The Musical Picture
As I look for ancestral information, I find that a lot of my family played musical instruments in bands, church groups, or just in family circles. Pictures sometimes show them with a prized tuba and in a band uniform. My grandfather posed in his prized uniform with his tuba from his long stint of playing with the Peoria Municipal Band. My mother played in an all girls dance band in the early thirties and I love the picture of her and her five pals on a WPA float, playing “Sweet Sue” through the streets of Peoria, Illinois. Another grandfather played a banjo that survived until the Santa Barbara fire of the 1970s.
If your family was musical, pull their stories together for a musical picture.
Aunt Claireâ€™s Yellow Beehive Hair
My mom referred me to a wonderful children’s picture book that celebrates family history–“Aunt Claire’s Yellow Beehive Hair,” by Deborah Blumenthal, illustrated by Mary GrandPre (who also illustrated the Harry Potter books).
Quick synopsis: Annie wants to know about the family that everyone talks about at holidays and that she knows only through pictures. One rainy day she and Grandma collect memorabilia from throughout the house. Annie hears the stories behind the photos and makes a scrapbook to remember them. They find the purple ribbon Aunt Claire wore in her hair–hence the book’s title. I really enjoyed it– fabulous illustrations and a wonderful enticement into genealogy for all ages!
Look for the Neighbors
I had trouble finding my great-grandparents in the 1920 census. They were listed in the same house in 1910 and in 1930, so instead of searching for them, I entered their neighborsâ€™ names. There they were, right where they should have been only with a completely different spelling. The enumeratorâ€™s handwriting was such that when someone read it, it went from Thacker to Thoeper.
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