Showing posts with label Thanksgiving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thanksgiving. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgivings of the Past

Happy Thanksgiving! I looked back in diaries, postcards, meeting minutes, and other bits and pieces of my genealogical collection to get a glimpse of what happened on Thanksgivings of the past in my family and my husband's family.*
  • The strangely-colored postcard at right, from the 1910s, was received in East Cleveland by hubby's uncle, Wallis W. Wood. The sender was "Aunt Nellie" (Rachel Ellen Wood Kirby), who lived in Chicago and never missed an opportunity to send holiday or birthday greetings to her nephews and nieces in the Wood family.
  • On Thanksgiving Day of 1959, my late father-in-law (Edgar J. Wood) received the exciting news that he would be a grandfather for the first time during 1960. How do I know? He wrote about it in his diary!
  • On Thanksgiving Day of 1950, my grandma's Farkas family gathered at the C&L Restaurant in Manhattan for dinner and accordion entertainment, at $6 per person. My parents, Daisy Schwartz and Harry Burk, told the family they were buying a TV set to celebrate their wedding anniversary (they married on November 24, 1946). I read about it in the minutes of the Farkas Family Tree.
  • The Farkas Family Tree and spouses and children pitched in to have a photo taken of everyone who attended the Thanksgiving Day dinner at a Manhattan hotel in 1956. It was a large group! Again, the story of planning this dinner and the photography is straight out of the tree's monthly minutes, which I scanned and indexed a few years ago.
  • My aunt Dorothy Schwartz worked on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade with her long-time friend and partner, Lee Wallace, from 1950-1952. Lee was then the head of public relations for Macy's, and Dorothy was her assistant. Then my aunt got her teaching license and left the world of retail to teach typing and shorthand at Christopher Columbus High School in the Bronx. Yes, this is the same aunt who was a WAC during WWII.

 *Not including hubby's Mayflower ancestors celebrating Thanksgiving, of course. That's the oldest "Thanksgiving of the Past" story I can tell to my family for the holiday.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Saluting Pilgrim Ancestors

As Thanksgiving approaches, I want to salute my husband's four Pilgrim ancestors who arrived on the Mayflower: Isaac Allerton, his wife Mary Norris Allerton, their daughter Mary Allerton, and Degory Priest.

Sadly, neither Degory Priest nor Mary Norris Allerton survived the first year at Plymouth.

There's a new Mayflower Heritage page on AmericanAncestors.org with lots of great details about the Pilgrims, including a page where descendants can be listed. I'm going to check that out!

Reading the Mayflower Society's listing of notable descendants, I see that hubby's connection to Isaac Allerton means he's distantly related to: Louis Comfort Tiffany, Joanne Woodward, Franklin D. Roosevelt (also descended from Degory Priest), and Zachary Taylor. Thanks to the Degory Priest connection, hubby is also distantly related to Richard Gere.

In just a few years, we'll be celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's arrival.

Feeling thankful this Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Family Greetings for Thanksgiving, 1910

Here's another postcard among the several dozen sent to my husband's uncle, Wallis W. Wood (1905-1957), by his aunts, uncles, and first cousins. The year this colorful card was sent was 1910, when Wallis was only five years old. It gives me insight into understanding the Wood family and their connections a century ago.

The cousin sending the card was, I believe, Dorothy Louise Baker (1897-1981), daughter of Adelaide "Ada" Mary Ann Slatter Baker (1868-1947) and James Sills Baker (1866-1937). "Ada" was the sister of little Wallis's mother, Mary Slatter Wood (1869-1925). So this is one first cousin writing to another first cousin.

The card says: "Do not eat too much dinner tomorrow, Dorothy & Brother Garrett are going to have dinner with us tomorrow. From cousin Dorothy." 

Was 13-year-old Dorothy Baker talking about cousins on her mother's side or her father's side? Either way, she knew this card would be read not by the recipient, who was barely in kindergarten, but by an adult. I'm sure the adult(s) knew exactly who Dorothy meant. Dorothy was a common name in the family, but not Garrett. I'm still investigating various possibilities.

I especially noticed the address, 12513 Lancelot Avenue in Cleveland. I took a virtual field trip to this address a few years ago and the house there still stands, looking much as it did when first built by James Edgar Wood (1871-1939), the father of the little boy who received this card 107 years ago.

Postcards like this show how valuable ephemera can be in understanding family dynamics from generations past. In the Wood and Slatter families, holiday greetings were sent for every possible occasion, from Easter and Christmas to New Year's and Halloween. Birthday cards were exchanged, too. The adults clearly wanted to be sure that youngsters in the next generation knew each other and stayed in touch!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thankful Thursday: Passing My Parents' 70-Year-Old Wedding Album to Heirs

Saving my parents' wedding album by making a photo book for their 3 grandchildren
On November 24, 1946, the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, my parents, Harry Burk (1909-1978) and Daisy Schwartz (1919-1981) were married at the Hotel McAlpin in New York City. Today would have been their 70th wedding anniversary!

