A Man and His Cats

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Let me begin by saying (a) I don’t have any cats and (b) I don’t speak German.

How’s that for an intro?  Got your attention ?

So here’s what happened.  My friend Linda told her friend Teresa about this blog.  Later, Linda and Teresa were talking about cats.  Teresa mentioned a photo album someone had sent her a few years ago because they knew she likes cats.  The person found it at an antique store/flea market and bought it because they couldn’t stand to leave it there.  [ How many purchases have I made for just that reason? ]  She told Linda about, and Linda decided that I should set my Mad Detective Skillz to finding its family.

But here’s the thing – it’s all CATS … and what little writing is there, is in German.
[See first sentence above.]

I’ve done everything I can think of, but it remains what it was when I got it — a  photo album containing well over 50 pictures of cats who were clearly loved, with an occasional photo of a man I presume was their owner [as much as one *can* own a cat].  There were also some names written in the album.  Here’s a sampling of photos in the album:

Exhibit A – The Cats

Exhibit B – The Man

Exhibit C – Some Names
Penrose Krech Manegold
Else Tenner Kalbfleisch Weitz [not sure all those actually go together]
Friedrich Roschlau
Ruth Schreckenberger
Wiltrud Grotzner Beseler

The problem with the names is, they are under spaces that obviously held photos at one time, but don’t now.

And what does this mean?  “SpieBenleite. Gutwillige Zugabe der Familie Kalbfleisch”  According to Google’s translation, “SpieBenleite” means “pike redirect” – “Gutwillige Zugabe der Familie” means “intentioned addition of family” – and “Kalbfleisch” is either a family surname, or it means “veal.”  Using my woefully inadequate translation skills, perhaps a family adopted a pet?  No idea …

Exhibit D – The Little Girl

On the back of this photo is a stamp that says “Lollar’s, B’ham, Ala.”  Lollar’s was a photography retailer in Birmingham, in business from about 1910 through the 1940s, according to Google.  There’s no name for the little girl and nothing that would identify where she is.  Could the photo have been taken in Germany and developed in Alabama?  Is she a child or grandchild of The Man With The Cats?  Who knows? Insert your own story here.

My main purpose with this post is to get the information on the internet in hopes that someone will be searching for … what? “man with cats and a little girl, possible family name Kalbfleisch” ??  What are the odds that someone will be searching for exactly the right combination of words to lead them to this album?  I guess stranger things have happened on the Internet – and perhaps the searcher can answer my questions:

Was the man a cobbler? (he’s wearing a leather apron in several photos)
Did he live alone? (other than the little girl, there are no other people in the photos – only cats)
Why did someone take out all of the pictures of people?

And why did the cat have her picture taken with Asta? *

So … got any ideas, faithful readers?  I’d love to hear them.

*NOTE:  If you don’t know who Asta is, watch “The Thin Man” with William Powell and Myrna Loy IMMEDIATELY !!  And if you do know who Asta is, watch it again.

That Little Face – Part Two

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As I mentioned in my last post, the discovery of a photo of Dorothy Dunn Bayley (1908 – 2003) led me to many more photos.  Becky, the Etsy.com seller who had the first two, encouraged me to look at her other photographs to see if any others might be connected.  She also offered to check them against the handwriting on the original two (which was the same) to see if any were similar.  She found 13 more !!  Take a look at some of these fabulous faces . . .

Anna Williams – 1893

Jeanette And Edward

Lottie Hume Sewall

Mrs. Russell E Sewall (Lottie’s mother-in-law)

Can you believe it ?? What a treasure!  I contacted Chris Bayley to let him know that I had purchased more photographs, and he and I began unraveling the “ties that bind” them all together into the Williams/Dunn/Bayley/Sewall family.  Chris offered to mail me more information on his family, and one day in the mail, I received a book:  “1121 Union,” written by Chris’s uncle (Dorothy’s brother), Edward B. Dunn.  It’s really a terrific look at some of the early history of Seattle, seen from one of its most prestigious neighborhoods.  Edward died in 1991, but left this amazing work for future generations.  It is a warm, very personal story, and I have enjoyed reading every word.  The faces I found in photographs had come to life.

