Sunday, April 24, 2016

Time Out!

I need to take a time out and set aside my family and work on my husband’s for a minute.  Especially since I received a gift from a cousin in my e-mail when I woke up this morning.

Take a look at this!

Ast_Eberhart_Ana_Wm_JF_ Emily_1885
                Left to right:  William Charles/Carl, Anna (Strauss), Jacob Frederick, Eberhard, Emily (about 1885)

This handsome family is my husband’s great grandparents, Eberhard and Anna (Strauss) Ast.  The children are the first of their children (six, I believe), none of which is my husband’s grandather.  But look at what a beautiful family this is!  And how about those clothes?  Love it!

And then another.

Ast, Herman and Bertha abt 1900
Herman and Bertha Ast, about 1898

That is my husband’s paternal grandfather and his younger sister!  Since they look to be about two and four, I’m guessing this was taken in about 1898.  And again, great clothes!

I never had the pleasure of meeting Herman as he had died before  I came into the picture but I did spend some time with Bertha.  And this little cutie looks exactly as I remember her with that twinkle in her eye.  WHY didn’t I take more photos? 

But another cousin gave me this picture of Bertha when she was a little more grown up – see the twinkle in her eyes?

Bertha Ast

And Herman was quite a looker when he was married in 1915.


What’s especially poignant is that as I was preparing this post (April 24, 2016) I realized that Eberhard died on this date in 1912.  Maybe someone was trying to tell us something?

Thanks again for the photos, cousins!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

National Siblings Day – The Levy Kids

Today is National Siblings Day – time to hug our brothers or sisters and let them know how much we appreciate them.  Since my siblings both live in another state, I can’t really hug them but I can let them know how much I appreciate and love them by posting some fun photos of them!

Since my sister and I were 10 and 7 when little brother was born, you can understand why there were lots of photos of just the two of us during our very early years.

Dad was always posing us in different places.  I remember hating to do that but now I’m sure glad we did. 

My beautiful picture

Here we are with Mom – check out those stylin’ glasses!

My beautiful picture

This one is too good not to share – what the heck are you hiding under the scarf, sis?

My beautiful picture

Every once in awhile we added a stranger to the picture.  Not sure what I was thinking (or saying) as we posed next to the Indian Chief.

My beautiful picture

Then little brother joined in the fun as we posed with our grandparents, Sig and Loraine (Gunzendorfer) Levy.

My beautiful picture

And our maternal grandparents, Shell and Clara (Fitzgerald) Hunter.

My beautiful picture

When I was about 10, we got our horses, Smokey and Snap.  Here we are giving little brother a ride on Smokey.

My beautiful picture

Looks like we were packing for the beach – or maybe our annual family camp outing at Camp Campbell.

My beautiful picture

Every year dad would pose us for a picture to use on our holiday card.  It’s fun to look at a few that didn’t make the cut.

My beautiful picture

How did he come up with these poses?

My beautiful picture

As the girls grew older and were too busy to go places with Mom & Dad, little brother had lots of experiences without us.  Looks like this might have been Knotts Berry Farm or Frontier Village?  Love that Mom was all dressed up!

My beautiful picture

Hmmm, wonder where they were in this photo?

My beautiful picture

I don’t think there’s much doubt where this was taken.  And just like Dad with the camera around his neck!

My beautiful picture

Over the years we managed to get some photos together, but it became harder and harder as we all lived in different cities/states.  But we had some special shots together in 2000 as we celebrated Mom & Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary.


Big sisters always taking care of their little brother!


So here’s some big hugs and lots of love to my siblings.  Looking forward to seeing both of you SOOOON!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Owl - June, 1908 – Owl Staff and Dramatics

I took a detour for a bit but am now back to documenting The Owl, Fresno High School’s yearbook.  I last wrote about The Commencement Number from June, 1908 here.  There are so many photos from this edition that I’l break it down into small pieces. 

Next up – The Owl Staff.

Owl Staff Photos

I just love the way they are dressed and the hairstyles – such class.  I think they’d laugh to see high schoolers today – “why are these kids wearing pajama pants to school?  And for that matter, what are pajama pants?”

Owl Staff

And then a section about Dramatics.


The art work is beautiful – I wonder if Nelson Daniel or Lucy Walker (Art Staff) drew that?

