Monday, December 28, 2009

Links to the Past

Back at Thanksgiving I mentioned how there has recently been a bit of resurgence of interest in family interest among my cousins. I have been fortunate enough to inherit the photo albums from both sets of my grandparents. Even so there have been family pictures I never saw before. One of my cousins shared a few she had with my mom who later scanned them to give me copies. One more reason to love technology when it works right. So today I thought I'd share a few of my favorite new findings either because of the picture itself or because of what I learned in the process.


First, allow me to introduce you to my great-great grandfather, Howard. I had never seen a picture of him before. He was a house painter and wall paper hanger. If you recall I have a tremendous aversion to wall paper and have even cursed its inventors. That said, I understand there was a time before latex paint was available when people wanted to be able to change or brighten their decor and wall paper permitted for that far better than oil based paints. Howard sure looks like a serious fellow but I know the family value regarding doing a job well or not doing it at all. I'm sure he was a darned fine paper hanger and painter.





Howard had three sons. I was aware the older two went to work after high school so their younger brother could attend university. What I didn't know was they went to work with their father and carried on the business of painting and paper hanging. The fellow on the left is my great grandfather, John Russel. I have to say this picture makes me grin ear to ear because of the real smiles on their faces. Although I was always taught to do whatever work I had to do as well as I possibly could the family always valued having a bit of fun in the process. I can just imagine these two brothers pranking each other during various jobs and I love the hints of impishness in their eyes. When I found out they had been painters I mentioned to my mom that some of the proud comments the older generation made to me when I spent a summer working as a painter made more sense to me now. I'd like to think great grandpa would be pleased that I know how to cut in a proper line (and take pride in doing so) when I paint a wall.





Here is my great grandmother about whom I have written before. Those memories were of her as an old woman though. It was special to see her as a girl and I really liked that she was smiling in a picture from an era where that was not usually the case. I just thought it made the picture especially charming and lovely. It gave a face to the stories from her own childhood I used to enjoy hearing her tell.














One of the other very few pictures of my great grandmother as a young woman was this one from her wedding day. I tend to remember her as a smiling woman with a good sense of humor but she looks rather serious in this photo. Her body language and the look in her eye seem rather unlike how I think of her as well but perhaps it's just the formality of the particular setting since this was a professional portrait for a momentous day.

20 comments:

Craig said...

Sweet stuff, Lime; thanks for this. It is indeed rare to find folks smiling for photographs in the 1800s. I've got a few photos of ancestors from the 19th century, and they are all pretty dour-looking (it was explained to me that it often took a minute or two to get a full exposure in those days, and it was just generally too hard to hold a smile that long).

Anyway, I'm going to post a few of my genealogical treasures one of these days, once I can get the old photos scanned. . .

Thanks again

EmBee said...

Fun post Lime... And that last pic, perhaps she's trying not to display any 'wedding night' nervousness.
:-)

Hilary said...

Great photos to have. I too, have inherited a large number of family photos. Unfortunately I have no idea who most of the subjects are.. or from which side of the family they belonged. It was a jumbled mess of images when I got them and not enough older relatives remain to enlighten me.

Your great grand uncle looks like Stephen Colbert. ;)

RennyBA's Terella said...

What family jewellery of photos and how exciting it must be to dig into your anchors. Thanks for sharing with us - love the wedding day pic!

coopernicus said...

Kewl photos. Perhaps in that last one she took a first good look at her spouse's ears...

snowelf said...

And I've been thinking about painting my room this week too... Want to come and help!? ;)

Those old pictures are so neat. What a treasure to have them!

--snow

Ananda girl said...

You found treasure. I love family history. You are so lucky to have gotten the family photos. I have very few myself.

Suldog said...

Those are tremendously clear photos of your distant forebears. Lucky you! As you probably know, I have a few family photos, but none that go that far back with such stunning clarity.

DianeCA said...

What a charming post, and getting to know you, I have a feeling they were a fun bunch to be with too. It's amazing what traits can be inherited...and instilled in us from our families. I also have inherited some lovely photos in wake of my mothers death. Among them several of her brother who was a kind of family secret until I was older. He fell from the 3rd story apartment my grandmother and grandfather lived in and received a brain injury. He lived the rest of his life in an institution, my grandmother became seriously depressed and my mother went to live with her fathers sister. I never saw a picture of him until after she died, its like the family wanted to forget this tragedy.

G-Man said...

Grandpa Howard looks just like Wyatt Earp!

Beach Bum said...

This was an exceptional post! I often wonder when we discover old photos like the ones you posted did the subjects have any idea how far in the future they might last and if those in the shadowy future would feel any connection with them?

NPR had some sort of broadcast one time that features old recordings. One they played was of a grandmother telling her grandkids she loved them on a record made at some sort of fair. The record was made in the early part of the 20th century and if I remember right even the grandmother's grandkids had passed away when NPR featured the recording and the story on their program in the early 2000's.

Makes me wonder how our home videos will be viewed in say the 22nd century?

Brian said...

Great stuff and very interesting. Happy Holidays to you my friend!

Tom Bailey said...

These are very valuable photos to have and you fit them into your blog very well.

Cricket said...

Those are great pictures. I suppose you know I have a thing for old photographs, though I don't have a scanner. There are some in my parent's basement I'm dying to get my hands on. My folks are notoriously bad at preserving things like that. I found a bagful once sitting in an inch of water. Not good.

It's interesting to see old B&Ws. Though sometimes they say more about the state of photography than about the subjects. The smiling ones are the best ones, I think.

Anyways, nice post.

secret agent woman said...

I love old family photos.

74WIXYgrad said...

It's Top Banana time and you are a lucky winner!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Cliff sent me over...
These photos are priceless. You are so lucky to have them. It was very unusual to see people smiling way back then. I think it is because no one was able to visit a dentist. Or they were just depressed all the time.
And I agree, wallpaper was invented by Satan himself.

tattytiara said...

Wow, what wonderful, wonderful photos, and going back so many generations! I would love to see a candid shot of one of my great grandparents like that.

Jocelyn said...

Gorgeous pix. I am so taken with the old-fashioned look of such photos and stare and stare, trying to pick out the essence of the solemn faces--what would each person be like, if dressed in today's clothes, with today's hair?

Moosekahl said...

Those pictures are to be treasured indeed. Beautiful!