As Chris and I corresponded, we got to know each other a bit, and actually found that we have a personal connection.  Through his work as an attorney, Chris has been an active member of the American Bar Association.  One of the partners of a law firm where I worked in the 1980s became President of the American Bar Association, and he and Chris were acquainted through some of their work together.  It’s a tiny connection, I know, but still kind of amazing, given the time and geographical distances involved.

Chris e-mailed me in July to let me know that the Bayley-Dunn family was preparing to have a party on the Great Lawn at the Dunn Historic Garden.  He had assembled the photographs we located and put them together in an album for the family.  He was also gracious enough to extend to me an invitation, if I’m ever in the Seattle area in August, to join the party.  Sounds like just the excuse I need to plan our next vacation !

This is a dynamic, community-oriented family, and I have been privileged to get to know them just a little.  You never know what will come from one little face:

Dorothy Dunn Bayley

It All Started With This Little Face ….

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How could I NOT be intrigued by this face ???

Dorothy A. (Dunn) Bayley

Especially when it had a name attached – “Dorothy A. Dunn (Bayley)” was written on the back.

I was “shopping” on Etsy.com one rainy weekend in April, and ran across that little face.  I contacted the seller, Becky, with a question, and told her about my hobby of trying to connect orphaned photographs with their families.  I had no idea what that one little question would unleash.  Becky sent me a scan of another photo in her collection which also had the name Dunn on the back –

Jeannette (Williams) Dunn

Were they mother and daughter? sisters? I had to know, so I bought the pictures, and began searching.

Almost immediately, I ran across an online article about Dunn Gardens in Seattle, Washington.  On the web page was a photo of Arthur and Jeanette Dunn – JEANETTE!  Just like on the back of the second photo – this had to be my same Jeanette.  As I continued my search, I found some contact information for Dunn Gardens, and sent an e-mail to the Administrator, letting her know that I had found the photos and asking if she knew how I could get them to the family.  She responded the next day, and copied two members of the Dunn family.  I sent them scans of the two photos, and Chris Bayley (one of Dorothy’s children) responded by e-mail to say that they were indeed his family and that he had never seen either photograph – how exciting !  I just love it when that happens !!  The originals went in the mail immediately.

Thus began a long-distance conversation about a fascinating family, in which I learned that Jeannette was Dorothy’s mother.  The thing is, these two photos led to about a dozen more !  Becky, the seller on Etsy, corresponded with me about several other photographs in her collection.  Come back later this week to see some of those photos and to learn more about the Dunn family.  I can’t wait to share them with you.

Join me for Part Two of this story, in which you will learn how Chris Bayley and I discovered what a small world we live in.

Georgia State Archives

This post has nothing to do with old photographs, and I can already hear what some of you are asking – your family is from Virginia, you don’t even research at the Georgia State Archives … why do you care if they close?

1 – I’m a citizen of the state of Georgia, and have been for over 25 years.  What happens here affects me.

2 – It isn’t just genealogical information that will become unavailable, although that would be a disastrous blow all by itself.  Tax information is stored at the Georgia State Archives, along with land surveys and the legislative record.  How would you search a land title with the archive available to you for only 2 hours, by appointment only, and with only one person to assist you in locating the records (the proposed “compromise”)?  And what about government transparency?

3 – Georgia would become the ONLY state with no open archives – that’s just plain embarrassing.

4 – The Official Code of Georgia MANDATES open records – it is the law.  The law.

This article, written by Vivian Price Saffold, a board member of the Georgia Genealogical Society, sets out the issues much more eloquently than I can.  So please read her comments, and then contact the governor, the Secretary of State, and your state representatives and senators, and let them know that closing the Georgia State Archives is simply unacceptable.

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It is Saturday morning. People are enjoying the first day of autumn. For many people it was a day of football games, yard work and relaxation.

