Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Pages from a Heritage Album

Normally I like to include scrapbook pages for Wordless Wednesday, but this one will need some explanation first.

I decided several years ago to put together a heritage scrapbook for my sister's young granddaughter to introduce her to her ancestry and show her that her grandmother (and my grandmother) was once a little girl just like her.

I had to put the project aside for a few years. Other things took precedence (like graduate school) and it took me some time to gather some of the photos I wanted to include to expand it to go as far back as I could with heritage photos. It took me so long that I now have to do a page to include her brother that was born a year or two after I started. I also made an extra copy to give to my sister's other grandson as well.

I used an 8 x 8 scrapbook which was a good size to include just a few photos on each page. In the front of the album, I printed a pedigree chart starting with the child scaled down to size. On the next page I printed my mother's pedigree chart (as that is the line I was concentrating on for this project) which was numbered. The first photo page has pictures of my grand-niece and her grandmother (my sister), the next page has pictures of my sister as an infant and a young girl. Then there's a page of my mother as a young girl and one that was taken a few years ago and shows her more like my grand-niece will remember her. I continued this way with my mother's parents and their grandparents as far back as I could. Each page concentrated on either one person or a married couple. For cohesion of the album, each page had a scrap of lace scrapbook paper and included a stamped tulip (a nod to my mother's Dutch heritage) in either blue or pink depending on the gender of the person pictured. I identified all of them by name plus wrote where each person's name could be located on the second pedigree chart which can be consulted for further information and help determine the relationship.

Below is a page that highlights my grandmother (and the child's great-great grandmother) and another page that shows her as a little girl with grandfather. I'll showcase other pages in later posts.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Funeral Card Friday - Joshua L. Hardy 1892

Joshua L. Hardy funeral card, Christian Co, KY

Pictured is a funeral card for Joshua L. Hardy. The original is approximately 4 x 6 inches in size, printed in gold lettering (though much faded) on a thick gray cardstock similar to what was used for photographs in that time period. This was one of the items given to me by my father’s cousin Norman Vaughan in 1995. I have mentioned my Hardy family in several posts.
This card states that Joshua died on June 1, 1892 but other information indicates the date was actually May 26, 1892. Notably his tombstone pictured below gives the May date as well as two family records. The one family record has been posted here. The other is a family bible record that I have yet to post. I am not so concerned about the discrepancy and feel the May date is probably the correct one. Perhaps his burial date was June 1 or it could just be a printer’s error when the card was made. Although there were earlier attempts at collecting vital records, they were not consistently recorded at a state-wide level in Kentucky until about 1911. There may be other local records but I have not pursued that.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Treasure Chest Thursday – The Bird Hardy Family Record

Well here, I’ve talked about this record often enough in other posts (just choose the tag “Bird Hardy” and you’ll get a list). These are scans of what I call the Bird Hardy Family Record. It begins with listing the birth date of Bird Hardy and Tiercy Hardy and then listing the birth dates of all their children. After skipping some space, the page chronicles the death of Tiercy Hardy in 1843, Bird in 1870, then Elizabeth Tyer’s in 1846 (who was the mother of Tiercy). It goes on to list the deaths of four of Bird & Tiercy’s children on the front. On the back of the paper, it lists the deaths of two more children, twins Joshua & Thomas Hardy. Written in pencil in another handwriting is noted the death of Thomas’ wife Nancy. The final listing in ink in yet another handwriting notes the death of Martha S. Hardy who was the wife of Joshua.

