Dad received his West Point Assignment as a Flight Instructor in 1942. He sent a telegram to my mother, Louise Johnson, announcing his new assignment. They would soon marry and reside at West Point. Dad had undergone basic flight training at Goodfellow Field in San Angelo, Texas, at Parks Air College and was preparing to take his place in the newly expanded US Army Air Corp as a flying second lieutenant. Read more here…
“Society will develop a new kind of servitude which covers the surface of society with a network of complicated rules, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate. It does not tyrannise but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.” ~ Alexis de Tocqueville ~
Baptismal record from 1567 where priest has omitted the father’s surname, Onorati.Genealogist Lynn Serafinn discusses 15 common ways we make mistakes in genealogy, and offers tips on how to separate fact from fiction in your family history. It’s easy to get hooked on the act of discovery when researching our family histories. We love finding…
Left to right: Dad (James “Gene” Rier), Gordon Ackley and Mom (Louise Johnson Rier). Gordon’s Model A (or is it a Model T?) is in the background. Gordon was the manager of the shop at Rier Motors for many years, as far back as I can remember. He was part of our family. I miss them all dearly, but it is nice to see them together smiling on a sunny day!
There are four old, old photo albums I found in the attic of my great grandparents home where I grew up. This album, with the beautiful leather cover embossed with bright-colored flowers, has the name of the owner on the first page: my great grandmother’s eldest sister, Mrs. G.W. Flynn, Thirza Getchell Flynn.
I sit and search through this beautiful album, looking for photos that I recognize.
The first photograph in the album is a handsome man I do not recognize. Perhaps he is Thirza’s husband, George W. Flynn. It is also possible he is one of the Getchell men.
This man’s photo was taken at Edouart & Cobb, a studio located at No. 504 Kearny Street, in San Francisco, California. In 1869, Alexander Edouart joined David Cobb and opened a studio on Kearny Street. Their partnership lasted until 1881. Thus, this photo dates between 1869 and 1881.
On the next page, there is a beautiful child holding a doll. This is one of two photos with a name written on the back. Sophie Palmer, age six years, 1882.
I search for a connection between the Getchell and Palmer families. I find that my great great great grandfather John Getchell had a sister, Olive Getchell Palmer, born in 1810. Perhaps Sophie is her granddaughter.
On the next page, I find this man and woman. I have seen her before among the Getchell/Means family photos. This couple may be Thirza’s mother and father – my great great grandparents, Marshfield (1821 – 1892) and Martha Jane Holmes Getchell (1825 – 1913). I have Martha Getchell’s linens, blankets and quilts in my home.
I run upstairs and carefully sort through the family photos stored in my great grandfather’s secretary and find two remembered photos of her, one is with a family, likely her son, Lysander or Osgood, his wife and child.
As I search through the secretary, I discover a color tintype photo that resembles this woman at a much younger age.
I turn the page of the photo album. There is a baby, photographed by Ezekiel Vose in Machias, circa 1870s.
On the same page, there is a photo of young child, the name “Thirza” written on the back. Unless there are two Thirzas in the family, this may be Thirza Getchell Flynn as a child. Thirza was born in 1842 making that photo pre-1850. Is this even possible? It will take more research to figure this one out.
A young girl photographed with her doll at E Vose in Machias is dressed regally!
Then, I see my great grandfather William when he was young, age 21. I have seen this photo before in his autograph album. William Means was Thirza’s brother-in-law. He married my great grandmother Nellie Getchell Means.
The rest of the photos in the album are a mystery. These men, women and children could be from the Getchell, Flynn, Means or Holmes families. It strikes me how most of these photos are not stern, instead artistic. I find the clothing, poses and photo settings fascinating!
My great grandparents secretary today.
On the back of her portrait Grace wrote:
Eleanor Berry Means. Second daughter of Benjamin Berry and Sarah Fuller Berry – sister of Elsie Fuller Berry Means.
My grandmother always said “Aunt Eleanor as a girl was the beauty of the family.” This picture – between 70 and 80 – surely confirms that.
To Will from Grace –
Eleanor was born in 1816, four years before her sister Elsie, and died in 1893 at the age of 77. She was buried with her husband Mattias Phinney (1800 – 1880) in the Churchhill Cemetery, Machiasport, Maine.
Grace Means Photo Collection. 1924.
Preservation pays off—read stories of family discoveries people have made due to the preservation efforts of others. Piles of old documents sitting around in the attic. Old family keepsakes gathering dust. Each piece of your family’s past has a story to tell, but unfortunately, these stories can be forgotten or lost if steps aren’t taken…