Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Reason I Need to Identify Those Faces

Sometimes, the puzzles we pursue require incremental learning. We need to build on the details we've already identified in order to figure out even more of the story.

Yesterday, I shared the photograph of a family labeled "Elmira's family." The picture was taken in Bourbon, Indianaa fact I gleaned from the photographer's imprint on the lower edge of the picture. The imprint was so light, it was hardly noticeable in the scanned copy I shared yesterday, so I tried augmenting the contrast so it would be more visible. This is the best I could get:

Bourbon, as it turns out, was a small town in Marshall County, Indianawhose county seat was a slightly larger town called Plymouth.

It was at this somewhat larger town called Plymouth that another photograph was taken of what appears to be a younger version of the elder couple from yesterday's family portrait. Unfortunately, unlike yesterday's photo, the only identification provided on the back of this picture was a label stating "Grandpa Purkey's kin."

While I can employ the concept of voice to determine just who it might have been who wrote about her "Grandpa"that grandfather likely being Erastus Manford Purkeythe problem was that Erastus had at least four sisters. That family photograph could have been of any of themor, worse, a relationship even farther removed than a grandfather's siblings.

When I looked more closely at the photograph with the enigmatic label, I realized somethingor were my hopeful eyes deceiving me? It appeared that the younger couple in this photograph looked surprisingly similar to the older couple we observed in yesterday's family photograph. What's more, this couple happened to have three children pictured with them, exactly the number of children born to George and Elmira Purkey Wymer: a daughter and two sons.

If the subjects in yesterday's photograph were indeed Elmira and George, I'd say we've tentatively solved the identity issue with today's rendition labeled "Grandpa Purkey's kin."

Above: Undated photograph, possibly of George and Elmira Purkey Wymer and their three children, taken in Plymouth, Indiana; photograph currently in the possession of the author until claimed by a direct descendant of the family.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Family Photograph — Plus Grandkids?

It is not unusual to encounter large families when researching the typical photographs of one hundred years ago. So, for researching one photograph I found in a northern California antique shop, I figured I was looking at mom, dad, and all the kids. There were, in all, eight people in this particular photograph, taken back in Bourbon, Indiana.

The label on the reversethankfully, it was a picture to which someone had thought to add namesseemed somewhat confusing. If my guess is right, it looked like someone first wrote, "Elmira's family," and then, as an afterthought, added what looked like the words, "and Maude Wymse."

Although the handwriting was not the same as on the other photographs I had found during that antiquing trip to Sonora, California, I thought there was a good chance that this picture might still be related to the families tied to the other photographs. I had already learned, from researching the Purkey family for the other photos, that Erastus Purkey and his sister Pleasantwhom we discussed last weekhappened to have an older sister named Olive Elmira Purkey.

Elmiraas she was labeled in several census recordsmarried a man named George Wymer in Marshall County, Indiana. Records indicate their marriage occurred on February 21, 1878. By the time of the 1880 census, appearing in a household in Bourbon, Indiana, were George and Elmira Wymer, along with their one year old daughter, Maude.

By the time of the photograph I had foundtaken in that same Bourbon, Indianathe family had presumably expanded to include (at least) the eight people showing in the picture. As late as the 1910 census, however, the Wymer family never showed that they had any more than three childrentheir daughter Maude plus two sons, Charlie and Frank. What was up with that? Did I have the wrong people?

Of course, by the time of the 1900 census, Maude was no longer listed in her parents' family. By then, she, herself, had been married to Jesse Reed in Marshall County in 1897. The Reed household, by then located in Chicago at the time of the 1900 census, included both Jesse and Maude and their two daughters—Elmira and George's first two grandchildrenDonna and Verda.

Could the photo I found include not only George and Elmira Wymer and their two sons, but also their daughter Maude and her husband and two little girls? That would provide the right count. And, since Verda looks like she was still a babe in arms, it would place the time frame for the picture after 1900, the year Verda was born.

Squeezing in the other end of the possible time frame for this picture were three dates. One was the arrival of Jesse and Maude's third baby in 1903. The other occurrence was the death of Jesse, sometime after the birth of their son in 1905 and Maude's subsequent remarriage in 1908. And certainly, the portrait would have had to be taken before the patriarch, George Wymer himself, passed away in 1912.

My guess is that the family got together some time around 1901, back home in Indiana, to capture that photograph of the grandchildren for Elmira and George to have as a keepsake, since those grandchildren would be growing up so far from home. But then, that's if my hunch that this picture includes the Wymers' three children plus their first two grandchildren proves to be correct.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Time to Search for Family

Sometimes, the to-do list piles up so much, the mess can be paralyzing. I now am searching for descendants of the subjects in several family photographs. If I don't intensify this effort, I'm afraid I'll get lost in the pile-up of surnames.

So far, I'm looking for descendants of Samuel Tucker and his wife, Annie Goodmanand especially anyone who can solve the mystery of just who "Dollie" Goodman, sister of Annie, might have been. I'm also looking for another Goodman child, daughter Eva, whose first husband Leslie Earl Purkey was the subject of another photo I found.

In fact, if I could find anyone related to the Purkey family, that would be grand. I have photographs of Erastus and Rebecca Lewis Purkey and their children which I would love to send home, too. Not to mention, there are the photographs of Fuller family descendants of two generations, starting with Pleasant Purkey Fuller and her firstborn son Tarance, to Pleasant's daughter Tressa and her babe, as well.

I do not have the patience to just post a photograph online and hope someone finds this "cousin bait" and comes calling. Instead, I go searching through family trees online and go knocking on the electronic doors of fellow researchers who have included such names in their family trees. I send them a message and then wait, holding my breath. (At least, that's what it feels like.)

And then...wait some more.

Hopefully, later this week, we'll hear from someone with a tip on where I can mail the photographs. I know some of the researchers online have well-researched trees, but most of the trees I've found belong to people who are, at best, more distant relatives. Perhaps I can enlist them in the search to send these photographs home. Or maybe it will suffice to send the photos to people who appreciate the rich heritage of their family associations.

In the meantime, there is more to explore in the photograph collection I stumbled upon in that antique shop in Sonora, California. On to more Purkey family relatives.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Still Reading —
Because it's About the Gatherings

Perhaps I'm belaboring a point. Perhaps I need to move onlay the book down and turn in a different direction. But I don't think so.

Call it a light bulb moment. I'm still reading Priya Parker's book, The Art of Gathering. Yes, I first started talking about that book in my post nearly two months ago. I can't deny lingering over the content of that book even earlier this month. And I'm still not over reading it. (I'm in the midst of checking out all those footnotesyes, I do read the footnotes.)

