Photo Friday – Four Identified – Four Others With Names

Photo Friday

Very good week for my Photo Identification Project. Four individuals were identified and four others I have names for but I can’t confirm them.

Family Search

For four of the photos I was able to determine who they were, and I uploaded the images to the memory section of the individual profiles on Family Search.

Left to right:  John S. Loud, Frank Hodgens, Sadie Marion Griffiths, Preston Peckham
  • John S. Loud  (1856-1917) – L1BX-2QF – Rochester, NH;  19 Dec 1903.
  • Frank Hodgens (1863-1917) – 9XS7-GXW – 1889.
  • Sadie Marion Griffiths (1901-1971), Family Search ID: LZXB-M22; Newmarket, NH; 1912.
  • Preston A. Peckham (1882-1910) –  LR83-H1J – Lynn, Mass.

Uncertain Photo Identification

I was not able to determine four of the individuals for certain. They are:

Leroy Franklin Radley, Caroline Parker, Ralph Adolph Johnson, Suzie E. Love

“Leroy Franklin Radley” Rockland, ME – Christmas 1914 – Pillsbury Studio, Rockland. This is clearly Leroy Franklin Radley, born 16 Oct 1913 in Rockland, Knox County, Maine, the son of Franklin L. and Agnes Radley. I, however, have been unable to find Leroy Radley in Family Search or in an Ancestry Tree. If you are a family member of Leroy and can place him into a family tree, please contact me.

“Caroline Parker” – Photo by London Photo.  My guess about the photo is that it appears, to me, to be from the 1930s. I can’t determine if the person is in her 20s or her 50s. As such, I suspect the person was probably born between 1890 and 1930.
There was a Gladys Caroline Parker, born c. 1890, who lived in Portland.
There was a Caroline Parker, born c. 1894, who lived in Gardiner, Maine.
There was a Caroline Parker, born in 1909 who lived in Biddeford, Maine.
There was a Caroline Parker, born in 1910 who lived in Bangor, Maine.
There was a Caroline Parker, born c. 1922, who lived in Wilton, Maine.
I am unable to determine which of the many Caroline Parkers this photo is an image of.

“Ralph Adolph Johnson” – Photo by Marion, Lowell, Mass. There was a Ralph Adolph John, who married Almira Louise Johnson on 7 Sep 1916 in South Portland, Cumberland, Maine. At the time of the Marriage, Ralph lived in Lowell, Mass; he was 23 years old and born in Scarboro, Maine. I am confident this is Ralph Adolph Johnson (1893-1972).  There is no entry for this person in Family Search. I’ll see he is added to the Scarborough Historical Society photo collection.

“Susie E. Love” – Photo by Flagg & Plummer, Lewiston, ME.  I am unable to determine her identification. A Susan Evelyn (Farrington) Rowe, married Woodbury Grover Love in 1919. This photo appears to be a bit earlier than 1919, but it is possibly her.

If you are related to any of these families and can help precisely identify them, I’d love to hear from you

Two more on Family Search

I feel confident I’ve found two more on Family Search. (Their photos are above.)

“Sadie Marian Griffith – 12 years.” Photo by W. J. Thibault, Newmarket, NH. This photo appears to be from the 1920s. It identifies the subject as 12 years old.
There was a Sadie Marion Griffiths born 6 April 1901 in Durham, Strafford, New Hampshire. Durham is about four miles from Newmarket.  There do not appear to be any other Sadie’s in the area. As such, I’m confident this is Sadie Marion Griffiths (1901-1971), Family Search ID: LZXB-M22; child of Edward Bartholomew and Mary Effie (Furber) Griffiths.

“Preston Peckham” – Photo by Geo W. Ames, Lynn, Mass.
A review of the various Preston Peckhams on Family Search yielded a Preston A. Peckham, born in September 1882 to John P and Nellie M Peckham and living in Lynn, Mass. On Family Search the person is LR83-H1J.

I’d love to learn if you are related to any of these individuals.

City Directories – 2019 Update

US Census Records are essential records used in genealogical research. They are a treasure trove of information; however, they come out only once every ten years leaving huge gaps.  With the 1890 census having lost so many records in a fire, often there is a twenty-year gap in our family research.  Don’t overlook city directories as a potential source to fill in those gaps.

