thegenealogygirl


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Photograph Showcase: The Anniversary Pendant

 

DUVAL, Deane, wearing the aniversary pendant

Deane Alice Duval, wearing her mother’s anniversary pendant

When you are the daughter of photographers, you have your picture taken a lot.

Like, a lot, a lot.

So when you are the great-granddaughter of photographers, you have seen a lot of photos of your Grandma.

Like, a lot, a lot.

So sometimes, the photos kind of blur together in your memory.  And sometimes, bits of stories and treasures in those photos go unnoticed.

And then, every now and again, a detail pops out of a photo and smacks you in the face for the first time.  The detail was always there, but it went completely unnoticed until one day, it didn’t.

I scanned this photo.  A long time ago.  But I scanned it.  That means I looked at it at least three times.  Once before I put it on the glass, once on my computer screen, and then again when I pulled it off the glass.  But who knows how many other times I looked at it?  I don’t.

But just last night when I was flipping through images to choose a photo to share, a detail in this photo jumped right out at me for the first time.

 

DUVAL, Deane, wearing the aniversary pendant - crop

The pendant my Grandma is wearing didn’t belong to her.  I don’t know if it ever did.

There have been three owners that I know of.

First – my great-grandmother, Hope Estelle Maffit.  According to my mother, it was an anniversary gift given on the first anniversary of her marriage to my great-grandfather in 1931.

Second – my mother.  I remember her wearing it a lot when I was growing up.  Only ever on Sundays, but still, she wore it a lot.  I frequently wore my mother’s jewelry but I don’t remember ever wearing this.  I loved it, but I never wore it.  Maybe I wasn’t allowed.  I don’t remember.

Third – me.  A surprise.  Last year when I went for a visit, my mom gave it to me.  I didn’t know what to say.  I don’t think I ever told her how much I loved it.  But of all the pieces of jewelry she owned, it was the one item I would have chosen for myself after she is gone.

Treasure doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about it.

But finding it in this photograph last night – there just aren’t words to explain how this photograph struck me.

Four generation of women.

One pendant.  A gift to symbolize love.  A love that is one-eighth of my story.

 

A treasure, to be sure.

 


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Happy New Year! 2017 Review & 2018 Goals

Eleanor Brownn Quote

Happy New Year!

 

2017 was packed with amazing genealogy experiences, milestones of both the personal and genealogical kind, the sorrow of loss, and the joys of life.  When I reflect back over the year, these are some of the biggest moments:

 

Digging into the story of Rosey, my 2nd great-grandaunt, has been a fascinating adventure.  I’m still finding tidbits scattered across the world.  Just last week I found a big one I wasn’t expecting.  The story that is unfolding is so enthralling that I think it is worthy of its own book.  Here are the 2017 posts about Rosey:

 

John Costello continues to elude me.  He is my great-grandfather and my most challenging brick wall.  Despite his continued brick wall status, I have had some major breakthroughs this year.  I discovered seven seconds of color video of him with my great grandma and my mom as a baby!  I added to my collection of photos of him including the first one of him looking at the camera and smiling!!  I learned that he was ethnically Jewish.  He is still a brick wall, but I feel like I am making some meaningful progress for my own sense of connection to him, and preserving details for future generations to know something about him.

 

I finished organizing and filing all of the letters my grandparents wrote to each other during WWII and their LDS missions.  TEN Hollinger boxes worth.  I have also begun the process of digitizing and transcribing those precious letters.

 

I made enough progress in my Young surname study of Renfrew, Renfrew, Scotland to untangle my 5th great-grandparents James Young and Janet Robertson in the Family Tree on FamilySearch.

 

In my DNA efforts to learn about John Costello, I discovered a first cousin who was adopted at birth.  Together we went on an amazing journey to identify his father and mother.  I still can’t get over what a cool experience that was!  You can read about that journey here:

 

Still on a DNA high, I watched a Legacy Family Tree webinar on DNA and heard a tip from Diahan Southard that led me to solve my Priority 2 brick wall!!!

 

In September, I rushed to the bedside of my grandmother to be with her in her final days.  She was diagnosed with leukemia on a Thursday and passed away on Sunday.  I deeply miss her and the genealogy experiences we shared.  But I am so grateful that I started my genealogy adventures in my very early twenties.  That meant I got 20 precious years of asking her questions.

 

In October I finally held in my hands a long sought after, precious, and very rare book because of a cousin connection I made on Ancestry.com.  It confirmed my previous research efforts and added a richness of story to a family line that had been lost to time and young deaths.

 

I ended the year with a bang! when I helped my friend end her 50 year-long search for her paternal grandparents using her DNA results.  What a joyful experience!

