Category: <span>Sepia Saturday</span>

Sepia Saturday 343-c

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Yet another week of Sepia Saturday on the same theme, “Work and Play,” so for this week, I have a series of photos of my grandfather, Leon Kitko.  Leon was born in 1933, so he’s probably somewhere around 2 years old in this photo, or maybe just shy of 2 – he was born in March of 1933, so if this was taken late summer, he’d probably just be walking which looks about right.  I’m not quite sure where this fits into the theme, whether it’s work or play since I can’t quite tell what Leon is holding.  It may be a brush as if they had set the child to work to wash the car, or a toy, or just a random piece of metal.. it’s hard to tell.  The back of the photos say, “L J Kitko on Dad’s Truck,” and I know that truck shows up in a lot of photos, so it’s something his father, Joseph Kitko, was rather proud of.  Even if these weren’t labelled, I’d probably be able to tell that was my grandfather just from the child’s face – the eyes and cheeks are features I’d be able to recognize at any age!  It’s great to have all three photos taken in succession like this – usually we pick out the best photo and toss the rest – and to have all three together is a real treasure!


Sepia Saturday 343-b


Another one on the “Play” part of our Work and Play theme for this month – a little late, but better late than never, right?  I know I posted a class photo from Doede Jaarsma’s technical school before (here), so this is likely the same class on a day trip to one of the islands off the northern coast of Holland.  The back of the photo simply says, “Day Trip, Douglas,” so that helps narrow down who at least.  In this photo, I believe Douglas (Doede) is in the next to last row, second in from the left, sitting next to the older gentleman who is likely their chaperone or teacher.  They’re sitting on what appears to be a beach dune in front of some sort of observation tower or lighthouse,  and if I were a betting woman, I’d bet it was the North Tower on Schiermonnikoog because it looks a lot like it, though the extra tower behind the lighthouse is gone now.  I actually found another old photo on Flickr showing the tower, so I’m pretty sure I have my location!  Doede was born in 1911, so if he’s about 13 in this photo, it was taken in the mid 1920s.  Neat to have finally figured out the location, and it’s probably a safe bet that the boys in that photo were enjoying a good bit of play on the beach on their day trip away from school.

EDIT: There’s actually a great image here showing the extra side tower.


Sepia Saturday 343-a


Another edition  of our monthly theme starts this week, focusing on, “Work and Play.”  We’re allowed a good bit of leeway with the theme and prompt image so, since I have nothing at all in my collection like the prompt photo, I went with “Play” to start and found a good reason to share this silly one of my husband’s grandfather, Douglas (Doede) Jaarsma.  The back of the photo says, “Douglas and the Ducks,” and you can see him sitting on a toy spring duck with quite the grin on his face.  The photo print date says March 1973, but I’d guess this was taken the previous summer and developed later since the trees are much too leafy for March!  I’m not sure of the location either, but it was probably in New Jersey.  The photo was taken when he was 62 years old, proving you’re never too old for being a little silly!


Sepia Saturday 342-d


For our final choose-your-own-theme Sepia Saturday under the 342 prompt, I’m selecting this photo to coincide with what would’ve been their anniversary this past week.  In this photo are pictured Romayne Louella Greenaway and Leon Joseph Kitko in a photo taken around their wedding date  which was 24 August 1963.  This was Leon’s second marriage, so while Romayne wasn’t a biological grandma, she was married to Leon long before I was born and she had always been my grandma.  I found these photos in a trunk of old photos at their house after they both passed away.  From the photographer’s stamp, these were probably proofs, and I know there’s a larger photo that was hand colored in the house.  There’s something about this one that I love though – that stifled laugh on Leon’s face is one I remember seeing multiple times and makes me smile even just seeing the photo here now.  Short and sweet this week, and even though Romayne and Leon have both passed away, I’m glad to have this great photo to remember them by.


Sepia Saturday 342-c


For this week’s Sepia Saturday, again, we’re on our own to follow the prompt image for #342 or go off on our own.  I guess I’m sticking with my little personal theme of couples to explore some photos that may not have made it into a Sepia Saturday otherwise.  Above is a photo of Mr & Mrs IJselstein or Yselstein depending on how you spell the name.  The Dutch “IJ” is more commonly spelled with a “Y” in English, but it’s not *really* a Y in pronunciation – it’s more like an “ay” as in “day.”  This couple, identified only by their surname, was photographed, probably in Uithuizen in Holland in the 1930s.  Assuming they’re about 70 years old, their presumed birthdate is 1860, +-10 years or more though.  Without first names and some more background, it’s hard to be sure exactly who they are!  I know that the IJselstein surname doesn’t appear in my husband’s tree, so I don’t think these were related, but they likely knew my husband’s grandmother who lived in Uithuizen.  There’s something about the framing of this photo that I love – the way the man is sitting in the chair which I’ll bet he sat in every day and had regular chats with people who passed by.  The dog, looking right at the camera while the woman holds his leash.

This was on a page with two other photos – one of Hilda Dijkema in a garden captioned, “Lunteren, Hilly,” and another of a family with a caption, “van Beek Fam.”  Sometimes placement of the photos in an album helps tell the story, but I still can’t be sure where the photo was taken – it could’ve been while Hilda was in Lunteren (for what I’m not sure, though I suspect it has something to do with the tuberculosis sanatorium Sonnevanck where she was treated in the late 1930s) and not in Uithuizen.  Still, it’s a really great photo of a married couple though I wish I knew more about it!


