Saturday, January 28, 2012

Some Shared Family Photos

You know how it goes: cousins can drift apart over the years. Until quite recently I'd been out of close touch with the first cousins but this family history thing has brought us back together again. I'm thankful for that.

Cousin Linda and I met last time I was in to visit Mom. She and I met up for breakfast at the Princess Restaurant in Frostburg, Maryland on a rainy Monday morning. It was a warm get-together on a cold morning and we laughed a lot. Poodle skirts got us chuckling. Then the memories flowed!

After a bit she brought out some family photos and I want to share them here in no particular order. I just now re sized them and adjusted the contrast so they are ready for their debut here on the blog:)

Here's hoping that you get a kick out of your family photos too!! Send us a link in the comments section if you like.

Grandma Helen Gertrude Zeller Kelly has a happy birthday! She loved pink!!

It was 1942 and the boys were off to WWII. Here are the ladies.

Grandma Kelly and Aunt Chris Kelly Fraley.

Grandpop John Lee Kelly (everyone called him Lee) loved the front porch. Heck, we all did!

Grandma Kelly loved the front porch... and pink!

Grandpop Kelly and a young Aunt Louise Kelly Chaney, Cousin Linda's Mom.

My Dad in the middle of his brothers. Delbert on the left ... but I have to check with Mom as to who that is on the right. Think it's Uncle Bernie.

Grandpop Kelly and his kids in the 1920s. The oldest boy is my Dad, second from the right.

Grandpop and Grandma Kelly with Aunt Louise in the grand's kitchen, 1965. Grandma would not be pleased with this picture as it's not her best... but I like all of the pictures of my family!

My grandparents were always in love. Can you tell?

Name That Ancestor!

Oh, gosh, what's up with my ancestor's names?! Did the Friend family marry some of the Savage people and how did that work out? Was William Williams really ticked off when his school chums teased about his double name or did he think it special?

And how many Thomas Price's do I have to look at when I search? Or Thomas Williams? (Sigh!)

Then there's Lambert and Louetta, Maretta and Mariah, Louhamia and Massy. Those less common given names are a real blessing when searching a common surname like Kelly... which most of those were.

And what genealogical grief is there with British Isles naming traditions? Some days my head wants to explode: eldest son named after the father, etc. How many John Kelly's do I count? Fifteen!

I really do give thanks for the odd Thomas Jefferson Whathisname or a George Washington Whatever. Nice break there;)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Aunt Betty's Photo Archive Has Arrived... and am I surprised!

Last Thursday I got Aunt Betty's envelope with a DVD of her photo archive in it. I was thrilled to have such a treasure because Aunt Betty, as I've posted here many a time, is super organized and all the ancestors and family are properly labeled. She's a model of how to do a photo archive!

Friday was a really busy day for me as I go painting in a friend's studio space, got back late, feed the doggie, date with hubby, off to sleep. Saturday morning woke up with one thought: look at Aunt Betty's photo files. Popped the DVD in the slot on the computer and WOAH!! Slide show!

The notation on the DVD top says that Aunt Betty made this in 2004, eight years ago... she was so ahead of her time!

There's a special feeling I get when looking at old photos of ancestors I didn't know. But seeing this slide show deepened that feeling a couple of notches. I watched as people aged. I saw them in carfree moments at family reunions. Saw family who I only knew as older folks captured in their prime or as kids. This is the real magic of preserving family history!

Aunt Betty, 1947

Thank you Aunt Betty!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thanks For The Thoughts:)

A great big 'Thank You" to those who have been emailing me with not-to-worry messages about archiving the photo files. Now I do feel better. And just to share back with everyone, the take-away is this list.
1. Keep files safe and backed up at home and online.
2. Keep the technology updated. When and if it changes, don't wait to change... do it ASAP.
3. Use a service if you must. When the files or stacks of photos get too big to do it yourself, send it out to a service.
4. Get copies to as many relatives as possible, and in that way the archive has a better chance of finding its way down the generations.

Now that I look at the list in the cold light of a new day, makes all the sense in the world! So thanks for that. Think I'll crawl in off that window ledge now... cold out there;)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Yippee! I'm Getting Aunty Betty's Photo File!

Wonderful and organized Aunt Betty is giving me her digital photo file! I'm so very happy because she has Williams family photos that neither Mom nor I have and that will make my cache of pictures all the richer. I'm about to bust a button!

Hunting about for old photos is one of my passions in genealogy. To look in the face of a great grandparent or never-seen cousin of some sort is real magical to me. Is there a family resemblance? Do I have my GGF's eyes or chin? It's a WOW moment for sure.

As I treasure all these old photos I'm wondering about the best ways to get them shared to other family members, no matter how distant, who have even the tiniest interest in family history. How can they be set out on their way down to the generations to come? Technology changes so fast. What will things be like in 100 years and what's the best way to insure that these images are handed down?

