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! 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! 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.
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.