Nellie Eimer

This one has been the big mystery running around in the back of my mind for the last few weeks.  In the big trunk of photos that we found at Grandpa’s house, there are three photos with mention of Nellie Eimer who doesn’t appear to be related in any way to any branch of the family.  I’m holding out hope that perhaps her mother is the link, but I haven’t yet been able to find her maiden name to confirm that.  Do you have any of these names in your family tree?  Please get in contact by leaving a comment!

The details:

  • “Nellie” Ellen Malden Howell was born 23 July 1868 in Dawley Bank, Shropshire, England and died 10 July 1930 in Carbondale, Lackawanna, Pennsylvania, USA.  Nellie applied for a passport 1 April 1920 and listed the purpose of her passport as, “to visit relatives,” for the duration of four months.  On this same document, she lists her arrival year as 1883.  She married Frank Eimer 17 Jan 1891.  She lived the rest of her life in Carbondale, Pennsylvania and never had children.
  • Frank Eimer was born in 1867 and died 3 Januray 1938.  He was a baker in Carbondale.  After Nellie died, he married Isabell Turnbull.  His parents are Harry (1839) and Mary (1844-1875) Eimer.
  • William Howell, Nellie’s father, was born in England in 1843.  He died 2 December 1920 in Carbondale, Pennsylvania.  He lived with Nellie and Frank in Carbondale, PA until his death.  I haven’t been able to find him on any English census, and there doesn’t appear to be record of his family living in England prior to the first time they show up on a census, the 1910 US census.  Per the information he gave the census taker, he married Lizzie in 1864.  His will lists his living relatives as, “Mrs. Ellen Malden Eimer daughter, Mrs. Sarah McCoy daughter, and Mrs. Elizabeth Stephens grand daughter.”  Frank Eimer was named the executor of the will.
  • “Lizzie” Elizabeth ?, Nellie’s mother, was born 1843 and died 18 November 1913.  I’m not 100% sure on the death date, but it seems to match up from the PA death record indicies.  Lizzie appears on the 1910 US census and not on the 1920 census.  I don’t know much about her other than this little bit of information.

DSC_3334_full  DSC_3335_back
The first photo is a photo postcard.  The stamp area in the top right corner of the second photo gives me a date range of 1904-1918 (AZO with four triangles up).  The back reads, “Mr & Mrs Wm Howell later on their 50th anniversary on our front porch,” and was likely written by Olga (Powis) Kitko, the front porch being in Beccaria, Clearfield, Pennsylvania.  Below that, written later, is, “Nellie Eimers Mother & Father,” again, probably written by Olga.  If the Howells married in 1864, that would give us 1914 for their 50th anniversary which isn’t possible if Lizzie died in 1913.  I’m pretty comfortable saying this photo was taken in 1913.  Olga would’ve been 13 at the time.

DSC_3388_front   DSC_3389_back
Another photo postcard, dating again between 1904-1918.  Written on the back in Olga’s older handwriting is, “Aunt Nellie Eimer, Carbondale,” and printed is a Photographer’s Studio, “F. E. Allen Studio, 3d and Pine Sts., Williamsport, PA.”  I haven’t been able to find the photographer’s name in any local directory, so I’ve got no lead on a date for this one.  I’d definitely put it closer to the 1918 mark.  This is where I get the “Aunt” title from though and why this has me so confused.  I suppose it’s possible that Aunt was used to describe a close family friend – I know I grew up with a number of “Aunts” that I wasn’t related to, and the term was used symbolically for a person of importance to our family.

