thegenealogygirl


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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.

❤️

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: James & Catherine Young

YOUNG, James and Catherine with small child

James Young & Catherine Brown are my 2nd great grandparents.  James and Catherine were both born in Scotland, as were their first 5 children.  Their youngest son was born in America after they immigrated.

This photo of James and Catherine comes from the collection of my GrandAunt Barbara, James and Catherine’s granddaughter-in-law.  This is the most recent photo I have ever seen of James and Catherine.  They both died in 1945 in Spokane, Washington.  James in January and Catherine in July.

The photograph is labeled simply “Young 2”.  I do not know who the child is.  Yet.  Once I do, hopefully I can narrow down the date of the photo.

But for now I am just happy to have this great photo of my 2nd great grandparents hanging out in these cool yard chairs.

 

Happy Thursday, I hope you make a new ancestor photo find today!

 

 

ps – If you are anything like me, you have probably been paying attention to the news surrounding Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  My son is currently serving a mission for our church in South Carolina.  He is safe and will likely spend the next few days, or more, helping with clean-up.  Depending on the extent of the damage in his area, he may be donning a yellow “Helping Hands” t-shirt and working with a larger crew.  You can read more about Mormon Helping Hands here.  If you know someone who has suffered damage to their home and is struggling with clean-up, they can request help from the Mormon helping Hands program – no matter what faith they belong to.  Additionally, if you have been wanting to donate to a service organization that is helping people rebuild in Texas, Florida, or elsewhere, you may wish to consider donating to the Humanitarian Fund of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (those Mormon folks who are helping clean up).  100% of donated funds will go to help those in need.  All labor is donated and funds are used for supplies.  You can donate here and leave a note in the “Comments or instructions” section with Hurricane Harvey or Irma listed.  If you choose to donate, you will receive an official receipt around tax season.  Every little bit helps ease suffering and begin the long process of rebuilding.  ❤


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Photograph Showcase: Seeing Grandpa Costello’s Smile

COSTELLO, John and Mary family 1950 Chritmas time

John & Mary Costello Family, 1950, Spokane, Washington

Do you see that happy Grandpa sitting front and center with one of his sweet grand-babies kissing the top of his head?  Do you see that beautiful and happy smile on his face?

Well so do I!!

 

I have seen two other photos from this particular sitting.  In both of them, Grandpa Costello is not looking at the camera.

So imagine my delight when my sister brought this photo to me.  For the first time ever, I was seeing a photograph of my Great Grandpa Costello looking at the camera and smiling.  Really smiling.  ❤

But I have to give credit where credit is due.  See that lovely, happy woman on the back row on the far right?  That is my grandaunt Barbara.  She sent my sister home with a bundle of photos for me to scan.  This little treasure was amongst them.

I am so grateful to Aunt Barbara for sharing and especially to my sister for making an impromptu visit to our Aunt.

If you’ve been reading along for a while you may remember that I discovered 7 seconds of video of Grandpa Costello earlier this year.  In that video Grandpa is definitely smiling, so this photo isn’t the first time I’m seeing his smile, but it is the first high quality photo with his smile.

I think that the important lesson in all of this is that we can’t ever consider our efforts “done”.  I’ve talked to Aunt Barbara several times over the years.  I’ve visited her in her home and interviewed her and Uncle Dan.  I’ve exchanged letters asking questions.  But this past Spring I specifically sent her a letter asking if she had any photos of Grandpa Costello that I might scan.  Because of my letter, she had gathered a small group of photos and then had them all ready to send with my sister when she visited.  Her bundle included several photos of my Great Grandpa Costello that I had never seen.  That my mom had never seen.  These photos may have NEVER made it to my branch of our tree if I hadn’t thought to ask Aunt Barbara about photos of my Great Grandpa Costello.

So, keep asking questions of your oldest living relatives.  I thought I had gleaned every detail I could from Aunt Barbara.  I hadn’t.  I wonder what else I might learn the next time I visit her?

 

Happy Thursday, I hope you think of a great question to ask one of you oldest living relatives today!

 

 

 

ps – Because only three family members in this photo have passed on, I am not labeling this photo here.  If you are a family member and want the names, shoot me an email.  I will add a detailed description of the photo in my private Ancestry tree.

 


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A Special Christmas Gift & the Lesson FamilySearch Taught Me

A Special Christmas Gift

Every year for Christmas I try to give my parents and siblings a meaningful family history gift.  Sometimes it’s simple, sometimes it’s not.  What it always is, is a work of the heart.

