Wednesday, September 22, 2021

52 Ancestors - FUN AND GAMES: So Much for Crowd-Sourcing

Crowd-sourcing has become an important way for family historians to solve big and small mysteries. Since I enjoyed some success in the “Remember Shenandoah Back When” group on Facebook when I asked for help in determining to which street a lot number in a property tax bill referred, I decided to give the members a crack at naming some men in a photo.

Men playing croquet Shenandoah, Virginia 1930s probably
#2 is Orvin Davis, my grandfather
#4 is Millard Davis, his older brother

I know only two of these five men playing croquet. The second man is my grandfather Orvin Davis. The fourth is his brother Millard. I used to think the fifth man was Decatur Breeden, husband of their aunt Victoria Jollett Breeden, but it occurred to me that Decatur was at least 20 years older than they were. This man certainly was not that much older; in fact, he looks younger.

I posted the photo in the group with the information I had. Here are the responses:

Susan: No. 5 looks like Shorty Lam.

Kay: That had the store near the Moose Lodge? Super tall?

Bennie: #5 Howard “Shorty” Good – maybe. Shorty Good had the store near the Moose Lodge. He must have been close to 7 ft tall.

The short thread tickled my funny bone though. Two possibilities, both named Shorty? For the tallest man in the county to be called “Shorty” is just so silly that I can’t help laughing. There was no conclusion to the story. After that, my post just garnered a bunch of “LIKE”s.

Census records on Ancestry confirm that Howard Good was indeed a grocery merchant. He even looks like a grocer in that bowtie.

Unfortunately, there is not much family history about Shorty Good on Ancestry. However, my copy of Shenandoah - A History of Our Town and Its People has two photos for comparison.

from Shenandoah: A History
Shorty Good behind the counter

from Shenandoah: A History
Shorty standing in the back

What do you think?

Now to figure out who the other two men playing croquet were.

 Amy Johnson Crow continues to challenge genealogy bloggers and non-bloggers alike to think about our ancestors and share a story or photo about them. The challenge is “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.


© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. Wow, it's great that you received some responses! Of course tall men were called "Shorty"--that's how it works.

  2. Good sleuthing. I knew two super tall men named "Tiny."

  3. You are right, it is a silly notion for the tall man to be nicknamed Shorty. But, I do think the tall man in the other photos does match your croquet player. I'd look closer at the other men in the 'broken leg party' to see if any match your 2 unknown croquet players. Good luck, keep us posted.

  4. At least you have a few hints to go off of - that's a start.

  5. Thanks for the laugh of the day. I is a nice way to get back on the trail for searching that one hard to find guy or gal.