Category Archives: Pictures

Photo books – share your family history (and still be invited to next year’s Thanksgiving dinner!)

The Bursley & Stanwood Family History

The Bursley & Stanwood Family History

If you’re like me, sometimes it’s hard to find the balance in conversations with our relatives. While my intent is to have a casual conversation designed inspire and pique their interest in our shared history, I fear they equate me with a religious zealot trying to proselytize them. (I’m hoping my hairstylist doesn’t also feel this way; he said he was going to go home after my last appointment and sign up for I hope he was sincere and not trying to get me to shut up!) But I digress.

Sharing our interest can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. About two years ago I began working on the story of my ancestors, specifically Lavina Bursley and her husband, Albert Stanwood. I wanted to know who they were, not just where they lived and what they named their children. I wanted to share this information with my relatives, hoping to inspire them and not turn them off. I was a little uncertain how to tackle the sharing part of the project, until visiting Lynn Palermo’s Armchair Genealogist blog, where she has several posts about using photo books to share family history stories.

Photo books are great. The old saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words” is so true. Pictures draw the reader in. They get them interested. They don’t feel “preachy.” They make the viewer feel part of something bigger, part of a legacy. Pictures are powerful.

For Christmas, I decided to make three photo books to give as gifts to my sister and my two aunts.  Each book contained two parts: a customized section with photos of the recipient’s own family and family tree, and a second, core section that was the same in each book, containing the story of Albert and Lavina (Bursley) Stanwood.  The books were designed to: Continue reading

Mystery photo – are these Day family women?

Five unknown ladies, about 1905

Five unknown ladies, about 1905

I love old pictures, and love to solve the mysteries associated with them. Who are the subjects? When was the photo taken? It doesn’t even have to be my own relatives in the picture – the challenge is just is fun. However, the reward of solving the mystery is greater when it is my own family, and it makes the individuals I’m researching come alive.

The photo above is quite a mystery. The picture recently came to me by way of my aunt, who had priceless treasures that she entrusted to my care. Here is what is known:

  • Cormany photo studio, where the photo was taken, operated in Duluth, Minnesota from 1887 to 1888.
  • The studio apparently moved locations in 1889, and continued 307 West Superior in Duluth through 1890.
  • In 1894, the studio was situated in Minneapolis
  • In the 1880s and 1890s, Cormany Studio had photographers in Princeton, Minnesota.
  • The studio continued as late as 1914, when Gilbert Maggert published in the Princeton Union his rental of the studio’s premises and equipment “in all its locations”

Continue reading

Finding family treasures – better than the lotto!

I received a box of pictures of and documents from my aunt on Thursday. It was like winning the lotto, but 1000% better.   My grandmother had given to me all of her family pictures and documents before she died, so I didn’t think there was much else left to find. WRONG! My aunt sent me photos of my grandfather, Harold T. Uphouse, as a child that I’d never seen. There were photos of my grandmother, Goldie (Simpson) Uphouse Edwards as a toddler. Pictures of Harold’s mother, Julia (Veland) Uphouse as a child and young woman. And pictures of Julia’s parents, grandparents, and one of her great grandparent. There were letters written in Norwegian that I need to have translated. I am beyond thrilled.

Julia (Veland) Uphouse

My great grandmother, Julia (Veland) Uphouse.

Elizabeth "Lizbett" (Gravdahl) Veland

My great-great grandmother, Elizabeth “Lizbett” (Gravdahl) Veland

John Veland

My great-great grandfather, John Veland

John and Elizabeth (Gravdahl) Veland

John and Elizabeth (Gravdahl) Veland

Haldor Gravdahl

My third great grandfather, Haldor Gravdahl

Gunhild (Laude) Gravdahl

My third great grandmother, Gunhild (Laude) Gravdahl

Front: Haldor, Gunhild, Elizabeth and Anna.  Back: Gabriel, Margret, Lars, Ole, Martha, Cecilia, and Harry.

Front: Haldor, Gunhild, Elizabeth and Anna.
Back: Gabriel, Margret, Lars, Ole, Martha, Cecilia, and Harry.

