Photographic Evidence: Lyman B. Husted

First published August 22, 2015.

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This is a photograph of Lyman B. Husted, or at least a photograph of someone with the name Lyman B. Husted written on the back. We found this photo in the box of pictures belonging to my great-grandmother, so I’m going to assume that this is indeed Lyman B. Husted, her grandfather and my great-great-great-grandfather. I was very excited to find this picture because it was very old, on a piece of metal and there was a name on the back. Recently I’ve been reading Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries by Maureen Taylor. It is a very good resource and I thought I would use some of the techniques in the book to decode this picture.

The bottom of the photograph is full of clues. “TIMPE”, I believe is the photographer and the picture was taken in Davenport, Iowa. Lyman B. was still living in Connecticut in 1860 according to the 1860 Federal Census. I’m not sure why he moved to Iowa, but he at least was there by 1877 when he married his wife, Sarah J. Staton, in Iowa. Lyman B. died in 1897, so I’m thinking that this photo was taken at some point between 1861 and 1897.

This photo is a tintype photograph, which were introduced in 1856. They fell out of fashion by the end of the century because of the advent of paper photographs. This doesn’t help too much with dating the photo.

Based on the information provided in Family Photo Detective about dating fashion I think that this picture was taken between 1860 and 1870. The collar looks like a standard folded down collar that is worn today. In the decade prior, men wore popped collars that almost touched their cheeks. In the decade after, men wore thicker collars. Also during this time period, men had facial hair and their hair was parted to the side and a little bit longer. Deciphering mens fashion is difficult so I could be totally wrong about this. However if this photo was taken in this period he would be between 30 and 40 years old, which I think is accurate based on how old he looks.

I don’t know why Lyman B. took this photo or why he moved to Iowa, more family mysteries to solve.

Letters

First published August 16, 2015.

In a box of pictures that belonged to my great-grandmother, I found some letters. This letter is from my great-great-grandmother, Lucy Lamb (highlighted in blue) to probably my great-great-great-grandmother Adella Bunnell (highlighted in yellow). She mentions “Mort” who is her husband, Lyman Mortimer Husted (highlighted in red). I’ve included a quick family tree to show these relationships.

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I thought that this letter was really fun to read and gave a good glimpse of like back in 1923. Here’s a scan of the letter, I will transcribe it below.

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Bridgeport, Conn.

Jue 3. 1923

Dear Mother – You wonder why Lucy dont write because she is doing Mort work in the garden The potatoes are up enough so the beans squash and other things are most in, Yes the early potatoes are rakes and the late potatoes as far as we have planted,

The car runs allright Frank says now you are out with your mother dont be in a hurry to come back he said he would help you here all he could but had a lot fo work to do, You have the fraim and saddle from Earnest England wheel they want $ 2. & told Robert they had the wheels ***** if you take it. Louise went from where mother sit when she was here out in the kitchen, Frances Vanderkruik can ride Marie wheel & robert think thinks he ou ght to have one,

The vegatables are up, We dont get any rain its is thundren now but the most of the rain went over just A little The black berries are in blossom some of them, Mays report card is a little better this time

Mr Brennen wanted to know how mother was * when is mMr Husted coming home,

DO you feel any better out there in that different air, Dave Gregory went to work since Red moved O Frank had a spill turning a round a car down in from front of the store when he came up & hurt his leg havnt seen him since. Robert made a wind mill & put it on the post the same as he had the other one

Robert liked to run the planter & got the rows pretty good for the first time Ma make Mort read this to you & tell him to help Nate the same as you made nate help

Mort here Hope you will get along alright I have written most of this to Mort but you dont care if he reads it to you doyou? May has said more then once I wish I would be out there with Daddy. Now I have said more then Mort We are all well & tired.

Yours, Lucy

P.S. Mr Gill came tonight saying if you wanted old house lumber they are tearing down the houses on North Ave and Warren St.

