Monday, May 30, 2016

In Memory of L/Cpl. Lawrence Nimmo Dean

When I was fourteen, I was very fortunate to accompany my grandmother on her last visit to Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery in Nijmegen, Holland and to stand with her by the grave of her baby brother, Lawrence Nimmo Dean.

Final resting place of Lawrence N Dean
Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery
Nijmegen, Holland

At that time, I didn't have a full understanding of what this loss meant to my grandmother, but family research has helped me see as much of the full picture as possible. Not only was he her baby brother, but she was, in a way, his second mother after the death of their own mother when Grandma was 12 and Uncle Lawrence not quite 2.

Lawrence Nimmo Dean
March 22, 1914 - April 2, 1945

A few years ago I saw for the first time a letter from my grandfather's baby brother, William John White "Pin" Smith, to my grandmother written shortly after he learned of Lawrence's death (transcribed at the end of the post). It is a beautiful letter, full of faith and simple words of comfort.

"I trust you will have some consolation in the knowledge that his death
like that of many others, is for the salvation of millions."

I wondered at the time about the date on the letter. Uncle Pin was overseas also during the war, along with my grandfather, and two of their nephews. Wasn't ten days a bit quick for him to get the news? The War Department (or its Canadian equivalent), I thought, would have notified only my Uncle Kenneth, who was listed as next of kin. He called my grandmother who would have written my grandfather, and perhaps Aunt Emeline would have written Uncle Pin. I thought that this would have been a longer process than ten days, but you never know. I had not remembered Uncle Pin mentioning that he was notified, not by my grandfather, but by the War Records Office. A discovery last year explains all of this.

That is when I first saw Uncle Lawrence's service file, scanned by Library and Archives Canada and available on Ancestry. Attached by yellowing tape to his Attestation Paper was a note that listed all of the members of the Smith family serving overseas with their ranks and unit information and requesting that they all be notified "in case of casualty". It was a breathtaking moment for me and very moving. It illustrated my grandfather's love for my grandmother and his concern for her while he would be so far away and also in danger.

I wondered almost right away why all four of the Smiths serving overseas were listed to be notified, then just the other day it hit me. In all likelihood, it was because my grandfather realized that he, his brother or nephews could also be killed, hurt, or taken prisoner at any time. He wanted to make sure at least one of them would get the notification.  All four Smiths, however, did make it home. Only Uncle Lawrence was never to leave Europe.

Plaque at Minton United Church, North Hatley, Quebec.
Dearest Marj:
I received official notification from Army Records of Lawrence's being killed in action, only yesterday, and I cannot tell you just how sorry I was to read the letter. Please accept my sincere sympathy. Time alone can heal the wound of sorrow you must feel. I trust you will have some consolation in the knowledge that his death like that of so many others, is for the salvation of millions.
Shortly after receiving this letter, Emmy's nephew Ronald, walked in my office, looking remarkably well, if somewhat weak. This, too, was a bit of a shock to me, as I had just received a letter from Canada saying he had been severely wounded for the second time, and that he was not expected to recover. Apparently penicillin & God had worked a miracle, and although he's now short of some important internal parts, he should live to a reasonable age. He'll be returning home before very long.

Two fine boys. I couldn't help but thinking of the oft quoted "One shall be taken, and the other.....". I guess faith in God, and the knowledge that Christ, too, gave his life that others might live, can do more to calm the troubled heart than anything.

I hear from George most regularly, and he seems to be getting along very well. He asked me to forward a gift he got for you, which I shall do early next week, as I will have a suitable box and wrappings by then. Please extend my condolences to your family. A kiss to Janet for her last card, and love, Pin.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Honor Roll Project - Veterans Memorial Park, Rockville Centre, NY

The Honor Roll Project is an effort to transcribe and photograph military honor rolls.  The transcribed names make the soldiers available for search engines, so that descendants and family members can find them on the internet.  It is a simple, but very rewarding project.  If you would like to participate, leave a comment at, or an email at

In my last Honor Roll Project post I transcribed the names of eleven Rockville Centre, NY residents killed in World War I. The memorial is in two huge plaques on the front of what is now South Side Middle School. My curiosity piqued, I have been doing some additional research and along the way rediscovered Veterans Memorial Park also here in Rockville Centre. The park has memorials to Rockville Centre residents killed in both World Wars, Vietnam and Korea.

