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Thankful Thursday- A Thanksgiving List

Edith Roberts Luck with her first granddaughter in 1954.
Edith Roberts Luck with her first granddaughter in October, 1954.

As a family historian and history buff, sitting down to write a list of things I am thankful for is daunting, even when I limit it to genealogy- there are so very many.

1. Of course, I would need to start with the family that was close, and who shared their stories with me from the time I was a young child. I always wanted to hear more of the good stories, and had a thirst for digging deeper into them. The budding journalist even back then always asked the 5 W’s and How: Who was it? What did they do for a living? Where did they live/move? When was it exactly? Why would they do ___? and How do you know that? How did they accomplish that? Questions, questions, questions… (Sorry, Mom, Dad, grandparents, etc.)

Family stories integrate history and help children better understand context, timelines, and their place in them. A fifth grader I knew had trouble understanding which persons he was studying in social studies were still alive- he couldn’t remember if Ben Franklin or George Washington were still living. This was a child who sadly did not have family stories…

David Allen Lambert recently wrote a good post discussing this on the blog Vita Brevis entitled “The gift of family history.” As I read it, I remembered how the Civil War came alive to me in my classes only because I knew I had a great-great Uncle who was “the youngest drummer boy in the Civil War” per family stories. My mother would bring out his picture occasionally, and he looked so young and vulnerable in his new Union uniform and cap. As we learned about boring battles, I could imagine dear little Abram Springsteen marching off, beating his drum with head held high, with his mother and sisters shedding briny tears, and his father proudly knowing that he would come back a man, even though he was only 12 years old as he left. I was proud that my family fulfilled patriotic duties, and relieved to know that Abram survived. The story of him stealing eggs and putting them in his drum to take back to camp for a delicious repast for his comrades in arms turned out to be true; as a child, it made me realize that I too could do things that mattered and that helped adults. Part of his legacy was thus given to me- a gift of family history passed down through the years.

Studies show that children who know the family stories have a better sense of who they are, where they came from, more confidence, etc. The best part is that they can pass on those stories to their children and grandchildren too. A person’s history is usually lost within three generations, since the fourth most probably will never have met the eldest. Using images and the wealth of the family stories and current availability of genealogical data, we can keep that from happening.

Grandma Edie (above) always told us, “You come from strong pioneer stock- you can do anything you set your mind to.” That sentence has kept me going through adversity from the we-thought-it-was-the-end-of-the-world silly junior high sort to much bigger, scarier, life altering things. I think I finally truly believe it.

Franz Xavier Helbling (1800-1876) and his wife Mary Theresa Knipshield (1810-1891)
Franz Xavier Helbling (1800-1876) and his wife Mary Theresa Knipshield (1810-1891). Photos sent by a kind distant cousin who paid to have the Helblings researched in Germany. She very kindly shared all her research with me, even though I had nothing to contribute except a bit of an update on more current family.

2. Back in the days before computers, genealogical research was a slow task with so many dead ends, and it depended on strangers being interested enough to answer your query if you could not travel to every needed repository. I cannot imagine the reams of paper and piles of envelopes I mailed out  after reading a query in a genealogy magazine, enclosing my SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope, so the person did not have to use their own stamp to reply- quaint, isn’t it in these days of instant emails and messaging?), or writing to a local courthouse or historical society. Often, by the time one got a reply months later, one had almost forgotten the details of why they wrote. Despite all that, the kindness of strangers and very distant family was often overwhelming, and helped advance my research one family at a time.

1920 US Federal Census for Elsie Janis (Beerbower)
1920 US Federal Census for Elsie Janis (Beerbower). I had been only able to find the 1910 census for her  even though I searched for years. Yesterday’s look on FamilySearch.org turned up the family in the 1920 census, and I was then able to find the image on Ancestry.com. Knowing some of the servant’s names helped me to actually find the image- it did not come up in a search for Elsie nor Josephine (AKA Jane Elizabeth Cockrell Beerbower), her mother. The chauffeur’s name led me then to the 1930 census for Elsie and her mother. Still searching for them in the 1900 census…

3. I have been researching since a teen, and thirty years of personal visits to families and repositories plus SASE were totally eclipsed once I found Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, and the myriad other online databases now available. In just a few months my family tree doubled in size, reaching many generations higher. Of course, it would not have been an accurate tree without all the information I had so painstakingly gathered in all those previous years. Indexers have made this material accessible, and I hope to be able to do more indexing in the future myself. Online databases are the gift that keeps on giving- more comes online daily and I just love the newspapers now online-  they give such interesting details about daily life, something dry vital records cannot do.

Obituary of Margaret Ann Hemphill, 23 December 1915, Prairie City News, Prairie City, Iowa, page 1.
Obituary of Margaret Ann Hemphill, 23 December 1915, Prairie City News, Prairie City, Iowa, page 1.

