanned, digital images which I have been uploading to Snapfish(dot)com- an Internet photo album similar to Kodak Gallery, Picasa, Flickr, Photobucket, and other sites. I do not intend to endorse any particular site, but the book creator at Snapfish seemed to be easy to use- after a couple of trials.
I think these books are a great way to present and archive one's family history. Moreover, as Mom and I sat down to look over the album, I learned a few more items about mother's life and her neighborhood that I didn't know previously. For example, I thought my mother was the kid on the far LEFT in the picture of the "bathing beauties" lined up in grandma Gailliot's side yard on a summer day. I based this identification on other pictures of my mother as a child. Instead, Mom was the girl standing second from the kid on the far RIGHT. We then proceeded to identify all the kids in the picture. Some of the girls were linked to the same girls, but a few years older, in the picture of the graduating Sunday School Class on the facing page.
On the sample pages above (Image 2), I posted three pictures on the left page and two pictures on right. Other pages contained four and I could have inserted more. I try to limit my digital scans of vintage pictures to about 1280 x 960 pixels, but sometimes this is not possible with very small originals. However, one can see here that some pictures can be miniaturized to fit on the page. For example, the two portraits near the center on the left-hand page (Image 2) were originally similar in size to the others. This arrangement would be difficult to accomplish with traditional scrapbooks in which the pictures are not miniaturized but remain the same size and are trimmed to be smaller with scissors.
Now, to do an album of my father's pictures.
I was able to insert a total of 45 pictures in my album. But, I still had many more pictures. So, I created a video slide show of these pictures and several more (143 images; 22 minutes long) and uploaded it to my channel at Roxio Photoshow. Take a look at another means of presenting one's family history in pictures.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Festival of Postcards-8th Ed: Geography

The 8th edition of "Festival of Postcards" is calling for vintage postcards that depict some aspect of geography- maps, landmarks, and so forth. I immediately thought of where I would go for this one.

(click image to enlarge)

As shown above, I put together some of my STATE postcards and mounted them in a 24 x 36 inch poster frame. I tacked the project to the breezeway of my home so I could look at it every time I go out or enter the house. I tried to put the states into their relative position or locations in the United States: East, Middle, West. I will probably re-do the project some day because I have a few more states to add. You can see "California" was stuck under the edge of the frame in lower right-hand corner. I will have to open the frame and put the state in its relative position. Right below "Montana" (left side), you may be able to see the reverse of a card (stamped and sent from Nebraska, Spring 2005) to my friend telling her of my postcards idea:

"Dear Annie, One of the few things I dream about when I get back to my homey little nest is making a poster of all my state postcards. I believe most of my travels and adventures will now be limited to looking at the cards from my big green arm chair"

At the time, I was working a month-long contract as an instructor in radiation safety at the Fort Collins Nuclear Plant located on the Missouri River, near Blair, Nebraska. Actually, I have collected most of these cards while working at, or enroute to, jobs at nuclear power plants all over the States. Sometimes on my day off, I would browse antique stores and flea markets for vintage cards of the states, such as those shown in the close-up below. I believe the cards of Mississippi, Texas, and Tennessee (with scalloped edges) and a few others out of view could be considered vintage.

Some of the cards (in first image) like the one of the Great Smokey Mountains and one of the New River (in NC and VA) are close-ups of those particular areas. Many of the cards have pictures of landmarks or activities that are unique to that state which bring back memories to me of when I was there.

Incidentally, I am missing the states of Wyoming, Kentucky, Missouri, and Maine. So, if you have an inkling, please mail* me a card from these states and I will send you a "thank you" postcard from North Carolina (modern). Oh yes, I have been through these states. I even worked a contract at the former Maine Yankee Nuclear Plant- in January!

*Bob Kramp at 105 N. Westover Dr, Monroe, NC 28112


Postcard collectors and genealogists: Learn about the Festival of Postcards at the web site of our host, Evelyn Yvonne Theriault.