This is the area of the park that holds these four memorials. They are set in a semi-circle inside the shrubs so you can't see them from this vantage point.

The one stone that you can see from here is inscribed with these words from the Gettysburg Address: 
                                                                                                    A. LINCOLN.

Behind this stone and the hedges in back of it there is a fountain. Either it is no longer working or it has been turned off for the winter. I don't pass by this park very often, so I'm not sure. Maybe we can find out when we come down for the parade on Monday which ends here.

These two memorials are to the left of the Lincoln stone:

 Robert Garrison
James Donato
Harold Fiske
Louis Langdon
Winona Martin
Joseph Murphy
Reginald Rinder

Milton Griesbach
Leo C. Higgins
August Mauer
Edwin Miller
Francisco Molisse
Warren Stein
Robert VanCott

Edward Abrams
Landon Abrams
Daniel Johnson
John J. Lott
D. Herbert O'Dowd

Thomas J. Casey
John H. Ferril II
Adam D. Knecht
Richard A. Marfurt, Jr.
Raymond C. Meehan
Gerald Sorrentino

And to the right of the Lincoln Stone are the other two memorials:

Bertram Audley
Hobart R. Gay
George A. Murray, Jr.
Walter Fred Strohm
William J. Tschuschke

Paul F. Barber, Jr., Joseph Baselice, Robert H. Bates, Robert Brown, Richard A. Burke, Thomas G. Cain, Joseph S. Casella, William L. Chambers, Henry N. Clagett, Walter E. Corbeil, Charles W. Crabbe, Eugene W. Davis, Robert W. Davis, Daniel W. Dawson, Joseph Dawson, Edward C. Digan, John G. Dwyer, Alfred N. Edwards, John J. Eichmann, James R. Ell, Joseph J. Fasolino, Frank J. Fassanella, Erwin J. Fehr, Herbert W. Funk, Jr., Earl K. Griffen, Frank C. Haggerty, John C. Harvey, Stanley B. Helfenberg, David H. Hornstein, Joseph H. Hughes, James Husser, Gene C. Isaac, George E. Jenkins, Ebert B. Johnson, John G. Kearns, William A. Klostermann, Jr., Jerome J. Kobel, Leonard Leder

John A. Leighton, Sommers D. Levermore, Norman Levine, William M. Lickel, Alexander McKinlay, Oliver K. McMahon, Frederick E. Neipp, Jeremiah E. O'Brien, Gerald M. O'Connell, Jr., Anthony H. Oswald, Edward G. Pettit, John S. Phipps, Charles B. Quantrell, George D. Randall, William C. Rathbun, William R. Reddington, Jr., Thomas F. Reynolds, Jr., James W. Riddick, Kenneth F. Robertson, Ralph O. Sankin, Paul W. Schmidt, Benedict G. Schmitt, Carl F. Schmitt, Harry W. Scott, Jr., Raymond W. Seedorf, Robert M. Sepin, Clarence F. Simmons, Jr., George R. Smith, Henry C. Smith, Baptist A. Sorrentino, William C. Sullivan, John C. Veibrock, Herbert Waxberg, Herman G. Wenzel, Jr., William F. Whelan, George B. Wilkens, Willard W. Williams, Jr.

Some time next week I will share more about my research of the Middle School memorial.

Friday, May 27, 2016

It's my 4th Blogiversary!

 Four years ago today (it seems like longer somehow) I wrote my first post about my second great-grandfather, Benjamin Smith.

