Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Setting the Scene - The Archers in 1906

Market Street, San Francisco, April 14, 1906
I love the idea of capturing a small slice of life from the times in which my ancestors lived. The wonderful Lisa Louise Cooke has remastered an earlier podcast where she suggests using silent films as a way of putting the lives of your ancestors in context; looking at life at the time and appreciating early films your ancestors may also have enjoyed. You can listen to the whole podcast and read the show notes here. The still above is from a movie called "A Trip Down Market Street" and it was filmed just four days before the earthquake and fire. As I listened to Lisa describe the film in the podcast I realized, "I had an ancestor living in San Francisco at this time!"

OK...so I need to set the scene for my cousins. This was not a direct ancestor. I've made a little tree that shows how we are related.
So my three times great grandmother, Margaret Archer, had a younger brother Samuel Milton Archer who became a doctor and moved west to the Salinas Valley around Monterrey. He had two wives and a very large family. His eldest son, Aretas Allen Archer, became a San Francisco policeman.
For obvious reasons I couldn't find a 1906 directory, but he shows up in both 1905 and 1907 living with his sister Agnes Archer and her husband Christian Melin, a master mariner.
The Melins moved to Church Street briefly after the earthquake, but by the 1910 census they were back on Fair Oaks Street. This is between Noe Valley and the Mission District near Mission Delores Park. Did they "camp out" in the park after the earthquake?  Who knows? The area south of Market Street shook pretty hard. 
You'll notice that I've captured a still with a policeman in it. It's a little tip of the hat to Aretas Archer.  Go to YouTube and watch this film all the way through. It's just a little bit of light-hearted fun before a very grim chapter in San Francisco history, but it gives you a glimpse of a time gone by.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday

No reproduction or downloads without
express permission
In honor of a hot July day, I thought I'd take a trip to the beach. My family liked to go up to the Maine beaches, but the back of the photo doesn't tell us where this was taken. From the back we have:
Lotta Smith, Primrose Rogers Tapply, Clara Smith, and Primrose (Primsy) Rogers. Love those bathing costumes and the bathing shoes. This was about 1930.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Still Another Mappy Monday- the Freeds of Sutton Valence

This charming map is the result of a search online for a neglected branch of my family; the Freeds.
Charles Tapply was married to Ellen Freed Benn. For years, we thought she was born in Kent, but actually she was born in London. However, her mother died in childbirth or shortly thereafter and she went to live with her aunt. Elizabeth Freed Boorman  lived with her husband, who was a wheelwright, in the small village of Sutton Valence. Ellen was christened there, as I discovered in the FamilySearch records.
Ellen Benn
Gender: Female
Christening Date: 22 Mar 1857
Christening Place: Sutton-Valence, Kent, England
Father's Name: John Benn
Mother's Name: Mary Benn
For those not familiar with Kentish geography, here is a modern map showing Sutton Valence.
Personally, I love the first map with the tiny depictions of churches and farmsteads and forests. All the Freeds lived in the immediate area and sorting them out will be yet another challenge!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Small Town Deals with Smallpox

Drawing accompanying text in Book XII of the 16th-century Florentine Codex (compiled 1540–1585), showing Nahuas of conquest-era central Mexico suffering from smallpox.

I love using the FamilySearch records as a resource. I mentioned before that I found that many of the records I thought were original turn out to be 19th Century copies. The originals, I discovered, were still unindexed on FamilySearch.
I've been combing through the Holden, Massachusetts town records for the traces of my Rogers ancestors.  These original records are fascinating because they combine birth records, death records, marriage records and minutes from the town meetings. And it was at one town meeting that I discovered this:

Clearly the people of Holden knew that people with smallpox needed to be isolated and went to the extreme measure of creating a hospital to contain the disease. In the following entry, dated December 13, 1792 I found this:

The phrase that surprised me was "for all those persons that are now Inoculated in this Town and no more". They were inoculating against smallpox in 1792? This was news to me. But a little searching on the internet told me that no less a person than Cotton Mather was advocating inoculation in 1721. You can read about that here.

I also found out that there were a series of epidemics right up until Jenner's discovery of vaccination in 1796. The colonists had a crude form of vaccination and this website provided this information:
"There was, however, a catch: individuals under inoculation did come down with smallpox, and they were therefore fully capable of infecting others with the disease. Unless practised under strict quarantine, the operation was as likely to start an epidemic as to stop one. For this reason, inoculation was highly controversial in the English colonies, where smallpox outbreaks were comparatively rare."
So this explains why a hospital was necessary for the vaccinated. Smallpox runs through a series of stages over a few months, so it would have been imperative to house these people for a while. It was a far more benign solution than the one I found here. North Brookfield is only a few miles west of Holden and this would have been in 1788, a few years before the outbreak in Holden.

