I definitely went old school genealogy this week and like back in the day, it worked! I’m still heavily researching my Duer lines and after meeting someone from Trumbull County, Ohio at a local genealogy meeting a few months ago, decided I should join from afar, the Trumbull County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogy Society.
On Tuesday I received the first newsletter in the mail and I was listed on the first page, along with other new members. In the back of the newsletter was a list of surnames that members were researching. No one was looking for Byrds and Duers but there were several who were researching Morrisons.
Now Morrison is way too common of a last name so I wasn’t counting on finding much for John and Eleanor (Jackson) Morrison but leaving no stone unturned, promptly emailed two of the three individuals listed. I’m going to have to go really primitive with the third person – no email address was provided but there was an address and a snail mail letter has to be sent.
I received email responses within hours and both were researching the same line! Serendipitously, one individual lives very close to me and mentioned th
at she recognized my name as she has followed my online trees for some time. It definitely is a small world! The other individual was a descendant of my Jane Morrison’s sister, Nancy, and she provided me information I previously did not have. I was not aware that Nancy had remarried after her first husband’s death which explains why I did not have a death date for her.
I don’t often blindly send emails anymore so I’m really glad I used this approach. Give it a try!
Do you have Irish roots? If so, you need to know about a wonderful document that was released last month. The List of Church of Ireland Parish Register that was once an in-house document compiled by the Public Records Office of Ireland is now updated and available to the general public for free.
I especially love the “Comment” section, key and the color coding which makes finding what you need and where it’s located easier. This 96 page pdf may be just what you need to discover your Irish lines’ baptism, marriage and burial records. ádh mór!
Found an interesting article in the The Guardian that discusses a fascinating way that a researcher discovered William Shakespeare’s relationship to his father. Read Sherlock Holmes of the Library Cracks Shakespeare’s Identity for a unique genealogical toolbox idea.
I’ve blogged often about my mysterious Duer family who left scarce records behind. Last Saturday I attended a local genealogy workshop hosted by Thomas MacEntee. While he was in Chicago and we were in Florida, my serendipitous encounter happened regarding Trumbull County, Ohio.
About once a month since August, out of the blue, some small item shows up which gives me a clearer picture of the family. The first weird event occurred in August when I made a call to a reluctant Trumbull County Clerk asking for help in locating cemetery records. When she told me I wasn’t going to find anything she actually meant she wasn’t going to look, as access to the original books were restricted to the general public. I told her the connections I’ve made on this line and how family history has seemed to repeat (see my blog Circular Migration Patterns – How History Repeats Itself). She was hooked and agreed to try to find the cemetery records, though she warned me I might not hear back for weeks. I laughed and told her I bet she turns to the exact page I needed. Ten minutes later she called to say my prediction was correct and she was spooked! Unable to place the book on the copy machine which was down, the clerk used her smart phone to take pictures of the page and then texted them to me.
During the hurricanes in September, I tried to locate a deed from 1805. Another Trumbull County employee told me that they were no longer available. I told her a little about the family and within an hour, I was on the phone with a retired genealogist who used to be president of the local history society. When the employee had called her with the name I was searching, Thomas Duer, the genealogist said, “Oh, I must speak with this woman as Thomas almost killed me once.” She explained that his tombstone had toppled and she had tripped over it during a cemetery cleanup several years ago. She had a photo of the stone that I had been searching for but her computer died and she had no backup. With a large personal library, she looked up the Duers and Byrds in every resource she had. That’s when I discovered that Thomas’ family had been left out of his father John’s will.
In October, I discovered who was Hazen, who had been named in John’s will. I had tried to find a newspaper obituary the previous month for him but they weren’t available. By the end of October, they were. Turned out Hazen was a grandson of John’s, the son of one of John’s deceased daughters. As I pondered why one grandson was named and not others who were descended from deceased son Thomas, I hoped for another wonderful find.
That discovery arrived unexpectedly right before Thanksgiving when I checked an unsourced tree on MyHeritage. Thomas’ wife, Hannah, was named as the wife of John Preston. Using FamilySearch, I found the marriage record; the reason I had never found it before was because Hannah’s married last name, Duer, had been indexed as Dure. That was odd as I originally had the surname as Dure from information I had received from a second cousin in the 1990’s. I only discovered the Duer name in 2010 when a family researcher contacted me via email. I was never able to find out how he connected with me as he died a few weeks after we began corresponding. But back to Hannah, she and John Preston had married just a few months after her first husband’s father-in-law had died and she and her children had been left out of the will.