This past Christmas, the gift was fairly simple, but definitely meaningful.  And because it was created based on a family treasure found in my grandmother’s archives, I gave this particular gift to my children, my parents and siblings, my uncles and cousins, and my grandmother’s only living sibling.

So what was this special token of our shared heritage?

A slim, 23 page book.

The first 15 pages were a carefully scanned copy of a handwritten personal history recorded by my 2nd great grandmother Susan Kaziah Davis.

Susan is my Grandma’s Grandma.  Susan was born in 1850 in Bath, Somerset, England to Edward George Davis and Sarah Esther Mudd.  Edward and Sarah had joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1849.  They continued to live in England for several years.  After Edward’s death in 1863, Sarah and the children worked hard to earn enough money for passage to America and the journey to Utah.  They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on the 3rd of September, 1868, having travelled by wagon train.  This makes Sarah, Susan, and the other children Mormon Pioneers.

At the age of 65, Susan wrote a 15 page personal history.  Later, Susan and her son Claude, my great grandfather, used this handwritten history to write a more complete history of Susan’s life.

The original 15 pages are handwritten by Susan in her beautiful penmanship.  I have that original handwritten history and wanted my whole family to be able to enjoy it.

I used a local printshop that I trust to create the scan.  They scanned it in black and white and printed it on a creamy colored cardstock that was similar to the color of the original paper.  I created 8 additional pages that were added after the history.  The print shop printed them up and bound them with a small spiral binding at the top.  Here is one of the books.

Susan Kaziah Davis book

I tried to keep it almost as simple as I found it.  I added my extra pages after Susan’s own writing.  I wanted my family to be able to discover her life from her own writing, just like I had, when I found this treasure.

In the 8 additional pages, I included a letter from me, a few photos of Susan (reprints of scans), a photo of Susan’s mother Sarah, a lovely family group sheet for Susan, her husband and children, and one for Sarah, Edward and their children.  I also created a relationship chart so that each recipient would know how they are related to Susan.  Here are the 8 pages, in the order found in the book, with names of living people edited out except for mine.

I was very happy with this small gift I was able to share with my family.

The next step for me was a more permanent preservation effort for the handwritten history.

I instantly thought of the free FamilySearch book scanning service at RootsTech.  I had used this service at RootsTech in 2016 and was very happy with the quality of the scan.  The item I scanned that year was a Family Record book kept by Susan’s husband Frederick William Ellis.  Here are two sample pages from that scan:

The book can be found in the FamilySearch Catalog here.  The actual images of the book can be found here.

The scans turned out great!  I was very pleased and thought this was a great way to preserve something for my extended family with little work on my part.  The book is 86 pages long and while I certainly could have scanned them, this saved me lots of time.

Because of my previous experience with the FamilySearch Book Scanning service at RootsTech, I decided Susan’s handwritten history would be one of two books I had scanned at RootsTech 2017.

When I picked up my precious manuscript from the book scanning booth I very nearly walked over to a different booth that accepts donations of family items about early Mormon Pioneers.  I almost donated this small history so it could be preserved and available for all of Susan’s descendants to view in person at the Church History Library.  I had already recreated a physical copy for my family.  I had already had a nice scan created by FamilySearch.  Donating it would ensure it’s preservation.  But some nagging feeling caused me to keep on walking.

After I returned home from RootsTech, I checked for my book to show up in the catalog several times.  Eventually I quit checking and forgot about it until last week when I checked again.  I was very puzzled when I couldn’t find it.  I tried a bunch of tricks and I just wasn’t tracking it down.  So I got extra creative and finally – there it was.  The catalog name isn’t the best – A Brief sketch of the Life & Happenings of Susean (Susan) K. Ellis.  The catalog entry can be found here.  And the images of the scans can be found here.

Here is the first page from that scan:

FS scan of SKD history

I was sooooo disappointed in this scan!  They scanned it in black and white.  And at a low resolution.

Can I just say how glad I am that I did not donate Susan’s precious manuscript?!

After discovering this huge disappointment, I decided to scan the small treasure myself last week.  I used a flatbed scanner and scanned each page at a very high resolution and saved them as a .tiff file.

Here is the first page at about one fourth the size of my scan and saved as a .jpeg.  It looks so much better than the FS scan!

SKD history page 1

So what is the lesson?

