Grandma's Picture Box

Still Searching … Are You My Descendant?


It’s so great to be able to post photo reunion stories. I have had several recent reunions and it just makes my day every time I put one of those pictures in the mail. That’s always a good day. Over the past three or four months, I have sent pictures to Pennsylvania, Colorado, California, and even Hawaii.

Then I see my boxes (yes, “boxes” plural) of photographs and photo albums and even family Bibles that are currently unattached to their families. Even if I never bought another one, I would have enough projects in those boxes to keep me occupied for a good, long time. But it’s sad to look at those folders of names, and those fascinating images, and think that no one sees them except me. So I’m sharing … who knows? Maybe someone is researching one of these folks, this week.

First, we have Charles Heald Bennett and Jennie May Bennett – no dates, no place named.

Charles and Jennie Bennett

At first, I assumed they were a married couple, but if you look at them closely, it’s fairly easy to tell they are related. And sure enough, I found them listed in the 1900 Census for Cayuga, New York. Father, William I. Bennett, age 54, was a “picture enlarger.” Mother, Maria, was 51, and their son, Charles, age 26, is listed as a physician. He and his wife, Mittie (age 29), and their daughter, Genevieve (age 3), were living with his parents, along with his sister, Jennie, age 22, who was a music teacher. There they are! Charles and Jennie – very exciting! I continued to find evidence of Charles, Mittie, and Genevieve in the 1910, 1920, and 1930 censuses, and a 1902 City Directory for Auburn, NY, lists Jennie as a music teacher, living at 8 Hoffman Street. I found Genevieve in the 1940 census, still named Bennett, so … never married? Last, I found two cemetery listings for Genevieve and Mittie. Mittie died in 1960 and Genevieve in 1948. But nothing on Charles or Jennie. Perhaps another rainy day research project?

This next one is a different kind of puzzle – not sure what the name means, exactly:

Mama and Jennie Wren

On the back, this photograph says: “Mama with ‘Jenny Wren’ and her mother. (One of Mama’s baby’s [sic] – Ft. Mac during WWII)”

I found this in Chamblee, Georgia, so I made the leap that “Ft. Mac” is Fort MacPherson, in East Point, Georgia, just south of Atlanta. During WWII, the U.S. Army Nurse Corps had a presence there, so I assume this baby was the daughter of one of the enlisted men. But here’s the thing: “Jenny Wren” may not actually be her name. When you enter “Jenny Wren” into the Google search bar, the first listings are references to a song by Paul McCartney, and I’m going to assume Sir Paul likely never met a girl born at Ft. Mac during WWII, although it is certainly possible when he was here 49 years ago with three of his friends. There is also a nursery rhyme which mentions a “Jenny Wren,” and both Shakespeare and Dickens used the name. But I can’t find any instance of an actual person born in Georgia during the war named “Jenny Wren.” It was likely a nickname that “Mama” used for her little girl babies. Not sure I’ll ever figure this one out, but the picture captivates me.

And finally, please meet Abbie Bullis Weiser and her FABULOUS hat!

Abbie Bullis Weiser

Abbie Bullis was born in 1873 in Iowa. This photograph was taken in 1895. In 1914, a ship’s manifest lists Abbie and her husband, Charles Weiser (born 1865), arriving in New York City from Hamburg, Germany, on their way home to Decorah, Iowa. Traveling with them were “E. Weiser and Grace Weiser,” ages 47 and 40, respectively, who were headed for Fargo, North Dakota. Charles’s brother, perhaps? In 1920, Charles and Abbie are listed as living in Decorah, Iowa, with their three children: Horace, age 21; Charles, Jr., age 18; and Hubert, age 11. Charles was 55 years old at the time, and a banker; Abbie was 46. Twenty years later, the 1940 Census finds Abbie living in Los Angeles with her son, Hubert, the assistant manager of a hotel. Interestingly, the census lists Abbie as “divorced” … wonder what happened? Finally, Abbie passed away in 1955, and is laid to rest at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Oooh! Wonder if she is buried near Clark Gable and Carole Lombard??? Oh, well … Abbie looks like an interesting person, and I hope that hat went to a granddaughter (although I have not yet found one). More research – this picture belongs on SOMEbody’s mantle !!

As always, if you see a name you recognize, please contact me. I would love to get these pictures in the hands of living family members.