Evolution of a Sister Blog

I was challenged by someone to, “start writing,” after admitting to years of research for the Man of Family blog . I could not refute the logic or resist the challenge.

The idea of writing a blog seemed easy at first …….. until I attempted to write it …….. well here are a few of the lesson I have learned along the way.

I procrastonated and in retropect it seems as though I was protecting myself because the idea and the actual writing where more challenging than anticipated even though I have invested many years researching in preparation.

Writing a blog is like creating a piece of jewelry; the finished piece needs to be purpousefuly balanced and athestic in final form.

My blog is a family history project so there is the context of time to which I am necessarly bound, (chronological order).

Another equally important constraint is telling the story is a coherant narrative, not just a bunch of facts about people that other people are not related to, to add character and depth to ancestors near and far that I did not know in my lifetime.

The very first entry was important for my project, it may not be for others that have subjects that include subjects that are less restrictive.

The acutal writing seems to fall into place after the first sentance is written. The first sentance sets the tone for the entry.

Researching the facts are important pieces not be overlooked in the interest of time.

And related to the above sentence; understanding the historical context in which my ancestors lived. This includes reading and appreciating history as I have never appreciated it before. (I recently finished my second book on World War I, not much of a war buff but the historical context cannot be overlooked.)

Writing about ancestors first includes gathering as many of the facts of their lives as possible, this includes a photos, writings, personal effects if possible. People leave behind things and pictures that where important to them and this leaves a sense of who they where in “real life.” I also try and acquire vital records when possible.

The idea of the “sister blog” developed to include how the research has been done, some interesting observations, and points of interest and writing exercises to help bend the mind around the beauty and the power of the written word.

writing exercise #1

Solitary

The sun is light is freedom.

Feeling my body in motion.

The tune of trinkets at my side.

The confidence of safety.

The door is thick dark steel.

The barrels turn under the command of my key.

The dank still air 

Smells of musty concrete and new paint.

The slab is cold and hard.

Layers of old old paint and ancient scrawls

Dance on the walls.

Love pledges to long forgotten faces.

The clank of the cell door and catch of the lock.

Blare out their call of home.

photo by: Blue Sharpie

A Christian Heritage

Like tracing the outline of a shadow on the wall, so is recounting one’s family’s spiritual heritage. The sturdy Scot-Irish identity, grounded in Presbyterianism, was passed down generations to men who served in the capacity as missionaries, ministers, deacons and women who demonstrated courageous acts of charity.
Pastor was James Patterson Kerr
Boyds MD Presbyterian Church
c. 1955

Quakers took up the cause of racial equality generations before civil rights came to the forefront of social consciousness. Such was the legacy of Jonathan Lindley whose influence lived on in his great granddaughter and great-great granddaughter, faithful keepers of the light.

It is evident that charity began in the home of Henry Presley Thornton (1783-1865). When Clorinda Coffin married the oldest son Thomas Volney Thornton (1810-1845), a Presbyterian by faith, she was ex-communicated from her Quaker church and family. Sadly, their only child, Harriet, did not survive her first year. When Clorinda was widowed in her husband’s 38th year, it was her in-laws who provided shelter. Following their father’s example, the Thornton men were active in their community as church lay-leaders and financial supporters, to name a few; Edmund Braxton Thronton (1856-1929), Henry Clark Thornton (1852-1930) and George Abram Thornton (1821-1854).

 

Wordless Wednesday: Home of Mary A Thornton and Edmund B Thornton

Home of Mary Braxton Thornton, Bedford, IN

“Mother’s home where I was married”
1133 Lincoln Ave, Bedford, IN
the property next door is the home of
Edmund B Thornton

“Mothers home” would be the home of Mary A. Thornton (nee Braxton) and “Ed’s home,” would be the house for Edmund Braxton Thornton

(written by Emma Sickles Thornton where she married Albert Hopkins Davis)
Bedford, Indiana

Reference: The Annals of a Family p. 125

Wordless Wednesday (not very this week): A Victorian Poem

Mary Caroline “Nannie” Thornton Shaw
March 30, 1874
Bedford, Indiana

Albert Hopkins Davis and Emma Sickles Thornton

Albert and Emma Davis
Takoma Park, MD

 I wish my grandmother Frances had told me more about her parents, Albert and Emma Davis. 

She did leave a few precious insights to this set of great-grandparents shared here.

Read more »

Wordless Wednesday: The Davis Family

Davis Family, 1899
Washington DC

From top left to right; Nina age 14 yrs, Albert Hopkins Davis 45 yrs, Ruth age 17 yrs, Emma age 12 yrs, Frances age 4 yrs, Emma Sickles (nee Thornton) age 41 yrs, George Easton age 2 yrs, Winifred Braxton age 5 months.
Copyright  © amanoffamily.com 2012

Wordless Wednesday: 1940 Census

Frances and Ruth Dallant
1940 Census,Alban Towers, Washington DC

Just released this week the 1940 US Census on Ancestry.com. The Date of this entry is April 1940, Nicholas Dallant aka Dozenberg had been arrested in December 1939. Frances was alone with her young daughter with the exception of another man that had moved into the household. Humes Houston Whittlesey, USN had unprecedented access to a small child, left without her father. It is interesting to note that the name is spelled “Delant,”(the correct spelling is Dallant,) perhaps intentionally, Frances could have been attempting to protecting herself and her daughter from public scrutiny or alternatively, the couple had rented the apartment with a false spelling. Nick had lived and married under the assumed name of “Dallant,” for 12 years. Nicholas and Frances had lived at this Washington DC address since 1937. Later when the FBI searched the apartment records they where not able to locate this residence.

You can see the original image here 1940 Census Record – Alban Towers – Washington DC

Copyright © amanoffamily.com 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Roxbury, Boston, MA Google Map

GOOGLE custom map of Lettish Lativian community at the turn of the 20th century, addresses from public documents

Roxbury, Boston, MA – Custom Google Map
mapped addresses for Nicholas Dozenberg and associated family members

This was an interesting application of new technology for geneaology enthusiasts. Custom Google map showing Roxbury, MA addresses for Nicholas Dozenberg and family members living in a bustling Lettish community at the turn of the 20th century. This data was gleaned from various documents, border crossings, census reports, immigration documents and Boston city directories. 

Copyright  © amanoffamily.com 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Katherine "Katie" Dosenberg

Katherine “Katie” Alide Kunan nee Dosenberg
born:1887 Russia; died: Sept 1955 Boston, MA

Finding Katie:

Immigrant women virtually disappeared from the records upon marriage, changing their surname. No United States birth record exsists, and there is no record of Naturalization because at the turn of the 20th century the name of the wife appeared on her husbands record with no documentation of her maiden name.

Aided by cousins her married name was revealed as Kunan. Thanks to John Dosenberg’s step-daughter, her picture was recovered from an ancient pile of pictures relegated to her attic. Katherine “Katie” Alide Dosenberg married Andrew Kunan in 1907 in Fall River, MA (see the MA archives site) and then found her listed in the 1920 Census in Boston, MA with her two sons. Subsequently found her listed in the Boston City directory for 1915, 1916, 1920, 1934, 1940’s, 1955, and 1956. My heart raced as a paged through the 1956 directory looking for the name of her widowed daughter-in-law (Alvina Kunan), living with Katie (her youngest son had passed away at the young age of 35yrs). I found the listing for the daughter-in-law and to my great surprize Katie was listed along with her death date in 1955.

It sounds simple now put into words but this was over the course of several years. In part because the Boston city directories just became avaliable on Ancestry.com for the later years. Katie has been found!

Copyright  © amanoffamily.com 2012