I didn’t research much in December due to the holidays. My last words to my husband as I left for the genealogy meeting last Saturday were in jest; I hoped I make another awesome Duer find. The workshop was on finding the living so I really didn’t expect it to be useful for my Duer’s as the family relocated by 1860.
I arrived early to the meeting because I knew traffic would be fierce with the college championship games being held in the city. The parking garage line was long and when I finally got up to the ticket machine, it was empty. There was a line of cars behind me so I couldn’t back out but I couldn’t go forward, either, as the gate was down. I got out of the car and told the woman behind me I’d call security. Like the old fashion game of telephone, the message was passed from car to car.
Soon security arrived with tickets but the machine had jammed and then the gate was stuck. By now, it was pouring down rain as a cold front was coming through. I considered going home. A few minutes later the gate was open and I had a parking space. Because of the strong wind, I decided to just run into the auditorium as the umbrella would have been useless.
Dripping wet, I signed in and found a seat as the attendees were having a discussion about their brick walls. I wasn’t really paying attention when I caught the words of the woman in front of me “where do I look for divorce records?” No one replied so I asked in what location. “Ohio,” she said. I asked if she had used the Wiki on FamilySearch as I had found divorce records in several Ohio counties through the Common Plea records. She thanked me and another attendee asked a question. I went back to looking at my emails on my phone when a gentleman came up to me and asked where I was researching in Ohio. I told him Trumbull and Mercer Counties for my Duers. He said, “I was born and raised in Trumbull County.” My heart started thumping. “Oh my goodness,” I thought, “I was just kidding this morning when I said I hoped to find some Duer info.” We exchanged email addresses and yes, he also has a personal library of Trumbull County information which he has graciously shared with me in the past week. He also volunteered to have a friend of his go to the cemetery and take a picture of Thomas’ grave as soon as the snow melts. I’m hoping that’s my March Miracle!
This gentleman also explained to me why most of the records are not available. Several years ago there was a sewage leak in the basement of the building where the records were housed and most were destroyed. I can add this disaster to my burned courthouses, gas explosions and ripped out pages!
So, on that blustery Saturday I discovered a living knowledgeable individual from the area I was researching at a workshop on finding living people. That turned out not to be one of the methods but it certainly worked for me!
Al give you a kiss if you help me break through this brick wall!
Yes, that is truly a dumb knock-knock joke but it makes me think of what I’d do if I was able to identify some folks by their given names.
Who’s Al? Is he Alvin, Albert, Alfie, Alexander, Alexa, Alfred or someone else entirely? Although Al typically is a male name, I’ve known a female that used it.
Why do we even use nicknames? Wickipedia states hypocoristic, a synonym of nickname, is an “affection between those in love or with a close emotional bond, compared with a term of endearment.”
I completely understand the use of endearments but nicknames cross over into the public realm and for genealogists, can be a nightmare! I speak for myself; Lori is my nickname. Why my parents didn’t place that name on my birth certificate I don’t understand. I asked! The response was, “I don’t know.” Geez. My formal name wasn’t a family name so there was no reason they couldn’t have. My mom said she was going to name me Patty, after her friend, but when I arrived I didn’t look like a Patty and my birth certificate name just came to her. Wonderful! She never could explain to me what a Patty looked like.
I seriously considered even getting my name legally changed a few years ago when government requirements tightened and I had difficulty proving who I was as none of my legal documents matched. Hubby goes by a nickname, too, but his official records all used the same name so he had no problem. He has successfully kept his nickname out of public records.
My problem began before I was out of diapers – my parents applied for a social security card for me using my nickname. I had no problem obtaining work (or paying social security all my working life!) under that name until 10 years ago when the laws changed for license renewal. To beat the system, I had to add “aka” on my bank accounts, mortgage and credit cards and place my birth certificate name on my official records. I’m so paranoid about being identified correctly that when I did my burial pre-planning a few months ago I made sure I included my given and nickname on the document. Problem was, my name is too long so I had to use whiteout and try again. Nothing like a genealogist messing up their own record!
Even though we took great pains to name our children so they wouldn’t have the nickname dilemma, nicknames are now back in vogue. Did you know there are online generators to help you select your own nickname? Who knew! Reasons for giving yourself a nickname are because you think your birth name is boring, there are too many people with your given name in your social group and you’re being confused, your name is too long or it’s difficult to pronounce. Some folks are even changing their names as they begin a new life experience. I can only imagine how much fun this will be for future genealogists to correctly identify individuals!
