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Sunday, March 9, 2014

WHITNEY, Gustavos Adolphus

This photo of Gustavos Adolphus WHITNEY was found at an Antique and Art Show in Stuart Florida yesterday.  The matte bears a studio stamp which says "Marratt, 131,133 and 135 Woodward Ave, Detroit, Mich."

The back is inscribed:

Return to Louis H. Jarvis
1401 2nd Ave
Detroit, Mi

G.A. Whitney
Born March 6, 1827
at Bangor Maine
Died July 24 1904
at 9:45 a.m.

Then there is additional writing at the bottom, which appears to say "1 col stereo scene for Tuesday."

This has the appearance of having been loaned to a newspaper or other publication for the purpose of an obituary article.

In the archives at the Detroit Free-Press, the following Funeral Notice insert was located:

The 1880 Detroit census shows G Whitney (53) living at 162 Cass Street with his wife Adelaide (37) and children Flora (17), Allie (16), Frank (14) and Bertha (8). Gustavos' occupation is "painter" and he was born in Maine. Adelaide was born in New York, but neither of them know where their parents were born. Son Frank works as a clerk in a shop. There are two boarders also living with the family; Samie Andrews (30) who works as a store clerk, and Byron Frick (or Frink) (32), an advertising agent.

The 1903 Detroit City Directory shows him at 54 W. Baltimore Avenue, with a business called "Whitney & Smith" and his partner was Albert O. Smith.  The 1905 Directory lists Adelaide as the widow of Gustavos. In that same Directory, Frank J. Whitney is given as the president of Whitney Furniture Manufacturing. Not sure if this is the same Frank Whitney who is the son of Gustavos.

The owner of the photo at that time, Louis H. Jarvis (born in Canada), was the husband of Gustavos' daughter Flora. In the 1911 City Directory for Detroit, there was a Louis H. Jarvis living at 1401 2nd Avenue. In other years' directories, he is given as a grocer.

Monday, March 3, 2014


This group of FRANZEN and VAN HEUFELN family members have gone home!

This next group was all found in the same box at an Antique Show. I got the distinct impression that the same hand wrote the notes on the back of all of these images, so I bought them all to keep them together. Furthermore, all of the photos were taken in the same region of Nebraska.  I was thrilled later to discover that all of those photos purchased at the show that day were related to each other.

The first group are labeled as the daughters of HEIE FRANZEN.

Elsie FRANZEN Meyer
Ester FRANZEN Marty
Heie Franzen was a brother of Ubbo "Otto" Franzen (see previous post). And Heie and Otto were half-brothers to Herman and Edward Van Heufeln (see below.)

"Mini Franzen" was apparently incorrectly spelled on the photo. Her name according to her headstone was "Minnie". She was a nurse for the Army during World War II. She is buried at the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Leigh, Nebraska, where many of this family lived.

Ester married Ernest Marty and had two children. Elsie married Norman Meyer and had two children.

The next group bears the surname VAN HEUFELN.

Herman and Louise
Class of 47
The back of the photo of Aletta says "Aletta Van Heufeln Kumpf, (Mrs. Le Roy), Ed Van H.'s daughter." The matte is stamped "Taylor, Madison, Nebraska" with an additional embossed mark that says "Class 47". 

The photo of Herman and Louise bears a studio stamp which I cannot read, but I am able to make out the location as Humphrey, Nebraska.  Herman was a brother of Edward Van Heufeln. 

Herman married Marie Louise Beckedorf. Aletta's father Edward married Olga Pauline Beckedorf. So Herman is her father's brother, and Louise is her mother's sister.

I also found this page which has an excellent history of this family:

And this obituary on Zeide Van Heufeln offers more information on this family:

FRANZEN, Art and Elaine

ART FRANZEN, Otto's son
Art and Elaine FRANZEN have gone home!

Here we have two Confirmation photos of siblings Art FRANZEN and Elaine FRANZEN. The matte is missing on the photo of Art, but for Elaine, it is stamped "Daniel, Columbus." This turned out to be Columbus Nebraska. Time period for Elaine appears to be early 1930s, and the photo of Art looks much earlier.

The back of Art's photo says "Art Franzen, Otto's son."

