thegenealogygirl


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Photograph Showcase: On the Cusp of the Great Depression

PETERSON, Rulon, Naomi, Ronald and Janice, 1929 by the car

Rulon, Ronald, Janice, and Naomi Peterson, 1929

This has always been one of my favorite photos.  I love so many things about it!  The car is fantastic.  My cute Grandpa standing on the running board in his overalls is so adorable.  My great-grandmother, Naomi, looks especially beautiful and a little bit fierce.  Her hair is so awesome.  Baby Janice, is just being a baby, totally uninterested.  Great-grandpa Peterson looks so relaxed, dapper, and self-assured.

And yet, here they are, a young family, just beginning and about to endure the Great Depression with the rest of America.  Rulon and Naomi would go on to have four more children during the decade of the 1930s.  Rulon would make some brave and risky employment changes that would pay off and keep his family fed.  Naomi would sell eggs and work hard to be frugal both in expenditures and in efforts to bring in a little money.  They would weather the storm well.

But in the Spring/Summer of 1929, when Great-grandpa was working as a car salesman, and they were a young family of four, Rulon and Naomi had no idea what they were about to face together.

No one did.

 

 


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Family Reunion Bingo Games!

Reunion at Lagoon 1926

Isn’t this photo awesome?!  This Family Reunion photo was taken at Lagoon* in 1926.  The family gathered are the descendants of my 2nd great grandparents Frederick William Ellis and Susan Kaziah Davis.

My family still holds three different reunions today.  They look a little something like this.

14774109640_a783c1edfa_o

Great Grandchildren of Ronald & Margaret

I really love family reunions but one of the main challenges is getting everyone talking to each other.  It’s easy for the siblings and first cousins, but second cousins and cousins from different generations?  Not so easy.  Everyone experiences the same silly obstacle – they feel dumb asking people’s names.  We always have name-tags available but hardly anyone puts one on.

Well, last summer I was in charge of the Rulon and Naomi Peterson Family Reunion.  Rulon and Naomi are my great grandparents.  This reunion is held every summer in late July or early August and includes 4 generations of my family.  I love to see and visit with my Grandpa’s younger siblings.  His brothers remind me so much of my Grandpa that it takes my breath away for just a minute, in a good way.

But all those younger cousins, understandably, gravitate to their grandparents, parents, and first cousins.  I wanted to shake that up and get people interacting more and remembering our family members who are no longer with us.

So, I made two bingo games that required asking people questions.  I had good prizes too.  There were lots of little party favor type prizes for Bingos like stretchy frogs, bouncy balls, suckers, lip balm, packs of gum, etc.  Then I had a few big prizes for the first 5 or so people who earned a blackout – a cool water gun, two $10 gift cards for lunch, and a few other items I’ve forgotten.  In all I spent about $90 from the budget.  And every penny was worth it.

This was the easy Bingo game:

RulonNaomiPetersonFamilyBingo

As soon as I explained the game to the first children to arrive, they instantly starting running around asking everyone the answers.  The adults who were trying to remember things, had to talk to each other about it too.  Lots of good family conversations were going on.  After several kiddos exhausted this Bingo board, they moved on to the harder game.  This one was about our deeper family history.  This entire side of my family are LDS, so you will notice that reflected in both games.

PetersonSkeenFamilyHistoryBingowoutanswers

I really loved the conversations that both Bingo games generated.  We heard some family stories and facts that I had never heard before – and that is saying something!  There was an awesome feeling during this whole reunion as we had dinner and talked, and filled in our Bingo cards.  Our focus was on our family members and we all felt their love and presence with us that night.

After dinner I wrapped things up by sharing that I had recently come into possession of a large collection of family letters including a box of letters written by Naomi.  This is a special treasure for all of us because she died very young, with one child still at home, and left no journals or personal history.  But those five years of letters she wrote to my Grandpa include so much of her heart and life.  I read this little story from one of her letters:

From a letter dated Friday, October 13, 1944, written by Naomi Peterson to Ronald Peterson:

“I must tell you about Janice and Marilyn.  We went in to Lienhardt’s to get the candy last night and when we came home Marilyn’s new robe was over the back of the chair by the telephone.  It looked wet and on further examination I found a pool of water under the chair.  This morning Janice stated to laugh saying she had never seem anything so funny in her life.  Marilyn had filled the bath tub for her bath.  She and Janice were standing by the mirror.  Marilyn says things just to make Janice angry – rather smart you remember.  Janice gave her a disgusted push and sat Marilyn in the tub robe and all.  Her feet were hanging out and her head against the soap dish.  Janice said she went in very gracefully.  Marilyn says there is going to be a big splash one of these times.”

