thegenealogygirl


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Photograph Showcase: Great Grandma Costello, Before She Was A Great Grandma

 

IMG_3880 - edited

Mary Brown Young Costello in front of her home at 7505 N Regal Street, Spokane, Washington.

 

I love this new-to-me photo of my great-grandmother, Mary Brown Young.  She has always been Grandma Costello to me.  We would visit her at the care facility where she spent many of her last years in Spokane, Washington.  She was a spunky little Scottish lady.  I wish I had paid more attention during our times with her.  She probably shared some stories with my Mom on our visits, but I don’t remember any of them.

We have very few photos of Grandma Costello.  This one comes from Aunt Barbara’s collection.  Aunt Barbara is the daughter-in-law of Mary Costello and has been one of my most valuable sources of information, photos, stories, and details on my Costello line.  I am so thankful for her!

 

I did a little bit of editing on this photo to clean up dust.  It’s a bit light so I also did a few other edits to create these two versions.  I can’t decide which of the three I like best.  Which do you prefer?

 

 

Happy Thursday, I hope you find a fantastic new ancestor photo today!

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: Two Sets of Five Duval Siblings

 

DUVAL family, 28 March 1938

Duval family, 28 March 1938, l-r: Alexander Valmore Duval, Alice Hyde Duval, Annie Marie Elvera “Vera” Duval Hunter, Francis Henry Duval, Dolores Lenore Duval, & Leon Howard Duval.

 

 

On Monday I shared the story of Leon Howard Duval’s triplets.  I thought a few photos of some of the people mentioned would be nice.

The first photo, seen above, is of the Francis Cyprien & Alice Hyde Duval family.  Francis Cyprien Duval died in 1919.  Almost twenty years later, Alice is seen here with her only living children, the five who survived childhood.  I believe this is also the last photo taken of this group before the big events of 1941 – Leon’s death, and the imprisonment of Valmore, Alice, Frank, Dolores, and Vera’s husband Bill.  1941 was a rough year for this family.

 

 

DUVAL, Leon's children on couch

Leon Howard Duval & Annabel Freda Yock’s children, l-r: Ronald Keith Duval, Stanley John Duval (the surviving triplet), Leon Howard “Tiny” Duval, Alice Ann Duval, & Francis Adrian Duval.

 

 

Interestingly, just like the family he grew up in, Leon also had five children who survived infancy, as seen here.  Because this photo was in the collection that belonged to my grandmother, I think it is most likely that one of my great-grandparents took the photo.  Would that mean this is the front room of my great-grandparents home?  I’m not sure.

Because little Alice was born in Great Falls in 1938, I would guess this photo was taken in about 1940.  Where the photo was taken is uncertain.  The possibilities are Great Falls or Washington State.

 

DUVAK family, 28 March 1938 - back

 

This is the photo back of the first image.  I love it when someone takes the time to label a photo back!  It makes my job so much easier.

 

Happy Thursday, I hope you find an ancestral photo or two this week!  If not, I hope you choose to preserve and share one that you already have.  ❤

 

 

 

ps – Have you picked up on the baggage in this part of my family this week?  I have been artfully avoiding talking about it while my Grandma was still living.  Deciding what to share and when gives me lots to think about.

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: Mother Daughter Moment

 

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My Mom & her Mom, Deane Alice Duval, December 1959

Last week I was able to spend some time with my parents and other family members.  My mom had a minor out-patient surgery and I went to help.  While she was napping post-surgery, I set up the scanner we bought her for Christmas.  She currently has her younger brother’s baby book/photo album and that was at the top of her list to scan so that it can be returned.  His baby book is in excellent shape!  So are the photos.  As the steward of thousands of family photos, I was surprised to see so many I had never seen before.  Including this precious shot.

What a happy discovery!  Isn’t it a beautiful photograph?  It definitely needs to be printed, framed, and displayed somewhere in my home.

 

Happy Thursday, I hope you make a wonderful photo discovery this week!  If not, I hope you choose to digitize and share with your loved ones a photo that is special to you.

 

 

ps – If you are new around here and are shocked by the fact that I have thousands of old family photos – my great grandparents were photographers.  😉

 


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A Cautionary Tale of Digital Loss

 

IMG_7308

Daniel Ramon Costello & Barbara Ann Deno Costello, my granduncle & grandaunt at their home in Spokane, Washington.

