Saturday, October 22, 2016

Sepia Saturday - From Here to There - Camels and Donkeys and Horses, Oh My!

Now that Dad's slides and the three magnetic photo albums in my possession are scanned (just found another one - sigh!), it is finally time to scan my paternal grandparents' album from their trip to the Near East in 1938.

It broke my heart to do it, but the album was in such awful condition with the pages literally breaking whenever they were touched, that I finally made the decision to dismantle it entirely. There's something a little soulless about a collection of loose photos, maps and mementos as opposed to an album that clearly took time to assemble. Unfortunately the makers of this album did not choose materials for the inside of the album with as much care as the beautiful maroon leather cover which my grandfather had embossed with the words "NEAR EAST'.

In 1938 he was Executive Secretary of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago and he and my grandmother went on a three month inspection tour of the Institute's expeditions; the Epigraphic Expedition at Luxor, Egypt, the Megiddo Expedition in Palestine, the Temple of Darius and Xerxes at Naksh-i Rustum near Persepolis in Iran and the Syrian Expedition at Allepo.

I have only just started scanning the photos from the album, and there are many more negatives which were not developed, but there are plenty of interesting photos mostly from Egypt that fit this theme.

"Guide who sang, "Yes, we have no bananas" on the way to Sakkarah.

"Dagmar with white camel"
Market Day, Luxor, Egypt

"Dagmar wading stream via horseback on way to Naksh-i Rustim, Iran.
Although I am entirely grateful to have these photos, I cannot wait until I have it in my budget to by a scanner that will digitize the large negatives from this trip. I also wish there were a photo of my grandmother on the camel on which she toured the Great Pyramids, but that happened late at night, so it isn't likely.

Next week I have more photos from this trip; cars, trains and ships

Don't forget to head on over to Sepia Saturday to see what others have posted.

A Wedding 50 Years Ago Today

My parents, Stephen David Matthews and Janet Isabella Smith, were married 50 years ago today at St. John the Divine Anglican Church in Thetford Mines, Quebec.


In addition to her veil, my mother wore a traditional gold Swedish wedding crown that belonged to one of my father's cousins. Traditionally, if the crown were to fall off of the bride's head it would be a sign that she was not "pure".

Sure enough, The Montreal Star didn't know what the crown was and dubbed it out of the photo. As you can see, my parents had some fun with that.

Even as a child I loved looking through their wedding photos and I can remember taking Mum's wedding dress out of storage when we visited my grandparents. Although their marriage ended in divorce after 13 years, I am of course grateful that they did marry and have a daughter. Whatever problems they had, I have very happy memories of those first 11 years of my life.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Dagmar Alice Viola Anderson - b. October 21, 1905

My paternal grandmother, Dagmar Alice Viola Anderson, was born on this day in 1905 in South Manchester, CT to Carl Johan Anderson and Mathilda Alfina Johnson. She was their third child and only girl.

Dagmar's brothers, Axel Heinrich Valdemar and Elmer Carl Ragnar, were born when the family lived in a house which they rented from their father's employer, as many of their workers did. By the time Dagmar was born, her parents had saved money to buy a parcel of land from Cheney Brothers and borrowed money from the bank to build their own multi-family home, with the family living on one side and boarders on the other.

On November 11th, 1905, Dagmar was baptized at Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Emmanuel Church.

Her baptismal certificate, beautiful but in horrible condition, was among the treasures we found in the "basement stash" last September. Soon I plan to see if a digital photo restorer can digitally stitch my scans of all the pieces together and recreate the missing sections to create a reproduction. Then I'll need to invest in an archival storage solution for the original.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Back to the Genealogy Do-Over: Month 5 - Citing Sources

With all the scanning and photo preservation I've been doing the past few months, other genealogy activities have taken a back seat. I finally purchased the Kindle version of Evidence Explained a couple of months ago (I already owned a hard copy of the previous edition) and this week I finally re-read Chapter 1 and read Chapter 2. Finally.

Now I am ready to start, one person at a time, citing documents like this birth announcement for my father that I found in the "basement stash" last September and putting those citations into my research logs and into my Evidentia software for evaluation. I've had that for over a year and have not put it to use yet.

Do you use Evidentia or another tool to help you evaluate your evidence?

P.S. Speaking of Elizabeth Shown Mills. If you are a Legacy webinar subscriber she recently did an unbelievable presentation "FAN+GPS+DNA" which I watched last night as "homework" for DearMYRTLE's Wacky Wednesday webinar of the same name in which DearMYRTLE and her panelists discuss Elizabeth Shown Mills' methodology. You can find that here (with registration which allows you to see comments) or on YouTube when it's up. If you aren't a Legacy webinar subscriber you can pay to watch just this seminar, but I recommend becoming a member. You get 24/7 access to webinars old & new from great presenters on a huge range of topics for about $50 per year. Cheap at twice the price!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Sepia Saturday - October 2016 Week 3 - From Here To There

The Sepia Saturday theme for this month is "From Here to There". I have some great photos for this theme in my collection, I probably could have posted for all five weeks if I weren't under the weather. This is a hastily prepared post, I'll admit, but if I continue to feel as well as I have over the past few days, I should be able to share them in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, I will share a few photos that are about not getting from here to there or when the going goes wrong.