Bird Hardy family record page 1
This paper was given to my in 1994 by my father’s cousin, Norman Vaughan. Norman lived with his mother, Ruby Hardy Vaughan, my grandmother’s sister, in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Norman sent this to me along with other photographs and memorabilia that had been among his mother’s things. I had visited Norman and Aunt Ruby several times in the preceding years and had asked them what they knew about the family history. Knowing of my interest, Norman sent these things to me shortly after Aunt Ruby passed away. It wasn’t but a couple of years after that Norman developed stomach cancer and passed away himself.
I speculate that this information was taken from a family bible, probably Bird Hardy’s. Perhaps since there were several branches of the family interested in the original bible, this information was copied down by my branch (Joshua Hardy & his wife Martha, my second great-grandparents) for safe-keeping. It may have been copied just after Bird’s death before the bible may have been handed off to another family member. Bird’s death was recorded second in the death listing and out of sequence of the others; his was the second to the last date of occurrence on this side of the paper. It also appears that the very last entry on this page was written in a different ink. I think that this last entry and the others on the opposite side were written more contemporary to when these events occurred. Judging from other examples of Martha’s handwriting, my guess is that she was the one who wrote these down and kept track of it until her death which, although it states 1914 in this record, took place in 1915. Probably one of her daughters, Mary or Elizabeth, recorded Martha’s death there.

Bird Hardy family record page 2

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday’s Tip – Life in Small Bites

I’ve talked about this before but again I’ve come to realize that I can only do life in small bites. What I mean is, I have these grand ideas of projects such as organizing files, scanning old photographs, etc. but I can only do so much at one sitting; especially when the world of present living gets in the way of exploring the past.
Take the other day for instance, I had this idea for a blog post which entailed a couple of historical items I had on hand. I scanned those first. One bite down. Then I had to go make breakfast for my children (who all happen to be home this weekend). Much later after the girls drifted off to other events and projects of their own, I was able to work some more on my blog post. Another bite taken. The girls and I had plans for getting back together later in the day, so I only had so much time and had to finish up my blog project another day.
I am meant for a lot of things: not just exploring the past, but making memories with my children, impacting my community for good, even just “being.” I used to be terrible at starting some big project and finding it difficult to tear myself away from it long before I was finished. I would get grumpy about making dinner when I was in the middle of finding dead ancestors. Now I’m getting better at understanding that all these things I want to do take time. I need to exercise self-control and take it all one bite (or day) at a time.
I realize that this blog itself is an excellent way to do my focus on my research one bite at a time. Each post can be just one bite of part of a larger project I am working on. For instance, I am planning a post of my Bird Hardy Family Record and its provenance (which I mentioned in my post here and another post here). This goes towards my projects of getting my photos and records digitized and compiling an inventory of them. It’s a small bite, but it certainly helps keep me from biting off more than I can chew!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mystery Monday – Photographic Clues

“Lucy, you have some esplainin’ to do.” Ricky Ricardo used to say on the I Love Lucy show.**

 I thought about that when I decided to write a post explaining the provenance and details of this photograph. Because of the time period in which it was likely taken, I have thought that this may be a picture of Mary Brizendine who was mentioned as Ancestor No. 19 in my previous post. This is only a tentative identification, though, and it really remains a mystery.

According to notes I took many years ago, this item was found among the photographs originally owned by my grandparents, Cephas Bryant and Amy Leora (Hardy) Watts. This is very important to know and I’m glad I wrote it down back then. (Memory has a way of fading after a while.) If I had traced the provenance of this photograph back to those that had come from my dad’s cousin Norman, my original theory of it being my grandfather’s grandmother, Mary Brizendine, would be dead in the water. Norman and I only share the Hardy lineage; he is not related on my grandfather’s side.

The original photograph is a tintype about 2 x 3 inches in size.  The American Tintype by Floyd Rinhart, Marion Rinhart and Robert W. Wagner includes an appendix that gives a list of plate sizes and their period of popularity. This size was called a sixth-plate usually housed in a miniature case (made of leather-covered wood, papier-mache and plastic) and was popular from about 1856-1870.

I wrote a fairly detailed description which I will include here. I am a firm believer that details like this can help in identification as well. It is one-half of a double black leather case that was closed using a single hook and eye clasp. The other half was never found.  This half has the hook on the side. To reiterate the importance of details, if I found an identical case half with a single eye on the side and it was identified – that would go a long way in identifying this one. I know it doesn’t match with other case halves I have based on several reasons including the fact that those other case halves used a double hook and eye clasp instead of a single one. 