 

 

I am sick.

Heartsick.

Like, really, really heartsick.

Almost four years ago I went on a trip to Spokane, Washington to visit my Grandma and interview her.  I saw, and also interviewed, other family members including my Uncle Dan & Aunt Barbara, and my fabulous Auntie V.  It was a fantastic trip.  My sister and Mom drove up to be there too.  I had brought along a digital audio recorder to capture all of the conversations.

Grandma told me stories I had never heard.  She talked about being a single mom in the 60s.  She described being a rescue diver for years and the moment she decided she couldn’t do it anymore.  She answered questions about family members who she knew, but my Mom and I did not.  She described people and places.  She went over photos with me identifying people and adding details about those people and the events in the photos.  She talked about how hard it was when her father went to prison for a year.  We talked and talked and talked.  I captured it all on my little digital audio recorder.

Uncle Dan and Aunt Barbara told me about John Costello and Mary Brown Young, my great grandparents.  I knew Mary, but John died when my mother was a child.  They shared how sorry they were in later years that they hadn’t asked Grandpa Costello more questions about his family in Spain before he passed.  Uncle Dan talked about his time in the service during WWII.  Aunt Barbara started to tell us about how sad my biological grandfather was when he and my Grandma divorced before my Mom and aunt cut her off.

My Auntie V shared some insights, when we were alone, about various family members from the past.  Her “unvarnished truth” to balance what Grandma had shared.

My Grandpa told me detailed stories from Viet Nam that are so fascinating.  I’ll leave it at that since he is still living.

All of these gems and much more were recorded on my handy little digital audio recorder.

I returned home from my trip and was immediately swept back up in daily life with my children who were 16, 13, and 2.  I was able to process some new data and information, but my trusty little audio recorder didn’t make the cut.

More than a year passed and one of my uncles from my dad’s side of the family needed to borrow my audio recorder for a family reunion I wasn’t able to attend.  I wrote up a short list of instructions and stood holding that recorder, struggling with whether or not to leave the micro sd card inside.  It has an internal memory that was more than sufficient, but what if the contents on the sd card were somehow erased?  After going back and forth I popped that oh-so-tiny micro sd card out and set it on my dresser.

I think.

Here is the moment in the book where you want to scream at the character, “No!  Don’t do it!!”

The recorder was used by my uncle at that reunion and then returned and placed on top of my dresser.

I think.

This week I am going back up to Spokane to help with an archiving project, among other things.  I will see Aunt Barbara, my Mom, Auntie V, and Grandpa.  Grandma and Uncle Dan have both passed away.

I need to be able to record and I debated – do I use my digital audio recorder or do I use my phone?

I pulled out that recorder and thought I had better pull the audio files off of it.  I plugged it into my computer and searched the files.

There were five.

Four nonsense practice files that last just a few seconds and a 33-minute file from the reunion.

That is all.

I must have checked the micro sd card slot at least 15 times hoping for something to appear that simply wasn’t there.  I even used a flashlight just to be certain.  I went through the folders on the internal memory over and over hoping to find something more but coming up empty every single time.

Panic set in.

I started tearing apart every place in my house I could imagine myself considering “a safe place” for that teeny-tiny-little micro sd card.  (Carefully, of course, but definitely fervently.)  All the while I was racking my brain and praying for a memory to pop to the surface.  Did I really just set that invaluable sd card on my dresser?  That miniscule, but more precious than gold, fragile tiny card on the edge of a dresser?!

That seems like a terrible decision.  And the thing is, I don’t know for sure what I did.  I just know that there is not a micro sd card inside of that digital audio recorder.

So far I have found one micro sd card – but not the one I need – but seriously, where did that come from? – and one regular sd card.  What is happening here?  Why aren’t these properly stored?  Why is my organizational system falling apart?!  What on earth?

Why didn’t I transfer those files immediately after my trip?!

Why didn’t I transfer those files while I was still on my trip?!!!!!  I had my laptop with me.

And this is the point where I could ramble on and on about my laptop being super full and being a busy mom with big and tiny children and being the Relief Society President in my ward and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

You know that moment I mentioned, the one where we all want to scream at the character, “No!!  Don’t do it!!”?  Well, I didn’t listen.  If I could have even had a tiny glimpse of my present anguish, I would have moved mountains to get those files transferred to AT LEAST two other places.

