photograph showcase

Photograph Showcase: Introducing John Baptiste Jerrain

John Baptiste Jerrain and Willow Jeane
John Baptiste Jerrain & Willow Jeane

Many years ago, my Grandma’s Maffit cousins decided to put together a book about their family.  It was quite an extensive effort.  Emails and phone calls went back and forth across the US as cousins tried to identify family members in old photo albums, recall family stories, and put the best information together that they could.  Somehow, I didn’t end up with a copy of that book.

Weird, right?

Well, ever since I found out about it – too late to get a copy – I have been trying to get my hands on the CD of photos that was created at the time the book was finished.  It has not been a fruitful effort.

But then.

Several weeks ago, I was at my parent’s home to help my mom for a few days.  She mentioned that the plastic tub sitting on the guest bed was some family history “stuff” from Grandma’s house that I may want to look through.  It sat for a few days before I got to it.  There were plenty of interesting items.  Partway through the collection, I came across a CD that was marked “SAVE” in big black sharpie.

At this point, I must interrupt myself to share with you, dear reader, that my Grandma was notorious for throwing away family treasures.  I will not subject you to the pains of rattling off a list of the items I know she tossed, or my speculation on what else may have been cast aside.  Except I can’t help myself.  Here is one small example – she had about 13 large tintypes that were not labeled.  She showed them to me and said she would be scanning them.  Somehow they ended up in the trash and if she ever scanned them, I don’t know where the scans ended up.  Her reasoning?  They weren’t labeled anyway.  Sigh.

So there I was, sitting on the guest bed, looking at a CD that Grandma had loudly labeled “SAVE” and hoping it was the CD of precious images from the Maffit family book.  I hopefully and joyfully added it to my already bursting suitcase.

Later that day, I mentioned to my Mom that I thought I had found a CD I had been hoping to get my hands on for years.  She tried to tell me I couldn’t take it.  Oh boy!  She hadn’t even looked in the tub, but when she thought there was something good, she wanted to hang onto it.  I just told her nope, I was taking it.  And I would share.  She couldn’t really argue.  Haha.

Finally last week I had a minute to download the photos from the CD.  It absolutely was what I thought it was!  Hooray!!


And so, I would like to introduce you to my 3rd great-grandfather, John Baptiste Jerrain.  Doesn’t he look dapper in his bowtie?


{Insert major genealogy happy dance here!!  🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉}


The photo is labeled with two names, John Baptiste Jerrain & Willow Jeane.  EDIT:  The following parenthetical paragraph is what I originally wrote.  Having looked more closely, the Willow Jeane who shared this photo is actually Willow Jeane Van Tuyl Lippert.  She is the daughter of Lila Estelle Jerrain & Thomas Oliver Van Tuyl.  She was born in 1928 (not 1929 as I noted before).  I am now uncertain of which Willow Jeane is in this picture.  When I get my hands on the book, I am hopeful I can sort this out properly.  In the meantime, if you happen to know something helpful, please share!  (The person who shared the photo was my Grandma’s 1st cousin, Willow Jeane, great-granddaughter of Grandpa Jerrain.  That Willow Jeane was born 6 years after Grandpa Jerrain died.  However, he had another granddaughter named Willow Jeane who was born in 1904, 26 years before Grandpa Jerrain passed.  He also had another great-granddaughter named Willow Jeane who was born in 1929, 1 year before his death.  Based on the age of the child, I would imagine that IF this child is Willow Jeane, she is Willow Jeane Jerrain, born in 1904, daughter of Prudent Arthur Jerrain & Jessie Campbell Shirky.)

What a treasure.

There are so many wonderful photos on the CD.  I am delighted!


But there is one more thing.  I almost hate to mention it.  But here goes.


The photos were scanned using what was likely the best scanning technology at the time.  Quite a long time ago.  Most of the photos are very, very small digital files.  Like very, very, very small.  This is one of the largest ones, by at least triple.  So if you are one of my Maffit cousins who happens to have any of the old originals of the family photos, how about scanning them again?  Or mailing them to this cousin to promptly scan and mail back to you?  I promise to share my scans.  🙂



Happy Monday, I hope a long sought for family treasure makes its way to you very, very soon!    xoxo



ps – Monday is not my normal day for a Photograph Showcase post, I have several other posts that are in varying stages of completion that were intended for today.  But I was so distracted by the joys of seeing my 3rd great-grandfather that I just had to share – TODAY!



18 thoughts on “Photograph Showcase: Introducing John Baptiste Jerrain”

  1. You are in luck!!!! I have a copy of the “book” and the CD that went with it. I wonder if the CD you have is the same as mine? We should compare ( by email) content to make sure yours is complete. Also, I believe that I have the “missing” tintypes. Deanne gave them to me, they are of Grandpa Frank’s family and are not labeled. They have what looks like, fire or smoke damage, so I have always assumed they were in the house in Canada when it burnt. I think Deanne gave them to me because she felt bad for “changing” her mind about giving me a lot of old family photos she promised. She gave them to either you or Megan because she was upset I hadn’t gotten around to making copies of some family history for Misty. She could be prickly! We can discuss more by email.

    1. She really could be picky. How interesting that she told me the tintypes were gone instead of telling me she gave them to you. I wonder if she forgot or thought it might cause trouble of some sort…? I’m so excited we can share!

  2. I am hoping somebody . . . oh, i just saw Heather’s above comment! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!! You are getting a copy of the book!!! And missing tintypes!!! Wow, this is your lucky week, Amberly!! Keep us posted!

    1. Right?!!!! How funny that I totally interrupted myself to mention the tintypes when I had no intention of doing so! Now I get to collaborate with my cousin some more. Sharing is the best!

  3. That’s a lovely picture. So happy for you. And I know about grandmothers throwing things away. My grandmother was not into old stuff–just everything new and improved. My mother said she had to rescue things several times that my grandmother was about to throw on a bonfire in the backyard. However, scads of stuff remained, fortunately, and when I was in high school, I asked her for the chest she had inherited from her grandmother and she agreed. She was a woman of her word, and that chest and all its contents survived. Other letters and pictures survived because she just never got around to cleaning out the drawers of an old desk. Thanks goodness.

    1. Thank you, Vera! I’m so glad you were able to inherit some treasures. And how wonderful that some things avoided the bonfire! I feel so fortunate for every bit of my family’s history that made it to me instead of the garbage. 🙂

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