Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Resources for Dating Old Photographs: Photographer Directories

Chicago Photographers 1847-1900 - book online at Internet Archive - lists known photographers and their dates and places of operation

Directory of Early Michigan Photographers  from University of Michigan - lists known photographers and their dates and places of operation (PDF)

Directory of Photographers 1856-1979 Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan - lists known photographers and their dates and places of operation - Grand Rapids only

Directory of Minnesota Photographers from Minnesota Historical Society -  lists known photographers and their dates and places of operation

Wisconsin Photographers Index from Wisconsin Historical Society - lists known photographers and their dates and places of operation (PDF)

How to Identify and Date Real Photo Vintage Postcards - a quick reference guide and extensive postcard-back images with date ranges

The Cabinet Card Gallery - weblog

Laurel Cottage Genealogy - weblog



Rockford, Illinois City Directory 1920

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Tennis, anyone?


This photograph from the Alice Wilcox Collection is a tintype measuring 2.5" x 3.5" which has no accompanying paper mat and no identification. Tintypes were popular in the 1860s and 1870s but continued to be used into the 2oth century. I'm not a fashion expert and maybe someone else can do a better job of dating this photo by the clothing these two women are wearing, but I'm thinking it's much later than the 1870s... maybe the 1910s? I would guess the women are about college age.

Most of the people in this collection of photographs seem to be from Illinois or Wisconsin. Reader, if you recognize the people in this picture, please leave a comment or, better yet, use my Contact form to open a private email discussion on the subject.

Friday, November 18, 2016

More Grace?


This unidentified cabinet card is from the Alice Wilcox Collection. Like my previously identified photograph of Grace Pettis, this one was also taken at the Armstrong studio in Rockford, Illinois. Here are the two portraits side-by-side:


The ear contours look a little different, but I suppose that could be due to lighting. Other facial features seem very similar to me. What do you think?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

200-Year-Old Advice Still Good

As a visual aid for understanding the ancestry of George Wales Wilcox, I share the pedigree chart below with the usual caveat: Do your own research! This chart is of the quick and dirty variety, and although there's a lot of supporting documentation available on the Ancestry website, there still may be errors. Nevertheless, it will be a help in discussing today's priceless treasure from the Alice Wilcox Collection.


George Wales Wilcox was Alice Wilcox's grandfather. Among the items she kept was a paper book which belonged to him. It consists of a 24-page text printed in 1813. The soft paper cover measures just over 4.5" x 7.75" as folded, and the binding is hand-sewn with an overcast stitch on the outside. If your screen resolution is 96 ppi, the images below should appear at their full size.

Inside the front cover is an inscription. I believe it would have been written by Eunice May (Mrs. Erastus Wilcox), George's mother. The inscription reads:

Geo, your Grandmother May'
name was Eunice 
Wales her Father was 
one of Ebenezer Wales 
Children by his first 
wife. Your Grandma 
died Jan. 17 was 1847 
she lacked 10 days of being 
88 years old

Eunice Wales was born 27 January 1759 in Connecticut. Her father was Solomon Wales, Ebenezer Wales' fifth child by his first wife, Esther Smith. Solomon was born 19 November 1729 in Windham, Connecticut. On 3 October 1754, he married Lucy Strong. Eunice was the third of their six children.

There is writing on the back of the title page as well. It's very light and difficult to read, but it appears to say:

Esther Wales Book
Eunice May
Her propperty 

The remainder of the book is included below. I must apologize for my failure to notice the thin shred of scrap paper which apparently fell from the book when I began scanning, and which consequently appears on the scan of every page! Fortunately it doesn't ruin the readability of the text, and I am not going to subject the book to another series of scans to remedy this small problem.



Here I will interrupt to offer you a vocabulary word which was new to me, and perhaps to you as well. On page 9, in the middle of the bottom paragraph, Ebenezer wrote, "...for my part, I have reason to lament that I have not set a better example of love myself, but have been too froward, and especially too hurrying about my labour." At first I thought froward was a typographical error, but the word appears at least twice more in the book, so I looked it up. According to my beloved and well-used Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, it means "1: habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition, 2: (archaic) adverse."









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Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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