Who were they?

Discovering who people are in old family photographs.

I have this picture from my great grand parents photo album, but I am not sure who the couple is in the photograph with them. Luckily, they labeled the photograph “Vohres – Lake Worth”. Who were the Vohres? Where they family friends? An aunt and Uncle? Pen Pals?

Since there is no one left alive that might know who the Vohres were, I began to see if I could solve the mystery. I checked my family tree again first, to be sure I didn’t have the name somewhere in there. Not finding it, I decided to see if I could figure it out.

I began with what I knew from the photographs themselves. There are palm trees, and other pictures from the same trip labeled “Palm Springs”, leading me to believe this is Lake Worth, Florida. I do see they had taken two separate trips down there based on who is in the photographs and where the images were in the photo album. The first trip included my great grandfather’s mother Louisa Gille. She lived her whole life in Quincy, Illinois. Her maiden name was Vahle which is similar – a possibility to make note of. But why would the spelling be so far off? Could it be a brother of hers? More on this later.

Another clue is the absence of my great great grandfather. He died in 1934, so my thinking is that this trip was after his death. My great great grandmother died in 1938, so that gives me a time frame of when they Vohres would have lived in Lake Worth, Florida. Also, none of my great grand parent’s kids where on this trip judging by other photographs and group pictures from the trip (they are not in any of them), so it must be later 1930s.

The second trip that they photographed is missing my great great grandmother, but includes my great grandfather’s brother and his wife. There are many more pictures from this trip, including stops on the way down. They labeled this picture as well, but this time as “Voohrees – Lake Worth”. Hmm, same couple, but different spelling.

I searched for records of the Vohres in Lake Worth, Florida during the 1930s and 1940s, but didn’t find much. Mostly alternate spellings came up, and were way off if using soundex.

So I tried Voohrees instead. This time I got many matches with a similar spelling of Voorhees on the 1940 census for Lake Worth, Palm Springs, FL area. But, not knowing their first names made it difficult to figure out if any of the results were these Vohres/Voohrees. I looked to see if any of them might have been born in Illinois, but did not readily find any. No matter, they might not have been born in Illinois, but could have lived there prior to 1934 – a date I’m using as a starting point since again, that is when my grandfather died – so it has to be at least after this date they moved to Florida. That is assuming that they lived in Illinois at all.

I searched the Quincy City Directories and wrote down all the Voorhees, Voorhis, and even a Vohs. I then searched the Lake Worth, Florida City directories. I found Fred and Etta Voorhees in West Palm Beach in 1934, 1936, and 1941. There were no Voorhees or other similar spellings in the Lake Worth section of the directory. So I found Fred and Etta on the 1940 census. They were from New Jersey. There are also no Fred or Etta’s in any of the Quincy directories. Hmm…

Back to the possibility of it being a Vahle. This is not an option because she only had one brother who died in 1936 in Illinois. Knowing that my great grandparents took another trip to visit later than 1938, this is not an option. Plus, I would hope he would know how to spell his mother’s maiden name. Perhaps not though.

Well, I have not solved the mystery of who the Vohres/Voohrees were. Do you have a Voohree in your family tree? Leave a comment about them and maybe we can solve this mystery together.

Recreating Photographs

Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City ~1930s and 2017.

A Step Into History

I have inherited my great-grandparent’s photo-album filled with photographs of trips, friends, and family. Some years ago, I spent time trying to identify where some of their trips where taken. Many of the photographs were labeled with place names, and some were not. But most of them have been identified. Now, the people included in them are another matter.

I have scanned most of the photographs that I can easily place on the scanner. After uploading them to Shutterfly, I print them and place them into a photo album to take along on our vacation if we are happening to go to the same area. Then we can easily recreate them.

This has been a fun endeavor for all the family. Seeing the changes in the area and even what has remained the same is interesting to each of us. Standing in the places where my great-grandparents stood, is special to me. I wonder what the thought of the area, what did they discuss, what else did they have planned that day? Unfortunately, I do not have any journals or documentation of their travels, the whys and whens, except the small labels telling where on some of the photographs.

