Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sentimental Sunday: Remember the Hardy Boys?

Hubby's preteen room in Cleveland Heights, OH

When hubby was in grade school, he was a big fan of the Hardy Boys mysteries.

You can see his collection of books from the series on the top shelf of his bookcase (and guess the era by looking at the radiator at right).

Those Hardy Boys books have been out of his collection for a long, long time...but this b/w photo of his bedroom is a fun reminder.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sentimental Sunday: Got a Token for the IRT?

Top row: 1953, 1970, 1980 tokens; bottom row: 1979, 1986, 1995 tokens
Growing up in the Bronx, the IRT subway was the fastest way to get from the northern end of the city to anywhere else in the Big Apple. (IRT is short for Interborough Rapid Transit.) My sisters and I rode the subway to high school. And of course we dropped a subway token into the turnstile to get to "the city"--Manhattan--for any reason. We thought nothing of being a straphanger for an hour to get to a museum or work or Radio City Music Hall. My penny loafers had tokens instead of pennies, just in case I was ever stranded somewhere and needed carfare.

Today's New York Times discusses and pictures 15 additional objects that readers chose to represent New York City, supplementing a list of 50 objects printed by the Times a few weeks ago. Alas, the iconic subway token pictured in the article (with the cutout Y) has now been consigned to the scrapheap of history by undistinguished MetroCards (introduced in 2003).

But as shown above, I have a sentimental collection of tokens, and I identified the intro year of each with the help of a NYC Subway website (unaffiliated with the actual subway).

One treasured keepsake in my collection is a token issued at only one place, the bus terminal at Orchard Beach in the Bronx, to get on a bus and connect with a subway or another bus elsewhere in the borough. The bus terminal was operated by the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority (MABSTOA)--shortened to M.A.B. in the center of the token, shown below.

Orchard Beach token issued by Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority
On a summer's day, Sis and I would take a bus up Pelham Parkway to connect with a second bus going to the Riviera of the Bronx. On the return trip, we'd line up at the beach bus terminal, buy a token, drop it into the turnstile slot, and board the bus that would take us back to Pelham Parkway for the connection with our bus home. Total travel time was about 40 minutes, if memory serves, and the return trip was sandier, of course.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sentimental Sunday: Mayflower Day

Thanks to Heather Wilkinson Rojo for pointing out that today is Mayflower Day, the day in 1620 when the Mayflower sailed away from Plymouth, England to the New World.

Hubby had five ancestors on the Mayflower:
  • Degory Priest (whose line led through the Coombs family to Sarah Hatch, who married James Cushman; their granddaughter Lydia was the mother of Harriet Taber, who married Isaiah Wood Sr. in Massachusetts in 1806. Harriet and Isaiah were hubby's g-g-grandparents).
  • Isaac Allerton, Mary Norris, and Mary Allerton (Mary Allerton Cushman's son Eleazer Cushman married Elizabeth Royal Coombs, g-grandaughter of Degory Priest, linking these ancestors to the family tree of Degory Priest).
  • Francis Cooke 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Great-Grand-Uncle Joe Marries Eva

Joe Jacobs and Eva Michalovsky marriage certificate, 1890
My great-grandma Tillie Jacobs Mahler had a brother, Joe Jacobs, and thanks to my great-aunt Ida's handwritten records of "Who's Who to Me," I found out that Joe's wife was Eva (Michalovsky). They married on March 2, 1890 in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Faster than you can say "New York minute," I checked the Italian Genealogical Group's vital records index and sent to the NYC authorities for Joe and Eva's marriage certificate.

Now I'm able to confirm that Joe and Tillie's mother was Rachel Jacobs--and Tillie's maiden name was Shuham. Joe and Tillie's father was Jona Jacob, according to the cert, but other documents show the father's given names as "Julius Yainu." Whether the name was actually Jacob or Jacobs depends on which records I look at...Still, progress!