On the flip side, these sites could help you in figuring out the birth name of your brick wall person. Check these out if you’re stuck identifying someone in your family tree:
I had a free account with MyHeritage but I was never a subscriber until recently when a 50% discount offer was made for members of the National Genealogical Society. I believe the discount is now offered for a limited time to everyone – check it out here. I decided to give it a try and I immediately scaled a brick wall on my Duer line that I’ve recently been researching. Here’s how I did it…
I downloaded my gedcom from Ancestry.com to my home computer and then uploaded to MyHeritage. My tree is large so I received an email from MyHeritage once it had been loaded and was ready to go. The following day I went on the site and it was easy to upload a site photo (I used my Genealogy At Heart logo that I keep jpg’d in Dropbox and my Google+ pic, added a blurb about what my research interests are and what I’m currently investigating. I happened to write that my brick wall was to determine the link between John Duer and his purported son, Thomas. Thomas died in 1829 intestate and John, in 1831, with a will that omitted Thomas, understandably since he was deceased, but did not include any of Thomas’ children. That wouldn’t have been odd, however, John did include a grandson who lived out of the Trumbull County, Ohio area, who was the son of one of John’s deceased daughters. Why include a grandson that lived in another state and not the grandchildren that lived next door? Hmm.
I have researched probate, land and court records, cemetery records, tried to find Bible and church records, obituaries, collateral lines, biographies, area histories, and contacted area genealogical societies and libraries but found nothing. The census and tax lists just aren’t helpful since they do not show relationships that far back.
I put the research aside for a month but it’s been gnawing at me. I originally made the connection of John and Thomas through the work of Edgar Duer Whitley, a gentleman who had found me on the internet 6 years ago from a Rootsweb posting I had made in the early 2000’s. My tree proved lineage to Thomas but I couldn’t go farther back. His tree showed lineage to Thomas’ son John who had a daughter, Maria, that I’m descended from. Edgar emailed me and kindly sent me an electronic copy of all his years of sleuthing. He never had a citation, though, of how Thomas and John were related. Shortly after he emailed me he no longer responded to my emails. He was quite up in age and I figured he was deceased. Thus, I couldn’t know how he knew that Thomas was the son of John.
I would love to tell you that MyHeritage found the answer super quickly but that didn’t happen. I actually didn’t receive any Record or Smart Matches from them. I assume that’s because my uploaded tree is well sourced.
I decided to snoop around their Family Trees located under the Research category. I entered birth and death location and death year info for Thomas Duer. A number of trees popped up with displays similarly to Ancestry.com. I clicked on the first one and didn’t find anything exciting. The citations were all from Ancestry trees. Ugh!
Then things got interesting – I clicked on Thomas’ wife Hannah as the tree owner had her listed as Hannah Preston. I had her listed as Hannah Byrd. When I went to Hannah’s page I discovered that she had remarried to a James Preston in September 1831 in Trumbull County, Ohio. How had I missed that? Interestingly, here’s how the marriage license is written:
|“Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, Family Search (https://familysearch.org: 21 Nov 2016), Trumbull>Marriage licenses 1828-1839 vol 2>image 55 of 181; county courthouses, Ohio.|
Notice the right side records Hannah’s surname as “Dewer” but in the body of the text as “Duer.” The record is indexed by Dewer so I never found it. The tree owner had found it because he was descended from James Preston. Putting in “James Preston” in the FamilySearch.org search form would have brought it up.
How do I know that the Hannah Duer is the wife of Thomas. There was only one other Hannah Duer living in the country in 1831 and she was 10 years old, residing in Pennsylvania. My Hannah and James were both born in New Jersey in 1775. James’ first wife died in 1829 in childbirth with twins shortly after Hannah’s husband, Thomas, died. Both had young children in the home so it makes sense they would have blended their families.
I went back to Ancestry.com, Familysearch.org and Rootsweb’s World Connect Project, to see if other’s had this information. Nope! Only the one tree on MyHeritage. For me, this was definitely worth the price.
