Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sorting Saturday: Don't Get TOO Organized!

Sometimes doing too good a job of sorting is a bad thing! Why? Because documents or photos that should be together get put in separate places. By reuniting these things, I'm piecing together a trip that my parents took the year after they were married.

For better organization, I had sorted all my photos and family memorabilia into family archive boxes (one for Mahler, one for Burk, etc.) Today I was looking at a Schwartz box and noticed the postmark on this postcard folder sent by Daisy Schwartz Burk and her new husband, Harold Burk, to Daisy's parents (my grandparents), Theodore Schwartz and Hermina Farkas Schwartz. As usual, the grandparents were staying for a week or two in upstate New York to escape the summer heat of New York City. The postmark on this mailer says July 24, 1947.

Now look at the b/w photo above, taken at the Au Lutin qui bouffe in Montreal, dated July 16, 1947. It shows Daisy Schwartz and her husband, Harold Burk (center), with a mystery man at right. That mystery man is also in my parents' wedding photos on the Mahler side of the family, which is why this was in my Mahler box. Daisy has a wrapped gift on her lap (is it for the mystery guy or from the mystery guy?).**

Clearly both of these are part of the same swing through Canada at the New England border. Neither of my parents could drive a car, which means they took the train--easy enough from New York City. Who is this mystery man? Did he live in Montreal or did he arrange to meet my parents while all were visiting the city?

I'm going to put each item back in its family archive box but with a note about the trip, for cross-reference purposes

Never give up on mystery photos! You just never know when a new cousin connection will result in an "a ha" moment for unidentified relatives.

**UPDATE: The mystery man is my father's first cousin on the Burk side, whose family lived in Montreal. That family has a copy of this photo, as well, so when I connected with them a few years ago, we were able to piece together a lot of the story!


  1. The cross referencing is as important as the sorting and organizing. Hope you figure out who uour mystery man is. I'm sure you will.

  2. Michelle, you bring up a good point: I need to cross-reference. My thought is to photocopy the photo and put it into the box with the postcards, and photocopy the postcard w/postmark and put the copy into the other box. Both boxes need a note explaining the connection. Can't have too many explanations! Thanks...

  3. Here's what I've been doing: with each original document or photograph I scan it and then add it to my genealogy software. I then also print a copy and stamp it very clearly with a 'COPY' stamp. I then file the original away carefully, well protected! I then have a filing system whereby birth certificates go in one place, marriage certificates in another, photographs in another, etc. Obviously all these are copies, since I work with them regularly and refer to the again and again, but the originals are filed in a similar way.
    Obviously, having only just started research my family tree, I am able to have a plastic sleeve labelled 'Birth Certificates' or 'Marriage Certificates' or 'Photographs' since I have so few of each... once the number grows, however, I am sure I will need to implement a better filing system within each actual folder.

  4. Hi Jay, I assume you file a copy with the person or cross-reference the location of certificates with a note in each family's or person's file? You're right, it's important to file the original in a protected way. I have each in an archival plastic sleeve, filed in the proper family box or file (or both, once I've made a copy). Thanks for reading and sharing your ideas!

  5. Great post. I don't have a recommendation for sorting, but I love your photo! There must be an interesting story behind Daisy feeding the piglet at the table. No one else in the restaurant seems to be noticing the piglet except for the man at the next table.

    Thanks for sharing!