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Treasures: Aunt Vera’s Scrapbook; A Perplexing Gem Riddled with Fact and Fiction

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In late April I wrote about Aunt Rosey and her girls and the crazy trip down the rabbit hole their story took me on.  Their story is complicated.  Very, very complicated.  One of the items I included in that post was this scan – including this very helpful wedding announcement – from Aunt Vera’s scrapbook.

Quick refresher:  Alice Hyde is my 2nd great grandmother.  Vera Duval is Alice’s daughter.  Rosey is Alice’s sister, and Vera’s aunt.  Plus – Rosey has a daughter named Elvera too.  (Just for fun I’ll also add that Alice and Rosey’s step-mother/aunt was also named Alice.)

So back to the scrapbook.  When I first shared this invitation, I wrote this:

At this point I reviewed a few old family notes and letters.  Now be careful not to get lost here.  I found a letter written by Vera, daughter of Alice Hyde Duval who is the sister of Rosey Hyde.  Yes that’s right, both sisters named a daughter Elvera.  This letter written by Vera to my Grandma, mentions an old scrapbook that Vera kept.  She asked my Grandma if she wanted to have it.

I had a lightbulb moment and remembered that my mom’s cousin Heather had emailed me a few scans of an old scrapbook she had.  I dug through my emails and found those scans.  Among them was this page.

When Heather sent this to me all those years ago, I had NO EARTHLY IDEA who Mr. and Mrs. Peter Williamson were.  I did some basic searching but came up empty.  I figured they were important to someone in my family so I went ahead and added them to FamilySearch and uploaded the announcement.  But now?  The minute that image opened, I knew exactly who they were – this was a marriage invitation for the daughter of Rose Elvera Hyde and Peter Williamson.

Rosey was a Grandma!

After writing this post, I contacted my mom’s 1st cousin Heather, and asked if she would be willing to scan the rest of the scrapbook so I could look for other clues.  She did me one better and mailed it to me so I could scan it.

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This is the cover of Vera’s scrapbook.  It’s a 3-ring binder filled with letters, cards, announcements, invitations, certificates, and tons of newspaper clippings.  TONS of newspaper clippings.

I’m about 2/3 of the way through scanning right now.  There are so many helpful items.  But the real fun comes when there are seemingly helpful items that I get to decided if they are fact or fiction.  Case in point:

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This scrapbook page has several parts to it:

  • Folded certificate (that we will ignore for the purposes of this post).
  • Torn newspaper clipping attached to the back of the folded certificate.
  • Newspaper photo with three print items taped to it and handwritten notes in pencil.
  • The name Duval in what appears to be my Grandma’s handwriting.  (Vera’s niece.)

Let’s start with the torn newspaper clipping.  It reads:

“-The candy had a bitter- ———- (ch)ocolate cover with flakes of (cocan)ut, and a marshmallow center.  No one asked me, but I finally took a piece.  I was chewing when a beautiful woman walked through the archway.

“I’m Dolores Hope,” she said.  “Are you waiting for Bob?”  My tongue pushed the candy frantically over into one cheek.  “Yes,” I said.  “My name is Bishop, Mrs. Hope.  This is Mrs. Bishop.”  We chatted a ——— Mrs. Hope, with a gold-leaf…”

Well, here is the fun part.  Vera had a sister named Dolores.  Dolores was married to a man with the last name of Hope.  This seems to be a piece of fiction included in the newspaper that struck Vera’s fancy because of the coincidental name use.  But, the album is full of these, so it starts to mess with my head a bit and I feel like I need to spend more time sorting fact and fiction.

Now on to the photo.

Above the photo is handwritten in pencil, “I opened the paper & there you were same Gay Grin & all”.  At the bottom of the photo is written in the same hand, “& you —– to ice skate”.

The caption of the photo is “Propriety On Ice”.

Taped to the photo are two different print items that read, “Elvera Duval”.

The photo itself looks very much like Vera, the scrapbook’s creator.  But just like the fictional stories make me question, the seemingly factual ones make me doubt a bit too.

The last item on the photo is the sideways bit of newsprint that reads:

“-efore Ike and Mamie arrived in —- Springs, Dolores Hope asked if she and the children could —- note and ask to call.”

I have no idea what that bit of news has to do with the photo.  Maybe they occurred close together?  Maybe Dolores sent the photo of Vera and she was the one who taped the bit about (possibly) herself to the side?

Oy!  Aunt Vera, you have created a lengthy and masterful puzzle in this wondrous scrapbook of yours.

 

I still have more scanning to do, but the scanning is the super easy part.  The study of each item is going to be complicated for sure.

 

What do you think?  Which items on this page are fact and which are fiction?

 

 

Many thanks to Heather for the kind use of this family treasure.  Once it’s fully scanned, it’s headed back to her care.

