Browse Tag


Thorward Boys

Oh gosh, I am sorry sorry for my absence this week! I wasn’t feeling well most of the week and time just flew by. I’m on the mend, so now it’s time to get back to work. I’m still trying to make sense of my Mays ancestors in my new clean family file. It’s going very sloooooooooow. Sorry for all the os. They were necessary! That’s really how slow it’s going! I haven’t even been able to add many of the Mays’ to the website yet, because of the problems I’m having finding and identifying them! Maybe if they weren’t all named the same thing!

So I’m posting a picture today from my Dad’s side of the family. Even though I have his family sorted and sourced in my family file, I’m still going through those pictures I have.

Thorward Boys

This is one of about a dozen tin-type photos I have. I think they are tin-type anyway. I’m no expert! I have probably looked at 1 million and 3 photos of Lewis Thorward in all my research. While I’m not a photograph analysis expert, I do consider myself a Lewis Thorward expert. If there is anyone out there who believes they are also a Lewis Thorward expert, please contact me, because I have a few questions I’d like answered!

In my expertise, I can definitively say that the little boy standing in the above photograph is Lewis Thorward. What brings me to this conclusion? Was it written on the back (remember it’s a tin-type folks)?

Lewis Thorward

I’m not being a braggart when I say, “I just know.” Is this a scientific method? Of course not. However, I’ve put in my Lewis hours. I’ve looked through a lot of photos of Lewis, Jennie and their children. So I’m pretty confident saying that the boys in the first picture are Lewis and his older brother Frank. Don’t be afraid of your own gut! It’s not something I’d base my entire research on, but I think I can trust it on a Lewis Thorward picture.

Paying Attention to your Surroundings

When I was a kid, my Mom used to hate taking us to the store. It was a guarantee that one of us would get caught in the excitement at whatever store we were at, and we’d lose track of her. More than once my Mom has told the story of my sister walking into columns at the store, despite numerous warnings of  “Amanda. Amanda. Watch out Amanda. AMANDA.” BAM. Of course I never did that… I did use to follow the wrong Mom around the store though… Okay so I did that last week.

Never has this handicap of ours become more apparent then it did today. I have a few hours to myself. So I decided to finally add some tombstone photos I took at Prospect Hill Cemetery in Caldwell to Find A Grave. First thing I noticed when reviewing the photos I’d added a few years back was that I missed a few! Somehow when I got all the Thorward photos from my very helpful Photo Volunteer, I forgot to add some of them! He left it to me, and look what happens!

Step 1: Admitting you have a problem

It was shortly after adding Frank Thorward and his wife to the site that I noticed something. Do you see in the sidebar where it says “Find all THORWARDs in”? Well, that’s something that I’m sure has been there all along, but this is the first time I’ve ever noticed it. Please try not to hold it against me, you’ve seen I have a handicap of sorts.

Since I was working on the Thorwards and it isn’t a common surname, I decided to click on New Jersey instead of a lower area.

Step 2: Recognize a Greater Power

Only 12 Thorwards came up and 11 of them were added by me in Prospect Hill Cemetery! That 12th name at the bottom looks familiar too!

Step 3: Examine Past Errors

It just so happens, this is Frank S Thorward’s son. In Mercer County, New Jersey where I probably wouldn’t have known to look for him. The only thing that keeps me from being completely angry at my own inattentiveness is the fact that this record was only added in July.

So please remember the lesson I’ve learned… Always pay attention to ALL features of a website. I only went through 3 steps here, but I’m sure as I learn and venture more I’ll come across more instances.

It Suckered Us All In

As I was writing up yesterday’s Mystery Monday post, I was reminded of the single, most consuming mystery I’ve ever had. It started when I first started going through the boxes of treasures/photographs/papers. When I first started scanning the photographs into my computer, I just labeled them UnknownMooreThorward-01 and so on. Funny enough, years after solving this mystery and they’re still named that.

Mystery Photo #1

This is the photo that launched the hours, months, years of frustration. Okay, so I’m exaggerating a tiny bit. It did take me years to solve this though. I would pick it up every few months and try again. I don’t know why I was so struck by this picture. I was just so curious about this building.

