Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Boy and His Dog

For Sepia Saturday this week I am posting this photo of Daniel "Eddie" Purdy and his dog from c.1896.  Eddie (the brother of my great grandmother Blanche) was born on March 5, 1886 in Minnesota to Jennie (Cole) and Jonathan Edward Purdy. His father tragically died in 1893 and in 1904 Eddie and his family moved to Everett, Washington. I had heard stories that he had died young, but it took me quite a long time to finally find his death certificate, on which he is incorrectly listed as Edward Purdy. From it I learned that on January 17, 1907 his body was found on Getchell Hill in Marysville, WA. He had apparently suffered a fatal heart attack at the young age of 20. Strangely, his death record lists his deceased father's name, but his mother is listed as unknown. Since he was living with her at the time of his death this is surprising. My best guess is that Jennie could not afford to bury him, so she was not able to claim the body. What a sad ending to a once promising young life.
P.S. Check out the size of his feet!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Young Love

I had another hard drive crash, so this Sepia Saturday will be short and sweet with no detective work needed. As a follow-up to last week's post, this week's entry is a small snapshot of my grandparents Everett and Aune (Reini) Proctor. They were married in May 1927 when Aune was only 15 years old and Everett was 23. I don't know if this photo was before or after they married, but it is from right about that time. You can tell how happy they are. Notice how they lean into eachother and Aune has both of her hands toward Everett. They had recently met at a dance (one of my grandmother's favorite activities) and Aune always said that she immediately thought that Everett was "the best looking man" she had ever seen. I think they both look pretty dapper in their stylish clothes. This photo is a real treasure because it clearly communicates to their many descendants the young love and happiness of which they are the result.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sweethearts of our Ancestors

My post for Sepia Saturday #44 is about the choices our ancestors made that, ultimately, determined our fate. It feels strange to look at this photo of my grandfather Everett Proctor with his girlfriend Francis Lee and muse on the fact that I would not exist if he had married her instead of my grandmother Aune. Many of these types of photos are doomed not to survive since often the future spouses make sure they end up in the trash or the fire. The only reason that I have this one was because my grandfather's sister Cleo Cavanaugh had saved it in one of her photo albums, tucked away from my grandmother's jealous gaze, for me to discover all of these years later. How many other suitors must all of our ancestors have had? How many myriads of life decisions and choices led to our very existence? If one little thing was different in our collective past, would everything be?
This photo has also led me to musing on an altogether different subject. Since I have Francis' photo here and some of her family as well, I decided to do a little research on and Family Search to see if I could find her. Her parents were close friends of my great grandparents Daniel and Millie Proctor, so they must have lived around Seattle, Washington. The only Francis/Frances Lee that I found who seemed to fit the bill was born on October 28, 1908, the daughter of Charles Anderson Lee and Margaret Curtis Lee of Seattle. That makes her a bit younger than my grandfather, but still older than my grandmother, so that fits. My grandparents married in May 1927, so this photo must have been taken before that. Francis is probably about 18 in this picture and my grandfather about 23. During my research,  I couldn't help but notice that Francis is listed on an Ancestry Member Tree as dying June 8, 1931. (I confirmed this at She was only 22 and the wife of Ben Whitehouse, still living in Seattle. On the 1930 Federal Census they are enumerated with no children in the household after two years of marriage. I wonder what happened to her?  If this is indeed my grandfather's Francis that I have tracked down, it may explain Cleo's reluctance to dispose of her photos.

Why does genealogical research so often unearth such sad stories? *Sigh*

If you click on this picture, enlarging it, you will be able to see the faint pattern of a fingerprint over their faces and in the upper right hand corner. I wonder whose it is? Our ancestors have left their marks in so many ways.

**Update - I just received an Ancestry message that informed me that Francis died giving birth to twins, who survived. I am hoping that there are descendants with whom I can share this photo as well as the others of her family.
               -- My contact (Francis' niece) looked at the photo and confirmed that it this is Francis Lee Whitehouse, as I suspected. I found a few more photos of the Lees, which I just emailed to her. Judging from the photos, the Proctors and Lees must have been very good friends and I am so happy to be able to share with Charles and Margaret Lee's granddaughter all these many years later.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Identifying Mystery Photos

My Sepia Saturday post for the week is this photo of James Frederick Grandy (1876-1955):

Jim Grandy, Everett, WA - c.1909
This was originally a mystery photo. It was in the album that I inherited from my great aunt Gladys Phelps Roberts. It was taken at Rigby & Rigby run by the Rigby sisters in Everett from 1905-1915. A lot of my family lived in the area, so that information alone didn't give me an immediate answer. On the back of the cardboard in very light pencil is written what looks like, "Jim S." Since from what I could tell, Gladys' albums only contained family photos, I thought it was a family member, but just couldn't figure out who it was. So, I emailed a couple of my genealogy cousins who are related through this line and one of them came up with the idea that it could be James Grandy. That was a very good (educated) guess since, according to the US Federal Census, he lived in Everett in 1910 and was 34 years old at that time. Then, another cousin visited the Everett Library and, from the city directories there, he found that Jim Grandy was in Everett and working as a millwright and a pipe-fitter in 1909.
Upon reexamining the back of the photo, I believe what I originally thought was an "S" is, in fact, a "G," which fits perfectly with the theory that it was James Grandy. I held the cardboard backing of the photo up to the sunlight and it looks like it may have even said, "Grandy" at one time, but has been rubbed away over the last 100 years. The writing goes at an angle and holding it upright, it looked like "Jim S," but if you turn it slightly with the angle of the writing, it looks like "Jim G!" Since Jim was the half-brother of Gladys' mother Jennie Cole Kint Purdy Phelps, it makes sense that she would have his photo. From the beginning, we all agreed that the man in this photo resembled the Cole family. Also, finding that he was living in the area and working with pipes in 1909-1910 further clinched it for me.

Working together I am confident that my cousins and I have successfully identified this mystery photo!

*James Frederick Grandy was the son of Amanda Cole and John Ira Grandy. He married Ida and had a daughter named Mabel.