Often when I comtemplate extensive travels, I recall a song made popular by the country singer, Hank Snow, called "I've Been Everywhere". It was the genre's top single in 1962. Johnny Cash also recorded it. I discovered today that the song was originally written about Australian locations according to Wikipedia. By the way, never freely give out your mobile phone number or email with out thinking about it. Now, go to the American version of ... Everywhere and its impossible-to-remember verse lyrics.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Faith of Our Fathers

As I become older (and supposedly wiser), I enjoy looking back into our history and re-discovering some of the values that were held by our earlier generations. Indeed, I am becoming a member of one of those earlier generations myself. And what do I mean by values? I believe I am thinking about the good things in Life's Journey that mean something significant- those things that stick with you and those things that can get you through some tough times.

And so it happened on a recent trip that I noticed an historical marker on my way out of an overnight camp at Kerr Reservoir on the border of North Carolina and Virginia. On State Hwy 39 at Townsville, the marker stated:

"St. John's Episcopal Church. Parish established 1746. Present Building completed 1773 stands 200 yards West".

It was a beautiful, sunny, early Spring morning, and I could make the time. So, I drove over to the church. There, on this country road on the Piedmont of North Carolina, I stopped to walk around the outside of the church and take some pictures. I wondered what it would have looked like on a similar Sunday in Spring over 200 years ago.

Above image: Saint John's Episcopal Church, rear view; note the large shuttered windows. Click on image for larger view.

Above: The front of the church was quite unique- large windows, curved steps, giant cedar trees, and a bronze tablet on the right side of the church, above the boxwood bush, that read:

Saint John's Parish Church founded 1746, Williamsborough, North Carolina
This Tablet is erected by the North Carolina Society of the Colonial Dames of America under the auspices of the Vance County Committee, Henderson, NC, Friday, October 25, 1935, in honor of the reverend memory of those who in building the State founded it upon their faith in God,
"Faith of our Fathers, Holy Faith, we will be true to thee till death".
Saint John's Parish was visited in 1749 by Reverend Clement Hall who baptized 184 children.
First Rector, 1766
The Reverend Charles Cupples
Sent out by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, London.
First Vestry
(followed by a list of persons)

Can you imagine, my friends, 184 children being baptized on one Sunday. Now, that's a lot of Faith. I looked around the area from my stance in front of the church. Not much else was happening on this Thursday morning on the second day of April.

Post Note: Henderson is the county seat of Vance County, NC. I heard on cable TV, Solid Gold Oldies, that one of The Drifters (recall the tunes, "Under the Boardwalk" and "Up on the Roof") was born in Henderson, NC. They played such great music BACK then.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Got a light?

Pioneer and farmer, Washington Duke of NC, was drafted into Confederate Navy. He was captured and became Prisoner of War. After war ended, he walked from New Bern, NC, to this homestead near Durham with 50 cents in his pocket. Here, he and his sons grew Gold Leaf tobacco and founded The American Tobacco Company. Washington's grandson, James Duke, endowed 30 M to Holy Trinity College in 1930 which changed its name to Duke Univ. And now WD's namesake is in the Final Four in NCAA Basketball. The guy can't lose.

Jump and Smile- It's Spring

Art emailed to me from the Grandkids. That might be Emma and Christina and the guy in the middle might be Dad or Pawpaw. But since he has blue eyes and no hair, I would put my money on "Pawpaw".

Have a Great Spring everybody.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Who do you think you are? Premier episode in America

Wow, double Wow, Triple Wow, Awesome and Un-Be-lievable. And thus, Sally Jessica Parker, star of HBO's "Sex in the City", gushes her way through a gauntlet of professional genealogist, historians, and even park rangers, as they thrust into her hands census reports, death certificates, arrest warrants for witchcraft, and other papers. I really like the way a park ranger and historian in California pulls out of his vest several photocopied papers indicating that one of Sally's maternal ancestors died during the 1849 gold rush. Yes, Wow!

It all seemed to start out with Sally's mother showing her some vintage photos of her grandmother and great grandmother. This is indeed a good start for any person interested in family history or genealogy. But sometimes, it takes months or years of digging through the attics of your relatives. And still, one may come up empty handed. Incidentally, I would have enjoyed spending a few more minutes with Sally's mother and having her relate some personal stories of her life or that of her relatives, or the stories of friends that might have known them. Remember, these are real people.

It seemed that Sally's mother was pretty excited about her daughter's discoveries about their family history. I think at the end of the program, Sally challenged her mother to write up the history. Excellent idea and good example. Of course, they can always see the TV recording.