Johanna Elizabeth (______) Gravdahl

My fourth great grandmother, Johanna Elizabeth (Haldorsdatter) Gravdahl

Mystery people in Grandma Lavina’s photos

Taken at W. H. Jacoby Studio in Minneapolis, Minnesota, about 1871

Minneapolis, Minnesota, about 1871

The photograph above was passed down to my in my great-great grandmother’s photo album.  Lavina (Bursley) Stanwood arranged the pictures with her children on the beginning pages, and this unknown woman, appeared on page 26.  I suspect it was a photo of her cousin, Isabel (Day) Libby, who lived in Minneapolis during that time.  The photo also appeared on the “Scott Kentish and Border” tree posted by user “devorguilla,”  but was labeled as Cynthia Day Lovejoy, which seems unlikely – Cynthia Lovejoy  (Isabel’s sister) lived in Maine where she died in 1867, age 29, and the photo was taken in Minneapolis about 1871.

J. M. Adams, Photographer, in Elgin, Illinois

J. M. Adams, Photographer, in Elgin, Illinois

Now that I’ve got some clues on Day photo beginning this post, I thought I’d take a look at some additional pictures in Lavina’s photo album.  The picture above has  posed quite a mystery; to my knowledge, no family members resided in Illinois.  However, more research into the Day family finds James Day, Lavina’s mother’s cousin, lived in Esmen, Illinois, in 1860.  James’ son, John B. Day, died in Chicago 20 July 1902.  John, born about 1849, is the right age to be the subject of this photograph, which was taken about 1883-1885, the time frame that J. M. Adams was operating the photography studio in Elgin.

Are you a Day?

Are you a Day?

No identifying marks or photographer name were included on this picture, which was placed on the same page as a known Day photo.  Is he somehow related to Lavina’s mother, Cynthia (Day) Bursley?

1865-1870 gentleman - no photographer or other clues to help!

Who is this well-dressed chap?

This photo appeared above the preceding one, on the same page as a known Day photo.  Comparing his attire to Civil War era photos, I’m guessing this gentleman was photographed sometime around 1865 or perhaps a little later?  If so, he is a candidate for Aaron Day, Cynthia Day’s father, or perhaps her father-in-law, Lemuel Bursley.

If you can help solve these mystery photos, please shoot me an email using the form below!


Wordless Wednesday – Decorating with maps, pictures and antiques


1859 map surrounded by late 19th (and early 20th) century photographs


The cabinet to the left of the far lamp is filled with antique books and other family heirlooms.


Black and white family photos on the wall behind an antique rocking chair Ed restored. On the bottom shelf is an sewing machine of my mom’s.


Lavina Bursley Stanwood’s Photo Album – Mystery Persons!

My grandmother was captivated with the photo album she inherited from her own grandmother, Lavina (Bursley) Stanwood. Many of the pictures had relatives known to her; however, there were quite a few whose identities remain a mystery.  It is my hope that by posting these pictures here, someone will stumble upon these pages and be able to provide names for these unknown faces.


Photograph of male in Anoka, Minnesota, presumed relative of Lavina (Bursley) Stanwood

The portrait above was taken at Nelson studio in Anoka, Minnesota.  Here is what is known:

They once were lost, but now are found….

Left, Clara (Sine) Bodine, Carrie (Niece) Cooper (back), Mary (Bodine) Niece Loudenberry (right), and Dorothy (Cooper) Dundas (front)

Left, Clara (Sine) Bodine, Carrie (Niece) Cooper (back), Mary (Bodine) Niece Loudenberry (right), and Dorothy (Cooper) Dundas (front)

Like most genealogists, I love old photographs.  When visiting antique stores, the shelves of old photos always captivate me, and I’ve been known to “adopt” a “homeless person” (i.e., a photographed person!) or two when there’s sufficient information on the photo to provide clues to the identify of those captured on film.  On one such occasion I was rewarded to learn my “adoptees” were the grandchildren of President Rutherford B. Hayes, and was able to donate the photos to the museum in Ohio.  What was rather curious was how the pictures of the two little boys made their way from Cincinnati, Ohio, to a small antique store in Temecula, California!

Two weeks ago while antiquing I came upon the photo shown above.  The owner of the photo not only documented names of the individuals on the photos, but included their relationships on the back: Continue reading


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