I had a bit of an internal struggle with this week’s theme. I do have recorded evidence of minor law-breakers (busted for “illegal barbering” and running a still) on one branch of my tree, but decided against posting those photos since they weren’t mugshots and might be considered a little bit insensitive to living family members. I personally think history is history and it’s no big deal, but best not to make waves, right? Instead, I turn back to my husband’s Dutch family for a great ID photo. Please pardon the quality – I shot these with my cellphone camera and didn’t get the chance to scan the actual document!
Sepia Saturday 239: Postcards, proverbs, mischievous women
I’m going with two postcards and one non-postcard to make this post today since two postcards fit into the theme of postcards (even though I can’t be sure if any of those women were mischievous) and the third image helps support the history behind this particular family.
The first postcard is a postcardized photo which seemed to have been a common treatment for that time period. The little stamp box in the top corner helps date photos, and there’s a handy dandy guide I use here. That particular stamp box means 1904-1918 or so which is where I’d guess it as well. The pencil was written on by Mary E Harris, daughter of Alfred John Harris and Hannah Alma Gertrude Davies. Hannah and Alfred were born in England (Hannah in Wales, Alfred in Devon not far from where Jessie’s family was from) and came to the USA to settle down in Pennsylvania, near where my great-great grandparents Alfred Powis and Jessie Battin lived. They had some things in common with coming from England to PA, so I’m sure they got along well, and judging by the number of photos we have for them, it’s pretty clear they kept in touch over the years. The postcard says,
This is all most of family. Besure and let us know if you are coming down on Wed – Mary
The pen was added on by my great grandmother, Olga (Powis) Kitko much later in life. It seemed that she went through the trunk of photos at some point in an attempt to identify who’s who before she passed away. Uncle seems to be a honorary title for “Alf” and doesn’t denote any blood relation as far as I can tell. There is some Harris up further on Jessie’s line, but I haven’t been able to make a connection yet. Blandburg refers to a small town in Cambria county, Pennsylvania. Alfred and Hannah are seated in the middle, and I believe Mary is seated on the far right holding a baby who is likely Merle Harris Wagner, Born 1910, fitting right into the date range from the stamp box. No postage though!
This is a much more stiff and formal portrait of just Hannah, Alfred, and their children. The stamp box seems to be the same as the prior one, so I’d put this closer to the 1918 mark. The back says,
A merry xmas from all, Hannah.
On the front, written in pencil along the left side is, “13 Harris,” perhaps a photographer’s mark indicating 13 people in the photo for the Harris family. Possibly some sort of travelling photographer. I don’t quite know who’s who, but the children’s’ names were George, Alfred J, Thomas D, William D, John Daniel, Anna Mae, Mary E, David James, Luther, Edward, and Charles D (in age order, oldest to youngest). The youngest child was born in 1898 which would make him somewhere around 18-21 when this photo was taken which looks about right if we guess that the youngest is on the far left. Mary is, I’m pretty sure, seated on the far right.
One final, not a postcard photo of the family again with their very own band! I haven’t been able to find a mention of the band in any of the newspapers local to that area, but searching for a common surname like “Harris” makes it a little difficult. There’s no mention of the band in either Hannah or Alfred’s obituary, and it looks like this was taken earlier than the other two photos, maybe around 1902 or so. Still, what an incredible thing for a family to do, have their own band! It’s clear these folks kept in contact for a long time and there are plenty more photos of this family in the collection I have.
Sepia Saturday 238: Signs, big signs, small signs, men with their hands in their pockets
I had quite a few ways to go with this one, but decided to go with a few from my husband’s family. His genealogy nearly all traces back to the Netherlands, so there are some really neat photos from his family that I absolutely love, with a great history and tons of stories from living descendants.
First up, a photo of my husband’s paternal grandfather, Doede “Douglas” Jaarsma (b. 22 Apr 1911 Tjerkgaast, Friesland, Netherlands, d. 12 Feb 1995, Haledon, Passaic, New Jersey, USA) in front of the shop where he worked after arriving in the USA. They arrived by boat in 1951 with their three children, including my husband’s father. From the sign, I think “Aukema” is Art Aukema who is related through Douglas’ sister, Grace (Getje) who married an Aukema. I’m pretty sure the building for “Sussex Welding” doesn’t exist anymore since that’s the area I grew up in and I can’t remember seeing it ever. The photo was probably taken about 1953 or thereabouts.
Sepia Saturday 235: Greetings and Handshakes, Pipes and Politicians
This Sepia Saturday was a tough theme for me – Greetings and handshakes, pipes and politicians. In the hundreds upon hundreds of photos I have, I have none of politicians or handshakes/greetings. Not a single one! I did manage to find two with pipes though, so I’ll share those here especially since the one has intrigued me for a long time. I’m really trying to keep the Sepia Saturday posts about family photos, so here’s my best shot!
This photo came out of the Red Velvet Victorian Photo Album. It was on a page with a photo of what looks like a town street. There’s no photographer identification on the back or front, and both images are well faded which may make them earlier photos. I can date a number of the album photos to around 1880-1910 which helps a little with a date range. This cabinet card in particular is likely on the earlier spectrum because it’s on plain card (a hallmark of earlier photos), but the clothing and scene give us no good hints as to a date. I threw this into a genealogy discussion board at one point and folks in England said it may have been a Christmas play or pantomime or something along those lines. Everyone seems to be in costume, and there’s a gentleman standing to the far right who may be a director. The greenery around the building entrance is mostly dead which would make it fall or winter. My great-great grandmother came from Cornwall, so it’s likely this was from around that area. None of the people in the photo match any other photos in the album, so I doubt they’re related, but it’s still interesting, and my great-great grandmother saw it fit to include in the album so it has to be somewhat important. In fitting the theme, the seated gentleman in the fur coat is holding a wine glass and a pipe! If you happen to be able to identify what’s going on here, or where this may have been taken, please leave a comment!