Showing posts with label Kirby. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kirby. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Friendly, Not Frightful, Halloween Cards

In the 1910s, my husband's father and uncles in Cleveland, OH, frequently received penny-postcard holiday greetings from relatives across the miles. These were friendly (not frightful) messages to let the Wood youngsters know they were in the hearts of their family.

Here are two of my favorites. Rachel Ellen "Nellie" Wood (1864-1954) sent these and other colorful greeting cards to the four sons of her younger brother, James Edgar Wood (1871-1939). Nellie lived in Chicago, James lived in Cleveland, but they were able to visit each other from time to time.

"Aunt Nellie" Wood was married first to Walter Alfred Lervis (1860-1897) at the age of 20. After his death, she married Samuel Arthur Kirby (1860-1939).

"Aunt Nellie" had a special fondness for these nephews, as revealed through the messages on her holiday cards. She remembered their hobbies, sent get-well wishes when one broke an arm, and urged them to continue their studies.

Some of the penny postcards were signed "Uncle Arthur" (in another handwriting), which made me smile even more. The Wood boys were being treated, not tricked, for Halloween!

Amy Johnson Crow's #52Ancestors prompt for this week is "frightening."

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Easter Greetings in Family History

By following the addresses and dates on holiday postcards sent to young Wallis W. Wood (1905-1957) in Cleveland, Ohio, I can see where the family was living and when, and who was staying in touch. Above, a beautiful penny postcard sent to Wallis by his aunt Nellie (Rachel Ellen Wood Kirby) and uncle Arthur Kirby in Chicago for Easter in 1914. Wallis was my husband's uncle.
"Aunt Nellie" was, it seems, the favorite sister of Wallis's father, James Edgar Wood (1871-1939). They remained close as adults and his children received many postcards from this beloved aunt.

James Edgar Wood's oldest son, Edgar James Wood (1903-1986), grew up and married Marian Jane McClure (1909-1983) in Cleveland in 1935. Above, an Easter-time photo of Marian at age 4 (as inscribed on the back--let me thank the ancestors for captioning!).

As an only child, she was cherished by her parents, Floyda Steiner McClure (1878-1948) and Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970). After Marian married Ed, he became close to her parents and they had a good relationship all of their lives.

Honoring the memory of my husband's ancestors as Easter approaches and writing down their family history for future generations to know and enjoy!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Learning from Valentines Sent in the Last Century

In my husband's Wood family, staying in touch was a high priority. Cousins and aunts and uncles sent penny greeting cards to the children for every conceivable occasion. Above, one of the pretty postcards sent to Wallis W. Wood, hubby's uncle, for Valentine's Day in 1912. The sender was Wallis's aunt Nellie (Rachel Ellen) Wood Kirby, who lived in Chicago with her husband, Arthur Kirby. Nellie never spelled her nephew's name correctly on these cards, for some reason.
Thanks to the greeting cards, I can trace the movement of the Wood family from one Cleveland neighborhood to another in between Census years. The head of the family, James Edgar Wood, was a home builder who would construct a house on spec, move his family in, and finish the interior while simultaneously framing another home on spec.

Hubby's father, Edgar James Wood, was a child at the time. He recalled that period in an interview 70 years later, remembering that in one spec house, "the first two floors weren't finished at all, we were living in the attic!" A vivid and not particularly happy memory for him, apparently.

In my family, Mom (Daisy Schwartz) preserved the first Valentine sent to her by Dad (Harold Burk), in February, 1946. It was a traditional, romantic card with ribbon embellishment.

Daisy and Harold had had a whirlwind courtship after he came home from WWII in October, 1945. They were set up on a date by two "matchmaker" aunts, fell in love, and became engaged on the last day of 1945.

Although Daisy and Harold wanted a short engagement, the post-war housing shortage prevented them from finding a convenient, affordable New York City apartment. They had to settle for a wedding date in November, 1946. With so many months to plan, there was enough time for both families to gather in force.

The wedding photos are, 70 years later, a treasure trove of clues to family history. When I asked three of my mother's first cousins to help me identify people in my parents' photos who were unfamiliar to me, they assumed these "unknowns" were "family friends."
They vaguely remembered the names and faces of the "unknowns" but knew nothing else, even though they had been at the wedding in 1946.

When I dug deeper into the names and marriages of the "unknowns," in every case, these wedding guests turned out to be cousins. Cousins of the parents of the bride or groom! These connections led me to finding a lovely group of 2d cousins 1x removed. Now, any time I see a group wedding photo from my family's albums, I don't assume that unfamiliar faces are "family friends." Maybe they're cousins in disguse!

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, October 9, 2017

Family History Month: A Century-Old October Postcard


About 100 years ago this month, this colorful postcard landed in the mailbox of my husband's uncle, Wallis W. Wood (1905-1957). It was sent by Wallis's Aunt Nellie (Rachel Ellen) Wood (1864-1954) and Uncle Art (Samuel Arthur) Kirby (1860-1939), who frequently spelled this nephew's name incorrectly.