But it was not like my experience. Years ago, I went home to Mom and started asking her about her past, what she liked about high school and so forth. I recall her response, "Oh Bobby, why do want to know that old stuff for anyway". Perhaps my approach was wrong. Maybe I should of brought along a camera crew.

I believe it is necessary, if at all possible, to go back to the homelands of your ancestors to do research, as Sally did, in going back to Cincinnati, the California gold fields, and the site of the Salem witch trials. It's not always possible, but it sure can round out the life of an ancestor.

I'm not naive, I do know that anything on commercial TV has to be pretty shallow. And in this premier episode, Sally Parker goes back about 400 years of no-brick-walls, family history in about 40 minutes of program time. That's about a decade a minute. Yes, Wow again.

Nevertheless, I will take the drawbacks of TV. I am looking forward to the next episode of this series. I hope they eventually have someone going back and researching Eastern Germany or Pomerania. Pomer-Who?!

NOTE: The premier episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?" appeared Friday, March 5, 2010, at 8 PM on NBC.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Postcard-Statue of Liberty: Did my immigrant ancestors see the real thing

This month's theme for our group of genealogical postcard collectors was "LIGHT"- such as moonlight scenes or anything with the thought of light, even light-hearted postcards.

But, I chose a serious and important landmark of our country which represents the essence of my immigrant ancestors' lives and dreams- The Statue of Liberty- which is officially titled "Liberty enLIGHTening the World."

On the reverse, the text indicated that two women wanted to exchange postcards of subjects representing the states of New York and Maryland. There was no date indicated. I believe I purchased the vintage postcard at an antique shop.

The vintage postcard above shows that the Statue of Liberty had a bronze tint. That was because the statue was cast in thin sheets of copper about 3/32 of an inch thick. The Statue was sculpted by a crew directed by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi who was born in Colmar, Alsace. It so happens that my maternal great grandmother, Marie Gutgsell, was born in nearby Wintzenheim, in Alsace.

The appearance of the statue's "skin" in modern postcards, or as I saw it with my own eyes on a trip in 1997, appears greenish colored. And of course, just as a penny will turn green if left outside in the elements, the "Lady" also became tarnished as she looked out over New York Harbor for many years. If one knew how long it took for the Statue to become oxidized, that is, turn from a bronze tint to a light green color, it might be possible to date this particular postcard.

The internal supporting steel "skeleton" was designed by Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel- the same person who designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the people of France to the United States. Thousands of dollars were contributed by the common people of France to build this tower. The idea was that France would donate the Statue if the Americans would finance the building of a pedestal on which to place the sculpture. The Americans balked. They considered it New York's Statue so they believed that state should pay for it. However, Joseph Pulitzer who was an immigrant from Hungary and who had become a famous journalist and publisher in America, challenged the people of our country to come up with the funds to build the pedestal. He even promised to publish the names of contributors in his "World" publication. It worked.

I believe most people believe their immigrant ancestors were elated at seeing Lady Liberty as they first arrived in America. However, the Statue of Liberty was not opened until Oct 1886. By that time, most of my German-born ancestors had already been processed through Castle Garden. Not even Ellis Island, the off-shore processing station, was opened until 1892.

Most of my Kramp, Streich, Hohnke, Russell, Hartley, Gailliot, and Frederick families immigrated to America between 1881 and 1886. However, at least one of my branches, the Austel Line, arrived at a later time in the New York port in Fall, 1903, and thus, came sailing by the Statue of Liberty on their way to Ellis Island. I wonder what they felt in their hearts. I know what I felt when I passed by on a ferry boat in 1997.

For more information on "Festival of Postcards" see Evelyn Theriault's "A Canadian Family" Blog.

Christening of my 2X great grandfather, William Hartley, and his daughter, Eleanor

The following image depicts two Anglican churches of County Durham in northern England which are pertinent to this entry. The page is copied from a booklet entitled, "Churches of the Diocese of Durham", which I purchased in the Durham Cathedral shops in 1996. I did not know at the time how they would precisely fit into my family's history.