 

As I consider 2018, I am struggling to put my finger on my top three goals.  I know that I want to continue to learn, research, digitize, archive, solve, teach, share, help, write, and answer questions I have.  But those are the things I do all of the time.  The one thing that often eludes me is a very important word – FINISH.

So I am pondering on what three things I want to FINISH this year.

The list of projects I am considering is long enough for a lifetime of effort.  I’m never short on projects.  But which three are the most important, the most pressing, the most meaningful?

I’m still pondering that and will be for a bit.

For now, I am grateful for the progress and experiences of 2017.  I hope 2018 will be just as richly rewarding.

 

How about you?  What do you hope to accomplish in 2018?

 

 

ps – The moment I am looking forward to the most in 2018 is standing in the baggage claim area of the Salt Lake Airport in August and wrapping my arms around my precious first-born, missionary son for the first time in two years and 5 days.  That will be a big milestone moment right there!  ❤️

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: The First Image From A Precious Collection

costello08 - cropped, lightened - 2x, and sharpened - smaller 6000

This beautiful family portrait was given to me by my Grandma several years ago.  It is an 11×17″ photo of my Grandma, my mother, and my mother’s siblings.  My darling Mom is wearing the blue striped dress.

This portrait was one of many in a large Kodak envelope.  All of the photos were taken by my Great-Grandmother Estelle Duval at her studio – Duval Portraits in Spokane, Washington.  Most of the photos in this envelope were hand colored with oil paints by Grandma Duval.  She was remarkably talented.

For the past several years – maybe 7 or so – these photos have been patiently waiting for some attention.  Well, two weeks ago when I scanned the Telesphore Brouillette book, I also scanned all 28 of the 11×17″ portraits.

IMG_9003

It felt pretty fantastic to finally get these treasures scanned.  I just needed some time and access to a large, high-quality flat-bed scanner.  Thank you, BYU for helping me out!

The only bummer, and it is a very slight bummer, is that many of these precious photos were printed on textured paper.  The scans exaggerate the texture and the photos come out much darker than they really are.  Here is the original scan:

costello08 - cropped - smaller

And here it is lightened up a bit:

costello08 - cropped, lightened - smaller

And here it is with a little bit of sharpening:

costello08 - cropped, lightened, and sharpened - smaller

And then finally, with some more sharpening and another layer of lightening:

costello08 - cropped, lightened - 2x, and sharpened - smaller 6000

Which version appeals most to you?

 

I am sooooo happy to have finally scanned these treasures!

 

 

Happy Thursday, I will be enjoying lots of family time next week for Thanksgiving.  I’ll be taking the week off.  If you are also celebrating Thanksgiving, may I suggest that you spend some time preserving memories?  The FamilySearch Memories app is free and a fantastic way to record audio.  It can record segments up to 15-minutes in length.  Get your family talking about their favorite memories of loved ones now gone and record those gems.  Have the Google PhotoScan app ready to go so you can scan any photos that catch your eye.  Remember, the app isn’t nearly as good as a scanner, but sometimes, it’s the only thing you’ve got.  I hope you have a blessed and thankful week!  I am thankful for each of you who make my genealogy experience so much richer.  xoxo

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: The Marriage That Stuck

wedding

I was 8 1/2 years old when my Grandma married my Grandpa.

The funny thing about that is until just now, I thought I was 10 when they were married.  In fact, I have said that very phrase, “I was 10 when my Grandma married my Grandpa”, over and over again.  Except that I wasn’t 10.  I was 8 1/2.

I was there when they got married on the reservation in Wellpinit, Washington.  I have a few memories of that day.  But now, I wonder how accurate those memories are.

I remember something about my Grandma needing to be adopted by a bird-clan mother so she could marry Grandpa on the res.  But is that even a thing?  A bird-clan mother?  I don’t know.

I remember my Mom making a joke that Grandma had just married her brother since they had the same bird-clan mother.  Grandma didn’t find that joke particularly amusing.  But did my Mom really make that joke to her own mother?

I remember the drums, and the jingling of bells on my Grandma’s clothing.  But as I look at the photo I don’t see any of the small metal bells I am picturing when I hear the sound in my memory.  Bells that aren’t shiny at all.  Small, handmade bells that dangle at the end of a strand of beads.  But were there really bells?

I remember playing outside under some very large pine trees.  There were pine needles and cones everywhere.  But there are pine trees everywhere in Spokane.  Did I really play under them on that day on the res?

I remember my Mom making some comment that this marriage might be the one that finally sticks.  I remember my Grandma saying something about how if you get married on the res you can’t ever divorce.  I didn’t understand why that mattered so much to my Mom that day.  I do now.