4. Being able to write about my research and findings has been the culmination of all my research- what good is all that paperwork/pixels if it doesn’t tell a story to someone? Writing it down has helped me to realize where there are holes, and then I research some more- it’s a wonder that I ever get a blog post finished. (I think my fastest was only 8 revisions and I know there are still typos and awkward sentences here and there- sorry.) Writing out the stories is also a way of analyzing what one knows, and sometimes new connections are evident. I am still challenged by some of the technicalities of using a blog, and it isn’t the pretty blog I visualized because I don’t have the skills to make it so, but overall it makes me happy to share these stories of family.

c1914- Edgar Helbling reading.
c1914- Edgar Helbling reading.

5. Having people who actually read the blog is so wonderful. Writing a blog IS a lot of work (thank you, dear husband, for your patience when I am writing), and it saddens me that there are not very many readers out there. It is a niche blog though, written for family, so I really don’t expect large numbers. (It would be nice though to get as many real people comments as spam comments.) We have found some cousins through the blog (one of the reasons we started this), and I am sure there are others reading but not commenting, subscribing, or sharing. Oh well, I do hope that they will one day, but in the meantime, I have been charged with telling these stories for current and future generations, and that is what I will do. Thank you to Uncle Jim who pushed me to get this thing started. To the family and friends who read the blog, I say a heartfelt thank you- you keep me inspired to keep telling the stories.

My genealogical journey has been a part of me for a very long time and I am grateful to be able to share it with family.  I am so thankful for all the assistance along the way, from the kind humanity of researchers and government employees to the non-human databases that contain so many tidbits of clues and information. I am grateful to all the wonderful ancestors who came before to make me who I am and keep me busy at the computer and off the streets because I am so deep into research I cannot stop to eat or sleep or get in trouble.

In the end, though, the thing to be most thankful for, this day and every day, is… family.

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Family photo archives.

2) 1920 US Federal Census for Elsie Janis: Source Citation: Year: 1920; Census Place: North Tarrytown, Westchester, New York; Roll: T625_1276; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 68; Image: 599. Ancestry.com. Accessed 11-19-14.

3) Vita Brevis, a blog of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS)- http://vita-brevis.org/2014/11/gift-family-history/#more-2593

 

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Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
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Wordless Wednesday: Views of the Skunk River near the Roberts Family Farm, Jasper County, Iowa

View on Skunk River near Newton, Jasper County, Iowa.
View on Skunk River near Newton, Jasper County, Iowa.(RPPC)
View on Skunk River near Newton, Jasper County, Iowa- reverse.
View on Skunk River near Newton, Jasper County, Iowa- reverse.
View of Skunk River near Newton, Jasper County, Iowa. Real Photo Postcard (RPPC).
View of Skunk River near Newton, Jasper County, Iowa. Real Photo Postcard (RPPC).
Skunk River Bridge near Colfax, Jasper County, Iowa. RPPC.
Skunk River Bridge near Colfax, Jasper County, Iowa. Vintage lithographic postcard  c1910, mailed 1917 in Colfax to Hancock, Iowa.
Skunk River Bridge near Colfax, Jasper County, Iowa. RPPC-reverse.
Skunk River Bridge near Colfax, Jasper County, Iowa. RPPC-reverse.

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Purchased postcards in author’s collection.

 

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Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.

Mystery Monday: Maria and Blackie

Maria and Blackie. "Maria/Marcia passed on Feb. 7 (Tues.) 1935. Blackie Nov. 20 - 33" on reverse.
Maria and Blackie. “Maria/Marcia passed on Feb. 7 (Tues.) 1935. Blackie Nov. 20 – 33” on reverse.

Who is Maria?  Does this really say Maria, or is it Marcia? (Don’t know of any ‘Marcia’ in the family.)

This photo was in with Lee-Aiken family papers and photos.

The reverse:

"Marcia passed on feb. 7 (Tues.) 1935. Blackie Nov. 20 - 33" - Reverse.
“Maria/Marcia passed on Feb. 7 (Tues.) 1935. Blackie Nov. 20 – 33” – Reverse.

Here are some other pictures that were in the same group. Vada (Kovich) Lee (second wife of Gene Lee, and she also lived in the Alamo house), had originally said this was Dottie Lee, but then decided it was not. She believed it to be an older version of the sunroom on Alamo, the Lee family household for generations in St. Louis, Missouri. She was unsure as to who it was, as she had not known Gene’s grandparents.

Unknown woman- possibly Maria Louisa Brandenburger?
Unknown woman- possibly same as above? Maria Louisa Brandenburger?

