Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sepia Saturday - Sleeping Beauty

I know I'm a day late this week for Sepia Saturday, but when I saw the theme earlier in the week, I knew right away which photo I was going to pull out of the collection. She is labeled in our tin-type album as Mary Allender. With that name attached, I'm pretty sure I know where she fits into the family tree - and would like to assure everyone, that she is NOT a memento mori. About 20 years ago, a distant cousin of ours, Ron Woods, renovated the "Mary Allender Log Home" in Pendleton County Kentucky. I have put the title of the home in quotations to point out its connection to the little sleeping girl.
Ron named this house after his grandmother Mary Allender Carnes who was born and raised right there in the house on Hickory Grove Rd. She was born in 1882, the granddaughter of the original builder, James Jackson Allender. However, for those of us who are cousins from a different line, the "Mary Allender" name also fits our ancestry. James Jackson Allender was married to Mary Stout Allender - both making their home and establishing our ancestry in this beautiful dwelling. This original couple built the log home in 1856, although, poor James only got to enjoy it for about 11 years before he died of smallpox.

James Jackson Allender
The little sleeping Mary is one photo among many others in what I call "The Allender Album". According to a notation in the front, this album belonged to Mary Stout Allender. It is filled with photos of her children and grandchildren. Judging by the age of the photo, and when little Mary was born, chances are pretty good that this is Mary Allender Carnes who grew up with her father Benjamin Allender in the log home. After just a glance at the Allender lines from James and Mary, I'm not seeing any Allender girls named Mary within this time frame: except for Mary Allender Carnes.

As a side note, I've not visited the homestead for quite some time, and have not visited with cousin Ron since he opened the finished log home back in the early 90s. If you are still around cuz, shoot me an e-mail. I have a duplicate tin-type of this photo and if you too think this is your grandmother, we'd love for you to have the original duplicate. I also hear you have a stash of photos - we need to get together for a photo scan fest of our own! I'll be at the Wool Fest in a couple of weekends in case you run across this post!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sepia Saturday - Family Travels

For this week's Sepia Saturday, the theme of travel or place was a welcome suggestion. When deciding which photos to post, a family pattern emerged. It turns out that one side of my family has been very travel savvy over the generations, while the other side was full of home bodies. The photo to the left is typical of my mother's side of the family. Kentucky farmers who loved posing with the cars, but hated traveling very far away. These two young men (Roy Watts and Bill Beyersdoerfer - brothers-in-law) were quite the road devils in the 1930s. They loved racing around the curving hillsides of Pendleton County Kentucky and "driving up closely to the bumper of an old couple's car to honk" their horn for a good laugh. Throughout the rest of their lives, they maintained this close relationship to each other and the roads. Roy remained addicted to taking leisurely Sunday drives, just to "go" somewhere and view his neighbors crops, while Bill complained of the slowness of "old" drivers when he was in his advanced 80s. I can imagine these two still racing the roads of heaven together as they did when first forming their friendship so long ago. The remaining images are a sampling of family travels from my father's side of the family.
The woman on the right is my great grandmother, Ruth Elizabeth Schilling Daniels. I have no idea where this is or whether these ladies went up in the plane, but Ruth was from the Ohio/Indiana areas, so that will have to be our default location for the time being.
Here is another photo from the Klondike Gold Rush collection. Someone on the Daniels/Schilling side of the family must  have been enormously adventurous to travel this great distance for the small possibility of finding gold! This mode of travel in that area is also the subject of another interesting point of trivia. These boats were often dissected once arriving at their location to provide building material for the shacks that housed the miners.
Grandpa Charles Daniels traveled extensively while serving in the military. He not only served in both the Pacific and European theatres during WWII, but took his entire family with him to live in France while he was stationed there during the Korean War. This is a view of his corner of Paris during WWII.
Grandpa Charles, celebrating the end of WWII in Marseilles, France (Front right) - would love to have tasted that bottle of French Champagne!
A piece of travel ephemera from Charles' collection - his ship assignment from 1943.

Before and after the war, Charles worked for the Cincinnati Union Terminal. Perhaps working along-side so many travelers kept his travel bug strong and active. The photos above and below were taken after his retirement from railroad work, and at a time when the fate of the Terminal was very precarious. For another Sepia Saturday post about the terminal, please see the Lincoln Park blog post.
That about wraps it up for the older travel photos. Charles and Bessie were some of our biggest travelers. They spent their retirement years travelling to Hawaii, several other states, and down the Mississippi on the Delta Queen - so many times I cannot count. In turn, their children and grandchildren have taken on the tradition of globe trotting like travel pros. Me, I'm a bit more middle of the road: have not travelled too far, but can be happy either way. I love a good trip, but enjoy being a home body as well.
Safe and happy travels everyone!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Personal Library as Family History

When beginning my genealogy journey, my intent was to discover the stories of my ancestors, not just collect facts about them. I guess it was always the thrill of the story hunt that fueled the fires, so to speak. When approaching genealogy in this manner, your collection of information tidbits may be handled differently. Instead of simply asking others about a list of facts, you also ask about their interests/passions and feelings associated with such. However, once loved ones are already gone, we must look to their personal belongings to tell more of the story. Now, I understand how hard this is for many of our ancestors. After a few generations, maybe even after one, belongings scatter, and unless someone has kept a story with the item, they lose their "voice". One group of belongings can always tell a story if kept together or even if separated, and if the original owner's identity is attached to said group/item, you can recover a treasure trove of information. I am, of course, referring to the personal library.

