Thursday, April 27, 2017

Old Photos Never Die

I had every intention of posting more genealogy related things on this blog, but somehow it got away from me.  After an absence of four years I'm back!

Recently I've been going through old family photos again.  When my Dad was still alive I went through some of them with him and he identified a few of the people.  These people aren't related to me and yet I hated the thought of throwing them away.  Perhaps their relatives would be interested in seeing them?  Then I had a "light bulb moment" and decided to put them up here.  Perhaps if their family members are doing a google search they will pull this page up and be thrilled to have a photo.  So here it goes...

This photo was taken in front of my Dad's childhood home at 44 7th Avenue in Westwood, NJ.  It is his friend Clarence Arthur Bate Heuer and his girlfriend (later his wife) Kathryn Lockerby.  There's a street in Westwood called Lockerby Lane and I believe it's named after her brothers who were killed in WWII.  At least I think that's what I remember my Dad telling me.  If I had to guess I think this picture was probably taken in the late 1930's or early 1940's.

This is Jane Kennedy.  My father said she graduated from Westwood High School in 1937.  She is standing in front of her house on Fairview Avenue in Westwood, NJ.  He told me the house was torn down sometime in the 1930's.

This is Ellis Ponton.  According to Dad he graduated from Westwood High School in 1938 and was an athlete who participated in football and track.

This is Walter Stiles.  Dad said he was a couple of years older than him.  Since Dad was born in 1918 that would mean Walter was born around 1916.  He lived on 7th Avenue in Westwood, NJ.   On the back of the photo it says:  Pvt. Walter Stiles, 1910 QM. Truck. (AVN), Army Air Base. Key Field, Meridian, Mississippi.  The photo has a stamp that dates it November 20, 1942.

These were friends of my parents who moved away from New Jersey.  I'm thinking they moved out to Washington state or somewhere out west, but I could be wrong.  This is Mel Hopper and his wife Janet Hickey Hopper and their two sons.  In the back of my mind I'm thinking they had a daughter too, but again I could be wrong.  My parents talked about them from time to time and I seem to recall them coming to Westwood at least once during my childhood in the 1950's.  This picture is dated June 5, 1954.

And this is Janet Hickey Hopper again with her two sons.  I think this photo was probably taken around the same time as the previous one.

This is my Dad William J. Durgin, an unidentified female, and Thorwald Siebert.  Dad said Thorwald lived on Kingsbury Avenue in Westwood, NJ.  I actually found him in the census and he lived at 57 Kingsbury Avenue with his parents.  Dad said he graduated from Westwood High School in 1935 and was president of The Young Democratic Club.
 This is Thorwald Siebert again with two unidentified females.  It was obviously taken at the same time as the previous photo.

This is Thorwald Siebert, another unidentified female, and my Dad William J. Durgin.  If I had to guess I would think these three photos were taken on a class trip in the early 1930's?

This is a photo of the two unidentified females.  My Dad just couldn't remember who they were.  My hope is that someone might stumble upon this page someday and recognize them.  I'm assuming they were from Westwood too.

If I find more pictures I'll share them on this blog.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I took the plunge...

...and signed up for a one day genealogy event at the local LDS church the end of April.  I just happened to stumble across an article about it in a local newsletter.  I signed up for all the beginner classes that they suggested since I am a beginner when it comes to using the Internet for research.  About 99% of my research was done back in the late 80's and early 90's the old fashion way...writing letters, visiting libraries, etc. 

Things have been rather hectic around here this past year, but I did manage to get most of my information up on  At least it's there now for others to see and won't all be lost if something happens to me. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Bad News Regarding Word Verification

OK...I just looked and my blog is already set for "no" word verification.  Why it's asking for word verification now is beyond me.  I went ahead and tried checking "yes" for word verification and then immediately changing it back to "no" for word verification and saving it again.  Maybe that will do it?

Meanwhile, I found this lady's blog and she tells you how to change it.  She must have been having the same problem as me.  The bad news is that you can't change it from the new Blogger Dashboard.  You have to go back to the old one in order to change it.  Does that mean when they eliminate the old one we will all have to have word verification?

Word Verification

OK...Sandie just told me that my blog has word verification. This happens when I put a new post up. I did not set up this blog for word verification. I HATE word verification, but for some reason when I put up a new post on this blog it reverts back to word verification and I have to go back and change it. It doesn't happen on my other blog. I sometimes think Blogger is more trouble than it's worth. I haven't posted in a long time over here and now I have to figure out once again how to remove it. 