DSC_3372_front   DSC_3373_back
And the last photo – not a photo postcard.  There are a few other photos of the same size (only about three inches high) that are marked with ’17 on the back – I’m taking this to mean that they were taken in 1917.  This photo is labelled in Olga’s older handrwriting, “Nellie Eimers Father Carbondale Mom & Me.”  If this was taken in 1917, Olga would’ve been 17 in this photo (she graduated high school, something rare for girls at that time).  From Left to right, we have William Howell, Jessie (Battin) Powis, and Olga (Powis) Kitko.  Lizzie is missing here which makes sense, because she passed away years before the photo was taken.
L ackawanna Public Records – The search for Marriage licenses and Register of Wills was used to find Frank Eimer’s will, William Howell’s will and the marriage license for Frank and Nellie Eimer.
Playle’s Photo Postcard Dating – I go back to this resource often since it seems to be one of the most comprehensive databases for dating photo postcards
Pennsylvania Birth and Death indices –  The indices are a great place to start for information.  Records can be ordered for a fee, but sometimes just the index is enough to collect an exact date.

Photo of a Grave Stone


This is another of the photos found in the trunk of photos from my grandpa’s house. We thought it was a little weird to have a photo of a gravestone in one’s stash of pictures, but given the circumstances, it makes sense. I have enough data to confirm that this marker is from St. Michael’s at Lawhitton, Cornwall, UK (map).  The stone lists these people:

Mary Jane (Harris) Battin, wife of George Battin, born in about 1834, died 12 July 1884, aged 50 years.
William Henry Battin, son of George and Mary Jane, born  7 Oct 1860, died 11 Mar 1879, aged 18 years.
Dinah Battin, daughter of George and Mary Jane, born  9 Mar 1867, died 28 Nov 1884, aged 17 years.

The birth dates and other information was found via the Cornwall OPC database (links to the burial data are included above) which has church records for all of Cornwall.  REALLY helpful.  We have documentation showing that Jessie (Battin) Powis (sister of Dinah and William Henry and my great-great grandmother) took a trip back to England from Pennsylvania after the birth of her first son (Alfred Herbert Powis) to visit her sisters and father.  I’m going to guess that this photo was taken around that time (January 1896), and she brought it back with her to her home in Pennsylvania, USA.  It’s on a hard cardboard backing similar to a Carte-de-Visite, but there’s no marking indicating who the photographer is or when/where it was taken.  I’m still amazed at the amount of genealogical data that’s now available online, and the individuals who care enough to spend the time, transcribe records, and make them available to the public for free.

UPDATE – 16 May 2012
A kind user on flickr pointed me to a wikimedia photo that shows a more current photo of the grave stone, and even shows George’s gravestone next to the original from the photo!   SO NEAT!

Coal Miners on the way home


Written on the back, “Herb & D. Alexander on the way home”

From the handwriting, I can tell that my great grandmother labelled the photo, in part, long after it was taken – the style on the top line is a crisp, clean sort of penmanship, and the, “on the way home,” is written in her rather shaky handwriting from when she was older. The back of the photo is set up like a postcard, and the area where the stamp is supposed to be placed can be used to date the photo. This one has “NOKO” stamped on it, which indicates the date is between 1907 and 1920.  This resource is REALLY helpful for dating photo postcards.  I’d put the date closer to the 1920 end of the date range since Herb, Alfred Herbert Powis (my great-grand uncle), was born in 1892 and died in 1926.  As for D. Alexander, I’ve got no idea!  Herb lived in Beccaria, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, but I don’t know which mine this is.  It is pretty neat to see these two, dirty from working in the mine, riding a mine cart on their way out, ready to go home.  This is just one of many, MANY photos from an old trunk, and hopefully I’ll be posting more soon!

New Hampshire Vacation

The last week of February was a full week in Bartlett, New Hampshire, at the Attitash resort.  Neither of us enjoy skiing at Attitash, but our timeshare transfers there and puts us close to Bretton Woods, Great Glen Trails, Mt Washington, and the cute little town of North Conway.  On the way up on Saturday, we stopped off at a little Meadery, the Saphouse Meadery.  Chatted with the brewer for a while, sampled all the meads, and bought a few too – they were REALLY amazing, and reasonably priced.  My favorite by far was the Hopped Blueberry mead – there was something about the subtle bitterness of the hops that combined with the sweet of the honey and blueberry that REALLY worked for me.  We left, our heads swimming with all kinds of new ideas for brewing more of our own mead.

