The "161" meme

Of course you would catch me reading nothing as titillating as Jasia or as instructional as Miriam, but I've been tagged not once but twice to share the 6th sentence on page 161 of the book I'm currently reading which is The Most Fearful Ordeal: Original Coverage of the Civil War by Writers and Reporters of The New York Times, and the 6th sentence from page 161 is...


"The battery of Capt. De Hart also replied vigorously."

And now it's my turn to tag 5 3* geneabloggers...Hmm...

Colleen of The Oracle of OMcHodoy because she has escaped until now.
Dave of OakvilleBlackWalnut because I always tag Dave. ;-)
Mary Beth of What's Your Line because I like picking on the new blogger.

Now we get to see who's paying attention. ;-)

I can't find more than 3 that haven't been tagged already. :-)

You knew this when you were five

Remember when you were a kid and your mom would nudge you, or your dad would thump you, whenever you forgot to mind your manners? Well, consider this a slap because some of us have forgotten what our parents taught us.

A lot of hard work, long hours and money goes into the compilation of a family history, and yet there are literally thousands of genealogists who gladly share everything they know with you, with me, with everyone. Think about it. A huge undertaking, an even bigger investment, and they give it away for free.

These people are the backbone of places like WorldConnect, FamilyLink, WeRelate, Ancestry Trees, and I think too many of us prefer to emphasize the inaccuracies we've uncovered there rather than the generous spirit. So, next time you come across information in a family tree database that helps in your quest to find your ancestors, say thank you to the person who was kind enough and brave enough to submit it there. He, or she, didn't have to do it.

Instead, he could have squirreled it away like a lot of other genealogists do, which leads me to my next point. Return the favor by sharing with others. Few will thank you (see above) but think of it like this, it took more than one pair of hands to get you this far, and you probably owe more than you're owed.

I've talked before about the challenges I face with my grandfather's branch of the family, but I've had an opposite experience with my grandmother's, and all because the cousins on that side are more willing to share with each other. If one of us discovers something new, emails are sent to the group, and inevitably someone will get bitten by the "can't stop" bug and run with it. Next thing you know, all of our databases are another generation richer. In fact, we've got a recently bitten cousin running around now--he jumped tracks a week ago, and now he's gathering information on lines that he's not even related to!

OK, he's not the first genealogist I've seen climbing out on an unrelated limb, but people like him aren't a dime a dozen either, and you'll see less like him if so many of us keep forgetting that it's our turn to repay the favor.

Calling all historical photo enthusiasts

It was the dress that first caught my eye. I had just finished scanning the portrait of the unknown pair and was starting the laborious job of scanning the photograph of Leonard, Sally, Mattie and Grace (laborious because the image is captured on paper so thin, it moves around every time I lower the scanner door), when I noticed two of the dresses were very similar. Thinking this was little more than a clue to time period, it was a another full day before the thought that could possibly solve this mystery came to me. Is the unidentified boy and girl actually my grandma Mattie and an older brother?

Mattie and her family

Mattie Helen CRADDOCK was born 19 June 1903, the 1st or 2nd child of James William Christopher Columbus CRADDOCK and Pandora "Dora" Texas NUNN. Columbus and Dora married on 1 April 1900, and had 5 children in addition to Mattie: Leonard, b. 24 October 1906; Sally, b. 11 December 1910; Grace, b. 3 May 1913; James, b. 18 November 1917; and a child of unknown gender that was born after 1900 and died before the 1910 census enumeration.[1]

Mystery boy and girl

The first thing I noticed about the image of the boy and girl is that it's a real photo postcard. A real photo postcard is a photograph that has been developed "onto photographic paper the size and weight of postcards, with a postcard back," and the design of the corner stamp box tells us this particular paper was manufactured by NOKO beginning in 1907 to sometime in the 1920s.[2] Nevertheless, upon further inspection, I was able to determine this is not the original -- although it's not obvious in the digital scan, when the original photo was duplicated onto the postcard paper, the resulting copy fell 1/8 inch short of filling the paper on both sides, thereby exposing the edges of the original. Of course, a duplicate could have been made at the same time as the original or years later.

I noticed next how young and adorable the children are. The little girl looks about 3 years old, the little boy about 4 or 5, and both are impeccably dressed. I haven't been able to find out much about boys' clothing, but the girl's dress and hairstyle appear to be from the Edwardian era (1901-1910).[3]

But, what I didn't notice until recently was the family resemblance.

Sibling comparisons

Mattie's baby picture (c. 1904) was discovered in Mattie's bible and identified by her daughter Elsie. Assuming this is so, it shows Mattie with much lighter hair than later photos indicate, and it also shows that she and the unknown girl share similar facial features (e.g., shape of face, eyes and lips).

The photo of Leonard, Sally, Mattie and Grace was taken in about 1914. Mattie would have been about 11, Leonard about 7, Sally about 3 and Grace about 1. In the photo, Sally is wearing a dress quite like the one worn by the unknown girl; she and the girl are about the same age too. In a family with a tradition of hand-me-downs, is it possible the girls are wearing the same dress?

Now look at the two boys. Leonard's features are more mature, and his hair and complexion are slightly darker than unknown boy's, but look closely around the eyes and nose. Is it wishful thinking to believe these two boys could be brothers? I don't think so, but I'd like to know what you think.

Could the unknown pair be my grandma Mattie and her big brother? Is there any reason why it couldn't be them? Please share your opinions, gut-feelings, and/or educated guesses in the comments or on your blog. Thank you!

Edited to add Craddock Boys collage, 06 Nov 2007.


[1] 1910 U.S. census, Patrick County, Virginia, population schedule, Dan River, p. 15b, dwelling 258, family 258, digital image, ( : accessed 1 November 2007); citing NARA microfilm T624, roll 1640. The only evidence we have that a 6th child probably existed is the 1910 census in which the number of children reported born to Dora Craddock is 3, and the number of children reported still living is 2.

[2] Ron Playle, "How to Identify Real Photo Postcards," Playle's Auction Mall.

[3] "Online Collections: The Children's Clothing Collection," Wisconsin Historical Society, "Off-white cotton girl's dress, dropped waist with pin tucked bodice, c. 1905."

Taming the WorldCat

When WorldCat first launched, I remember thinking it would be even better if users could save search results for future reference, and now we can.

Make a list or two (or 20!) @

I started two bibliography lists today, and found the new features intuitive and easy to work with, but to take full advantage, read over the help page.