Many cities and counties have had directories published over the years.
They were created for salespeople and merchants to be able to contact businesses and individuals.  Every publisher had their format for information they presented, but if you find one that includes your ancestor, it can be the source for new information.

Typically, city directories give the name and address of the head of the household.  Often they give the wife’s name, usually in parenthesis, and sometimes the names of adult children living at the same address. They also typically provide the occupation of the individual.  Sometimes there is a reverse directory included which goes by street address and contains the names of the individuals living there. Always look for your ancestor in the name section, the business section, and, if included, the reverse directory to see who else might live at the address.

Sometimes a directory can provide an answer to a question or clarify what was happening.  As an example, for many years I thought a great-grandmother of mine moved from one address to another on the same street.  I thought it was odd, but not unheard of before. A city directory revealed that they renumbered the street one year. The neighbors stayed the same, but the numbers changed for all of them.

Directories often show maps, street name changes, addresses of businesses, churches, schools, cemeteries, post offices, hospitals, newspapers and the like.  Some will give a history of the city as well as the names of elected officials.

Another significant bit of information often given is if a person is a widow.  That can be key to narrowing down the year of someone’s death and provides a “died before” date.  In some occasions, the city directory may even list marriages, and deaths, including date, during the previous year.

Online Resources

Google Books is always worth a quick look to see if they have a directory you need. Go to books.google.com and then enter in the search box: City Directory [city of interest].  You may be surprised at what is available online. I noted the 1850-51 City Directory for Portland, ME, was available as a free eBook.

Probably better than Google Books is Google’s US Online Historical Directories site. A click on “Maine” shows that eight of the 16 counties have directories online and that seven Portland City Directories are available online.  Five of those directories are accessible through Don’s List, which is one of my favorite online sources for information. Check them out at: (www.donlist.net).

Another excellent source for directories is the Internet Archive (www.archive.org) and has Many Maine directories. A quick search of Directory Maine yielded 257 results including directories for Lewiston, Casco Bay, Bangor, and Portland.

One of the best sources for Directories is Family Search. After logging in, select Search – Catalog. Then under titles, enter Directory and State.  For “Directory Maine” there are 64 results returned. Be sure to look at the available directories closely. There is a directory for “Greater Portland” and directories for “Portland” which are separated by quite a bit.  Many of the directories are still only available on microfilm at various libraries but pay attention to them as they are likely to become available online soon.

Of course, Ancestry has many directories available with a subscription.  A search for “Directory” in the title with a keyword of “Maine” yielded 27 results. Several of them were city directories.

Off-Line Resources

Many libraries and historical societies have city directories in their possession. It is always worth an email or telephone call to find out if a library has a city directory. Often, they will do a look-up for you without charge or for a small fee.  Occasionally the directories have been microfilmed so be sure to speak with a reference librarian who knows the various collections available on microfilm. Sometime those resources may be ordered via interlibrary loan.

Scarborough Historical Society & Museum Collection[1]

Thomas Henley Collection, Shelf K-12

The Scarborough Museum has a small collection of city directories of Portland, including the following:

  • 1942 – Thomas Henley – K11
  • 1952 – Thomas Henley – K11
  • 1956 – (Upstairs Archive)
  • 1963 – Thomas Henley – K04
  • 1965 – Thomas Henley – K12
  • 1970 – Thomas Henley – K12
  • 1975 – Thomas Henley – K12
  • 1977 – Thomas Henley – K12

These directories are available for members to use at the museum for research.  If you cannot make it to the museum, the Genealogy Volunteers will be happy to look up a couple of names for you. Just let them know the surname and the year.

Of course, if you have a Greater Portland city directory, or another directory that includes Scarborough, please consider donating it to the museum.  We would be extremely pleased to add it to our collection.

Other Public Collections

 The Scarborough Public Library also has many city directories including Greater Portland & Surrounding Communities from 1960 thru to the current 2019 directory.

The South Portland Historical Society also has many city directories, plus it is a great museum to visit. Check it out.

Finally, both the Maine Historical Society in Portland and the Maine State Library in Augusta have substantial collections of interest to genealogists that include many city directories. Either are great resources.


Endnotes

  1.  I am a volunteer at the Scarborough Historical Society and Museum. I am using it in this article as an example of what might be available at any local historical society.

