Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I See Them

One of the things that I inherited from my mother, besides her love of writing and an indifference to cooking, was a box of genealogical notes on many, many pieces of paper.

A grandfather listed here. A birthplace recorded there. A photograph. A partially completed family tree. Anecdotes. All in her small and careful script. This was the project she'd been working on in her retirement.

Somewhere along the way, this box ended up with me, as did the silver and china. And in one of my bursts of "Let's organize this place!", I purchased a genealogy program that I was quite sure would convert those hundreds of scraps about dead people and sort them onto a new-fangled DOS program called Family Roots.

As is the way of things, those scraps multiplied like rabbits, and I now have several tons of paper of my own. (Lest you think me hopelessly behind the times, I do have Family Tree Maker 2011, a most excellent software program for those who would seek dead people. Can't quite manage to tame the piles of paper, however.)

Through the years,  I have been unable to make a lot of headway. My friend Gary has his family going back to the Norman conquest. As for me and mine, we are stuck in 1819 in New York City.

But occasionally, something miraculous does happen to rev up the hunt. This morning I discovered a fantastic website that is a New York newspaper database. And it's searchable! And free! Called Old Fulton New York Post Cards, it has 17.5 million newspaper pages from my old state.

This morning, instead of doing what I should do, I stumbled on this:

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle front page from June 18, 1915:  "Brooklyn Boys Who Were Graduated From Pennsylvania."

And who is smack dab in the middle? My grandfather.

Here he is a little less newsprinty:

I knew he went to the University of Pennsylvania to become a dental surgeon, but frankly, this newspaper wasn't among anyone's stash of memorabilia.

I may be the first Littell in 96 years to look at this newspaper.

I'm glad to see you, Pop.

You wouldn't be able to confirm your grandfather was George, veteran of the War of 1812, by any chance?


Brenda said...

Great post. I am not patient enough to do the research. But I have a cousin on one side of the family and an uncle on the other doing it for all of us.

Teresa said...

Oh, if only they could talk to us it would be so much easier. If spent countless hours and tons of paper on doing genealogical research. It is so wonderful when you find a great piece like this.

Sharon said...


Vicki/Jake said...

Now that's Delisciously Delightful!
Have fun in your searches, ya never know what you'll Discover:)

Anonymous said...

Terrific find! I like that your grandfather looks straight into the camera. He looks very precise, and very earnest...

Myric said...

That is so cool you were able to trace your genealogy! I don't think I can do that eventhough I want to. Too much records were lost :(

It's nice to meet you and thanks for the visit!


Annesphamily said...

Oh how fun! You should visit Sue at She has a beautiful history of her family. It is wonderful to see your share. I am tickled for you. How proud you must feel to find such a wonderful treasure.

anitamombanita said...

Ah, the dreaded and delightful family history's so fun when you discover new things and so frustrating when you go down path after path that seems to go nowhere! Have fun with it.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever thought about writing an e-book or guest authoring on other websites? I have a blog based upon on the same subjects you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my viewers would enjoy your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e mail.

Carol said...

That is pretty fascinating. What a jolt it must have been to see your grandfather's face staring back at you the first time you saw the article!

Your hard work has been rewarded. If you hadn't gone searching, you would have never found that.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

What wonderful news! I sounds like a great man.

Sue said...

I love genealogy work. It's so interesting to find out more about our ancestors and come to know them better.


My post today: Divine Nature

Nancy said...

Awesome and so typical of family research. Just when you feel like giving up, you get some great tidbit that revs you up to search some more. Congratulations!

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

Great minds must think alike. I bought Family Tree Maker 2011 this year too and I've entered all my information into the program. I originally did some research in the 1980's before we had Internet access, so all of it was in manila folders. Thank you so much for the link to that site. I've bookmarked it for future reference. I trace my roots back to NYC too and I've been wanting to find more information on my great aunt who was in the Ziegfeld Follies. That's not going back quite as far as you go, but I'm hoping to learn something. I haven't gone onto yet although my Family Tree Maker came with 6 free months. I'm waiting until I have more time...after the holidays. Thanks again!

Esther Joy said...

To trace genealogies seems to require an endless amount of work. Fortunately for me, I have had some wonderful relatives that have done a lot of this work so that I can simply enjoy their findings!

Kathy and Freddy said...

He looks really nice! Someday we're gonna hit the Newberry together for a day of fun and laughs!

Jenny said...

This post really, really resonated with me.

Two years ago I wrote my Dad's biography up until he got married to my Mom. It seemed sometimes that I uncovered about 12 additional facts for every single one I thought our family knew. It just grew and grew.

It's hard to know where and how to draw the line with this much information, but how wonderful for your family that you're doing it.