The Wood family lived in Cleveland, aunt and uncle Kirby lived in Chicago, and all kept in touch via postcards for every holiday (and in between). Nellie had two children from her first marriage to Walter Alfred Lervis Sr. (1860-1897). Sadly, her daughter lived just 10 years and her son's only child didn't make it to her 8th birthday. Perhaps that's why Nellie and her second husband doted on their Wood nieces and nephews. I'm honoring their affection and memory during Family History Month.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Treasure Chest Tuesday: Valentines in the Family

For Valentine's Day, a selection of valentines sent to ancestors on both sides of the family.

At right, the inside of the first valentine sent by my Dad (Harold Burk, 1909-1978) to my Mom (Daisy Schwartz, 1919-1981), in 1946.

They were engaged on New Year's Eve and had to wait to set a wedding date because of the housing shortage after WWII, with Dad and so many other GIs returning from the service and settling down.

At left, a holiday postcard from hubby's family. This was sent by Nellie (Rachel Ellen) Wood Kirby (1864-1954) in Chicago to her young nephew, Wallis W. Wood (1905-1957) in Cleveland, around 1910ish.

I also have to include a different postcard sent by Aunt Nellie to her nephew Wally, shown at right.

Happy Lincoln's birthday!




Saturday, December 3, 2016

Sepia Saturday: The Mysterious "Grandma" in Cleveland

On Sepia Saturday, I'm posting this colorful 1905 holiday postcard, another in the series sent to my husband's uncle (Wallis Walter Wood, 1905-1957) in Cleveland, Ohio, during the early 1900s. This card isn't just beautiful, it's informative and mysterious.


Informative because it provides yet another address for my hubby's grandparents, James Edgar Wood (1871-1939) and Mary Slatter Wood (1869-1925). I believe 7203 Duluth Street in Cleveland was the site of a home built by James, one of many he constructed "on spec" and then sold, moving on to build another house nearby.

Mysterious because the front has the greeting From "Grandma" and yet Wallis had no living grandparents at that point. So who was Grandma?

One clue: This pretty postcard was dropped into a mailbox early on the morning of Christmas Eve, as the postmark shows. None of Wallis's aunts (by blood or marriage) lived in the area, so they couldn't have sent this.

Another clue: Wallis's name is spelled correctly. That means his Aunt Rachel "Nellie" Wood Kirby (1864-1954) didn't send it. She never spelled his name correctly, in a decade or more of mailing him cards for every holiday, and this isn't her handwriting.

So my guess is this Sepia Saturday postcard was from an old family friend living nearby, or a close friend from church, or a more distant (older) relative who doted on toddler Wallis.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Sorting Saturday: Happy Halloween 1913

That favorite Wood aunt, Rachel Ellen "Nellie" Wood Kirby, sent this adorable Halloween card to her Cleveland nephew, Wallis Walter Wood, in 1913.

Wallis ("Uncle Wally" in the family, 1905-1957) was one of four sons of James Edgar Wood (1871-1939) and Mary Slatter Wood (1869-1925). His brothers were: Edgar James Wood (1903-1986), John Andrew Wood (1908-1980), and Theodore William Wood (1910-1968).

Although James Edgar Wood was a builder--a carpenter from a long, long line of carpenters in the Wood family tree--none of his sons entered that trade. All pursued careers in business and, in their spare time, tinkered with home-improvement carpentry here and there.

My late father-in-law Edgar James Wood had these colorful greeting cards carefully stored away for many years. How wonderful that they've been passed down in the family for 103 years, and counting.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: Finding Great-Aunt Nellie's Gravestone

No tombstone photo for Tombstone Tuesday, but instead, a story about a favorite great-aunt in my hubby's family. I found her tombstone only today on Find a Grave, nowhere near where I expected to find her.

Rachel Ellen Wood (1864-1954) was one of 17 children in the Wood family of Toledo, Ohio. When she grew up, married, and moved away to Chicago, she remained an important part of the glue keeping the next generation in touch.

For every holiday, she would send her many nieces and nephews postcards with a loving message. She signed her cards from "Aunt Nellie," as she was affectionately known in the family.

Here's a Halloween greeting she sent to her middle nephew in Cleveland, asking whether he was still taking violin lessons (the answer was yes, at least at that point).

Until today, I hadn't been able to find Aunt Nellie's final resting place. But because I wanted to write about her, I did a bit more searching. I knew she died in Chicago. Turns out she wasn't buried anywhere near there.

I shouldn't have been surprised to discover, after trying a few different searches, that she was buried in the Wood family plot of Forest Cemetery in Toledo, Ohio, where so many of her siblings were laid to rest.

