A Search For My Family History

My Photo
Location: "The Mother Lode" region, California

I retired in 2002, and I'm still loving it!

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Just The Facts, Ma'am

John Edward Murray and sister Lois- Posted by Hello
A recent comment was posted which leads me to believe people are thinking I'm creating these stories.
No, I'm not the inventive type, although I surely wish I were.
All the photos on this blog are family pictures handed down to me through past generations. All the photos on my Sierra Vistas site were taken by me, either on or near my property.
I piece together my stories (on this blog) through both research, and family lore.
Research includes browsing through census records, old newspaper items, family wills, and sometimes Googling. It's truly amazing what information one can find online.
I simply piece together this information, and attempt to add a little humor to what is normally an arid subject matter.
By the way, the attached photo shows "My Little Eddie" mentioned on the previous post.

Good Golly Miss Mollie...

Miss Mollie Johnson, Westminster, Maryland Posted by Hello
From the information I was able to dig up, (pardon the pun) Miss Mollie was a school teacher. She was born about 1857, and her given name was Mary E. Johnson.
Inscribed on the back of her picture is the message "To My Little Eddie."
Eddie was my great-grandfather John Edward Murray, born in 1871.
The little I know about schoolteachers back in those days consists of the facts:
Once married, female teachers were required to relinquish their jobs.
All teachers were expected to act as role models. They were to maintain proper decorum, both on and off the job.
Miss Mollie appears to be an attractive young woman, and I'll bet she didn't remain single (and therefore teaching) for long.
One thing about this photograph puzzles me though- She seems to be rather fancily dressed for the prim and proper times she lived in, and good God- she's wearing earrings!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Oh Henry!

Henry Watson, Cheshire Ohio Posted by Hello
Again, not related as far as I know.
I do know Henry was the son of John and Philamena Watson, and had a sister Ellen. He was born in 1841, in Ohio.
My interest in his picture comes from not just the unusually ornate border, but from the cords and tassels inked in by hand. Did Henry painstakingly add this artistry? I rather doubt it, as he was shown as a farmer in the 1870 census, and still living with his family (at the age of 29.)
Perhaps the recipient of this photo had (shall we say) special feelings for him?
The likely female suspects would have been either my great-great grandmother Ellen Campbell or one of her two sisters. All three married, but none to Henry Watson.
It could be likely that Henry served alongside one of Ellen Campbell's brothers in the Civil War. If this were the case I would doubt Henry would have bothered (or dared) to add the artwork.
No, I prefer to believe a love-sick Campbell girl was just doodling.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Happy Easter!

Grandfather Warren & Me Easter 1955, Alamogordo, New Mexico- Posted by Hello
Whether you celebrate Easter Sunday by attending church, sharing a meal with friends and family, hunting for eggs, pigging out on chocolate, or a combination of these events- I wish you all a very Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Sally Smith, You Devil You!

Mrs. Sally Smith- Posted by Hello
I found Sally's photo, along with pictures of her husband Hiram and daughter Jerusha, among my 'antique' photographs from Ohio.
I don't believe we're directly related. My ancestors from Athens County apparently collected pictures of their friends much like we now collect trading cards.
I've pieced together their story through census records only.
Sally (aka Sarah) Congrove Smith was Hiram's second wife, the first died before 1868. By the 1870 census, about when the photo shown above was taken, Sally and Hiram had a two year old daughter.
Hiram passed away before 1880, where I find Sally and daughter Jerusha living in the town of Troy. Sally is about 37 years old, and we now find she has a 22 year old named Russel Wheeler living in the household. His occupation shows "working on the farm."
I'll bet he was busy plowing the fields!
The next available census is 1900, and as you probably guessed- Sally and Russel are married.
I wonder if this was the cause of some local scandal?
By 1920 Sally was widowed once again, and I'm afraid to look any further into this matter. Period. There may just be another young man "working on the farm" in the next census.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Well She's Not Betsy Ross-

Unknown woman with an American flag- Posted by Hello
Yet another of my unknown photos. I believe she might be my great-grandmother Eva Diggs Warren.
The location shown is obviously not the residence of anyone in my family tree. We're just not the sort to own pillared mansions, and if we did, I'd like to know what happened!
Actually, I'd think this picture was taken in the Baltimore area, and the woman is posed in front of a museum or library.
Perhaps I'm descended from an aristocratic and genteel family, and was stolen away by gypsies... just a thought.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Rochester Farm

