The California Branch of the Getchell/Berry Families

In the third old, old photo album, there are many photographs taken at studios in California. According to this online document on Berry/Getchell genealogy, my great grandmother Nellie’s eldest brother Osgood Getchell re-located from Marshfield, Maine where he was born, to California. Osgood was a farmer, owned 109 acres along the Pacific coast in redwood country, and built a large family home overlooking the coastline.  This document also shows that Getchell members had lived in California or decades, from the time of the gold rush. I want to get in touch with the family that posted this online, and seek their documentation for this branch of the family.

The first San Francisco photograph that I found was in Thirza Getchell Flynn‘s album. I began to search for a connection between the Getchell, Berry or Means families to California. This is the photograph in Thirza’s album that may be Osgood Getchell. The 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.

In the third album, the gentleman below was photographed at the Newark Gallery at 31 Third Street in San Francisco, L. Richardson, Proprietor. A Google search revealed no information about the photographer or studio.

This couple, perhaps husband and wife as they are side by side on a page, were photographed at Vaughan’s Photograph Gallery, 18 Third Street in San Francisco. This studio was established at that location in 1869 until 1878 when the photographer, Hector William Vaughn, died.

The Vaughan studio also photographed a child who may be this couple’s daughter or son.

This lady was photographed at the Charles Lainer studio at 31 Third Street, San Francisco. I featured her photo in a post about the mystery necklace found at my great grandmother Nellie’s home, since this woman wore a similar one. She may also be a member of the California branch of the family.

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The Wing & Allen studio at 342 Kearny Street in San Francisco photographed these two women and one child. One of the women and the child have names written on the back of the photo, Alice and Ethie Hamer. I can find no information on the relationship of the Getchell or Berry families with the Hamer family. It will require more investigation. But Alice Hamer and the other woman may be friends of the family. The photos date between 1873 and 1876 when Wing & Allen’s Ferrotype Gallery was at that location.

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Two boys were photographed at the Brown & Otto studio, 28 Third Street, San Francisco. I can find no information of the dates that studio was at that location.

The Getchell/Berry family document, mentioned above, notes that direct descendants of my ancestor Joseph Getchell III, who fought in the first naval battle of the American Revolution in Machias, Maine, relocated to California. How interesting! One new discovery, leads to more research…

Related post:

Old, Old Photo Albums. Circa Late 1800s.

 

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Old, Old Photo Album. Part III.

The first photo in the album is of Senator James Garfield, an Ohio Republican elected President in 1881 and assassinated 200 days later. I pondered why this photo was placed so prominently in the album in a previous post.

As I turn the pages of this album, there are images of men, women, children, and babies. I recognize no one – except this lady.

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She is Eleanor Berry Phinney, the sister of my great great grandmother, Elsie Fuller Berry Means.

Only three photos have names written on the back. They may be relatives or friends of the family.

Artie? Elizabeth Sanders. Eight months old. May 1898. Norman Studio. 39 George St. Halifax, NS. The name is curious, if I spelled it correctly, but Artie was a name used for a girl in the late 1800s.

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David Wentworth. Kimball & Ayer, Augusta Maine.

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J. Frank Robinson. October 31st, 1866. Richardson’s Ferrotype, Ambrotype, and Photograph Rooms. 120 Hanover Street, Boston. Another man, who resembles Robinson is beside him in the album, his photo taken at the same studio, no name noted on the back.

 

 

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There are many tintype photos that must date between 1855 and 1870s, such as J. Frank Robinson and the man beside him above. This woman and two children are other examples.

 

 

For a number of reasons, I believe all four photo albums belonged to generations of the Getchell/Means/Berry families, although I can’t be sure. One album belonged to Thirza Getchell, my great grandmother Nellie Getchell Mean’s eldest sister. More than one old, old album contains photos of my great grandfather William Means.

There are two soldiers in this third album. Placed in a photo slot beside one of the men, there is a woman who posed with the same chair, perhaps his wife. All three photos were taken at the studio of Keith & Ross Photographers, Machias, Maine. I can find no information on this studio and the dates it was located in Machias. I am currently seeking more information on soldiers uniforms, what regiment they served in, and their identities.

 

 

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There are many other photos from the studios in Machias, likely members of the Means, Getchell and Berry families located in Machias and surrounding towns.

The Machias photographer of these two girls was Ezekiel Vose, listed in the 1876 Briggs’ Maine Business Directory.

 

 

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One photo of a beautiful woman and child was taken at S. Wasgatt studio in Milbridge, ME. I can find no information on this studio as yet.

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The man on the left below was photographed at the same Chicago studio as my great grandfather William Means at age 21 (R).  JM Goins was located on State Street in Chicago for two years, 1875 and 1876.

