Paying Attention to your Surroundings October 27th, 2010
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!
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.
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!
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 October 26th, 2010
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.
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!
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!
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? October 25th, 2010
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 October 19th, 2010
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 October 18th, 2010
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.
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.
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!
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!