Although I didn't post much early in this blog, I always enjoy sharing my ancestors and other relatives here. Thank you for following, reading and commenting (something I haven't been doing enough of lately), it really means a lot to me. It's always good to know you aren't talking to yourself!

Finding a few cousins along the way has also been very rewarding, I certainly hope that will continue as I post about more ancestors and relatives and get their names out there.

That is the great thing, the journey always continues, there is always more to learn and I hope to be sharing it here with you for many more years!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tresure Chest Thursday - Camp Pemi

Over two weekends last September, Donald and I went through my step-mother's basement, finding many hidden treasures from my Dad's family in the way of Bibles, books, furniture, documents, photos, negatives, china and silver. After months of airing-out I am trying to devote at least an hour every week to scanning and photographing these items and sharing them with you on Treasure Chest Thursday.

My father grew up in Chicago but was lucky enough to spend summers visiting relatives in New England, including Cape Cod, traveling with his parents to places like Colorado and Mackinac Island, Michigan and attending Camp Pemigewassett in New Hampshire's White Mountains as both a camper and counselor. I still have some work to do to establish which summers he attended, but I know from this scrapbook that he was there at least the summers of 1947 - 1950.

We've seen a lot of his personality in the previous scrapbook/albums that I have been sharing and this one is no exception, in fact this one shows it off the most.

Camp Pemigewasssett 1947-1948-1949-1950

The Franconia Range and
surrounding territory
The dotted blue line shows the route of the trip.

The Franconia Trip

Sunday, August 13, 1950 began no differently than
any other Sudnay at Camp Pemigewassett. I, along with my
cabin mates, got up, washed, and went up to the mess hall
early (I was a waiter) to set up my table. The breakfast also
was like any other camp Sunday breakfast: ice cold orange
juice, half raw cerial, toast, soggy pancakes and tepid milk.
Then it happened! During the announcement period, Al [Fal?e],
in his blue shirt, got up and said, "All seniors be ready at
9:30 A.M. to go up the Franconias!" "Hot dog," thought I
"This is the trip we all have been waiting for."
Thus, according to instructions, we got on the blue truck
at 9:30 and arrived at Lafayette Place Campground at noon.
After lunch, we started the assent of Mt. Lafayett, 5239', via the
Old Bridle Path Trail.

we noticed was a member of the hut crew called "Foof"
who was taking a string of six mules down to the town of
Franconia, N.H. for supplies.
When he was gone, we entered the hut. It was a
good sized hut containing two bunkrooms, a kitcen and a
dining room from whose windows once could see a wonderful view
of the Franconia Range.
After taking a swim in a mud pond near the hut we ate
dinner. After dinner, Al Batchelder suggested that we climb
the remaining thousand feet to the summit of Mt. Lafayette
to see the sunrise. And that we did. After we descended
to the hut, we all went to bed.

The plaque on the front of the hut.
The back door of the hut
The sign says "Mountain Hospitality"

The front of the hut showing
the picture window and the entrance
to the boys bunkroom
Mt. Lafayette, 5249', taken through the front
window of the hut.

The kitchen of the hut showing one
of the hut crew making dinner and one of
the campers looking on.
The dining room of the hut. This table
is located in front of the picture window.

Four boys watch the sunset from the top of
Mt. Lafayette. The mountains in the distance
are in Vermont.
The following morning, we awoke to find the day
was perfectly clear. Right after breakfast, we began the 
ascent of Mt. Lafayette (some of us for the second time).
When we reached the top, before us unfolded a beautiful
panorama of mountains, lakes and towns.
The town of Lafayette as seen from the top of Mt. Lafayette.

Greenleaf Hut (arrow) as seen from the top
of Mt. Lafayette. The cliff in the back-
ground is on Cannon Mountain and some of its
rocks help to form the Old Man of the Mt.
Lafayette Place Campground as seen from
Mount Lincoln.

