thegenealogygirl


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Photograph Showcase: Leaving California and The Coffee Cup

 

DUVAL, Deane and Francis Duane, leaving California - edited

Deane & Frank Duval

 

My great-grandparents were adventurous at a time when being adventurous kept your family fed.  They traveled around with their little family of four, working where they could find a job, and leaving when the job ended or they needed more – more opportunity, income, etc.  Eventually, they settled in Spokane, Washington and started a photography studio in their home.  But before settling down was what seemed best, one of their stops was in Pacific Beach, California.

According to their daughter, my Grandma, as they were traveling through California, they stopped and her dad decided it was a great place for a restaurant.  So for a time, they owned and ran The Coffee Cup.  This photo taken in front of The Coffee Cup has a simple inscription on the back:DUVAL, Deane and Francis Duane, leaving California - back

Leaving California.

As I have studied the photos from this time period and gone over my notes I am a little bit puzzled.  Was the Coffee Cup in Pacific Beach or in a different part of California?  This photo doesn’t look very much like the San Diego I am familiar with.  Also, there are photos of my Grandma in Pacific Beach that seem to be taken well after this photo.  Did they make two California stops?  I really wish that simple inscription contained one very important detail – the date!  😉

Oh well, I imagine as I continue going through photos, the timeline will become more clear.  So for now, I am going to enjoy this awesome photograph of my Grandma and her younger brother sitting atop their trailer in front of their little restaurant as they leave it behind in search of the next adventure in their journey.

My great-grandparents were such excellent photographers!  They gave me no end of photos to stare at, wonder about, and puzzle over.

I am so grateful.

 

Happy Thursday, I hope you make a fantastic genealogy discovery today!  If not, maybe label a photo or two so your great-granddaughter won’t be left to wonder.  🙂

 

 


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Major Milestone Right Here!

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Last week I filed and filed and filed letters.  Do you know what a treat it is to open letter after letter and see your grandparents handwriting?  To touch the pages they touched?  To hear their sweet and enduring love for each other?  It was completely joyful for me.

I am soooooo happy to say that I filed every single letter for the 5 1/2 years they wrote to each other!  Ten Hollinger boxes filled with letters.

(Of course, I still have the letters from the 1960s when my Grandpa was in graduate school.  But we won’t even think about those yet.)

As soon as I finish scanning Aunt Vera’s scrapbook – these letters are next on deck for scanning.  I think they deserve their own blog.  Maybe this fall.  😉

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These four boxes were mostly full on Wednesday when I started.  They look so beautiful empty, I might just leave them on my table for a day to enjoy their tender place in my heart.

 

Happy Monday, I hope you conquer a special genealogy project sometime this year – it is an incredible feeling!

 

 


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Tell Me a Story – “So this is Margaret, so this is Margaret”

Tell Me a Story

Tell Me a Story Challenge :

Choose a person.  Then do any or all of the following:

  • Make a list of the top ten stories about this person, a word or phrase will do.
  • Choose one story and tell a compelling, short version that will interest your family members in one minute or less.
  • Tell a more detailed version of that story including photos if you have them.

Note:  You can read about my inspiration behind this challenge here.  I’ve decided to reverse the order in my post.  If you are reading this, you like stories so I’ll start with the full story, then the bite-sized story to hook my family members, then the list of ten stories.

 

Mary Margaret Ellis Peterson, looking left

My Grandma, Mary Margaret Ellis

My grandparents met and started dating in High School.  My Grandpa graduated at the height of WWII.  He knew he would be drafted so he enlisted in the Marine Corps right after graduation.  My Grandma wrote to him and waited for him.  She finished high school and went on to graduate from college (I think Weber College) with a degree in science.  My Grandpa served two years in the Marine Corps and then the war ended.  He was home for a time before he left for New Zealand on an LDS mission.

Grandma had been waiting for a long time.  She had enjoyed her high school and college days but she had more time to wait before Grandpa would be home.  She was 19 years old and she decided she wanted to serve an LDS mission.  She met with her local church leader and together they filled out mission paperwork and sent it into Salt Lake.

Her request was denied.  It’s totally understandable though.  At that time a woman had to be 23 to serve an LDS mission.  Well, she didn’t take no for an answer and sent in papers again, once again requesting to serve a mission.  And once again her request was denied.

