thegenealogygirl


10 Comments

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.

 


14 Comments

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.  🙂

 

 


18 Comments

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!  ❤️

 

 


12 Comments

Photograph Showcase: Christmas Eve 2011

16696369855_5f1fd495b6_o (1)

This is one of my all-time favorite Christmas photos.

That is my marvelous middle boy up there.  I took this photo on Christmas Eve morning in 2011.  That year I had purchased a Lego advent calendar for him.  Somehow he knew (or suspected?) that the final Lego pieces in the calendar were a Yoda Santa.  He anticipated opening that last little window all month long.

He could not wait for that cool moment!

It turned out he was right and on Christmas Eve all of that eager anticipation was fully realized when he pulled out his very own Yoda Santa.

Somehow I managed to capture that moment in this incredible shot.

Childhood can be so magical.

Preserving the magic in photos is priceless.  ❤

 

 

And just for fun, here is a photo of that marvelous middle boy with his favorite pal, my awesome oldest boy, taken the next day:

16508530908_cc0cd613e6_o (1)

And a rare pregnant photo of myself while expecting my darling youngest boy:

16076171273_58906deda1_o

Merry Christmas!

 

I hope you each enjoy some wonderful family time over the coming week.  I will be taking a little break to enjoy each moment.  AND!!!  We are soooooo excited to FaceTime with our missionary on Christmas day!  ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤   See you soon!

 

 

ps – I keep meaning to write a blog post about the GRO PDF pilot program and I just haven’t fit it in.  If you have any English ancestry, or English birth or death records you need, NOW is the time to order them.  They are far less expensive and you get them in just a few business days as opposed to weeks and weeks and weeks of waiting.  I have ordered many records over the last few months.  The pilot period will end very soon – they haven’t announced the date but only said it will run for about 3 months and it started in October, so time’s a-wastin’!  You can learn more about the program here.  If you have questions, ask!  I’ll try to pay attention and answer asap.  Merry Christmas!

 

 


15 Comments

Photograph Showcase: Christmas 1952

 

COSTELLO Christmas, 25 December 1952

25 December 1952, from l-r:  Uncle Frank (barely peeking out), Auntie V, Grandma Deane holding Uncle C.

I love this adorable Christmas photo!

 

There is just so much to love about it.  The little Charlie Brown Christmas tree in the center of the room may be my favorite part.  It’s so perfect for my sweet little Auntie V to help decorate and enjoy.  But then there is my Grandma, squatting down, wearing peep-toe heels, holding a baby and somehow keeping her balance.  And what about that strand of pearls?  This may be the only time I’ve ever seen her wearing a strand of pearls.  My Grandma was more the hunting and fishing type.  I also love the ball toy.  My own children had two different updated versions of this same toy.  And of course, that hobby horse is fantastic!  One last little gem to point out is Grandma’s only sibling peeking in just a tiny bit from the left.

Do you have any favorite family Christmas photos?

 

 

And just for fun – here is the original scan before I worked a little PhotoShop magic:

img258

I straightened, cropped, edited out dust and adhesive residue, and repaired the portions that were torn away by tape.  I prefer to remove distractions from old photos.  How do you feel about editing old photos?

 

 


17 Comments

Photograph Showcase: Christmas is Definitely Cuter with Children and Kittens

costello3 edited

I love this photo of my uncle!  This is another portrait taken by his grandmother, my great-grandmother, Hope Estelle Maffit.  I also display this photo during December.  The original was cut into this strange shape before it came to me.  It has a piece of cardboard attached at the back to serve as a stand.  You can see a bit of it peeking out from behind.  I spent a little time editing to make it appear as a full image once again.

Here is the original scan:

costello3, unedited

Do you have any photos that could use a little editing love?  What programs have you tried?  I’m a PhotoShop purist.

 

Happy Thursday, I hope you are enjoying the December festivities!

 

 


16 Comments

Photograph Showcase: Christmas Cuties

costello2 - smaller

Aren’t my aunt and uncle adorable?!

This is another 11×17″ portrait that I recently scanned.  It was taken in 1954 by my great-grandmother, Hope Estelle Maffit Duval.  I’ve been wondering if the star was crafted out of tin foil.  What do you think?

The last several Decembers this photo has been on display in my piano room.  Do you like to use vintage family photos as holiday decorations?

 

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