This wasn’t Grandma’s first or second marriage.  The number was higher.  But it was the first marriage during my lifetime.  It was the first time I had a Grandpa on my Mom’s side of the family.

Of course, my Mom has a father.  A father she shares with all three of her siblings.  A father who is still alive.  A father I met once when I was 16.  A father I have spoken with twice on the phone.  And while you would be accurate if you called him my grandfather, he was never my Grandpa.

But this man, the man my Grandma married on the Reservation when I was 8 1/2, he became my Grandpa.  And that, in the end, is the only memory from that day that really matters.

This was the marriage that stuck.

And I am so very glad.

 

 

ps – This photo is not the one I remember seeing of this day.  The photo my Mom has of this day is not as happy.  It’s more formal and posed.  This photo only exists on the wall of Grandma & Grandpa’s home.  During my final visit to my Grandma in the days before her death, I used the Google photoscan app to preserve a copy of this happy photo for myself.  And once again, I am so very glad.

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: In Uniform

 

DUVAL, Francis Cyprien on boat

Francis Cyprien Duval, on far right

Francis Cyprien Duval is my 2nd great grandfather.  He was born 3 October 1863 in Rimouski, Québec, Canada.  He was the first in our direct line to leave Québec after settlement from France.

Francis was an adventurer.  He was in Dawson, Alaska before the Gold Rush began.  He stayed throughout and did well.  He tried his hand at homesteading in Fairbanks.  He moved his wife and children back and forth between Alaska and California for many years.

Sometime after the death of his father-in-law, Henry Hyde, in Fairbanks in 1907, Francis and his family moved to Vancouver, BC and then finally settled in Lynn Valley, BC.

He lied about his age and joined the Canadian Expeditionary Forces during WWI.  That didn’t last long before he was sent back home.

He went on to work as a Forest Ranger.  He continued in that work until the time of his death at age 55 on 31 May 1919 in Vancouver, BC.

This photo is one of very few photos of Francis.  There are no notations on the back.  Based on what I know of Francis’ life, I would guess that this was taken during his service in WWI.  I did some google searching and his hat and collar seem to match the images of the uniforms during this time.

Francis died before he was a grandfather.  I descend from his son Francis Henry Duval.  Francis Henry was the father of two children – my Grandma Deane, who recently died, and my Grand Uncle Frank.

During the last two days of my Grandma’s life, the family gathered at her side.  In my conversations with Uncle Frank, he expressed disappointment that he hadn’t thought to ask his Dad about his Grandpa.

So, Uncle Frank, this one’s for you.

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: Not yet a Grandma

 

DUVAL, Deane, July 1968 handcolored portrait

Deane Duval, July 1968

All week I have been thinking of this lovely portrait of my Grandma taken a few years before she was a Grandma.

Her parents were photographers.  Her mother handpainted this portrait with oil paints.  Wasn’t she so talented?  I love all of her handpainted portraits.

But this week, I am especially grateful for this particular portrait.

It’s such a beautiful photo of my Grandma in her prime.  A happy reminder of her life.

I scanned this a few years ago.  I need to scan it again as a .tiff file at a much higher resolution so that I and my family members can have a nice sized print made to frame.  I think I’ll be taking it with me to the Family History Center tonight.  And probably several others as well.

 

 

Do you have any special photos that need to be scanned or re-scanned?

 

 

 

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: A collection of moments from Grandma’s life

 

Deane Alice Duval

born – 27 June 1932, Montana

died – 17 September 2017, Washington

My heart is full.  There is so much to say, both here, and privately.  So many things that need to be recorded and preserved.  My Grandmas were both instrumental in helping me begin my genealogy journey.  Both are now gone.  Grandma Deane shared with me everything she could.  Photos, documents, stories, facts, family rumors and legends.  Everything.

I was able to be with her the last two days of her life.  What a tender, difficult, healing, heartbreaking, and precious time.  I wiped the last tears she ever shed.  I held her hands.  I swabbed her mouth with a wet sponge.  I rubbed her feet and legs.  I kissed her forehead.  I stroked her cheek.  I told her I loved her again and again.  But I will never be able to repay all that she did for me.

Farewell to my oldest and truest genealogy partner-in-crime, cheerleader, and occasional corrector.  When I called to share my discoveries, I was greeted with a “well hi, sweetheart”, with her unique Pacific Northwest accent flavored by her family’s recent English and French immigrants.  I will miss that.  I imagine the next few new discoveries will be bittersweet because I won’t be able to call and talk to her about them.

Thank you, Grandma, for everything.

❤️