She had just turned 20 years old when my Grandpa’s brother Darrell died.  She attended the funeral with her future in-laws.  She was invited to ride in the family car to the cemetery.  She was in the car when President David O. McKay walked up to it.  He greeted my great grandparents who introduced President McKay to my Grandma.  He took her hand in both of his and as they shook hands he said, “So this is Margaret… so this is Margaret.”

The very next week my Grandma received a mission call in the mail.  She was called to serve an LDS mission with one stipulation – she had to return home early.  She had to return home one month before my Grandpa so she could plan their wedding.  She was able to serve for about 14 months in the California mission.  In the many boxes she kept are photos from her mission and a few other items she saved including a letter from her mission president praising her hard work and love for the people in her mission.

My spunky Grandma was a missionary at a time when few women were serving missions and she did it 3 years younger than was allowed.  The more I learn about my Grandma the more in awe I am of her many talents and her great strength.

 

One Minute Story

My Grandma sent in mission papers twice when she was 19.  She was told she had to wait until she was 23 – the current minimum age for sister missionaries.  She met President David O. McKay just after her 20th birthday and got a mission call in the mail the next week.

 

Top Ten Stories List for Grandma

  • Cabbage Patch Dolls, Pound Puppies, can stools, quillos, and more!
  • The movie file
  • Identical feet
  • “You missed a B♭.”
  • Road map brain – travel map trip
  • Our last lunch
  • The Last Christmas Party
  • “I really need to write these things down…”
  • Pouring over her scrapbooks
  • Grandpa’s bracelet, grandma’s curls
  • “So this is Margaret, so this is Margaret.”
  • Two VCRs

 

Note:  My grandparents told me this and a few other stories about their interactions with President McKay several times.  I loved hearing them tell me stories.  This one has been on my mind because my oldest boy is currently waiting for a mission call.  The system says he has been assigned so we are just waiting for that big white envelope to arrive in the mail any day.  Don’t worry – he meets all of the criteria so he will not be kindly told to wait until he is older like my Grandma was.  😉


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Ancestor Story – Alice Hyde – 52 Ancestors

Francis Cyprien, Francis Henry, Elvera & Alice Hyde Duval, 1903 Oakland California

Duval Family, about 1903 in Oakland, California. Francis Cyprien, Francis Henry, Annie Marie Elvera & Alice Hyde Duval.

On Monday I posted a photo of Grandfather Hyde and asked for opinions on my assessment of which Grandfather Hyde was in the photo.  This spurred a whole lot of conversation between myself and Alex of Root to Tip.  She dug up a few records for me and then my curiosity completely changed my research plans for the week in an exciting way.  Since I have the Hyde family dominating my thoughts I decided to write about my most recent direct-line Hyde ancestor, Alice Hyde, my 2nd great grandmother.

Alice was born 29 July 1880 in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada to William Henry Hyde and Ann Whiteley.  Alice was born 7 years and 5 months after her parents were married but as far as I can tell, she is their first child.

When Alice was just four years old, her mother Ann died as the result of childbirth while the family was living in Golden, British Columbia, Canada.  Henry was away for work at the time of this tragedy.  I imagine it was quite a shock to return home to his small, motherless family.  Just shy of two months later, he marries Ann’s younger sister Alice in York, York, England and leaves his daughter Rosey to live with his parents in Sheffield, York, England.  He kept Alice with him.  Rosey may or may not be the child born just prior to Ann’s death.  I wrote more about that here.

Alice is now the step daughter of her aunt who is also named Alice.  So now there are two Alice Hydes in the family and they are only about 11 years apart in age.  I wonder what that was like for young Alice?

Alice Hyde and her step mother Alice Whiteley Hyde.

Alice Hyde and her step mother Alice Whiteley Hyde.

Alice and her family eventually settled in Fairbanks, Alaska.  Henry was known for having the first successful working farm in Fairbanks.  During the year 1896 Henry became acquainted with a man by the name of Francis Cyprien Duval.  Henry tried to convince Frank to claim a piece of land near his farm and try his hand at homesteading.  Frank wasn’t interested.  He had left Quebec to get away from farming.  He was bound for Dawson.