One possibility is that it is Maria Louisa (or Louisa Maria- Germans switched their two names about and were often called by their middle name) (Brandenburger) Lee. Maria was married to Samuel Lenton Lee, and their eldest child was Samuel J. Lee, who owned the home on Alamo. Samuel L died in June of 1932, so Maria would have been a widow after that, and possibly lived with her son or other children, or just made extended stays to St. Louis from their original home in Bunker Hill, Illinois. Maria died 06 May 1934 in Bunker Hill, not the 07 Feb 1935 as noted on the back of the first picture, but memories written on the back of pictures are not always accurate.

Unknown woman, possibly Maria Louisa Brandenburger Lee or Minnie Schoor?
Unknown woman, possibly Maria Louisa Brandenburger Lee or Minnie Schoor?

Could this be the same woman? We don’t know for sure who she is either. It would be great to find someone with these same images!

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Lee Family Treasure Chest, reviewed with Gene and Vada Lee in the 1980s.

 

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Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.

Friday’s Faces from the Past: At 1038 Grand View Place in St. Louis, Missouri

Samuel J. Lee family home at 1038 Grandview, St. Louis, Missouri, October 1922.
Samuel J. Lee family home at 1038 Grandview, St. Louis, Missouri, October 1922.

Details of a house can give one clues to pictures with no names, addresses, or dates. The first picture in this post was positively identified by Gene Lee as being their Grand View home, and he identified his mother and the place in the image below. From there we need to make educated guesses about other images in a photo album that look similar.

Dorothy (Aiken) Lee, probably in front of their home at 1038 Grand View Place, St. Louis, Missouri.
Dorothy (Aiken) Lee, probably in front of their home at 1038 Grand View Place, St. Louis, Missouri. (Known identification of Dorothy.)

Things we know about this house:

1) It has large white rectangular stones along foundation.

05 Aug 1923, outside 1038 Grand View Place. Unknown woman.
05 Aug 1923, outside 1038 Grand View Place. Unknown woman.

2) The house has brick above the foundation, probably a red brick.

3) There are arched bricks over lower windows of the house in the basement.

4) The house has a basement.

5) Lattice surrounds the base of the porch.

April 1918, outside 1038 Grand View Place, St. Louis, Missouri. Possibly Dora Russell Aiken, who lived with her daughter's family.
April 1918, outside 1038 Grand View Place, St. Louis, Missouri. Possibly Dora Russell Aiken, who lived with her daughter’s family.

6) A wooden railing with columns surrounds the porch.

7) Height of porch is about 4 feet.

1920, Lloyd Eugene "Gene" Lee at 1038 Grandview, St. Louis, Missouri. He was about 13 in this photo.
1920, Lloyd Eugene “Gene” Lee at 1038 Grandview, St. Louis, Missouri. He was about 13 in this photo.

8) The front porch has wide steps.

1922- 1038 Grand View Place. Probably Dorothy (Aiken) Lee.
1922- 1038 Grand View Place. Probably Dorothy (Aiken) Lee.

9) It looks like the wild vegetation was cleared back and columns made bigger on the porch- note differences from first image, but others of these images were verified by  Gene Lee (who lived there)- he said they were 1038 Grand View Place.

10) There is a lone tree at the base of the steps.

11) A narrow sidewalk curves around the side of the house.

April 1918, outside 1038 Grand View Place, St. Louis, Missouri. Possibly Dora Russell Aiken, who lived with her daughter's family.
April 1918, outside 1038 Grand View Place, St. Louis, Missouri. Possibly Dora Russell Aiken, who lived with her daughter’s family.

11) The house appears to be on a cul-de-sac.

12) Using Google maps and street view, we can see that there is a large two-story building nearby (currently a school and may have been in the 1920s as well), plus a house nearby that has a third story window that is the maximum height for its width in the gable. (This house seems to have been demolished; the freeway is very close by now and the road was terminated.)

Using these clues, there are other images in the Lee photo album that were most probably taken at 1038 Grand View Place. Knowing who lived in the house at certain times can help us narrow the possibilities of the persons in the pictures.

May 30, 1924, Decoration Day probably in front of 1038 Grand View Place, St. Louis, Missouri.
May 30, 1924, Decoration Day probably in front of 1038 Grand View Place, St. Louis, Missouri. Dorothy (Aiken) Lee on left?
April, 1918. Possibly Dorothy (Aiken) Lee in front of their home at 1038 Grand View Place, St. Louis, Missouri.
April, 1918. Possibly Dorothy (Aiken) Lee in front of their home at 1038 Grand View Place, St. Louis, Missouri. Note similar house next door.
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Possibly Dora J. Russell on left with unknown woman. Probably in front of 1038 Grand View Place, St. Louis, Missouri, in the 1920s.
Possibly Dora J. (Russell) Aiken at 1038 Grand View Place, St. Louis, Missouri, 1920s.
Possibly Dora J. (Russell) Aiken at 1038 Grand View Place, St. Louis, Missouri, May 1923.