Part of the Franconia Range. The
peak in the left-center is Mt. Liberty.
After walking over the Franconia Ridge Trail for about
1 1/2 miles we came to the junction with the Liberty
spring trail. Here we began our descent of the mountain.
After going down for 3/4 of a mile we came to Liberty
Spring and the Liberty Spring Shelfter. After pausing
there for a drink and a look around we resumed
our descent. Near the end of our journey we came to
the Flume Gorge. The Flume is a stream which has
carved itself a canyon, at some places one-hundred feet
deep, through solid rock. After passing through the Flume,
we were me by our camp truck and we were hurried
back to camp, thus completing a wonderful and unforgettable trip.

These two signs that appeared at the
junction of Franconia Ridge Trail and
Liberty Spring Trail.

Looking down the Liberty Spring Trail
Pausing for a drink out of Liberty Spring

The entrance of Liberty Spring Shelter
The inside of Liberty Spring Shelter

I'm so happy to have found these scrapbook/albums and the narration on this one is just priceless. When I was little, my parents were perennial members of the Appalachian Mountain Club although we never visited the Appalachians. I am very grateful for this look into the beginnings of his love of nature, hiking and climbing.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Honor Roll Project - South Side Middle School WWI Memorial

I grew up in Rockville Centre, NY on Long Island. I've lived here most of my life. I went to South Side Middle School here for two years some number of years ago. I don't remember ever being aware before a few months ago that the building was also a World War I Memorial.

I noticed these plaques on either side of the front of the building one morning when Donald and I were out walking our dog. I guess I'm just more interested in older buildings now than I was when I was fourteen.

I should have taken photos when I first made this discovery. Now there are leaves on the trees directly in front and some construction going on which blocked some access and made taking photos from a good angle a bit challenging.



WORLD WAR 1917-1918

I've been doing some research about these plaques but I'll save that for another post. I'll let this post stand as it should as a memorial to those who gave their lives for their country.

Heather Wilkinson Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy has created the Honor Roll project to help people find their ancestors and relatives in local memorials and honor rolls. You can learn more here.

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Elusive Organizing Ideal

My head is still spinning from the season finale of The Blacklist, so I hope I can write a lucid post!

I've realized as I've thought about this post throughout the day that it is going to be at least as much about theory as it will about my actual organizational conventions. Sounds exciting, doesn't it?

When I started scanning these slides of Dad's with the old scanner a few years ago I hadn't had any exposure to the many organizational techniques and ideas of my fellow GeneaBloggers and other genealogists. I just filed them on my computer in a way that made sense to me at the time, which was by carousel (that's the slide holder that fits into the projector and, in my case, has capacity for 140 slides). Although I have modified my file naming somewhat, I am still doing it this way and it turns out that this is something of an archival method of organization because I am organizing them the way that I got them. This, according to this post by Sue Adams, which I found referenced in this post by Tony Proctor, is an archival arrangement; grouping records according to their creator and in the same order as their creator. Of course, real archival organizing is much more complicated, but at least Tony Proctor's post, and the others he refers to within, gave me some assurance that this was a valid way to organize my images.

My Epson Perfection V370 gives me the following screen when I'm ready to scan:

At the purple arrow I'm telling the program where to save the image files and at the green arrow I am giving all of these files the same prefix, in this case "Car1." which will then be followed by the number of the slide's order in the carousel. This file name doesn't tell me anything about the image itself, only which carousel it came from and which slide number it was in the carousel. Metadata will tell the rest of the story.

This is what that looks like on my Mac. Tags go in the box on top at the red arrow, if there were people in this slide (Pennie was my dad's Collie, not a person) I would have used additional tags like their Dollarhide number and last name. The file name is filled in automatically at the blue arrow and I use the comments box to add my name and copyright as well as details about the photo. All of this information is searchable.

Organization is one of those things that is very personal and what makes sense to me may not make sense to you and vice-versa. That is why there is no one way to do this, there is no ideal way except for each of us.