The back of Elaine's photo says "Elaine Franzen  Hellbusch, Otto Franzen's girl".

Otto Franzen's girl
Using these clues, I have determined that "Art" is Arthur Louis Franzen (1908 - 1963) who married Elsie Ann Becher and had at least two sons. His parents are Ubbo "Otto" Louis Franzen, a German immigrant, and Helene Daniels, a Nebraska-born daughter of German immigrants.

Otto and Helene had several children; Lydia, Arthur, Leona, Edgar, Elaine and Melvin.

Elaine (1918 - 2006) married Clarence Hellbusch in 1936, and had 2 daughters. She and Clarence farmed in rural Nebraska and returned to Columbus upon retirement. She enjoyed watching sports on television and was a Cubs fan.

At, I was able to locate a more recent photo of Elaine, and a full obituary which I will not reprint here because this was a fairly recent passing and the obituary contains names of living people and I prefer to respect their privacy. I will however post the recent photo next to that of the old photo, for the purpose of comparison.


RENAUD, Frederick Carleton

Fredrick Carleton RENAUD, 1909, with
his mother Georgianna Decelles Renaud.

This photo was taken at the photographic studio of "Chandler, St Albans, VT".  The back is inscribed "Fredrick Carleton Renaud, age 4 months, Nov 16, 1909."

The child was therefore born in or near Mid-July 1909.

1910 Census records for St. Albans, Vermont (enumerated in April 1910) show a family living at number 10 High Street, consisting of Fredrick G. Renaud (age 31), Georgianna D. (age 32), son Carleton F. (age 9 months). Also in the household are 38-yr-old sister-in-law Melinda Decelles and 20-yr-old brother Eliot Renaud.

Father Fredrick G. is listed as a Barber and runs his own shop, while his brother Eliot, also a barber, helps out in the shop. Melinda is given as a machine operator in a clothing factory.

The full name of the baby's father was Fredrick Guiesbert Renaud.

By the time Carleton was 10, the family had relocated to Southbridge Massachusetts.

In the 1930 Census for that town, the father is still employed as a barber, while 20-yr-old  F. Carleton is a prescription clerk in a drug store. In 1937, he married Lillia B. (Pinsonneault) also of Southbridge and she outlived him by 17 years.

In the 1950s Carleton is found in the City Directory for North Adams, Massachusets, employed as a Chef at St Anthony Hall at Williams College. Eventually the couple moved back to Southbridge. It is unknown whether or not Carleton and Lillia had children.

COLE Siblings

COLE Siblings, circa 1924, of Nebraska
This snapshot was found in the same West Palm Beach Florida Antique Show where most of the recent posts were found. I am guessing on the time period (around 1924) based upon the clothing and the automobile parked at the curb. The people appear to be in their sixties, so would be born in the 1860s and thereabouts.

The back of the photo bears the inscription:
1. Uncle Will Cole
2.           Frank  "
3. Aunt Lizzie   "
4. Uncle Clarence  "
5.   "     Barrett    "

The note was obviously written by the offspring of one of these people, and my guess goes to some child of Frank. The reason I think that, is that there is no "ditto" mark before the name Frank. All of the other names bear some relationship title in front of the name, ie. Aunt or Uncle. I think the "ditto" mark was purposely omitted in front of Frank because he is the father of the person labeling the photo.

The 1880 Census for Clarksville Nebraska shows a family named COLE. The parents are John F. Cole (b. abt 1822) and Mary R. Cole (b. abt 1828.) At that time they are farmers and have six children living at home and helping to farm the land. The children are: Franklin (age 22, thus born abt 1858), Charles W. (21 / 1859), James S. (17 / 1863), Elizabeth (14 / 1866), Barrett (12 / 1868) and Clarence (9 / 1871).

Further research shows there was also three older brothers, William Albert Cole (born 1848), John Henry Cole (born 1852) and Robert Mory Cole (1854-1924) - all of whom had left home prior to the 1880 Census.

I noted the death date for older brother Robert (died 1924), and then examined the photograph a bit more carefully and found that this group of siblings appear to be standing in front of a church; a stained glass window is visible over the right shoulder of "Uncle Will." I wonder if this gathering of siblings was on the occassion of Robert's funeral? They are all wearing dark clothes.

