Monday, October 19, 2009

Birthday Girl

Today is my mother-in-law's 85th birthday. We weren't able to make the trek to Texas this year, to celebrate with her, but we did manage to get down there last year for her 84th. The second photo here was taken then. In the first shot she was about five years old, so it dates from around 1929-30. Quite a cutie, wasn't she?

I'm very fortunate in that she and I have always gotten along really well - I know that's not always the case with mothers and their daughters-in-law. She made me feel like a member of the family right from the start, and over the years she's always treated me more like a daughter than an "in-law." Of course, both of us have always thought the guy I married is pretty great - so we had that in common from the beginning.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

October is a Busy Month

For some reason, September and October are important months in my family and my husband’s as well. Lots of birthdays, anniversaries and death dates in those two months. So in honor of all the October events, I’m putting up a couple of family photos today.

The first is a very fuzzy copy of an old cabinet card. The lady in the picture is my husband’s (maternal) great-grandmother, Louisa Matilda Kuentz (nicknamed “Lucy”) who was born October 6, 1869, in San Antonio TX. Her mother and father had both been born in Alsace Lorraine, France, and emigrated to this country in about 1850. Not easy to make out her features, but you can tell she must have spent quite a while with a curling iron.

The second photo has also deteriorated over time – I gave it a slight crop, but didn’t do a lot of retouching. It’s a snapshot of my grandparents shortly after they were married on October 8, 1918. My grandfather still has his WWI cavalry uniform on, so it must have been taken very soon after their wedding. He was born in Scranton PA, into a family that had only recently arrived from Wales. He was stationed in San Antonio during the war and met my grandmother there, and just stayed on after the fighting was over. Well, that’s not entirely true – there was a lot of fighting between the two of them after the war, too – but that’s another story.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

At the Seaside

Today's photo is a snap of my great-grandmother, Maud Beatrice Palmer (or Beatrice Maud – nobody’s really sure which name was supposed to be first or middle), circa 1903. She’s the short young woman on the right, and would have been about 19 or 20 at the time. The photo was passed on to me by my mother who didn’t really know anything about the other women in the picture. But it’s likely the woman on the left is Maud’s younger (and taller) sister Annie.

The photograph was probably taken somewhere along the Texas coast – possibly Corpus Christi. The ladies seem to be having trouble keeping their hats on, don’t they? Of course, their outfits aren’t exactly what I’d think of as beach wear. All that clothing on a summer day in Texas must have been unbelievably oppressive, even in a strong breeze. Well, those old girls came from hardy stock.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Grandpa Horn

Well, it's a little late, but I thought in honor of his birthday, I'd put up a photo of my husband's maternal grandfather, Milton Lee Horn. He was born August 9th, 1898, in San Antonio, Texas.

And yes, I said grandfather. In spite of the fancy duds, he was definitely male. Probably around two years old in this photo, he really doesn't look too happy about the ruffles and lace, does he?

Grandpa Horn was a descendant of one of the Alsatian families who came to Texas from Alsace-Lorraine in the mid-19th Century and settled in the Bexar County area. Arriving soon after Texas became part of the U.S., at one time his clan owned a goodly chunk of what is now the "near" Northside of San Antonio. But with uncanny business acumen, they'd managed to give away most of that property by the time Grandpa died in 1989. Which means it's probably just as well that Michael became an English teacher, and didn't give real estate a whirl. That kind of financial know-how just has to be genetic!

Cross-posted at Joysweb.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Henry and Lizzie

When my husband's grandmother died, she left a wonderful collection of photos behind. And as I was the only one in the family who had any interest in genealogy or family history research, I inherited most of them. And this morning when I was looking around for some photo that would be appropriate for the month of July, this one caught my eye.

This is a snapshot of M's great-grandparents, Henry and Elizabeth Horn (or "Ma & Pa Horn" as it says on the back of the photo). He was born July 6, 1866 in San Antonio, Texas. And she died on July 23, 1960, at the age of 95, also in San Antonio. The picture was probably taken around 1920, in front of their house on their farm land near the corner of San Pedro and what became Basse Road. If you know anything about San Antonio, you'll realize just how much that area has changed in almost a hundred years.

Henry Felician Horn was a member of one of the Alsatian families who settled in Bexar County around the time Texas became a part of the US. His mother and father were both born in France, and came to Texas from Alsace-Lorraine, by way of New Orleans in about 1856. Elizabeth Locke Horn (yes, "lock-horn" – you heard right) was an interesting character – I'm determined to write a book about her someday. Called "Lizzie" or "Hattie" by the family, she was the daughter of Texas pioneers from Tennessee and Illinois who came to San Antonio in one of the wagon trains of settlers sometime in the mid-19th century. She and Henry had six children, and my husband's grandfather was the next to the youngest. And although she's looking fairly serious here, in all the other photos I have of Lizzie Locke (that's how I think of her), she's always got a nice smile on her face – always looks like she was having such a wonderful time!