The Lees had moved on to 6704 Alamo by the time of the 1930 US Federal census.

The house is still standing, and is listed on Zillow.com as being 1,444 sq. ft. with one bathroom, built in 1908. It is located near Clayton and Berthold Streets on Grandview Place (now ‘Grand View’ is one word instead of two). Due to Google’s Terms of Service I cannot post an image of the house, but if you click here, it should take you to the image.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Photos from the Lee family treasure chest.

2) GoogleMaps street view of house today: https://www.google.com/maps/@38.6310572,-90.3012714,3a,75y,87.49h,90.75t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sZ8aSXN4kZFkCNUzY4o9ygQ!2e0

Those Places Thursday: 1038 Grand View, St. Louis, Missouri

In the Gould’s 1917 City Directory for  St. Louis, Missouri, Samuel J. Lee is listed as residing at 1038 Grand View Place.

Gould's 1917 City Directory listing for Samuel J. Lee. Ancestry.com
Gould’s 1917 City Directory listing for Samuel J. Lee. Ancestry.com

The family probably purchased the house sometime between 1910 and 1917, as at the 1910 census, the family was living at 4063 Chouteau, very near Sam’s store at 4067 Chouteau. (Were they possibly living over the store in those early years?)

The family was still living in this house on Grand View Place when the 1920 US Federal Census was enumerated. Samuel J. Lee, his wife Dorothy (Aiken) Lee, their son Lloyd E. Lee (later known by his middle name, Eugene or “Gene”), and Dorothy’s mother Dora J. (Russell) Aiken (she was separated from her husband, William H. Aiken) were still living in the household. Sam had his own store and worked there as a druggist, and his mother-in-law also worked there, as a saleswoman.

Dorothy (Aiken) Lee, probably in front of their home at 1038 Grand View Place, St. Louis, Missouri.
Dorothy (Aiken) Lee, probably in front of their home at 1038 Grand View Place, St. Louis, Missouri. (Known identification of Dorothy, per Gene Lee.)

The house was in a beautiful area- just a long block to Forest Park, the 1300+ acre park that was the site of the 1904 World’s Fair (AKA ‘Louisiana Purchase Exposition’). The park also houses the Art Museum, zoo, bandstands, picnic areas, lakes, etc., and has been a centerpiece of St. Louis life for well over a century. The surrounding homes were big for the time period, with two or three stories. Yards were fairly small since the home was in the city, but there were small trees planted on the lot to provide shade and some cooling in the relentless sun and heat of St. Louis summers.

Learning more about a house and it’s setting can help us to understand the socio-economic position of a family, their passions (gardens, yard art, etc.), their style, etc. Looking at the architectural features of a home can help us to identify unknown photos, and possibly help date them and give us clues about the people in the images.

Tomorrow: using clues from a house to help identify unmarked photos.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Photo from the Lee family treasure chest.

2) Gould’s 1917 City Directory for St. Louis, Missouri: Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. http://interactive.ancestry.com/2469/11419399/619815277?backurl=http%3a%2f%2fsearch.ancestry.com%2fcgi-bin%2fsse.dll%3fdb%3dUSDirectories%26h%3d619815277%26ti%3d0%26indiv%3dtry%26gss%3dpt%26ssrc%3dpt_t4160486_p-1645006806_kpidz0q3d-1645006806z0q26pgz0q3d32768z0q26pgplz0q3dpid&ssrc=pt_t4160486_p-1645006806_kpidz0q3d-1645006806z0q26pgz0q3d32768z0q26pgplz0q3dpid&backlabel=ReturnRecord. Accessed 10/14/14.

3) 1920 US Federal Census for Samuel J. Lee household: Source Citation: Year: 1920; Census Place: St Louis Ward 24, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Roll: T625_960; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 468; Image: 245. Ancestry.com. Accessed 10/14/14. http://interactive.ancestry.com/6061/4313228-00245/103082041?backurl=http%3a%2f%2fsearch.ancestry.com%2fcgi-bin%2fsse.dll%3fdb%3d1920usfedcen%26h%3d103082041%26ti%3d0%26indiv%3dtry%26gss%3dpt%26ssrc%3dpt_t4160486_p-1645006806_kpidz0q3d-1645006806z0q26pgz0q3d32768z0q26pgplz0q3dpid&ssrc=pt_t4160486_p-1645006806_kpidz0q3d-1645006806z0q26pgz0q3d32768z0q26pgplz0q3dpid&backlabel=ReturnRecord

 

Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images.

Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.