1841 Tax Valuation Records

Museum Monday

Image of the Cover of the Scarborough, Maine, Tax Valuation book for 1841.
1841 Tax Valuation Book

It was a great week for me at the Scarborough Historical Society Museum. On Tuesday, three of us traveled up to the Maine State Library in Augusta and began working on scanning several Tax Valuation Books from the Town of Scarborough. They have a Zeutschel OS 12002 – it is a multi-camera book scanner that creates high-resolution images of bound and oversized materials. It is capable of correcting for page curvature as well as recognizing and indexing printed text. The scanned images were then combined into a PDF file. A “Scarborough Books” collection was created and the PDF file uploaded with some metadata information. Thank you so much for the assistance of Adam Fisher of the Maine State Library for his help and assistance in this Project.

The Valuation books provide information about property owners and voters who were Scarborough residents and some info about non-residents who owned property in Scarborough. If you have ancestors who lived in Scarborough in 1841, this book may provide information of interest. It gives things like how many acres of land they owned and how it was being used as well as how many horses, cows, and pigs they owned.

We also have Valuations Books for 1875, 1890, 1892, and 1900 digitized. I’ll be working on getting those images available online over the next few weeks.

  • The Scarborough Historical Society post about the 1841 image is here.
  • The actual download from Digital Maine is here.

The 1841 Scarborough Tax Valuation Book is a great resource to add texture to your family history and genealogical research.

Maine Marriage Records

By Don Taylor

photo of hole in a brick wall
Hole in Brick Wall – Photo by counterclockwise via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

I recently had the opportunity to be a Genealogy “brick wall buster,” which is a person who helps someone break through their genealogical brick walls. They say teaching a subject helps the teacher learn the topic even more. Likewise, helping others with their “brick walls” is an amazing process wherein I learn so much more. Anyway, one of my querists wanted to know, How to find marriage records in Maine.

As I thought about how I would approach the question I thought of several Wikis and ask the person if they used the Family Search wiki. She said, “No.” As I went through the day, I realized how few people knew about the two best genealogy wiki sites on the Internet. Everyone I spoke to during the day used Family Search and Ancestry.Com, but none of them ever used either of the two wikis.

I prefer the Family Search wiki. http://familysearch.org/wiki.  It seems to always provide the answer to my research questions.  For example, a search for Maine Marriage Records brings me to a page about the differences in records before 1892, between 1892 and 1922, and since 1922.

The Ancestry Wiki: http://ancestry.com/wiki/ is also a hidden gem – a fountain of information. Many people have subscriptions to Ancestry and many others access Ancestry through their local libraries, but I found few use the Ancestry Wiki. The results received from searching the Ancestry Wiki for “Maine Marriage Records,” was not quite as clear as Family Search but did quickly lead me to a Maine Vital Records page, which also told me all I needed to know.

The Maine Genealogy Network is one of my favorite sites for specifically Maine research. They have many Maine Specific databases, see http://www.mainegenealogy.net/databases.asp for a list of them. There is also a great article about “Finding Maine County Marriage Returns”

http://network.mainegenealogy.net/profiles/blogs/maine-county-marriage-returns, which explains methods to access some of the early Maine marriage records that may exist.

Scarborough Records

For Scarborough Records, the Cumberland County Marriages from 1786 thru 1886 may be browsed on the Family Search site at https://familysearch.org/search/catalog/553508. Look for the camera icon at the bottom right to see the images.

Image of Book Cover - Vital Records of Scarborough Maine.

There is a great book, Vital Records of Scarborough, Maine by James H. Wick published by the Maine Genealogical Society (MGS). The book is currently out of print and unavailable from the MGS, however, Minerva indicates it is available at several libraries in the area, (See https://tinyurl.com/ycb5ga9x) including the Scarborough Public Library. We also have a copy of it at the Scarborough Museum which may be viewed at the museum.

Also at the museum, we have several boxes of microfilm.  As an example, one of the boxes, Number 225, is a reel of “Town Records Births prior to 1891 with some dates to 1908, deaths ca. 1819-1891, intentions of marriage and marriage records 1816-1879.  I need to find a way to get these digitized and available or, better yet, find where someone else has already digitized these records.

Do you know of additional Maine Marriage Record sources available?  If so, please let me know through the comment form below.