While I still have the tourist map of County Durham, England, at hand (see previous entry), I want to pinpoint a few other places which are significant to my HARTLEY Family Line. On the bottom, right-hand quarter of the map (enlarge by clicking on image), and just to the west (left) of Darlington is a small village called Gainford. It is the namesake of a larger ecclesiastical region known as GAINFORD PARISH. Slightly north-east of Gainford, I drew a small red-colored circle marking an even smaller village named Summerhouse (indicated by "Su"). If you search for Summerhouse, Durham County, England, on Google maps you can zoom-in for a wonderfully detailed view of this small village especially on the so-called Satellite view. While there, look just slightly east (to the right) of Summerhouse, across a major highway and you will see Denton. The Anglican Chapel at Denton of the Gainford Parish is located there and is the place where my 2X great grandfather, WILLIAM HARTLEY, was baptized in April 1821 by Thomas Peacock, Curate. William's parents were William Hartley, Laborer, and Ann Longstaff, residing in Summerhouse.

About 24 years later, in the same chapel of Denton, which is called St. Mary's, William and his wife, ANN ROBINSON, baptised their 3rd-born child who was my great grandmother, ELEANOR HARTLEY. Eleanor was baptised 21 Jun 1845, by John Birkbeck, Curator.

The following description is taken from "Keys to the past":
"Denton, St. Mary's church."
"This small church was built in 1891, replacing an earlier church built in 1836. The church is built of sandstone and has a small porch and side chapel to the south. A stone coffin is used as a drinking trough for animals in the churchyard, and the remains of some medieval gravestones can be seen in the porch."

William Hartley and Ann Robinson baptised two other children in the nearby church of St. John the Baptist, at Low Dinsdale: Jane Elizabeth Hartley, on 23 Mar 1851, and Thomas Hartley, 14 May 1852.

Christening of William Hartley: England, Diocese of Durham, Bishop's Transcripts, ca. 1700-1900 (FamilySearch.Org Pilot), Chapelry of Denton pg 110 of 287. Includes images of Parish Registers. "Pg 15, No. 126 (bottom of page). William, s/o William Hartley, Laborer, and Ann Longstaff, residing in Summerhouse. Baptized 20 Apr 1921, by Thomas Peacock, Curate."

In my Picasa album, I have pinpointed on a map the location of the village of Denton and its Chapel. You can follow the link here. Reminder: I have used Picasa's mapping feature to locate many of the images which appear on this blog.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Birthplace of my great grandmother, Eleanor Hartley, and other famous persons

If I had not researched my genealogy and family history, I believe I would have missed out on many things in my Life's Journey that were worth knowing about. It has made my life ... well ... more ENLIGHTENED. Take for example the birthplace of my great grandmother on my father's branch. She was born in Cockfield, County Durham, in northern England (go to the center of map below).

Image (click to enlarge): Map from tourist brochure of County Durham, England

On my family research trip to the British Isles in 1996, I picked up several tourist brochures and guides in Durham City. In the guide, "Teesdale and Barnard Castle", it was written, "... Cockfield [in County Durham], a peaceful village based on the coal industry and the birthplace of JEREMIAH DIXON, known for the Mason-Dixon Line [the official border between Maryland and Pennsylvania]". More research indicated that Jeremiah was actually born in Barnard Castle and went to the John Kipling school there. He died in Cockfield. Jeremiah Dixon and his colleague, CHARLES MASON, were astronomers who indeed were called upon by Thomas Penn and Frederick Calvert to survey the border between the two American colonies. The survey was completed in 1766. Jeremiah died in Cockfield in 1779, about 66 years before my great grandmother, ELEANOR HARTLEY, was born in the same village in 1845.

It so happens that I re-read this brochure a couple of years after I bicycled a portion of the Heritage Trail which runs from York, Pennsylvania, for a distance of about 30 miles, across the PA/MD border, and through Gunpowder Falls State Park. As I passed the Mason-Dixon line, I took a picture of a concrete pillar which apparently was one of several marking the Mason-Dixon Line (and posted it on my blog). A nearby historical marker presented several more facts on the Mason and Dixon team and its survey.

Image: Historical marker on the Heritage Rail-Trail detailing the history of the Mason-Dixon Line. It reads, in part, “Since the Civil War it has served as the boundary between the North and the South …”

I will never again cross the Mason-Dixon Line without thinking of Eleanor Hartley. Incidentally, three members of my immediate family now live north of the Line, while I live south. I cross the Line at least 6 or 7 times a year.

