Top Ten Family Photos

Back in the end of August, I published a couple of Top Ten posts. Today, I’d like to share my most treasured family photos. My parameters for these are the same as for the documents – I am only considering photos taken before my parents’ lifetimes.

They made my Top Ten list because, without the advent of photography, these ancestors would be faceless names in time.

1. My first and second picks are also the oldest photos I have, dating to probably about 1850. Thomas Adams was the son of Loyalist John Adams and, as far as I know, the first of the family to be born in New Brunswick in 1783. He died in Calais, Washington, Maine in July 1859.


2. The second half of the set is Thomas’s wife, Sarah Brawn, also born in New Brunswick, Canada in 1786. She died between 1851 and 1861, probably before her husband. My working theory about her parentage is that she was the daughter of Benjamin Brawn who died before his father, also named Benjamin Brawn, and that Sarah is the unnamed granddaughter, identified as the younger Benjamin’s child, named in her grandfather’s will.


3. Mary Elizabeth Scripture, born 1827 and died in 1866, married to George Rogers Tarbox. This is a tintype photo and it is the only picture of her that I have.


4. This is another tintype, but from a much later time period – 1892 – when they were not that common anymore. Pictured are Michael Scerbak and Anna Murcko at the time of their marriage. What I love most is that their heads have been added to a painting. They were dirt poor immigrants working in Passaic factories and I think that was all they could afford.

Michael Scerbak Wedding

5. The last picture was likely taken around the turn of the 20th century. Anna Elisabetha Jensen aka Johnson was born in 1872 and died in 1916. Anna married Hartwell Thomas Coleman in Calais, Washington, Maine. She is my tie to my Scandinavian roots and the only photo I have of my Danish/Swedish family.

The only surviving photo of my grandmother's mother.

6. Another photo from the turn of the 20th century is the picture of John Henry Stufflebean with all of his sons. The family was living in Noble, Oklahoma by 1905.


7. John Christopher Williams was born in 1848 and died in 1926 In Hopkins County, Texas. This is a group photo of John’s family, probably taken about 1914 or so, as Pearl was born in 1898 and is the young girl standing on the left.


8. Here is Earl Marcus Stufflebean as a young man. He was born in 1893 and this picture was taken before he married Pearl Brasher in 1916.


9. Pearl Brasher is smartly dressed in this formal picture. This might have been taken when she graduated from high school in 1915.


10. Last, but not least, here is a picture of Susannah Douthit Alberty, who was both mother-in-law and stepmother to Dave’s great grandmother, Martha Susannah Alberty, who married Abijah Houston Sturgell. Susannah was born in 1821 and died in 1885 in Newton County, Missouri.


That finishes the list. Please consider sharing your own list of favorite old family photos.

Future of Geneablogging – My Perspective

Earlier this week, James Tanner posted his thoughts via his blog, Genealogy’s Star, on the future of genealogical blogging. He set off quite a firestorm of comments on the subject, both on his blog post and on Facebook.

I was one who commented about there being plenty of room for all and decided to expand on my comments with my own post.

I do want to say right off the bat that Genealogy’s Star is one of the blogs that I do read regularly and I have learned a lot from the prolific posts. Mr. Tanner has a lot of knowledge to share with genealogists.

Like Mr. Tanner, I am new to blogging as Empty Branches is approaching its second anniversary in January, but I have 35+ years of experience in researching family history, both for myself and for others. I’m a retired teacher and blogging allows me to still teach others, but at my own pace.

Being, I believe, a more than competent researcher, the first thing I did was check out and started scrolling through the Genealogy Blog Roll found on the site. I knew there were a lot of bloggers out there, but I was still surprised at discovering links to literally thousands of other genealogy bloggers.

Today, I follow over 200 blogs and add a few new ones to the list each week. While I do follow a few (very few) professional bloggers promoting themselves or the company for which they work, the vast majority of these blogs are written by others like myself. We are people who just want to tell the stories of our ancestors, share resources and strategies that have brought success, and meet new cousins, however distant they may be.

The consistency of new posts varies tremendously from blogger to blogger, but that is to be expected. A professional blogger has all the time in the world to create new posts because that is his/her business. The rest of us have other limits on our time and some have more limits on that time than others.

Does that bother me? Not at all because it doesn’t stop me from learning new things and enjoying the stories being told.

Are there months or seasons when bloggers seem to be more prolific? Yep, definitely. Things are quieter in the summer, probably because kids and grandkids are out of school. Families go on vacations and have seasonal activities that fill their days. As we approach the holidays, I’ve noticed fewer posts appearing in Feedly. Again, people are busy with family preparations and obligations.

Do I see a decline in the number of genealogists sharing their thoughts through blogging as compared to using other social media? Not really. If anything, I am noticing that bloggers are ADDING Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, etc. to their blog websites and expanding their use of social media, not limiting it to one venue over another.

And my thoughts about for-profit companies and businesses publishing blogs? I’m all for it. I follow those businesses that offer products of interest to me. I’d much rather have product news announcements appear in Feedly than I would having to go trolling around online to find out when the new version of “Product X” will be released.

The best part about all is is the “DELETE” key. I have yet to remove a blog from my Feedly stream, but if a link goes bad because a blog has been taken down or its focus has moved to a topic in which I have no interest, all I have to do is delete the website.

There is more than enough room for bloggers of all types in the cyber sphere. For anyone who thinks genealogical blogging is going away, I challenge you to check out a site like GeneaBloggers and not be able to find at least 25 active blog sites that interest you – and that number is very, very low. You will likely discover many more than that.

I can’t see geneablogging disappearing any time soon.

That is the future of genealogical blogging from my perspective!


Recommended Reads

Recommended Reads


For those interested in World War II research:

The World War II Research and Writing Center Website by Leland Meitzler on GenealogyBlog

If you have 20th century Canadian family, be sure to read Lorine’s post about updated naturalization records:

Canadian Naturalization Records, 1915-1951 Database Update! by Lorine McGinnis Schulze on Olive Tree Genealogy Blog

Family Stories

A beautifully presented story with modern photos:

John Combs Wife (c1710-c1749) and The Eagle, 52 Ancestors #96 by Roberta J. Estes on DNA eXplained – Genetic Genealogy

Amy hit the proverbial jackpot with a family find among college archival holdings:

My Great Great Uncle Henry: The Real Man Revealed by Amy Cohen on Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

Jill shares her journey to uncover the truth:

Where There’s a Will by Jill Ball on Worldwide Genealogy – A Genealogical Collaboration

Lara discovered a building full of people with unusual names:

Funniest Census Record Ever by Lara Diamond on Lara’s Family Search

Methodology, News, Etc.

Gail shares a thought on future genealogical societies. I think there is room for both traditional and e-societies. What do you think?:

Is This E-society a Sign of the Future? by Gail Dever on Genealogy a la Carte

Lisa shares her writer’s survival kit; now is the time to hone your writing skills and share your discoveries:

The Four Must-Have Items in My Writer’s Survival Kit by Lisa Alzo on The Accidental Genealogist

A Team Effort: Family History Writing and Contests in November by Lisa Alzo on The Accidental Genealogist

Here are good tips for any researcher:

Five Tips I’ve Learned By Working As A DAR Volunteer Genealogist by Diane Weintraub on Nuts From the Family Tree

Is your genealogy finished?

What Genealogy Will Your Children and Grandchildren Do If You Have Finished It All? by Wayne Shepheard on Discover Genealogy

Jacqi shares her thoughts about discovering unexpected family information:

Knowing That You Want to Know by Jacqi Stevens on A Family Tapestry



Genealogy Tips & Family History