The Rinharts also wrote American Miniature Case Art which provides details about these types of cases. In figure 8 of page 22, the book shows popular mat styles for the miniature case including the oval which is the mat used for this particular photograph. Other styles include the elliptical, nonpareil, double elliptical, ornate elliptical and octagon. The authors noted that the plain octagon was the favored mat in the 1840s and the ornate border became the range later in the 1850s. My oval mat has a floral design. The photograph of the Thomas Hutchinson Spencer on Sunday’s post has a nonpareil mat.

Examples of the outside case designs are discussed in the book as well. Unfortunately, there was no description of the case design that holds this particular photograph. I own a photograph of a civil war soldier in a smaller case that the book calls a “Picture Frame Motif.” According to the book, this design was made ca. 1865 and considered uncommon. I was able to match another case design I own called the “Romanesque Urn” dated ca. 1857 which was “produced in large quantity and a number of variants.” The photographs housed in my Romanesque Urn case are ambrotypes which are one-of-a-kind photographs on glass. 

As stated previously, this is a tintype photograph, but with more of an unusual brown and white tint to it as opposed to other tintypes I own. The image appears to be a coating on the plate. The image on the metal is also an oval shape, not on the whole metal plate. Near the upper right edge the white coating has flaked off from the metal. There are some pink tinting to the cheeks and the flower in her hair. Could this be a copy of an earlier photograph? It has “No. 4” written in ink on the top left corner. On the back of the plate is a remnant of paper glued unevenly and somewhat wrinkled on the back. There is a hint of cursive writing in pencil though not enough for legibility. The paper backing has only bits of original typeset letters that look like “P  S----- Co.” “Lot No.” and parts of the word “instruction.” Perhaps it was a studio’s paper backing indicating when the copy was made. I have another tintype photo in my collection that has stamped clearly on the back “Acme Copying, Chicago, Lot No. 06.”

The subject appears to have her arms cross resting on a fringed cushion, although that part of the image is unclear and cut off in the oval shape. She is a young woman (early 20s?) with what seems to be a dark lace veil situated on the back of her head. (Is this a wedding photo?) Her ears are showing (which from other research may indicate a date of 1863-1865). It appears that she also wears hanging earrings. Her hair is parted in the middle in a chignon and curls on the top. She wears a flower on the left side of her hair near the top. The sleeves of her dress appear to be puffed and ruffled at the elbow and maybe go straight down from there. Her outfit is a white and dark contrast that is not very clear. It appears that perhaps there is white material underneath with a darker (lacy?) material over it. The dark part might be made of some kind of shiny material. She also wears what looks like a white lace collar with a thick ribbon of material with a pattern of a flower and leaf around her neck secured with a brooch. The brooch and the earrings are tinted with gold gilding. The light and dark shadowing across the face are inherent in the image, with other spots in the lower left hand corner. She is of slim to medium build with thin lips and dark eyes. Her right eye might even be what’s called a “lazy” eye, but I can’t say for sure.

Basically my reason for thinking it might be Mary is because it was taken in the time period of when she was married (1865) and because of her dress, I’ve thought it might be a wedding photograph.  Finally, although it may be wishful thinking, I think there may be a resemblance between the woman in this photograph and one of Ollie Spencer Watts.

Ollie Spencer Watts 1866-1925 Christian Co, KY

I sure hope Ricky would be satisfied with all my esplainin’ about this photograph!

**Lucille Ball is honored with a museum at her birthplace in nearby Jamestown, New York.  

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ancestor #19

Oooh, I’m especially excited to participate in this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun from Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings blog as it highlights a part of the tree I have seldom focused on in my blog. Forgive me, but I’m going to give a more complete story than the original intent of telling three facts about the person I came up with using the “roulette” number…
My paternal grandfather, Cephas Bryant (C.B.) Watts, was born in 1899. When I divide that number by 100 and round it off I get the “roulette” number of 19.
Using that number on my ancestral name list brings me to C.B.’s maternal grandmother, Mary E.M. Brizendine. Interestingly enough, it was Mary’s maternal grandfather, Oliver Bryant McCraw, for whom C.B. was named. Apparently he was a man worth remembering for it is also probably whom C.B.’s mother, Ollie Spencer, was named for as well.
My grandfather always told me that his mother Ollie was an orphan. When I began researching, I thought I’d never be able to get far on this line. It turned out finding the names of Ollie’s parents was fairly easy. Ollie died in 1925 of tuberculosis. Her death certificate listed her parents as Thomas Hutchinson Spencer and Mary Brizendine. Easy enough, although it has never been an easy line from there.
Thomas Hutchinson Spencer, 1831/1834-25 Oct 1875 Trigg Co, KY