But I didn’t.

And now I am heartsick.

So terribly heartsick.

Real tears have been shed several times now as I continue to search and continue to come up with nothing.

 

There are two very small glimmers of hope.

One, my Mom interviewed my Grandma about 2 years ago and still has that recording – that I will immediately move heaven and earth to transfer to AT LEAST two places the minute it gets into my hot little hand.  There are two major disappointments with this – one, I love you Mom, but I ask better questions 😳 – and two, my Mom says it’s all fiction.  But let’s be real, would I know the difference?  And is my Mom’s opinion of Grandma’s stories accurate or fair?  I don’t know.

Two, I just might still find that micro sd card.  I believe in miracles.  I’ve experienced miracles plenty of times.  I don’t know if I actually need a miracle this time or just more time searching, but I’ll take that treasure anyway it comes to me.  So I’ll hold out hope that somehow, someway, those hours of audio files will make their way back to me.  And no matter the path it takes, I will consider it a miracle.  But I have learned a VERY BIG lesson.

NO MATTER HOW BUSY I AM, THERE ARE SOME TASKS THAT NEED TO BE DONE IMMEDIATELY.

Good preservation requires having multiple copies in multiple places.  So guess what I will be doing over the next month?  Assessing and addressing my current level of preservation of family photos, home movies, and priceless papers and artifacts.

 

But I still really, really, really want to have that oh-so-precious and oh-so-tiny micro sd card back.  Please.

 

I’ll take any good vibes, happy successful treasure hunting thoughts, or prayers you want to send my way.  I could definitely use them.

 

And friends, I hope you will learn from my mistake and avoid a similar bout of sorrow and loss.  What do you need to digitize, duplicate, or store in another place today?  Don’t wait.  Please, don’t wait.

Good luck.

xoxo

 


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Photograph Showcase: James Young in Kilts

James Young in kilts

James Young (1876-1945)

James Young is my 2nd great grandfather.  He was born in Scotland and immigrated to America between 1907 and 1910.  This photograph was taken in Scotland sometime before he left.  I LOVE the details in this photo and cherish its special place atop my piano.

James’ grandson, Gregg Young, shared this photo with me along with the following information:

“According to Mary Young Costello and Andrew Young, this picture is of James Young in his kilts. He was in the Highland regiment, Black Watch and was a bagpiper. I believe that he (or his father) spent some time in India. Both my Dad (Andrew Young) and Mary talked of him bringing back three items: an ostrich feather, a gold Indian rupee and (unfortunately) I can’t remember the third item. There was lots of jealousy between my Dad and my Aunt Mary. They both were very much alike and, like similar poles of a magnet repel, they had their moments. Each wanted to own the feather and the rupee. My Dad had an ostrich feather but only the ostrich feather. He believed Mary had the rupee. But both would deny to the other that they had any of the treasures.”

 

Happy Thursday, I hope you preserve and share a precious family photo today!

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: The End of My Brown Family Pedigree in Photographs

 

James

James Young & Catherine Brown

My Brown family from Scotland has been on my mind, heart, and blog for the last few weeks.  I wrote about my cousin Mary Brown Wood twice – here and here.  I shared a photo of my great-grandaunt Catherine Boles Young here.  Catherine is the great-granddaughter of my 4th great-grandfather Andrew Brown, who I wrote about here.

The more time I spent thinking about my Brown family, the more I found myself wishing for photos that likely don’t exist.

This lovely photo is of my 2nd great-grandparents James Young & Catherine Brown.  Catherine is the granddaughter of Andrew, the first cousin of Mary Brown Wood, and the mother of Catherine Boles Young, or Kate.

Catherine Brown is the end of the line for me when it comes to photographs in my Brown family.  But that wasn’t always the case.  Several years ago now, I reached out to a cousin who shared this and many other family photos with me.  Before contacting him, my photo pedigree ended with my great-grandmother Mary Brown Young, the daughter of James Young & Catherine Brown.  Maybe one day I will find another cousin who can help me push back my photographic pedigree a bit more.  But for now, I am so grateful to have this photo.  It sits atop my piano in a place of honor.

 

Happy Thursday, I hope you make a fantastic photo discovery today!  If not, I hope you will consider preserving and sharing a precious photo from your collection.

 

 


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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.  🙂