At one of our reunions, I brought the picture up on my laptop and asked around. Many members of my family chimed in. No one really knew where it was though. We dissected it many times. We were analyzing the routes that the cars were taking. My father thought he saw a crane in the back and chimed in that it was probably a temporary structure. I scoffed at that! Who would tear that kind of building down! That was nonsense!

Mystery Photo #2

A few months later I stumbled upon this photograph among the others. This one doesn’t show the structure very well, but it gives a bit more detail among the pillars. This one was taken on a different day I think. Here you can see something draped between the pillars and you can see what looks like balloons!

This set our family on all new tangents. My Aunt even showed the picture to some of her customers and got their input. We researched everything from European architecture to the Sesqui-centennial celebration of 1926 in Philadelphia. I went so far as to order a program on eBay from the event and even emailed the Boston Historic Society! No stone was unturned. Then one day I found a genealogy community online. I decided why not see what happens and I posted the first picture. In a twist of fate that is very common to me, someone posted back within a few hours!

This may sound silly and redundant, but have you checked out Victory Arches?



Silly me, I didn’t even know what a victory arch was! So I quickly put my Google-fu to the test! Here’s a simple Google Image search of Victory Arches. Holy canoli, I was back on track!


I was eventually led to an expired eBay auction for this item. In fact, if you search for it today, there are even more images now! It turns out my structure was an Arch of Victory that was erected to welcome the troops home from WWI.

Arch of Victory at Madison Square, New York City, with men of the Twenty-seventh (New York) Division marching in a victory parade that was witnessed by hundreds of thousands of cheering spectators. The city turned out in masse to do them honor, and they received a tremendous ovation along the line of march. The avenue was packed from buildings to curbs.

This is why I love the internet. It took two years, and many hours of research for this huge family mystery to be solved by one poster on an internet message board. We spent many a hour at reunions discussing what this structure could be. My Dad always maintained that it was probably temporary. Well, you can bet he had bragging rights for a long time on this one!

Google Street View

It’s funny how different the street looks today, yet it still looks the same. I don’t know if you can tell from the size of the images but the buildings from the original photograph seem to all still be standing and look almost exactly the same!

I love to torture myself now. Sure one mystery was solved but that leads to more questions! Was my family in the hundreds of thousands of people welcoming the troops home? Were any of my relatives one of the troops being welcomed home? Gosh I love a good story!

Mystery Monday: Where?

Where am I?

My Mystery Monday posts usually have to do with the people in my photographs. That isn’t the case today. I’ve been wondering for awhile about where this particular picture is taken. I’ve had numerous inputs, one being around the Jersey Shore and others being another Jersey town. The only thing everyone agrees on is that this is Jersey. My questions about places aren’t usually solved quickly. Remind me to tell you about the Victory Arch photograph… In fact, I’ll write that up sometime this week. It’s a great story!

What I know about this photo:

  • It was most likely taken in New Jersey… somewhere.
  • It is most likely a member of the Thorward family.

What I want to know about this photo:

  • Where this particular house is?
  • Who’s house is this?
  • Who are the people in the photograph?
  • How are they related or connected to my family?
  • Where those awnings green and white? For some reason I feel like they were green and white?
  • Can I have a time machine to walk through these old houses? Pretty please?

Mystery Monday is a weekly series on my blog. It is now a Daily Blogging Theme at GeneaBloggers also! Feel free to post about your own mysteries and link me to them!

The Llewellyn Project

On Friday, I hinted about a project that I have coming up. I meant to have the entry ready to go for Sunday, but things got busy during my trip over the weekend and I didn’t get a chance. So I’m here now to give a little info on it.

I often talk about my Great Grandmother’s journal here on the blog. The diary starts on January 1, 1923, or at least from what I can tell. So on January 1, 2011 I will be starting my Llewellyn Project. In a separate section of the blog, I will be doing a daily transcription from her journal. I will slowly work my way through the diary. Adding in pictures of relevant people or places when I can. The diary goes on for close to three years. This isn’t going to be an overnight finish. I hope to finally finish getting through it though. Sometimes it wasn’t more than a few lines, but those few lines are a great glimpse into the past. I hope you will enjoy this as much as I hope to!