My light bulb moment was this: I think the book has helped me pinpoint the reason why genealogy conference organizers bemoan the drop in attendance at their events. People come to genealogy (or, for that matter, any) conferences not just to learn new things about topics they passionately follow. After all, with the proliferation of online resources for learninglive streaming of conferences, free webinars and podcastswe are not held captive to that one option for increasing our knowledge base, that once-requisite attendance in person at the conference setting.

No, people come to conferencesat least now, with all those other venues for learningfor the experience of being there. And if the conference planners don't design an experience into their "experience," there is really no need for an attendee to be there in person.

Conferences need to have that elementthat indescribable, as the French say, je ne sais quoithat makes attendance so compelling that one simply has to be there. No other way of participating will suffice.

That something just won't happen without the element of connection. People come together because they want to connect with each other. And while those connections willsometimesoccur organically, in a mass of seeming strangers, that connection often won't happen unless and until someone puts some thought into designing it into the event. Sitting in row upon row of lined up chairs, with every head facing forward in rapt attention of the speaker may facilitate learning, but it doesn't enable the act of connecting with each other. Connecting, in events as large as many conferences are, will not happen unless planners make it so.  

That is what has kept me reading that Parker book. That is what we need to see happen with our genealogy conferences and, yes, even our much smaller local meetings.

Otherwise, people can just get the same thing by staying home and gathering the information in the comfort of their PJs and fuzzy slippers. What would they miss by not being there at a traditional conference? We need to give our potential attendees a reason to gather together.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Joining the Mission
to Send More Photos Home

The quest to reunite antique photographs with family descendants starts with a passion for family history. And, just as that love of family history research is spreading, the number of researchers who want to put their skills to good use is expanding.

Just yesterday, I read of another such example, on a post by genealogy blogger Gail Dever. Gail, if you remember, was the key to connecting me with the help I needed to return a French language photo postcard to the descendants of a Quebec couplea photograph I was sure would never make that last journey home to family.

This time, Gail has been approached by author and historian Ginette Guy who, sight unseen, opted to purchase a box of photographs through an online auction last May. It turns out the box, obtained in Ontario, Canada, may have originated in Scotland, and contains pictures and other items dating from the late 1890s through the mid 1950s. Ginette Guy is posting the contents bit by bit on her blog, Treasures to Share.

Once Gail Dever had posted an article on her blog concerning my own photo quandary, it took barely two days to receive enough information to locate current family members—descendants who were, incidentally, delighted to receive that darling picture of two young boys.

Now that Gail has, once again, shared the news of mystery photographs now foundone hundred fifty of them, this timehopefully the turn around will be as rapid as before.

If you have any connections to the Uphall Station or Broxburn areas of West Lothian, Scotland, or any interest in the surnames Thompson, Gilchrist or Leishman, be sure to take a look at the photos Ginette Guy has already posted from her mystery box.

And while you are doing that, celebrate with me that more of us are taking enough concern in rescuing these photographic treasures of our heritage to make it possible to reunite them with families for whom these items hold great meaning. I know how I'd feel if someone sent my ancestors' photographs my way, and some of you have said as much in the comments here at A Family Tapestry. Even though each step one individual takes to help send these treasures home may seem tiny, put all together, our efforts can make a difference.

Friday, October 26, 2018

More About Tarance

One of the challenges of returning antique photographs to family members is to correctly trace the lines of descent for the specific individuals identified in the pictures. That involves building a family tree for the subject, then following that family down to the present time.

In the case of the baby Tarance Fuller, whose picture we viewed on Wednesday, attempting to follow his history caused me to stumble upon some unexpected details.

One of the first places I visit, when researching such families, is Find A Grave. The reason for this is simple: anyone showing up in a hundred year old picture is likely no longer with us—even a baby. Find A Grave is a quick way to locate those who are likely to be found in such a condition. The drawback is that it is a volunteer effort by many kind people, some of whom can make mistakes. I am wondering if what I found on some of the Fuller and Purkey records contain such errors.

We've already learned that Tarance was the son of John and Pleasant Purkey Fuller. We met his sisterlisted in various records with either the name Theresa or Tressain the photograph I shared yesterday. Along with Tarance and Theresa, the Fullers had another son, whom they named Harold.

The first problem I spotted in the Fuller records at Find A Grave was in the memorial for Tarance's mother Pleasant. Someone had provided a statement indicating her parents were Jacob and Helen Fuller. Well, of course that was wrongwe've already discussed her spot in the family of Jacob and Mary Ellen Kincade Purkey. Just that one error reminded me to step carefully in working through this family tree.

But when it came to finding the memorial for Pleasant's son, Tarance Fuller, I noticed that his rather plain grave marker, similar to his mother's, did not appear to be the military marker he likely was entitled to have received. While he was much too old to have been drafted for World War II, Tarance, as I had discovered through an application for headstone made on his behalf, had enlisted in the army shortly before the end of the first World War, and received an honorable discharge as a corporal in January of 1918.

The headstone he was to have received, incidentally, would have been a flat granite marker. If the marker shown in the photograph accompanying Tarance's Find A Grave memorial was indeed granite, however, it was in terrible disrepair. Bad enough to have the volunteer read his rank as private rather than corporal.

A few clues might lead us to understand why the grave site looked so neglected. I noticed, on Tarance's World War II registration, that he listed, for closest relative to contact, his sister "May"the one whom we now know as Theresa Fuller Hanson of Spooner, Wisconsin, the mother in the photo we saw yesterday. At fifty five years of age, Tarance provided no name of any wife or children to enter in that slot for contact information of closest relative.

And at the point of ordering Tarance's headstone, the relative who signed for the request was someone named Laverna M. Fuller Jaquith. It didn't take too much sleuthing to discover Laverna's identity. Remember Tarance's younger brother Harold? One of his daughters was named Lavernaand she eventually married Harold Kenneth Jaquith. Two days after Tarance's death in 1953, the closest family he had to attend to his affairs was not a wife or a child, but a daughter of his younger brother.

Sometimes, when I find the family to which rightfully belongs a photograph I've rescued, it is a happy reunion of the family memento with descendantsparticularly if it is a person who, like the rest of us, cares deeply about family history.

Other timesand I'm afraid this instance of Tarance's photograph will find itself in this situationthere is really no one left to send the photograph to.  

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Mother or Child?

Some photographs come with labels which are helpful guides to those viewers who don't personally know the subjects of the pictures. Other photographswell...

Yesterday, we took a look at a mother and child portrait which we could easily determine was composed in 1887. How did we know that? From the label, which stated the mother's married name plus the name of her infant son. Though the photo contained no clue as to location of the studio where it was taken, we were fortunate that the mom's name was rather unusual, and that she chose a lesser-used spelling for her son's name.