 


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Does baby Dorothy belong in my tree?

gg - george eliot quote

Francis Cyprien Duval & Alice Hyde are my 2nd great grandparents.  They are pictured above with four of their five children who survived birth and infancy.  Their oldest son, Francis Henry (back left), is my great grandfather.

I have known about 5 of their children for years.  Slowly I have been finding little tid-bits that indicate there were additional children.

These are the five children who are well known to me:

  • Annie Marie Elvera Duval, 1899-1979
  • Francis Henry Duval, 1901-1996
  • Leon Howard Duval, 1907-1941
  • Dolores Lenore Duval, 1909-2005
  • Alexander Valmore Duval, 1916-1997

Notice the gaps?  Six years between Frank and Leon, and seven years between Dolores and Valmore.  Those are pretty big gaps for a Roman Catholic like Francis Cyprien Duval.

For a few years now I have known of two other children.  The first is a baby boy who was not named.  He was born and died on 15 February 1915 in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The second child is referenced in the 1910 census for the family while they are living in Fairbanks, Alaska.  Alice is listed as the mother of 5, with 4 living.  That means that there is a child who was born and died prior to 10 February 1910.

So my revised list of children looks like this:

  • Annie Marie Elvera Duval, 1899-1979
  • Francis Henry Duval, 1901-1996
  • Unknown Duval, born and died prior to February 10, 1910
  • Leon Howard Duval, 1907-1941
  • Dolores Lenore Duval, 1909-2005
  • Baby Boy Duval, 1915-1915
  • Alexander Valmore Duval, 1916-1997

It seems likely that the child I learned of from the 1910 census belongs between Frank and Leon in that 6 year gap, but that is just speculation.

It now appears there may be an additional child.

 

A baby girl named Dorothy.

The Western Call, a BC newspaper, has a death and funeral announcement found in their 14 October 1910 issue that reads:

DUVAL

The death took place Wednesday morning of Dorothy, the infant daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Duval, corner of Twenty-sixth avenue and Martha street.  The funeral was held Thursday morning at 9.30 o’clock from the residence, Rev. G. A. Wilson Officiating.

Could this Mr. and Mrs. Frank Duval be my Frank & Alice Duval?

Most likely.

 

I know from an interview of their son Frank in the late 1970s/early 1980s that Frank and Alice left Alaska sometime after Alice’s father Henry died in 1907.  They were still in Fairbanks when the 1910 census was taken in February of that year.  I know that after they left Fairbanks they lived in Vancouver for a short time before moving to Lynn Valley, BC where they all lived until sometime after Francis Cyprien Duval’s death in 1919.

So once again, I revise my list of children for Frank and Alice:

  • Annie Marie Elvera Duval, 1899-1979
  • Francis Henry Duval, 1901-1996
  • Unknown Duval, born and died prior to February 10, 1910
  • Leon Howard Duval, 1907-1941
  • Dolores Lenore Duval, 1909-2005
  • Dorothy Duval, died 12 (or 11th) October 1910
  • Baby Boy Duval, 1915-1915
  • Alexander Valmore Duval, 1916-1997

Does baby Dorothy belong in my tree?

 

I think so.  I need more records to be sure.

But now I am wondering… how many other children are missing?

 

 

Note:  THANK YOU to Teresa from writing my past for suggesting I check out this BC newspaper site where I found the obit for baby Dorothy.  Of course that led me to additional searching including this site for BC City Directories.  I love the genealogy blogging community.  Our collective knowledge and sharing make genealogy SO MUCH better.  Thank you Teresa!

 

 


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Newspapers.com & a Runaway Aunt

Dolores Duval, 1924 Runaway Article

A few years ago I did a free trial of Newspapers.com.  It just didn’t dazzle me.  I didn’t find much and seemed to exhaust what it had on day two of the trial so I cancelled.

Well.

Their collection has grown of course.  And they offered special pricing at RootsTech so I decided to give it another try.  I spent some time yesterday looking for some things and found oodles of goodies.  That article up there is about my great grand aunt Dolores.  Apparently she decided to run away from home for a bit of fun when she was 15 and it made the papers.

What is your favorite newspaper website?


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genealogybank.com

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Genealogybank.com is a new favorite website of mine.  I’ve been using it for about a year.  It’s collection includes historical newspapers, the social security death index, recent newspapers, historical documents, historical books and so on.  The records I search for most frequently are recent obituaries – within the last 30 years.  I have had some excellent luck finding obituaries filled with clues that led me to other records.

I also have a subscription to newspaperarchive.com.  The two websites have some overlap but most of the time I find items on one website or the other but not both.

Genealogybank is very user friendly.  Items load quickly and are easy to navigate.  This is a very well run website.

If you are looking for clues about a relative who died within the last 30 years I would definitely give genealogybank a try.  They offer a one month trial for $9.95.  A bargain!

Below is one of my favorite finds, an obituary for a long lost cousin.  I wrote about finding her here.

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Give genealogybank.com a try.  Let me know if it helps your research!