Others – professional researchers and amateur family sleuths – are in Morrow at the Georgia Archives. They arrived before the doors opened at 8:30 a. m. and will leave reluctantly at 5 p.m. They are working frantically to take advantage of one of only two days available to them.

After today there are five more Saturdays until Nov. 1, the date Secretary of State Brian Kemp has set for the closing of the Archives to the public.

Yes, Secretary Kemp said people would be able to get into the Archives by appointment. That was the day before he announced that seven of the 10 employees were being terminated. Remaining are the director (who came to the Archives from Alabama in May), the building superintendent and one excellent, veteran archivist.

That means there will be one person who knows the collection well enough to handle research questions effectively.

Research in Georgia requires access to the Georgia Archives. Many of the records cannot be found anywhere else. Thorough research takes time. How many people will be lucky enough to get appointments? How long will each person be allowed to stay? Will a researcher wait for a month to get an appointment, then be asked to leave when his two hours are up? Two hours is hardly worth the drive from anywhere in metro Atlanta, certainly not from other areas of the state.

How many professionals will default on contracts because they cannot meet deadlines or complete work at all?

A great many research requests actually come from state government. It is not an unreasonable assumption that those requests will have priority. How will that impact the ability of the private citizen to get an appointment?

Although Secretary Kemp obviously disagrees, such an appointment system does not appear to meet Georgia’s legal mandate (Georgia Public Records and Open Records Act 50-18-70) that requires that records be “open for a personal inspection by any citizen of this state at a reasonable time and place…”

Pointing fingers of blame is not a useful exercise, and there is plenty to go around – even to the citizens of Georgia. Great numbers of Georgians responded quickly, purposefully and commendably to Secretary Kemp’s fateful announcement on Sept. 13. During the last three years, however, as the staff and hours shrunk, only a few diehards haunted the capitol.

Ironically, at a well-attended ceremony last week Gov. Nathan Deal proclaimed October Archives Month in Georgia. He delighted the crowd of supporters with the announcement that he would find the money to keep the Archives open. The announcement made the Governor the hero (for the moment, at least) and had to have chafed the Secretary of State, who has been taking considerable heat on this issue.

Many assume that the Archives has been “saved” and the battle is over.

But, what exactly, does the Governor have in mind? Will he find enough emergency stop-gap funding to keep the Archives open and make it possible for Secretary Kemp to reinstate the seven employees? Will he keep the Archives open, but with only three employees? Archives employees serve at the pleasure of the Secretary of State. The Secretary is a constitutional officer, not an employee of the Governor.

Will the Governor figure a way to re-work the budget he submits to the legislature, thereby allowing the Archives to close and re-open next spring?

If the Nov. 1 deadline passes with no resolution, the seven will be gone. Even if a way is found to save those valuable employees, many of them are likely to leave before then. This would result in a tremendous loss of institutional knowledge. It would take new-hires, even qualified archivists, many years to learn the collection well enough to be effective.

Athens librarian Laura W. Carter made an analogy to the retail store where the clerk is not familiar enough with the merchandise to understand the request or find what is needed. Such a scenario is made all the worse at the Archives because the “customer” (the Georgia citizen) already owns the “merchandise. “

If the Archives closes, Georgia will the only state without public access hours. Even if service remains the same, Georgia will have the fewest hours of any archives in the nation.

Secretary Kemp opted to take all of the mandated three percent cut from the Archives, instead of spreading the grief to all of his divisions. The Archives needs a relatively small amount – $730,000 – to maintain the current level of service. That amounts to a little more than 13 cents for every Georgia citizen.

Just like Georgia families, the government must prioritize expenditures. Finding $730,000 certainly won’t move the Archives to the top of the state spending list. But it will be enough to tide over this important agency – perhaps until the state’s economic picture improves.

The future of the Archives remains uncertain. Advocates need to hold Gov. Deal to his promise. They need to urge Secretary Kemp to keep the seven, at least until after the legislative session, and contact their local legislators to express their support for a reasonable funding solution.