Another thing comes to mind when I look at the tourist map above. Eleanor Hartley was enumerated in the 1861 census of England as a "House Servant", age 16 years, born at Cockfield. She lived in a household which was located in Hurworth upon Tees, south of Darlington (bottom, right corner of map). There were only two other persons enumerated: RICHARD NEWTON, age 83, and his wife, MARY, age 90. I knew of a younger Richard Newton, who married Isabella, or Margaret, Hartley, who was the sister of Eleanor's father, in other words, her uncle. So, I suspect that Eleanor's employer was the father of this uncle. Furthermore, Richard Newton, the elder, was a "farmer of 160 acres, employing one man" according to the census. This was a real find because it took me a while to find Eleanor. The rest of her family, that is Eleanor's father, William Hartley, and four of his other children, were enumerated in the same year in a different location- in the parish of Hunwick and Helmington, Durham.

So, I look at Hurworth upon Tees on the map and think of my great grandmother, only 16 years of age, and working hard as a servant girl on a farm of many acres taking care of a very old couple and their hired hand. By the way, The River Tees marks the boundary between County Durham and Yorkshire in the south. Matter of fact, County Durham is often referred to as "the land ‘twixt the Tyne and the Tees".

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sentimental Sunday- Hiking no more?

OK, I bought into the Sentimental Sunday posts by the Geneabloggers group. I don't know how I am going to transfer this post to the list of entries by other bloggers, but I will eventually find out- one of these Sundays.

I spent a couple of hours this morning reading the Sentimental entries by other geneabloggers and they were great reads- a little bit different from some of the drier entries about genealogy and family history. They seem to focus more on intimate memories of persons and events. As I read, I kept looking in the back of my mind for some of the events in my life which are sentimental to me. The thought of hiking came to mind- actually of the time when I might have first fallen in love with hiking. I had to dig way back into both my memory and my photo albums. And I came up with the following image of some of the neighborhood kids and I hiking in the big woods near our homes in suburban Maryland. It was 1954, over fifty years ago. In the picture, we are hiking along a nearly dry creek bed. It was in the scattered puddles, that we crept up on frogs, salamanders, box turtles, and captured them for a closer look. I remember one time collecting at least 20 turtles which we took home and started a little zoo- until our parents made us release the reptiles back into the woods. That was when I first fell in love with the natural out-of-doors. However, I get sort or sad when I look at this photo, because the opportunity for this particular hike is no longer possible. A wide swath of the woods was paved over for the Beltway (I-495) of Metropolitan Washington, DC. More land was taken over for apartments and condominiums.

Hiking! I love it. I was born to hike. But the overall sentiment about this life-long love, is that it may be a thing of the past- no longer possible for me. For y'see, I have to walk with a cane now. My hiking legs have become so weak. And this is difficult to write about. I have been taking anti-androgen hormones for about 5 years now to suppress the proliferation of prostate cancer cells. Testosterone is a great hormone, but the lack of it means wasted muscle tissue and its replacement by fat cells. I sometimes wonder when the time will come when I advance from hobbling on a cane to a wheel chair. But even then I believe that some adjustments can be made so that I can still "go hiking" in my beloved woods.

This summer, I was camping in the Jefferson National Forest in Virginia at a place called White Rocks primitive campground. On the way to the campsites, I passed a short trail named Cherokee Flats. I pulled into the parking area and took a short walk- with my cane. The trail was quite flat and paved for most of its distance. The trail passed through a pristine forest among Rhododendrons, still showing the last blooms of late summer. The trail ended too quickly at Stony Brook creek, but long enough to experience THE HIKE.

Image: Walking slowly through the Cherokee Flats trail in Jefferson National Forest, VA

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Vintage Baby pictures- HOLD STILL!

Chris, a friend of mine, was recently browsing an antique store in Barnegut, New Jersey, and found a magazine for collectors of postcards and other paper items. He mailed me a copy, because he knew that I enjoy collecting postcards which illustrate my family history. Incidentally, Chris collects old 45 rpm records; one time he tracked down a copy for me of Lee Dorsey's "Working in a Coal Mine". The song ends with the line, "Ohhh, I'm so tired".