I will probably continue to use this method with at least some of my other image files. The posts I referred to above are full of good ideas and things to consider but I do also want to keep things relatively intuitive and simple. I hope this system will stand the test of time, but as they say, only time will tell.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Treasure Chest Thursday - Vacations III

Over two weekends last September, Donald and I went through my step-mother's basement, finding many hidden treasures from my Dad's family in the way of Bibles, books, furniture, documents, photos, negatives, china and silver. After months of airing-out I am trying to devote at least an hour every week to scanning and photographing these items and sharing them with you on Treasure Chest Thursday.

For the last two weeks I have been posting photos from Dad's scrapbook/album:

We are now up to the last trip in this album, Concord, Massachusetts. I've never been there myself, but seeing what my dad put together in this album after his visit, probably about 1951, makes me want to get in the car and visit right now.

"The Minute Man Statue"
"The inscription on the back of the statue"

I love that Dad included this in his album. It is transcribed at the bottom of the post.

"A plaque on the Concord battlefield"
"By the rude bridge that arched the flood..."

"Old Manse
The home of Ralph Waldo Emerson
It was from here that Emerson's
grandfather watched the famous battle"
Sadly, that is the last trip in this album. I have one more album to share starting next week.

The Concord Hymn
Ralph Waldo Emerson

          By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
               Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
          Here once the embattled farmers stood,
               And fired the shot heard round the world.

          The foe long since in silence slept,
               Alike the conqueror silent sleeps,
          And Time the ruined bridge has swept,
               Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

          On this green bank, by this soft stream,
               We set today a votive stone;
          That memory may their deed redeem,
               When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

          Spirit, that made those heroes dare
               To die, and leave their children free,
          Bid Time and Nature gently spare
               The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

More about Scanning

I don't remember how I found Miriam Robbins' blog and the ScanFest she used to host every month, but I still follow her guidelines for scanning whether I am digitizing photos, slides or negatives. You can find them all here.

I wear cotton gloves whenever I am handling slides, negatives or photos. I bought them at an archival supply but I don't remember which one. I only scan on a flatbed, never with a scanner that has a feeder and I place my originals on the glass as carefully as possible, never sliding them around. I make two scans of each image, each in a different file format and I'm going to share my thought process about this with you to hopefully help you decide what process would work best for you.

In the various genealogy groups that I belong to on Facebook, I have seen some debate between TIFF and JPEG files and which is the best way to save digital scans. JPEG files are compressed each time you edit the file, so some digital information is lost each time. Some say this is no big deal and point to the larger file size of the TIFF file as a serious drawback, but I would rather do everything I can to ensure that my images will survive as far into the future as possible with as little data loss as possible. That being said, if I want to share my images, TIFF files can be a problem with some programs, such as Blogger, and are usually too large to email. TIFF files can always be converted to JPEGs when needed; Photoshop and Photoshop Elements can do it, the photo editor on my Mac can do it and I understand that there are free websites and software available online that can do it. I prefer just to scan my images twice from the get-go and have them available in both formats when I need them or want to share them.

When I scan my images the first time, I use:
  • the automatic color restoration
  • the dust removal tool
  • sharpen the image
  • save it as a JPEG at 300 dpi
I then scan a second time:
  • without color restoration
  • without image sharpening
  • but still with the dust removal
  • I save that image as a TIFF file at 600 dpi
I save the JPEG at fewer dots-per-inch and with the color correction because that file is meant to be useful. I save the TIFF at a higher dots-per-inch with no color correction because that file is meant to be archival.  I realize that scanning the archival copy with dust removal is modifying the image from its original form (which is why I don't color restore the TIFF file) but dust removal using photo editing software is a long, tedious and imperfect process while letting the scanner do it is just one click and works very well.

So this is what it looks like on-screen.

First I have to tell the scanner what kind of original I am scanning (red arrow) and then I can get a preview (blue arrow).

 Then I'll see the images and I can start making adjustments. First I correct orientation (red), then choose an output size which is generally 4 x 6 for slides (green) and resolution (blue) , then sharpen (purple), color restore (pink) and remove the dust (yellow). Psst, when using the dust removal tool on your scanner, you won't see dust disappear in the preview scan. The tool works with the light somehow so that can't be previewed. Just because you can't see it here doesn't mean it isn't working!