 

 

The man, woman and children below were photographed in Boston by W. Shaw Warren at 41 Winter Street. W. S. Warren worked as a photographer at that location from 1870 to 1874. (Source: A directory of Massachusetts photographers, 1839-1900; research by Chris Steele & Ronald Polito; edited by Ronald Polito, c1993, p. 133.)

 

 

The Genelli studio in Sioux City, Iowa photographed this woman.

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There are photographs of men and women in this album, and others, taken by a studio in San Francisco, California. According to this online document on Berry/Getchell genealogy, my great grandmother Nellie’s eldest brother Osgood Getchell re-located from Marshfield, Maine where he was born, to California. Osgood was a farmer, owned 109 acres along the Pacific coast in redwood country, and built a large family home overlooking the coastline.  This document also shows that Getchell members had lived in California or decades, from the time of the gold rush.

I will focus on the California branch of the Getchell family in a future post. My head is spinning…

Among many questions and uncertainty, it is clear that my ancestors had relatives and friends spread across the US and the Canadian Maritimes in the latter part of the 1800s, from Downeast Maine to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Boston, Chicago, Sioux City, San Francisco and the Pacific coast.

Related posts:

Old, Old Photo Albums. Circa Late 1800s.

Old, Old Photo Albums. Circa late 1800s. Part II.

My Ancestors’ Old, Old Photo Album and James Garfield.

The California Branch of the Getchell/Berry Families. There are also tintype photos in this album.

 

What Objects Will You Leave Behind For Your Descendants?

 

“The few worldly possessions she left behind, accumulated over the course of more decades than you or I will probably live, didn’t take up much space in the tiny two-room church-owned apartment where she spent the last 27 years of her life.”

“We have too many things, too many distractions, too many items offered to us, too many messages, and a person like Emma struggles to emerge,” the Rev. Giuseppe Masseroni, who himself is 91, said at Ms. Morano’s funeral on Monday.”

Old, Old Photo Albums. Circa Late 1800s.

The cover detail of these albums is intricate. When I first pulled them from a trunk in the attic of my parents ten years ago, I didn’t recognize anyone. I wondered why no one wrote any names in these family albums. Who did they belong to?

I expect the owner/collector of these photos did not envision a time when no one would know the family members in the photos. It was a reminder not to make the same mistake in my lifetime. Have I written on the back of my memorable photos? Rarely. Are photos collected in my lifetime organized? Not yet. I’m working on it.

This year, I open the ancestors’ albums again while sitting in the old rocker my grandmother rocked me in. I gingerly remove the photos to look at the back. There are no names written there; some have the photographer’s stamp. I decide to investigate one album at a time, beginning with the smallest leather-bound one with the clasp, pictured in the front above.

In this album, I find photos of ancestors I now recognize for I have been immersed in them for a time now. The first two photos are of my great-great grandparents, Otis and Elsie Fuller Berry Means by photographer E. Vose in Machias, Maine. The same photos were in the Grace Means’ photo collection sent to the family in 1924. The next two photos are of a young woman that I cannot identify. I turn the page and find my great grandfather William, nearly the same photo is in his autograph book. The photographer was J.M. Goins, South State Street, Chicago. Was William doing business there I wonder?

Most of the album pages are empty, either never filled or distributed among the family. I do not recognize ten of the photos in the album. Are most of these men, women and babies William and his four brothers and sisters at different ages? Perhaps one of the women is William’s eldest sister Harriet, for she was not included in the Grace Means’ photo collection. Whoever she is, she does not resemble William’s other sister, Francis. The photos of this woman were taken in Boston where Harriet lived, as did William’s eldest brother, Andrew Means. I don’t see his two brothers’ likeness in these faces either, Andrew or Eliphalet. But then, I didn’t recognize William’s younger self in the autograph book at first. The elders in the album may be members of the Berry family.

I ask myself questions, think about the research required to find answers. I suppose it will help to just hold each album in my hands and ask whether I have spent enough time with my ancestors to answer these questions.

From the age of my great-great grandparents in the photos, I estimate the date as 1870s. The photographer, Ezekiel Vose, was listed in the 1876 Briggs’ Maine Business Directory. The photo of my great grandfather William is from 1875 or 1876 as the photographer, JM Goins, was located on State Street in Chicago for those two years. William’s age was 20 or 21 years old at the time, as he was born in 1855. The tintype photo of the baby in the carriage could range from 1855 to 1870s. My grandparents, William and Nellie Means were married in 1880. It seems likely that this one album originally belonged to William’s parents, Otis and Elsie Means of Machiasport, Maine and was handed down and stored in the attic where I discovered four old albums over 120 years later.

I’ve explored and documented one album. What might I discover in the other three?

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My great-great grandparents Otis and Elsie Means; My great grandfather William Means.

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Photos that I cannot identify. Yet.

Related posts:

1913. The Means Family.

The Means and Getchell Families.