In the studio photographs shown above, do you see the ghostly shape of another human being behind the baby- but hidden by a drape or curtain?

The January 2010 issue of The Paper and Advertising Collectors Marketplace (PAC CM) had an interesting article on "Uncovering the Hidden Mother (and Father) in Photographs. In the nineteenth century, exposure times for photographs were often measured by several seconds rather than fractions of a second as in modern cameras. So, how does a photographer hold a squirming baby down long enough to take an un-blurred picture- and still focus mainly on the baby? One way is to have the mother sit in a chair, hold the baby, and cover the mother's face with a drape or curtain.

The PAC CM magazine article mentioned several other techniques. In some cases, holes in the back of the chair were large enough for the mother to squat down and reach through the holes to hold the baby. A photographer named Fred Pohle invented a medal holder which babies were strapped into and held motionless for the photographer. Perhaps a less traumatic method was for the mother to hold the baby and then be cropped out of the picture during the processing or matting the picture so that the mother was hidden in the frame of the mounted photograph.

The article prompted me to go through my own photo collection looking for vintage baby pictures of my family to see if any of these techniques were used- particularly "Hidden mothers".

(click to enlarge; then use browser's "back" key)
Perhaps the oldest picture in my collection (see above) is that of my great grandparents, Thomas W. Russell and Eleanor, nee. Hartley, holding their second- and third- born children, Nicholson and Jane Ann or "Jenny". The date of the photo, 1880, is easy to pinpoint. Jenny was born in Sep 1879 and looks about a year old or less. The photo was taken at Schmiechen Studios in Sunderland, County Durham, England, and by Aug 1881, the family, or at least the father Thomas, had immigrated to Pennsylvania. In the picture you can see the parents have a pretty tight hold on the children, particularly holding their arms or tiny little hands.
Unfortunately, the first two children, both daughters, of Thomas and Eleanor died before this picture was taken. One daughter died at about a year; the other daughter, at 11 years. One of the points of the PAC CM article was that often pictures of children were taken because of the high infant mortality in the mid-19th century. The photographs served as reminders.
My great grandfather, Joseph Austel, had 10 children by his first wife, but only one child by his second wife, Rosa, nee. Friedrich. Rosa had a valued picture of the son, Paul, who died in 1904 at age 4 or 5 years. Rosa kept the photograph on an alter that she put together herself and placed at the top of the stairs leading to the second floor. She kept a candle burning on the alter. My mother remembers her grandmother praying at the makeshift alter, but somehow, the picture of Paul has been lost.
The two baby pictures above show my maternal grandfather, Charles Anton Gailliot, born 1894, and his first cousin, once removed, Mildred Ann "Millie" Gailliot, born 1907. Their common ancestors were Anton Gailliot and Johanna "Helena" Schlebusch. Both babies are propped on a chair and lay on what looks like sheep skins. Perhaps these shaggy foundations gave more warmth and comfort than if not present. Would that not have been a calming influence on a baby? In Millie's picture, on the right, there seems to be a folded piece of material behind her head. Could this be her "hidden mother". In certainly does not look like part of the chair. I like the cute way Millie is grasping the back of the chair in her left hand.

By the early twentieth century, cameras and films had improved so that exposure times were reduced, and thus the pictures were less likely to be blurred by the subject's movement. Still, the youngest child in the middle of these offspring of Robert William Kramp and Martha, nee. Streich (on left) apparently needed to be steadied. Note the sister holding the baby's hand.
On the right, is my grandmother's sister, Mrs. Rose Salmon, nee. Austel, holding her first child, John. John's left hand seems to be slightly blurred compared to the rest of the picture. I'm glad the beautiful mother in this case was not hidden.
1. Go to the homepage of The Paper and Advertising Collectors' Marketplace. Today, I could flip through the pages of their publication and see more pictures of "Hidden Mothers" in baby photographs including the whole text of the article. Perhaps in the future, one may have to look up Vol. 32, No. 1 (Jan 2010) on their site.
2. The "Dead Fred" genealogy photo archive web site also has an unidentified couple who were photographed at Bolko Schmieken Studios in England. I do not believe they are related to my family.