Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.
This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt shows three men in suits. My three men did not wear suits in their normal workday. They were a cab driver, a metalsmith, and a mechanic by trade; they were hunters and fishermen when time allowed. Always best friends.
But I didn’t know even that much until just recently. For a long time the photo was simply my Granddaddy Slade and two other guys and a bunch of fish. OK, so Granddaddy went fishing. That was the story. Not much of a story.
|Granddaddy Fred Slade is on the left|
"Kentucky" is on the right
click image to enlarge
My Aunt Betty remembered the tall man as “Kentucky,” a name Granddaddy called him, but she had to find his signature in my grandparents’ funeral guest books to recall that his name was actually Orville Thom. But she didn’t know the other man.
Ancestry Dot Com gave me the basic information about “Kentucky,” a tinsmith for the federal prison in his native state Kentucky (wasn’t Granddaddy clever?) before relocating to Virginia as a metalsmith for the Naval Air Station. At one time he and his wife lived in downtown Portsmouth, not far from where my grandparents lived, so perhaps that is where they met.
Still not much of a story.
Let me digress. This past week a number of blogs and tweets about the RootsTech genealogy conference have shared glimpses of new technology on the horizon and snippets of speeches challenging the ways genealogists and family historians think about and act on their research. One speaker quoted again and again is Judy G. Russell of The Legal Genealogist.
Her main message was that our stories are lost within 3 generations if we don’t share them. I keep thinking about that. This photo of 3 men fishing is a perfect example. What’s the story?
Let me digress again. On the day that I was preparing my contribution to Sepia Saturday, Legacy Family Tree presented a webinar on using old newspapers in family research. So I sat in. While listening, I opened a second window on my computer and signed up for a 30-day free trial of Genealogybank, an online resource for historical newspapers, obituaries, pamphlets, government documents, and military records. One of the surnames I entered was SLADE. I refined the search with my grandfather’s name and dates. And look what popped up:
|from Greensboro [North Carolina] Daily News|
Wednesday, July 11, 1951
It’s the story of my photo!
Now I have the Who, What, Where, When, and Why.
|Orville "Kentucky" Thom, Ollie Bonney,|
Fred Slade all of Portsmouth, Virginia
July 10, 1951
on the Cherokee off the coast
of Oregon Inlet [Outer Banks, NC]
(I bet Capt. Ken Ward took the picture!)
My original title for this blog was “Old Men and the Sea.” But I changed it to “The One That Almost Got Away.” Every fisherman has a story about “the big one that got away.” My story isn’t a big fish, but it’s a piece of my family story that almost got away in a mere three generations, just like Judy Russell said.
I hope I can lure you over to Sepia Saturday to see what stories others have to share.