 

Photo Blogs I Like

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End of the Summer

If you’re interested in this photo reunion project of mine, perhaps you’d like to read about others who are doing the same thing.  Here are some of my current favorites:

The Lost Gallery has tons of fun photos – not all are “reunion-able,” but the comments of the blog owner are usually pretty smile-worthy.

http://lostgallery.blogspot.com/

Connie at Forgotten Old Photos posts every day, and has a column where she describes some of her successful reunions.

http://forgottenoldphotos.blogspot.com/

The Archivist at Family Photo Reunion is in Canada, and finds some of the best photos – really lovely.

http://familyphotoreunion.blogspot.com/

At the Cabinet Card Gallery, there’s a post every day, and even the history of the photographer is explored.

http://cabinetcardgallery.wordpress.com/

“Mrs. Marvel” at Who Were They? posts some very cool pictures, and attempts to draw conclusions based on clues in the settings and clothes in the photo. I’ve learned a lot from her sharp eye.

http://whowerethey.wordpress.com/

Last, but certainly not least, is the site that got me started — Caroline Pointer’s “48-Hour Challenge”:

http://48hourephemerachallenge.lefora.com/

At the 48-Hour Challenge, Caroline posts photos and members of the Forum  examine them to see what story they can draw from online sources, and whether it’s possible to locate family members.  Once I read through a few of her challenges, I thought I’d try to flex my muscles, and this blog is a direct result.

So, thanks, Caroline … and thanks to you other bloggers who inspire me and challenge me, and who keep those faces alive.

NOTE: If you’re wondering what the above picture has to do with photo blogs I like, the answer is … very little.  It’s a photo I stumbled across from a summer trip many, MANY years ago.  It’s not a very good picture, but it immediately evokes a feeling for me, and it makes me smile.  Had to put it somewhere, right?

Successful Reunion – Franklin Stark and Elizabeth Daughtry Family

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. . . and when I say “family,” I *do* mean FAMILY.  Not just one photograph, but several were found in an antique mall in Asheville, NC.  Here’s the story.

In April, we were in Asheville, and I made my regular pilgrimage to Lexington Park Antiques.  It is a mall-style antique store, with over a hundred different vendors, all with different treasures.  At this point, my photo reunion skills were still new, and a bit unsure, but I was certain there must be some goodies in this huge place.  I was right.

At one booth, I found a box full of photographs, several of which appeared to be pictures of several members of one family. There were at least a dozen, and most were identified.  I started a small pile and began to marvel at the huge project this was obviously going to be.  Massive!

When I got home and started plugging names into Google and Ancestry, it didn’t take long at all.  In fact, one good afternoon of clicking and saving and highlighting and note-taking turned up all sorts of results.  The central figure seemed to be Weldon Franklin Stark, born in 1882.  A large portrait of Franklin taken in 1938 had a notation on the back that he died in 1939 at age 56.

Weldon Franklin Stark

There were also several portraits and photographs of Elizabeth “Bess” Daughtry Stark, his wife.  Most were from her later years, but this one is from her engagement announcement in 1903.

At that time, I had discovered FindAGrave.com and was excited to find an entry for Franklin that included not only a photograph of his grave, but a mini-obituary.  It was sad to read that he died in a one-car accident on a bad curve between Commerce and Jefferson, Georgia.  Bess survived him by almost 20 years.

One of the photos I found was of a toddler, identified as Susan Elizabeth Stark.

Susan Elizabeth Stark

Susan was born in 1906 in Columbia, SC, married Kaare Espedahl, had two children, and died in 1991.

