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Monday, December 22, 2014

SUREL, Marie Theresa - High School Diploma

Not a person's photograph, but still too important a treasure to leave it sitting there!

This is the High School Diploma of one MARIE THERESA SUREL, who graduated from Cathedral Central High School in Detroit Michigan on June 12, 1936.

In the same bi-fold presentation cover, there is a small card detailing the classes that Ms. Surel successfully completed. These are Apologetics I & II, Stenography I & II, English VII & VIII, and Bookkeeping I & II.

I admit, I had to go to Google to learn what Apologetics could possibly be. But now I am all that much wiser. According to Wikipedia:  "Apologetics (from Greek ἀπολογία, "speaking in defense") is the discipline of defending a position (often religious) through the systematic use of information."

Perhaps we would refer to that as "Debate" or "Public Speaking" these days.

In trying to determine who Marie Theresa Surel could have been, I started first at and looked at the 1930 Census records for the area.  I found only one family with that surname. They lived on Riopelle Street in Detroit. Father John, mother Paulina, and children Walter, Sofia, Maria and Edwin. In 1930 the daughter Maria is 13 years old, making her the correct age to graduate from High School in 1936. The slight variation on the spelling of the name does not overly concern me as names on census records are often slightly "mis-recorded." The parents were born in Poland. The children were born in Michigan. The father's occupation is "Butcher."

The following newspaper article was published in late April of 1931. Marie/Maria would have been fourteen at that time:

Let that be a lesson to the would-be robbers - Never threaten the daughter of a butcher.

On the 1940 Detroit census, daughter "Mary" is 22 and living at home. Her occupation is "Inspector" in the Automobile Industry.

(Click for larger)
8-Jun-1940, a Wayne County Michigan Marriage Certificate was issued between Marie Surel (age 22, born abt 1917) and John Smigielski (age 26, born abt 1914) The bride's parents are given as John Surel and Pauline Solyjan. The groom's parents are Karol Smigielski (1885-1975) and Stella Graczyk (1881-1976).

I believe the following are the dates of life for Marie Theresa Surel-Smigielski:

Born 27-May-1917
Died 10-Jan-1988, Eastpointe, Macomb, Michigan


UPDATE - Norma Stanley has been claimed by a relative and is going home!   This photo, found in a basket of old photos at a West Palm Beach, Florida antique fair, is labelled as "Norma Stanley" and bears in imprint of a photographic studio in Webster City Iowa.

Just guessing, I'd say the date of the photo could be anywhere between 1905 and 1920. I am not certain how long the "bowl" haircut has been in use for children. But I have another photo (of another person) which seems to be done in the same sort of process which results in a very shiny background, as in this photo, and that previous photo was dated 1909. So that may be a similar time period. Then again, that process may have spanned many years.

NORMA ARLENE STANLEY (born 1912) Webster City, IA.  At the age of 2, she was found on a State Census card, residing in Webster City, Hamilton County, Iowa. However, the card is for the individual only, and does not mention any relatives. Still it confirms that a person of that name lived in the community.

Five years later, Norma is found again in the Federal census in nearby Case, Hamilton County, Iowa.

1920 Case, Hamilton County, Iowa
STANLEY, W.C., head, 29, [born abt 1891 in Ohio], farmer
STANLEY, Blanche, wife, 33 [abt 1887 in Iowa]
STANLEY, Norma, daughter, 7 [abt 1913]
STANLEY, Dale, son, 5
STANLEY, Donald, son, 3
STANLEY, Neva, daughter, 1

At a projected age of 17, Norma is no longer in the household and presumably married or deceased.
1930 Census, Scipio, Ohio
STANLEY, William C., head, 41, farmer
STANLEY, Blanche D., wife, 41
STANLEY, Dale, son, 15
STANLEY, Donald, son, 13
STANLEY, Neva E., son, 11
STANLEY, Duane S., son, 10
STANLEY, Denzel (?), son, 3 1/2

Further research shows that Norma married at the age of 16 to Orville Cuckler. She and her husband moved to Albany (Athens County) Ohio where they are enumerated on the May 1, 1930 Census. Her daughter Mary was born (and died) May 16, and sadly Norma died 4 days later, at the age of 17.

It appears that the baby who died was a twin. There is also a Geraldine Cuckler, also born in 1930, who at the age of 9 appears on the 1940 Census for Scipio, Ohio, living in the household of William and Blanche, her grandparents, and identified as "granddaughter."

Norma's parents full names were William Culbert Stanley (1888-1974) and Blanche E. Dale (1886-1980).  William's parents were John Robert Stanley and Mary Effie Bolin.  Blanche's parents were Lewis Cass Dale and Mina Beightol.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

CASE, Mrs. Justin

Mrs. Justin Case, Annie Jarvis
This photo was located at an antique fair in Stuart, Florida.

The photo was taken around 1890 at a photographic studio in New Britain, Connecticut. The subject appears to be in her early to mid-30's, so likely born around 1855-1860.

On the back, it is labeled "Mrs. Justin Case."

The photo has faded a bit, but I have boosted the contrast before posting it here.

The city directory for New Britain Connecticut for the year 1889 includes a listing for Justin L. Case. He was a lockmaker at the R&E Manufacturing Company. In the 1892 Directory he is listed as a locksmith.

