Saturday, December 3, 2016

Sepia Saturday: Sister Dea

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.

As Sepia Saturday turns to thoughts of the holiday season with a vintage German calendar, I am reminded of this Christmas card from 1935.

1935 Christmas card from Dea Christian to Mary Theresa Sheehan Walsh

1935 Christmas card from Dea Christian to Mary Theresa Sheehan Walsh

It was sent by Delia “Dea” Sheehan Christian to her sister Mary Theresa Sheehan Killeen Walsh, my father’s maternal grandmother.

If the sheer number of cards from Dea in Mary Theresa’s scrapbook can be relied on as evidence of their relationship, they were close despite the ten years age difference and the 400 miles that separated them.

Born January 26, 1879 in Limerick, Ireland, Dea was the baby of the family of Daniel Sheehan and Bridget Gorman. When she reached the age of 17, she immigrated to the United States just as her sisters had done previously.

In 1900 she was living in Manhattan, New York with an aunt and uncle, John and Delia Hogan. Four years later she married William Henry Christian. They had a baby girl right away, but she did not survive. Five more children came in regular intervals, but sadly one baby boy did not live.

Julia Walsh with Grace and Elmyra Christian
Grace Christian, Julia Walsh (my grandmother),
and Elmyra Christian 

While Dea ran the household, her husband William worked as a shipping clerk for a time. In 1920, they were a farm family in William’s home state New Jersey, but by 1925 they were back in New York, Brooklyn to be exact. William went into the dry cleaning business.

Dea died June 8, 1942, in Brooklyn.

Even though I found Dea’s granddaughter on Facebook, I have been unable to learn anything new about this family. Promised photos never came. Questions were never answered. Family trees on Ancestry posted by descendants of Dea’s daughter Grace know less than I do. They do not even know Dea’s maiden name. They also do not know names and dates associated with Grace’s brothers Raymond and William and sister Elmyra.

Evidently the affection and regard for family in one generation does not always pass to the next generation. Still, since someone posted a family tree, I have hope that eventually I can learn more about a much loved sister.

Delia Sheehan (26 Jan 1879 Croom, Limerick, Ireland – 8 Jun 1942 Brooklyn, New York ) & William Henry Christian (1 Nov 1881 New Brunswick, New Jersey) married 24 Apr 1904 Manhattan, New York
  • Baby Girl (1904 – 29 Oct 1904 Manhattan, New York)
  • Elmyra Dorothy (29 Jun 1907 New York – 29 Mar 1996 New York) & Edward T. Zarek (9 Sep 1909 Rhode Island – 8 Mar 1978 New York) married 1942
  • William (1910 – 27 Sep 1910 Manhattan, New York)
  • Grace (6 Jan 1912 New York – 19 Mar 1997 Ossining, New York) & Charles Anthony Smith (1907 Brooklyn, New York – 2 Dec 1965 Brooklyn, New York)
  • Raymond (1915 New York – ) & Theodora Brown (22 Jul 1918 – 2006 Westbury, New York)
  • William Patrick (17 Mar 1918 New York – 17 Jan 2002 Flushing, New York) & Mildred Mae Meyer (1 Nov 1920 Brooklyn, New York – 28 Jul 1970 Brooklyn New York)
Please visit Sepia Saturday to see what others have marked on the calendar.

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Genealogy Photo a Day 13: Document

Genealogy Photo a Day is a month-long challenge coordinated by Genealogy Girl Talks.

I love stumbling into a document I wasn’t even looking for. 

Marriage Bond Nancy Jollett and Hiram Garnes

This marriage bond for Nancy Jollett and Hiram Garnes surfaced during a research trip to the Rockingham County, Virginia court house. My goal that day was to find Davis documents that would satisfy the DAR standards for proving lineage to a Revolutionary War patriot. But heck, I was there anyway, so why not check the index for Jolletts too.

And there it was: a marriage bond for Nancy Jollett. Who? The two Nancy Jolletts I knew of were Jollett by virtue of marriage. Nancy Walker married my 4X great-grandfather James Jollett and Nancy Glass married their son Simeon Jollett. So who was this young Nancy Jollett getting married in Rockingham?