As I searched various names, the search result kept popping up one website which listed out some of the genealogy of this family, the Daughtrys in particular.  So I contacted the owner of the site, Caite Stevens.  She and I began a series of e-mail conversations about what I had found, and she was able to fill me in on exactly who these folks were, and a little about the family history.  I didn’t tell her about all of the photos I had, just emailed her scans of two or three of them, so we could confirm it was the same family.  Finally, on April 16, I put a package in the mail to Caite, including the ones she didn’t know I had, like this one, of Bess and two of her friends:  Helen McCall of Buena Vista, Georgia, and Ina Carlton, of Atlanta.  Bess is in the middle:

Bess Daughtry and Friends

The photo reunions are so satisfying.  Not in a “pat me on the back” sort of way, but in a “deep sigh … now they are where they belong” sort of way.  These photos don’t belong in my files or in antique stores.  They belong with people who will treasure them and appreciate them.  The faces and names are fine, and it’s great to know them, but it is the life stories that deserve to be remembered.  We aren’t all astronauts or actors or athletes … most of us live very ordinary lives, with little to mark our time here beyond a few official documents and some photographs.  But “ordinary” doesn’t mean “insignificant.”  I love the process of reconnecting these images with the folks who are the result of their ordinary lives.

Thanks for celebrating that with me here.

*And special thanks to Caite for giving me permission to share these photos.  If you would like to contact her, shoot me a message and I’ll put you in touch with her.

Maple Rollins … Who Worked For Mother

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May I introduce Miss Maple Rollins?

According to the back of her photograph, she is a “girl from Phillips Maine who worked for Mother when Bobby was a baby at 16 Schley Street, Newark, NJ.”

I don’t know who “Mother” and “Bobby” are/were, but I did find a photo of 16 Schley Street in Newark, on the real estate site Trulia.com:

Map image of 16 Schley St, Newark NJ 07112

I assume it’s the house on the left.  That’s all I could find about the address with a quick search, but perhaps a more detailed search will give up more of the history of the house.

However, it wasn’t hard to find Miss Maple Rollins of Phillips, Maine.

The 1910 Census for Phillips, Maine (thank you again, Ancestry.com) shows Frank C. Rollins (54) living with his wife Capitola (44), and their daughters, Elsie (14), Maple (8), and Aldo (7), and a son, Berchal (3).  Frank was a machinist for the railroad, Capitola was a laundress, and it appears Elsie was working at repairing bicycles.  At age 14 … very industrious!  Interestingly, the Census also shows this was a second marriage for Frank and Capitola.  Wonder if any of these children are from former marriages?

The 1920 Census shows the family had expanded.  Frank (still with the railroad) and Capitola (working for a toothpick mill) now live with daughters Maple (18) and Talo (16) [Aldo?], and a son named Alsie [aha – not Elsie, but Alsie – perhaps this explains the bicycle thing … it also shows you can’t count on the names in a census to be 100% accurate].  Alsie is now married to Gladys, and they have a daughter, Mildred (2).  Birchel (12) is also at home, and there is a boarder, Nancy Coffren.

The 1930 Census shows Frank and Capitola now living with a niece, Arzena Dyer, next door to their son, Birchel, who now has his own family.  The rest of the family is no longer living in this household, and are likely out on their own.  Perhaps this is when Maple began working for “Mother” in Newark?

Then, I found a marriage record, dated April 30, 1938, for Maple D. Rollins and Harry L. Cook … awww !

Two years later, there they are in the 1940 Census.  Harry, age 33, works in a local shoe factory, as does Maple, now age 38.  [Interestingly, this Census also shows Capitola is a widow, living with Alsie, who is a mechanic at a garage – that bicycle thing was clearly an early sign of his talents!]

There isn’t much further information on Maple, except for a Social Security death record for Maple R. Cook, who died in January 1991, in Farmington, Maine.  I noticed three family trees on Ancestry.com, but Maple is pretty much a “collateral” relative in all of them.  However, one tree lists full names for her siblings, so I think that is clearly the next step – try to get information on Maple’s siblings in hopes of finding a descendant who would be interested in owning this photograph. I saw no records indicating that Maple and Harry had children, but apparently someone remembered Maple fondly enough to keep this photo of her.

“Maple D. Rollins – girl from Phillips Maine who worked for Mother when Bobby was a baby at 16 Schley Street, Newark, NJ”  Just enough information to tell a whole story … almost . . . .

