thegenealogygirl


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Photograph Showcase: Ronald & Melba

ronald and melba - smaller for FT

This darling photo was labeled simply, “Ronald & Melba”.  Ronald is my Grandpa.  His mother is Naomi Skeen.  Melba is Naomi’s sister, the sister just younger than her.  My Grandpa was the first grandchild in the Skeen family.  It would be 10 more years before Melba would marry and 22 more years before Melba would adopt her only child.  But in this moment shared between Melba, Ronald, and at least two others – the photographer and whomever Melba is smiling at – I just see a lot of joy and contentment.  I hope those feelings continued.  Waiting for children is difficult.  Especially when your sister has six of them before you are able to adopt one.


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Photograph Showcase: Naomi as a Young Mother

PETERSON, Naomi Skeen, Marilyn, and Ronald, spring 1929

Naomi Skeen Peterson with her oldest two children, Janice in her arms, and Ronald.  Handwriting of Mary Margaret Ellis Peterson.  Spring 1929

This photo comes from my Grandmother’s boxes.  Naomi was her mother-in-law and my great grandmother.  Ronald is my Grandpa.  Janice is his younger sister who was born in December of 1928.  Based on her age I think this photo was taken in the late Spring, but I’m confused by the leaves on the ground.  Maybe they had a short fall.  The kind where you haven’t gotten all of the leaves raked up before the snow falls.  This has happened to us here in Utah – and this photo was taken in Utah as well.

What do you think?  Spring?

 

PS – I had a surprise trip come up to hang out with my Dad.  I have so much to say about Rosey Hyde and the gang but I’m a bit out of commission for now.  We’ll see if I get some blogging time while I’m here.  And if not, well, I will happily enjoy my family time amongst the living.  🙂

 


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Photograph Showcase: Grandpa at 18

PETERSON, Ronald Skeen, 18 years old - smaller for FT

Ronald Skeen Peterson, age 18

I found this lovely photo of my Grandpa in my Grandma’s boxes.  I wonder if this was his graduation picture?  The year was 1944, his senior year of High School.  It would only be a few more months before he would enlist in the Marine Corps.  I wonder if he was already thinking about that when this picture was taken?


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Piles and Piles of Letters – JOY!

IMG_5317

Just a small portion of the letters.

In early December I was given all of the boxes of photos, journals, albums, letters, and memorabilia that had been kept by my Grandmother.  It was a joyous day and the joy has just kept spreading itself all over my genealogy loving heart these many months.

I was given the boxes, in part, because I was looking for a handful of specific photos to complete my family Christmas gift.  I was in a hurry and quickly went through every single box gathering what I needed.  It was almost painful to be in such a hurry.  There were soooooooo many unbelievable treasures in those boxes and I wasn’t able to soak much in.  I had a deadline.  As I was digging I found a shoe-box of letters.  I gave them a cursory look and thought, “Awesome, Grandma and Grandpa’s letters from WWII and their missions.  I can’t wait to go through these later.”

Well, in early Spring I pulled that box out and was devastated when I realized that it contained letters from my Grandpa’s friends and extended family.  Don’t get me wrong.  I knew they were special too.  But I know that my Grandparents wrote to each other for 5 years and that my Grandma kept all of those letters.  Where were they?

I was stressed.  I wondered if a box had gotten lost or if someone had pulled out the letters thinking they would do something with them.  I asked my uncles.  No one knew anything.  I decided before I completely panicked I needed to comb through all of the boxes again.  Much more carefully.  Just in case.

So last week I started going through the boxes again.  I found and rediscovered so many cool things.  Several boxes in, I found a binder filled with letters.  But they were from the 1960s while my Grandpa was getting his doctorate.  A cool find to be sure, and something I was hoping hadn’t been lost, but still not the letters I was searching for.

As I worked my way through every box, I got down near the end and pulled a box onto my bed and was completely baffled about the fact that it was taped shut.  What on earth?!  Somehow I had totally missed one box.  My heart started to pound.  I noticed a note on the side that said letters.  Could it be?

I opened the box and started shouting for joy!  Total and complete joy.  I was staring at 4 shoe-boxes FILLED with letters.  Plus several bundles that weren’t in shoe-boxes.  There are hundreds and hundreds of letters.

Sweet relief!

I am a bit embarrassed that the letters had been in my bedroom for a few months and all that time I had been worrying about them being lost forever.  Oh boy.

Once they were discovered, I started organizing.  It wasn’t hard because my Grandma had already bundled them by months.  I just had to get the months in order.

Next I started filing the letters in my new Hollinger boxes and folders.  I filed away until I ran out of paper folder inserts.  I need to order more.  Lots more.  It’s going to get expensive.  I wonder if my family members would want to chip in…?  I’m going to need so many before I am finished.  But I digress.