“The first and one of the most enjoyable of these dramatic affairs of the winter, and one in which a number of the students displayed considerable histronic ability, was ‘BI BI,” which was given at the Barton Opera House on April the 9th, under the auspices of the Young Women’s Christian Association.”

I don’t know who is who in this picture but here is A Chorus from “BI BI”.

Chorus from BI BI

Some of the cast included Mrs. Jefferson Graves, Ivan McIndoo (former student), Willard Bates (former student), Grace Osborn (former student), Edwin Einstein, Hazel Beall, Mona Robertson, Edith Niblock, Sadie Burleigh, Dolly Vogel, Leora Schaeffer, Gwendolyn Barton, Ena De Yo, Louis McWhirter, James, Spratt, Howard Fisher, Louis Williams, Bertrand Gearhart, Will Tupper and John Morgan.

Another production was described as “the most ambitious affair in the line of dramatics the school has ever attempted was the Operetta ‘The National Flower’ in which some two hundred and thirty-six students took part”.  Where did they find 236 students?

Dolly Vogel

Who are these lovely ladies?  How I wish they were identified!

Jury in National Flower

At least John Morgan and Leora Schaeffer are identified.

John Morgan_Leora Schaeffer

Last up was “Mice and Men”.  The Owl states that this was a romantic comedy so not the John Steinbeck novel that we read growing up.  But since that wasn’t published until 1937, I guess that makes sense. 

Mice and Men

This production was the Senior Farce and was under the direction of Mrs. Ina Millward.  The entire Senior Class was included in the farce with the principal actors being Louis McWhirter, Robert Collins, Floyd Cowan, Henry Hopkins, Victor Gaines, Rainey La Rue, Ena L. De Yo, Belle Millward, Pearl Duncan, Victoria Cutten, Olive McFarland. 

What a grand time it must have been to attend high school in 1908!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sometimes you just have to scratch your head

Just about the time I start putting pieces of the puzzle together, something new appears that just makes me scratch my head and say HUH?

Today’s mystery is the Official Program of the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles.  Why did someone have this?  And, more importantly, why did they keep it?  Sure I know that both of my grandparents, as well as my parents, were packrats but what was the significance of this?

Front Cover

The cover is beautiful and I chuckled to see that you could buy it for only 10 cents.  Looks like I have the program for the opening day, July 30, 1932.  So much history is inside the cover!

Here’s the President and Vice President of the United States in 1932.

Herbert Hoover Charles Curtis

And the Founder and Life Honorary President of the Olympic Games, Baron Pierre De Coubertin.

Baron Pierre De Coubertin

In 1932, the President of the International Olympic Committee was Count De Baillet-Latour.

Count De Baillet-Latour

Hoping that maybe, just maybe, I’d come across a name that I recognized, I scoured the names of those on the International Olympic and Honorary Committees.  No such luck.

International Olympic Committee

Honorary Committee

The Riviera Country Club was located near Santa Monica and was “ideally situated for most of the colorful equestrian events of the Games”. 

Riviera Country Club

The closing events were held in the Olympic Stadium.


Today it is known as the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Photo by Ron Reiring

It is interesting to see the planned Opening Ceremony Events.  But what is even more mind boggling is that it was only about 90 minutes from beginning to end – these days it’s more like 4-5 hours with a production meant for television.

Opening Ceremony Events

And there were just 39 participating nations in 1932 – the 2016 Olympics in Brazil expects 207 countries to join in the fun!

Parade of Nations

Weightlifting, boxing, and wrestling events were held in the Olympic Auditorium.


And the Fine Arts Museum was filled with rare exhibits of ancient and modern culture.

Fine Arts Museum

I’ve always been amazed at the Olympic Athletes’ Village – I can’t imagine how large that would have had to be in 1932 and it’s impossible to wrap my head around how large it will be in Brazil this summer.

Home of the Athletes

Close by the Stadium was the swimming venue.

Swimming Stadium

Swimming is one of my favorite summer events – it would be fun to find the winning times for each event and compare them to this years’ winning times.

There is nothing like reading about the ticket prices 84 years ago.  You could see events for just $1.00! 

Program and Ticket Info

The first night of the Olympics brought Weightlifting. 