Printed photos seem to suffer the most peril. But digital files suffer from techno-change. Remember the 8-track tape... or BetaMax? TIF files are really stable but JPGs are more exchangeable. Oh well, all will be revealed in the fullness of time, I guess.

Meanwhile, if you have any thoughts on this I'd really appreciate hearing your views. I would especially like to know of an online photo album hosting service (free or low cost, if you know what I mean) that can handle a couple of hundred images per account. And while I'm at it, let me say a special thanks to all who have helped me find my way in the past!! I just love you guys!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Henry Lewis Gates Jr. Back on PBS in March

This just in! Henry Lewis Gates Jr. is back on PBS with more genealogy!! Found it on Olive Tree Genealogy, so thanks for keeping me informed:) I'm a special fan of his work because he was born in Cumberland, MD, and so was I:)

Finding Your Roots on PBS in March

Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr is coming to PBS March 25, 2012 at 8pm ET. According to their Facebook page, this is a 10-part PBS series exploring race, culture and identity through genealogy.

Presented and written by Professor Gates, the series is the 12th production from the renowned Harvard scholar.

'Finding Your Roots' builds on the success of ‘African American Lives 1 and 2’ and ‘Faces of America,' journeying deep into the ancestry of an all-new group of remarkable individuals. The 10-part series delves into the genealogy and genetics of famous Americans, combining history and science in a fascinating exploration of race, family, and identity in today's America.

Blog to Book

About Thanksgiving time last year I got interested in those services that turn your blog into a book. I'm forever trying to remember what I wrote and when I wrote it. So thought it might be fun to try one of the blog to book services and end up with a printed version of this blog that could be thumbed through for ready reference.

It was more difficult than I thought it would be to find a service so maybe I wasn't looking in the right places. I ended up with SharedBook's Blog2Print product. Find it at:

It was easy enough to set the start date and ending date for my blog book project. I would have liked more cover design choices, but that's the artist in me:) I finally decided on the default design for the paperback cover. I'm a design freak so would have liked more control on all aspects of the book, especially title page and page layouts. The biggest sticking point for me is that the captions don't stay with the photos... they float to any available location. That's really awkward.

Granted, there might be design options that I missed so check for yourself. I did chose the option that saves space and places content as the widget deems best. Sometimes the widget and I don't see eye-to-eye! But I get it that the service needs to be easy to use.

The cost for my 50-something page book in paperback with full color pages was in the mid-$40 range. But here's what happened. I put the final version of the book in my shopping cart on their web site and then had second thoughts. Forty dollars seemed like a lot to me, so I thought I'd shop around a bit more. A couple of days later I received a coupon code via email for 15% off. How could I resist? I took the plunge.

BTW, this service also offered a hardcover version for about $10 more or a PDF file for about $15.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with the results. But next year think I'll shop harder and see what's out there at that point in time:)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

What Ever Happened To...

Families scatter over time, don't they? Some branches of the family tree seem to stay put, but then times change and other branches wander off to seek new lives elsewhere.

I know of two points on our tree where this happened and ancestors moved on in hopes of work and a better life with the result being that we descendants are left scratching our heads and wondering what the heck happened there! In one case, we're working on it right now and we've had a little moderate success. In the other case, the rest of Daniel Williams' family in the Upstate New York area, we'll tackle it later when we have lots of energy because others have tried and failed. So here's a re-cap of the one where we've made some inroads.

William Price and "I wonder what ever happened to Aunt Mary Ann"

Our William Price was born in Bedfordshire, England about 1829 and died after 1872 in Aux Sable, Grundy County Illinois. He was a coal miner. His mother was Ann Price born about 1800 and someone once mentioned the name Whitehead but we don't know if it's connected to her or not. William married Diana Thomas in Mt. Savage, Allegheny County, Maryland on 13 August 1850. Her parents were both born in Wales and died in the Allegheny County, Maryland area.

Aunt Betty says that she remembers her female family members, especially her Grandmother, Jane Price pictured below, saying they wished they knew, "whatever happened to Aunt Mary Ann."

Thus our search started. We found William easily enough in the 1850 census in Maryland working as a miner, living with his wife (name transcribed badly as Dianah), and a Geo W Duckson, a laborer born in Maryland.

In the 1860 census he's working in the coal mines in Baldwin, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He and Diana (now spelled correctly) have five children. I googled around and found a lot of info about the coal fields of this area and its history. It sort of mirrors the coal history of Western Maryland. Interesting, at least to me... I like the history part:)

The 1870 census finds him in the township of Aux Sable, Grundy County Illinois. Of course he's still working as a minor at age 40. His wife is show there too but as Diama:) They have seven kids living at home ranging in ages from 18 to under a year old. Diana Thomas died on 20 July 1871 back in Mt. Savage, Maryland. She still had family there and Mom speculates that perhaps she had traveled back to deliver another baby.