Once I have done that, I choose Scan, which will bring me to this screen where I will choose the folder to which the scans will be saved (purple), the prefix for the file names (green), and the file type (pink). I'll share a bit about my file naming and organization in a post on Friday.

So, once I have done all this and scanned the images twice as I outlined earlier, I get output like so:

This is an auto color-restored image in .jpg format at 300 dpi with auto sharpening and dust removal. Although I'm usually very happy with the colors in the auto color-restored images, these slides that had a pink cast to them at the beginning, didn't turn out as well. For my purposes, I'll probably leave them as they are, but if I really wanted to play with the colors, I could still do that with photo editing software.

So, I have a Treasure Chest Thursday post ready to go for tomorrow, and I will wrap up this little scanning series on Friday with a post about my file organization and naming.

Monday, May 16, 2016

This Weekend I Scanned Some Slides

This weekend I spent some time catching up with my slide scanning project. These slides were my dad's and were given to me with a slide scanner six years ago at Christmas by my step-mother. I am very grateful to her for that but I do have to say that the slide scanner she gave me then was not the best. Also, I bought a Mac about a year later, having only managed to scan one carousel out of eighteen, and the scanner was not Mac compatible. Finally, I bought an Epson V370 scanner for myself at the beginning of 2015 and I have been scanning the slides ever since, with varying degrees of success.

Scanned with the old scanner.

I have hopefully now worked out all the kinks and now have a system that works for me for scanning and storing these wonderful slides so I thought I would share my process here. I hope that someone else reading this post can avoid some of the mistakes I have made and I am always open to suggestions for improving my process as well.

Dad's slides came to me in the carousels that I believe he put them in some time in the 70s or 80s. When I scanned that first carousel with the old scanner, I just put the slides right back into the carousel without any knowledge or thought of proper archival storage. Even when I did look for other storage methods, I have to admit that I was primarily motivated by a desire to save space.

I was already familiar with terms like "acid-free", "lignin-free" and "archival" from my paper-crafting days, but now I had to learn how those terms applied to my slides, photos and other heirlooms. In a perfect world I would be transferring my slides to archival quality boxes for storage after scanning, but they are expensive and not in my budget. Instead, at least for now, I am using these PVC-free slide pocket pages and these acid-free closed binders.

Next I had to decide what to do about labeling the slides themselves after scanning. I bought acid-free labels and archival pens and was going to put the labels on the outside of each pocket, but I was concerned about what might happen if the slide were out of the pocket page, how would someone be sure that a slide were going back in the correct pocket, if the slide itself weren't marked in some way? I would never write on the back of a photo, but I decided that as long as I'm using acid-free labels and archival pens that I would label the slides themselves.

The first carousel are actually in plastic frames, probably developed and made by my father himself. I don't know what kind of damage those might be doing to the slides inside, but since the cardboard Kodak frames probably aren't archival either from that long ago, I'm not going to worry about it for now. There just isn't any budge to have them re-framed by a professional, if that is even possible.

Slide labeling and storage in progress.
So, this is my storage process. It may not be for everyone, and even I don't feel it is ideal, but until I have the budget for boxes, this is what I've been doing.

I do recommend, especially if you have a large number of slides to digitize, that you decide on your method and purchase your materials before you begin scanning. That way your slides can go right from the scanner into your chosen receptacle right from the start. I certainly wish that I had done that.

In my next post, I'll share my process for scanning and saving the digital images.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Quick Lessons 3 & 4: Flawed Records and NARA Citations & Finding Aids

In March, DearMYRTLE started a new series of Hangouts on Air where she and Cousin Russ and the other panelists discuss the Quick Lessons found on Elizabeth Shown Mills' website Evidence Each week the panelists and any viewers who wish, post their analyses of the current Quick Lesson two days before the Hangout. The Quick Lesson is then discussed live at 12 noon (Eastern) Wednesdays and archived on You Tube within about 24 hours.