It looks like the marriage didn’t last long which could explain why no one else has the information on their trees. By 1840, James was living with the children from his first wife and Hannah was living with one of her children as the tick mark in the age category for a female most likely is for her. That age tick mark is lacking on James’ record. In 1850, the couple remained separated per the census records. Hannah’s tombstone notes her first husband’s name, Duer. James lies next to his first wife. It appears that this was a relationship that both sides wanted to forget. This could also explain why Hannah’s first husband’s purported father, John, omitted her from his will written in 1830. I’m now searching for a divorce record. This story just gets more interesting with every find! I’m very happy to have found this information that quickly with MyHeritage’s site. Once I’m done with my Duer’s I’ll be searching their site for other clues on additional lines. Happy Hunting!
I’ve been researching my Duer line lately with the idea that I’ll write a Kinship Determination from where my line begins, with Maria Duer, my great great grandmother, to my gateway ancestor, Thomas Stone Duer.
I’ve blogged previously about the serendipitous events and detailed how history repeats itself (see Circular Migration Patterns-How History RepeatsItself, 30 May 2015). After discovering the connection, I’ve become more determined to learn about the Duer Family.
Maria left some wonderful records, however, they initially led me to a wrong conclusion. Years ago, I had found her obituary through the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center Obituary Index but I couldn’t decipher it as it was in German and used Gothic script. Her daughter Emma’s death certificate stated Maria was born in Germany. The obit and the daughter’s death certificate led me to believe that Maria was of German descent. By just looking at the surface, those two records reinforced what I already knew about my father’s long line of German ancestry; I had Leininger, Bollenbacher, Kuhn, Kable, and Kettering surnames sprinkled everywhere in my tree and all of them were German immigrants. No surprise that Maria Duer would have also been German. How wrong I was!
Maria was born in Mahoning, Ohio on 2 September 1833. Adam Kuhn, Maria’s son with whom she resided at the time of her death and who was the neighbor of his sister, Emma, had served as Emma’s death certificate informant. It is understandable that Adam most likely identified himself with his father Henry Kuhn’s German heritage. German born Henry Kuhn was a prosperous citizen in Mercer County, Ohio and maintained a close connection with others who had immigrated from Germany. Henry and Maria had been married for 55 years so she, too, would have been known in the German community so her obituary in a German newspaper makes sense. After having the obituary translated, I learned that it never stated she was German but it did mention her German born husband. Daughter Emma died at age 50 after suffering long term physical abuse from her ex-husband of 25 years. Adam likely recalled his father’s birth place instead of his mother’s when he provided Emma’s death certificate information. In grief, he probably just made an error.
Census records, a second obituary in English, and a mug sheet entry all confirm Maria was born in Ohio and connect her to her parents, John and Mary Jane (Morrison) Duer. Maria Duer was once a brickwall ancestor but no longer! What a great lesson in making sure a reasonably exhaustive search was performed AND analysis of all the found records was done.
 “Maria Duer Kuhn,” obituary, Die Minter [Ohio] Post, 1 August 1913, page 1, col. 3.
 Ohio, Bureau of Vital Statistics, death certificate, “Emma Landfair,” number 12296 (stamped, 21 February 1914.
 1850 U.S. census, Killbuck, Holmes County, Ohio, population schedule, page 245 (handwritten) dwelling 557, family 572, Maria Duer; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 16 October 2016); citing NARA microfilm publications M432_696.
1860 U.S. census, Liberty, Mercer County, Ohio, population schedule, page 141 (handwritten), dwelling 1008, family 1013, Henry and Maria Coon Jr.; Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 16 October 2016); citing NARA microfilm publications M653_1009.
1870 U.S. census, Liberty, Mercer County, Ohio, population schedule, page 15 (handwritten) dwelling 55, family 58, Maria Kuhn; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 16 October 2016); citing NARA microfilm publications M593.
1880 U.S. census, Liberty, Mercer County, Ohio, population schedule, page 7 (handwritten) dwelling 55, family 58, Maria Kuhn; Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 16 October 2016); citing FHL microfilm 1255048; citing NARA microfilm publications T9_1048.
1900 U.S. census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, population schedule, sheet 9 (handwritten) dwelling141, family176, Meriah Kuhn; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 16 October 2016); citing NARA with no further information provided.
1910 U.S. census, Liberty, Mercer County, Ohio, population schedule, sheet 9 (handwritten) dwelling 320, family 278, Miria Kuhn; digital image Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 16 October 2016); citing NARA microfilm publication T624_1214.
Ohio, Department of Health Division of Vital Statistics, death certificate, “Maria Kuhn,” state file number 41826, 22 July 1913.
“Marie Kuhn,” The Grim Reaper, The Celina [Ohio] Democrat, 25 July 1913, page 1, col. 4.
