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"The ancestor of every action is a thought." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Entries in history (46)

Tuesday
Feb012011

* pursuing family history : the wright services in atlantic city 

It's incredible how the smallest detail can bring to life an old family narrative. A recent connection has confirmed and enhanced a well known story of my grandfather's youthful ordeals working in Atlantic City, NJ.

JKW Atlantic City Sep 1930My grandfather hated the beach. My family would travel to see my grandparents twice a year; a gorgeous beach not too far away and I don't think he ever stepped foot in the sand with us. Supposedly his negative attitude was first established after too many summer days working in Atlantic City, NJ for his Aunt Ann. Sunburn was a major issue for him, and as luck would have it, the trait has been passed down.

He would take the train from Camden, NJ to Atlantic City with his brothers to work the beaches of the Traymore and Brighton Hotels for their Aunt Ann. JKW atlantic city date unknownIn the morning they would take out the umbrellas, beach chairs, and cabana's, spend the days selling food and beverages to beach patrons, and at the end of the day bringing in and cleaning all the beach furniture. From what I have learned the family business was independent of the hotels- but there were assumed connections with hotel management. They worked in Atlantic City about 1929-1942 and at this time there were many memorable characters establishing business connections. My grandfather specifically mentioned serving Jack "legs" Diamond and my great uncle remembers serving Al Jolson.  A sentiment of annoyance was passed down with my grandfather's stories; serving sandwiches on the hot sand while everyone seemed so entitled to be vacationing in Atlantic City, it wasn't worth the sunburn. All 5 Wright brothers would later enlist in the army and soon they were all very far away from Illinois Ave.

MonopolyCity has a bunch of old post card images and facts about the illustrious hotels of Atlantic City's past.

Monopoly: The Story Behind the World's Best-Selling Game

By Rod Kennedy, Jim Waltzer 2004 via googlebooks

I found this book via googlebooks, it mentions The Traymore Hotel and the Brighton Hotel with pictures. These hotels were located in the red section of Monopoly. I now have a new perspective when it comes to monopoly real estate value!

Sunday
Jan232011

* sightseeing sundays: the gorgeous williamsburg savings bank

Known today as "One Hanson Place", the iconic Brooklyn clock tower completed in 1929 for the Williamsburg Savings Bank has gone through many reinventions while maintaining it's historic charm. It was landmarked by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Committee in 1977. In pursuit of history and good food I visited the Brooklyn Flea held at One Handson Place.

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Saturday
Jan152011

* archives.com announces new grant program to fund family history projects!

Just this week archives.com announced their NEW Grant program for family and cultural history projects. I am very excited about this fantastic opportunity, here is the press release from Archives.com: Archives.com Announces Grant to Fund Family and Cultural History Projects Program to Assist Groups and Individuals with Historical Preservation "PALO ALTO, CA — January 13, 2011 – Archives.com, an Inflection brand, today announces its Grant Program, a major initiative to assist individuals and communities with family, communal, and cultural research and preservation projects. The Archives.com Grant will help people and organizations take on historically significant projects that positively impact their family or community.

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Friday
Jan142011

* Utopian ancestors: the oneida community 

Updated on January 16, 2011 at 11:40PM by Registered Commenterabbyb

You are bound to find some juicy facts the deeper you dig into your family roots. One of my ancestors was supposedly a member of the Oneida Community, researching the history of was quite enlightening. A random handwritten family tree from the box of stuff mentioned my gggg grandfather Josiah J Franks as a member of the Oneida Community. After some digging I found a cousin of my grandmother. He is in his nineties and as luck would have it he was an avid family historian! He sent me a wealth of information and also noted Josiah as a "member of oneida community". In addition he sent a letter dated 1856 between 2 of Josiah's sons: “You ask how do I feel about going to Oneida to live, I can tell you that I would not live among such a set of people for anything at all. Every letter that Father [Josiah] writes to me he says more or less about me going to Oneida to live. He says he is going to send me money for me to come home but on the condition that I must spend a week at Oneida.“ Intrigued I did some research.

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