Sunday, July 31, 2016

SNGF: Female Ancestors' Age at Death

This week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (okay, so I’m a day late) from Randy Seaver is to review your pedigree chart and determine the age at death of your female ancestors back at least 5 generations.  You can read about it HERE

What’s interesting about this exercise is that I’ve actually given it quite a bit of thought as when my mother died at the age of 84, I thought back to her mother, and her mother, and her mother and I thought they were all about the same age.  It made me realize that I’d really like to go from age 83 to about age 85 and just bypass those ages altogether. 

So an added exercise for me was to identify the ages of those women, in addition to five generations.

My mother, Geraldine (Martin) Levy, died 15 days before her 85th birthday.  So 84 years old.

Her mother, Clara (Fitzgerald) Martin Hunter, died at the age of 84.  Uh-oh.

Gerry & Clara
Geraldine (Martin) Levy & Clara (Fitzgerald) Martin Hunter
Clara’s mother, Mabel (McAboy) Fitzgerald, died at the age of 83 years, 5 months.

Mabel McAboy 1
Mabel (McAboy) Fitzgerald
Mabel’s mother, Rebecca (Waller), died at the age of 83 years, 2 months.
Rebecca Moriah Waller 1920
Rebecca (Waller) McAboy

See?  I’m turning 83 and then poof – I’m gonna be 85! 

Okay, so back to the original exercise.  Some of my math might not look correct as I took into account the age at their last birthday.

Geraldine (Martin) Levy – 1928-2013 – 84 years

Clara Maxine (Fitzgerald) Martin Hunter – 1903-1987 – 84 years
Mildred Loraine (Gunzendorfer) Levy – 1896-1982 – 86 years

Great Grandmothers
Mabel Viola (McAboy) Fitzgerald – 1883-1966 – 83 years
Frances Maria (Brooks) Martin – 1860-1936 – 75 years
Bertha (Schwartz) Gunzendorfer – 1872-1950 – 78 years
Goldie (Benas) Levy – 1864-1926 – 62 years

2nd Great Grandmothers
Rebecca (Waller) McAboy – 1845-1928 – 83 years
Julia (Horgan) Fitzgerald – 1849-1886 – 37 years
Sarah (Miller) Brooks Anderson – 1836-1923 – 86 years
Rebecca (Steen) Schwartz – 1848-1918 – 70 years
Fannie (Goldstein) Gunzendorfer – 1848-1910 – 62 years
Fredericka (Wilzinski) Benas – 1840-1915 – 75 years
Millicent (Moore) Martin – 1827-1884 – 56 years
Unknown ( ) Levy

3rd Great Grandmothers
Rebecca (Parker) Waller – 1814-1845 – 30 years
Margaret (Finley) Miller – 1812-1884 – 72 years
Monima (Williams) Brooks – 1801-1867 – 66 years
Hannah (Plotzkey) Steen – 1828-1909 – 80 years
Margaret (Callahn) Horgan – Unknown
Sarah (Frankel) Goldstein – 1838-1897 – 59 years
Sarah (Mann) McAboy – 1825-1910 – 85 years
Margaret (Cullen) Fitzgerald – Unknown
Amelia (Jackson) Wilzinski – 1816-1902 – 86 years
Elizabeth (McDaniel) Moore – 1808-1867 – 59 years
Tabitha (Rodgers) Martin – 1800-1860 – 60 years
Unknown x 5

The female ancestor to live the longest was Sarah Jane (Miller) Brooks Anderson at 31,586 days.  Sarah’s first husband (and my 2nd great grandfather) was killed in the Battle of Fredericksburg and at one point she moved across country from South Carolina to California – what stories she would have had!

A close runner-up was my grandmother whom I’ve written so much about, Mildred Loraine (Gunzendorfer) Levy at 31,519 days.  Besides my parents, I probably know more about her than any other ancestor.

The ancestor to live the least amount of time was Rebecca (Parker) Waller, my 3rd great grandmother.  Rebecca died at the age of 30, within days of giving birth to my 2nd great Grandmother, Rebecca (Waller) McAboy.

The average age of the 23 women I know the age for at the time of their death was about 70 years old.

It sure is hard to see how many of these women died at an age younger than I am today.  But I’m not dwelling on that, at least not until I get to be 83 years old!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Revisit to Copper King Mine

One thing I do NOT lack is old newspaper ‘clippings’ that my ancestors have saved over 100 years or more.  Sometimes they’re interesting to me, sometimes not so much.  And while I have no idea which ancestor to thank for this, one article from The Fresno Bee (December 3, 1961) really caught my eye.

Fresno Bee 12_3_1961 page one

Why this one in particular, you might ask.  Easy!  Because the young man the newspaper interviewed for this story, Edward Fitzgerald, was my great grandfather! 

In the photo above, it states that Edward was the sixth man from the right but after blowing it up the quality is so poor I can’t be sure.  But I do have a photo of Edward from 1907 which is about the same time period so you can see him.