What a treasure.  It was a joy to see everyone’s eyes light up as I told them about the letters and shared this story.  It was a great reunion with a very simple set of activities.

 

If you have a family reunion coming up, I wholeheartedly suggest you consider making your own version of Family Bingo.  Everyone loved it and they were used again at a smaller reunion for one of my Great Uncles and his family.  I also emailed copies to everyone who couldn’t attend including answers for the second Bingo card.

 

If you would like to use my docs as a starting point to make your own, here they are:

PetersonSkeenFamilyHistoryBingowoutanswers

RulonNaomiPetersonFamilyBingo

And if you are related to me and are curious about the answers, here is the copy with answers:

PetersonSkeenFamilyHistoryBingo

 

I will just add one more tip – I did not put a limit on the number of prizes.  I also didn’t worry a lot about the prizes.  The kids knew I had created the game, they would come to me and show me their card and I would send them over to choose their prize.  Some kids made a serious haul, but it kept the conversations going all night.  Plenty of adults and teenagers played too – and took prizes.  I made sure I had a Costco sized bag of High-Chews as backup in case we ran low on prizes, we did use the High-Chews and got very close to running out of everything.

 

Have you ever been in charge of a Family Reunion?  What activities have you enjoyed at Family Reunions?

 

 

*Lagoon is an amusement park here in Utah that started out as a place for bowling, dancing, and eating.  The first thrill ride was added in 1899.

 

Family Reunion Bingo Games

 


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Photograph Showcase: A Visit With Grandparents

PETERSON, Rulon, Janice, Ronald and Joseph Skeen

1931 – Back, l-r: Rulon Powell Peterson, Joseph Skeen; front l-r: Janice Peterson, Ronald Peterson.

PETERSON, Naomi, Marilyn, Janice, Petrina and Evan Skeen

1931 – Back, l-r: Naomi Skeen holding Marilyn Peterson, Jane Zina Petrina Folkman; Front: Janice Peterson; lying on the ground: Evan Folkman Skeen.

I found these two photos in my Grandmother’s collection.  Rulon and Naomi were the parents of Ronald, Janice, and Marilyn Peterson.  Joseph Skeen and Jane Zina Petrina Folkman were the parents of Naomi and Evan Folkman Skeen.

I am very curious about these groupings.  I wonder who came up with the combinations and what their reasons were?  Either way, I love seeing multi-generational photographs like these.  Such a treasure.

 


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Photograph Showcase: A Rare Moment

PETERSON, Ronald & Naomi, Janice in background - smaller for FT

Naomi Skeen with her son Ronald Skeen Peterson.  Janice Peterson in background.

When I found this photo amongst my Grandmother’s collection I gasped with delight.  It was the first photo I had found with Naomi and Ronald when Ronald was grown.  It made me realize that I don’t have many photos of myself with my children once they reached their teenage years.  They just don’t like the camera much anymore.  So this lovely, and rare, moment with my Grandpa and his mother feels extra special when I compare it with my own experience.

As an added bonus – I love the unintentional photo bombing of Ronald’s sister Janice.

 


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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: Peterson Home

PETERSON, Rulon & Naomi's home

Rulon & Naomi Peterson family home

PETERSON, Rulon & Naomi's home with color edits

Rulon & Naomi Peterson family home with a few edits

This is the home the Rulon & Naomi Peterson family were living in at the time of Darrell’s death.  It is located in Roy, Weber, Utah.

In the history of Naomi that was compiled by her oldest daughter Janice, Janice captioned photos of this home with this statement, “A lot of good memories were made in this home.”

It looks like a happy, well cared for place.

I tried to bring the colors back to a truer version but this was a close as I could get.

When I come across photos of ancestral homes – even in the recent past – it makes me realize I don’t take photos of my home nearly often enough.

 

Have you photographed your home lately?