Justin Case appears on the 1870 census as an 18-yr-old, thus born about 1852, living at home with his mother Lamina Lucretia Case,  along with a possible older brother or uncle named Cromwell O. Case, age 24. There is also Justin's aunt Mary Hays in the household. In that year, relationship to the head of the household was not recorded, but Mary continues to live with this family and is identified in later years as Justin's aunt.

The 1900 Census indicates that Justin was born in Connecticut in October 1851. His wife Annie was born in England in June 1855. Son Marcus W. was born in July 1883 and daughter Elsie Elizabeth was born in September 1884. Also there is Justin's aunt Mary Hays and a nurse May Daly.

UPDATE - a distant relative of Annie tells me that Elsie later married a carpenter named Grover Goodridge and died in 1961, apparently without issue. Justin's son Marcus William Case married a widow and may not have left any children of his own.

The 1910 Census shows Justin, now 58 years old, and still employed as a lockmaker at the same company. 

In Febuary 1917, Justin L. Case filled out a required Military Census form and supplied the following information. He had served 3 years as an infantry private in the C.N.G. (does that stand for Connecticut National Guard?) He also divulged that he had suffered a serious physical injury, specifically "rupture."

Justin Lucius Case died later that same year, on December 12, 1917. His wife Annie Jarvis, lived to the age of 77, passing in 1934. They are buried in the Fairview Cemetery in New Britain Connecticut.

UPDATE - I have just discovered that Justin Case is a first cousin of Edward Brocket who is mentioned in the "Charles & Evelyn ROWE" story below. Justin's father, Justus Marcus Case, had a sister Sarah Cordelia Case who married James Everlin Brockett in Simsbury Connecticut. Sarah and James had a son Edward Brockett, whose daughter married Charles Rowe and had son Evelyn. I should not be surprised to find that these people were related since their photos came out of the same box at the antique fair.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

ROWE, Charles and Evelyn

Chas. B. Rowe
These two photos were located at the Stuart Florida Fairgrounds at a booth in the Antique Fair.

The first is labeled "Chas B. Rowe" and was taken circa 1897 at the Stoddard Photographic Studio in New Haven, Connecticut.

I estimate the young man was around 25 years of age at the time, thus an approximate birth year of 1872 is assumed.

The second photo, found in the same box of photos, is of a man holding a toddler outside in front of a house. The location is not known. The back of the photo bears the inscription: "For Mother, May 15th, 1909, Chas & Evelyn Rowe".

The child looks to be probably not over 3 years of age, therefore an approximate year of birth for the child would be around 1906 or 1907.

Chas & Evelyn Rowe, May 1909 was able to help quite a bit, once I got past my prejudices. 

Having assumed the child named Evelyn was a girl, I ended up running into dead-ends in the research. Once I realized that Evelyn can also be a boy's name, I came upon a family which fit the bill perfectly.

In the 1910 Census for Simbury Connecticut, there is a farming family headed up by 55 year old Edward Brockett and his wife Caroline E. Also living at the residence are son-in-law Charles B. Rowe (age 39), daughter May (32) and grandson Evelyn (2).

Charles B. Rowe was therefore born about 1871 and son Evelyn was born in 1907 or 1908.

By the time of the 1930 Census, Charles Rowe's wife is listed as Ethel H. and Evelyn is going by the name "E. Brocket Rowe." (Can't say that I blame him.) By the 1940 Census, he has adjusted it further to "Evans Rowe."

Armed with that information, was able to locate the family's headstone and fill in the remaining data.

UPDATE - the people in these photographs are relatives also of "Mrs. Justin CASE" whom you can read about in the next story. These photos were acquired from the same box at the antique fair.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


This photo was located in upstate New York. It was originally taken at the Holmes Photographic Studio on Broadway, in Albany NY.

There is a paper cover, which when opened reads:
Aunt Ida, from her niece Edith M. Long Mead, August 17, 1909.
Find-a-Grave's website has the same photo, and apparently someone there has already done all the research for me. The following comes from that site:

Birth: Dec. 19, 1890
Unionville (Albany County)
Albany County
New York, USA
Death: Feb. 18, 1962
Albany County
New York, USA

Daughter of: Peter Henry Long. Sr. (1860-1946) and Sarah E. Van Deusen Long (1864-1942.)

Wife of: John J. Mead (1870-1944).

Mother of: Albert Henry Mead

"Aunt Ida" would appear to be Idella Long, a sister to Edith's father.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

LEWIS, Arthur and Augusta

Arthur and Augusta (Fairchild) LEWIS
UPDATE - Arthur and Augusta Lewis have been claimed by a granddaughter and are going home!

Also found in an antique shop in upstate New York was this portrait of siblings Arthur and Augusta LEWIS.  The photos was taken at a studio in Cortland, New York circa 1900. was very helpful in locating information on the sister.  According to that site, Augusta was born Jul. 21, 1898 and died on Dec. 21, 1974.  She married Ralph Fairchild. Here is her obituary, copied from her memorial at that site:

   Mrs. Augusta L. Fairchild, 76, died early Saturday morning in County General Hospital, Dade City, Fla. She had been a life resident of the Cortland area.
    Born in Cortland on July 21, 1898, she was the daughter of Marion and Mertie Weed Lewis.
    Mrs. Fairchild was a member of the First Baptist Church of Cortland, Iolanthe Rebekah Lodge of Homer, ladies auxiliary of Cortland City American Legion Post 489, auxiliary of the World War I Barracks of Cortland, and auxiliary of the Letter Carriers' Association.
    Surviving are a son, Lewis D. Fairchild of Homer; a brother, C. Arthur Lewis of South Orange, N.J.; a step-grandson, Bruce J. Knowlton of Waldorf, Md.; three nephews and several cousins.