The letters cover a 5 year time period beginning when my Grandpa went off to basic training for the Marine Corps.  They follow his service in the Marine Corps and then cover the time while he was serving an LDS mission in New Zealand.  During his mission my Grandma also served a mission in California.  There is also an entire shoe-box of letters from my great-grandmother Naomi to my Grandpa.  I was so surprised and delighted by that discovery.  She left no journal, no personal history, and she died very young.  I feel like I’ve been given such a gift.

I plan to digitize the letters and share them with my family.  I may post them here, I need to ask my uncles how they feel about that.  Once everything is digitized, I will publish a book for my family members.  Well, maybe more than one.  It’s A LOT of letters and may need to be broken up.

Here are my questions:

1 – Should I include all of the letters in one collection chronologically?  Or, should I separate them and have one collection of letters between my grandparents, one collection of letters from my great-grandparents and one collection from extended family and friends?

2 – If I separate the collections for the purposes of the books I will compile, should I still share the letters online in one collection?

3 – Do you have any tips for dealing with a collection of letters this large?

 

I can’t wait to get started!  Happy Monday.

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: My Darling Grandmother

ELLIS, Margaret, age 10 looking over shoulder - smaller

Mary Margaret Ellis, age 10

I love everything about this sweet photograph.  The details on the dress, the cute pose, my Grandma’s ringlets, her lovely smile, the flowers in her hair, and mostly her eyes.  Those beautiful eyes that I remember so well.

A nice original print of this photo has been prominently displayed in my Uncle’s home for years.  It is housed in a beautiful oval frame and greets you as you walk into the main part of their home.  I have often considered asking to scan it but never did because oval photos are a pain to deal with.  Well, a few weeks ago I discovered this print in the many boxes I received.  It was happily still a rectangle.  I scanned it last week and have been enjoying it ever since.  Happy, happy day!!


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Who is Patricia?

mission035

Recently we spent our family night looking at photos of my Grandpa while he was serving an LDS mission in New Zealand.  We also looked at a shoe box of letters he kept from this time and everyone read one.  I read a letter written by his Grandpa & Grandma Skeen.  There was one thing that jumped right out at me:

"Patricia"

“The welfare man came and took Patricia to a couple who have’nt any children.  Well it just made me sick still I think it is better for her she would’nt have half a chanch ove[r] to Ethels”

Do you know how many Ethels are related to Grandma Skeen?!  A lot.  I have been going through my tree trying to figure out the most likely prospects and every one I have considered has been ruled out so far with one exception.  Grandma Skeen has a sister-in-law named Ethel.  I know a little bit about her.  I am beginning to wonder if Patricia is her grandchild or something like that.  This letter was written in 1947, Ethel would have been 68 – maybe age and health would have prevented her from caring for Patricia?  But that seems unlikely too.  Ethel and her husband seemed very stable.  He was an attorney, they lived in the same place for decades.

So now I’m asking myself if:

  • I’ve missed an Ethel I should be looking at?
  • If Ethel wasn’t a relative but a mother of a child who is a relative – girlfriend of someone?
  • If Ethel is a neighbor?
  • Who might be alive that would remember what happened?

I think I’ve been watching too many episodes of Long, Lost Family because I’m just wondering if Patricia has been searching for her birth family and I have this little clue buried in a letter in a shoe box.

I love the thought process that leads to a discovery as much as I love the discovery itself!

Now how am I going to discover Patricia’s story…?


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Photograph Showcase – One More Family Photo

Ronald and Margaret Peterson family

The Ronald & Margaret Peterson Family, 1970

This family photo was taken just before my dad’s oldest brother went on an LDS mission.  It was one last family photo before the first child left home.  My dad is in the back row on the right with the big old sideburns.

Ronald and Margaret Peterson family, February 1981

The Ronald & Margaret Peterson Family, 1981

This family photo was taken just before my dad’s youngest brother left on an LDS mission.  One last family photo before the baby left home.  By this time there were three daughters-in-law, and plenty of grandchildren.

Peterson Family, 1981

The entire Ronald & Margaret Peterson Family, 1981

Look at all those granddaughters!  My brother is the only grandson in that photo.  After four sons, my grandparents had 12 granddaughters and 5 grandsons.  I am the little darlin’ in the front row on the far right.

I’m grateful that these lovely family photos survived and made their way to me.  I’m glad that my grandparents were able to have these photos taken to mark these occasions and remember.

I am planning to do the same for my little family.

As a side note, in my dad’s family of six, every single family member served an LDS mission.  Grandpa – New Zealand, Grandma – California, Uncle Mark – Uruguay, my Dad – Ohio, Uncle Miles – Japan, Uncle Blake – Japan.  Thinking about their service, and my son’s upcoming service, I am considering creating a chart of ancestor missions like the Ancestor Pedigree by Birth Locations.  And then that got me thinking that I should make one to reflect education levels, and one for who I have photos of, and one for who I have any type of recorded story of, and well, you know how that line of thinking goes.

 

Have a great weekend, I hope you make an amazing genealogy discovery today!