One of the joys of working in a library is getting to see all the new materials come in. And one of my friends at work brought this lovely book to my attention. Thank you, Mariya! 

Dear Photograph by Taylor Jones, based on his popular Tumblr blog, is a fabulous collection of photographs taken at the original scene of older sentimental photos. Submissions include families on porches, historic moments (such as snapshot from the sidelines of Kennedy campaigning for president), wedding shots, and shots of  lost friends, as well as old black and white shots of peoples ancestors sitting in front of the family home that has come down the generations.

The genealogist in me absolutely fell for this! This is such a fabulous way to tell a story, show change in our special places and bring history to life. It can be a pilgrimage to go back to the site of the original photo, to hear the stories surrounding the site and the photo, remembering the people involved and creating the new image with whatever remains.

I really would like to do a few of these… maybe placing some of the original subjects (like my brother and I) along the side of the original picture of us as children? Or maybe with his children in our place? I’ll let you know what I decide. Either way, I highly suggest this book and blog!

Happy hunting!

Jess

I was thrilled to find a new picture book by Caldecott Honor illustrator Lane Smith (It’s a Book) that had a fabulous family history theme just in time for Family History Month. In Grandpa Green, a little boy tells the story of his great grandfather’s life against the backdrop of a topiary garden of memories. The grandson walks through the garden picking up items his grandfather has forgotten while he tells the story of the man born before cell phones and computers who wanted to be a horticulturalist but instead went to war, met his wife in Paris, had lots of kids, grandkids, and one great grandson—the narrator. Each section of text is accompanied by a corresponding illustration of the grandfather’s garden where his memories live on. The detail in the topiary garden is amazing and the story is moving. It’s a well-constructed book with something for children and adults. And it would be a great conversation starter when talking about family history with a child. Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Harrison and Rhoda (Rogers) TrotterThis last week was meant to be spent on my Massy/Alison family in prep for an upcoming road trip (I’ll get to next post) but instead I received an email from a fellow researcher about our shared Trotter/Hampton families from Bradley Co., Arkansas. It gave me a great excuse to make sure I was caught up that portion of my research. It also gave me the impetus I needed to go page-by-page through Afro-Americans of Bradley County, Arkansas compiled by MacArthur and Princella Davis.

This book is an amazing collection of photographs covering what looks like just about every African-American family from the southern Arkansas county my paternal ancestors have called home since before the Civil War. It includes more than 350 pages of identified photographs with sometimes minimal and sometimes extensive family information. The photo quality is all over the place–I’d guess based on what they received in their call for photos. The one of my grandfather, Levie Trotter, is bad because it was taken from his funeral program (black and white photo on brown paper) but the one of my great-grandparents, Harrison and Rhoda (Rogers) Trotter, with my uncle Christopher is great. Regardless, the fact that there are so many photographs and that they are identified, outweighs everything. The book is an absolute treasure! It has been particularly helpful in filling in gaps caused by the missing 1890 Census especially when used in conjunction with FamilySearch.org’s database Arkansas County Marriages, 1837-1957. Researchers may be thrown by the format of the index (first name), but again the detail and range of information in the book makes up for that.

I’ve now been through it once and it’s cleared up a number of confusing lines. And I believe that, as my research continues, I’ll continue to get more out of it. Anyone with African-American family or ancestors from Bradley County should grab this book. It’s been an amazing resource by itself and a great source of information when I go through it with my relatives.

Cheers,

Jess

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