Picnic for Twelve — A Family Memoir

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I am happy to report that one of my clients has published Picnic for Twelve, a book about his parents and their growing family as they navigated The Great Depression and other events over the last century. If you are interested in the life of Irish-Americans during the 1900s, have Boston-area ancestors, or are just looking to read a cleverly written yarn, I highly recommend that you download the book for your Kindle or purchase a print copy.

I provided genealogical research support on the Driscoll and Sheehan families. This was a fun and challenging project to work on, as various members of the family moved around a lot, originating in or living in locations including New York City, Southern California, here in Maryland, and of course, Massachusetts and Ireland. Along the way, vital records unlocked most of the clues needed to solve a few family mysteries. As part of the project, I read an early version of the manuscript. The author is a former editor of the Boston Globe and a great storyteller — I highly recommend this book!

Album Rescue Project: Album 1, Photos 2-3

The next two photos in my Album Rescue Project were floating loose, but apparently were originally displayed on the second page of the album. Photos that originally appeared on the first page are no longer there, sadly — they either were removed or fell out before I bought the album.

Here is Photo 2 and what’s written on the reverse (click on the images for larger versions):

Well, here is a dilemma. There appear to be two different dates assigned to this photo. On the front is written “S-1917,” but the back has the notation “Oct. 1914 Elizabeth Shugars.” I am thrilled that there’s a name, but now I can’t trust that the notations on the front of each photo contain accurate date information.

Now, is the name the identity of the woman or the child pictured? A search on Ancestry brought up several Elizabeth Shugars, but two are holding my interest for now. The albums, I know, contain photos of sites around Washington, D.C., and possibly Baltimore. There is an Elizabeth Shugars living in Baltimore in 1930 according to the U.S. census. She was born in 1870 or 1871 in Virginia. If this is the right Elizabeth Shugars, she must be the woman pictured in the photo, instead of the child. There is still another Elizabeth Shugars, born in 1899 and also living in Baltimore.

Fortunately, the piece of tape on the back isn’t also attached to the front of the photo.

Moving on to Photo 3 (and its reverse side):

Red Bridge Park

Here we have the same little girl as that in Photo 1, in my opinion. She doesn’t look very happy, does she? The notation on the front reads “S-1916,” but the writing on the back is more exciting. It says “Red Bridge Park.”

The bulk of Google results for “red bridge park” refer to a park in Cicero, Indiana. Here is one web site with a photo of the park’s main buildings. Note how the conical shaped roof of the gazebo mimics that of those in Photo 3.

That said, a Google Images search brings up an old photo from a Red Bridge Park near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. That looks like the park behind the girl in Photo 3.

To read all of the posts about my Album Rescue Project, use the corresponding category here on my blog. Stay tuned for more!

Tombstone Tuesday: A Beauty, But a Head Scratcher

Check out this ornate tombstone at Copps Hill Burying Ground in Boston, Mass.:

Here is a close-up of the top portion:

What’s confusing is that the top portion claims it belongs to the tomb of Samuel Winslow. The bottom portion states, however, “Here Lyes the Mortal part of William Clark, Esq.” The rest of the lower portion is hard to read in my photo and there appears to be some damage to the text anyhow. The photo on FindaGrave isn’t much better.

I sure would like to know how these two gents were related.

Tombstone Tuesday: William DOWNE, Esq.

Still working through the photos I took in Boston last summer:

Here lies Interred
the Body of
William Downe, Esq.r
Age 40 Years
who departed this Life
May 6, 1759

This grave can be found in the Granary Burial Ground in the heart of Boston. Here is the FindaGrave record for William.

Tombstone Tuesday: Elizur Holyoke

Back to Boston for this week’s Tombstone Tuesday post:

Here is interr’d
the body of Elizur
Holyoke, who
Died (ey) 11th day
of August 1711
Aged about 60
years.

The above photo was taken in Granary Burial Ground. You can view the FindaGrave record here.

I like the elaborate carvings — there’s a winged death’s head at the top, an urn flanked by two angels, many flowers and vines.

Friends Album: Checking in with the Neighbors

A while back, I found a 1920 census listing for Friends Album subject Frederick A. Young and fam and noticed that there was a family by the name of Wilson in the household next door. Is this a coincidence, given that there’s an Ellis Wilson in the Friends Album? Certainly ‘Wilson’ is a very common surname, but I felt I needed to dig deeper to see if I could find a connection to these neighbor Wilsons.

Ellis’ parents were Clarence T. Wilson and his wife, Susan. I haven’t really fleshed out their extended family or previous generations at this point because I was more interested in looking for more recent generations.

The Wilsons living next to the Youngs in 1920 are George R. (age 58), his wife Libby A. (age 60) and George’s mother, Elizabeth A (age 74). George is listed as a farmer.

The Wilsons are living next door to the Youngs in 1910 as well. Daughter Emma M. (age 24) is in the household at that time, as is son George E (age 15).

In 1900, the clan is even bigger. Another daughter, Libbie Belle, is with the family, along with mother-in-law Emily Hirst. Not only that, but there is another Wilson household right next door to them (on the other side from the Youngs): Albert and Annie, along with their son, Charles.

Most of these neighbor Wilsons have roots in New York, Connecticut or England. After looking a bit more into Clarence’s family history, however, he and his siblings were born in Massachusetts. Clarence’s parents hailed from Connecticut though. I’m trying to flesh out his father’s life a bit, but for now, there’s no clear connection between Ellis and his family and the Wilsons who were neighbors to the Youngs.

I suppose that there doesn’t really have to be such a connection between Ellis Wilson and the Youngs pictured in the album. The album is titled “Our Friends” and so it could be a hodge-podge of a acquaintances who are not related to each other in any way.

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1900 U.S. Census, Fairfield County, Connecticut, population schedule, Newton, page 10, dwelling 90, family 94, Albert Wilson and family; Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 May 2011).

1910 U.S. Census, Fairfield County, Connecticut, population schedule, Newton, page 15, dwelling 170, family 174, Geroge R Wilson and family; Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 May 2011).

1920 U.S. Census, Fairfield County, Connecticut, population schedule, Newton, page 14, dwelling 240, family 249, George R. Wilson and family; Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 May 2011).

Tombstone Tuesday: Thomas Webb

Here lies deposited the Remains
of Mr. Thomas Webb
who Died Very suddenly much
lamented y 8th July 1769
Aged 33 Years

He was born in the City of
Gloucester in England.

You can read more about him and the rest of the inscription on his tombstone on FindaGrave. Photo taken last summer at Granary Burial Ground in Boston, Mass.