As a librarian, I've always been cognizant of the books people display in their homes. It immediately tells me a little bit about what is important to them, and a bit of insight can be very useful. Not everyone owns significant book collections, but almost every household has a little collection of some sort. We are a nation of readers, and books have always been a symbol of education and learning - something we have held to great esteem over the centuries. Therefore, a small collection of books is usually valued, no matter how humble the circumstances.

A few years ago, my grandmother was complaining about the "clutter" she had in her basement. Now, she was not ready to get rid of any of her "clutter". She was referring to the "clutter" of others. My grandparents on my fathers side were definitely magpies.....they collected everything. Their collection tells decades of stories, just by scanning what they have - a museum to their life, and it is quite fascinating. The "clutter" grandma was complaining about was a large collection of books that filled a large bookcase at the bottom of the stairs. She was ready to get rid of these because they were a collection from three generations ago. The books had belonged to my 2nd great-grandfather, Horace Schilling from Columbus, Ohio. This man would have been her husband's grandfather, therefore, a branch of the family that she was no longer relating to. Her solution was for me "the librarian" to haul these books out of her house. Well, ummm, I wasn't quite ready for anything like that, since, there were at least a couple hundred books, maybe more, and they were very dusty and dirty. Besides, as much as my bibliophile radar was pinging off a storm, I knew I lived in a very small house that would not accommodate such a collection.....but I took the invitation as a beginning step, and told her I would take a few at a time.

Grandpa described his grandfather Horace as a man who "loved to read". He remembered that Horace loved to take his little rocking chair outside onto the brick walkway in front of his house and read a book. It was no surprise then, when I made my way through his collection that I found his very organized, typed "bookplates". They are very homemade, but charming. In a way, they are also somewhat of a primary source. After seeing the family name spelled various ways in the census and other records, and predominantly with no "c", this typed version in all of his books could be considered "from the horses mouth" with his own hand/typewriter. He had books that numbered up over 200, so he must have been a voracious reader. I very much like to think that he would  have approved of having a librarian for a great great granddaughter, and every time I hold one of his books, I like to think of him out there in his little rocking chair, enjoying this title so many years ago.

As I started pulling some titles that looked interesting, I was noticing that some were resonating with past information and mysteries that we had heard about over the years. For instance, there was a book about pharmacy....all sorts of chemical compounds that would help in relieving medical conditions. Inside the front cover, was the signature: Horace Schilling, V.S. I smiled at this one because my grandfather had once told me that after retirement from the railroad, grandpa Horace was a sort of jack-of-all-trades, with one of his side professions being something of a local/amateur veterinarian. He remembered that grandma Schilling completely disapproved of this "hobby" because he wouldn't take payment for his services.

Another couple of titles gave me more clues about a family mystery: White Fang and The Official Guide to the Klondyke Country and Gold Fields of Alaska. One of our family photo albums is a combination album. I'm pretty sure it was my great grandmother Ruth, Horace's daughter, that put this album together. It contains photos from both sides of the Schilling/Daniels families. Unfortunately, not everything is labeled, and many times I am unsure which side of the family the photos come from. There are several large photos scattered throughout the album that are clearly from the Alaska/Klondike region.....from around the turn of the century. They are an amazing collection, and I want to investigate further, but have been very uncertain about which side of the family to research for more information. With these two titles being in grandpa Horace's collection, it points me in a Schilling direction, and to the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 1800s.

Overall, there are other things to be gleaned from Horace's collection. He enjoyed humor, fiction, military stories, hunting stories, lots of fiction, and general history books. Which brings me to the recommendation to take a look at some of your family members' collections. If I thought back, I know my grandfather Daniels collection would consist of WWII, Civil War and Railroad titles, which are a pretty close match to the interests of my own father. My grandfather Watts on my mother's side consisted of religious, farming and western titles - he loved Zane Grey. So think about your own books. If someone looked at your collection, what would they learn about you? Mine would consist of the following subjects: history, genealogy, herbs/gardening, religious, Smoky Mountains, Antique collecting, art/exhibits, children's picture books, Italy, and random antique editions that I found in book stores.

So while you're out there, gathering your family history, don't forget about the books! They tell another story besides the one between their covers. Re-connect with your ancestors by reading one of these old titles, and don't forget to flip through the pages! People stuck all sorts of sentimental little keepsakes inside for safe keeping! Or even chose to record the family history in the most unusual places - like my grandmother Ruth did as a young girl. Also, another family history tip: if the collection is too large to keep together, dispersal of a family library is a way to let everyone in the family have a piece of the historical pie. With a collection of this size, there would be one or two titles that would particularly appeal to the interests of each descendant. For instance, I pulled one for my brother because it was about the Boy Scouts, since he had belonged as a youth. If the subjects vary a lot, each person can take a title that helps them relate in a personal manner to the ancestor that came before them.
The Library:

My days among the dead are pass'd;
Around me I behold,
Where'er these casual eyes are cast,
The mighty minds of old;
My never-failing friends are they
With whom I converse night and day.

With them I take delight in weal,
And seek relief in woe;
And while I understand and feel
How much to them I owe,
My cheeks have often been bedew'd
With tears of thoughtful gratitude.

By: Robert Southey
From one of the books in my personal collection: A Thousand and One Gems of English and American Poetry, 1884


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