John Edward Murray & Jack- Posted by Hello
My great-grandfather John Edward Murray was a farmer, assistant court clerk and (dearest to his heart) a teacher.
He purchased Rochester Farm, which was just outside the town of Westminster, Maryland in 1912.
My mother had told us how the farm had once been a stop on the Underground Railroad, and I took great pride in thinking my great-grandfather had assisted slaves to freedom. Realizing now that a former owner of the farm had been the one to give aid really burst my bubble.
As a child, my mother lived on that farm. She once found a corncob doll stashed deep inside the root cellar. I asked, but she didn't remember what became of it.
I visited the farm once, just prior to it being sold. My only memories of this visit were seeing a portrait of my great-grandmother (who for some strange reason I thought was a witch) and getting a look at the door to that root cellar. I wanted to go inside but was told it was too dangerous.
Just another of my missed opportunities...

Monday, March 21, 2005

My Aunt Joyce

Aunt Joyce Moriarity Posted by Hello
My father's only sister, the last of his siblings, passed away Friday March 18, 2005 at the approximate age of 83.
Aside from a few fleeting memories of my youngest years spent in New Mexico, Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia, most of my recollections span from 1962 when we moved to California.
Luckily my father worked for United Air Lines by that time, and we were able to visit our families in Maryland and New York twice a year.
I have many happy memories of visiting my paternal grandmother in Rochester. Aunt Joyce lived just down the street, and although she was a hard working mother of three boys, she always made time to visit with us.
As her boys got older she was able (several times) to fly out and visit us as well. My last real visit with her was about 1972. By that time I was living on my own, and had heard that Joyce was hoping to (again) visit San Francisco. I was able to kidnap her for an entire day and take her to Fisherman's Wharf and a few other tourist spots in the vicinity. Her dearest souvenir was a loaf of sourdough bread she planned to take home and share. We also purchased sourdough starter, but as I remember, it later failed to work in the Rochester climate.
Joyce turned to the Mormon faith in her late 40's, with the zeal of all converts. Thankfully she didn't try to convert the rest of us 'heathens.' Her conversion initiated the interest in our family lineage, and her research gave me a tremendous amount of hard-won information with which to begin my own research.
Thank you Aunt Joyce, and may you rest now.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

Brother "Rick" and Me, circa 1963 Posted by Hello
What can I say about my brother Rick?
He's imaginitive, for one thing. To explain just why he (and his bike) were entirely covered with mud, he once claimed he'd saved another boy from drowning in the three inch deep local creek. The bike was necessary to this heroic deed because the mud was "like quicksand!"
Generous also comes to mind. He allowed me to borrow his treasured Stingray bike with the new banana seat, sissy-bar and speedometer, so I could see it truly would go 60 mph downhill... It did.
As an adult, he always had an endless supply of both bawdy and/or sick jokes.
Our parents both passed away in 1992 at the age of 59. Rick's visits gradually became fewer and farther between, finally ending around 1996.
Is he now a mercenary or a spy? Perhaps he's somebody's father, God forbid?
Maybe he thinks I'm still mad about that last collect call he made to me- the one where he needed to tell me he'd won $8,000 playing stud poker?

What NOT TO WEAR down at the farm

Marian & Great Aunt Olive Posted by Hello
One can only imagine Olive's discomfort at having to pose in front of a barn. She was raised on this farm along with her two sisters, but obviously turned her back on the simple life.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Who Is This Woman, And What Is She Doing?

Unknown woman, doing chores? Posted by Hello
Yet another of my unknown people in photographs. This one may have come from either my Maryland relatives, or the New York clan.
I was thinking her clothing style dates this picture to the 1940s, or maybe the 1950s. But what exactly is that 'thing' she's holding?
She appears to be cleaning house, but I believe it would have been far more important to have that pillar repaired!
A friend just emailed to offer some information on this photo, and I believe she's nailed it! She believes the woman is pumping water from a cistern well, and that a trough is what's shown behind the pump. Thank you EJ!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

"There's A Whole Lotta Butcherin' Goin' On"

 Posted by Hello
Unknown folks, possibly Fred. W. Warren Sr. and Jr. on the right-
I found this photo in the trunk-like box previously mentioned...
Are these children happy that their calves are going to become Veal Piccata? Do they realize the men's attire suggests a not so happy ending for their pets?
My Mother spent part of her childhood on a farm in Maryland. She learned early on that it wasn't a good idea to assign names to livestock after a grim chicken incident.
All I can say is ewwwwwwww!