REAL progress because one of the two witnesses listed on Joe and Eva's marriage cert is "M. Mahler." That's Meyer Mahler, Tillie's husband (my great-grandpa). Woo hoo!

Now a surprise. The bride, groom, and one witness signed with X.

Presumably that means Joe, Eva, and Meyer couldn't write in English. Hmm. And who was "H. Kassel," the second witness?

By the way, Joe and Eva had five children: Flora Jacobs (b. 1890), Louis Jacobs (b. 1891), Morris Jacobs (1895), Frank Jacobs (1897), and Hilda Jacobs* (1899). Any Jacobs cousins out there? Please get in touch!

*Cuz Lois remembered that Hilda married a man with the last name of Wilner. That one name helped me trace some of her family! Thank you, cuz :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering September 11, 2001, 11 Years Later

(I wrote the following post on September 11, 2009, and I'm repeating with a few small changes because the images and feelings are still as vivid as they were 11 years ago...)
Newspapers in Rome on September 12, 2001

On a 2-week tour of Italy, I was sitting in the public room of a small hotel in Rome during afternoon siesta hours on September 11th. The TV was on in the corner, showing an Italian soap opera, and I was stitching a needlepoint stocking for my niece's baby son, who had been born just a month earlier.

Suddenly the TV picture switched to a jet slamming into one of the Twin Towers, and the station replayed that clip several times as Italian newscasters discussed what was happening. The crawl at bottom of the screen credited CNN for the footage, and I quickly realized that any English-language commentary was being replaced by Italian commentary. But I did notice the word "live" and it became clear that the picture of the damaged Twin Towers was being broadcast in real time.

I found my husband and we found one of the tour guides, who joined the group gathered by the small TV. As we watched in shock, the second jet rammed the Twin Towers and our guide translated what the news anchors were saying. We sat numb and horrified as the first Tower collapsed.

By now many tour members were already on the phone trying to call friends and relatives in NYC, even though we'd already heard that the lines were jammed and calls weren't getting through. Instead many of us went to the nearest Internet point to check online news sites and send e-mails to our NY connections.

The rest of that day is a blur, although I know the guides suggested a quiet walking tour of one of the seven hills. For the next few days, whenever our group was in public, Italians would come up to us, ask if we were American, and express their shock over the attacks and their support for us in our sorrow.

We were visiting the Vatican that Friday during the time when the worldwide period of silence was observed. Everyone in the Vatican stopped what they were doing and stood up, respectfully standing in place for three minutes with heads bowed, in silent prayer or contemplation or sorrow. Standing quietly in Rome with the world taking a break from everyday life to mourn with our country, I felt a comforting sense of peace and solidarity.

Today, the anniversary of that tragic day still brings sadness but it also brings remembrance about the lives saved and the shared feeling of joining with mourners in Italy during that moment of silence.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sentimental Sunday: Sunday in Central Park

Digitizing photos has brought me face to face with family faces as I've never seen them. An example: a photo of my hubby, without a beard. And interestingly, my late father-in-law Edgar James Wood's diary for Tuesday, September 22, when this photo was taken, says: "W & I took the children to the Children's Zoo in Central Park for the afternoon." ("W" is Edgar's abbreviation for his son.)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Surname Saturday: The Slatter family

Today I'm back on the genealogy trail of the Slatters of England, Canada, and Ohio, including John Slatter (b. 1838 in Oxfordshire, England, d. 1901 in Cleveland, OH) and Mary Shehen (b. 1801? in Marylebone, England, d. ?). These are hubby's great-grandfather and great-grandmother

Captain John Slatter, 48th Highlanders
John and Mary had 4 sons and 2 daughters. I've found no trace of the adult life of Thomas John Slatter, the oldest child--but I do know where the other 5 children settled down and lived their lives.

Albert William Slatter (1862-1935) moved to London, Ontario, Canada and became bandmaster of the 7th London Fusiliers. He and his wife Eleanor N. Slatter (1866-?) had 6 children: Maud, Ada, Albert, Earnest [sic], Glynn, and John. 

