My mom met my stepfather, Edgar (aka “Bud” and “Budgar”) in 1961. He used to tell the story of when he found a body on the railroad tracks down along the river in Minneapolis, only a few hundred yards from where I had a store in the 1990s at St. Anthony Main. He used to say reporting the body was a real regret. The police questioned him for hours and kept him from getting to work. He lost half a day’s pay for doing the right thing. He said if he ever saw a body again, he’d just keep going and swear he didn’t see a thing. It is a sad commentary that doing the right thing can cost the Samaritan.
Anyway, I found the Minneapolis Star article, dated 28 April 1959, thanks to Newspapers.com, which describes the story and Budgar’s role in finding the body and reporting the incident.
Body Found on Rail Spur; Gang Violence Feared
The first report of the shooting came shortly after 6 a.m. when Edgar J. Matson, 33, 181 NE. 41st Av., Columbia Heights spotted the body while driving to his St. Paul job.
Matson told police he had first thought the man was either sick or drunk.
The tire tracks….
From the article I learned:
My stepfather lived at 181 NE 41st Ave, Columbia Heights, in 1959.
This week for Photo Friday, I look at identifying more negatives from the Ethel Wight Studio Collection[i]. The names on the envelope are of the individual who paid for the photos, not necessarily of the individual portrayed in the image. As such, it is important to analyze the picture and information to identify the photographs positively.[ii]
Not William L. Austin
The envelope this negative was in says, “Mr. William L Austin – 44 Brown St. Portland – #724.”
William Austin does not appear in the 1934 or 1935 Portland City Directories.
The 1936 Portland City Directory indicated William Austin was the householder at 53 Franklin, Apartment 9. Likewise, the 1937 City Directory shows William at 53 Franklin, Apt 9.
The 1938 Portland City Directory indicates William Auston residing at 7 Tolman Place.
The 1940 Census indicates William L Austin living at 7 Tolman Place as a widowed lodger. He was 75 years old.
If the photo were taken about 1935, as the other pictures in this collection were, then William L. Austin would have been about 70 years old. The man in this photo is definitely not near 70 and appears, to me, to be about 50.
So, I have no idea who this person is. Although the photo was paid for by William L Austin, I do not believe it is of him.
Alfred J. Axelsen
The envelope this negative was in says, “Mr. Alfred J Axelsen – 45 Randall Ave, Portland #252”.
The 1935 Portland City Directory indicates Alfred J Axelsen was a painter employed at 228 Sherwood and resided at 45 Randall, which confirms his identity.
The 1930 Census enumerates Alfred J. Axelsen living with his Father Jens Axelsen, apparent mother Maren, and a sister, Laura.
Further research indicated that Alfred Julius Axelsen was born on 8 October 1908, married Margaret Winslow in 1933, and died 5 November 1983. I am confident this photo is of him.
This individual has a profile on FamilySearch, ID GQW1-GCV; I posted two photos of Alfred there.
Mildred Christine (Weston) Axelsen
The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. A. M. Axelson – 237 Sherwood Street, Portland #1054.”
The 1937 Portland City Directory is somewhat confusing. It indicates, in part:
Axelsen, Alfred J painter 237 Sherwood r 45 Randall
—August M (Mildred C) painter 1754 Wash av h do
—August M (Caroline E) mold maker 54 York h 43 Dorset
—Niels jr r 237 Sherwood
The 1940 Census places August M. Axelson and his 40-year-old wife, Mildred, at 45 Randall St. It also places August M. Axelson, and his 49-year-old wife, Caroline, at 43 Dorset Street.
The 1930 Census places August M Axelson living at 237 Sherwood Street with his wife, Mildred. August M. Axelson and his wife Caroline are residing at 43 Dorset Street.
So, it is clear Mrs. A. M. Axelsen is Mildred. Mildred was born about 1899, so she would have been about 36 in 1935. The woman in the photo appears to be about that age, so I believe this to be Mildred C. Axelson.
Mildred Christine Weston married August Mienerdt Axelsen on 1 June 1927.
Mildred has a profile on FamilySearch, ID L2JB-L79, and I have uploaded my photos there.
Elsie (McLeon) Baird
The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. Elsie Baird – 20 Vesper St, Portland #656.”