The brother's full name was Chester Arthur Lewis. He married Winifred Bumpus in 1921 and lived in New Jersey to the age of 83. The Census of 1920 shows he was an electrician at a wire mill. The 1940 Census says he an Electrical Foreman. At that time he has three sons; Arthur, Roderick and Warren. Winifred survived him by about 5 years. Both are buried in Otsego County, New York.

Monday, October 6, 2014

LEWIS, Clyde, Bob and Mother

UPDATE - Clyde, Bob and their mother Mertie have been claimed by a relative and are going home!

Today's project is a couple of photos found together at an antique shop in Madison New York. They are of a family which lived in Madison, New York at the turn of the century.

Mrs. Charles Lewis, Madison NY
The first photo is labeled "Mrs. Charles Lewis, Madison NY" and was taken at a studio in Waterville, NY. The photo probably was taken circa 1885.

The second photo is of brothers "Clyde and Bob Lewis, Madison, NY" and was probably taken around the same time period.

Checking the Federal Census for the year 1900, we find a Lewis family living in Madison NY which consists of parents Charles S. Lewis (age 49), Mertie G. Lewis (39), sons A. Clyde (21), Robert E (19), and daughters J June (13) and Daisy B. (10).

Clyde and Bob Lewis, Madison, NY
We can assume that Clyde is the elder of these two brothers in the photo, since his name was listed first. And if the Clyde on the Census was 21 in 1900, then he was born around 1879. If the guess that the photo was taken about 1885 is anywhere near correct, and if this is the same family shown in the Census, then the ages of the boys in the photo are approximately 6 and 4, which appears to be possible.

The 1880 Census shows the same family in Madison NY, although at that time, it consists of only Charles, Mertie and Clyde. We can safely assume that Robert was born around 1881.

There are graves in the Madison Village Cemetery, in Madison NY, for some members of this family. lists the following, although does not offer photos.

  • Charles S. Lewis (1851-1914)
  • Mertie Baker Lewis (1860-1901), wife of Charles S. Lewis.
  • Arthur Clyde Lewis (1879-1942), husband of Grace Henderson.
In the nearby town of Hamilton in Madison County, NY, there a headstone for Robert E. Lewis (1880-1974). It appears that he had a wife named Grace Catlin.

Sister Daisy married a man named Maggs. Jennie June married a man named Loghry.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Lulu Belle COLLINS (Rowland)

UPDATE - Lulu Belle Collins has been claimed and is going home!

This photo of Lulu Belle Collins was located over the weekend at the Oxford Kentucky Antique Fair. The photo appears to have been taken in the  late 1880's. The woman appears to be age 20 or thereabouts.

The front of the photo is marked "Buck Studio, East Second Street, Holden Missouri."

The back of the photo contains a hand-written label which says "Lulu Belle Collins, Strasburg."

By accessing the records at, I have determined that Lulu Belle was born in Strasburg, Missouri, on September 20, 1869 and lived to be almost 90 years old.

She was a daughter of Dr. Robert Willis Collins and Gabriella Rowland. Furthermore, Lulu Belle married a Rowland.

She is buried in Wichita Kansas under the name Lulu Belle Rowland.

Friday, August 29, 2014

BISSELL, Clarissa Finch

Clarissa Finch Bissell
This photograph was acquired at the Washington County Antique Fair in Greenwich New York. The photo was originally taken in Morris New York, circa 1875.

Clarissa, sometimes seen as Clarice or Clariss, was born in 1854 in New York State to parents Amos FINCH (1827-1910) and Samantha DARE (1832-1880.) 

As a child she lived at the farm of her grandparents Jonas Finch (1782-1864) and Henrietta (unknown surname, 1785-1872). The farm was worked jointly by Jonas and Amos.

Clarissa had a younger brother named Fowler Finch (1855-1936.)

At some point, Clarissa married Emmett T. BISSELL (1841-1918). 

Clarissa lived to age 77 and passed away in 1931. She and most of her family are buried at the Highland Cemetery in Sidney, New York, the town in which her family lived. Sidney is not far from Morris, where the photographer's studio was located.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

UNKNOWN, unknown

Acquiring old photos at antique stores is a little like Triage.

I remember learning the meaning of the word "Triage" when I was in High School. I was a big fan of the television series "M*A*S*H" which featured a mobile surgical hospital during the Korean War. When new patients arrived from the battle front, the doctors and nurses immediately engaged in "Triage."

The word comes from French, and means "separating into three parts." In the hospital setting, this means determining, as quickly as possible, to which category the patient belongs.

1. those who do not need immediate help.
2. those who can be helped.
3. those who cannot be helped.

Those who can be helped are taken for immediate attention. Those who cannot be helped must be left behind, or left for the lowest priority of attention.

