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

Entries in my tree (39)


* I've been ancestor approved!

The Ancestor Approved Award was started by Leslie Ann (Ancestors Live Here) to show appreciation of bloggers sharing interesting - helpful - fun content. Jennifer (The Erudite Geneagloist) has passed on the Ancestor Approved Award to me! Thank you so much for the recognition. When given the nod you are asked to share 10 things you have learned about your ancestors that have surprised, humbled, or enlightened you. I thought it would be easy to make the list, but I was surprised how competitive I made it for my ancestor's stories! Here are a few of my moments.

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* 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!


* Pointers for family picture labels

Don't: Write on the front of a picture

Example: Picture of my Shaw Ancestors

Sure labeling a picture this way makes it easier to identify people, but the integrity of the photo is somewhat compromised. Demonstrate your appreciation of their memories, only write on the back of the original picture. You can make a copy, write in the names, and save it with the original.

 Don't: only write the first name, who is Aunt Ann?


This picture alone would be quite a mystery, no mention of whose Aunt this is or a maiden or married surname. Always include the last names, especially the maiden names! Sometimes finding a woman's maiden name can prove to be the most difficult task. You can never assume pictures will stay within a a direct family line, any facts you can include will help tell the story.

Do: Write your name when adding or modifying a label.

Do: Write the date

Do: use Acid Free/Archival Safe Ink

Do: write the location!

I WISH more of my family photographs had some indication of location. Back in the day the family would stick together and live in a relatively local spot, this is probably one of the reasons they didn't jot down the city name or street. With sites like and you can upload images, mark their location on the a virtual map, and compare the old picture vs the google street view from today. If only we could go back in time and explain this in the late 1800's- wouldn't they be surprised!

Do: ask family members for help!

It's really important to take the time and read over whatever inscriptions you find on family pictures and documents. The smallest detail can be the key to unlocking the secrets of your family. If you have a grandparent or great aunt or uncle nearby you could ask them to take a look at your pictures. This is a time sensitive opportunity- take advantage while you can!

Have fun preserving your pictures!


* 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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