These photos are from my grandfather's albums that are about 100 years old, when he was a teenager. They are labeled simply C.P.R. (Canadian Pacific Railway) Wreck. I haven't managed to find anything about this online, but perhaps if I ever make it to a Quebec archive....


Please be sure to visit Sepia Saturday to find the other participants' links and see what they've found to share on this theme.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Another Magnetic Album Emptied

Before I start with the details of this latest album rescued I want to let you know why my posts have been so sporadic lately and may be for a few more weeks. Over the past few months I have been having G.I. issues which have greatly escalated in the past few weeks.  Now it looks as though my gall bladder may have to be removed. So, nothing very serious but definitely disruptive and now if I disappear on and off, you'll know why.

When I first took a few photos out of this album about ten years ago, I wasn't even researching my family much less did I know anything about magnetic photo albums. I was making a little "slide show" for Mum's 70th birthday party. (I had no scanner then. Donald took photos of the photos with my digital camera, which I then hooked up to the TV for a digital slideshow.)

I had no idea that removing the photos from these albums was supposed to be so difficult, that after so many years I should find the photos and the pages had fused together. I had no idea because these photos had come out pretty easily as if the adhesive had dried out almost completely.

My mother has five or so of these albums, the other four are still at her place.

I was hoping to find information about these albums online (the bottom of the flap in the photo says "CHIYODA ALBUM", but no luck.

So, although I was still very careful in removing the photos, it was a much easier process than with the other albums. Of course, there is still something to be learned when you're dealing with old albums. This time it was - Expect The Unexpected. Because just when I thought I was really cruising through it all, I was confronted with this:

Four photos which, instead of being attached to the page, were attached to the plastic covering with tape! Why? Who knows? I was not able to get anywhere with the spatula or floss here. I just had to cut the plastic sheet around the tape and let that suffice.

There is also a large class university photo attached to the back cover. After scanning, I may try to cut around it with a craft knife or I may end up saving the whole cover, not sure yet.

I'm not sure now when I'll get to the other magnetic albums, but I do hope to post on other topics this week.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

More Lessons from My Magnetic Photo Album Rescue

This week's magnetic album was a bit more tricky than the last and I did cause some damage to a few photos by ignoring my own advice.

This album, according to the backs of the photos I removed, was put together by my mother in January of 1973. I should have known it was from the 70s - fake wood, it wasn't just for station wagons!

Where I had many photos of the same quality in the last album and all taken within two years, this time there were photos spanning at least forty years. The quality of the paper on which they were printed was also all over the map, only a few photos at the end were taken at the same occasion.

The other complication was the size. The pages were square and larger than the bed of my scanner. This was letting light in when I tried to scan the photos in-place. After scanning the first page and getting some awful results, I made the decision not to scan the photos in-place for this album unless there were no other way.

So, my first lesson was that if I wasn't going to scan first, I should have been a bit more careful in removing the photos. I have another larger copy of this photo but without the decorative edges. I love old photos like this but the paper was so very thin. I started with the micro spatula, then tried no-wax floss and got nowhere and then went back to the spatula. Just as I was saying to myself that I should stop because this photo was clearly fused to the page, I did some damage (lower left corner).

My next lesson was that glossy photos on thin paper may show marks from the micro spatula. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a clear picture of the photo to show you. Even though I was trying to keep the pressure from the spatula directed downward to the album page, I noticed that one photo I was working on was getting marked just from having the spatula pass underneath because the paper was very thin and it was firmly embedded in the adhesive. The digital scan didn't show the marks, thank goodness, but it is something to be aware of.

The last thing I learned with this album is that sometimes you just have to make a judgement call depending on your personal goals.

I'm fortunate to have photographs of my grandfather in wartime. During World War II he was commanding officer of a battalion of engineers who did important and sometimes dangerous work. I was a little anxious to work on these photos, but the reward was great when I found writing on the backs of most of them.

This photo was no different and although it had some existing condition issues, I didn't want to damage it any further. Oh, well! Again, just as I was thinking the micro spatula might not be the best tool for this photo, it ripped right through. Undeterred, I got out some waxed floss. I made a bit of progress with that, right before the floss ripped one of the edges. So, now, obviously, there was a decision to be made.

I decided to remove all of the other photos from this page and then cut the page around the photo so that the photo could be scanned. Once I did that, more of the photo began to peel away and I could see that there was writing on the back. I wanted the information and I had already damaged the photo so I decided to proceed as carefully as possible, which did get me the information and did not further damage the photo.

On to the next album, I'll let you know how that goes.
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