Franklin married Laura Malone and they had a son Ralph (1898 - 1975) whom I suspect held the pencil that wrote the names of the subjects on the back of this snapshot.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

PETERSON, Clara Mann

This photo bears the studio stamp "Smith, Waterbury, Conn."  The back is inscribed "December 1910, Clara Mann Peterson."

The 1900 Census records for Connecticut, show that there is a Clara M PETERSON living in New Britain, Connecticut (which is about 20 miles from Waterbury.) That record indicates that she is born February 1890, so if that is the same person, then she is nearly 21 years old in this photo, in 1910. I am not sure if that is the right person. The woman in this photograph looks younger that 21 to me. I would guess between 15 and 17.

The 1910 Census for Naugatuck, Connecticut (about 5 miles from downtown Waterbury) shows a 16 year old Clara P. MANN living with her parents Albert Mann and Sarah Mann, and her grandmother Maria Mann. Albert was 46 years old and working as a foreman at a woolen mill. I will keep researching to see if she married a Peterson.


Walter and Fannie RUMSEY, with children Florence and Reginald.

This photo was located at the Antique Show which was held at the South Florida Fairgrounds yesterday.  The front of the photo is stamped "R.L. Bartlett, Shrewsbury."

The back of the photo is inscribed "Walter and Fannie Rumsey, dau. Florence (age 17), son Reginald (age 18)."

For quite a while today I was getting frustrated that I could not find the Rumsey family in census records for Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, as I had assumed that was the Shrewsbury indicated by the photographer's studio stamp. Only when I started looking at other Shrewsburys did the right family come into focus.

Eventually I was able to determine that the photo was taken circa 1907 or 1908, in Shrewsbury, Shropshire County, in the west of England, near the border with Wales.

The father is Walter English Rumsey (born 1856 to parents William Rumsey and Arabella English.)

The mother is Sarah Fanny Harris.

The daughter is Florence English Rumsey (Oct 1891 - 1966 ) who would later marry Welshman Ernest Peter Tucker in 1928.

The son is Reginald English Rumsey (1890 - 1918) who would marry Gladys Louise Gardner in 1915. Their life together was destined to be a very short one. He joined the 10th Service Battalion Welsh Regiment and served as a Lieutenant before transferring to the RAF in which he achieved the rank of Captain. He died on 9th Dec 1918 at the Halsar Hospital in Gosport, Hampshire from burns and other injuries when his plane crashed. His obituary in the Royal Aeronautical Society magazine also states he 'Carried out some brilliant observation work over the German lines'. He is buried in Shrewsbury General cemetery and was awarded the 1914/15 Star, British War & Victory Medals. In his will, he left his wife £349.

The family is also found on the 1901 English Census. Walter's occupation is "Journalist / Author". The family lived at Mountfields Villa.  The 1911 English Census gives Walter as a "Shipping Agent" and 20-yr-old Reginald is a "Shipping Clerk".

Sharon Donaldson of the Roundhay St. John Church in Roundhay Leeds England sent this photo of a memorial at the church which includes the name of Reginald Rumsey. It is always a treat to be able to collaborate with other researchers when investigating the details of the lives of the people in these photos.

Friday, February 28, 2014

ANNABLE, Benjamin & Philena

Benjamin and Philena have gone home!

No location or time period given on the photos; just names.

However, the photos appear to have been taken in the late-1880's or early-1890's time frame. Based upon the apparent age of the subjects, my best guess for year of birth is around 1810-1820.

The wonderful website happened to have the headstone photo available for this pair, and this provided a great deal of information. For instance, the couple are  buried at Walnut Grove Cemetery in Onondaga Hill, New York.

Benjamin was born in 1815 in Onondaga Hill, NY and died in 1900 in Syracuse. His wife, Philena Betts was born in 1825 in Bordino NY and died in 1903 in Syracuse.