After so many decades, their wedding album was pretty beat up-looking (see below). So I decided to preserve it and share it with Harry & Daisy's three grandchildren now, along with the story of their courtship and marriage. This is also an easy way to be sure that a single heirloom album can be enjoyed by multiple heirs for many years to come.

Here are the steps I took, little by little, to make a pretty and romantic photobook from the wedding album:

1. Remove each 8 x 10 inch photo from its sleeve in the binder and scan it at high resolution. (I could have scanned without removing the photos, if the album was too deteriorated, but not necessary in this case.)

2. Clean up the images electronically and upload them to a photo book website (I like Shutterfly but others are also excellent).

3. Arrange the photos in sequence, adding the story of courtship and wedding as captions. Also, identify everyone in the photos by full name and relationship (so these details aren't forgotten by future generations--keeping family history alive!).

4. Add a touch of color to each page for visual interest (younger folks may find an all black-and-white book a bit boring).

5. Press the "order" button to buy multiple copies for multiple heirs.

6. The original wedding album will be passed to an heir in the next generation, as designated in my "genealogical will."

On Thanksgiving, I'm feeling thankful for my parents' wedding 70 years ago.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Surname Saturday: The Mayflower Connection for Thomas Haskell Wood

'Tis the season for Mayflower connections. Hubby has four Mayflower ancestors.
  • (1) Degory Priest (he married Sarah Allerton, and their daughter Sarah Priest married John Coombs; their son married Elizabeth Royal; Sarah/John Coombs' daughter Elizabeth Royal Coombs married Eleazer Cushman. The son of that marriage was James Cushman who married Sarah Hatch; their granddaughter Lydia was the mother of Harriet Taber, who married Isaiah Wood Sr. in Massachusetts in 1806. Harriet and Isaiah were hubby's 2d-great-grandparents).
  • (2) Isaac Allerton, (3) Mary Norris, and (4) Mary Allerton (Mary Allerton married Thomas Cushman of the Fortune; their son Eleazer Cushman married Elizabeth Royal Coombs, g-grandaughter of Degory Priest. Isaac & Mary Allerton were hubby's 8th great-grandparents).
Reading other GeneaBloggers' posts about Mayflower ancestors, I noticed that Bill West mentioned his Allerton ancestry--and included, among the Allerton descendants in his line, an in-law with the surname of Haskell.

Death notice for Thomas Haskell Wood, Toledo, OH
Haskell rings an important bell. Hubby's great-granddaddy was Thomas Haskell Wood (1809-1890). For years, I've puzzled over the Haskell name. Thomas Haskell Wood did bestow the Haskell name on one of his sons: Thomas Jefferson Isaiah Haskell Wood* (1848-1861). That's the last time I've seen Haskell in 19th or 20th century Wood descendants, and why it appeared or disappeared, I couldn't figure out.

I can't say exactly how Haskell is related to my husband's Wood line because I still haven't finished adding all the Mayflower descendants from the Allertons and Cushmans. But I now believe Thomas Haskell Wood's middle name is a tribute to the Haskell who married into the family's Mayflower line many generations back. Thankful for these Mayflower ancestors as Thanksgiving approaches.


* Why Thomas Jefferson Isaiah Haskell Wood? His parents (Thomas H. Wood and Mary Amanda Demarest) were married in Louisiana in 1845--territory secured by President Thomas Jefferson in 1803, which became a state in 1812. And of course President Jefferson died in 1826, which may have been another reason for honoring this famous man through the name. The "Isaiah" middle name comes from this Thomas J. I. H. Wood's grandfather.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thankful Thursday: Farkas Family Thanksgivings of the Past

I'm one of the hula girls at left, near the back of the room
In 1933, the adult children of Moritz Farkas and Lena Kunstler Farkas formed the Farkas Family Tree association to continue the family closeness as the next generation grew up. They held 10 meetings a year, plus holiday gatherings in between, all in and around New York City. This was the family tree of my mother's mother--although all in-laws, especially my mother's father, were warmly welcomed.

The Tree planned a Thanksgiving dinner most years for the entire membership, beginning in 1934. These were fun affairs, with costumes, prizes, and--of course--lots and lots of holiday foods.

I'm thankful to have the minutes from 30 years of the Farkas Family Tree's meetings. Let me summarize what the minutes say about some memorable Thanksgiving get-togethers.