In today's photograph, we are given the label, "Theresa Fuller, Burt Purkey's cousin." By already having researched the Purkey family for the several abandoned photographs I rescued from an antique shop in Sonora, California, I was able to pinpoint just who Theresa Fuller might have been: younger sister of the infant we saw in yesterday's photograph.

But the question nagged me: was Theresa Fuller the mother in the photograph, or the baby? One key was that Theresa's maiden name was Fuller; she was the daughter of Pleasant Purkey Fuller and sister of baby Tarance, the infant we saw yesterday. It would make sense for the family to follow up the mother and child photo of baby number one with an encore for their second arrival.

However, the style of paper used to frame Theresa's photographwhether she was the mother or the childwas a style I'm accustomed to seeing when I view baby pictures from around the 1920s. Unlike the cabinet card we viewed yesterday, this photograph (which I've cropped and adjusted, due to its faded condition and different size format) came in a three-fold heavy paper stock with a marbled brown background.

If the baby in this photo was Theresa Fulleror, as I've seen the name listed elsewhere, Tressathen the photograph would have been taken around 1889, only two years after the picture we viewed yesterday. The style and setting of photographs wouldn't have changed that dramatically over a two year period.

If, however, the mother in the portrait was Theresa, then we would be viewing Theresa Fuller Hanson, wife of Seymour William Fredrick Hanson of Washburn County, Wisconsin. According to what I could find in the 1930 and 1940 census records, that baby would have been their only son, Leslie S. Hanson, born about 1921a date much more in line with the cardstock photo cover I'm accustomed to seeing during that time period.

Researching the Hanson family was somewhat challenging, not only because no enumerator seemed able to correctly enter Theresa'sor Tressa'sname, but because Leslie's name was mangled as well. Thanks to the addition of a middle initial in the two census records I found, I was able to locate an enlistment record for Leslie for World War II, and a Wisconsin death record and corroborating SSDI entry showing he passed away in February, 1972. Yet, despite his military service, I was unable to locate any burial information or even an obituary for the man who was once the infant in that portrait.

I suspect there won't be any direct descendants to claim this one photo from the Purkey-Fuller family tree, if Leslie was the only child of Seymour and Theresa Fuller Hanson. There was, however, another hopeful sign: I found a family tree on for this same family, which included another photograph of Theresa, her brother Tarance, and a younger brother Harold. It's time to go visiting other researchers to see if any of them are close enough relatives to be interested in having some of these Fuller family photos.

Above: Photograph, circa 1921, of Theresa Fuller Hanson and her son Leslie S. Hanson; photograph found in an antique shop in Sonora, California, and currently in possession of the author until claimed by a direct descendant of this family.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Pleasant Remembrance

From an unnamed photographer's studio in an unnamed city in America, we have the picture of a young mother and her baby. We can guess about the date this portrait was captured, based on the style of dress of the mother, or even by her hairstyle, but if it weren't for the thoughtfulness of an unnamed family member's dutiful listing of the woman's name, we wouldn't know whom the picture represented.

Thankfully, someone wrote on the reverse, "Pleasant Fuller + Tarence." And since I've already found other photos with the Fuller surname from the same antique shop in northern California where I found this one, I had at least a few clues with which to direct my search.

If I assumed that this Pleasant Fuller would have been listed in, say, the 1900 census, I'd have at least six possibilities to choose fromplus an additional one with the first name entered only as "Pleas"which isn't too difficult a quest to conquer for genealogical purposes. Having a secondary clue of a child named Tarence helped narrow the field to one.

Learning that young Tarence was born in 1887February 10, to be precisehelped us zero in on the date of his infant photograph. At that point, his mother Pleasant was about twenty four years of age, and had been married to John Fuller for about three years.

John and Pleasant Purkey Fuller went on to have at least two other children by the time of that 1900 census: Theresa, whom we'll meet tomorrow, and Harold.

When I went to look for any further information on Pleasant's firstborn, the son in this photograph, I ran into some other puzzling details, which of course demand that I follow through and find the correct information. So, after we meet Theresa Fuller through the photograph I found with her name attached, we'll move on to the puzzle of what became of Tarence.

Above: Undated photograph labeled "Pleasant Fuller + Tarence" found at antique shop in Sonora, California; currently in possession of author until claimed by direct descendant of Pleasant Fuller.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Fuller Than I Thought

It's one thing to go down a genealogical rabbit hole, looking for collateral details on a specific ancestor. To try and follow the trail for an entire surname is something elseand if that surname happens to be as common as Fuller, look out!

While I was working on what is turning out to be an entire photograph collection from the Brockman family of Sonora, California, I realized that one of the pictures was labeled with the surname Fuller. Of course, as I worked my way through another surnameletting Purkey lead me to Tucker and then to two different Goodman familieswhat should I see in those Goodman family trees but that very surname, Fuller.

It seems that Burt Purkey's wife's father's maternal grandmother's maiden name was Fuller. (Is that going too far?)

I raced back to that safe place where I've stashed all the antique photographs I'd found in that northern California antique shopthe ones I'm hoping to return to interested descendantsto pull out that picture labeled with the Fuller name.

This one, I thought, was going to be an easy catch. The given name for this Fuller family member was Pleasant. She was a young mother, and in her lap was a baby. The back of the photograph, besides mentioning Pleasant Fuller, had a second line which added, simply, "+ Tarence."

Common surnames may give researchers grief, but uncommon given names will hopefully make up for that fault. I started looking around in the family tree of Samuel Tucker's maternal grandmother to see what I could find. After all, the Goodman wife's maiden name was Fuller.

I kept looking.

I started looking for Fullers in the other Goodman line. No Pleasant.

Finally, I went back to the beginning and started thinking this out, all over again. Perhaps this Fuller woman belonged to another part of the Purkey universe. I looked through the rest of the photos in my stash from Sonora, seeking guidance through any other labels including the Fuller surname. After all, I couldn't be sure that Fuller was Pleasant's maiden name or married name.

A second drawback was that this photograph didn't come with any clue of a location. Where a studio imprint could have been included, the only item offered was the information, "Cabinet Portrait." Well, that seemed self-evident.

As it turned out, my solution did come when I returned to that collection of photographs I rescued from the Sonora antique shop, rather than poring through census records. There, I looked through all the rest of the pictures to see who else was labeled with this same Fuller nameand what clues I might draw from them. The answer came with another mother-and-child photo, this one labeled "Theresa Fuller, Burt Purkey's cousin."

I was off again, looking through census records and other documents to locate anyone in the Purkey tree who might be the suspected Theresa Fullerand, to hope that the line of Theresa Fuller also included someone named Pleasant who had a child named Tarence.

The answer came almost immediately: Theresa was sister to Tarence. Their mom was named Pleasant, all right, but Fuller was her married name. Pleasant was born a Purkey, next youngest sister to Erastus Purkey, Burt Purkey's dad. Thus, of course, her children Tarence and Theresa would have been Burt's cousins.