Louis and Louise Gilmer … and Grandpa White

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On the back of this photo, it says:

“The old man is H. W. White, step-grandfather to the babies. These children is twins, 1 boy name Louis, 1 girl name Louise, the boy to the left and the girl to the right.  They belong to Mr and Mrs Clarence Gilmer.  They were 12 month old October the 11th 1944. The old man 81 years old February the 23rd 1945. This picture was made Sept. the 30th 1944.”

When I found this photograph here in Atlanta, I just knew this was going to be a simple search.  Look at all the information there – several names and dates and relationships.  This was going to be a walk in the park.

I’m still walking.  It’s apparently a bigger park than I thought.

According to Ancestry.com, there was a family named White living in Piedmont, Alabama in 1930.  The head of the family was H. W. White (bingo!), age 63, born and raised in Alabama.  His wife, Alba, was 42.  Joseph Savage (20), Myrtle Savage (15), and Clara Savage (13) lived with them, and they were listed as H.W.’s stepchildren.  Fortunately, the 1940 census was released this year (yay!), and while I didn’t find all of the Savages and Whites, I did find a family listed as Addie Gilmer, a 42-year-old widow, her son, Clarence (Clarence Gilmer!), and his wife, Clara (age 23 from Piedmont, Alabama).  Yep! I am well on my way !

Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Gilmer?  Check!
H. W. White?  Check!
He’s the stepfather of Mrs. Gilmer?  Check!

Find-A-Grave shows a listing for Hiram W. White (1864 – 1946) at the Highland Cemetery in Piedmont, Alabama.  Next to him are Alba Lizzie White (1888-1978) and Myrtle Irene Savage (1914 – 1988).  More confirmation – this is EASY !

Find-A-Grave also has a listing for Clarence Gilmer (June 7, 1920 – Sept. 20, 2010), who served in WWII and was buried in Piedmont, Alabama.  Next to him lies Clara S. Gilmer (Nov. 17, 1916 – Fe. 28, 2007).  Excellent!  I’m batting .1000 !!

I even found an obituary for Clarence in the Anniston Star, which lists survivors including two sons, Marlin Gilmer and William L. Gilmer, two daughters, Martha L. Vanderford and Margaret Gilmer, and several children and great-grandchildren.  This is a big family, and I am going to nail this down.  So excited !

Remember the two babies?  Louis and Louise ??  Not listed.  Or are they?  What about William L. Gilmer and Martha L. Vanderford ??  They would be the step-grandchildren of H. W., wouldn’t they ?

That’s where I am today – still searching, but I haven’t given up.  There’s more information out there.  For example, two of the three pastors who officiated at the funeral of Clarence Gilmer were the Rev. Marlin Gilmer and the Rev. Kenneth Vanderford.  I assume these are either sons-in-law or grandsons – how beautiful!

I posted a message on the forums at Ancestry.com, but haven’t gotten a response yet.  So I’m putting the photograph here, in hopes of reaching a child or grandchild who are internet-active.  I’ll keep looking, if for no other reason than the possibility of hearing from “Louis” or “Louise” or one of their children.

A Different Kind of Old Photo

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This picture hangs on our living room wall.

Hoover Art #1

That’s not a good angle, but it’s hard to get the whole thing in one good shot.  It’s really big.  Here’s a close-up:

Hoover Art #2

My husband and I found this picture at a flea market in 1995.  We couldn’t decide whether to buy it, since we’d have to hit the savings account to do it.  We’re movie fans, and it was so dramatic – everyone stopped to stare at it.  Also, the oak frame was lovely, and in terrific condition.  We hemmed and hawed, and then walked away to think about it some more.  There was another guy looking at it, too, but we needed to ponder it while we weren’t looking at it, so we started walking and wandering.  Then, we saw that same guy in another aisle – looking at big, gilded, ornate frames that were (coincidentally?) the same size as that picture.  We knew – KNEW! – we couldn’t let him put that picture in a gilded frame, and our decision was made.  We ran back and bought it.  Done !

Oops … our car wasn’t big enough to hold the picture.  Ummmm …. ???

The woman who sold us the picture was beyond gracious.  She offered to drive it to our house in her van the next day (in the rain), on her way out of town after the flea market.  While we were talking, she told us the story of the picture.

