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Sepia Saturday 233: Weddings

A fellow blogger contacted me about a few of the old images I’ve posted a while back.  I started following his blog and found that he was posting these Sepia Saturday posts about old photographs.  Well, I finally checked into what Sepia Saturday is, and decided to have a go at it!  I’ve got PLENTY of old family photos and it will be fun to share a few here along with their history, maybe not every week, but as often as I can.  The Sepia Saturday creator gives a few weeks out in advance, so I might actually be able to keep up.  Today’s theme is weddings.

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First up is I think the oldest wedding I have a photo of, that of my great-great grandmother and great-great grandfather, Jessie Battin and Alfred Powis.  They were married 19 Feb 1891 in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, USA.  They both came to PA from England and ended up staying in the same house their married lives.  I haven’t been able to find out much about the photographer, but I was told that the skirt of her dress was green velvet which is a neat little detail and far from the traditional white wedding gown that’s typically worn today.  Other neat things to note are the hole in Alfred’s shoe and his IOOF pin on his vest as well as the fact that his pants are some sort of plaid print while his jacket is pinstriped.  That iconic mustache stayed with him his whole life and I don’t have a single photo of him with a clean shaven face.

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Next up is Jessie’s sister, Mary Jane’s marriage to John Samuel Creber.  Dave Creber provided a wonderful detail of the people in the photo, so I’m going to copy that in here.  The couple eventually moved to Canada but Mary Jane kept in close contact with her sister still in England as well as the other two in Pennsylvania, USA.  Many thanks to Dave Creber for helping to fill in these precious details!

Photo is wedding of John Samuel Creber and Mary Jane Battin (14 June 1898, St. Michael’s, Lawhitton, Cornwall, England). Others in the photo are (l to r): Kate Battin, Laura Rallison (Emma Emily Battin’s daughter), George Battin, John Samuel Creber, Mary Jane Battin, Bess Battin and Emily Creber (sister of John Samuel). Man sitting on the ground is Theophilus George Creber, brother of John Samuel Creber.

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Here we have Bessie Melita Creber’s marriage to Alfred Norman Harris on 18 June 1927 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  Bessie is a child of John Samuel Creber and Mary Jane Battin.  In the photo, Bessie is standing between her father and her new husband with her brother Alfred on the far right, and her sister Mary Victoria third from the left.  I’m not sure who the other two men are on the left nor do I know who the child is in the center.  Interesting to see such a short dress, but elaborate bouquet and veil.

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My final wedding photo is of Alfred George Battin Creber’s wedding to Ruby Winnifred Esther Watson on 27 Dec 1930 also in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The date explains the indoor photo, I guess.  Alfred, as mentioned above, is Bessie Melita’s brother (both are my great grandmother’s cousins), and is in the back on the left.  Ruby is front and center, but I don’t know who the other two ladies or the man on the right are.  The indoor photo explains the slower shutter speed and motion blur, but you still get a pretty good idea about the flowers, dresses, and veils and hats.  Those hats really are something spectacular.

I’m keeping my first Sepia Saturday short and sweet, since I really just wanted to share these neat photos and how they relate to one another.  I just have SO many photos, and it’s almost a shame to keep these really incredible family photos all to myself.  I’m hoping to continue posting with the weekly theme, and hey, maybe it will help me connect to living descendants of the people in these old photos.

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Great Grandma’s Photo Album

This was another find from grandpa’s house, and times like these are when I’m SO SO SO glad he kept everything.  This is the photo album of Olga (Powis) Kitko (b. 27 Aug 1900, d. 29 July 1987) who lived in Clearfield County, PA.  She’s my great grandmother, and I know I’ve blogged about her before on here, but just in case you’re new, that’s her.  My grandpa was her son, born to Olga and Joseph Kitko (b. 9 Dec 1905 in Madera, PA and d. 11 Oct 1978 in Xenia Ohio)  in 1933.  Joseph skipped town shortly after and went to Ohio, leaving my great grandma with a young child and a lot of anger.  I’m not here to get into the drama and personal background, but it helps to support the rest of the story.  As a genealogist, my main focus is on the facts, trying to stay as far away from the personal drama that surrounds them – what happened, happened, and I can’t change it now, so getting upset and dwelling on it does no one any good.  The facts are that Joseph left, moved to Ohio, remarried twice.  My great grandma was reportedly very angry, and I’m told she tore up every photo of him that she ever had (there are a few spots in the album were photos were obviously torn from the pages).  I think I *may* have a few existing photos of him in this album, but no way to confirm that since none of the photos are labelled.  The album itself has a paperboard cover and is tied together with a string.  The pages feel basically like black, heavyish construction paper, and the photos are all glued to the pages, 33 sides filled with a bunch of blanks at the back.  This drives me absolutely crazy and brings me to a conundrum.  Salvage the pictures from the album or leave the album intact as a unit?  Which is best for preservation of this neat little album?  Thoughts?  Anyway, on to the photos! albumcover page1 On this page, top left, looks to be a photo of the Creber family, perhaps on a visit to their home.  Olga’s aunt Mary Jane Battin married John Samuel Creber and moved from England to Canada.  Top right is what looks to be Olga’s Aunt Kate Battin and George Thomas Rowe who stayed in England.  Bottom right is Olga Powis.  Bottom Left is a really neat photo since it lifted out of the album fairly easily and had something written on the back.  Written on the back is, “Left to right, Anna Shranko, Goldie Powis, Helen Somerville, Kathleen Troland, and Mary Shranko. The Shranko sisters are from Osceola Mills, PA. Four Budds and one bloom from Williamsport, PA. Taken May 15, 1932”  Goldie (Patchin) Powis was Olga’s oldest brother’s wife.  Alfred Herbert Powis died relatively young, allegedly of an illness he brought back with him from WWI.  They had one child together who died in infancy.  After “Herb” died, Goldie never remarried, but apparently remained close friends with Olga and the family.  Three of the ladies, Mary, Helen, and Kathleen, show up on the 1930 census living in Williamsport, PA together with Bertha Johnson.  All the ladies were employed in various jobs from Machine Operator at a Rubber Factory to Sales Lady at a Five & Ten, and Stenographer, and in their early twenties.  Pretty neat to see industrious gals striking out on their own! page2 Yet another page – I picked out two of my favorites just to show you what kind of stuff is in here.  Top L to R: Olga Powis on the left and a friend, Olga Powis on the left and a friend, unknown woman in a car, Olga Powis on the right and a man who I believe to be Joseph Kitko.  That same car appears in other photos that are labelled as, “Me and Joe’s Car,” so I have to believe that at some point, “Me and Joe,” were standing in front of that car, the me here being Olga.  On the bottom row L to R, unknown woman and Olga (in front of Joe’s car, this photo is duplicated and appears in the collection of loose photos as well), unknown woman in front of a car, and a photo that I believe is of Joseph Kitko and his son Leon (my grandpa).  This is the same man as the above far right photo, but there’s no label to prove my hunch.