Further internet research shows that they were the parents of 12 children: George Annable, Dwight Annable, Henrietta Annable, Elizabeth Annable Hutchings, Harriet Annable, Maria (Mary C.) Annable, Benjamin Annable Jr., Sarah Annable, Willis Annable, Ella Annable, Emma Annable, Leonard Annable.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


PHILIP BARRETTE, July 1st 1889
This photo of Philip Barrette was found at an antique show in West Palm Beach, Florida. The photo bears a studio stamp which says "Simas, Placerville, Cal."

The handwritten name on the back also includes a first name initial which is either an "S" or an "L", but the gentleman must have gone by the name "Philip" more often than whatever his first name was.

Internet research shows a BARRETTE family living near Placerville in this time period, in a community called Shingle Springs. The patriarch of the family, Guillaume Barrette (1825-1882), was French-Canadian and settled in Shingle Springs in the mid-1800's. He and his New Hampshire-born wife, Abby Smith, had two sons Ernest G. Barrette (1863-1931) and Louis Philip Barrette (1867-1929). The family were farmers, living along French Creek, and were prominent citizens of the community. The younger brother was elected "Justice of the Peace" in 1890. In all newspaper accounts, he is referred to as "Philip" and not as "Louis."

The Barrette brothers married sisters (respectively Philipina Meder and Mary Emma Meder.)  Philip and Mary Emma had three sons; Floyd, Louis and Lester.

Elsewhere on the internet, I was able to locate known photographs of the Barrette brothers and their spouses, of Shingle Springs, California. I have zoomed in here to isolate only the men's faces. You will note an extremely close resemblance to the photo I found.

It is not known in what year these two photos were taken, but the one of Philip shows him with his wife Mary Emma at his side. He was married in 1891, according to California Marriage Records, so the photo is at least two years older than the photo I found, above.

I am struck by the similarity of hairline in the photo of Ernest, comparing it with the found photo, and I am open to the possibility that the found photo may actually be mis-labeled with the wrong brother's name, and could actually be Ernest. However, it also appears that Ernest has a more slender face than either Philip or the fellow in the found photo. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014



This photo, found at the Florida Fairgrounds Antique Show, was in a box which contained many members of the same family from upstate New York. The photo above was taken at the Waldbillig Studio in Albany, NY. The 1880 Census indicates that Charles was a basketmaker and lived at 133 Third Avenue. He and Mary were both born in New York, of German parents. Mary's maiden name was Weiss.

Their first child LILLIAN SMITHLEN, was born May 2 of 1880.

A photo of Lillian as an adult (see image at right) was also in the same box.

Lillian would eventually marry an Englishman named Ralph Dyke, and they resided on Lake Avenue in Saratoga Springs, New York. Ralph died before 1952, as Lillian is listed as his widow in the 1952 City Directory. I remember seeing a few photos labeled with the Dyke surname in the same box, but due to budget constraints I only acquired the group named Smithlen, not knowing at the time that they were all related. Now I wish I had bought those as well.

I read on an online genealogy discussion  board that Charles and Mary also had two sons, George and Charles Jr.

I did not find a photo of the sons, but did find a photo of a wife of one of the sons.

The image at left is labeled "GEORGIE (2 years 11 months) and his mother LOTTIE SMITHLEN, probably around 1910".

Some internet research revealed that George Lancaster Smithlen was born December 18, 1907 to parents Charles Nichols Smithlen (born May 9, 1889) and Charlotte A. (last name possibly Pilger, born 1889 in Germany.)

I believe Georgie's dad was the same Charles Jr. mentioned on the discussion board as one of the sons of Charles Sr. and Mary.

Charles Jr. is found in the Rennselaer NY City Directory of 1929, where his occupation is given as "Machinist." In the 1940 Census he indicates that he is employed by New York State as an elevator operator.

At some point, Georgie relocates to California where he lives until his passing in 1984 in Los Angeles.

The couple (Charles Jr and Charlotte) have a second son, CHARLES A. SMITHLEN, born August 6, 1915. There were two photos of this younger brother, which are shown below:

     <--- at 4 months

at 10 1/2 months --->

On the 1940 New York Census, Charles 3rd (then 25 years old) was still single and living at home with his parents in the East Greenbush area of Rennselaer, NY. He was employed by RCA Radio, working as a salesman.

On Dec 12, 1941, he registered for the military draft.