Photographs in antique shops have to be treated like patients in a Triage setting. Those which have the best chance to be "helped" are the ones which bear the most identifying information; names, dates, location. Many bear a studio stamp on the matte which provides a location. Some photos may offer extra clues besides the names and dates, such as "this is Aunt Mildred's eldest son." These are the photos I add to my collection, and work to reunite with their existing family.

Of course, the majority of photos in antique shops have no identifying information at all. Some lovely face that was adored by someone. A portrait that was the object of someone's fond recollection. But now there is no way to know who the person was. Without the identification included, that person is now anonymous, and cannot be helped. Regrettably, those photos have to be left behind.

This small oval portrait was found between the pages of a book, and was shared with me by a follower of this blog. Had I seen this image in a shop, I would have put it back into the box and moved on. According to the person who found it, there are no identifying marks. The photo was trimmed into a roughly oval shape, perhaps to fit into a locket.

He seems to be a dapper fellow, and was clearly loved by someone. Perhaps someone will see it here and recognize the man. It would be a miracle, but I think that is his only hope.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

CRAIN, Leonard and Margaret

Leonard Austin CRAIN, age 1 year

These two photos of Leonard Crain and his sister Margaret were located at a large outdoor antiques fair in Washington County New York.

Leonard was born in Afton ,New York about 1907. Margaret was born, presumably in or near the same location, in 1910.

Their parents were Joseph Henry CRAIN (1870-1952) and Nellie Martin SKILLMAN (1873-1964.)

Early in their marriage, Joseph and Nellie lived in Sharon Springs, Schoharie County, NY. He worked as a High School principal, and she as a teacher.

Margaret Lee CRAIN, age 8 months

The 1910 Census at Afton, NY, shows that Joseph is the editor of a newspaper.

The 1930 Census for Aurora, Erie county, NY finds the family living on Oakwood Avenue.  Henry works as a field examiner for the US Veterans Adminstration.  Leonard, age 23, gives his occupation as Baptist Clergyman.

In 1932, Leonard was a passenger aboard the Japanese ship Chichibu Maru, sailing from Yokohama to Honolulu Hawaii. He states his birthdate is November 12, 1906 and that his current address is Colgate Divinity School in Rochester NY.

The 1940 Census shows that Leonard has moved out, but Margaret still resides at her parents house and has no occupation.

In August of 1945, Leonard arrived in New York from another voyage, aboard the Gripsholm which departed from Bombay India.

Monday, August 25, 2014

PINCKNEY, Jessie and Gertrude

Jessie Pinckney, age 6
Jessie and Gertrude have gone home!
These two photos of sisters Jessie and Gertrude PINCKNEY were located at an antique shop in Ballston Spa, New York.  The photos were taken in 1880 in the town of Rutland, Vermont.

The back of the first photo contains a hand-written note which says "Jessie Pinckney, age 6 years, in Dec 1880."

The back of the second photo says "Gertrude Pinckney, age 4 in Oct 1880."

I have discovered that these were two of the four children of Charles H. Pinckney and Grace A. Goodnough, who lived in Pittsford, Vermont around that time.  The other siblings were John and Grace Jr. Charles was a store clerk. They lived at the Pittsford farm of Grace's parents.

Gertrude Pinckney, age 4
Sadly, it was discovered that Gertrude died at age 18 of appendicitis.

Jessie married Walter Scott Hale, a clerk, but that marriage ended within a few years.

Jessie is found on the 1905 Manhattan Census, as the head of the household, which also includes her widowed mother, and a younger sister Grace Jr.

Jessie married again in 1906 to Herman Frank Hannun, a German-born dental surgeon from New York City.

An interesting side-note about Jessie's first husband Walter Scott Hale - I find lots of references in Census and City Directories for Walter Scott Hale.

He applied for a passport at age 16, and appears to be working for a shipping company in New York at that time. Census records report that he was born in Massachusetts; as was his father, and his mother was born in Rhode Island. He married Jessie Pinckney at age 21, but by age 25 he was a private in the military and serving in The Philippines during the Spanish-American War. When he returned home, he married Harriet C. (last name unknown) around 1904. She was born in California. Meanwhile, Jessie has gone to Manhattan, meets and marries Herman Hannun, so we can only assume Jessie and Walter have divorced. Walter returns to Rockford Mass and works as a real estate agent, insurance agent, and also is a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. By 1910, he has been married 6 years and has 3 children, and the family is living in Brookline Massachsetts. In 1918 he registered for the WWI draft. The 1920 census says he is an insurance salesman.

In 1922 Harriet files for Walter's military pension and gives her own status as "widow." The same form indicates that a previous filing had been made in 1920 when Walter became an "invalid."  A Boston area newspaper in June 1922 carried a headline stating that the House of Representatives opposed the Governor's veto of widow Harriet Hale's request to be paid the balance of her late husband's salary which he would have been entitled to, had he lived. The Journal of the Massachusetts House of Representatives glowingly eulogizes Walter in one entry in late May 1922, and carries a motion to adjourn early so fellow House members may attend the funeral.
Grace A. Goodnough
from tree

UPDATE - I am happy to report that I have found a relative to send these lovely girls' photos to. The recipient has a tree on which includes a photo of the girls' mother Grace A. Goodnough. I see now where the girls get their good looks. It is heart-warming to think that these photos will now be displayed lovingly on some shelf next to their mother. That is where they belong - not in a dusty old box in an antique shop.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


ETTA BENTLEY, Oriskany Falls, NY

This photo of Etta Bentley was taken circa 1888 in Utica, New York. The photo was acquired at an large antique show in Madison-Baukville, New York, in Madison County. The subject appears to be around 18-20 years old, which would make an approximately year of birth of about 1868-1870.