Thomas Hutchinson “Hutch” Spencer proved to be a fairly elusive gentleman to pin down. He apparently had a hearing impediment, for on several records he is listed as deaf and dumb. Whatever his disability, he did manage to marry and have children. He was born in Kentucky and lived during the time of the Civil War. The photo we have of him is reminiscent of Abraham Lincoln himself. I always sent a copy of the photo to school with my children in honor of President’s Day in years past. He is what my kids call our “Lincoln ancestor.” (Pardon my continued digression, but isn’t it ironic that I’m writing this so close to President’s Day this year?)
And now back to Mary. She died fairly young so there are not many records on her. She was born in Charlotte Co, VA around the year 1841, the daughter of Cyrus Brizendine and his wife Mary L. McCraw. Her parents migrated from Virginia to Kentucky along with her McCraw grandparents. Her grandfather, Oliver Bryant McCraw, died in the year 1848 in Christian Co, KY. Mary was listed with the middle initial of "M" in the 1850 U. S. Census and with the middle initial of "E" in the 1860 U. S. Census in Christian County, Kentucky.
The marriage between Mary and Hutch was recorded in Christian Co, KY. On the 13 April of 1865, the two were married at her father’s home according to Cordelia C. Gary’s 1970 book Christian Co, KY Marriage Records 1851-1900 (pp. 19 & 261). This was just four days after General Lee’s surrender which officially ended the American Civil War.
Their daughter Ollie Spencer was born there on 19 October 1866. It appears they had another child, Mary L. Spencer, born between 1867 and 1871. The only evidence for this child appears in the 1879 tax list of Trigg County, Kentucky when Ollie Spencer and Mary L. Spencer were listed as children between the ages of 6-20. Their father remarried in October of 1871 but died in 1875, indeed leaving Ollie an orphan as my grandfather had told me.
That is about all I know about “Ancestor #19.” Thanks for the challenge, Randy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Talented Tuesday – Musically Inclined

"Uncle Joe"
Original photograph is a 4 x 5 inch cabinet card on dark grey cardstock.
Joseph Chaffin Watts was the son of George Richard & Emily Jane (Chaffin) Watts. He was born 12 June 1880 in Christian County, Kentucky. He died 24 December 1952 in Prescott, Yavapai County, Arizona and is buried in the Cottonwood Cemetery in Arizona.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Motivational Monday –Projects, Anyone?

I have motivation. It’s just that I get going on so many projects that I lose my way sometimes. I recently wrote about my photograph project I want to start. But there’s so much else going on right now. I recently got some new living room furniture. This prompted a whole slew of projects including tearing up some platforms in the living room first which took me a whole week and several tools, too. Those platforms were in the house when we first bought it along with the carpet that I’ve hated since we moved in. I always told myself that when I ever got around to pulling up those platforms, the carpet was going, too. So guess what the other project was? Yes, I ripped up the carpet. I thought I could just live with the subflooring for a while. I ran into a SNAFU when I discovered the foam that was underneath the carpet is glued to the subflooring and still sticky when I try to pry it up. So now I’m stuck with walking over all this foam until I get the ambition for the next project: new flooring. I think I’m going to have to hire someone for that job, though.
Then there was that other project I started: Cleaning and rearranging the upstairs bedroom after my oldest daughter moved into a dorm at the beginning of last semester. I decided to move a desk that was in there into the other daughter’s room for her to use. This prompted some rearranging and moving stuff in her room first. Several things got moved into the first room which made it a mess all over again. When my new living room furniture came, we decided to move the old couch upstairs to this room and take the couch that was in there down to the garage (to await a future project of dumping several large old items). The couch sat in the middle of that room until Sunday when I finally decided to tackle it again. The room is very large (it was originally used as a rec room by the previous owners) and tends to be a catch-all for lots of miscellaneous items. I spent a lot of time up there sorting, consolidating, bagging, rearranging, etc.
I found a box of some genealogy stuff in a corner and brought it downstairs to my office to sort through. My office was the site of another major project at the beginning of the year. Just after Christmas, I got two new filing cabinets for that room and did a lot of rearranging and sorting of my files. (Which include not only genealogy but household and educational files – I lead a paper-intensive life). I had several boxes in that upstairs bedroom with genealogy files that got brought down earlier and at least placed in a file cabinet. This new box of genealogy stuff contained files I have been looking for recently. I noticed while rifling through some of the papers that I have stuff on a particular collateral surname in at least three different locations!!
Obviously, there’s still work to be done.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Church Record Sunday: St. Boniface in Buffalo, New York

