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52 Ancestors, No. 29: John Corr, Self-made Business Man

July 23, 2014


Unknown hands labelled the back of this photo with a question: Who is this? I found it among my grandfather’s old pictures. He kept it, along with other various treasures, in a tin box that was separate from the other photos in his closet. When I asked the same question to my grandfather, he answered without hesitation: “That’s my grandfather. That’s John Corr.”  Read more…

52 Ancestors, No. 28: The Unmistakable Bertha Balmer

July 16, 2014


I liked this picture so much that I put it on my first business card back in 2012. This is the Balmer family, circa 1898. The woman standing at right is Bertha, the subject of today’s episode of 52 Ancestors. She was my mother’s mother’s mother’s mother—my great-great-grandmother, that is—and she’s unmistakable.  Read more…

52 Ancestors, No. 27: John Hougendobler, Veteran of the American Revolution

July 4, 2014

John Hogendobler's Will - 1820

Today is the Fourth of July, and I can not think of a better way to spend the day than to write up a short profile on the first—and so far the only—direct ancestor I’ve found to be a Revolutionary War veteran! There are bound to be more, but let’s start with this one: Mr. John Hougendobler, an ancestor of my paternal grandmother.  Read more…

52 Ancestors, No. 26: Aunt Ceil, and the Life of a Family Photo

July 2, 2014


As a young girl, my mother discovered in a closet a plaque that eerily bore her own name, Celia Anflick, along with birth and death dates. It was a metal plaque that my mother described as the sort of thing one might see hung in a mausoleum. Of course, the plaque was not my mother’s memorial from a past life. Rather, it was a memorial to an aunt whom my mother would never meet.  Read more…

52 Ancestors, No. 25: Denis Graham, a Link to the Past

June 29, 2014

Graham - Boland - New Cathedral

Because this website, and the business it represents, are image-oriented, I try to have some sort of stimulating GIMP work at the top of each post. The cost of this self-imposed policy is that many fascinating family history stories will go overlooked—unless I manufacture some visually stimulating way to represent the story.

Having recently made a bit of a breakthrough on today’s features ancestor, I wanted to write-up here what I had found. I don’t have a photograph of him, though, so I had to get resourceful. Here before you is the grave of Denis Graham, who was the uncle of my great-great-grandfather, John C. Graham. I’m not really one to doctor gravestone images, but since I recently picked up a few new tricks, I thought I’d see how far I could take them.

In this image, I’ve attempted to remove the rain-induced dampness in the original photograph to present the gravestone as if it were dry. The results were middling, in my opinion. Had I attempted this project for a client, I would have given it more time. Since I’m already a week overdue on Ancestor #25, I figured I’d post what I have and move along. The hardest part of this project is putting life back into the engraved flowers. There wasn’t much left in them after removing darkness of color.  Read more…

52 Ancestors, No. 24: My Father, Gregory

June 17, 2014


Mother’s Day is my clue that Father’s day is not too far away, and I have to come up with some offering of roughly equal market and sentimental value. I feel pretty bad when I don’t come through, but my Pop is pretty easy-going, and helps a lot with occasional and unintentional gifting inequalities. For example, this year, I had published my mother’s tribute on time, on Mother’s day. My father get’s his tribute on the Tuesday after Father’s Day.

Why? Well, this weekend my father was helping me puzzle through some tech stuff that might improve my standing for a job I had interviewed for. That kinda needed to get done. That’s one of the great things about my dad: If you come to him with any sort of puzzle that needs a solving, he’s happy to help. He really invests himself, too. His interest is genuine. It’s as if his success relied on mine, or whosoever’s he happens to help.  Read more…

52 Ancestors, No 23: The Unidentified Man

June 10, 2014


We all have them in our old photo boxes by the score: nameless, ageless people. Who are they? Are they relatives? Are they friends? Are co-workers or business partners? We’ll probably never know. This unidentified man is special to me. He’s the one who got awayRead more…


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