Sepia Saturday 342-b


For this week’s Sepia Saturday, we’re on our own to either follow the August prompt image or a different path.  I’ve finally been able to clear up a few things regarding my great-grandfather’s history, so I figured this would be a great week to publish all of that finally.  Above is a scan of a page from great-grandma Olga (Powis) Kitko’s photo album.  The photos are mounted on what feels like black construction paper and bound into an album.  Most of the pages at the end are blank and the album seems to cover her late teens through early 30s.  It ends abruptly after the birth of her son in 1933.

Joseph J Kitko was the son of Andrej “Andrew” Kitko and Theresa Pnakovich, born 9 December 1905 in Madera, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, the second  of six children.  Both Andrew and Theresa arrived in the USA from Slovakia, and I’m told by a family member who knew them that the marriage was arranged.  Theresa’s brother met Andrew and suggested that Andrew marry his sister, so Theresa came over from Slovakia without ever having met Andrew.  They were married on 6 May 1900 in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania.

At some point in the late 1920s or early 1930s, Joseph got together with my great-grandmother, Olga Powis.  I haven’t been able to find their marriage certificate in the county they were from, nor was there a certificate in any of the neighboring counties.  If they ran off to another, far away county or another state, I haven’t stumbled across it and the surname is uncommon enough, that if it was indexed online, it would’ve popped up by now!  I can’t be sure they were even married since common-law marriages were legal in Pennsylvania at that time, so it’s entirely possible that they got together and started living together as husband and wife without actually having been married.  On 20 March 1933, my grandpa Leon was born.  Shortly after his birth, I think before grandpa Leon was 3, Joseph left.  The circumstances of his departure and whatever happened is likely lost to time, but there was obviously a great deal of upset over the events since I’m told Olga ripped up every photo of Joseph.  Well, lo and behold, she did not.  In that album page  above, there are two photos of Joseph that a living family member who was close to Joseph was able to identify as him!

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On the left is Joseph Kitko with Olga Powis, likely just before they were married (or not married?).  On the right is Joseph with his son, Leon.  All those years of thinking I’d never see a photo of my great-grandfather, and there he is!

Olga was granted a divorce  on 28 December 1946 since PA law allows for divorces after a certain time if the spouse doesn’t respond to repeated summons or can’t be found.  Joseph had moved on and married (or possibly not married again?) twice after Olga.  Again, without having been there to hear both sides during whatever happened, I can’t assign blame or fault – I have no personal stake in whatever caused them to split and Joseph to leave, just a genealogical curiosity about the facts I can prove.  I know there was a brief time Joseph spent in California between 1945 and 1947, but other than that, he spent the remainder of his life in Ohio.

Joseph died on 11 October 1978 in Xenia, Ohio.  There’s a lot more to Joseph’s story, but I guess I’m still close enough to this in terms of time that I feel a little odd airing someone else’s dirty laundry!  It’s rather satisfying to have all of this information now, especially since I had thought it was lost to closely guarded family secrets that had  gone to the grave with their keepers.  Just to reiterate, I’m not assigning blame or pointing fingers – what happened, happened, and I have no desire to continue whatever fight, hurt feelings, or what have you that I wasn’t even alive to see.  It’s more so that I want some sort of connection to this side of the family since it always felt a little at arm’s length – even though we shared the same surname, it just wasn’t something we talked about, however there are people who are willing to talk openly about everything and I’m grateful for the time they take to share stories that bring a person’s history to life.  I’m glad to have these two photos as a connection to a man I never knew, and am glad the photos are still here!


Sepia Saturday 342-a

Fylstra-MeyerOur Sepia Saturday format has changed a little for the month of August.  Instead of one image per week, we have one image for the whole month and are welcomed to post as much or as little as we like during the month.  It feels a bit odd for me to use one image as the source of inspiration for the whole entire month, so I think I’m going to go on-theme for the first post and then choose photos off-theme  for the other three weeks.  Our prompt image is a lovely, billowy wedding photo, and of course I have more than one wedding photo, but this one felt right to include this week.  My photo here is of the marriage of Garret Fylstra and Gertrude Meyer on 31 March 1926 in Paterson, New Jersey.  They were married by the Rev James Holwerda at the Christian Reformed Church of Midland Park, New Jersey.  Our happy couple is on the left side of the image while their two witnesses, James de Waal Malefyt and Jessie Meyer on the right.  Jessie is Gertrude’s sister and James married Jessie and Gertrude’s cousin not even a year prior.  To make things a little more complicated, their cousin was also their step sibling since after Jessie and Gertrude’s mother died, their father married their mother’s sister who had also just lost her spouse.  It makes for an interesting and complicated family tree but wasn’t something completely unheard of during that time.

Gertrude is my husband’s grandmother, and she lived to age 93,  passing away on 4 November 1996.  She outlived her husband  by almost 30 years, and they had 9 children together, two of whom didn’t live past infancy.  My photo may not be quite as billowy and romantic as our prompt image, but it’s a pretty wedding nonetheless!


Sepia Saturday 341


This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt featured a group of people touring a cavern in England.  Well, here I have my grandpa, Leon Kitko, grandson of immigrants from England, who, having made his own canoe out of salvaged parts, is taking a tour of a reservoir somewhere in Central-Western Pennsylvania.  I’m told he was rather pleased with himself for having made the canoe all on his own.


As you can see, he even figured out the rudder and motor all by himself too, and judging by the grin on his face, was having a great time puttering around with this canoe!  I think you can see better in this photo how the canoe wasn’t all one piece originally and that it’s a variety of different pieces of metal welded together to make the final form.  It wasn’t very pretty, but clearly, it worked!