Sunday, February 22, 2015


Sharing – to allow someone to use or enjoy something that one possesses.

Over the course of the last few years I’ve had so much fun connecting with cousins who, in most cases, I had no idea existed.  In some cases we’ve formed a facebook page where we could communicate, in other cases we’ve sent e-mails, but in all cases the most exhilarating part of connecting is sharing – information, stories, pictures.  Our common ancestors brought us together so it’s our turn to cultivate those relationships and honor our ancestors’ memories.

My cousin Kris, whom I “met” about 4 years ago, shares a very special ancestor with me, Emery Waller.  Emery was our 3rd great grandfather and the ancestor for whom I was able to have a stone placed on his unmarked grave.  You can read about the success in getting Emery’s grave marked here

I think the first photo that Kris shared with me was this beautiful photo of the two older sisters of my great grandmother, Mabel Viola McAboy Fitzgerald.  Lilly Gay McAboy was Kris’ great grandmother.

Clara and Lilly McAboy, c1890
Clara and Lilly Gay McAboy
c. 1890
Photo courtesy of Kris N.

The next photo Kris shared with me was of Emery’s daughter and the mother of Clara, Lilly, and Mabel McAboy.  I’ll never forget that early morning when I opened my e-mail and found this beautiful face staring at me.

Rebecca Moriah Waller 1920
Rebecca Moriah Waller McAboy
photo courtesy of Kris N.

And the most recent photos Kris shared arrived as I was out and about – thank goodness for mobile e-mail so I was able to see these right away.

Lilly Gay McAboy_Vera Langworthy 1910
Vera Agnes Langworthy and Lilly Gay McAboy Langworthy
c. 1910
photo courtesy of Kris N.

Vera Langworthy was Kris’ grandmother.  And then two very special ladies in both of our lives….

Lilly Gay _Mabel McAboy
Lilly Gay McAboy Langworthy and Mabel Viola McAboy Fitzgerald
photo courtesy of Kris N.

Lilly and Mabel look so stern!  I was privileged to have known Mabel and spend time with her and I don’t remember that she was stern – I remember a very loving, caring woman and I am so thrilled that I was able to know her.

Mabel McAboy 1
Mabel Viola McAboy Fitzgerald
c. 1952

Thanks so much, Kris, for sharing your photos with me!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Was Grandma a Cover Girl?

I first found this poster a few years ago and then stashed it away to come back to later.  I finally dug this out of the box today and decided that later had finally come!

Is this my grandmother, Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer Levy?  I’m about 80% convinced that it is but would love other opinions. 

The date on the newspaper states it was 9 March 1916 - here’s a photo of her from about the same time frame.

Mildred Loraine
Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer

It’s not just her face that makes me think it’s her but her manner of being slightly bent forward.

Here is a side-by-side close up of the two pictures.

Mildred Loraine cropped

Oh, I just don’t know.  The more I look at it the more doubts that I have.

Looking again at the original poster, there is a man holding the copy of the newspaper, The Fresno Republican.  Guess who worked at The Republican during that time frame?  My grandfather, Sigmund Levy!  He was an ‘advertising solicitor’ until about 1911 when he became the Advertising Manager, a position he held until sometime between 1915 and 1917 when he joined the family firm of Levy Bros. Real Estate.  So was this poster a form of advertising featuring his future wife?  Could he be the man holding the newspaper in the poster? 

The paper itself has a lot of detail, although it’s tough to see here.

So what do you think?  Could my grandma have been a cover girl?

Sunday, February 8, 2015


I just love photos of generations in my family – what a gift to have these so many years later.  I remember hating it when Dad would pose us for a photo but boy am I happy now that he did!  Here’s some fun photos that I came across in Dad’s slides, I just wish these were in better shape.

Here we are with our Grandmas.

My beautiful picture
Clara Fitzgerald Hunter (holding Doug Levy), Carolyn Levy,
Debi Levy, Loraine Gunzendorfer Levy
c. 1962

And with our Grandpas.

My beautiful picture
Sigmund Levy (holding Doug), Carolyn Levy,
Debi Levy, Shelton Hunter
c. 1962

Not many people are fortunate enough to have photos with a great grandparent – here we are with two of them!

My beautiful picture
Edward Fitzgerald, Debi Levy, Doug Levy,
Carolyn Levy, Mabel McAboy Fitzgerald
c. 1962

Not too many generations but this one cracks me up!  I’ve talked before about how small my paternal grandfather, Sig Levy, was but this is quite a visual.  My mom was only about 5’5” and for the record, she is not standing on a step.  Grandma and Grandpa sure loved going to Las Vegas!

My beautiful picture
Gordon Levy, Geraldine Martin Levy, Sig Levy, Loraine Gunzendorfer Levy

The most special photos in any collection are those with four generations or if you’re really lucky, five generations.  Unfortunately, I’m not that lucky but I do have a few of four generations that I treasure.  I haven't run across one yet with both daughters but I'm on the lookout!

My beautiful picture
Clara Fitzgerald Martin Hunter, Debi Levy Austen (holding Erinn), Geraldine
Martin Levy, Loraine Gunzendorfer Levy, Natalie Trabue Gunzendorfer (Loraine’s sister-in-law)

My beautiful picture
Loraine Gunzendorfer Levy, Geraldine Martin Levy (holding Erinn),
Debi Levy Austen

My beautiful picture
Back:  Clara Fitzgerald Martin Hunter, Geraldine Martin Levy,
Mabel McAboy Fitzgerald
Front:  Carolyn Levy, Debi Levy
c. 1960

I even have some from farther back in time.  I’m not sure who all of these people are but I can identify the generations.  Since my mother and her father were never close following my grandparents’ divorce, I have very few photos of him so this is pretty special.

Francis Brooks_Earle_Clara_Geraldine close up
Second from left – Earle Martin (my grandfather)
Second from right – Clara Fitzgerald Martin (my grandmother)
Seated – Francis Brooks Martin (Earle’s mother)
Girl on right – Geraldine Martin (my mother)
c. 1929

And another one of this group from a different day.  Wait – since my mother is holding a baby doll could this be considered four generations?

Clara_Earle_Gerry_Francis Brooks cropped
Clara Fitzgerald Martin, Francis Brooks Martin, Geraldine Martin, Earle Martin
c. 1931

The Gunzendorfer and Levy families also took photos.

Abraham Gunzendorfer, Bertha Schwartz Gunzendorfer (my great grandparents)
Gordon Levy (front), Sig Levy, Robert Levy (Dad’s brother)
c. 1935

And this photo, without a doubt, is my very favorite photo.  So happy we were able to rescue it from the storage unit.

4 Generations cropped
Rebecca Steen Schwartz (my 2x great grandmother), Bertha Schwartz Gunzendorfer (my great grandmother) holding Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer (my maternal grandmother), 
and Hannah Plotzky Steen (my 3x great grandmother)

I could just look at these photos forever!