Digitize those Photos!

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.I advocate digitizing everything that can be digitized, particularly photographs. I was recently speaking with a person at the museum about a photo that she had of the Cunningham family. She showed me the old, faded photo and I asked immediately if it was digitized. I learned it was not. “Oh my,” I said, “we need to fix that.“ I explained the importance of digitizing photos as I went to get the light set for photographing.

Besides the importance of having a backup copy of the photo, electronic versions are easy to share. You can easily send a copy to cousins that may not have the photo. You can also post the photos on-line at many sites including Flickr, Google, Picasa, blogs, and other places to act as “cousin bait.” Finally, electronic versions of a photo may be cleaned up and made much more viewable quite simply and easily.  That is what I suggested to my museum visitor.

I photographed a couple of the larger photos with my camera then scanned a few of the smaller photos with a Flip-Pal.  It does a nice job of scanning photos without needing a computer.

To me, it is important to rename files immediately.  Filenames like DSCN1234 or Scan567 are useless. I know many folks like to use meta data, but I find having key information in the file name is much better. I use the form of, Subject, Context/Action, Place, Source, Date, and Status. I leave out the Place and Source if they aren’t important. That is the date of the image, not the date of the scan.  But, sometimes an image’s date might be something like “c. 1930s.”

Original scan of Charle & Carrie Cunningham & Family (in PNG Format)

In the case of the first photo, I knew that it was a Charles and Carrie Cunningham Family group photo. My guess is that the context might be something like 50th wedding anniversary of them; if so, it would be from 1928. Alternately, the clothes look to be from the early 1930s. So, I’m going to hazard a guess of c. 1930. So, I used the filename Charles & Carrie Cumming with Family – c. 1930.

I use different file extensions for different purposes. I use TIFF format for all my original scans and photographs. I then use JPEG format for all working and shared images. Finally, I use PDF for any images with text after I have run optical character recognition (OCR) on the image. The file types immediately tell me if the image is an original or if it has been edited. Occasionally, I use PNG for original files, particularly if I need to share an original. PNG files use compression to be smaller than TIFF files in size. I use them on images that are particularly large, typically more than 50MB as a TIFF. To give an idea of the various sizes, the following table shows the file sizes for the Charles & Carrie Cumming with Family – c. 1930 file.

TIF/TIFF PNG JPEG/JPG
Uncompressed Lossless Compression Lossy Compression
30.2MB 11.1MB 5.6 MB (Edited)

Next, I open the original file. I use Preview on a Mac.  It is really quick and it is easy to do almost everything I’d like to do. Windows computers have many other photo and/or image products which work very well also. After the file is opened, I immediately export it to JPG format. I then close my TIFF file and open the JPG file. I only ever manipulate or edit the JPG file.

I like to rotate the file and crop the file as appropriate.  If I can leave a ½ in border on the bottom during the cropping process, I do so.

For scanned black and white photos I set the saturation to 0; that eliminates any greens, or other weird colors from the image.  Next, I adjust the image exposure and contrast to provide the best possible image for the faces of the people.  Once I am happy with that image, I raise the sepia to a level that is easier on the eyes than a stark black and white.  Then I save the photo again. Just these few steps only take me about a minute and provides a much higher quality image to use and share, yet maintains the original in an untouched state so the process may be duplicated if desired.

Charles & Carrie Cumming with Family edited.
Charles & Carrie Cumming with Family edited.

I mentioned earlier about leaving a ½ inch border on the bottom of the photo.  That is to add a caption if possible.  In the case of a photo of Thomas Burdwood, the original was smallish and had aged pinkish over the years. Once again, I duplicated the photo, cropped it, set color saturation to 0, adjusted the exposure and contrast and sepia level.  Once I was done with that, I added text to the image of the individual’s name (based upon what was on the back of the photo) and saved it.

Thomas Burdwood Original Scan

Drawing of Thomas Burdwood
Thomas Burdwood edited

Of course, once a photo has had its initial edit, you can use many other image enhancement tools to remove creases, spots, or otherwise improve the photo.

Scanning photos greatly increase the likelihood that they won’t be lost. Keeping your original scan pristine means you can always return to the original and manipulate the image again. Finally, the manipulated and compressed version not only make the photo nicer to view it makes the image more shareable.