In consulting Census records of that area, there are two possible candidates to be the Etta Bentley in this photograph.

The first is ETTA BENTLEY, born 1869 in New York, and living with her family in 1870 in Utica (where this photo was taken.) Her father is English-born Henry A. Bentley (born circa 1843), a bookkeeper, and her mother is Mary (born circa 1847, last name unknown.)

The second is ETTA BENTLEY, born Oct 1870, and living with her family in 1880 in Cazenovia, in Madison County NY, not far from where the photo was found.  Her father was Eben Daniel Bentley, a farmer born in New York (1822-1900). Her mother was Maria B. Cresson (1843-1903.) Other siblings on the Census were Eddie (Ebben) Bentley (born abt 1872) and Minda (1873-1955).

On the 1900 Census for Cazenovia, Etta and Minda are still living at home with their parents. Their brother has apparently begun his own home elsewhere.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


John J. Robinson Sr., Fort Edward, NY
UPDATE - John J. Robinson has been claimed by his family and has gone home.

This photo of John J. Robinson was located in a shop in Glens Falls, New York. The photographer's mark on the front of the matte places the studio location at Fort Edward, NY, which is the community immediately south of Glens Falls. The hand-written inscription on the back says "John J. Robinson Sr."

The fellow appears to be in the range of 65-70 and the photo appears to have been taken between 1895-1900. That would put his birth year at or around 1830.

He appears on the 1855 State Census, living at Hebron, New York. He is the son of James and Ann Robinson, farmers, both age 56, and also in the household are John's siblings Martha (20), Jas. (15) and Orville (12)

In 1863, John registered for the Civil War Draft. At that time, he was a 33-yr-old farmer, married and living at Argyle, New York (which is about 4 miles from Fort Edward.

The 1870 Census for Fort Edward NY includes a JOHN J ROBINSON, age 40, whose occupation is simply described as "market." Does that mean he works at a grocery, or in the stock market? In the household with him are 30 year-old wife Margaret, who keeps house, Millard (10), Clara J. (8), Mary (4) and Ellen (8 mo.)

In 1875 Census, his occupation is "speculator." The youngest daughter is now going by the name Annette.

John J. Robinson was born 3 Sep 1831 in Oneida County, NY and died 5 Jan 1899 at Fort Edward, Washington County, NY.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Winnie Maude PUTNEY

Winnifred Maude Putney
This photo of Winnie Maude Putney was discovered at a shop in Glens Falls, NY. The photographic studio mark places the location at Concord, New Hampshire. The inscription on the reverse says "Winnie Maude Putney, 1894, 9 months."

The New Hampshire Birth and Christening Index lists a Winnie Maude Putney, born October 2, 1893 to parents Luther C. Putney and Annie P. Wadleigh, residing in Webster, NH which is just to the northwest of Concord.

Her mother died when Winnie was quite young. On the 1900 Census in Webster, Luther is described as "widowed" and he lives alone with 6-yr-old Winnie. Luther is a farmer.

By the time of the 1910 Census, the widowed mother-in-law Mary C. Wadleigh has been added to the household.

In October 1922, she married Samuel Vincent Phillips, son of Samuel K. Phillips and Henrietta Reid.

Winnie was the wife of Samuel Phillips of East Fishkill. She was also a civic leader. She graduated from Northfield Seminary and was involved in the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Order of the Eastern Star, the Matinee Musical Club of Beacon, the Wednesday Club, and the American Red Cross chapter of Fishkill. She and Samuel were the parents of a son, George R. Phillips, and a daughter, Miss Mary V. Phillips.

Friday, August 8, 2014


UPDATE - "Sandy" Sandquist has been claimed by a family members and is going home!  This photo of "O.A. Sandquist" was located at an antique shop in Glens Falls, NY. The studio mark on the matte indicates the photo was taken in New Haven Connecticut. There is hand-written inscription on the front of the matte which says "Sincerely, O.A. Sandquist"

This is obviously a graduation photo, and the man was most likely a student at Yale, based on the location of the photographic studio. My guess is that the photo was taken between 1910 and 1915.

A bit of research revealed that this is Oscar Adolph Sandquist, a remarkable individual, who was a son of immigrants, and who became a Yale graduate, a civil engineer and Naval Officer.

I find him first as Oscar SANDQUIST living in New Haven CT located on the 1900 Census for that town. The members of the household were:

  • John (b. 1856 in Sweden, immigrated in 1883.) a cabinetmaker.
  • Helen (Irene Helena) (b. 1852 in Sweden, immigrated in 1883)
  • Oscar (b. 1887 in Connecticut) age 13, at school.
  • Betsey (b. 1889 in CT) age 11, at school.
  • Helen (b. 1891 in CT) age 9, at school.
  • Jennie (b. 1893 in CT) age 7, at school.