Sunday we spent some time in North Conway and relaxed at the resort.  That’s what vacation is for, right?  We also geared up for our trip to the summit of Mt Washington, gathering some extra base layers and clothing that aren’t really available in our warmer suburban Philadelphia area.

Monday we got up early and headed to the meet up point at the base of the Mt Washington auto road.  Our guide collected all of us who had signed up for this special trip up the mountain.  The observatory and auto road are closed during the winter, and the only ways up are on foot (if you’ve got the experience and gear to do so) or by these special winter day trips with the Mt Washington Observatory.  There were 13 total people in the Snow Cat that took us to the summit – a driver, a driver’s apprentice, our guide, and 11 guests.  Think of the Snow Cat as what could be the baby of a snow plow and a tank – it had treads somewhat like a tank and a hugenormous plow on the front, with a cab in the back for the guests.  Not a bad piece of equipment!  The Snow Cat reaches a max speed of 8 miles per hour, so the trip up took 2 hours, and another 2 hours back down.  We did make a few stops along the way to swap out people sitting in the front cab with the driver/operator and to take a look around, watching the scenery change from sunny and mild to windy and grey.

Starting the journey at the very bottom. The skies are cloudy, but the sun is still peeking through. DSC_5362
About two-thirds (4,000 ft) of the way up. The vegetation is all short and scrubby from the high winds and cold. DSC_5376
The Snow Cat overlooking the summit. Weather was changing the whole way up, and by the time we arrived, we were in the clouds. DSC_5383

At the summit, we deposited our gear in the area that’s open to the public in the summer as a cafeteria. The observatory uses volunteers that swap out once a week to help with the day-to-day chores around the observatory – cleaning, cooking meals, etc. The volunteer had prepared a wonderful lunch for us, and we had some time to sit and chat with her for a while. After that, we geared back up and went for a walk around the summit. Winds were gusting around 80mph and the temperature was reading at -9 with the wind chill factor. Really, not terrible weather when you think about how bad it can get up there. I don’t think I’ve ever been subject to an 80mph wind gust before then, so that was quite the experience!  We even went an additional height above the summit into the observation tower.  Husband took a short video of a small group of us at the top of the tower.  Even shielded somewhat by a part of the tower, you can still see our jackets rippling in the wind.  Rime ice covers pretty much everything up there and forms due to a combination of high wind and cold temperatures that cause any moisture in the air to freeze to any surface.  Periodically, the observers have to come out and hack away at the ice to remove it from their weather monitoring equipment using ‘specialized’ tools (ie. crowbars, metal rods, poles, anything heavy and blunt).  We came back in from the tower, took our gear back off, and had some time to chat with the observers (three, plus one intern) who also rotate out on a weekly basis.

Doug (left) and me (right) at the Mt Washington summit, next to the famous sign, covered in Rime ice DSC_5392
Summit of Mt Washington, showing the summit marker sign and observatory tower DSC_5395

Our Snow Cat operator gave the signal – weather at the summit was deteriorating (or getting more interesting?), and it was time to go if we wanted to reach the bottom before dusk. We geared back up and climbed in the Snow Cat for our trip down. We made a few stops in order to swap out the person in the front cab, and made it to the bottom before dusk. It was really an incredible trip and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire day. You wouldn’t think that a short walk outside in that weather would affect a person as much as it did, but a lot of the other guests took short naps on the way down. The combination of the pressure difference and physical exertion just to keep standing in the wind was enough to tire anyone out.

For the rest of the vacation, husband took a day skiing while I did some knitting in the lodge, and we took two nice snowshoeing adventures. On our way back home, we made two stops in Lee, New Hampshire. First stop was at the Flag Hill winery.  We sampled some wines and ended up buying a few bottles.  The other stop was at a little farm, Riverslea Farm, just down the road that has wool and yarn and even sheep and goat meat.  Needless to say, I consider the combination of these two things, wine and wool, to be the absolute best place on earth.  We had a good long chat with the owner of the farm and came home with wool and some goat meat.

There are a few more photos on flickr here, in case you’re interested!