 

I don’t know why I experienced such drastic quality differences with the FamilySearch Book Scanning service, but I did.  In the future, I will not waste my time having them scan something so small.  And I will definitely NEVER assume their scan has me covered and donate an item before making sure the scan is the quality I expect.

FamilySearch has earned my trust time and again.  I almost let that well deserved trust cause me to donate an item before it had been properly scanned.  I would have been heartbroken at my unnecessary loss.

I still trust FamilySearch and love their generous, inclusive, and vast efforts to help all people learn about their family’s history.

But I have now learned that my trust has a very important limit.  Everything I consider donating will be properly scanned and saved to various locations before I even talk about making that donation.

 

 

Have you ever used the FamilySearch Book Scanning service?  If so, what was your experience like?

 

Do you like to give family history gifts to your family?  If so, what types of gifts have you given?

 

 

Happy Monday, I hope you are able to properly preserve and share a family treasure very soon!

 

 

ps – I will post my scans and a transcription of Susan’s history in an upcoming post for my extended family to find and enjoy.

 


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Photograph Showcase: My Sister Alice

My mind has been rather intensely occupied by the whole muddled mess that is my Hyde line.  Surprisingly, after writing that last post about the updates I need to make, I discovered a whole new crazy plot twist involving bigamy.  Except this time, the crazy was in my direct line and for some reason that revelation was more upsetting than all of the previous discoveries – that should absolutely be more upsetting.  Of course, I haven’t shared those discoveries yet so you’ll just have to trust me that they should feel worse.  Sigh.  I’m adjusting.

But.  Because my mind has been so fixated on this part of my tree, this photo took on new meaning to me.  It is an image taken in Sheffield, England and labeled on the front, “my sister Alice”.

On the back it reads “Alice Hyde Duval”.  Now the note on the back was written by my own Grandmother.  If her note was correct, this photo would be of her grandmother, Alice Hyde who married Francis Cyprien Duval.

Her note is not correct.  This is definitely not Alice Hyde Duval.  Alice Hyde was born 29 July 1880 in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada.  She did travel to England with her father and younger sister Rosey after their Mother’s death in 1884.  But it appears they did not remain in England for very long, likely not long enough for her to be as old as the child in this photograph.  Rosey was left with her Hyde grandparents in Sheffield and Henry, Alice, and Henry’s new wife Alice left England bound for Alaska.

So who is “my sister Alice”?

I believe this photo is an image of Alice Whiteley.  Alice Whiteley is the sister of Ann Whiteley.  Ann Whiteley is the wife of Henry Hyde and the mother of Alice and Rosey Hyde.  Ann died 3 days after the birth of a daughter – who is believed to be Rosey – leaving Henry a widower with two young daughters.  He went back to England and married Ann’s younger sister Alice Whiteley.

We now have two females named Alice Hyde.  They are aunt and niece, and step-mother and step-daughter.

Alice Whiteley was 5 years old when her older sister Ann married Henry.

It appears that after Ann and Henry’s marriage, Henry left Ann in England for a time while he was living in Ontario.  She may have been there as late as 1879 – when Alice was 11 years old.  When Ann left England, Alice was her only living, unmarried sister.

So, as I said before, I believe this photo is of Alice Whiteley, the sister of Ann, who went on to marry Ann’s widower Henry.

But here is the really big deal…

If I am correct that this is a photo of Alice Whiteley, then I am likely looking at my 3rd great grandmother Ann Whiteley’s handwriting.

Ann Whiteley is a bit of a ghost in my tree.  She left almost no mark on this earth in the form of records.  There are no known photographs of her.  This might possibly be the only item she ever touched that still remains in our family’s possession.

That is cool.

And yet, did she write, “my sister Alice”?

On her marriage record in 1873, Ann signed her name with an x as her mark.  In the intervening years would she have learned to write so well?

I don’t know.

What I do know for certain, is that there are two family members in my tree named Alice whose lives intersect with Sheffield, England.  The only two candidates to be the subject of this photograph.  Alice Whiteley and Alice Hyde.  Aunt and niece, step-mother and step-daughter.  I have two photographs of them together.

Alice Hyde & Alice Whiteley Hyde

Alice Hyde and her step mother Alice Whiteley Hyde.

On the left is my 2nd great grandmother Alice Hyde, born in 1880 in Ontario, Canada.  On the right is Alice Whiteley, my 3rd great grandaunt, who was born in 1868 in Sheffield, England.

HYDE family, in Alaska

This photo was taken in Alaska.  Alice Hyde is in the back row and Alice Whiteley is in the front row on the right.

