Found this while hunting around for something else. The sisters are my Great Aunt and my Grandmother. The poor kid cut out at the top is their younger brother. I believe the girl in the box is a cousin but I’m going to have to double check that.

Happy hunting,

Jess

SheaKids

Shea MenI’m likely to end up missing or replacing my Wordless Wednesday post this week, so take this as an early nod.

Here’s a photo from one of my Irish lines. These are my 2nd Great Grandfather Cornelius and my Great Grandfather Robert James Shea. Cornelius was born in New York to an Irish born father. I’ll tell you more about him in a future 52 Ancestors post.

Happy hunting,

Jess

Since I’ve already spent a great deal of time on my Grandmother’s parents (Robert and Cora (Packer) Shea) I’d like to explore some of their close family as the year progresses starting with Gran’s Aunt Retta Shea Brooks.

Loretta SheaLoretta M. Shea was my Great Grandfather’s oldest sibling. She was born 10 months after him on October 13, 1889 in New York State, possibly while the family was visiting her father, Cornelius Shea’s family. She grew up with her siblings in Empire Township, Leelanau County, Michigan. In the 1910 Census she was still living at home but was working as a teacher in the public schools. The family then appears in the 1911 directory for Traverse City where Retta worked as a clerk at Steinberg Brothers, dry goods store.

Four years later she married William Ralph Brooks in Frankfort, Benzie County, Michigan. Ralph was the son of Cook and Martha (Snell) Brooks of Benzie and then Grand Traverse County, Michigan where Cook labored in and later owned his own farm. Interestingly the couple started their family immediately with the birth of Donna Marian Brooks, in Woodson Virginia. I have no idea why they were there but multiple sources say Marian was born in Virginia. By June of 1917, when Ralph filled out his World War I Draft Card, they were settled in Traverse City, Grand Traverse County, Michigan, where Ralph worked as a carpenter.

By the 1920 Census they had moved to Kent County and settled near Loretta’s family in Grand Rapids, Michigan where Ralph worked as a carpenter for one of the many furniture factories and their next two children Ralph Jr. and Jack were born. By the 1930 Census the couple owned their own home and had added Lucille, Wayne, Doris and Mary Kathleen. By 1936 the family had moved out to a rural part of Grattan Township, Kent County and added their last children Glenn in 1931 and Clare Ellen in September of 1936 (who sadly died a scant 18 weeks later). In the city directories I’ve looked at so far, it appears that the couple moved back into Grand Rapids and throughout the 1940s and as late as 1960 they were listed as living at 43 Stewart Street SW.

Ralph Sr. died 30 April 1963 and was laid to rest at Resurrection Cemetery, Wyoming Township, Kent County, Michigan. Aunt Retta died in April 1975 and was laid to rest beside him.

Any Brooks researchers out there? I’d love to know why both Aunt Retta and her daughter were born out of state.

Happy hunting!

Jess

Note:  The photo is cropped from this larger family portrait.

 Someone will be celebrating a birthday this weekend. Have a great one, Gran!

Grandma EthelHappy hunting,

Jess

 

I recently came upon this blogpost from The Art of Manliness on a trend the writer noticed on the ease and intimacy of men in the past in photographs. It made me think of these photos from our family collection. The following are both shots of my Great Grandfather Robert Shea and his friends. The first (which I’ve posted before) is with his fellow patients at the Michigan State Sanatorium. The other is with a friend I do not recognize (though I think I have other pictures of) and I’m not sure where the photo was taken.

Happy hunting,

Jess

Robert James Shea (2nd from right) at Howell Tubercular Sanatorium c. 1920Robert Shea (Left) and Friend

Robert Shea at the MichiganState Sanatorium for Tuberculosis, Howell, Michigan c.1919It’s the 95th Anniversary of the day my Great Grandfather Robert James Shea entered the Michigan State Sanatorium for Tuberculosis upon the completion of quarters by the War Preparedness Board of Michigan for rejected or discharged tuberculosis soldiers. In the picture he is the second from the left with a smile.

For people seeking more information about the Michigan State Sanatorium —the Archives of Michigan and Howell Carnegie Library are two fabulous resources. Additionally, many of the Biennial Reports of the Board of Trustees of the Michigan State Sanatorium are available full text in Google Books.

Happy hunting!

Jess

Shea Sisters, c. late 1940sBut really…. let’s get back to the beach.

These are the Shea sisters… My Great-Aunt June and Grandmother Ethel Shea at what looks like the base of Inner Lighthouse at Grand Haven, MI on Lake Michigan. These two instigated my search for Henry Massy and have cheered me on in my research for years.

And, as a side note on my lovely and spunky grandmother, I knew she had to be a little different when I realized none of my friends had ever seen their grandmother in a bikini. Well, there was that, the ruby red lipstick, and her exotic home decor… that’s my Gran!

Happy hunting and enjoy the sun!

Jess

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