Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Month of Photographs

February was too short, as ever, but I did manage to finish building the framework of the Photos pages on the website.  We had several family members that heeded the call for photos, and I was able to scan a ton of them and post a lot as well.

The main attraction of the new Photos pages is that everyone now has his/her own page!  I have populated the pages with enough photos to illustrate the concept -- I shamelessly raided facebook pages to get a lot the photos now on the site.  The rest, dear family members, is up to you!  Please send me any photos (old or new) and whatever biographical information you'd like to see on these pages.  I especially need photos from the Dan Holsenbeck family.

The other object of the Photos pages is to display and describe ancestor photographs.  I have only scratched the surface in this department, but, again, I have created the pages and put up enough photos to demonstrate the layout, and now the addition of new photos will be relatively simple.

From Martha Waskey I received several old daguerreotypes mounted in ornate cases, which, while fabulously important, can be problematic as well.  First, the image must be removed from the casing, as a scanner can scan in focus only things that are flat against the platen.  Second, a daguerreotype is a process of light etching images on silver, so the direct glare of the scanner causes a reflection.  I believe I will have to resort to simply photographing them with a hovercam or some sort of mounted, stabile digital camera.

Speaking of Martha, she and her husband Jack have been by far my best customers in the stories department.  I would like to send along a special thanks to Jack for his remembrances of WTG.  If Jack -- who's not even a born Holsenbeck or Gillham -- can rustle up four pages of remembrances and anecdotes, I am sure the rest of you are capable of the same, and probably more!

Martha also sent along a CD with a recording of WTG describing several dreams he had.  We have determined that this must have been in the 1970s, after he retired.  It is so uncanny to hear his voice again after 34 years, and he has a wonderful storytelling style.  I hope to put this on the website, in some form.

I have had two further strokes of luck this month:  I have chatted several times on the phone with Libba Paulin, who is Pop's niece, the daughter of Pop's sister Grace.  She has agreed to write out her memories of Pop and Mother Cile and her stay at 992 Washita from 1945-49.  In addition, her son is collecting a pile of photos and sending them to me to scan.  Stay tuned!

On the Gillham side, I have contacted Jane Nelson Henning, who lives in Madison, WI.  She is a cousin of WTG's through his mother Effie, and she has many fond memories of "Cousin William" that she is willing to share.

Speaking of the Gillhams, it has crossed my mind several times that it would be entirely feasible to add the Nancy Penn and Carl Moore families to this project, if there is any interest.  Now that I know how to create web pages and research, adding another two family lines would be duck soup.  If there is such interest from Dan's and/or Bryant's families, please let me know!

This month I have also begun organizing and scanning objects from Dan Holsenbeck's amazing scrapbook of his service in the U.S. Navy.  You can see several examples of this project on the website already by clicking here.  Also, Dan wrote a very thorough journal of his experience, and in the next two months I will be transcribing it for inclusion on our Stories page.

Just a reminder -- this month (March) is Letters Month.  I will be transcribing and scanning letters, so please send along any and all letters you would like included.  Even if I won't have enough time to transcribe them all, I can at the very least scan them and return them to you.

As always, my email address is  My new telephone number is 609-500-0452.