Saturday, January 6, 2018

Velma and toddler

Velma Moree Pierce (1913-1993) plays with a toddler on a front lawn. The baby is not identified, but it was possibly a child of her sister Ina Mae Pierce (1903-1977) and brother-in-law Joseph Gibson (1890-1966). Velma and her husband Charles E. Barnhart (1913-2004) did not have any children.

The location is not identified but may have been in either Hammond, Indiana, or Chicago, Illinois.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Honeymoon Road Trip: Anna and Cecil Pierce

Probably not many people take road trips for their honeymoons anymore, but in the 1920s and '30s it was a popular thing to do. A road trip at the time was more than just driving to a destination. There were no interstate highways and few four-lane roads.

Anna Catherine Edwards (1909-2008), left, and Cecil Alvey Pierce (1907-1975) were married on November 28, 1929.

Cecil had moved to Akron, Ohio, to live with his sister Hazel and her husband Don Vickers and to work with Don at the Goodrich Rubber Company. That is where Cecil and Anna met.

Cecil later got a job with a railroad company in Akron. They often traveled by train to Mobile for visits. But that was years after this photo was taken.

The car tag bears a 1930 date and is an Ohio plate. This outing was probably something of a honeymoon trip for Anna to meet her Pierce in-laws. Traveling from Akron to rural Wilmer, Alabama, in 1930 by car must have been quite an adventure, especially given the condition of roads at the time.

A few years earlier, Cecil's sister Hazel and her husband Don Vickers also made a honeymoon road trip in the opposite direction. You can read Hazel's diary account of that trip on this blog.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Seldon Agustus Pierce, 1930-2015

Seldon Pierce was generous in providing information and photos for some of the posts on this blog. I was saddened to learn of his death. Below is his obituary:

Seldon Agustus Pierce

Seldon was born on July 23, 1930 and was the only surviving child of Vernal S. and Lillie Mae Finch Pierce. He was born again on February 25, 1951, one of the many children of Jehovah God, maker of the universe. Seldon was preceded in death by his parents and his favorite dog, Cody.

He worked for Chemstrand and Monsanto for 32 years and as a freelance writer for 15 years. He lived a sinner all of his life and has now, as of December 27, 2015 overcome that inebriated trait.

He leaves behind his faithful wife of 65 years, Hellon; a daughter, June Reynolds; a son, Robert E. Pierce (Sun); two granddaughters, Jennifer Pierce and Stephanie Guyette (Brian) and his loving dogs: Ginger, Troy, Penny and Ruby and grand-dog, Anubis.

Friends may visit Walnut Avenue Baptist Church for tales of Seldon’s antics and happy fellowship with each other between the hours of 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm on December 30, 2015. Funeral Service will begin at 1:30 p.m.with Pastor William (Bill) Adams officiating. Interment will follow at Bayview Memorial Park Cemetery.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Above is Niola Edith Gieger Poore, my grandmother. She was born on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1889, in Jones County, Mississippi, and today is the 126th anniversary of her birth.

I'm often amazed that I knew someone who was born so many years ago. It is a good reminder for us to capture our family's stories and to keep them alive for the next generation.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Cars in Family Photos Can Help Date Photos and Determine Places

Do you have ancestors who liked to tinker with cars? Did they have photos taken of themselves with their cars?

Cars in family photos can be a great help in dating the photos and determining locations. If the license tag is visible, you can get the year and often the county and state.

If the tag is not visible, as in the above photo, then you may be able to study the make and model of the car to at least set the earliest date the photo could have been taken. I had a cousin who was an expert at this. He could look at almost any car and tell you the year and type of car it was.

In the above photo, Ralph B. Pierce poses on the trunk of a small two-seater car in front of his father’s Reservoir Inn convenience store and gas station on Moffett Road in Mobile, Alabama. The young boy is not identified. Another car can just be made out in the background.

The two-seater car turned out to be a something of a mystery.

At first I thought it could have been a British import. I checked with an expert on vintage British cars and he said this one wasn’t either a Morris Minor or Austin 7, both of which it resembles. The tire wheels don’t look to be the originals, which could have been wire rims.

The car doesn’t appear to have any component that is a Minor, and although the wheels might not be original, they look like they have four hub nuts, while a Minor’s wheel hubs only had three. The steering wheel is not from a Minor.

Another cousin solved the mystery.

Ralph built the car from junked parts in the backyard of the Reservoir Inn. His brother Raymond for a time operated a repair garage from the back of the Reservoir Inn and that’s where Ralph got the parts.

So the two-seater in this case isn’t much help in dating the photo. But there are other clues that show that the photo was taken sometime between 1940 and 1944.

We know this because the woodsy area to the right of the building shows that the Mobile Water Works and Sewer System had not yet built its filtration plant on Moffett Road. The plant went into operation in 1944. And Ralph’s father, N.B. “Bonie” Pierce, opened the Reservoir Inn in 1940. So the photo had to have been taken between those two years.

Of course, there is still the mystery of what the car body was originally. Any guesses?

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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Do You Have Ancestors Who Lived on Both Sides of County, State Lines?

This is believed to be a photo of Cornelius "Neal" Pierce (b. 1874), who lived in both Mobile County, Alabama, and adjoining Jackson County, Mississippi.

Note Neal's suit, double-breasted vest, and small loose bow tie. This style of dress was common between 1889 and 1895. Neal looks to be around 20 years old in the photo, so that would place this image as having been made in the 1890s.

Neal and other members of the Pierce family often crossed the Alabama-Mississippi state line over their lifetimes to farm or work in the rural communities.

Did you have ancestors who lives on both sides of a county or state line? Did that cause problems trying to track them in census records?
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Friday, May 1, 2015

Why Many Families Have Sidewalk Photographs

In the above photo, Beatrice Valara Pierce (1921-1993), left, is walking on a sidewalk in downtown Mobile, Alabama, with friend and neighbor Laverne Brannan. This photo was probably taken at Royal and Dauphin streets.

Sidewalk photography was a style that boomed during the Great Depression and World War II years. The Footnote Maven on her blog Shades of the Departed, featured a column by the Educated Genealogist Sheri Fenley, who researched the history of this form of photography.

Because of the hard times not many people were coming into photo studios to have their pictures taken. So photographers went out on the sidewalks to drum up business.

Fenley wrote that “Saturdays were the day of the week that most folks came to town. People would be strolling down the main street, unaware that their photo was about to be taken. After the cameraman snapped their photos, he would approach them and offer a coupon or business card.” The coupon allowed the customer to buy the photo for a small fee at the studio.

As in almost everything else in life, con artists also operated on the sidewalks. Fenley said that during World War II, a number of unscrupulous so-called photographers preyed on soldiers on furlough. “They snapped the serviceman’s photo and for a price (to be paid up front) they would promise to mail the photo to a loved one back home. An investigation into these ‘pestilential sidewalk photographers’ found that not only did they neglect to mail the photos as promised, their cameras were completely devoid of film!”