Some people have all the luck! Wanting to discover more of her ethnic heritage, my friend & co-worker asked me about a month ago if I would look up her mother’s parents and see what I could find. She gave me their names: Jacob John Reinhardt and Florence Margaret Dehn. Right away I guessed that she had German origins but a quick search online revealed nothing. I couldn’t find the family listed in the resources at So I went back to my friend and said, “I need a little more information.” She called her mother who was able to tell her only one other thing from memory: Jacob was born December 2, 1882 in Buffalo, NY. With that small piece of additional information, I was able to put together a basic family line back to Jacob’s great-grandfather!
Key to this search was church records. Here’s how it went:
I did a google search and found Jacob and his wife Florence buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Corfu (Genesee County), New York. I also verified his birth date from a still-active Social Security Death Index.

Next I tried and hit pay dirt! I found a baptism record showing John Jacob Reinhardt born 2 December 1882 in Buffalo, New York. He was the son of Jacob Reinhardt and Theresa Robert. Another baptism listed a Jacob Reinhardt born 2 March 1859 son of Daniel Reinhardt and Anna Maria Kreher. Did I have our first Jacob’s parents already? Sure enough, a marriage record on the same website showed Jacob Reinhardt and Theresa Roberts were married on 7 August 1878 in Buffalo. Jacob’s parents were listed on this marriage record as Daniel Reinhardt and Maria Kraeher. The only drawback I had was not being able to find what church these records originated from. Even tracking down the citation for batch & sheet numbers got me nowhere.

I gathered some census records that helped to verify these connections and provided some more family details, including the fact that Daniel Reinhardt was born in 1828 in Wurtemburg, Germany and his wife Anna Kreher was born in August of 1832 in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany. Then I found Daniel & Anna Reinhardt at Find-A-Grave.

Daniel died 17 May 1909 and was buried in the United German & French Cemetery in Cheektowaga, New York (just outside of Buffalo). I sent an email to the contributor, but received a reply stating that they were not related to this family. Next I searched for more information on the cemetery and found a website for the Mount Calvary Cemetery Group. This website provided an on-line genealogy request form for records. I emailed a request for information on Daniel Reinhardt on January 1, 2012.

A website of Cheektowaga Cemetery listings provided me with a brief history mentioning the church parishes affiliated with the cemetery:

The original 15 acres were purchased in 1859 by delegates of six initial parishes :
St. Louis, St. Michael's, the former St. Peter's, St. Mary's, the former St. Boniface, and St. Ann's, all located in Buffalo.

This website also provided a link to an old cemetery map from the Schwert Family website.

Yesterday, I received a reply back from the cemetery regarding my request for information on Daniel Reinhardt. The office graciously provided me with a pdf file showing a copy of Daniel’s burial record and lot card which included fourteen burials. All of the burials were for either the Reinhardt or Kreher family. Listed on the Daniel's burial record was the key I was looking for: Daniel was buried from the St. Boniface church!