In 1908, his name appears in the Yale Pot Pourri Yearbook as "Oscar Adolph Sandquist" and is listed as a student at Sheffield Scientific School. Wikipedia: "Sheffield Scientific School was founded in 1847 as a school of Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut for instruction in science and engineering."

He apparently graduated in 1910.

He is listed in the 1918 Naval Register with a description of "Asst. Civil Engineer, Ensign."

By the time of the 1940 Census, Oscar is living in Coral Gables, Florida, with wife Gertrude, 25-yr-old daughter Barbara, son-in-law Richard McGlathery (a Naval Officer), and grand-daughter Sandra A.

From the book "Who's Who in Civil Engineering" comes this wonderful biography.

Oscar died in 1970 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. His stone reads:
Oscar Adolph Sandquist
Aug 22, 1887 - Mar 6, 1970
Capt USN


Nel Cregan
This photo was found at an antique store in upstate New York. I thought at first the surname was Crogan, but upon closer examination, it clearly says Cregan. The first name is spelled with only one L, which may be significant.

The matte bears the stamp "Spear & Boardman, corners of Rivers & Fulton Streets, Troy, NY."

This woman appears to be around 25 years of age, and my guess is that the photo was taken around 1892. If those assumptions are correct, then she was born near 1867.

It is also unknown if Cregan is a maiden name or a married name.

Census records show a couple of possibilities.

1880 Census - Town of Saratoga - there is a family named Cragan (which may or may not be a misspelling) which consists of mother Alice (born abt 1831), daughters Carrie (1861), Mary (1864) and Nellie (1866). There is also a son James (1859) who works as a common laborer. All three daughters work at the cotton mill. The mother was born in Ireland while all of the children were born in New York. There is no mention of a father in the household. (The town of Saratoga is about 29 miles north of Troy.)

In 1896, there is a Nellie L. Cregan mentioned in the Saratoga Springs City Directory. She lives at 489 Woodlawn Avenue and is employed as a domestic. Woodlawn is the "carriage house" lane directly behind North Broadway where the large homes of the wealthiest members of the community are located.

1900 Census - Albany, NY - The is a Nellie Creagan (born Apr 1874) living with her husband Dennis Creagan (Feb 1874) on North Ferry Street. Both are born in NY of Irish parents. Dennis works as a conductor. Nellie has no occupation listed. Albany is very close to the town of Troy, where this photo was taken.

I will continue to work on this, but I fully expect she is one of the three above possibilities.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Bertha Margaret Hatlee
UPDATE - This photo has been claimed by a daughter of Bertha, and is being sent home to Bertha herself!  That's a first for me. This snapshot of Bertha Hatlee was located at an antique shop in Glens Falls, New York.  Since it is an unmatted snapshot, there is no photographer's stamp, so no clues about location, but other photos in the same box were from local area towns.

However, we can make an educated guess on the time period, the age, and therefore the year of birth of the subject. The clothing and hairstyle would point to around 1952-1954. Bertha appears to be between 18 and 20 or so.  Best guess on year of birth is 1930-1935.

This may have been a yearbook photo, or taken by a newspaper to announce an engagement. She appears to be wearing an engagement ring or wedding band on her left hand.

The 1940 Census finds a Bertha Hatlee, age 6, born around 1932, living with her family in Clifton Park, New York (a mere 40 miles from where the photo was found.) The household consists of parents William E. (63), Bertha M. (50), children Elmer E. (29), Bertha (8) and a mother in law Mary B. Sweet (72).

Ballston Spa Journal, July 24, 1952
Further research at reveals that Bertha's father was William Edmund Hatlee (1875-1942) and mother was Bertha M. Sweet (1890-1968). She was later married to Richard Albert Smith, Jr., and according to this insert in the Ballston Spa Journal (at right), the wedding was set for August 3, 1952.

The 1960 edition of the Ballston Spa City Directory shows that Richard and Bertha were living in that town. Richard was employed as a teller at the Adirondack Trust Bank.

BAILEY, Ann and Irving (Irven?)

Aunt Ann Bailey & Irving
UPDATE - this photo of Ann Bailey and her son has been claimed by a relative and is going home!  

This photo was located at an antique shop in upstate New York.  It appears to have been taken around 1895. The photographer's stamp places the location at Granville, New York.

On the back is written "Aunt Ann Bailey & Irving."

There was a Bailey family living about 85 miles away in Coeymans, NY in Albany County, according to the 1900 Federal Census.  That family consisted of parents Irenos (42) and Anna J. (43), as well as children Stanley J. (19), Jerome (18), Irving L. (17), Bolney (sp?) (14) and Bessie (11). The father was occupied as a railroad engineer. The eldest son was a salesman for a market.

The Census states that Irving was born April of 1883.

However, I have come to the conclusion that the name "Irving" is incorrect. The young man's name is actually Irven. The hand-written label on the back of the photo must have been penned by a distant enough relative to have not known the right spelling.

The 1940 Census shows Irven L. Bailey living in nearby Ravena, New York on Pulver Avenue. At that time he is 56 years old and employed as a machinist for the New York Railroad. He has a large family consisting of wife Bertha, six sons, and his 82-yr-old widowed mother Anna J. Bailey.