Tomorrow, we'll take a look at the photograph of Pleasant Purkey Fuller and her baby Tarence, and follow that up the next day with a glimpse of a very faded photograph of Theresa Fuller. Whether she was the mom or the babe, I've yet to determine. But first things first. On to introductions.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Refocusing on the Goal

While it may be tempting to lose ourselves in the myriad questions about the Goodman family of Tennessee and Illinoisand, eventually, their descendants in Malheur County, Oregonwe need to keep our eyes focused on our goal. In the case of the photographs I found of Annie Goodman Tucker and her family, that means building a viable tree to see where she fits in the family constellation, and then, hopefully, see if there are any descendants out there who would be interested in receiving the Goodman and Tucker pictures I found in that antique shop in northern California.

Granted, the Goodman story has been somewhat confusing. It appears that Annie's mother, Sarah Baldwin Breeden Goodman, was once again widowed while living in Nashville, Tennessee. With threeor, if Dollie was indeed another child and not just a nickname for Alice or Emma, fourdaughters, widow Sarah's primary interest was likely in marrying them off, or at least insuring that they were not left destitute at her own passing.

In the case of oldest daughter Annie, that meant marriage in 1884. For daughter Alice, eight years younger than Annie, hers was another marriage, this time in 1886. Yet, for the daughter in between Annie and Alice, it was a different scenario: work in Nashville as a single young woman, then marriage in 1893. And Dollie? All we know about Dollie was that she was in a photograph taken with Annie in Oregon. Who knows what became of her after thator whether she was actually another Goodman daughter, or merely one of Annie's other sisters with a sweet nickname.

The challenge was figuring out just why a widow in Nashville would decide to drag her two daughters all the way to Jersey County, Illinois, to be married. What was the connection? We discovered the unexpected clueat least as it was recorded in the marriage recordthat Alice Goodman was not born in Tennessee, as one would expect from her parents' residence, but that she was born in Alton, Illinois. There was also that confusing switch of names for the Goodman father, from Henry in the census records to Andrew in Alice's marriage recordand even in a later Nashville city directory for widow Sarah. Could Sarah have actually traveled to Illinois to marry again, herself? I have seen that exact scenario before, in other families.

The connection to Illinois, from our current perspective, is fleeting for the Goodman daughters. Alice, once married to John Harris in Jersey County, lived there with their sole son Earl in 1900, but by 1910 had movedI suspect along with several others from Jersey County, including Alice's sister Annieto Malheur County, Oregon. As reader Per pointed out last Friday, another ten years and Alice's husband and son had returned to Illinois without herthe 1920 census indicated that John Harris was widowedwhere they remained, according to both the 1930 and 1940 enumerations.

The story for oldest sister Annie Goodman and her husband Samuel Tucker was much the same. Living in Nashville, she married in Illinois in 1884, then by 1900, was living in Oregon. Judging from that 1900 census, their move was both earlier and more gradual than Annie's sister Alice: they remained in Illinois until after the 1887 birth of their daughter Eva, then stayed in Nebraska for the birth of five additional children. The Tuckers left for Oregon after the summer of 1899. However, like her younger sister Alice, Annie died relatively young, by the end of 1925.

There was, however, another Goodman connection in the story. Whether it was a Goodman who was related to Henry Goodman, Sarah's second husband (at least, as far as I can tell), I have yet to demonstratethough the roots for both Goodmans reach back to Virginia.

You may have already spotted that other Goodman connection in our discussion of the wedding of Annie and Samuel Tucker. There, in the marriage record, was the maiden name of Samuel's mother: Martha Goodman. And no, that wasn't a mistaken entry, for if her married name had been inserted in error, it would have been Tucker, not Goodman.

What was interesting about that other Goodman linethe one of Samuel Tucker's mother, Martha Goodmanwas that her mother's name was Fuller.

Fuller? I've seen that name before! In fact, I believe I have a picture from that family mentioning the Fuller surname. And since refocusing on our goal means getting back to connecting these abandoned family photos with descendants of these families, let's see what we can find about the Fuller connection to this extended family.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Hunting Season for Cousins

My husband is in South Dakota right now. He told me that pheasant season just opened. It's incredible to learn of all the out-of-town visitors such an event can generate.

I'm on a different kind of hunt: I'm looking for cousins. Distant cousins. Lots of them. I don't expect any of them to fly into my city at the beginning of the genealogy season (whenever that might be); I have to go looking for them. And so, I continue working on my family trees, adding all the descendants of my ancestors I can find.

In the past two weeks, I managed to find 246 of themat least on my mother's side, that family tree with southern roots I'm currently pursuing in preparation for my class at SLIG next January. My mom's tree now has 15,395 people documented in that database, the great majority of themwith the exception of my mother's immediate linestill residing in the south.

What's really great about the hunt for cousins this past two weeks is that I finally made a breakthrough. I've always seen cousin matches on my DNA results with surnames belonging to my mother-in-law's lines. I've seen enough of those namesin particular, Flowers and Gordonto wonder whether my husband and I are related but didn't know it. After all, our respective mothers attended high schools barely sixty miles apart. What are the chances?

As it turns out, the chances are nil. I had already checked that out, thanks to the utility, but knowing that my mother's roots were in the deep south while my mother-in-law's were anchored for generations in the same place in Perry County, Ohio, gave me yet another reason to wonder why so many of her surnames kept showing up in my family tree.

The answers showed up while I was working on my mother's tree last week. In two different instances, descendants from my mother's McClellan line happened to marry men with surnames prevalent in my mother-in-law's line. Of course, those happened to be fairly common surnames, but still, it had me wondering. Now, hopefully, this realization will help me sort out some of those thousands of cousin matches more accuratelyor at least free me from that nagging thought that my daughter is her own cousin.

Speaking of cousin matches to deal with, I have well over one thousand at AncestryDNA, with 3,324 at Family Tree DNA, 1028 at 23andMe, and a mind-boggling 5,744 at MyHeritage. That's enough to keep me busy for a long time, hunting for the nexus that connects me with their family trees.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Connecting Photos to Missing Families:
Now There are More of Us

It's no secret that I got my inspiration for rescuing abandoned family photos from one particular blogger. She's known as "Far Side of Fifty," and her blog, Forgotten Old Photos has been making a daily appearance since her first post almost exactly nine years ago. That's a lot of dogged pursuit of descendants of missing ancestors.

I'm sure I'm not the only one "Far Side" inspired. And I know others have since joined in this pursuit from the comments they've shared with me after receiving a rescued picture I sent to them. In addition to this connection with those who've inspired others they meet, it's likely there are even others who have no more idea of what we're doing than we have of the conquests they are making in the same endeavor.