Compilers, A Portrait and Biographical Record of Mercer and Van Wert Counties, Ohio (Chicago,IL: A. W. Bowen & Co., 1896) 400-401; digital image, Google Books (https://books.google.com: accessed 16 October 2016).
Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com on 9 Oct 2016.
October is Family History Month and if you’re a newbie planning on attending a local event to get some genealogical assistance, I’ve got some recommendations to make your experience a happy one:
- Bring what you know written down. Even better – bring how you know what you know! (Was it your parents who told you or did you find a record? It’s important to record where you got the information as you build your tree because trust me, before you know it you’ll have a lot of info and won’t remember where you got most of it!)
- Have a specific question you’d like answered in mind. Specific is not, “I want to know everything about my mom’s family.” Specific is, “I’d like to find out when my great grandmother Elizabeth Smithson died.”
- You probably have a lot of questions but rank them in order of your interest; it’s only fair as other people have questions, too, and are patiently waiting!
- Prepare yourself for not immediately finding an answer – very little is online so it might take a phone call, email, letter or a visit to discover the answer you seek. You might not ever find what your looking for, either. Today an attendee demanded of one of my colleagues that he find an obituary from 1877 in a rural area of Pennsylvania. Checked the largest town newspapers online but couldn’t find one. He had checked several databases (Chronicling America, Newspapers.com, GenealogyBank, Ancestry) so I recommended calling the local history center and asking what papers were in existence then. The woman was not happy and demanded that someone find the obituary immediately. We couldn’t give her what she wanted so she left in a huff.
- Remember to thank the researcher – they are volunteering their time and could be doing their own research instead of helping you with yours.
We had a nice turn out today at our county day and I met some incredibly wonderful folks with some very good questions and a few brick walls we were able to start tearing down. My three most memorable of the day involved:
- A woman in her 70’s who’s parents in their 90’s were still alive and all of them decided it was time to write the family history. They were having trouble starting because they wanted “to do it right.” HINT: There is no one way to do genealogy and that’s one of the major pluses for me! I showed several formats – Case Studies, Proof Arguments, Kinship Determinations, and several lineage forms. If you’re putting off writing because you don’t know where to begin just begin with whoever your favorite individual is. You can ascend or descend from there. I understand that footnotes/endnotes are a pain but citations are critical. How is anyone going to know where you found that document unless you write it down?! The lady today didn’t like the look of footnotes; I explained why they are often used over endnotes – people tend to not think the citation is important so they save paper by not copying them. I recommended that she use page numbers that say 1 of X so if someone does make a copy in the future they’d know they might be missing the endnotes. I think the family just needed reassurance that their work was not going to be up for a Pulitzer Prize. It’s okay if you aren’t an author; it’s not ok to let all that research go to waste by not communicating in the best way you are able to for the next generation.
- A lovely lady who wanted to know why her step-grandmother who she had never met was mean. What I loved about this woman was her matter of factness; she wasn’t emotional about the situation. Instead, she just wanted an explanation for why the older lady had been reportedly so miserable. I thought this was extremely interesting as most people don’t even fully research their blood relatives and here was someone who wanted to know about a step relative. I was able to find the woman’s death date in California and showed her the familysearch.org wiki so she can get further information about the many places out west the woman had lived. I also recommended she check out GoogleBooks and Hathi Trust for more information about events that were occurring at the time the grandma was residing in an area – like the dust bowl, for instance. I think that would have made me miserable! We were unable to find a marriage record or a death date for her grandfather but we did narrow down some cemeteries that she can contact to see if he is buried there. (Not on Find-a-grave, Billion Graves, etc.)
- A woman who brought in the earliest photoshopped photo I’ve ever seen! Seriously, don’t know who or when it was done but some family member took a photo taken circa 1872 of a couple seated holding a baby and cut a photo of another baby out and pasted it over the woman’s lap. It was done fairly well, too. Weirdest thing I’ve ever seen! The family was afraid to remove the glued on kid, understandably, so I recommended taking it to a professional photographic restorer. For someone who just deleted all of her photos from her phone in error, I’m clearly the wrong person for the job! But the photoshopping brings up lots of interesting questions – why did someone do this? What’s underneath? Who did that? Who’s the baby? I have a tentative hypothesis that the family will have to pursue but my theory is this: Eleven months after the immigrant couple wed in Newark, New Jersey a male unnamed baby was born. The baby died 2 weeks later; he had been named Henry in the death records. The couple had another baby the following year. I suspect they had the first picture taken holding the dead baby as they looked miserable. Not having the money to sit for another photograph they had a picture of their second child taken and then wishing they had taken a photo when she was younger, cut it out and placed it over the original photo. The couple had 5 children, one every year, and then the father died. The mother died 2 years after him. The youngest two children were raised in an orphanage. Using GenWeb I was able to find where the orphanage records are housed. There was a memorial on find-a-grave for the couple but not for the baby. I recommended calling the cemetery to see if he was buried in plot 1 as the father was buried in plot 2 and the mom in plot 3. Hmm…who else could have been in plot 1 but the baby with no stone because they couldn’t afford one? Only way to find the answer is to make a call!