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Finally, we have just this single photo which was the only one on its page, and the glue had pretty well loosened so that it was falling out of the album.  In the back standing up is Olga Powis who was a teacher briefly at a local school in Rosebud, PA.  The date on the chalkboard up front is 1919 which means she would’ve been 19 when this was taken.  Check out the boy in the front right with the hole in his stockings!  I really REALLY love these old school photos and need to put together a separate post on them some day.

The lesson I’m taking away from all this work with old photos?  LABEL YOUR PHOTOS.  Label them, all of them, use acid-free/lignin-free storage methods and use a pencil to label.  You just never know who might be looking at them 100 years later wondering who’s in that photo.

Blain City Band

We had a trip out to western Pennsylvania to visit my grandma this past weekend and I got a chance to scan in some more of the old photos from that trunk.  Grandma graciously offered the trunk to take with me since it’s my (and my father’s) family history in there (she’s technically a step-grandmother via dad’s father, but I’ve known her my whole life as grandma), and so it came home.  Since there’s been some blog silence, I figured I should get something posted in here and thought this would be a fun photo to add.  We know, from the obituary, that Alfred Herbert Powis played in this band, and if the photo was taken around 1917 as is indicated by the writing on the back added probably in the 1970s by Olga (Powis) Kitko, he would be the trumpet player in the front, with the bearded full-face mask.  I don’t know who the rest of the people in the photo are, but they’re residents in or around Blain City, Pennsylvania.

The front and the back of the photo are below – click to enlarge and open in flickr.

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Harry Battin

Going back to the Red Velvet Victorian Photo Album that I posted a while back, I think I finally made a wee little bit of headway on the identity of two of the photos.  I decided to see if there were any military enthusiasts out on the web that dealt with the British army around about 1890.  I was running under the assumption that the album was put together between about 1885 and 1900, based on some of the other photos that I can identify.  Wouldn’t you know it, there’s a niche for everyone on the internet, and I ended up finding a site on Victorian Wars.  My original posting and the replies are here in case you wanted to see.  I was able to locate the service record for Harry Battin and it matched up perfectly with two of my photos which appear to be the same man!  The folks in the forum and their knowledge is invaluable – they’ve helped me figure out these two and another photo and provided SO much information about the Army during that time.  They’re really something special!

Harry Battin enlisted with the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry on 1 October 1892.  Harry is Jessie Battin’s brother, Jessie being my 2nd Great Grandmother.  He lists his next of kin as his oldes brother, Alfred Battin.  He was born in Lawhitton, Cornwall on 10 Oct 1871.  On his record, it lists that he served in two campaigns, the North West Frontier of India 1897-98 and Tirah 1897-98.  He was transferred to the reserve on 10 July 1903, and discharged on 30 September 1904.  In 1905, he married Sarah Ann Maunder and had three children as of the 1911 census – Ivy, William Henry, and Alfred John.  In the 1911 England Census, he lists his occupation as, “Horse man on Farm,” and is living back in Lawhitton.  He died in 1951, but I don’t have much information on his death.  The last name is spelled either Battin or Batten.  On his service record, it’s Battin and on the 1911 census, it’s Batten.

This one was probably taken between 1892 and 1894.  His service record lists him as home (meaning anywhere in the UK) during 1 Oct 1892 through 31 Jan 1894.  I haven’t been able to find much on the photographer stamped on the back of the photo, but it’s on my to-do list.

This photo was probably taken later, as the folks on the forum suggested.  He’s posing with his foreign service white helmet which would mean that the photo was probably taken in India.  Taking that to his service record, he was in India from 1 Feb 1894 to 21 December 1900.  It’s a broader time span, but he had enough time to get his Good Conduct Badge (the stripe on his left sleeve, near the cuff).  There are no good identifying marks on the back to help me figure out who took the photo and when – the numbers are likely identifiers by the photographer to figure out who the photo belonged to (index numbers of some sort?).

Anyway, that’s my latest big discovery on the album identification process.  Again, I wanted to express my thanks to the VictorianWars.com forum members for being SO helpful!

Coal Miners on the way home

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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!