Small sailor boy

Hold on to that chair!

Hold on to that chair!

I always wonder at the thinking of a photographer putting a child in such a precarious location for a photograph. Were the parents at all concerned? Was this something that even crossed the Victorian & Edwardian minds of parents at the turn of the 19th to 20th century? This little fellow looks as thought he is safe, and so we shall not worry overmuch. Note his outfit has short elasticized drawers under it, much like the “tillies” under girls dresses today to cover a diaper. Yes they had elastic and yes they used it. Elastic was invented in the 1850s or 60s.

This is the last Rudd family photograph I will feature because I really want to return the collection to the family. There are snapshots and some 20th century images as well as postcards that I know the family will cherish and enjoy for many years to come. I will also be sending a CD with all of the scans on it so my contact can share them with family members.

To view the collection that I have posted, click on the Rudd Family category to the right.


Ernst Home

This real photo postcard  also came from Denver, although it appears to identify a house in Marcus, Iowa. The house is quite impressive and if you look closely you can see at least one person standing by the porch, left. It is unfortunate that the image is so badly faded. The search for this home is complicated because there is an Earnest Funeral Home in Marcus, IA. Could they be one and the same? Or is it just a complication?

UPDATE: Thanks to the great leads from Far Side & Jennifer in the comments, this is identified as the Bill & Kate Ernst farm house just south of Marcus, IA. According to the Marcus Historical Society it originally belonged to John Ernst and Kate inherited it from him. In the 1980s it was sold to another farmer who removed the building and all other objects to expand his farm. Arlene from the historical society shared this great anecdote about Kate Ernst: Katie would drive to town, park in front of the bank and the tellers would have to go out to help her with her business. Apparently, she did not feel like she needed to get out of the car! Another farm owned by Katie’s brother John was just north of this farm and it is now gone as well. Happily, the Marcus Historical Society will be taking ownership of this great old photo of the Ernst home for their records! Be sure to check the comments for another recollection of the Ernst home sale.

Family Reunion: Sanger PD

Sanger Police 1964

You may remember this photo from a few weeks back. Lots of people found good information on the Sanger Police Department, and at that time I called and spoke to one of the secretaries there. She offered to send an email around the department letting folks know about the photo, and I didn’t think much more of it. I was hopeful someone would contact me though. Well, just last week, Chief Silver Rodriguez of the Sanger Police left a comment on the original post, and he and I spoke on the phone. The photo and a high quality scan of the photo are headed back to where it all began – Sanger, CA!

Family Reunion: Dommaris “Dom” Day Shrimplin

With such an unusual name, I thought for sure we would easily find a living descendant for Dommaris “Dom” Day Shrimplin, but I was wrong. Back a few weeks, Iggy did an amazing job at deciphering the spelling of her first name and provided us with some information on her and her family, but after that, nothing.

Over the past weekend though, it happened. Someone was searching for their relative, Dom Shrimplin. I got goose bumps when I read that Clifford had been searching for a photo of his great-great-great-aunt for 30 years. And I had one. Wow.

Clifford has been doing extensive genealogy work on his family and provided a little more detail to Dom’s life. Dom, born in 1848, was sister to his 2nd great grandmother, Mary, and there were a total of seven brothers and sisters in the family. Mary and Dom must have been close because they are the only two of the family to have left Ohio and come out to California.

Dom married Louis Carr Shrimplin in 1869 and they emigrated to San Jose, CA by the early 1880s. They built a home at 30 South 5th Street, where they lived for many years. After Dom died in 1908 it was converted to a boarding house as it was quite near the campus of San Jose State University. The home is no longer there, having been removed along with others to make room for the new San Jose City Hall several years ago.

Louis was also from Ohio, born in 1847. When he and Dom came to California, he found work as a machinist and engineer, last working for the San Jose Independent Mill & Lumber Company. He underwent some type of surgical procedure in 1892, from which he never recovered, and he died at the young age of 44 years. His funeral was handled by the Ancient Order of United Workmen and took place in the family home, January 26, 1892.

Their one confirmed child was Lewis Selwyn Shrimplin, born in 1882. I say confirmed because various census records accredit Dom with two children. It is possible they did have another child who did not survive due to the high childhood mortality rate in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, Clifford has not been able to find a name or other record for this mystery child.

Lewis went by Selwyn, I can imagine to reduce confusion between him and his father. Around 1902 he married a woman named Marie, and they eventually set up house in San Jose. Selwyn worked at first for the Mercury Newspaper as a clerk and later worked for the Herald. Later on, he set up shop as a musician and sold sheet music and strings for musical instruments. Selwyn’s death is intriguing, as he died in the Napa Insane Asylum in 1944. Of course, mental illness was not understood at the time as it is today (which still isn’t an exact understanding) so it is possible he was suffering from anything from bipolar depression to schizophrenia and anything in between. Marie outlived him, dying in Los Angeles in 1962. No children are known from their marriage.