At the age of 16 Alice left her father’s home with Frank and together they traversed the famous Chilkoot Pass.  They beat the Gold Rush by an entire year.  Frank was able to do well mining in Dawson.  He and Alice were married 12 November 1897 in Dawson, Alaska.

At least seven children were born to this union:

  • Annie Marie Elvera Duval, 2 December 1899, in Oakland, California
  • Francis Henry Duval, 10 May 1901, in Oakland, California
  • Leon Howard Duval, 5 September 1907, in Fairbanks, Alaska
  • Delores Lenore Duval, 27 April 1909, in Fairbanks, Alaska
  • Male Duval, died 15 February 1915, age 0, in Lynn Creek, British Columbia
  • Alexander Valmore Duval, 26 August 1916, in Lynn Valley, British Columbia
  • One additional child was born and died prior to 1910, details currently unknown.

Frank and Alice began their marriage in the wild Gold Rush town of Dawson, Alaska.  After a short time they claimed land near Alice’s father’s farm on the Chena Slough 6 miles outside of Fairbanks.  They spent the summers in Alaska and the winters in California.  Frank built them a cabin in Alaska and they purchased a home in Oakland.  My great grandfather, Francis Henry Duval, shared some lovely memories of the homestead in Alaska during an interview with my mom in the 70s.  I recently re-listened to this recording and was excited to find answers to several of the questions I had.  Among the many details, he talked about their garden.  They kept a greenhouse in Alaska and had stoves in there to keep everything warm.  They planted their vegetables in the greenhouse much earlier than anyone else.  They would begin harvesting their lettuces, tomatoes and the like in the spring.  They loaded their bounty into a canoe and took them into Fairbanks and sold them to restaurants.  He shared many other interesting details that make it pretty clear that Frank and Alice were very industrious.

After the big San Fransisco earthquake in 1906, a real estate man wrote to Frank and Alice to let them know that their house had been completely destroyed.  He offered to sell the land for them.  The Duvals decided to stay in Alaska and sell the land.

Alice’s children were getting older.  In order to attend school they had to walk along the railroad tracks for about 3 miles to arrive at the schoolhouse.  Alice would send Vera and if the weather was good she would also send young Frank.  She wanted her children to be able to attend school more easily and she wanted them to have a better education.  In 1908 her father Henry died in Fairbanks.  I’m sure this strengthened her resolve to leave.  She was eventually able to persuade Frank to leave the homestead in Alaska and settle in Vancouver, British Columbia sometime between 1910 and 1911.  They are in Fairbanks in the 1910 US Census and Vancouver in the 1911 Canadian Census.

They only lived in Vancouver a short time before Frank tired of being in the city.  He found a piece of land in Lynn Valley and built a two story home with a basement.  The school was one block from their new home.  My great grandfather recalls being in class one day when one of his schoolmates pointed out the window and exclaimed, “The Duval house is on fire!”.  Everyone rushed out of class and ran toward the home.  There was quite a gathering of townspeople on the lawn in front of the home.  Young Delores had been left at home alone but was rescued when someone heard her cries from the basement.  Shortly after young Frank arrived, Alice returned from her errand to find her home aflame.  She started yelling for people to help save the furniture and whatever they could.  Only young Frank was brave enough to help his mother and together they pulled as many items from the burning house as they could.

Frank determined he would not rebuild his home himself and he hired someone to build on the same spot.

Duval family home in Lynn Valley, British Columbia.

Duval family home in Lynn Valley, British Columbia.

In the spring of 1919, Frank was in a buggy accident while at work.  He was a Forest Ranger and had rented a horse and buckboard to go out and take care of some of his work.  His horse was spooked and he was thrown off the seat of the buckboard landing on his feet.  His leg broke just above the ankle from the impact and the broken bone tore through the flesh landing in the dirt.  The exposed flesh and bone were filthy.  Frank was away from town, all alone.  He took off his shirt, bound his leg and crawled along until he was able to find two sticks large enough to use as makeshift crutches.  He slowly and painfully made his way toward town.  It was a seven mile journey.  The scared horses returned to their home without Frank and so men went out searching for him.  He was rescued after he had traveled about a mile and a half and was taken to the hospital in Vancouver.  From the time his leg was broken until he made it to the hospital 17 hours had passed.  During that time he developed blood poisoning.  He was in the hospital about 7-12 days.  At first the doctors said he was doing well.  Alice was bringing the children to the hospital to visit their father.  Toward the end of his hospital stay he took a turn for the worse and the family was called back.  The doctors told Alice that the only way to save his life was to amputate the leg at the knee.  Frank refused.  He worsened and lost consciousness, Alice consented to the amputation.  The day after the amputation Frank died leaving Alice widowed with 5 children ranging in ages from 18 to 3 years old.