While the United States had two participants in the Lightweight class, the medals went to Rene Duverger (gold), Hans Haas (silver), and Gastone Pierini (bronze).  The light-heavyweight class proved to be a bit more productive for the United States with the medals going to Louis Hostin (gold), Svend Olsen (silver), and Hendry Ludwig Duey (bronze).  Oh wait – there were only four participants so no question the United States would take at least one medal.

The next day Track & Field began.  My grandfather was always a track & field fan and shared that love with my dad.  I like to think Grandpa Sig was there so he could partake in those events.  Who knows – maybe one day I’ll run across that program.  Until then, I can only imagine.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

This week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun by Randy Seaver has been circulating on facebook for a few days.  The challenge is to create a five or six generation ancestor chart that shows our ancestor's birthplaces.

Although it took me a few days to complete the task, I finally did it yesterday.  So here's my chart - guess you could say I really am a California girl.

Thanks for the fun, Randy!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Five years and counting

Photo by Marcus Quigmire

Time just continues to march on, no matter how hard we try to slow it down.  Which makes me reflect on the upcoming milestone in my life – the birth of this blog five years ago next week.  So many discoveries and new information added to my tree in five years which I want to sit back and reflect on.

First and foremost, I want to thank the Academy Kerry Scott for giving me that little push to start this endeavor.  Although we’ve never met in person, I’ve ‘known’ Kerry for close to 20 years in both my professional life as a Human Resources Manager and my ‘wannabe’ life as a genealogist.  If you want a good laugh click on her name and read some of her blog entries – trust me, you won’t be sorry.

Who knew I’d find so many ancestors and, thus, their descendants, who just happen to be my cousins?  On my mom’s side, there are several of us who have met virtually and have a ‘Waller Cousins’ facebook page so that we can share information.  Unfortunately, life gets in the way and our research time has been pushed aside for other activities but I know they are always there if I need to pick their brains.

My dad would have loved this journey I’m on.  He used to talk about his Gunzendorfer ancestors but try as he might, he just couldn’t get my attention.  I’m guessing I now know more about this side of the family than he ever did and, for that, I know he’d be happy.  Boy would he have been thrilled to know that I’ve not only re-connected with Gunzendorfer cousins but actually found a new one. 

My beautiful picture
Front row (in blue) Irene Gunzendorfer Sherwin
My grandmother’s first cousin
That’s me holding the dog – c. 1965

And on the Levy side, I have connected with cousins whom I’ve never met because our grandfathers (Sig and Herb) didn’t speak to each other later in their lives.  I like to think they’d be happy to know the feud has been lifted.

Levy Brothers Ben_Sig_Herb_Leon
Levy Brothers
Top row:  Ben and Sig
Bottom row:  Herb and Leon

In the last five years, a new leaf has been added to my tree – the birth of our fourth grandchild, who shares a middle name with my grandmother, Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer Levy.  And five years has brought many changes to the older grandchildren – one a teenager, one closing in on the end of his elementary school career, and one about to finish kindergarten. 

Sadly, my mother has left us in the last five years.  I’m not sure she would have ever admitted it but I think she got a kick out of the information I’d pass along to her.  She either never knew much about her family or wanted to forget the details but each new tidbit seemed to pique her interest.  She especially seemed to like hearing about one of my favorite subjects, Emery Waller. I’m glad we were able to get his grave marked while my mother was still alive.  And finally, THANKFULLY, my mother remembered that she actually had a couple of photos of her father – had she not remembered that, I would have never been able to see the face of my grandfather.

Earle_Gerry 1937
Gerry and Earle Martin
c. 1939

Who knew how many people I’d meet because of my blog?  I love receiving comments and while I know I’ve been delinquent recently, I love to read others’ blogs and comment on what they’ve learned.  And facebook groups?  WOW!  Who knew there were so many of those?  I’ve learned about Fresno, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and Monterey.  And every once in awhile, I’m able to contribute something that helps someone with their research.

Too much has happened in the world over the course of five years to wrap my head around it all.  Terrorism, royal weddings (and new leaves on their tree), massive storms, a new Pope, and, of course, deaths.  It really does remind me that we need to document what we can before it’s too late.

So with that I’ll start on the next five years of blogging.  One word and discovery at a time.  Thanks for following along with me!

Page 18 - Debi blowing out candles
My ‘real’ 5th birthday