Here are the questions DearMYRTLE asks us to consider when studying each QuickLesson:
  • How does your research 'thinking' compare to the ideals posed by ESM?
  • What part of this QuickLesson inspired you to take a different course of action?
  • Has there been a research breakthrough after studying this QuickLesson?
Although I haven't yet encountered flawed records in my research (aside from minor inconsistencies) and I haven't done any research at NARA (The National Archives and Research Administration), these excellent lessons are well worth studying.

In QuickLesson 3, Elizabeth Shown Mills gives us four things to consider while researching:
  • Why was this record created?
  • Does the record hold the intended information?
  • What laws affected the creation of these records?
  • What is the historical context?
Reading this QuickLesson will absolutely impact my thinking going forward. I learned to consider the legal perspective fairly early, but I hadn't really considered the other factors, I may have noticed them, but I wasn't deliberately seeking out this information. I will definitely look at these questions going forward in my research.

QuickLesson 4, dealing with NARA Citations & Finding Aids, deals with more than just NARA; it is also a lesson in citing records when you don't have all of the information that books like Evidence Explained and the Chicago Manual of Style say should be cited.

To get to the answer about citing specific documentation a reader received from NARA, Elizabeth Shown Mills' lesson also guides the reader through some of the records available at NARA, their citation guide and even some of their own terminology. It is a great lesson that teaches us both about citations and about the records available from this terrific resource.

I haven't done any research at NARA yet but I am definitely motivated to find a reason to look for records there to see if they have anything to help me answer my current research questions.

The next QuickLesson is Analyzing Records. Hopefully I'll have a post about that in a few days.


Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 3: Flawed Records,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage ( : [April 30, 2016]).

Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 4: NARA Citations & Finding Aids,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage ( : [May 14, 2016])

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Treasure Chest Thursday - Vacations II

Over two weekends last September, Donald and I went through my step-mother's basement, finding many hidden treasures from Dad's family in the way of furniture, books, Bibles, photos, negatives, silver, china and documents. After months of airing-out I am trying to devote at least an hour every week to scanning and photographing these treasures and sharing them here on Treasure Chest Thursday.

Before I show you the next set of photos from this album, I have an update on my post from two weeks ago about my dad's red beanie. I can't believe I didn't think to ask my mother if she knew anything about it when I was writing that post, but I did think to ask her yesterday and she knew its origins and significance.

In 1938, about two month's before Dad's second birthday, my grandparents embarked on a four-month trip to the Near East. It was a working trip for my grandfather who was Executive Secretary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago at that time.

Aunt Isabel (Isabel M Weir) and Dad (Stephen D Matthews)

While my grandparents were away, Dad was left in the care of his maternal uncle, Elmer Anderson and his wife Isabel Weir. Aunt Isabel bought the beanie for my father to wear while he was playing in the wooded area behind their home, so that she could keep track of him from the house.

So now we skip ahead a number of years to about 1951 and another trip that Dad recorded in this album:

What an event it was, even in the 50s, to see people off to Europe. Not the been-there-done-that reaction that is so common today to embarking on a cruise.

"A trip to New York City to see the Camerons leave on a boat to Europe"

"The S.S. Exeter"

After watching their friends depart, Dad took some great photos of NYC and the harbor. I just love these photos.

"The S.S. Exeter sailing from Jersey City"

"Lower Manhattan from Jersey City"
"An American Export Line freighter going out of port."
"The same boat with an Erie tug in the foreground."
"That same boat"
"That boat again"

"Manhattan Island with a ferry boat on the river"

"Lower Manhattan"

"An Erie ferry"

"A New York Central ferry"

"Looking towards the mouth of the Hudson River,
with the Statue of Liberty in the background."

"The Erie ferry dock"
Next week, our last stop will be Concord, Massachusetts.