Shortly after Frank’s death, Alice determined to leave Canada and returned to California.  They went to Oakland to see the site of their former home to find it exactly as they had left it in the early spring of 1906.

The family moved around a lot.  Young Frank had the difficult responsibility of providing for his mother and siblings for many years.  Young Frank married in 1930.  For several months after he married, he continued to send money home to his mother.  Eventually he passed the responsibility of her care to his younger brother.

Her later years included additional struggles.  She suffered from poor health and eventually lost another home.  This time it seems she lost her home to the bank near the end of the depression.

In December of 1940 she was arrested on the charge of Grand Larceny in Whatcom, Washington.  She pled guilty and was imprisoned for a few weeks shy of 1 year.  She died 8 1/2 years after her release, 24 June 1950 in Red Bluff, Tehama, California.  There was not contact between Alice and her son Frank after her release.  The circumstances of the last few years of her life are unknown to me.

My grandmother does not have fond memories of Alice.  She says she was a mean, nasty woman.  I imagine Alice’s many losses were very difficult.  I would like to think that she might have been kinder in her younger years.  Maybe not gentle, I imagine she had to be pretty tough to survive in Alaska during that time period.  But hopefully kind.  She must have been brave and strong to endure all that she did.  I hope her last few years of life brought some peace and stability.  I hope she was able to enjoy her time in California before her death.

Do you have any tough frontierswomen in your tree?  What were they like?


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Ancestor Story – Francis Cyprien Duval – 52 Ancestors

Francis Cyprien, Francis Henry, Elvera & Alice Hyde Duval, 1903 Oakland CaliforniaDuval Family – 1903 – Oakland, California
left to right: Francis Cyprien Duval, Francis Henry Duval,
Annie Marie Elvera Duval, Alice Hyde

Francis Cyprien Duval is my 2nd great grandfather.  His son, Francis Henry Duval, is my great grandfather.  I knew Grandpa Duval well as he lived until I was in college.  Francis Cyprien is a fascinating part of my family tree.  Let me tell you about him.

Francis Cyprien Duval

  • Born – 3 October 1863, Rimouski, Quebec, Canada.
  • Baptized – October 1863, Ste-Luce Church in Rimouski.  He was baptized Cyprien Duval.  His God parents were his father’s sister Arsene Duval and her husband Cyprien Chaurette.
  • Married – 12 November 1897, Dawson, Alaska to Alice Hyde.  He was 34, she was 17.
  • Death – 19 May 1919, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  He injured his foot while working in the Forest Service.  The foot became gangrenous and he refused to have it amputated.  The infection resulted in his death.  He left a family of five children ages 20 down to 4.

Francis Cyprien Duval is of French descent.  His line has a few branches that currently stop in the early 1700s but most of his lines were in Quebec prior to 1600.  The families moved around Quebec a little bit but he is the first in my direct line to leave Quebec.  He seems to have an adventurous spirit.  He set off on his own and settled in a gold mining town in Alaska where he met Alice Hyde.  After they married they moved back and forth between California and Alaska semiannually for a few years and eventually settled in Alaska and then British Columbia.

When I think about Francis Cyprien Duval I wonder about several things.  I wonder what he set out to find when he left Quebec.  Was he seeking riches, adventure, a new life?  I wonder if his family was excited for him or sad to see him go.  I wonder if he had contact with them after he left.  I wonder about the large age difference between he and his wife.  I wonder about his nomadic life with his growing family.  I wonder how different his children’s lives would have been had he allowed the doctors to amputate his foot.  I wish he had kept a journal, I would love to read it.  My musings on his life and choices makes me realize I need to be more thoughtful with my journal writing.  The why is something I don’t address nearly as often as the what.

What ancestor in your tree was an adventurer?  What would you like to know about them?