Monday, July 2, 2012


I finally got my tree up on My six month free subscription will expire this month, but I'm going to go ahead and pay to renew it. Real life has required my attention lately and I'm just now getting it up.

I did find that privatized some names that shouldn't have been privatized and vice versa, but most went up correctly.  I've been busy making corrections and adding pictures and documentation. 

You can find my tree here.  I named it Who's Who In My Past.

I love the old photographs.  Sadly, I'm afraid these are becoming a thing of the past.  I always think it's sad to see piles of old photos in flea markets and antique places.  Why didn't someone in the family want them?  I guess in the future instead of piles of photos we'll see piles of CD's or whatever the latest thing for photo storage exists then.

This is my husband in his toy fire engine.  The year was 1948.
 This is me on my new bike sometime in the early 1950's.
This is my mom as a young child sometime in the 1920's.
And this is one of my favorite pictures of my Dad with his brother and friend.  Obviously a staged photo.  My Dad was an avid Chicago White Sox fan and loved baseball.  I guess this was taken sometime in the early 1930's.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Find A Grave

A few years ago, I stumbled across the Find A Grave website. At the time I was trying to find out more about The Ziegfeld Follies since my great aunt, Margaret Morris, had been a Follies Girl. I came across information on where some of them were buried on this site and decided to add my great aunt's information too.

She does not show up when doing a Famous Grave Search on their site because in that case I would have to let Find A Grave maintain her page. Right now I don't want to do that in case I ever want to add more information.

I think the Fine A Grave site can be very useful for genealogical research. I have since added many of my relatives to their site. However, when my Dad died I discovered that someone else had added his name to the site two days after his death, and it wasn't a member of our family. Dad's name was added by a man in the next town. My Dad died here in Texas, but was buried in his native New Jersey. The man told me he got the information from the local funeral director. I explained that I was his daughter and he willingly transferred management of the page to me. Adding names to Find A Grave is a hobby for him and done because of his interest in genealogy.

However, I've noticed that for some people it seems to be more than a hobby. It's become a competition. I feel like there should be a mandatory waiting period so that grieving relatives can add their own family member's name and information. If they haven't done it in three to six months than go ahead and let someone else add it. Some people have added over 100,000 names. I noticed my mother's cousin's wife was added by someone two days after she died. This person has added over 134,000 names and probably got the information from a newspaper obituary.

I could be wrong, but it sounds to me like people don't have to transfer management of a listing to a relative. That bothers me a little. The man I dealt with was very nice, but what would have happened if he had refused to transfer management to me? I wouldn't have been able to write a bio and link the family members together on the site.

I'm going to tell my family that when I die get my name up right away before someone else beats them to it! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dorothea Lotter Volz

The lady that started it all back in the 1980's was my grandmother's mother, Dorothea Lotter Volz. This is the only picture that to my knowledge exists. 

When I was a teenager my grandmother told me that her mother had died when she was a baby and showed me this picture. Up until that time I thought my great-grandfather's wife at the time (Anna Elisabeth Dietz) was my grandmother's mother.

In the 1980's I wrote to the New York City Municipal Archives and asked them to look for her death certificate. I knew my grandmother was born in 1890, so I asked them to search 1890, 1891, and 1892. A letter came back and I was told they were unable to locate a death certificate.

Six months later I joined a genealogy class while we were living in Oklahoma. The teacher told me to write again, but not to even mention that I had written before. She said that sometimes it just depended upon who got the request and some people were better at reading the old handwriting than others. So, I wrote again and requested a search of the same years. A couple of weeks later the death certificate came in the mail.

From there I learned that my grandmother was actually 17 months old when her mother died.  I also learned that Dorothea was buried at Linden Hill Methodist Cemetery in New York.  I wrote to the cemetery and learned that her mother-in-law (my great, great grandmother), Maria Volz, was also buried there.  On a trip back home we were able to visit their graves. The graves are unmarked.

It kind of helped me feel like I knew her and she wasn't forgotten.

Dorothea Lotter and Wilhelm (William) Volz were married in New York City on April 6, 1890.  I was also able to obtain their Marriage Certificate.

And the Marriage Certificate told me her parents' names.  Her mother was Elisabeth Ruemtheim and her father was Friedrich Lotter.  Like Dorothea they were born in Germany.

I hope eventually I can learn a little more about her.