November, 1934: Thanksgiving dinner at Reichman's, 82nd Street & Second Ave., at 6 p.m. This was the first formal holiday dinner held at a restaurant, with adults paying the full $1.50 per meal and the Tree association paying for the children's meals. My great aunt Ella suggested a tradition that continued for 25 years: Dressing the children in costumes (with adults sometimes joining in). In all, the Tree paid $59 for dinners, music, tips, and decorations.

November, 1935: Thanksgiving dinner was held at the Hotel Hamilton (described, according to the hotel directory listing at Steve Morse's site, as "the House of Sunshine"), again at a cost of $1.50 per meal. Members donated: "cigars and cigarettes, cocktails, caps, noise makers, wine, rye, and assorted prizes." The full cost of feeding and entertaining the Tree members: $63.80.

 November, 1937: Quoting from the minutes about this year's Thanksgiving--"The adults of the group 'dressed up' and the result was a hilarious mad-house. A more strikingly original and handsome combination of costumes could not have been seen even at an Elsa-Maxwell-planned party."

Concourse Plaza Hotel
November, 1944: My great aunt Rose volunteered to host Thanksgiving dinner at her house, provided she would have help with "kp" and doing the dishes. The minutes say: "It was finally agreed that the Democrats would take on the job if the Republicans won the job, and vice-versa."

November, 1948: Thanksgiving dinner was held at the Concourse Plaza Hotel in the Bronx, at a cost of $6.50 per person. Recognizing that this cost was a little steep, the Tree subsidized part of the cost for adults and paid for all children, as was the usual custom for holiday meals.

November, 1956: The Tree held its costume dinner at the Hotel Gramercy Park in Manhattan, a "howling success" (according to the minutes). This was the first time all members posed as a group in costume, as shown at top of today's post.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Thanksgiving 1909, 5 Slatter Siblings, and 24 First Cousins

Hubby's Wood family had four Mayflower ancestors. I'm in awe of the courage of these Pilgrims in undertaking the dangerous and demanding voyage from Plymouth, England to the New World in 1620.

Sadly, only two of these Wood ancestors (Isaac Allerton and his daughter, Mary Allerton) survived to celebrate the first Thanksgiving in 1621.

Happily, more recent ancestors from the Wood line left some trace of their Thanksgiving celebrations in colorful postcard greetings.

This is the front and back of a 1909 holiday greeting sent from Dorothy Louise Baker (1897-1981), a daughter of Adelaide (Ada) Mary Ann Slatter and James Sills Baker, to her 1st cousin, Wallis Walter Wood (1905-1957). Wallis was a son of Ada's sister, Mary Slatter and James Edgar Wood.
 


Dorothy and Wallis were among the 24 first cousins who were related through the 5 Slatter siblings: Ada, Mary, Albert, John Daniel, and Henry Arthur.

Happy and healthy Thanksgiving to all!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Two of Hubby's Four Mayflower Ancestors Celebrated the First Thanksgiving

Hubby is descended from four Mayflower ancestors: Degory Priest, Mary Norris (wife of Isaac Allerton), Isaac Allerton, and Mary Allerton (daughter of Isaac and Mary).

Sadly, Degory Priest and Mary Norris didn't survive to the first Thanksgiving. Happily, Isaac Allerton and his daughter Mary (plus two other children) celebrated the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth.

Mary Allerton Cushman was hubby's 7th great-grandmother and the longest-lived of the Mayflower immigrants. She died on November 28, 1699--315 years ago this week.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving - Parade Memories

Living in NYC, my family often went to the big Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which meant getting up early and riding the subway an hour to get downtown to a street where we could see the floats and bands pass by. Of course Spider Man wasn't in the parade then, but other cartoon favorites were fun to see. Santa in his sleigh arrived at the tail end of the parade, then as now, much anticipated as the high point of the whole show. The crowds were enormous but we usually staked out a spot where we children could sit on a parent's shoulders or climb on a nearby statue or fountain to get a better view. If we were lucky, we'd come home with a little balloon of our own!

In other years, we watched the Macy's parade on TV and flipped channels to see the Dayton's parade in Detroit (after the Macy's parade was over) and the Gimbel's parade in Philadelphia. I didn't realize that the Philadelphia parade had continued after Gimbel's went bust in the 1980s, but now it's the IKEA parade. The Detroit parade is now "America's Thanksgiving Parade" and will take place on Saturday.

Happy Thanksgiving and happy memories.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Thanksgiving 1956

My maternal grandmother (Hermina Farkas Schwartz) and her siblings and their families celebrated Thanksgiving (Nov 22, 1956) by gathering at the Hotel Gramercy Park in New York City for a masquerade luncheon. This was only one of many "Farkas Family Tree" get-togethers that I can remember over the years. The photographer spelled "Farkas" incorrectly (bottom right of photo, it's spelled "Falkas"). I'm one of the Hawaiian girls at left toward the back of the room, wearing a lei. Happy Thanksgiving!