Take this one example from a fellow member of my own local genealogical organization. Someone posted a link on our society's Facebook group explaining what had just happened, or I never would have known about it. It seems this fellow society member had spotted an old wedding photo at a boutique, sometime over a year ago, and immediately wanted to have it.

"It's not for sale," the owner of the shop told her. And that was that.

Except...when this woman got home, the more she thought about it, the more she dwelt on the thought of family members of the bride and groom who would want to have that missing photo. After thinking about it for a long time, she returned to the shop and asked permission to make a copy of the photo. She wanted to do what she could to help find family who would be the rightful owners of the wedding picture.

Projects like these take time. Eventually, the woman told someone at a local heritage organizationsomeone who might be enlisted as a partner in this project. Together, they spread the word as far and wide as they could. A local television station and the local newspaper agreed to carry the story, complete with interviews of the two women who initiated the search. Earlier this monthnot long after the original reportsour local newspaper followed up with the explanation that the now-eighty-two-year-old groom, currently living in Texas, heard from family that his wedding photo was the subject of media reports.

While both Far Side and I search for missing family members via our blogs, others such as my fellow genealogical society member use other media. Some of us are fortunate to make connections with major media; others attempt that same connection through social media or other means. Whether by word of mouth, website, newsletter, local display, or other means, we're all getting the word out there, the best we can.

While it's good that there are more of us with a heart to reunite these photographic family heirlooms with interested descendants, I often wonder if we could amplify the reports of our own efforts by networking to spread the news. And yet, how many people automatically think of examples of such collective efforts as "Dead Fred"? (No, not that Dead Fred; I'm talking about a website where people can search through surname catalogs to see if any of their ancestors' photos were posted, a place where members, for a fee, can upload photographs they've found, as well.)

It would be empowering to come up with a way to amplify each other's attempts at rescuing family photographs. Just think of how many pictures could be reunited with descendantsa task which, at present, seems to be no less daunting than seeking a diamond-studded needle in the proverbial haystack. Those of us who feel called to that mission need a way to network with and support each other, if nothing else. It certainly was encouraging to me to discover that someone else in my own organization had the heart for the very same project.

How many others of us are out there?

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Sisters' Stories

Brick walls are sometimes best conquered by reading between the lines on the documents we can find on our ancestors. I'm seeing that borne out again, now that I'm puzzling over the photograph I found of Annie Goodman Tucker and Dollie Goodman, the sister I can't find in any documentation. In the meantime, discovering how Annie and her sisters grew up in Tennessee with half-brothers who were born in Georgia, I'm at a loss as to how to explain her marriage in Illinois.

All I want to do is find out just how Annie Goodman of Nashville, Tennessee, managed to travel to Jersey County, Illinois, to marry Samuel Tucker in 1884. Really. Oh, and also figure out just who her sister Dollie Goodman might have beenthe one we found in the picture abandoned in a northern California antique shop.

While my guess that Annie and her widowed mom might have traveled to Illinois in the company of her half-brothers from her mother's first marriage didn't work outall her half brothers died in Nashville, apparentlyI still have one more guess to check out. That one leaves the answer in the hands of the girls' team: Annie's sisters from her mom's second marriage to Henry Goodman. But even there, it was obvious that her sister Emma was listed in Nashville city directoriesat least up to 1887.

That left me with the task of looking up records concerning marriages for Annie's known sisters Emma and Alice; remember, I hadn't been able to find any record of a Goodman sister named Dollie, whether actual name or nickname, until I found a first mention of her in the Nashville city directory.

But Emma married a man by the name of John McCann in Nashville, and died there in 1929. It was obvious Emma wouldn't hold the key to any explanation of how her sister Annie ended up marrying a man in Illinois. Yet, as we saw yesterday, Annie's widowed mom, Sarah Goodman, and her other sister, Alice, seemed to have disappeared from Nashville city directories in the mid 1880s. As it turns out, that little hint, reading between the lines in the city directories, provided a clue to scour the records elsewhere.

What we already know is that Annie married Samuel Tucker in 1884 in Jersey County, Illinois. That, in case you are as geographically challenged as I am, turns out to be a distance of about 350 miles from their home in Nashville. Inquiring minds want to know: how did she meet him? How did she make that trip from Nashville to Jerseyville? I was puzzled, knowing the customs of that time period, and the possibility that Annie's father might already have passed away. It seemed unlikely that a young woman of that time period would just strike up a friendship with a bachelor from a town far removed from her hometown.

But what about that other sister, Alice? There was no sign of her continued residence in Nashville, nor any marriage record for her there.

As it turned out, that younger Goodman sister followed in Annie's footsteps, marrying a man in Jersey County, as well. Her intended was John T. Harris, son of Thomas P. and Nancy Tally Harris. They married in Jersey County on March 19, 1886, according to an entry in the Jersey County records. While the record listed Alice's father's name as Andrewnot Henrywe can be reassured we have the right Alice Goodman, for the witnesses to the ceremony were none other than Alice's sister Annie and Annie's husband, Samuel Tucker.

Reading between the lines on that record shows us one more unexpected detail about the Goodman family's connection to Illinois: Alice listed her place of birth not as Tennesseewhich would have been expected, given her two older sisters were born therebut as Alton, Illinois, only twenty miles south of Jerseyville. Though Alice gave her age as sixteen at the time of her 1886 marriage, I tend to think she might have only been fifteen years old at the time, based on the fact that her name wasn't included in the Goodman household for the July enumeration of the 1870 census in Nashville.

At any rate, though the Goodmans lived in Nashville in 1870, sometime between that July 2, 1870, enumeration and the time of her birth, Alice and, at least, her mother were living in Illinois.

Why? After all, the Goodmans returned to Nashville after that pointat least until Annie's marriage to Samuel Tucker in 1884 and Alice's marriage to John Harris in 1886.

As it turns out, Annie and Alice weren't the only Goodmans in that part of Illinois. There may have been another Goodman connection.

The two excerpts above from the Jersey County, Illinois, marriage records are for Alice Goodman's entry (above) and her husband John Harris' entry (below). Both images courtesy

Thursday, October 18, 2018

City Directories:
Reading Between the Lines

City directories can tell a family's story, but the narrative spills out line by line, year by year. Directories may be a tedious recounting of the family's history with just the facts of name, address, and perhaps place of employment. Lacking any better details, that's at least a start. And since I'm stumped with Annie Goodman and what led her to leave her home in Nashville, Tennessee, to marry a man in Jersey County, Illinois, I may as well use every tool at my disposal. Besides, there's that nagging puzzle about the mysterious Dollie Goodman who showed up in a photograph I found of Annie Goodman: I have yet to find any documentation of just who that Dollie Goodman was.

