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.

 

3 Genealogy Blunders to Avoid — AncestralFindings.com

Genealogy depends on accuracy to maintain its integrity. If your research has mistakes in it, you aren’t getting the real story of your family history. As a genealogist, the genuine story should be the most important objective of your research. There is also the possibility that other genealogists, present or future, may use your research…

via 3 Genealogy Blunders to Avoid — AncestralFindings.com

Summer Lilies

for Mom and Dad. And, my beloved niece, Jessica Marie Rier, who would have turned 42 years old this year, had she not been taken from us at age 5.

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A summer breeze blows. I pull a bit of long grass around the stones. And, think of my mother, father, and niece, and how love never ends.

Monuments to Lost Libraries

Moore Genealogy

Authors photograph 2017, Charles H Moore

“Whenever an elder dies, a library burns down.”

 

Most of us have heard the above saying in one form or another. If there is any truth to this saying (I believe it holds much truth) then perhaps the above picture is of monuments to these lost libraries. If you are the family historian, genealogist, archivist, or family story teller, some responsibility falls on you to try and preserve some of the knowledge held in these libraries. Far too many people will only be known as a name and two dates on a gravestone, with their life story soon forgotten. Most family historians believe that family lore, if not preserved, will be lost within three generations. In the case of my family as my research has shown it happens much sooner.

We have many ways to save and pass on our family’s history. We…

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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.

 

Maine Soldiers in the Getchell/Berry Families

Can anyone identify the Maine regiment by the uniforms? Civil War or later?

These men are unidentified as yet but are likely in the Getchell or Berry families.

Their photographs were in one of the old, old albums left in the attic of my great grandparents home. The 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.

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Two men in the Means family fought in the Civil War, my great grandfather William’s elder brothers, Andrew Fuller Berry Means and Eliphalet Scribner Means.

Update: Westbrook Berry was a Civil War soldier from Machias. He volunteered for Co. C sixth Maine regiment in 1861 and was discharged for disability in 1863. Note the name is mis-spelled “Barry” in the 1890 survey of surviving soldiers and their widows below. This Westbrook Berry would be a descendant of Westbrook Berry, one of the “original 16” settlers of Machias. I am also one of his descendants through my great great grandmother Elsie Fuller Berry Means.

I am not sure if the soldiers pictured above are Civil War soldiers or not, or if one of the men is Westbrook. But, Westbrook Berry served in a valiant regiment, the 6th Maine’s “screaming demons” that hurdled the stone wall at Fredericksburg in 1863, where he may have been disabled. What a proud history of soldiers from Machias!

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Related posts:

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

 

The Mystery Locket Necklace

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My mother, Louise Johnson Rier, told me I must preserve the family history. There were many stories and items, the Grace Means photo collection, my great grandparents wedding clothes, her mother Harriet’s letters, and there was jewelry. For years, I knew about her grandmother’s rings. Most of Nellie Getchell Means rings went to Mom’s granddaughters and great granddaughters. I possess one of  Nellie’s ruby rings and my grandmother Harriet’s amethyst healing ring.

Mom did not know the story of this necklace. She gave it to me to investigate, hand it down to coming generations. It was left in my great grandparents home, the house I grew up in. I recently examined it, as a scientist would. I went to retrieve it while documenting the old, old photo albums of the Getchell and Means families. I saw a similar necklace on a woman I cannot identify, circa 1860s to 1880s.

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I stared at the photo with a magnifying glass. This woman’s necklace is not the same, but very similar. For the first time, I saw the necklace is a locket. One side has the face of a baby, the other a lock of hair.

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I searched through the family genealogy for the mother that possessed this locket with the face and hair of (most likely) her first child. How special. My great great grandmother, Martha Jane Holmes Getchell was born in 1825, married in 1844. Her first child, Thirza, was born in 1845. Martha had three daughters, Thirza (whose first and only child died at 10 months of age), Dora (no children), and Nellie (4 children). But jewelry left in the house at 24 Broadway in Machias over generations, most likely belonged to my great grandmother Nellie, Martha’s youngest daughter. The photo and lock of hair could be her first son, Otis, born in 1883. Perhaps this necklace was a gift to Nellie from William to celebrate the birth of their first child.

The necklace has a Fleur de Lis design. Interesting since I know my maternal ancestors, the Means family, trace back to Scotland, and before that to Northwestern France.

If any readers have knowledge of antique jewelry, please let me know!