January 1st is my deadline for my site re-design. If it’s done earlier, well that would be great!

Home Again

We made it back from our weekend trip to Jersey. It was touch and go for a little bit, but we made it a little after midnight. I’ve been to very few weddings in my lifetime. It comes from living all by ourselves down here in Maryland. So I walked into this with my mind wide open.

View outside my hotel room.

Then I wondered if it was fate or my cousin was just being the smart alec he’s always been. The hotel where wedding guests were staying was right next to a huge cemetery. It might have freaked a few people out but I couldn’t help but wonder what the oldest date in the cemetery was.

The wedding didn’t start until 2pm on Sunday. That left us with some extra time. We decided to take a small road trip to Dad’s hometown, Caldwell. We drove around seeing all the old houses. Then we decided to go to the cemetery.

Lindsley plot. Prospect Hill Cemetery.

I have only been to Prospect Hill Cemetery once before. I didn’t have a camera at the time. So I never got pictures of the graves myself. Luckily, I’ve had a lot of people that have sent me numerous pictures over the years. It never tops actually going yourself though. Especially because I’m going to use Google Earth to map out where the separate plots were in the cemetery. I didn’t expect them to be so spread out from each other!

Leonard plot. Prospect Hill Cemetery.

Walking around the cemetery, I could definitely see that I’ll have to go back in jeans and sneakers. I only walked about half the cemetery but I did find a Love ancestor I didn’t previously have. Grace Love-Leonard. After walking around a bit, we got in the car and headed to the wedding. My sister summed it up perfectly when she posted to her Facebook while I was walking around the cemetery. “We’re dressed for a wedding and end up walking around a cemetery. Only our family.” My sister had one part wrong though, it’s not only our family! It’s just a genealogy thing!

Mystery Monday: A Postcard

It’s been a crazy week here in Maryland! The last few days have been spent dealing with flooding and repairs to our roof. Now that those crazy rain totals are behind us, I’m getting back into my genealogy. Here is this week’s Mystery Monday.

Things I know about this picture:

  1. This picture is on the front of a postcard. I’m assuming it’s from the same time period of the George Thorward car picture. His isn’t on a postcard but in a decorative postcard-like envelope. It is also labeled with ” 1st Car 1905″ and has a picture of the Statue of Liberty on it.
  2. Most likely the picture was from New York City. I’d have to look it up again to be sure. I’m thinking it was from the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. In fact, the car looks like the 1904 First Rolls Royce.  Which would fit in with the 1905 date written on the George Thorward picture.

Things I want to know about this picture:

  1. Who is the family posing in this picture? I’m not sure but the girl looks familiar. So I might have more pictures of her in my files somewhere.
  2. Was this in fact taken at the World’s Fair? That would give me a date on the photo to better place the family.

Mystery Monday is a weekly series that I do here on my blog. It is also a blogging theme at GeneaBloggers now. Feel free to post your own mystery photos or stories and comment with the link!

Sentimental Sunday: Ellis Island

Every genealogy researcher eventually comes across Ellis Island. For me, my first experience was when my mother started to get me into genealogy. She was researching the Thorward Family. There was a ship manifest from Ellis Island that listed George Thorward. I’m sorry, he was listed as Georg Thorward. To be perfectly honest, there were two manifests. There you’ve dragged it all out of me. One manifest was from 1898 and the other from 1901. Funny enough, both trips were made aboard the ship Southwark. In both trips, his departure city is listed as Antwerp, Belgium. That’s a good clue to keep in handy when I finally start trying to track him in Germany.

He most likely was making trips back to his homeland for some reason or another. That or he was going there on business. I wasn’t even a twinkle in the universe yet, so I can’t tell you exactly. I can theorize though, which is one of my favorite things to do by the way. Ask me next week and I’ll spin you a yarn about his trip home for a cousin’s wedding, or maybe how he was going home for his granny’s funeral. It’s just how I get kicks. As long as I’m not passing these stories down to my currently non-existent grand kids, I figure it’s harmless fun. You should see what I do when there are traffic jams, boy can I spin some yarns with that!