My guess was that Annie, who married in 1884, would not likely have made such a long trip to arrive at her wedding location in Illinois by herselfat least, if my understanding of the customs of that time are correct. But assuming that her widowed mother escorted her that distance is difficult to prove, mainly because it seems both her mother and her father had disappeared from the scene after the 1880 census. Running on the theory that Annie's half brothers from her mother's first marriage provided escort service turned out to be a poor hypothesis; as we saw yesterday, each of those three half-brothers remained in Nashville.

Not knowing exactly what became of Annie's parents bothered me. I wasn't finding any information through the usual meansnot living near Tennessee, I need to glean from what online resources are available to meso in desperation, I decided it was time to pull out those year-by-year accounts of who lived in town, and grind through each annual tome.

Starting with 1880, the same year in which we found Annie's parents in the U.S. census, her father Henry was listed in the city directory. Thankfully, his occupation was listed in the census as blacksmith, and the directory corroborated that detail, along with a similar rendering of the home addressthis time, on "Buena Vista Pike" instead of Buena Vista Street. Still, what are the chances of two blacksmiths with the same name, but on two different streets with almost the same name?

Moving to the 1881 city directory, the Goodman blacksmith was still on Buena Vista, but for some reason, this time his name was rendered as George. Was Annie's father's name actually George Henry Goodman? Or was this an overlooked typo on the part of the directory's editor?

In the 1882 city directory, Annie's dad was back to being listed as Henry, and now his shop was on Main Street, though his house was located at Jefferson. By 1883, blacksmith Henry Goodman was working at South Tenth, and he moved his home around the corner from Jefferson to Park.

Joining him, in the 1883 Nashville directory, were two other Goodmans: Miss Annie Goodman and Miss Emma Goodman, both of whom worked at the Tennessee Manufacturing Company, and both of whom were likely Henry Goodman's daughters.

Unfortunately, after that, there is a gap in the online resource for Nashville city directories. The next directory I could find was for 1886, a gap of three valuable years. Still, there are a few details that caught my eye. Gone was Henry Goodman the blacksmith, but in his place was a Henry Goodman who worked at the National Manufacturing Company, and who boarded at Jeffersonsame home location as we found in the 1882 directory.

There was, however, that something else which had caught my eye: there were two other Goodmans now listed in the directory, along with Henryneither of whom was Annie. Both of them worked at the same place as Henry, and both of them were listed as boarding at the same location as Henry. One was Emma Goodman, Annie's sister whom we had seen listed in the 1883 directory, who was now boarding with the Henry whom I presume would be her brother, rather than her father.

The other one was someone named Dollie Goodman.

The next year's directory tells one more piece of the story. In 1887, along with the Henry Goodman who was working at the National Manufacturing Company, we see an entry for one more Goodman who had been missing from the picture in the previous directories. It was Sarah Goodman, listed there as widow of Henry.

While the gap between 1883 and 1886 in the available Nashville city directories could hold valuable clues for us, even with their absence, it is possible to form another hypothesis about what happened to bring Annie Goodman to Illinois. Perhaps Annie's mother, by then possibly the widowed Sarah, left town with Annie before her 1884 marriage, then returned to Nashville in time to be listed in the 1887 directory.

The good news of all this grunt work is that we've found our first clueother than her photographthat Dollie Goodman actually existed. But there is one more thing we also discovered, mainly from its absence. While we found Dollie, and observed entries for her brother Henry and her sisters Annie and Emma, there was no mention of the other sister, Alice. It is by figuring out that absence that we'll be led closer to the answer we're seeking on just how Annie from Tennessee ended up married in Illinois.

Both images above from the Nashville city directory, courtesy of

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Rabbit Trail Warning :
On the Hypothesis Hunt

How many times have I seen a woman, married once, subsequently with children, then widowed, then remarried with more children. Then widowed. Again. And then, in her later years, taken in by the oldest son from the first marriage.

Not being able to find any sign of Sara Jane Baldwin, widow of James Breeden and subsequently wife of Henry Goodman, I thought it might be worthwhile to test that scenario and see if this was an applicable hypothesis in her case. After all, though Sara Jane's first marriage occurred in Georgia, her second family lived in Nashville, Tennessee. If she were subsequently widowed again, it might make sense that she went with her daughter Annie to Illinois, where Annie, herself, was married.

So I took a long look at what became of Sara Jane's three sons by her first marriage to James Breeden. It was easy to determine their names, both from the two boys living in the Breeden household in Georgia for the 1860 census, and for the three Breeden boys who were in Sara Jane's home with her second husband, Henry Goodman, in the 1870 census.

Even in the 1880 census, it was fairly easy to spot the oldest of those Breeden sons, for son George Breeden was living in the household listed just before the Goodman household on Buena Vista Street. There, we found George to be a married man, though it took some reading between the lines to determine his wife was the older daughter of Mike and Lizzy Molter, by the name of Caroline. While the way the enumerator handled that census entry was confusing, it also appeared that George and Caroline Breeden had a daughter, whom they nicknamed Carrie.

Sara Jane's second son Carrol Breeden, in the Goodman home at the age of eleven at the time of the 1870 census, was listed as a driver for the Woodland Street Railroad in the 1885 Nashville city directory. He was even listed in the Nashville directory as late as 1893, so it was clear that he was not the one leaving town on a cross-country adventure for his half-sister Annie's wedding in Alton, Illinois.

Sadly, their youngest brother James would not have been in the Goodman-Tucker wedding party, either. An 1874 death register for Davidson County, Tennessee, revealed that one fifteen year old James "Breedon" from Georgia died on October 30 from tetanus.

Though Annie Goodman's half brothers Carrol and James would not have taken their (likely) widowed mother Sara Jane on an adventurous move to Illinois, could the connecting link have been oldest brother George? Even that could not be the answer, as you may have already noticed. While I searched for any sign of a George Breeden in Illinois by 1900, I was not able to locate any evidence. And small wonder: the very line next to his brother Carrol's entry in the 1885 Nashville city directory tells the story: Caroline Breeden, listed as widow of George, lived on the very street where we had found her in the 1880 census.

If George Breeden was gone before 1885, it is likely that he was not the one to lead his half sister Annie Goodman to Alton, Illinois, the place where she married Samuel Tucker in 1884. But if the Breeden half brothers were not the nexus for the tryst between Annie Goodman and Samuel Tucker, could it have been any of the Goodman sisters?

Furthermore, we can't let these rabbit trail diversions cause us to forget our original incentive for exploring all these possibilities: that mystery sister Dollie Goodman. Who was she, and where did she fit into the picture? At this point, I still haven't found any evidenceother than one photographthat Dollie Goodman even existed.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

More of Annie's Story

In trying to determine just who Annie Goodman's sister Dollie might have beenthe young woman sitting next to Annie in a photograph taken in Ontario, OregonI can find no clues from census records. That might be due to the gap we family historians all bemoan, the missing 1890 censusbut there still should be another way to figure out this puzzle.