Traveling to the National Parks that they visited has been most special because the national parks were still very new back in the 1930s and 1940s when they visited. We have gotten to talk to many park rangers about the photographs in asking if they knew where in the park a particular photograph was taken. In Yellowstone, we met a ranger who had grown up in the park during that time and was one of the oldest park rangers still working there. He was able to tell us about some of the areas from personal experience. That was a treasure.

In the image above, we had been touring the American West and were traveling from Idaho to Colorado. We stopped for the night in Salt Lake City. With limited time the next morning, we rushed around the Temple Square looking for just the right spot. Thought she’s not standing in the same spot, we decided to have her stand next to the information TV, to show the changes in signage from when our ancestors visited. We do not know why they visited and decided to visit the temple, as they were Christian Science and not Mormon, but we have our story to tell in the recreation of their pictures.

We have collected many recreated photographs over the years in several different locations around the USA. There are still several more that need to be recreated. My hope is to one day create a scrapbook of our adventures in recreating these photographs.

Where have you recreated photographs from your ancestors or even your own life?

A Fresh Start

A 52 Ancestor in 52 Weeks themed post

Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com on Pexels.com

When I think of a fresh start, I think about my Great Grandfather, well two of them to be exact. But I will focus on only one for this post. My Great Grandfather was a business man, and he had business partners. Since this is sensitive material and in thinking if he were still alive that this might be somewhat embarrassing, I am going to leave out his name.

In searching the newspaper archives, I found where he was in some financial trouble, and eventually had to file bankruptcy. After declaring bankruptcy, he moved his young family down the river to a new city and state. They did not stay there very long until they moved again much farther away. They eventually left there as well and settled into a new city and state, where they are buried. The remainder of their children all graduated high school here, married, and started their own families.

Reading about their ordeal reminds me that you keep moving forward and keep trying even when it seems bleak.

This post was prompted by the #52Ancestors challenge from Amy Johnson Crow.

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness

A Website Review

I discovered a new source for finding information physically when what you need is not yet on-line. It is an online website full of volunteers – usually on site – willing to help you find what you might need. Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness is a website full of volunteers from around the globe, willing to help a genealogist out.

I came across RAOGK from reading through other genealogical blogs. I had never come across it before, so I decided to check it out. The site includes State Guides for the USA that include tidbits about who came first to the area and when Europeans started arriving. The state’s counties are listed with links as well, that also include when the and how the county was formed. They also list when the county Court House was destroyed and where you might find records you need.

For example: My husbands family settled in Jasper County, Texas right around the time it became a state. I see that the County Courthouse was destroyed by fire in 1849 and all records were destroyed in that fire. Now I know that anything I might need from the time they arrived, to 1849 will not be available. This is helpful information.

There are also links to Vital records, the books on the county, and much more. There is a link to see historical maps as well. I can now link this page on a Pinterest Board for this site of the family for easy reference.

Unfortunately, I do not currently see a Volunteer for Jasper County to ask for a look up if I needed one. But that is okay, because this site has a lot of other useful information for me to dig through in our quest. I will also check out other counties and states where our ancestors were to see what I can find out.

One can also sign up to be a volunteer. There are helpful guides and rules to follow before you decide to help out. I know that I do not have the time to do look ups right now, so now is not a good time for me to help out. One day, I hope to be able to pay it forward because I have had others help me out occasionally.

So go check out this great resource and pass it on so others can take advantage or help out as well!

The First Post

To finish, one must first begin.

I published a new blog today. It is a work in progress. Perhaps the name will change? I do need to add new pictures! Yikes!

Why did I start this?

  • Because it gives me a place to record my thoughts and research that I have done.
  • Because it will help me focus on new ideas and avenues to take and hopefully get feedback from others on what has worked for them and what has not.
  • Because i might find a cousin or two in the process!

So, this is a simple blog for now, one with me talking through my genealogy research, hitting brick walls, ideas to tear down said brick walls, and adventures in finding out my ancestor’s stories.

I also would like to eventually post family pictures in hopes someone out there might know who they are and identify them for me. Having a face to go with a name and story would be icing on the cake.

So here I go, off to blog land, and we will see how long I keep up with it this time!

I hope you will join me on my journey as we discover who we are by learning who they were that came before us.

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