The 1937 Portland City Directory indicates that Elsie M. Baird was the widow of John H. Baird and lived at 20 Vesper.
Further research indicated that Elsie M Baird (nee McLeon) was born about 1887 in Scotland. She had a daughter, also named Elsie, who was born in 1910. If the photo were taken about 1935, as many of the pictures have been taken, Elsie the mother would have been about 48, and Elsie, the daughter, would have been about 25 years old. The woman in these photos appears to be in her 40s, so I believe it is Elsie, the mother.
This negative envelope says, “Miss Eleanor Baker – 130 Highland St Portland #986.“
The Portland City Directory for 1936 shows an Eleanor residing at John Decker Ocean House Rd, CE, p o SP
Eleanor does not appear in the 1935 Portland City Directory; however, a Beatrice E. Baker does appear living at 130 Highland in the Directory. The Directory suggests a family consisting of:
Beatrice E. Baker, Stenographer at 289 Forest Ave. Residing rear of 130 Highland.
Elmer S. (Ruby A) Painter emp 362 Cumberland av householder 130 Highland.
Harold F (Florence V) Carpenter householder rear 130 Highland.
Beatrice E. Baker married Wilton J. Rosenblad on 23 August 1935, explaining why she doesn’t appear in any subsequent city directories.
A review of many individual trees revealed no individuals name Eleanor in the families. That aside, I believe that “Eleanor Baker” of the photo is Beatrice E Baker, born 12 May 1913. The image had to have been taken before 23 August 1935, so her age in the picture had to be about 22 years old.
Beatrice E Baker is in 9 public trees on Ancestry.Com and if any of them know of Beatrice’s middle name or can identify her in the photo, I will have confirmed her identity.
If any of these photos are of a family member or clarify my identification, I would love to hear from you.
I consider free genealogy websites in three different categories. First are sites that have data that are sources for facts. The second are sites that provide links to sites that have the data. Third are education, general information websites, and Blogs. All three are essential but used differently.
I have a regular task in my genealogy activities that tells me to do an hour of training or education every week. I keep up with it, and if I miss a week, I’ll do two hours the following week. Certainly, I have done some paid training. I’ve taken the Genealogy course from Great Courses and few courses from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. But, the vast majority of my regular genealogical training/education is via online website videos.
Roots Tech – Due to Covid-19, the 2021 RootsTech conference will be free and electronic. If you haven’t registered yet, do so. It is a fantastic set of presentations and training. They also have a video archive of past sessions. These presentations are from the top genealogists in the country and provide top-quality information. Watch the past videos in anticipation of the 2021 conference in February.
Legacy Family Tree Webinars – Legacy Family Tree Webinars is a paid site. However, the Webinar Library contains the last couple webinars and are typically free. Additionally, the “Upcoming Live Webinars” are excellent, and you may register to see them for free. If you miss the live presentation, it will be available in the previous webinars list for a short time. If you find the free webinars aren’t enough, you can subscribe to all the Legacy webinars.
Ancestry Academy – These are typically 3 to 6-minute presentations focusing on a particular topic. For example, the “Newspapers.Com” set includes 11 videos about using Newspapers.Com (owned by Ancestry). There are also video sets about the U.S. Censuses, Population Schedules, and a host of other topics.
YouTube – Of course, YouTube has some excellent material and you can learn about just about anything on YouTube. In your search, include “Genealogy” and then any topic you are interested in learning more about. My search for “Genealogy X-Chromosome DNA” yielded dozens of fascinating and potentially useful videos about the topic using Family Finder, GEDMatch, and 23 & Me.
Library of Congress – There is an amazing number of films and videos available through the Library of Congress. A search for “Genealogy” yielded 114 items available online. Some were things like “Shakespeare’s Genealogies,” but the majority were items about our kind of genealogy, including an excellent presentation on “Family History in the U.S. Church Records.”
Wikipedia – Not specifically genealogical, but filled with encyclopedic information. A search for “1820 Census” quickly reminds me the census was conducted on 7 August. An article for a place like Scarborough, Maine, tells me much of its history, including what counties it was in. Often, I’m looking for a neighborhood in an area, and Wikipedia provides the answer.