John Daniel Slatter* (1864-1954) moved to Toronto, Canada and became the celebrated bandmaster of the 48th Highlanders (see photo). John married Sophie Mary Elizabeth LeGallais and they had 6 children who survived infancy: Albert Matthew, Frederick William, Edith Sophie (who, sadly, died in her 20s), Bessie Louise, Walter John, and Mabel Alice. When Captain Jack died in 1954, his obit listed as survivors: Mabel Davidson, Bert Slatter, Walter Slatter, and Fred Slatter. 

Henry Arthur Slatter (1866-1942), John's younger brother, was in military bands in London, England, and later moved to Vancouver, where he was bandmaster of the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders. Henry and wife Alice Good had 3 children who survived infancy: Arthur Albert, John Henry, and Dorothy Florence. 

Dorothy Baker Nicholas (?) and Edith Baker Wise (?) with Edgar James Wood

Adelaide Mary Ann Slatter (1868-1947) moved to Ohio and married James Sills Baker. They had 2 children, Dorothy Louise and Edith Eleanor. The photo above shows cousins Dorothy and Edith, with my late father-in-law Edgar James Wood. We haven't yet reconnected with Dorothy's children (Madelyn Nicholas, Joan Nicholas, and Alfred Nicholas).

The baby sister of the Slatter family was Mary Slatter (1869-1925), hubby's grandma, who married grandpa James Edgar Wood on September 21, 1898 in Toledo, Ohio. 2022 update: I now know a lot about the Slatters, summarized on my ancestor landing page here!

*Jack Shea recently left a comment on one of my posts about Capt. Jack, saying: "The Dileas, the Regimental history, says that he was as ramrod-straight the day he retired as the day he joined the Regiment." Also he mentioned that Capt. Jack received the Member of the Order of the British Empire, a meritorious service medal, and a King George V Silver Jubilee Medal, all of which are in the Regimental Museum, I believe.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: Scan BIG, Then Fiddle Around

My niece had never seen her paternal grandfather (he died before she was born) so when I had an opportunity to borrow a photo of him for scanning, I jumped at the chance. Here's the way the snapshot looked when scanned at 1200 dots per inch on my home scanner (a Canon, with accessories for scanning slides as well as photos/documents):

This file is 2MB, big enough to allow some detail once I crop. Using the free photo management program Picasa, I cropped to show just Grandpa's head and the baby he's holding.

Picasa has a button marked "I'm feeling lucky" that automatically adjusts color and contrast. Click on it, and the result is Grandpa and baby as shown here. I made one small additional adjustment: I sharpened the image. And that's it.

I was actually lucky: This photo had no thumb-tack holes, dust fluffs, or smudges to be retouched out. Now future generations will know what Grandpa looked like while holding his first grandchild, only 4 months old! And the whole process took just a couple of minutes, with freebie software.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Motivation Monday: Doin' the Digital!

I'm doin' the digital--scanning some slides and photos for two projects: (1) to create a photo book of the trips that hubby and I have taken over the years and (2) to add to the photos illustrating the annual family calendar for 2013.

Trouble is, I keep rediscovering photos that bring back great memories and motivate me to scan more and more. At this rate, the "travel" book will have 300 pages and the family calendar will be 29 months long :) Here are some of the gems I unearthed while doin' the digital.

Wood cousins reunion, 1998

Above, a 1998 photo of a very special reunion of hubby's Wood first cousins, the first time he can remember that all the cousins were together at one time in one place. This event will be a two-page spread in the photo book.

Glamorous sis :)
The b/w photo is a forgotten gem: My sister in her gorgeous movie-star haircut, which lasted only a week or two because it was just too high maintenance. Sis, isn't it lucky this glam photo survives (and is now digital)?

Happy birthday, Aunt Lindy!
Finally, I scanned a 1988 photo of hubby with his favorite Aunt Lindy, standing in front of her ecofriendly home in Michigan. She's celebrating a special birthday this month. Great relatives, great memories!