One clue was the bondsman George Sampson. George was married to Drada Jollett, daughter of James and Nancy Walker Jollett. Perhaps Nancy was a sister to Drada. If so, then there is another question to answer: why was she not living in Greene County with her parents?

Look for me on Instagram (@Wendymath27) and Twitter (@Wendymath).
© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Genealogy Photo a Day 12: Occupation

Genealogy Photo a Day is a month-long challenge coordinated by Genealogy Girl Talks.

I never knew my granduncle Arthur Henry “Woody” Woodring, but my mother always said he and Velma were the fun aunt and uncle. It is easy to see why since in every photo, he has a big smile.

Except in this one. It’s his Game Face.
Woody Woodring Summer 1926
Woody Woodring, catcher
Summer 1926
playing for the Shenandoah shops
Woody was a professional baseball player for a time. He worked on the electrical force of the Norfolk & Western Railroad in Shenandoah, Virginia. In the 1920s N&W sponsored a number of sports teams including basketball and baseball teams that competed against teams from other towns along the N&W line.

Woody was playing on the shops team even while he began his professional baseball career as a catcher in 1924 for the Martinsburg Blue Sox, evidently playing both at the same time. The Blue Sox were part of the Blue Ridge League comprised of six level D (Rookie) teams from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland.

In those days, the team with the best record for the season became the league champions.  It was Woody’s first year on the team but the Martinsburg Blue Sox’s third straight championship title. The play-off system didn’t start until 1928, the same year that some major league teams started affiliating with the minor teams.  Woody’s team was affiliated with what was then the Philadelphia Athletics.  Other teams were affiliated with the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Washington Senators.

When I told Woody’s story in 2012, it appeared his last season was in 1929. However, I have since discovered that is not so. Apparently the Blue Ridge League continued. In 1930, Woody was released from the Blue Sox and picked up by the Cumberland (Maryland) Colts, an affiliate of the New York Yankees. At some point he returned to the Blue Sox as manager as well as a playing member. A news article dated May 31, 1934 reported he resigned as manager because it interfered with his business interests – whatever they were.

Look for me on Instagram (@Wendymath27) and Twitter (@Wendymath).

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Genealogy Photo a Day 11: Green

Genealogy Photo a Day is a month-long challenge coordinated by Genealogy Girl Talks.

This ruffle top lemonade pitcher is one of the many family heirlooms that have come to me. Unfortunately, I do not know its real history. Since it had been in the home of my grandaunt Violetta Davis Ryan, the pitcher might have belonged to her mother Mary Frances Jollett Davis. Or Violetta might have inherited it when her sister Velma Davis Woodring passed away. Then again, it is entirely possible Violetta bought it herself from an antiques dealer.

The hand-painted deer in snow seems to be an unusual design. Most ruffle top pitchers that I have seen in shops and online have painted flowers and vines.

The lemonade pitcher was quite popular in the Victorian era when lemonade was often served as an alternative to alcohol. In fact, Lucy Hayes, wife of President Rutherford B. Hayes, was nicknamed “Lemonade Lucy” because no alcohol was allowed in the White House during her husband’s presidency.

I wonder if Lucy Hayes owned ruffle top pitchers.

Look for me on Instagram (@Wendymath27) and Twitter (@Wendymath).

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Genealogy Photo a Day 10: Time

Genealogy Photo a Day is a month-long challenge coordinated by Genealogy Girl Talks.

When our parents passed away and my sister and I cleaned out their house, we divided the family heirlooms as fairly as we could. There were four clocks that had been in the family for many years, how many we do not know. She got two and I got two.

Not a one of them works.

Techtron Clock belonging to Orvin and Lucille Davis

My sister took our maternal grandfather’s Techtron clock with its nautical design featuring a ship’s wheel and drawing of an anchor. The Techtron is notorious for being difficult to repair. 

Adamantine mantle clock from Sudie Eppard Rucker

At least she has the beautiful Seth Thomas Adamantine mantle clock from our great-grandmother Sudie Eppard Rucker. If we could get the thing to work consistently, the hourly chime would be delightful.

As for me, I took these.

