Monday, October 27, 2014

All Dressed Up for a Family Photo Around 1930

Julia Lavinia Moody Pierce (1886-1965) (back left) poses with four of her nine children (l. to r.): Raymond Lamont Pierce (1923-1981), Beatrice Valara Pierce (1921-1993), Velma Moree Pierce (1913-1993) and Wilson Taft "W.T" Pierce (1910-1983).

Judging from everyone's apparent ages, this photo was taken around 1930.

Either everyone dressed up to have this picture taken or perhaps the family had just come home from church or from another event. The photo appears to have been taken in front of the Pierce farm house in Wilmer, Alabama.

Did your ancestors have a ritual about dressing up for photos at certain times of the year, such as Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas?

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Who is Loretta Pierce?

Loretta Pierce appears in this photo strip. It is not known how she is related to the family of N.B. "Bonie" Pierce and Julia L. Moody of Wilmer, Alabama. But she is most likely a niece.

Do you have any information that would help identify Loretta?
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Monday, September 29, 2014

Why Include Only Some Children in Family Photos?

Wilson Taft "W.T." Pierce (1910-1983), on the left, and his brother Cecil Alvy Pierce (1907-1975) pose together in this studio photo from around 1920, judging by the ages they appear to be.

This tugboat backdrop appears in other Pierce photographs as well.

W.T. and Cecil were sons of  N.B. "Bonie" Pierce (1880-1964) and Julia L. Moody (1886-1965)  of Wilmer, Ala.

Bonie and Julia had nine children, seven of them born before 1920.

Why would the couple choose to have a studio photo made of only two of their children? Perhaps it was a special occasion, such as a baptism.

Do you come from a large family? Did your parents have studio photos made of only some of their children at a time? Why?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Do You Have a Brother or Sister You Were Close To?

Did you have a brother or sister who you were particularly close to? What made you close?

N.B. "Bonie" Pierce (1880-1964), on the left above, appears to have been very close to his older brother Cornelius "Neal" Pierce (1874-?), on the right. The two were frequently photographed together.

The brothers may have been close because their mother died giving birth to Bonie. Their father eventually remarried, but family tradition holds that the step mother was harsh and unkind to the young Bonie.

Bonie grew up in Wilmer, Alabama, where he had many relatives, including his grandparents who he eventually moved in with in order to get better treatment.

The date of the photo above isn't known, but the men's attire can help date it. Bonie is wearing a sac suit, waistcoat, thin dark necktie, and high stiff collar. No wedding ring is visible, so this photo was taken before his marriage to Julia L. Moody in 1902.

Neal is also wearing a sac suit, waistcoat, white or light-colored bow tie, and a high stiff collar. There is a watch chain on his vest. Note his large mustache.

The best guess is that this photo was taken around 1900.
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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Time for Back-to-School Essay: 'What Did You Do Over the Summer?'

Labor Day traditionally marks the end of summer and time for schoolchildren to head back to the classroom. I remember returning to school and being assigned many essays to write "What I did over my summer vacation."

When I was a small child we often drove around the country to visit distant aunts and uncles and see the sights where they lived in Illinois, Ohio, New York and North Carolina. Long before Disney World was built, we drove to Florida tourist spots such as Silver Springs and to visit friends in other places in the Sunshine State. As I got older, we spent summers at Gulf Shores, Alabama, and invited the relatives and friends to visit us.

The two young girls above paused from their summer swimming at Miller's Park long enough to pose for this photo. The girl on the right is Jacqueline Gibson (1928-2003). Jackie, as she was always called, was the daughter of Ina Mae Pierce (1903-1977) and Joseph Gibson (1890-1966).

The girl on the left is identified only by her last name of Hagen. The two girls must have been good friends because they are both wearing the same design of swimsuit.

Miller's Park in western Mobile, Alabama, was a popular swimming spot built by the Bienville Water Works. Behind the girls' legs can be seen the letters "ATE" in the word "WATER" of the company's name. Miller's Park was a wooded area with open spaces and picnic tables.

Today, this swim spot is on the property of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. It stopped being used for swimming about 40 years ago.

The girls above would no doubt have some good stories for their summer vacation stories. Their back-to-school essays and mine would make good family history records, had they been preserved.

Have you written about what you did over your summer vacations? Did you keep the essays?
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Taking a Research Break...

I’m taking a break during the summer from regular blogging in order to focus on researching and writing a history of my Dad’s experiences during World War II.

I still will post as I have time or as the mood strikes me.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Do You Come From a Large Family?

These two views of the home of N.B. "Bonie" Pierce (1880-1964) and Julia L. Moody (1886-1965) give you some idea of the size of their house in the Pierce Level area of the farming community of Wilmer, Alabama.

The house no longer stands. Many years after the Pierce family moved out of it, the house itself was moved to another location. A fire later destroyed it.

This house is clearly far smaller than the 2,000-square-foot starter homes that many couples today consider as standard. Yet Bonie and Julia reared nine children in this much smaller house outside Wilmer.

Twenty years separated the birth of the oldest and youngest of the children, so they didn't all live in the house at the same. Still you have to wonder how those who were in the house at the same managed to get along without getting on each other's nerves.

Do you come from a large family? Did you all get along? Did you have to share a bathroom?