His wife's passing left William with a whole bunch of children to raise back in Illinois. Mom made sense of that situation by noticing that William's mother, Ann, lived just two doors down in Aux Sable in that 1870 census. Good find, Mom!

The search began all over again for Ann Price to see what we could find. Easily enough we found an Ann Price, age 50, in the 1850 census, born about 1800 and wife of Thomas Price, age 46, living in Joliet, Will County Illinois, right next to Grundy County. Thomas is a farmer and father of six children ranging in ages from 20 years old to 8 years old. All were born in England. William was 22 years old in the 1850 census so that fits in with a nice family grouping picture. Was he the eldest? Perhaps. This census would also indicate they they likely immigrated after the youngest child was born in 1842.

It's easy enough to follow Ann and Thomas forward to the 1860 census and see that the only child left at home is the youngest, Thomas Junior now 17, who is listed as a farmer. Thomas Sr. is still farming at age 56 but they seem to have moved to Channahon, Will County Illinois.

And as said previously, in the 1870 census Ann is all alone and living two doors down from William.

What Mom found next was real exciting to us. In the 1880 census where is Ann Price, age 80, living? With Aunt Mary Ann!! And what of Aunt Mary Ann, age 37? The census says that she's married to Pierce Dile, age 52, and has seven children ages 18 down to 1 year. Mom has a hunch about this family group and that the two eldest might have been from a first wife. I trust Mom on this theory because she's seen literally thousands of family groups!

But I looked for this Mr. Pierce Dile because I was curious about him and all the little Diles. You know what I got? Nothing! Yup, nada! Something was very wrong. The census indicated that Mr. Dile was born in Ireland. Dile didn't sound Irish to me, but hey, you never know. So I googled around Pierce Dile Ireland in general and a lot of Pierce Doyles came up, especially in the Applotment Books. Hmmm. So off I went looking for Pierce Doyle and I found him... and Aunt Mary Ann in the death index.

Aunt Mary Ann's husband was a banksman in the coal mines of Grundy County. That was a most responsible and respected position. Here's what a banksman does, and this is from The North England Institute of Mining and Engineering, so they know what's what. Find them at:

Bank is the top of the shaft, or the entrance to the mine. A Banksman is a man who works at the Bank, and typically that means he receives the coal and transfers it to screens or to some form of transport. In later years, the Banksman's primary role was to ensure that activity at the top of the sahft (e.g. getting men in and out of cages) was done safely; since the Windermen normally cannot see what is happening at the Bank, they are dependant on the Banksman for knowlegde as to when the cage should descend and so on. The Banksman also has to communicate with the pit bottom; the communication was normally done with signals transmitted by a bell and rope, later by electrical signals, and later still by telephone and other apparatus. The Banksman is therefore a crucial man of the pit and held a position of some responsibility.

Mining and coal. As I mentioned before, there's coal dust all over my ancestors.

Jane Price (1860 - 1939), daughter of William Price (1828 - 1872)
She stayed put in Western Maryland.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Peek Behind the Curtain of Time

I just love that little book Aunt Edith gave Mom in the 1950s, "Ancestral History of Thomas F. Myers." It's provided clues to all manner of family history mysteries and I go back to it often and find new stuff. (Find a copy in one of the tabs at the top of this page.)

The funny and strange thing of it is that Aunt Edith was Dad's auntie. She had four sons, but somehow she decided to give the original printed book to my Mom and not one of her sons. I always thought it a tad unusual but who am I to question the wisdom of the ancestors... she surely had her reasons.

As the years passed, Mom got super interested in genealogy and started the slow and painstaking process of finding all of the over 60,000 people on our tree... yup, your read it right, 60 thousand! So the Myers book has been safely stored in its original envelope in Mom's file all this time. Safe.

I always wondered at the immense good fortune that Mom has what might be the only original copy of that book! Recently, found Cousin Molly in Florida who has a photo copy of the text portion of the book but that's the only other one "in captivity."

And also recently was in touch with one of Aunt Edith's sons, Cousin Joe, and his lovely wife, Eileen, also living in Florida. Then I started to feel bad that maybe Aunt Edith should have kept the book for her sons and their sons. But I have to now say, NEVER second guess the ancestors! Listen to this.

Joe emailed this story of his family and I've copied what he wrote about Aunt Edith and her papers:
"And when my brother, Mike, was living with mother, when she died in l965, he gathered up all the papers that she had, and burned them."

WOW! Thank you Aunt Edith and your wisdom to know who to give that book to so that it could be preserved!

The Kelly Family about 1910.

Aunt Edith with son, about 1938.