Irven died in 1967, and is interred at the Chestnut Lawn Cemetery in New Baltimore, Greene County, New York, which is a mere 6 miles away from Ravena.

His older brother Stanley died 3 years before Irven died. He worked his entire life as a machinist with General Electric. Irven, Volney and Bessie are mentioned as surviving siblings in their brother's obituary (at left).

Since all other facts appear to confirm each other, it seems most likely that the name "Irving" on the photograph, and on the 1900 Census, was written in error. The name is spelled "Irven" in every other appearance.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Carrie Rhodes Carpenter
UPDATE - Carrie Rhodes Carpenter has gone home!

This photo was found at the Sutton Antique Gallery in Queensbury, NY. The photo was taken circa 1889 in Rutland, Vermont at the Emery Studio.

A hand-written note on the front of the matte says "Carrie Rhodes Carpenter." The name is repeated on the back, along with an addition (in a different hand) which says "Grandpa Carpenter's Mother."

There is a Carrie Rhodes (1868-1896) who was born in Granville NY (only about 30 miles from Rutland, VT), and married Clarence Carpenter in 1889.

It is suspected that she must have become ill within the next 2 years since the New York State Census of 1892 shows her living in Granville back in the home of her parents Horace and Emeline Rhodes, and her sister Hattie Rhodes. Also with her is a 2-yr-old son Leon Carpenter, who was born in Poultney, Vermont. But there is no sign of her husband. Perhaps he remained in Vermont at a job.

In 1896, at the age of 28, Carrie died of heart disease. The image below is a death record found online at It states that she perhaps lived in Brandon Vermont at the time, but died in Granville NY. Her marital status is still given as "married", and not widowed or divorced.

Her son Leon was just 6 years old at the time, and was apparently raised by his grandparents thereafter. He appears in their household on the 1900 and 1910 Census records.

After the passing of the grandparents, Leon remained in Granville his entire life.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lawrence W. and John E. WRIGHT

John Edward and Lawrence Whitney WRIGHT
UPDATE - this photo has been claimed by a descendent and is going home.  This photo was located at the Stone Soup Antique Mall in Ballston Spa, NY. The photo was taken at Morse Studio in Amsterdam NY in 1908. The back bears a hand-written note "Christmas 1908, Lawrence Whitney Wright, 3 yrs 4 mos., John Edward Wright, 1 yr 2 mos."

1910 Census records for Amsterdam NY show a family headed by John Bertram Wright (33, born 1867 in Massachusetts), his wife Mary Belle Whitney (28, born 1881 in New Hampshire) and sons Lawrence W. (4, Massachusetts) and John Edward (2, New York). The couple were married circa 1905. The father's occupation is given as "Civil Engineer at Public Works."

The 1930 Census puts them in Keene, New Hampshire. Mother Mary B. Wright is given as the head of the household, but her marital status is "married", not "widowed", and father John is not listed. Lawrence, now 24 has no occupation, while John Edward (22) is an inspector in a machine shop. Other siblings include 14-yr-old William H. (born 1915 in Amsterdam, NY) and 11-yr-old Ralph W. (born in Massachusetts.)

Further research at shows that Lawrence Whitney Wright was born July 31, 1905. He lived until March 20, 1992. He died in Killingly Connecticut, and had been an engineer for the State of Connecticut. He married Evelena Curtiss.

John Edward Wright, if 1 yr and 2 mos at the time of the photo, must have been born in October 1907. There is a headstone in Coos County, Oregon, memorializing John Edward Wright, born October 5, 1907, and who died March 21, 1983. But I do not know for sure if this is the same fellow.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Ellison Story HILDRETH

UPDATE - These photos have been claimed by a descendant and have been sent home!

At a Ballston Spa, NY antique shop, I came across a number of photographs of people from the same family, and ended up buying them all just to insure they remain together.

The first photo is Ellison Story Hildreth, born 17 July 1884 at Holyoke Massachusetts. His parents were Judge John Hildreth and Kate Barker Story. Judge John Hildreth was born in Bradford England in 1851, died in April 1942. Ellison's mother Kate was born 9-Nov-1852 in Gloucester, Massachusetts and was a music teacher.
This photo, found in the same box at the antique store, was labelled only "KBH" but I am confident that this is Ellison's mother, Kate Barker (Story) Hildreth. The children greatly resemble her.

Ellison Hildreth (on right) and younger sister Kate (on left)
These two photos above taken in 1887 at Holyoke Massachusetts identify the subjects as Ellison 2 1/2 years, and Kate W. at 1 year old. I know the elder child looks like a girl wearing a dress, but this was typical attire for toddlers in that era as it made diaper-changing easier. Boys who were potty-trained were allowed to graduate to pants.

1886 Kate Wood Hildreth, at 12 weeks
Ellison's little sister, Kate Wood Hildreth, was born in 1886. Sadly, little Kate died just after her 10th birthday of complications of diabetes.

Other siblings to Ellison and Kate included Richard (died at age 15), Charles (died of cholera when just 1 month old), and Fannie (who lived to adulthood and worked as a school teacher.)

Ellison attended Amherst College and graduated among the class of '06. He appears on the roster of members of both Phi Beta Kappa and Beta Theta Pi.