I know that “May” in the letter is my great grandmother, she would have been around 9 years-old at the time of this letter. I’m glad that her grades got better. “Robert” is my great great uncle, “May’s” brother. I’m not sure if “Mort” wrote this letter as Lucy dictated it. That would make the change in tenses more explainable. I also think that Mort is delivering the letter to Lucy’s mother, because she asks Mort to read the letter to her. I don’t know when Adella Bunnell Lamb died but perhaps she moved away from her family at this time, possibly with another one of her children, because Lucy asks her how she is feeling in the “different air”.

Hopefully as I post more pictures from my great grandmother’s box, I’ll be able to link those to the people mentioned in this letter.

Mystery Grandpa

First published on August 15, 2015.

Mystery Grandpa was my first real snag in researching my family. His name was Andrew J (or H) Dwinells (or Dwinnels) and he is my paternal grandfather’s paternal grandfather or my great-great grandfather. One problem that I encounter frequently is that the spelling of his, and my, last name is often different or transcribed wrong. That sometimes makes it difficult to find the correct information and is confusing, so excuse my spelling if it differs from documents.

From what I know, Andrew J Dwinells was born on August 15, 1846 (The date of this post!). His father was Joseph James Dwinells and his mother was Hannah Maria Kelly. I could not find a record of birth for Andrew, his birthdate comes from marriage and death certificates. The first record I found of Andrew was in the 1850 Federal Census for Haverhill, Massachusetts.

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He is listed (highlighted in purple) as a four-year-old, born in Massachusetts and his occupation is a pauper, which makes sense because he lived in the “Poor House” (highlighted in green). Also listed is his brother, Frederic Dwinnels. He appears five years later in the 1855 Massachusetts Census, still living in the poor house with his brother.

When I first saw this information I was intrigued. I didn’t even know what a poor house was. I also wanted to know why Andrew and his brother were there. I could not find any information about the deaths of Andrew’s parents, thus the beginning of the mystery. There are more mysteries involving Mystery Grandpa, that I will write about later, but recently I came closer to solving this first mystery.

I was reading “The History of Haverhill, Massachusetts: From its First Settlement, in 1640, to the Year 1860” by George Wingate Chase, when I found this paragraph:

In the early part of 1850, the small-pox broke out in the western part of the town, and for a time raged fearfully. It was confined principally to the northern part of the West Parish. In School District No. 2, there were between thirty and forty cases, several of them fatal. The loathsome disease was introduced into the parish by a young lady, on a visit from Boston.

I am at the beginning stages of fully researching this, but my theory now is that Andrew’s parents died in the small pox outbreak, leaving him and his brother orphans. I will have to try to pinpoint where Andrew and his parents would have lived and possibly try to get some records about the outbreak. I know that it is kind of a grim find, but I was excited to get one step closer to solving the mysteries of Mystery Grandpa.

First Post

First published on August 14, 2015.

Recently, I’ve been doing some research into my family history. For my first tree I followed my last name, Dwinells, as far back as I could in the United States. I found a lot of information, especially because my last name is unique. I worked on my mother’s side of the family, following up on work done by my uncle and cousin. Finally, because we found a box of old pictures that belonged to my paternal grandfather’s mother, I followed her family tree as far back as I could in the US. Initially I used Ancestry.com but I’ve also been finding information from historical societies and ebooks that are public domain. I’m really excited about the work I’ve been doing and I thought I should start a blog, detailing my processes some interesting stories, pitfalls, successes and questions that I still have about my family.

The Journey Begins Again

I stole this title from the first generic post that word press gives you but I thought it was appropriate. I had a genealogy blog about three years ago on tumblr and I kind of stopped doing the work for many reasons. Recently, I attended a family reunion for my great-grandmother’s side of the family (my first ever family reunion!) and I was able to share my work with family I had never met. I was so excited to point out ancestors in pictures.

I think that there is so much more information for me to dig up and uncover, so I want to begin again. I’m going to start off by reposting the information from my first blog (also to give me time to make some new posts) and then keep going with my journey. I’m excited to see what I can find and the connections I can make.