The Find a Grave listing shows her as "Nellie Wood" but the photo shows her name as "Nellie Wood Kirby" and includes the inscription "Sister." RIP, Nellie, a beloved sister, aunt, and great-aunt in the Wood family, and be assured I'll ask for the memorial to be edited on your behalf.  PS: Find a Grave is updated!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Amanuensis Monday: "Do not burn your fingers" on July 4th

Hubby's Wood family, spread across Toledo and Cleveland plus one family in Chicago, stayed in touch via colorful penny postcards for every holiday.

Here's a July 4th postcard sent from Aunt Nellie Kirby to her nephew, Wallis W. Wood, about 1909. Aunt Nellie never got her nephew's first name correct, but since he was barely in grade school at the time, he sure didn't read this card on his own.

Aunt Nellie wrote: Take care Wallace that you do not burn your fingers. Do you remember Aunt Nellie

Friday, February 12, 2016

Valentine's Day Greetings from 1912

Rachel Ellen "Nellie" Wood Lervis Kirby (1864-1954) sent this sentimental valentine postcard to her nephew, Wallis W. Wood (1905-1957), mailing it 104 years ago today, as the postmark indicates.


Little Wally was just 7 years old at the time, living in Cleveland in one of the many homes built by his father, James Edgar Wood (1871-1939). Nellie lived in Chicago with her second husband, a barber. They often kept in touch with their many nieces and nephews via postcards for holidays and birthdays.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: 107-year-old Washington's B-Day Postcard

Here's another of the delightful, colorful holiday postcards sent to hubby's uncle Wallis W. Wood. This one is from February 22, 1909 and was mailed to Wallis in Cleveland Heights by his aunt, Nellie (Rachel Ellen Wood) Kirby, who lived in Chicago. This time, no stamp or postmark, no signature or sentiment, only Wallis's name (not spelled correctly, as is usual on these postcards). So I imagine the card was enclosed in a letter from Nellie to the Wood family.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sentimental Sunday: "Take Good Care of the Little Brothers"

"Aunt Nellie" (Rachel Ellen Wood Lervis Kirby, 1864-1954) mailed this colorful New Year's postcard to her nephew, Wallis W. Wood (1905-1957) on December 29, 1910. Aunt Nellie was my hubby's great-aunt.

By the time this postcard was written at the end of 1910, Wally had two younger brothers in addition to his older brother. That's why Aunt Nellie wrote to him (misspelling his name, as she often did):

"Wallace, Please tell mama for me that I received the scarf and am much pleased with it for it is pretty and I wanted one. I hope you will be a good boy for mama and papa and take good care of the little brothers. With love from Aunt Nellie"

Wallis's family was living on Lancelot Avenue in Cleveland, in a home built by Nellie's brother--Wally's father, James Edgar Wood. He was a builder who would construct a home on spec, move his family into it, finish it, and sell it while building the shell of the next spec home. The family moved many times in this manner.

Nellie was a beloved aunt and a devoted sister to her 16 siblings. She lived in Chicago and sent postcards to members of this large family on many occasions. There were also visits to and fro, and gifts on occasions like the birth of a baby (I know from my husband's baby book).

Nellie was a caring person, literally: Her occupation in the 1930 census was "caretaker, nursery" and included in her household, along with her husband, was a "boarder" who was 2 8/12 years old, presumably an infant being cared for by Nellie. In other censuses, she was listed as a seamstress.

Nellie was widowed twice, having married Walter Alfred Lervis Sr. in 1884 and, later, Samuel A. Kirby, a barber. She outlived all of her sisters and brothers, even though she was far from the youngest of the 17 children of Thomas Haskell Wood and Mary Amanda Demarest.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Treasure Chest Thurday: Century-Old Postcards to the Wood Family of Ohio


A cousin was kind enough to let me scan dozens of century-old postcards sent to hubby's Wood family by various relatives. What a treasure chest! This family never missed an opportunity to say howdy--on Washington's birthday, Easter, New Year's, birthdays, Halloween, you name it.

Not only did these cards prove how close-knit the family was, they also let me trace the meanderings of James & Mary Wood and family all over Cleveland and Cleveland Heights, as carpenter James built a home, moved his family in, sold the home after finishing the interior, and built a new one near by. Plus the cards allowed me to cross-check cousins' locations with census records, another big help.

Top, Ada Mary Ann Slatter Baker's Easter postcard to one of her Wood nephews, who apparently injured himself in some way in the spring of 1914. Ada lived in Toledo, and the nephews lived in Cleveland, but for penny postage she could stay in touch. Ada was the sister of Mary Slatter Wood, the recipient's mother.


Here, a December, 1909 New Year's card from a 19-year-old first cousin (the son of Francis "Frank" Ellery Wood Sr.) in Toledo, OH to a four-year-old first cousin in Cleveland, OH (the son of Francis "Frank" Wood's younger brother, James Wood).

One more example: A 1913 Halloween card from a favorite and kindly aunt Rachel Ellen (Nellie) Wood Kirby, who lived in Chicago but visited Ohio from time to time. Nellie was the sister of the recipient's father.