ancestryink fisherman

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Visions and Voices, Then and Now

"Then and Now" photographs of landscapes are always intriguing.  For example, the popular "Images of America" series of soft cover books published by Arcadia Publishing has provided us with endless photographic and postcard images and descriptions of nearly every town, city, landscape, and person imaginable.  They also include a host of names and vital information needed for genealogical research.

My own family are Hendersons hailing originally from Scotland and later Loyalists living on a land grant in Guysborough, NS. After departing Nova Scotia, they settled in Deer Isle and Swan's Island, Maine. Both places are rich in history of maritime occupations (my ancestor - a sea captain), stone work in the granite quarries, and tourism.  The "Images in America" series provided me with many new clues in researching my own family and ended up launching me on my own exciting book project.

In my travels (with camera ever in hand) I've shot many a comparative photograph of locations found on the front of postcards I have acquired from local antique or used bookstores, or online sources - all usually dating around early 1900's, scrawled front and back with handwritten messages. 

Somewhere along this enjoyable visual path, and concurrent with finishing my course in genealogical research at Boston University, it occurred to me that the names penned on these postcards and the messages within, could also be of vital interest to others.

What stories they tell! Sometimes simply casual greetings, and other times important tidings of health, occupation, migration and even worldly events. One card came from a mental hospital, another from Fort McClary, a soldier in training for war, another a female worker in one of the many grand hotels flourishing in the early 1900's, most later burned to the ground and now gone forever.  These authors have inadvertently provided valuable genealogical information for us to follow today.

Voices and visions from the past...

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