A google search for St. Boniface revealed that this parish closed in 1993 and directed me again to the Schwert Family website where I found scans of many of the original ledger pages from the church’s baptism, marriage and death records. I was able to check these records against the lot card I had and found most of the death entries in the church’s records. The one most interesting was for Jacob Kraeher who died 29 July 1877. The death record listed him as age 92 years, 4 months.
Could this have been Anna Kreher Reinhardt’s father and Daniel Reinhardt’s father-in-law? I felt it could be entirely possible, as I did find Jacob Kreher of Buffalo age 66 in the 1850 census with a 17-year-old Anna. This Anna would have been the right age for Daniel’s wife. Focusing on the Kreher surname and looking for marriage records in Buffalo, NY on the website yielded pay dirt once again: Daniel Reinhard married Anna Maria Kreher on 29 July 1852. Her parents are listed as Jacob Kreher and Barbara Fruehwein. His parents were listed as George Reinhard & Margaret Spengler. A scan of this original record could also be found at the Schwert Family website.
Although this has nothing to do with my family, I've enjoyed this search nonetheless!

SNGF: Two Degrees of Separation

I’ve had too many irons in the fire lately with projects genealogy- and other-wise, but I can never resist Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. Randy recently presented the following mission:
Using your ancestral lines, how far back in time can you go with two degrees of separation?  That means "you knew an ancestor, who knew another ancestor."  When was that second ancestor born?
I have only one great-grandparent that was alive when I was born. It’s been said that I saw her but I sure don’t remember. She, unfortunately, would probably not have known even her grandparents, though. So I could only get back to her father who was born in the Netherlands in 1859.
In several instances I can get to a grandparent who knew a grandparent:
I knew my grandmother Theresa Katsma, who knew her grandfather Martin Katsma born in the Netherlands in 1851.
I knew my grandfather C.B. Watts, who knew his grandfather George Richard Watts, born in 1839, who participated in the Civil War.
I knew my grandmother Amy Hardy, who was raised by her grandmother, Martha Sizemore Hardy, born in 1835.
Martha Sizemore Hardy (1835-1918)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sorting Saturday: Photograph Inventory

My first goal for my family photograph project (see previous post here) was to create a general inventory of the different collections I have and discuss the provenance of each collection. What do I have?
Currently I have three archival storage boxes separated and labeled as follows:
Watts/Hardy; Westfall; Timmer/Katsma
I also have a smaller storage box that holds a collection of mostly bon-ton tintypes and carte-de-visits. Most of these images are from two old tintype albums that were originally my second-great grandmother’s. The actual albums are stored in a fireproof safe along with other memorabilia including a Watts family bible, a dictionary from 1874, a old reader book and some miscellaneous photographs most of which are cased photographs (including ambrotypes).
 I also have two archival photo albums I put together. One album has a blue cover and holds photographs of the Watts family. The other album has a white cover and holds photographs of the Hardy family. In the Hardy family album, I also have an original listing of the birth and death dates of the Bird Hardy family. These pages are in sheet protectors.
In each of the archival storage boxes, I have an array of photographs of varying types and other items that pertain to the labeled family lines.  Depending on the photo subjects, some of my childhood photographs are included in the Watts box and some are included in the Timmer/Katsma box. There are some photographs of me with my Watts grandparents and of course some with my Timmer grandparents. If it is a specific photo of just my biological family (i.e., my brother or a family group of myself, my brother and my parents), I usually put it in the Watts box.
In the Westfall box, I’ve included some photographs and memorabilia that pertain to my children’s family and the current generations. Also on the Westfall side, I have Granny’s old magnetic photo albums which is a separate collection on its own that needs better cataloging, inventory and definitely some additional preservation.
Another part of my photograph collection would include my children’s scrapbooks and photo albums that I have put together over the years. Specifically, I have a 8 ½ x 11 three-ring binder for scrapbook pages made for each of my daughters which includes baby and school pictures, an 8 ½ x 11 three-ring binder with scrapbook pages of our family together (including Christmas and other holidays), another same-sized binder of scrapbook pages of additional family members, such as aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces & nephews. I eventually branched out to working with 12 x 12 albums in my scrapbooking and I have several albums of that size. I need to make a list of those as well. At least one is a general family album. There is also one in progress that is all about the festivities surrounding my oldest daughter’s high school graduation.  Some other miscellaneous scrapbook albums include one of our first year living in New York.

Whew! All that just for a general inventory. I’ll talk more about the provenance of some of these materials in another posting. There is a lot more to do. Has anyone ever done an inventory of their family photographs? I would love to hear from you.