As I said, family member Clifford has done quite a lot of work. He has set up several Find A Grave memorials for his family. Click on this link to go to Dom’s memorial, and then you can click around to read about others if you are interested. I have mailed the original of Dom’s photo to Clifford so he can keep it with his family treasures and share it with other family members. This is a very satisfying family reunion!

Family Reunion: Red Velvet Album

You may remember this photograph from the Red Velvet Album, which we recently concluded. At the time I had called it The Whole Family thinking we might have seen the boys in previous photos. Later as we went through the album I showed you the baby photo of Franklin Francis Ford and that one solid identification has led to the identification of the image above! This is Elias Cole Ford, his wife Belle Kirby Ford, older son Elias Kirby Ford and the four or five year old Franklin Francis Ford.

I have been in contact with the wife of a great nephew of Frank Ford, and she said that her family does have a copy of the photo above, but it’s a poor quality copy and is part of a montage of other images. She also thinks that the photo titled A Sister Surely could be Sarah Elsie Ford who died in 1881. The resemblance of that young lady to the girl with the long hair in Long, Beautiful Hair makes me wonder if that is also a Ford family member.

Happily, Susie Ford will be taking ownership of the Red Velvet Album and working to determine if there are family connections in Pennsylvania. The family definitely was in Dakota Territory as they made their way West. Another happy ending for a lost and formerly wandering photo album!

Family reunion: Green Fan Album

This happy occasion has taken a couple months to come to fruition, but it is oh, so satisfying! As you know, when a photo is identified, the full name(s) are listed in the content of a posting. I had always hoped that someone somewhere would be searching for a family member and identify a photo. I have had several people post about their relative having been the photographer named, but this time, I had a great-grandchild indicate that the photo was of their great-grandmother.

The Green Fan Album

This is the Green Fan Album. You may recall that it contains 22 photos dating from the 19th century through the early 20th century. There are several names, including Vincent Joy, Ellen Wachtel Joy, Marilyn Talbot, and Francis Guisinger Von Kaenel. It is Francis that brought about this family reunion. 

Iggy found out for us that Francis and her sister Clotilda “Vonnie” Guisinger both married Von Kaenels – Hans Otto and Fred, respectively. This is an amazing story and I won’t even be able to scratch the surface here. Hans Otto and Fred were princes in Switzerland (!!!). At the time the Habsburgs were still in control of Austria-Hungary in the late 19th century, there were numerous insurrections and uprisings, bids for democracy and general unstability. (If you remember your history, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand of Austria was the catalyist for the beginning of the Great War, World War 1. There was significant nationalistic unrest in this area for many years.) Hans Otto and Fred came to America in about 1909 to escape the turmoil, and wound up living in the same neighborhood as the lovely Guisinger sisters. Vonnie and Fred married in 1913 and Francis and Hans married around the same time. 

Fred and Vonnie’s child Constance is the grandmother of Kenneth, who I will be sending the Green Fan Album this week. Constance is still alive at age 96, and Kenneth tells me she is sharp as a tack and plays in a band! There are so many stories wrapped up in this album and he believes she will be able to shed some light on who many of the photos portray. I am eager to find out more! Kenneth promised that the family will send us more information about the family and the photos, but also said that he himself is still researching the ties to Europe and the Habsburgs. Apparently, it was a family scandal that Hans Otto and Fred married “common” girls from America, but such uncommonly beautiful ladies they were, how could they have resisted!?

Lewandowski Family Reunion

Just a few days ago, I posted the tiny photo cut into the shape of a heart of the three Lewandowski sisters.

Well, because the photo had been identified on the back, the amazing Intense Guy was able to find one of the girls. Iggy, I do not know how you do it! So, he found an address for Geraldine and I dropped her a note in the mail. Last night I got an email from Gerry, who is now 83 years old and says that she enjoys fun and laughter, and that her family is very important to her. Gerry is pictured with her two sisters, and is the girl on the left of the photo. She told me the photo was taken in 1934 at The Pike amusement park in Long Beach, CA. Dulcy is the older girl in the middle and Dottie was 16 months younger.

This is a photo postcard of The Pike the way it might have looked to Gerry and her sisters. It existed in some form from the early 1900s to the 1970s, declining as the years progressed. In the 1970s the city of Long Beach tore all this down and rebuilt it to include much less beach and much more concrete. Follow this link  or this one to see photos of what the area looks like today. In the first photo, there is a small section of beach shown in the top left – that is all that remains of the original long beach in Long Beach. The large round building marks approximately the location of The Pike and moving lower to the right in the picture marks the rough location of the Rainbow Pier, which was a horse shoe shaped pier which was later filled in as a breakwater and used to create the rounded little harbor. In front of the shiny building next to the round one (the Aquarium of the Pacific) you see some water – that is called Rainbow Lagoon. Not to far from this area is the permanent location of the Queen Mary. There is a new Pike area with a Ferris Wheel, shopping, restaurants, etc, but nothing like the old Pike with the big roller coaster.

I will be mailing off the original photograph to Gerry tomorrow. I am so very happy to be in contact with her and to return to her a photo of her and her two now deceased sisters. I hope it brings back many happy memories!

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