[Cross-posted at Joysweb.]

Monday, July 13, 2009

Random Photo Monday: A Salute to Our Fathers

Well, these photos are really not exactly random. For my first Random Photo Monday post in quite a while, I'm putting up a couple of family shots. Both taken during World War II – my father in his Navy whites (with the sun in his eyes, darn it!), and M's stepdad in his Army uniform. Handsome dudes, weren't they?

The strange thing is that both were born in the month of October, and both died in the month of July – my father on July 12th and M's on July 4th (holidays tend to be rather traumatic in both our families).

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Rebecca and John

In honor of her birthday on May 25th, I'm putting up a photo of my great-great-grandparents, Rebecca and John Ross Palmer.

Well, to be totally accurate, May 25th is only one of several possible dates I have for her birth. I really don't know much about her, aside from her death date and that she and John were married in 1866 in Texas.

They had fourteen children, my great-grandmother being number ten. John Ross fought in the Civil War and is buried, with Rebecca beside him, in the Confederate section of City Cemetery #4 in San Antonio.

Graves of Rebecca and John Ross Palmer

Palmer Family Plot, Confederate section, City Cemetery #4

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Another Family Group

Not my family this time. This is actually a photo of the family of my husband's (maternal) grandmother - she's the tiny girl, third from the right, holding a large baby doll. She was born April 24, 1905, and would have been about 5 years old here.

Her mother, Louisa, is to her left. Her father, Henry Fest, stands in the center of the shot. The other young people are three of her four older brothers and her older sister.

The photo was taken around 1910, on their farm in San Antonio, Texas, on what became San Pedro Avenue.

M's grandmother is no longer with us, and since she was my main source of information about his family, my research on those lines has almost come to a standstill. But I'm still digging.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Family Group

Looking back over my family history files, I noticed that my great-grandfather died March 22, 1942 – sixty-seven years ago this month. I never met him or my great-grandmother (my father's grandparents); they both died before I was born.

This is a (not very clear) photo of the two of them with all their children, taken sometime around late 1905. Most of the pictures I have of my father's family are copies of copies of copies, so not the best quality. I'm not sure where the photo was taken, but they lived most of their lives in the String Prairie and Rosanky area of Bastrop County, Texas.

My g-grandfather, Frank Grohman, is the one with the mustache, on the far left. His wife, Mary Anna, is in the middle with their youngest child on her lap (that would have been Great Uncle "Veste," short for Sylvester – yes, that's a boy).

My grandmother, Emma Mary Grohman, is standing in the back, second from the right. She would have been about 22 at the time and probably pregnant with my Aunt Emma, her second child. She had married my grandfather in 1902, in Bastrop County. Her youngest daughter, my Aunt Ella, looked just like her; and so does Ella's daughter Jane. And the older I get, the more I'm starting to resemble her, too. Strong genes, I guess.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wish You Were Here

This would have been my parents' 67th wedding anniversary. I wanted to put up a photo in honor of the day, so I went searching through my albums. I knew I wouldn't find a wedding photo because there weren't any. My mom and dad were married in 1942, two months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and just before my father enlisted in the Navy. It was a sudden decision, with the ceremony performed at the county courthouse – no fancy trappings or guests. And no commemorative photos.

But just finding a photograph of the two of them together was a challenge. Neither of them really liked having their picture taken, so they rarely sat for professional photographers. This shot is one of the earliest I found – taken in 1939 when they were high school sweethearts. They "went together" for a number of years before he popped the question. According to my mom's version of the romantic tale, he told her if she'd just get a job they could get married!

Well, she never got that job – her only ambition was to be a housewife and mother. And it took the uncertainty of a World War to push my father into action. They were happily married for fifteen years – until he died of heart failure a few months before his 37th birthday. My mother never remarried.

Yes, he was very tall – unfortunately, his height is something I didn't inherit. And although in this photo my teenaged mother looks like she's dressed herself from Salvation Army bins, she ordinarily had a much sharper fashion sense!

I miss them both.

Cross-posted on Joysweb

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Hello, World!

Welcome to the genealogy blog of Joy and Michael Hall.

Some of the Texas family surnames we're researching are Banta, Bishop, Fest, Grohman, Hall, Horn, Kuentz, Locke, McClelland, Palmer, Schmidt, and Steele. Eventually, we plan to post more detailed family trees.

Mainly, we contemplate using this website as a place to share family history, stories, and photographs. And possibly a little of our daily lives, as well. We'll just see what emerges.