Annie, born in Tennessee in 1863 to Sara Jane Baldwin and her husband, Henry Goodman, showed up in her parents' household in the 1870 and 1880 census, but I can't find her parents at any point after that. And to try and figure out who Annie's younger-looking "sister" Dollie might have been, I suspect we would need to look at records subsequent to that 1880 enumeration.

Annie, by then, was in her own household, as the wife of Samuel James Tucker, whom she married in Illinois in 1884, so there was no sign of any Dollie in records from that date onward. But where was Annie's mother? Or father? And how did Annie, a resident of Nashville, Tennessee, end up marrying a man in Alton, Illinois?

Hoping that I would somehow find Dollie in that mess, I pushed back a generation to Henry Goodman and his wife, the former Sara Jane Baldwin. I'm not sure this detour will ultimately lead me down a path to find Dollie, but I am finding other details, nonetheless.

The first detail that stood out to me was in the 1870 census. There, back in Nashville, were the couple, Henry and Sara Jane. But before we can locate the record for their oldest daughter Annie in that same 1880 household, we see the entry for three young males. Under the surname Breden (or possibly Baeden), we find thirteen year old George, eleven year old Carrol, and nine year old James.

Of course, the 1870 census doesn't provide us any guidance as to howor even ifthose three boys were related to Annie's parents, but one possible guess, considering that time period, might be that Annie's mother was previously married and then widowed.

I checked to see if there were any marriage records in Davidson County, Tennessee, for a Sara Jane Baldwin and any man by the surname Breden, but I didn't find any. Annie's mother, however, gave her birthplace, in that 1870 census, as Georgia. Wondering whether she might have been married in Georgia, I searched there for her maiden name. (I wasn't confident in the spelling of that Breden surname, so I opted to go the route of the bride's name.)

I did locate an 1855 Chatooga County, Georgia, marriage record indexed online with a groom's name listed as James E. Brudena possibility, since looking at the actual handwriting allowed me to imagine that it might just as easily have been translated as Breeden, phonetically close to the Breden surname we had already encountered. To double check, since I had already found the names of the two potential sons ten years of age or more from the 1870 census, I searched for a census record in 1860 with that grouping of names.

Thankfully, there was one possibility: an 1860 census record from nearby Walker County, Georgia, which included James, Sarah, three year old George and one year old Carroll. An encouraging addition was the entry in the household of two teenaged "boarders" with the surname Baldwin, the same as Sara Jane's maiden name.

The reason I took the trouble to ferret this out was for my research hypothesis: could it have been possible that Sara Jane, widowed a second time at Henry Goodman's untimely deathwhich I have yet to verifyfollowed any of her (potential) sons to move from her home in Tennessee to Illinois, and possibly from there even further to Oregon? My next goal is to find Sara Jane by seeking whatever became of those three boys from the Goodman household in the 1870 census. 

Monday, October 15, 2018

Whoever She Was, I Have her Picture

Along with several other photographs I found in an antique store in northern California was one labeled "Annie Goodman Tucker + Sister Dollie Goodman." I already had figured out that this picture, plus many others also found at that same shop, were once in the possession of the Brockman family of Sonora. The wife of this Brockman couple was related to a family with the Tucker surname; Annie Goodman had married Samuel Tucker and they and their family lived, at one time, in Oregon, site of the photography studio where this photograph was taken.

We've already met Annie Goodman Tucker, although it was at the other end of her adult life, just months before her passing in 1925. Comparing her picture at that date with this earlier version, we can guess that, of the two women in today's photograph (shown at the end of this post), Annie was likely the woman seated on the left.

I say "guess" for two reasons: one being a sense that these two faces featured don't exactly look like they represent the same person; the other reason being the discovery of another of this family's photographs mislabeled with the wrong identities. See for yourself whether it is likely that the younger of the two faces could have, years later, morphed into the second version.

There is yet another reason I am doubting myself for identifying photographs. While I've been able to find Annie in her family's records over the years, and while those records include the names of her siblings, there wasn't one single sister who was named Dollie.

Now, I realize that people often used nicknames to refer to family members, but there is a limit on how such terms of endearment are used. For one thing, the name Dolly was indeed often used as a nicknamebut it was more likely to be used as a nickname for someone named Dorothy, not Emma or Alice, the names of Annie's two sisters. I tried searchingso far, without any successfor any information on either of these two sisters to see whether I could locate any hint that either Emma or Alice was so doll-like as to merit such a nickname despite such an unsimilar given name.

I'm still hunting for any clue as to the identity of Dollie Goodman. In the process, I may have run across another branch of Annie's family, which might provide some answers...maybe.  

Photograph, top: Side by side comparison of a younger possible Annie Goodman Tucker and her older self from a 1925 photograph. Below: source of that younger version from its original, undated setting, taken in Ontario, Oregon, and labeled, "Annie Goodman Tucker + Sister Dollie Goodman." Side by side comparison courtesy Chris Stevens. Photo currently in possession of author until claimed by a direct descendant.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Still Off the Shelf:
The Art of Gathering

Some books should be read slowly. They command the attention required of valuable content, but demand the balance necessary to apply the brakes on readers so enthused with the subject matter that they race through the chapters. That's how it's been this month for me, reading Priya Parker's The Art of Gathering.

Granted, I read a good portion of the book while flying halfway across the continent. I'm still reading. Thankfully, I realized the need to slow down and absorb the material. Parker's subtitleHow we Meet and Why it Mattersembodies my call to action for the upcoming months and year, and I need to pay attention to the book's content for the sake of my own meetings.

This year has been my first year serving as president of our local genealogical society. While the year has gone well, I haven't lost sight of just how we could be, if we were a forward-thinking, innovative group. I want to push my gatherings in that direction toward further organizational development.

And so, I read slowly. Even now, after a month of reading the Parker book, I'm only on page 169 of 294yes, I include the endnotes; I read those. I go back and reread portions of the book, absorbing every last whiff of the essence of the possibilities Parker has instilled in her pages.

I'm not reading those pages merely for application to generic meetings; I have a certain set of gatherings in mind. It wouldn't be hard to guess, having read the posts on this blog, that my focus is on the gatherings of our local genealogical organizationand that guess, if it were yours, would be entirely accurate. I want to re-imagine genealogical societies, especially the local ones, to see what next level we can step up to. I'm enthused to consider those possibilitiesmore to the point, to see them become a productive reality.