Edward Fitzgerald 1907

And here’s how he looked in 1961 when he was photographed for the article.

Edward Fitzgerald

The article is awfully long so I won’t transcribe it all but here are some interesting excerpts.

“Snorting steam engines sent echoes bounding through the foothills east of Fresno as they chugged downgrade toward Clovis dragging heavy wagons loaded with copper bearing mother rock of the Sierra.
These snorting behomoths of another day always traveled the Pittman Creek Road by night because the horses which drew the stages to the mountains bolted whenever they saw one approaching.
This is how it was in 1900 when a young man named Edward Francis Fitzgerald applied for a position at the Copper King Mines, Ltd., as an engineer, but landed, instead, a  job on the end of a shovel.”

How did I never, ever know that he worked in the mines?  I was nearly 14 when he died but I have no recollection of ever hearing about it.  Did he not talk about it?  Did he talk about it and I didn’t listen?  Or, did he talk about it and I listened but don’t remember it today?  Thankfully, my packrat ancestors have, once again, helped me out.

“In its heydey in the 1890s the mine had a working force of about 150 men who took turns burrowing deep into the earth extracting copper ore.
The same road over which traveled the steam engines, or the two horse phaetons, still is in existence but unless you have the keys to one of five padlocks on gates barring the roadway the chances you’ll ever get to the Copper King are slim.”

I can’t imagine what it must have been like to “burrow deep into the earth”.

And the second part of page one:

Fresno Bee 12_3_1961 page one A

Here’s some of the buildings of the old mine.

Mine Buildings

What it must have been like to peer down the main shaft of the mine.  The thought of actually veturing down into that black hole makes me squeamish!

Glory Hole

And look at the dump and loading lines.

Shipping Point

And on to the next page.  I love this page as it describes Edward’s early life and then with his wife, and my great grandmother, Mabel McAboy Fitzgerald.

Fresno Bee 12_3_1961 page two copy

I’d read in his obituary that they had honeymooned at a cottage at the mine but it still makes me smile to read about it here.  Not just read about it but actually see a picture of it!

Honeymoon Cottage

They were married November 18, 1901 so the mine would have been in full swing at that time.  I can’t imagine they let that bother them, though.

Once again, I’m thankful for my packrat ancestors.  That is, until I try to organize everything they left behind.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Photo Booth

I ran across something today that piqued my interest – what appears to be an early photograph from a photo booth.  Could it be?

Levy Brothers c1898

The strip is pretty small (about 1”x4”) but the first thing I noticed (even without my glasses) was the older gentleman in the light picture on the right.  I think that is my great grandfather, Herman Levy.  The youngest son, Ben, wrote an autobiography and in it he showed a picture of his dad.  Pretty clear it’s the same guy.

Herman Levy c 1906

Is it possible that there were photo booths before the turn of the century?  According to Wikepedia, there were!
The patent for the first automated photography machine was filed in 1888 by William Pope and Edward Poole of Baltimore. It probably was never built. The first known really working photographic machine was a product of the French inventor T. E. Enjalbert (March 1889). It was shown at the World Fair in Paris in 1889. The German born photographer Mathew Steffens from Chicago filed a patent for such a machine in May 1889. These early machines were not reliable enough to be self-sufficient. The first commercially successful automatic photographic apparatus was the "Bosco" from the Inventor Conrad Bernitt of Hamburg (Patented July-16-1890). All these early machines produced ferrotypes. The first photographic automate with negative and positive process was invented by the German Carl Sasse (1896).
Since Herman and Goldie (Benas) Levy had four sons (one of which was my grandfather, Sigmund) it didn’t take long to guess that the four kids in the photos were my grandfather and his brothers.  So I decided to zoom in and take a closer look.

Levy Brothers c1898 Take 1

How cute are these boy in their hats?  This would be Leon (1886-1962), Herbert (1884-1952) on the top and Ben (1892-1965) and Sig (1888-1968) on the bottom.  While I love all of their hats, I really love the conductor looking hat that my grandfather was wearing – although maybe I’m just a bit biased.

Here’s a cute pose.  But the best part is Ben’s little sailor suit. 

Levy Brothers c1898 Take 2

A little more traditional – I love how they always seemed to line up by age.  Makes figuring out who is who much easier, although I’d know my grandfather anywhere.

Levy Brothers c1898 Take 3

Dad jumped in for the last pose – thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for that!  Who doesn’t love to see photos of their great grandparents from their younger days?

Levy Brothers c1898 Take 4

Even after I darkened up the photo it’s still hard to see the two older boys but there is my grandfather looking cute on the right! 

Another gem I found in the box was what I believe to be the older three boys in their swim suits.

Levy Brothers c 1892

If I’m right that would be Sig on the top, Leon on the left, and Herb on the right.  Ben had either not joined the family yet or was too little to sit for a photo.

I have so much to go through but I always seem to find new gems when I least expect them.