ancestryink fisherman

Monday, February 28, 2011

Surname Search

To aid others in their individual family research, surnames currently being researched by AncestryInk will be posted in alphabetical lists from time to time. Many of these names originate from postcard or letters in our collection.  Please contact me if you would like further information about these sources.

For a quick comprehensive SEARCH, click on the "Surname Search box in right sidebar of blog.  This will give you results for AncestryInk and clicking on "Related Links" will give you results from our featured listings (Cyndi's List; Ancestry.com; etc.)

Barker, Nellie - So. Royalton, VT
Fiske, Ina - So. Framingham, MA
Henderson, Alexander; Alan - Guysborough, Nova Scotia and Deer Isle, ME
Marchant, Elizabeth - New Haven, CT
McKenney, Lester;  Mrs. F.L. - Cornish, ME
Phillips, Mr. J.S. - NYC, NY
Thayer, Arthur - Dedham, MA
Titus, Miss M. - Dover, NH
Whittier, Ida - Searsport, ME

Thursday, February 24, 2011

History Repeats Itself (and so does the weather)

Last July 2010, a swift and devastating tornado ripped through upper York County, Maine. Two of the hardest hit towns were Gray and Limerick.  A good friend of mine who lives in Limerick had the roof ripped off his house and his property laid to waste, losing almost every tree.

Shortly after that, I came upon a postcard postmarked 1909, showing fallen trees.  The caption on the front reads:  "Ruin caused by Tornado, July 8, 1909, No. Gray, Maine."  Remarkable.  What seemed like a bizarre, out-of-the-ordinary event last July, we now know to have happened before in nearly the very same location, just over 100 years ago!

Sometimes when history repeats itself, even in the form of notable weather events,  there is a certain comfort in discovering it has happened before...and life has gone on and renewed itself.  (It is also interesting to note that a postcard was created to record this tornado in Gray.)

Here is the old postcard, followed by a photo I took of last July's tornado havoc in Limerick. (Captions added at bottom of images are my own, and not part of the postcard.)

Gray Maine, 1909 (postcard)

Limerick Maine, 2010 (photograph)

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...