With that mindset, I was so heartened to see, the other day, a post by Canadian blogger Gail Dever in her blog, Genealogy à la carte. In that post, she asserts, "Genealogical society members and directors should watch these videos" of presentations given at the North Texas Genealogical Society Summit. Her main reason for that assertion: in her experience, boards of directors of local genealogical societies are struggling more with survival issues than they are with the type of growth issues enjoyed by organizations which pro-actively engage in strategic planning.

Gail's post pointed to three tools as an antidote for such ailing organizations:

The need for genealogical societies to re-envision themselves in a new century with a new call to action is real. Those societies which are satisfied to hold the line with their status quo will find themselves moving backwards at length. If our wish is, as Gail put it, to thrive, we need to explore the possibilities of where we could be, say, in five yearsand then articulate that in a solid, workable plan.

Society meetings are not for the mere purpose of "doing it" because that's the way we've always done it. With an entire world open to us of possibilities that can transpire in well-planned gatherings, as Priya Parker puts it in The Art of Gathering, we need to take our responsibility seriously of exploring the science and art of constructing events that not only meet the needs of our members (and the greater community context in which they gather) but exceed them in a compellingeven delightingmanner.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

A Year for Learning

After kicking off 2018 with my now-traditional jaunt to the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, three different genealogical conferences have filled my year so far. One was a must-attend event on my annual list: the Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree at the end of May. This year, I added two new entries to my year of learning. Taking my role as president of our local genealogical society seriously, I attended the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference this past August in hopes of picking up organizational development pointers. And because I need to challenge myself a little more, I added a trip to Kansas City last weekend to become a first-time attendee at the Association of Professional Genealogists' Professional Management Conference.

Each learning opportunity spoke to a different side of my genealogical pursuits. And each event spoke with a different voice. I find I need that variety to assure my learning opportunities cover all the bases in my need to know.

After several years of attending traditional-format conferences, I've become weary of the business-as-usual learning style at traditional conferences. The talking head presenting in front of rows of passive observers is an efficient model for only those people who have exactly the same learning needs. Once a learner has already picked up the basics on a given introductory topic—say, how to use the U.S. Census recordsthe urge to return for more fades. That is the prime reason I shifted my learning venues to the institute model: a whole week devoted to delving deeply into one specific topic.

The call of the promising conference format still beckons, though. There is something so serious about week-long learning that stops networking and social interaction dead in its tracks, and I find there is still a place for the shorter intervals of conference learning rhythms. So I ventured back this year, under cover of those supposed excuses: "I'm representing my society" or "I'm open to professional growth." What I really wanted was another chance to connect with people in ways that lead to productive partnerships. Maybe we're just too serious at institute learning venues to really reach out and touch those other learners' ships passing in the night.

That led me to the FGS conference, where, dismayed to see I had already either heard several of the speakers or their topics presented before, I spent almost the whole time networking with fellow attendees in the hallways, in the exhibit hall, or in the back of the room after class sessions finished. What I came home with far exceeded what I could have accomplished if I had just forced myself to sit through more of the same classes; with the exception of the first, society-focused day, FGS was like almost any other genealogy conference.

Stretching me in the other direction, my experience last weekend in Kansas City introduced me to a peer-to-peer model of presentation, with chances to learn from others not only through official class sessions, but through discussions during the breaks and, in one case, well into the evening. The topics presented were a lively mix of business perspectives, genealogical standards, and innovative applications. Speakers were far more accessible for after-session discussions, proving invaluable.

Since I teach, I am constantly on the lookout for innovative approaches to working with the adult learner. That became not only the topic covered during the sessions I chose to attend in this most recent conference, but the theme of discussions sparked by those learning events. It's hard to balance the responsibility to convey information to those who've come to our classes with the desire to find new ways to transmit that message. Audiences hardly wish to pay for failed experiments, yet yearn for a way of learning that goes beyond the disappointments they experience after enduring those time-worn training sessionsthose classes which fail to bring them back for more, or even to lead them to apply what they've heard.

I'm still on the search for instructional techniques to apply to my classesand would be overjoyed to see such ideas employed during those traditional genealogical conferences (which now only seem to bring back attendees as long as they are beginners). Kudos to the conference planners at APG for daring to experiment with different presentation formatslike the scheduled discussion groups and "poster sessions"and for the speakers who dared to break ranks and infuse some class participation into what otherwise would have been straight lecture time, hour after hour.

If we hope to reach generations accustomed to a more participatory style, we need to be brave enough to break the lecture-only mold and dare to enter the learning worlds of connective, collaborative effort.

For 2019, anyone? 

Friday, October 12, 2018

A Family Tree Drawn From Photos

As we explore the collection of abandoned family photographs found in an antique store in northern California, it becomes clearer that each of those white-labeled hundred-year-old pictures are connected to the others. We've moved from the picture of the Erastus Manford Purkey family to their son Burt and his siblings, and a more recent photo of his two sisters, and then a younger brother. Burt's wife, Maude, became the bridge to identify the portrait of an older couple, which turned out to be Maude's parents, Samuel J. Tucker and Annie J. Goodman.

Reaching back further in time, we now find a photograph of a much younger Annie Goodman and one of her sisters. Though we learned from the death certificate of Annie's daughter Maude that Annie was likely born in Nashville, Tennessee, the photograph was taken at the Kidd Studio in Ontario, Oregon.

The picture of two women, sitting side by side, is labeled, "Annie Goodman Tucker + Sister Dollie Goodman." What great fortune to have found such a trove of family photographs, all labeled with thorough identification.

We are able to corroborate who is in Annie Goodman's childhood home, starting with her own marriage record from Jersey County, Illinois. The 1884 record, which confirmed Annie's birth in Tennessee, showed her parents' names as Henry Goodman and Sarah Baldwin.

Since that same marriage record indicated Annie's age to be twenty one, it would be a simple matter to pull up the census record and find her in her parents' home, either in 1870 or 1880. Doing so, however, presents us with a slight problem: though the photograph I found in that California antique shop indicated that Annie had a sister named Dollie, there is no such sister to be found, either in the 1870 census or that of 1880.

Granted, Annie did have two sisters, one named Emma and one named Alice. Neither name seems to lend itself well to a nickname of Dollie, though, leaving me puzzled as to whether this family's photo collection is prone to labeling mistakes.

And so, I'm off to explore yet another family to see whether there is a Dollie hidden anywhere within the branches of the Henry and Sarah Goodman family tree.

Three images regarding Annie Goodman Tucker, from top to bottom: First, the photography studio's imprint from the picture labeled "Annie Goodman Tucker + Sister Dollie Goodman" (photograph in possession of author); second, section from the entry in the marriage records of Jersey County, Illinois, showing Annie Goodman's information, courtesy of; finally, clipping from the 1880 U.S. census for the Davidson County, Tennessee, household of Henry and Sarah Goodman, also courtesy
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...