The picture hung in her family’s restaurant, in upstate New York.  The restaurant was owned, I believe, by her grandfather, and when it was sold, they didn’t want to leave some of their personal items in the restaurant, so she got this picture.  Unfortunately, she was unable to tell us anything about the image itself and was uncertain how it came to be in her family.  She said there had originally been a piece of paper on the back, identifying some of the actors, but it had been lost and she didn’t remember any of the names.  The only identifying mark of any kind, front or back, is this notation, in the lower left corner of the picture:

Hoover Art #3

Yes, we have searched and searched for information on the Hoover Art Company of Hollywood.  Most of the information we found says the studio primarily did a lot of portraits of early Hollywood actors and actresses.  If you search for them on Google, you will hit a lot of links for several photos in particular, including pictures of Katherine McDonald, Dorothy Gish, Theda Bara, and other young actresses of the 1920s and early 1930s.  But there isn’t a lot of information on the company itself, and we’ve found nothing that would help us identify this image in any way.  We’ve put out some feelers, and had hoped to be selected to go to Antiques Roadshow when they were filming here in Atlanta.  We thought maybe one of their appraisers would be able to tell us something about the picture.  So, Antiques Roadshow?  Look what you missed by not choosing us to visit you !!!!!

We would love to find out more about this picture.  So if you know someone who knows someone who knows someone, feel free to forward the information.  I’ll update you when and if we learn more.

Max Wandrer, Olympic Gymnast

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Occasionally, a picture is surprisingly relevant to current events.  Take this photo, for instance.

Ludascher/Fechtenburg Family

These folks are identified on the back as follows:  Uncle George Fechtenburg, Grandmother Fechtenburg, Mother Ludascher, William Ludascher, Carl Ludascher, Marie Ludascher, and Edith Ludascher (she’s the one with the adorable pigtails).  This HAD to be an interesting story.  So I started digging.

There was no date on the photo, no photographer or city named, but I figured that finding those two names together was the best place to start.  And it didn’t take long.  At Ancestry.com, the 1910 US Census for Pennsylvania gave me a family that fit this description – William and Marie Ludascher had six children, including the four names above plus a baby named Emma.  The ages seemed to fit this photo, and I continued digging.  I’m sure there are several stories I could tell about this family, and I may do that in a later post, but only one of those stories is relevant this week.

Little Miss Edith was 15 in the 1910 census (probably about 10 years after this photo).  As I began to track forward on Edith and her siblings, I discovered a marriage record for Edith.  She married Carl H. M. Wandrer on June 30, 1915.  Carl [as I knew him then] registered for the WWI draft, showing a birth date of February 10, 1894, and a birth place of Thueringen, Germany.  Interesting … I wonder what brought him here to the US?  Again, another story for another day.  I also saw that Edith and Carl had a couple of children, listed in the 1930 census as Edith, 13, and Paul, 9.  So I searched for Carl on Google, to see what came up.    Imagine my surprise when I saw him listed as a member of the 1924 U.S. Men’s Olympic Gymnastics team !  He was listed as “Max Wandrer,” but further searching confirmed that Carl/Karl and Max were the same person.

I know what you’re thinking … how did he do?  As I understand the tables, it went like this:

Men’s Individual All-Around – he ranked 48th
Men’s Team All-Around – the team ranked 5th
Men’s Horse Vault – he ranked 5th
Men’s Parallel Bars – he ranked 66th
Men’s Horizontal Bar – he ranked 66th
Men’s Rings – he ranked 67th
Men’s Pommel Horse – he ranked 52nd
Men’s Rope Climbing – he tied for 13th
Men’s Side Horse – he ranked 15th

As you look at those rankings, keep something in mind.  This team (and most of the teams in those days) ranged in age from 21 to 38; Max Wandrer was 30.  THIRTY !!

So hats off to you, Max, and your teammates … and to your Olympic descendants ….

Citius, Altius, Fortius … Faster, Higher, Stronger ….