Thursday, May 4, 2017

A Closer Kind of "Far Away"

When speaking of the photograph album I found discarded at a local antique shop, to say it came from far away may be true, but certainly needs some qualifying modifiers.

Since the shop where I found the album is in northern California, using the term "far away" certainly was an accurate reflection when I discovered the place of its origin was County Cork, Ireland. Even realizing that the family to whom it was originally mailed may have lived in Buffalo, New York, could permit usage of that same terminology; a cross-continental distance certainly merits the descriptor, "far away."

The next step in the photo album's journey, however, might—at least in some people's minds—bring it much closer to that northern California location, but I don't consider it so. To understand that, you need to know the distance between the next stop in the saga of the album and its final point of purchase was over four hundred miles.

Still, four hundred miles is much closer than the five thousand miles the album traveled from its origin to its most recent point of discovery.

One challenge, when trying to determine just how the thing landed up in my hands—after all, this is not the story of my family I'm telling you—is that at this point, we are entering an era not easily documented, from a genealogical point of view. When Richard Reid faced his untimely death, it was two years beyond the last available census record in the United States. While online resources do reveal some records later than that 1940 enumeration, we still enter a different research domain.

What may not be accessible via online documentation has been covered, thankfully, by information provided by one of Richard Reid's daughters. This, too, interjects another research challenge: by entering the domain of living persons, genealogists have traditionally made every endeavor to respect the privacy of those people. For those wondering, I do have Richard's daughter's permission to use her first name and the basic outline of her hypothesis as to how the album ended up in northern California. But by the same token, at this point, I will refrain from hyperlinking any assertions to corresponding documentation, as I would generally have done in other posts about genealogical research.

At some point after her father's passing in 1942, Rita and her family moved from their home in Buffalo. Sometime later, her mother ended up on the other side of the country, living in the area east of Los Angeles, around Riverside and San Bernardino. Eventually, Rita's siblings moved elsewhere, as they launched out as adults. Rita, herself, left California "after the war," and, having married a military man, may have moved more than just that once.

Still, if Rita's family was the recipient of the Christmas family album sent by Richard's brother Harry and his wife Alice, it is likely that the album—if they kept it at all—made the journey with Richard's widow Amy and her four children as they left Buffalo to move to southern California.

That, however, doesn't quite explain the rest of the story as to how the thing went the additional four hundred miles to reach the northern portion of the state. To tell the rest of that story will require an introduction to yet another member of the family.   


  1. Replies
    1. It does sound convincing, but I have that nagging thought in the back of my mind that there might be an alternative explanation that seems just as plausible. I haven't found one, though, so guess I'll just have to be satisfied with this one.


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