Based on their faces, I believe the child in the first photograph does look like the adult Alice Whiteley.

 

What do you think?

 

Is the child in the image Alice Whiteley born in 1868 in Sheffield?

 

If so, do you think Ann learned how to write well enough that she labeled this photo herself?

 

 

Every photo, letter, note, and artifact leave us clues.  I hope I am seeing all of the clues for what they are.

 

 

ps – Here’s one more factor… According to her 1940 prison record, Alice Hyde born in 1880 had grey eyes.  The eyes of the child in the photo appear to be very dark to me – brown or black.  And yes, you read that right.  My 2nd great grandmother went to prison when she was 60.  I told you this Hyde line is filled with a lot of heavy stuff.

 


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Photograph Showcase: Class Pictures 101 years ago

DUVAL, Francis and Vera, 1916 Lynn Valley School

It’s back to school week for us.  A perfect time to pull out an old family photo featuring school days.  Because these two photos are glued to one piece of cardboard, I decided to post them together.  They come from the collection of Vera Duval.  Her collection was passed to her niece, my Grandma, who in turn gave them to me.

The top photo is coming away just enough to see a notation on the back that reads:

 

Taken 1916 at Lynn Valley School, Vera & Francis Duval

 

Francis Duval is my great grandfather.  Vera is his older sister.

In the top photo, Francis is in the second row down from the top, second child in from the left.  In the same photo, Vera is in the second row back from the front, fourth child in from the left.

In the bottom photo, Francis is in the center of the front row.  I am not sure if Vera is in this photo.  The only girl who I think she might be, is the girl in the third row up from the bottom, third from the left wearing a dark dress with a colored bow on top of her head.  I am also wondering if their younger sister Dolores might be in either photo.  She was born in 1909 so… maybe?  None of the faces strike me as definitely being hers.

Francis looks younger in the bottom photo to me.  What do you think?

I am also trying to decide if the two buildings are the same.  There are definite similarities, enough to think they are the same building.  But it strikes me as odd that there would be two large staircases on different parts of the building.

The bottom photo is glued down so tightly that I have no hope of getting to any type of label that might be hiding there on the back of the photo.

Even if I can’t wrangle out every single detail, I love these old school pictures.  What a treasure!

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: Grandpa Costello & His Guitar, aka Photo Heaven ❤️

COSTELLO, John playing his guitar, November 1960

John Costello, November 1960. Photo courtesy of Barbara Costello.

In May of this year, I shared my joy at finding 7 seconds of video of my great grandfather, John Costello.  In that post I shared that I have exactly 5 photos of my great grandfather.

Guess what?

That is not the case any longer!!

 

{Insert major genealogy happy dancing & celebrating right here.}

 

In July, my sister visited our grandaunt Barbara.  Barbara is the widow of Dan Costello.  Dan is the son of our great grandfather, John Costello.

Aunt Barbara sent my sister home with a lovely chalk drawing created by John’s wife, that I shared last week.  She also sent her home with a small, but very precious, bundle of photographs for me to scan and return.

This photo of Grandpa Costello was among them.  My heart is bursting with joy to see Grandpa Costello in – what I am guessing is his living room? – playing his guitar.  He didn’t like having his picture taken, so each photo is extra special.  Here is, as a 67 year old man, still playing his guitar.  Be still my heart.

❤️

 

Have you been blessed to have photos shared with you, photos you weren’t expecting to ever see?

 

 

ps – Thank you!! for all of the input and advice about my letter collection.  I really appreciate each of your comments, emails, and poll answers.  Between all of you and some conversations with family, I think I have made a tentative plan.  I think.  The part I know for sure is that I will not be sharing the letters here.  My goal is to be ready to begin sharing them with family in January.

As a side note, my sister talked me through every possible way of sharing, all of the issues to consider – both for those who are deceased and those who are living, plus the time required for each avenue.  In all of that discussing, she helped me have an interesting and very valuable a-ha moment.  There are letters missing.  I know this for sure.  There are also letters that have been edited by scissors or permanent marker – by Grandma.  That leads us to believe that she definitely destroyed many letters, leaving no trace, and that the ones that remain that were marked “destroy”, were either too special to her to destroy or she changed her mind about their fate.  We can’t know for certain, but it has impacted our position on how to handle those letters.  One thing all of this has caused me to reflect upon, is what my own wishes are for my personal items like journals and letters.  Hopefully I can make my wishes clear so one day my granddaughter will know exactly what I would have wanted her to do.