The History Today website tells us that there were a series of outbreaks during the American Revolution that affected fighting in both New England and the South and into Canada. From there the disease moved west. Of course we know that the disease devastated the Native American population. I was heartened to find that the town of Holden embraced the idea of inoculation(controversial at the time), did not banish the sick, and did not consider the disease "God's judgment"(another popular idea in Puritan America). Just another window into the lives of my ancestors.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

My Blogiversary

I noticed about midweek that there were a few more hits on the blog. Then it "hit" me: Monday was my  blogiversary. It was a year ago on June 2, 2013 when I began. Thanks to Geneabloggers for the reminder. And Happy Blogiversary to ME!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Memorial Day- Remembering Winslow Brainard Rogers

Grove Cemetery, Holden, Massachusetts
Reading up a little this morning, I discovered that Memorial Day was originally Decoration Day and was established especially to remember those lost in the American Civil War. This Memorial Day I would like to remember the man who piqued my curiousity  about my family. Winslow Brainard Rogers enlisted in the Union Army in 1862. He was a bugler in Company G of the 36th Massachusetts regiment. He died of smallpox after the siege of Vicksburg on July 25, 1863. He was only 38 years old when he died. There is a marker in his name at the town cemetery in Holden, Massachusetts and his name is engraved on a plaque in the town hall. As a child we had a packet of letters written from WB to his wife Cassandria. I no longer have the letters available to me, but I remember how sad they were and how terribly he missed his family and his small hometown. For those who made the ultimate sacrifice, on this day we remember.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Family Scandal-That Wasn't

June Walley-Second row, second from the left
This is both a sad and a happy story. It is the story of family lost and family found. When I began researching my Tapply relatives, I knew there were a few "skeletons" in the family closet. I had heard the stories of divorces, misbehavior and one in particular about a baby born out of wedlock and adopted by another family member. When I filled in the original family tree, I plugged in what I knew and hoped I'd find more.

Before 1920, my grandmother's sister Bess Tapply and her husband Samuel Walley were living in Rutland, Vermont where he worked for A T & T. I found a very sad record of a stillborn child early in my research and I knew that her only other child was adopted, so Bess was unable to have children of her own. Bess was one of the loveliest and most loving people I have known.  I could only imagine how long she and Sam tried for children. It made me very happy to find this in the 1920 census:
There is the child they adopted living with the Walleys at 1 1/2 years old. In a later census she is recorded as Eunice Haskins Walley. The story as I heard it was that Bess's brother Harry has gotten a girl "in the family way" and that Bess and Sam had adopted the baby. They always called her June. So I recorded Harry as the father with mother "unknown" and Bess and Sam as the adopted parents.

Clearly there was some trace of her beginnings in the census. Could the mother's name have been Haskins? I looked in Ancestry and FamilySearch and didn't turn up anything. In the meantime, I was also turning up Tapply cousins who were interested in genealogy. One was Holly Jones, Harry Tapply's granddaughter. Did she know the family story? I hoped so. But one day she emailed me and asked "Who is this June?" This is one of the moments in genealogy you don't look forward to. I told her the story I knew and referred her to the family reunion photo. In the close-up above you see June in the second row, second from the left next to her half-sister. Did they know? Probably not. Holly had never heard this story from her mother Beryl or her aunts Fern and Janice.

Holly felt sure there was more to this story-the 1920 census showed Harry living with his parents and listed as a widower. I began to suspect so as well. I think it was BillionGraves that turned up the record that made us sure. Gertrude L. Tapply showed up in a search, buried in Westminster, Massachusetts in the Haskins family plot.

 Unlikely that she'd be buried as a Tapply if they hadn't married. Next we found the death record:
So we know she died in February of 1918, that she was married at the time, and that June was born in late 1917 or very early 1918. The cause of death doesn't seem like a death in childbirth.
Finally we located the marriage record:
So clearly Gertrude was pregnant when they married and Harry was in the Army fighting in WW I. Was he even around when the baby was born? When his wife died? Perhaps not. Even so, he'd be hard-pressed to care for an infant by himself and there was his sister longing for a child. So June lost her mother and her father early in her life and became the very loved child of Bess and Sam Walley. Bess and Sam had a large house in Newburyport, Massachusetts and went on to raise June's son, Ted as well. Family lost, family found. And another family myth dispelled!