Originally published on genealogyatheart.blogspot.com on 16 Jun 2016.
I’ve had a very strange week – genealogywise! It started with this recent family photo tree purchase:
I always wanted to place family photos on the wall in my office but I couldn’t decide which pictures to use or how to group them. I saw the photo tree concept online but the reviews weren’t good; some said it was difficult to put together and others complained it wouldn’t stay up on the wall. The trees were pricy, too, and I didn’t want to waste time and money on a product that would frustrate me.
A few weeks ago I found the tree pictured above offered through Books R Fun locally. The reasonable price and the easy directions worked for me! Within minutes I had the tree up and then it hit me – why not use couple photos. I could display more people that way and since my husband and I share an office, it would serve as a nice reminder of our many grandparents.
I didn’t think it was going to take me long to finish the project as I sort of knew which photos I would select. First problem I encountered was my photos were missing from Google Photos. I’ve blogged previously about how Google Picassa has morphed into Google Photos and I thought that I had successfully transferred all of them from one program to the other a few months ago. Evidently, most did not take. Please check if you did that, too, as it’s better to know now then when you need them.
No worries, I thought, I have them saved elsewhere. That’s when I realized the computer where I had saved them had bit the dust. I checked Dropbox; they weren’t there, either. I must have removed them when I reached the max allowable on my plan. They were on Ancestry.com but to have to go through the gallery to locate them would be time consuming. I have backups on cd but those were saved by family surnames and I would have had to keep flipping through the various cds to find what I wanted. I then remembered that I had installed Picassa on the desktop of an old laptop. Sure enough, there they all were! Since I had taken the time to place all the photos in albums it was a breeze to find what I was looking for quickly. I’m glad this happened now as I have since backed up the laptop pictures to 2 hard drives and again, to Google Photos. The $8.00 tree purchase saved me future grief!
Being a thrifty genealogist, I decided I wouldn’t print the photos to photographic paper until I had them perfect as most of the photos I selected didn’t fit easily into the frame size. I plan to make them real photos this weekend and add children of the couples to frames that will surround the tree.
As I was arranging and rearranging the photos on the tree itself I was startled to discover how much of a strong family resemblance my father-in-law had to his mother and grandmother! My husband bears a remarkable resemblance to his maternal grandfather who he never knew. I have seen these photos for most of my adult life; none were new to me. It wasn’t until I placed them in the tree that I noticed the similarities between individuals.
I’m not sure if it was because they were now almost all the same size, shape, and color, the angle on the wall or the proximity to each other. Looking at them from this perspective was nothing short of startling. I highly recommend trying this! You may discover things about your family in a completely different way.
When I looked at myself, however, I was stunned. I don’t look like anyone! I blurted out that I must have been adopted but hubby pointed out that I have the original birth certificate and that there are photos of me in my mother’s arms in the hospital shortly after I was born. Mom clearly looked like she had been through labor! I knew I had my mom’s eyes and figured my hair was just a blend of both of my parents – my dad’s blonde and my mom’s dark brown. Looking at the photos I realized I had my paternal grandmother’s hair, my maternal grandmother and great grandmother’s nose and my paternal grandfather’s chin. Okay, so my dna is all mixed up – I am a true red blooded American mutt!
The photos didn’t just unveil family similarities; they also showed up some commonalities uniting all sides. I always thought my preference for pearls was a result of watching Leave It To Beaver as a child and channeling June Cleaver! Nope, in just about every photo a female is wearing pearls. I shared this insight with my daughter who just happened to be wearing pearls. Nice to know that trait got passed along to another generation.
I also discovered that one of the great great grandpas was wearing some type of insignia. I never noticed it before and it’s another mystery to solve. Taking a look back at your old photos may just lead you to more amazing family discoveries.