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

Entries in wright (16)


* 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!


* investigating draft registration cards

I love finding a matching draft registration record, these little forms cover a broad range of information giving you a great snapshot of your ancestor. The forms vary slightly by draft registration period but all contain basic vital information, address, signature, a contact person (usually a spouse or parent), occupation, employer, physical descriptions (height, weight, complexion, hair and eye color), and any physical ailments or disabilities. You never know what you'll find.

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* family history, why don't the records just match up!? 

Vital records contain key pieces of information, it's just a matter of finding them. It's easy to get excited and confident when you find a new record for an ancestor, but it's so important to check out all the details before inducting new records as fact. But even after everything checks out what to do when you find a new record completely blowing your theory?? My recent experience with conflicting and confusing information

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* finding graves without headstones, what happened? 

I use alot for record searches, and it's *free*! I have found so much information on this site.  A branch of my tree lived in the Philadelphia area circa 1850-1930 and I was lucky enough to find some death records matching my search ! These records can have REALLY helpful information, it just depends on what information was recorded. A few of the death records indicated my ancestors were buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Philadelphia and after some googling I found the cemetery, The Knights of Pythias Greenwood Cemetery. I contacted The Friends of Greenwood Cemetery, a nonprofit organization working to preserve the cemetery and it's records.

It was true!!!! They had a plot with 6 matches and for $15 they would conduct a search of their records and send me: any information they had for the plot and individual burials within the plot, maps of the cemetery, and someone would go to the cemetery for me to take a digital picture! I couldn't wait to hear back, and then the picture...The headstone is not for who I was looking for, but it is the bro of my gg grandmother!

Picture from Greenwood Cemetery

No headstone or marker for my Wrights?? I couldn't believe it! How could there be 6 people buried here without any marker? The owner of the plot is my gg grandfather John Wright (1848- 1922) and the others include: his wife (died at 45), sister (died at 30), son (died at 7), and 2 daughters (died at 1 and 57). He outlived all of them for such a long time. This made me really sad and these short lives are only a few of the deaths John endured throughout his life. The cemetery records included causes of death; diphtheria, small pox, consumption, heart disease.

I'm lucky to have this information, but it weighs heavy on my heart. I am working with my family to purchase some sort of marker/headstone for their plot. I never did find out if they had any record of an original headstone, could it be that a storm caused a tree limb to shatter the stone? Was it vandalized? John bought the plot and buried his family, was there anyone there in the end for him? At the time of his death he was living with his brother and sister in law who were also older in age and his only son was living in New Jersey. I will probably never know what really happened but I hope to gather some family and make a trip to the cemetery in the Spring when we get the marker figured out. I think it could be a good chance to connect and share family information we all have. 

Have you found yourself in a similar situation? What stories do you have from the grave?

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