Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Genealogy Photo a Day 1: My View

Genealogy Photo a Day is a month-long challenge coordinated by Genealogy Girl Talks.

October was Family History Month. As part of that celebration, I participated in a Photo a Day challenge on Instagram coordinated by Genealogy Girl Talks. The fun continues this month with the following themes:

I’ll be posting on Instagram (@Wendymath27 and #genealogyphotoaday), Twitter when I remember (@Wendymath), and in our Facebook group.

Day 1: My View

Mary Eleanor Davis about 1933-34 Shenandoah, Virginia https://jollettetc.blogspot.com

While this isn’t MY view, it is an interesting view to me because the 4 buildings seen in the photo tell a small family history. That is my mother Mary Eleanor Davis at about age 4 or 5, dating the photo to 1933-34. She is standing in her grandparents’ yard. There Walter Davis built a Sears Craftsman at 411 Sixth Street in Shenandoah, Virginia, around 1920 and moved his family from their home across town in Millers Addition.

For a time my grandfather Orvin Davis and his sisters lived there. He even brought his bride Lucille Rucker there too, but soon they moved directly across the street. That is where my mother was born. The steps to the house can be seen in the photo but mostly the house is hidden by the tree.

Granddaddy and his father worked together to build the bungalow next door. That is where my mother grew up until they all moved to Portsmouth during World War II. Prior to the move, my grandparents ran the Davis store, the imposing white building on the corner of Sixth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

The family story does not end there. The Davis store was converted into apartments. My cousins lived there as small children, and I can remember the dark floors and being given a bath in the kitchen sink when I was just a toddler. My cousin Barbara remembers the house as cold, drafty, and lacking hot water. She has no fondness for the store building.

In the early 1960s, Barbara’s parents (my mother’s brother) bought the house that Walter built. Her mother (my aunt) still lives there but she is aging and must soon give up the family home. That will be a sad day.

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved


  1. That will be a sad day. Anyone else in the family interested in it?


  2. What a lovely family story. I do hope that a solution presents itself to keep Aunt in her home. Thank you for sharing, Wendy.

  3. Giving up a family home is really a sad thing. I do hope you all find a way to keep it in the family, Wendy.

  4. I hear you there. My grandfather is 98, and we're all dreading the day he passes away. He's owned the same house my entire life, and long before that. I believe it's been 45 years and we all recognize that as Grandpa's house. I'm afraid he's going to leave it to my aunt, who will in all likelihood just sell it. If he left it to my uncle, I'm sure he would move in and keep it in the family. *sigh* Change is life, eh?

  5. I love that you have so much history right there. It is such a choice thing to have been in their homes and to have memories there, even if they aren't always fond memories.

  6. I love that you have so much history right there. It is such a choice thing to have been in their homes and to have memories there, even if they aren't always fond memories.

  7. My grandparents built their home in 1934 when my dad was just 7 years old. While the home was about 2-3 hour drive for us, we still managed to get there 3-4 times a year and I have WONDERFUL memories of that house. When my grandmother died in 1982, the house was sold.

    But not so fast! My cousin (whom I have just reconnected with) is a landscape architect and he did all of the landscaping for the new owners. And became good friends with them. So if I can just manage to get my butt there (it's two states away now), I'm in the house!