Heirloom clocks

The Ansonia porcelain clock that belonged to our grandaunt Velma Davis Woodring is lovely and complements my living room d├ęcor perfectly. The Seth Thomas mantle clock belonging to our grandaunt Helen Killeen Parker is hiding out in a bedroom, not ticking at all, forever 6:40. As the old joke goes, at least it is correct twice a day.

All these clocks need repair. We just can’t find the time. (Har Har – yeah, I kill me!)

Look for me on Instagram (@Wendymath27) and Twitter (@Wendymath).

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Genealogy Photo a Day 9: Brick Wall

Genealogy Photo a Day is a month-long challenge coordinated by Genealogy Girl Talks.

The sisters and brothers of my great-grandmother Mary Theresa Sheehan Killeen Walsh have constructed a brick wall that would make Donald Trump drool.
Unknown man and baby New York City 1918
Is this John Sheehan in 1918?
Who is this man standing APPROPRIATELY in front of a BRICK WALL? The baby has been identified in other photos sometimes as “Bob” and sometimes as “Barbie.” Yes, it’s a girl. I THINK this man is the grandfather. But is he Mary Theresa’s brother John Sheehan? Or is he the husband of one of her sisters?

Since the man is dressed in some sort of uniform, I can easily rule out a couple of the husbands.
  • Not Patrick Hederman, Johanna’s husband. He was a porter in a grocery store and a coffee roaster.
  • Not William Christian, Delia’s husband. He ran a dry cleaners.
  • Possibly Patrick Byrnes, Elizabeth’s husband. He was a chauffeur. Is this the uniform of a chauffeur?
  • Possibly John Nagle, Margaret’s husband. He was a bank guard. This uniform bears some resemblance to a police uniform. 

Narrowing down the possibilities is further aided by another clue: Bob/Barbie’s brother John JR. Clearly there must be a John SR. I was excited to discover that Elizabeth and Patrick Byrnes had a son John. However, he was born in 1903, making him too young to be father of John Jr. in 1917. Margaret and John Nagle also had a son John, but he was born in 1911, again far too young to be John Jr’s father.

Perhaps John SR was husband to one of Mary Theresa’s nieces. 

Mary Theresa Walsh in New York 1921
New York City 1921
Mary Theresa Sheehan Killeen Walsh with "Bob" and John Jr.
and probably their mother. Is this woman her niece?
Could she be the daughter of John Sheehan?

However, only Johanna had children old enough to be parents in 1917. Her son John never married. Her daughter Catherine married a man named Charles Fraundorf and they had only one daughter.

So I think the man must be Mary Theresa’s brother John Sheehan. Do you know how many John Sheehans lived in New York City in the early 1900s? Attempts to pinpoint the correct John Sheehan have been frustrating with nothing to show for my efforts.  

The Brick Wall stands.

Look for me on Instagram (@Wendymath27) and Twitter (@Wendymath).

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Genealogy Photo a Day 8: Home

Genealogy Photo a Day is a month-long challenge coordinated by Genealogy Girl Talks.

When the Jolletts started holding family reunions around 1914, they convened annually at the home of James Franklin Jollett in Jollett Springs, Augusta County, Virginia, until his death in 1930. Photos from those reunions offer only brief glimpses of the Jollett home. I can tell it was a two-story white clapboard farmhouse with an addition, likely a kitchen. The roof was tin. Grape vines growing on trellises probably offered some respite during humid summers. The best feature, though, was that the Jolletts possessed the quintessential icon of the American dream home: a white picket fence.

Jollett Reunion 1921
Reunion 1921 - the Jollett sisters and brothers and spouses
Standing: Laura Jollett Sullivan, Sadie Lam Jollett, Ulysses Jollett, Leanna Jollett Knight, Mary Frances Jollett Davis and Walter Davis (my great-grandparents), Sallie Jollett Clift, Victoria Jollett Breeden, Decatur Breeden, James Ira Sullivan
Seated: Will Sullivan, Jack Coleman, Emma Jollett Coleman, James Franklin Jollett
(my 2X great-grandfather) and his wife Eliza Jane Coleman Jollett

I assume the photos were taken in the back yard, but it is difficult to say.

When I get a ride on that Time Machine, I plan to visit the Jollett home place to see for myself.

Look for me on Instagram (@Wendymath27) and Twitter (@Wendymath).

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.