Family Search – I find the FamilySearch Research Wiki to be the most valuable wiki for my use. When I have completed my phase 1 and phase 2 research, I will typically go to the Family Search Wiki. I’ll enter a place my ancestor lived, for example, Scarborough, Cumberland County, Maine. I will then go through the websites and information there, then I’ll go through the county page, and finally the state page. Besides being a site of links, it tells a lot of information about the town, county, and state, when and where various records might exist.
RootsWeb – The Rootsweb Wiki is now the Ancestry.Com Family History Wiki. There is a lot of background information about military records, state records.
DNA Painter – Not actually a wiki, but DNA Painter provides tools and information I often find useful in my understanding of DNA. Blane Bettinger’s Shared cM Project tool is my most used DNA tool. It provides the means to quickly see the possible relationships given a specific amount of DNA. Invaluable.
There are hundreds of blogs and podcasts that relate to Genealogy. First, it makes sense to subscribe to the blog or podcast for any site you pay for a subscription. It is always good to see what they are posting as new or interesting. So, I receive regular blog postings from American Ancestors, Ancestry, Newspapers.Com, etc. That said, I like, and pay attention to, several free blog sites.
The Legal Genealogist – My favorite free blog is Judy Russell’s “The Legal Genealogist.” She focuses on Genealogical issues, ethics, and events. Her blog does an excellent job of alerting its subscribers to problems occurring in the genealogy world. I love it and her perspective on things. She is always thoughtful in her analysis and causes you to think.
Genealogy à la carte – Although the focus of Genealogy à la carte is Canadian, I find that Gail Dever does a great job of keeping the topics interesting to me, who has no known Canadian ancestors.
Genea-Musings – Randy Seaver provides excellent material about what is new and available in news, articles, and record collections. He gives ideas for your research and links to podcasts and videos. His write-ups regarding his ancestors are excellent examples for you to use in your ancestor biographies.
The Ancestor Hunt – As probably my favorite site that provides links to other sites, I’m always interested in what Kenneth R. Marks has added or updated to The Ancestor Hunt. I always check out his articles for places I’m researching.
DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy – It is hard to keep up to date with the latest in the ever-changing world of Genetic Genealogy. Roberta Estes does a great job of keeping folks informed using understandable writing. Her writing can challenge my understanding, but I like that. Her blog helps to keep me up to date in my genetic genealogy comprehension.
I didn’t write about podcasts in this list. Sadly, I don’t listen to them very often. Some people find them useful, but I am more visual in my preferences. So, I’m much more likely to do videos than podcasts. Even if the video is a “talking head,” I prefer that to a podcast. In any event, Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musing can point you to lots of great podcasts, if that is your preference.
My grandmother was a vaudeville star and I am following her career, trying to learn of her many performances. In October 1919, she joined the cast of the Charles Dillingham production of “Chin-Chin” “Chin-Chin” played in the US and Canada until June 1920. I monitor several newspaper services watching for new venues that the show played while she was a cast member.
I recently received a notification from the folks at Elephind that they had added the “Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection to their searchable items. As such, I ran a quick search and had two new findings. The first entry is from the Denver Jewish News dated 5 November 1919. It was an ad for Chin Chin playing at the Broadway Theatre in Denver, a venue I had learned about previously.
The second article found was from the Walsenburg World dated 20 November 1919, Page 5, Column 3, Para 12, which read:
“Mr. and Mrs. George Blickhahn, Mr. and Mrs. James Flynn, Mrs. B. Gardner, Aldolph Unfug, Miss Clara Kincaid of La Veta, and Lois Sporleder all spent Sunday in Trinidad seeing ‘Chin Chin.’”
The previous Sunday would have been November 16, 1919. Trinidad is a small town about 40 miles southeast of Walsenburg and about 11 miles north of the New Mexico border.
It appears that the show may have been at West’s Theatre, however, I’ll need to confirm that with additional research. The show played in Denver from the 9th to the 15th, went south to Trinidad for the 16th then returned back north to Pueblo on the 18th and Colorado Springs on the 19th.
New Venue Added:
Nov 16, 1919 – Trinidad, Colorado – (Probably) West’s Theatre.
Appleton, Armstrong, Ames, August, and a crashed car.
By Don Taylor
This week for Photo Friday, I identify five more envelopes of negatives from the Ethel Wight Studio Collection[i]. The images were converted to positives using a lightbox, a Nikon camera, and Adobe Photoshop Essentials.