So there’s some sentimental reasons I feel a kinship with Ellis Island. Technically, I haven’t found a single relative that actually immigrated through Ellis Island. All my relatives came before it opened in 1892. In fact, besides George’s trips I don’t think I’ve found more than two other relatives passing through on trips abroad.

Ellis Island Recreation

You probably can imagine my surprise when I found the building you see above. My mother has a little bit of a Christmas Village obsession. Every now and again, Cecil’s Country Store will have a blowout sale. They sell all kinds of buildings for Christmas villages. It’s an awesome place to go and look through. It’s actually an old post office and store from 1906. While Mom was salivating over houses, castles, and other buildings for her village, I ran across one box that said Ellis Island. Then I looked closer and the price tag said $5! Well, I got in the spirit of the moment and just went for it! Sure it’s only a small part of the actual building. Could you imagine fitting a reproduction of the whole thing somewhere? Where would you even put that?

I know it’s not exactly the most meaningful purchase I’ll ever make but it was one of the more sentimental. In the few hours I’ve had it setup on my desk (what a great way to avoid clutter!), I’ve already looked at it and smiled more times than I can count.

Surname Saturday: Thorward


The first Thorward I have on record is George Thorward (b. 1852 d.1940). He was born in 1852 in Obberstetten, Germany 1. I have conflicting dates for his immigration. In the 1900 United States Federal Census, his year of immigration is listed as 1867. In the 1910 US Census, it is listed as 1860. I have searched for his point of entry into the country, but so far I haven’t found it. My first choice was New York, but now I’m unsure if it was. I’m going to try Philadelphia next. I think I found him in 1870 living next door to his future wife, Josephine Doremus. The only problem is he’s listed as George John. The name of Thorward wasn’t even mentioned. He is however a cigar maker’s apprentice, which fits in perfectly with my George, who was in the cigar business for 50 years. George married Josephine in 1872 and they had three children (Frank, Lewis, Dora).

The great thing about researching the Thorwards is that they pretty much stayed in Caldwell, New Jersey for the next few generations. George and Josephine’s oldest child, Frank Springsted Thorward, married Katherine Lindsley and they had two sons, Raymond and Robert. The youngest of George’s children was their only daughter, Dora Thorward. She married Leslie Jacob Plume and they had one daughter, Vivian, who married into the Westervelt family. The Westervelts and the Plumes had a long history in Essex County, New Jersey. Rumor has it that the Plumes are distantly related to Stephen Crane and Robert Treat Paine. 2 I haven’t proved this yet as I’m still verifying my Grandmother’s version of her family tree.

My great-great Grandfather, and George and Josephine’s middle child,  Lewis Thorward also stayed in Caldwell for most of his life. He briefly lived in Hudson County and worked on the railroad. When he came back to Caldwell, he became a partner in the Thorward and Van Duyne’s Market. Lewis married Jennie Viola Love in 1898 and had two children, Llewellyn Josephine Thorward (my great grandmother) and George William Thorward.

You can see what photos I have uploaded so far in the Thorward Family Album at the main website but here are a few of my favorites.

Things I Wonder About the Thorwards

  • Where is the rest of George’s family? He seems to have kept his family pretty close. He made a few visits back to Germany in the 1890’s, maybe to visit parents?

What are my next steps?

  • Like the Moores I want to collect the birth, marriage, and death records for the other children in the main families. New Jersey is a bit difficult to get records for, so I think those are an in-person thing to be less of a hassle.
  • I need to track down when and where George entered the country for the first time. I’m hoping this will give me a better idea of which part of Germany he is from.
  • This isn’t a Thorward step exactly, but I would like to delve deeper into the connected families. This seems to be a very big immigrant side of my family and I’m interested to see all the places they came from.

Surname Saturday is a daily blogging theme from GeneaBloggers.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...