He took up the profession of Minister and participated in ministry missions to South China (Hong Kong) and Siberia. Much is written about, and by, Ellison Story Hildreth in regards to his missionary work in Asia. In November 1913, he and his wife Lottie Rowe Lane registered at the American Consulate in Hong Kong. 

Their passport applications are also available at and this photo, presumably of Ellison and Lottie, is the one attached to Ellison's passport application. (I do not have this photo in my possession, but I include it here for interest.)

In 1942, at the age of 57, Ellison registered for the WWII Draft. His address at that time was Brooklyn Connecticut.

He died at the age of 78 in Brooklyn Connecticut. He and his wife Lottie had three children, Katherine Lane Hildreth (born in 1915 in China), John Lane Hildreth (born 1918 in Boston) and Alice Lane Hildreth (born 1920 in Boston).

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


This photo was located at the Stone Soup Antique Mall in Ballston Spa, New York, along with several other photos from the same time period and region. However, I only bought the ones that were sufficiently labeled with clues to the subject's identity.  This one has a hand-written note on the back which says "Harry Thompson, my friend".

The photo was taken at the photographic studio of "Hammond Bros." in Lewiston, Maine and appears to be circa 1910 - 1912. The young man is in his late teens or early twenties. So best guess on his birth-year would be around 1890.

There are two possible Harry Thompsons whom this can be.


Checking 1900 Maine census records, I have found a Harry G. Thompson born February 1891 living in Auburn Maine, a community just west of the larger town of Lewiston. In the household are parents Aaron and Emily, and a sister Maggie. The father worked as a laborer in the ice business. He was born in Canada in January of 1845. There is a column which indicates Harry was age 9 at the time of his last birthday, which would be accurate based upon the Feb 1891 birthday and the June 2, 1900 date of the Census.

Dingley-Foss Shoe Company in Auburn, Maine
By the time of the 1910 Census, mother Emily is widowed. Harry and a sister Mercy (might be the same as Maggie, mentioned above) live at home with her and both of the siblings worked at the Dingley-Foss Shoe Company.

Harry's mother Emily died in 1916 and was buried at the Mount Auburn Cemetery. The following year, he registered for the WWI draft and may have lied to the registrar about his age. The Draft Registration form states his official name as "George Harry Thompson" and his birthdate as Feb 13, 1890, Newcastle, New Brunswick, Canada. He gives his occupation as Shoemaker for Dingley-Foss Shoe Company.

The 1920 Auburn Maine Census find him living at the home of his sister Laura and her husband Timothy Cohoon. The 1940 Auburn Maine Census shows him living with a housekeeper Rose Ellis, and his occupation is still shoemaker.

There is a headstone in the Mount Auburn Cemetery which reads simply : GEORGE H. THOMPSON 1891-1942. This offers very few clues but the official name matches the one on the Draft registration, and the year of birth matches the one on the 1900 Census.

It would appear that Harry never married and left no descendants.


Harry O. Thompson, born about 1894 in Maine, lived in the town of Sabattus Village, Maine, which is the next community just to the Northeast of Lewiston. It is entirely possible a resident of Sabattus Village might have gone into Lewiston to have a portrait made.

On the 1920 Sabattus Census, 26 year old Harry O. Thompson is described as a textile maker in a woolen mill. He lives with his father Sanford Thompson (age 66), mother Margaret E. Thompson (56) and brothers Sanford  E. Thompson (23) and Leonard W. Thompson (21). The siblings also work at the woolen mill.

By 1930, he had married a woman named Rae, relocated to Douglas, Worcester County Massachusetts, and had a daughter named Eleanor M.  Harry was employed there as an assistant supervisor at a woolen mill.


TESSIE STEVENS has gone home!

This photo was found at the Stone Soup Antique Mall in Ballston Spa, New York.  It took a good deal of handwriting analysis and Census browsing to finally decipher the name written on the photo, but there were enough clues to eventually figure it out.

"In Memory of our Junior English class '20."  The signature that I could only make out at first as "Trasir Y. Strirus" became "Tessie N. Stevens" after closely examining the E in "memory" and the N in "Junior" and "English."

The front cover of the photo bore an emblem (Hanson, Portland Maine) which I first concluded was a High School seal, but I think now was the photographer's mark. There was a "Hanson High School" in nearby Buxton Maine, but the 1920 Census for Buxton did not include any Stevens family with a teenage daughter. Also, it made no sense that the seal would say "Portland" if the school was actually in Buxton, so I abandoned that notion and started scanning the 1920 Census for Portland Maine.

It was there that I found Tessie N. Stevens, aged 16, living with her widowed mother, Josephine, and siblings.

Further research revealed that Tessie was born 30 Jan 1903 in Portland, Cumberland Co., Maine, to parents Harry C. Stevens (died 1905) and Mary Josephine Nickerson. Her mother worked as a nurse at the local hospital. Tessie's siblings included Herman, Nancy, Arthur and Angela.

She married Reginald Harold McKee (about 7 years her senior) and had a daughter Jean. By 1935 the family had relocated to Binghamton, Broome County, New York.

Tessie died in 2002 at the age of 99, outliving her husband by nearly 40 years. She is buried beside him in Calvary Cemetery, Johnson City, Broome County, New York.