Gail Appleton – ca. 1937.
The envelope this negative was in says, “Miss Gail Appleton – State Street Hospital – #662.”
The Portland, Maine, City Directory for 1934, indicates Gail Appleton residing at 166 Kelsey, South Portland.
The Portland, Maine, City Directory for 1935 indicates Gail Appleton is a student nurse at 62 State, Residence 52 State.
The Portland, Maine, City Directory for 1937 indicates Gail Appleton is a student nurse at 62 State, Residence 52 State.
The Portland, Maine, City Directory for 1938, indicates Gail Appleton is a nurse employed at 1151 Brighton Av and a nurse at 166 Kelsey, South Portland, and is residing at 166 Kelsey, South Portland.
These types of photos were typically taken about graduation, so I place the photo as circa 1937.
From these records and the 1930 and 1940 Census records, I’m sure this is Gail Appleton, Born 22 July 1915 in Augusta, Kennebec County, Maine, to Maurice Dwinell and Annie Belle (Grady) Appleton. On Family Search, she is ID: GM5T-D6P.
This photo is from the Ethel Wight Studio Collection. The envelope this negative was in says, “Miss Mona Armstrong – Nse. Gen Hospital.
Mona Armstrong is not listed in the 1934 Portland, Maine, City Directory.
The Portland, Maine, City Directory for 1935, indicates Mona Armstrong is a student nurse at 22 Arsenal, Residence (ditto).
The Portland, Maine, City Directory for 1936 indicates Mona Armstrong is a student nurse at 22 Arsenal, Residence (ditto).
The Portland, Maine, City Directory for 1937 indicates Mona Armstrong is a student nurse at 22 Arsenal, Residence (ditto).
The Portland, Maine, City Directory for 1938 indicates Mona Armstrong married Carl Matthews. I believe the photo to be circa 1937.
I am confident this is Mona Luella Armstrong (1914-2001), daughter of Orville George and Amber Flora (Rich) Armstrong. She married Carl Eugene Matthews on 24 January 1838. On Family Search, she is ID: G7LK-ZLL
Phillip Ames & Daughter – ca. 1934
The envelope this negative was in says, “Mr. Phil Ames – 92 Concord St. Portland – #440.”
A review of the Portland City Directories found:
1934 Portland, Maine, City Directory, Page 121 – Philip L (Madeline V) prop 12 Monument Square Room G, home 92 Concord.
Which confirms that Philip L lived at 92 Concord. The 1935 directory indicates that Philip and Madeline lived at 27 Crosby, suggesting the photo was taken in 1934.
The 1940 Census indicates that Philip Ames lived at 119 Leland St. with his wife Madeline; Daughter, Donna (age 7); Son, Alan (age 4); and daughter, Dian (Age 8/12). So Donna would have been 1 to 2 years old in 1934, dating the photo to ca. 1934.
No other Philip Ames lived in Portland during this time.
Philip Linwood Ames has a Family Search ID LKZT-11B
Edith August circa 1936
The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. E. August – 16 Salem St, Portland – #322.”
The Portland, Maine, City Directory for 1936 indicates that Adolph J. August and his wife, Edith C. lived at 16 Salem in Portland.
The 1940 Census indicates that Adolph August and his wife Edith were living at 35 Taylor Street. With them is a 9-year-old daughter, Edith, who this appears to be a photograph of.
There is not a profile for Edith August on Family Search. It appears that four trees on Ancestry include Edith in their tree. I will contact them with a link to these photos after it posts to this blog.
No People – Just a Damaged Car
The envelope this negative was in says, “B. Applebaum – 58-60 Howard Ave, Roxbury, MA – #93.”
When I first saw this envelope, I thought how odd that a Roxbury person would have their photos taken in Portland. Then I looked at the photo and realized that it was clearly a photo of a car which recently was in an accident and there were a couple of photos of probably the road where the accident occurred.
A sign on the garage where the car is at says Vesta Batteries. To the left of the Car is a sign which reads “RUSCO.” I don’t know my auto makes, so I don’t know what kind of car it is. If you know, I’d be interested in learning the make/model.
So, it was a good week. Five photos – five people were identified.
[i] The Wight Studio was in Portland, Maine. Many thanks to Ethel Wight’s family for access to and permission to use their great aunt’s collection.