Sunday, April 29, 2012

And one from the men......

Who knew men had autograph books?  Here's the book from my paternal grandfather, Sigmund Levy. 

What's interesting about this book is that is appears that it went into adulthood.  Look at this......

Robert was Sig's oldest son and my dad's older brother.  Robert was born November 3, 1920 so this entry would have been right after his ninth birthday.  Doesn't it seem odd to have your son sign your autograph book? 

And there was this entry by Sig's brother, Leon.  Leon was #2 of the boys, Sig was #3.

This is a really cool autograph......

Best Wishes
From your loving father
Herman Levy

Yep, that's Sig's father, Herman Levy, and my great grandfather!  He's definitely been a brick wall for me - why couldn't he have signed it "Herman Levy, son of XYZ Levy"? 

And here's Sig's mother, Goldie Benas Levy.

Dear Sigmund
What are the best days in memory?
Those in which we meet a companion
who was truly such.
Your Mother
Fresno, June 24, 1901

So now I have the signatures of four of my great grandparents plus one of my great great grandparents - how cool is that?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Like mother, like daughter

It appears that autograph books were quite the rage at the turn of the century.  After finding the autograph book of  Bertha Schwartz (my great grandmother), I have now found the book of  Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer, Bertha's daughter and my paternal grandmother.

I wonder if that was her writing on the first page.  I'm guessing it was because it looks like something an 8 year old might have written.

And I wonder what this means.  Was that someone's signature?

This page cracks me up!  Mildred Riecks wrote on Jan 25, 1905....

Dear Loraine

When you are old
And cannot see;
Pick up your specks,
And think of me.

Your school mate, Mildred Riecks

It seems that 100 years ago kids were called 'schoolmates' rather than 'classmates'.

Even little brother Wilton Gunzendorfer got into the act.  He wrote this on October 27, 1908.

There is lots of forget me not in the garden of Loraine.

And look at this - Ferdinand Gunzendorfer, Loraine's grandfather and my 2nd great grandfather, signed the book on February 25, 1904.

From your loving grandpa
To his dear grand daughter Loraine
F. Gunzendorfer

I knew that Ferdinand spoke many languages and these pages show that - just not sure what language they're in. 

Even the men had autograph books.  Next time we'll see one of those.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

May I have your autograph?

Remember autograph books?  I remember my kids taking one throughout Disneyland hoping for that perfect "person" to come around so they could get their autograph.  What a thrill to have Ariel or Mickey sign the book!  And then there were yearbooks where we had all of our friends sign and tell us to be cool, have a nice summer and see you next year.

But I never thought about autograph books in the late 19th century.  Of course that would make sense since people didn't have the communication methods we have today but who knew I would actually run across one?  But there it was, in the boxes of things from my mother's storage unit.

It looked pretty beat up and I almost missed it but when I opened it up, I saw this...

And on the next page.....

Yes, this little gem was the autograph book of Bertha "Birdie" Schwartz, my great grandmother.  I've written about Birdie here and here and have found her to be quite an interesting woman. 

So what else was in Birdie's autograph book? 

Did you know there were dudes in 1888?  I was surprised to see the word here on the first page.

I'm a dandy but I'm no dude.
Yours respectfully, Who?
Santa Cruz, Cal.  Jan 12, 1888

Lillian A. Howard was quite an artist.

I wonder if Birdie was a dancer because L. Folk suggested she keepadancing.

There are lots of different autographs, although none as creative as those above.  But nothing, NOTHING compares to this page which was written by Abe Gunzendorfer, Birdie's future husband.  I wonder if this was when they first met as Birdie was just 17 years old when Abe wrote this.

To Bird:

Always remember the pleasant times spent during my sejourn in Santa Cruz.

Yours Respectfully,
Abe Gunzendorfer

Santa Cruz
Aug. 14 - 89

Is that not the sweetest thing ever?

Stay tuned for more treasures around Birdie and Abe's courtship and wedding.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy

Look what I got - OLD STUFF!  I know to many people, my husband included, this looks like a bunch of junk.  But to me it is GOLD! 

I got stuff!  Old pictures, letters, newspapers, wedding announcements, obituaries, death certificates.  STUFF!  This stuff has been in a storage unit of my mother's for more than 30 years and has just been waiting for me to find it. 

And the 1940 census is out.  And I'm finding some of my people.  I feel like I'm in genealogy heaven!

When I first opened the box I saw a picture and I immediately hoped I knew who they were.  I thought to myself that this must be four generations of women in my family.  I hoped I was right!

And then I turned the picture over ever so slowly, held my breath, and read.....

                                          THE FOUR GENERATIONS
                                             Santa Cruz       Aug 1896

                                   Grandma Steen                 Great Grandmother
                                   Grandma Schwartz           Grandmother
                                   Mama                                 Mother
                                   Baby Loraine                      Baby

Baby Loraine is my grandmother, Mildred Loraine Gunzendorfer Levy!  And her mother is Bertha Schwartz Gunzendorfer, her grandmother is Rebecca Steen Schwartz, and her great grandmother is Hannah Plotzky Steen.  So now with my own family (father, me, daughters, grandchildren), I can actually see 8 generations of my family starting with Hannah!

I feel like I've won the lottery!