Calling all Clarkes


Are you a descendant of Benjamin Clarke / Clark who came to America about 1682/83 ?

Here is a great place to start a journey:Pinterest website

NJ06May2013 (78)

What photos can you add? Where has your journey taken you?


Eat Pie First


   cake and pastry display

I was thinking about one time when our kids were young, we went on a cross country trip. There was this one particularly long stretch of road on a very sunny day. It was a two lane road and in the distance we could see the freeway and what looked like a little town. As we got closer we saw a gas station and restaurant, pretty big place and most welcoming. We went inside ordered water and pie and then went to the restroom to wash up and refresh after the long drive. piece of chocolate cake with cherry and strawberryWe went back to our seat and ate our pie and then ordered our meal. All the while there was this lady across from us in another booth that kept looking over at us. When the meal was nearly done, one of the kids had to use the restroom again. We headed there and this woman also headed that way. When we washed our hands the woman kept acting like she wanted to say something and finally she did. I thought, oh boy, here it comes, she is going to talk about what misbehaved kids we have and so on, but No. Surprisingly she said, My mother would never give us desert first, but you did and your kids ate it and then they ate all their dinner. I am so impressed and what well behaved kids they are too.

Well, that isn’t what I was expecting at all!

wineglass and napkin in restaurantAnother time when we went to a restaurant on a different family trip, there was hardly anyone in the restaurant, and we asked for a separate table for the kids. The wait staff looked horrified and said we can’t do that, and we said, it is okay they are well behaved and we do it whenever we go out to eat. They said they had to ask the manager and the manager told them that they would do it, but if the kids caused problems or misbehaved, we would have to all sit at one table. hmm, we thought, what kind of kids do they usually get here?.

The kids sat at their own table, next to ours of course, and when it came time to order their food, the waiter kept asking us if it was okay they ordered this item or that item and my husband finally said to let them order what they want, it is okay, they know that if they order it and don’t eat it, they have to pay for it and next time we order for them. He said okay. They got their food, wait staff kept looking around the corners and watching them. We weren’t concerned, we knew our kids and their behavior. When we were all done, a few of the wait staff came over and complimented us on the kids and how surprised they were that the kids did so well at their own table. The next vacation we took and stopped by this same restaurant, we weren’t even questioned when asking for two tables.

vanilla_coffeeBut several times we have been complimented on how well our kids behaved in the restaurants.

My husband and I always try to repay the kindness and compliment parents when their kids have behaved well in restaurants or other such busy public places.

Why am I telling this here, on a genealogy blog? It is important to share stories with your family, even if it is to remind the kids, grandkids, or nieces and nephews about their childhood. Then ask them what they remember about that time. It also gives me a chance to write it down- for them- for later.

(Thank you to J.R.Watkins at for the use of the photos)

Identifying people or places in those old photos


Identifying people or places in those old photos

Family Photograph

So you have these photos of the 1800’s that look like they might be related, you are not sure, you think they look like photos you have of some people that are older.
What to do?

First, see if you can identity where the photo was taken. The one above was in a studio it seems. Some studios have their name on the backs of the photos, some have the photo in a frame and then their studio name and the city, state is on the frame itself. >It is important that you keep the photos in these frames<  if you have to remove the photograph, take a photo of the photograph in the frame -the front and back- and then a photo of the photograph itself -the front and back- this will help with identifying it and knowing where it came from.

Some photos will have the name of the photographer or studio. Finding out information about the studio, if there are any archives may help you in identifying where or when the photograph was taken.

You may notice that many older photos are on post cards. This was really popular in the early 1900’s. This fact will help you identify the time the photo was taken, and here is a link that may help you identify your photo postcard itself                                                      

An unmarked photo is much hard to identify. There are a few things you can do:

  1. the best thing to do is to contact living relatives who might be able to identify the people and perhaps tell you about their lives – for example we have one aunt that lives in another state and I will snail mail her a copy of the photograph and call her in a few days to make sure she received it and has had time to identify it.
  2. If you have an idea of what city or county or state the photograph may have been taken, you could contact a librarian, historian, genealogical society, or newspaper in the area. Tell them all that you know about the photo and ask if they know of anyone that could help you identify it. – for example, I think the photo above was taken in Illinois, possibly the county of Logan.
  3. post the photo on a social media site where others are actively seeking their ancestors too – for example some of my relatives are on Facebook and we share photos to help each other identify them.
  4. Another example is a family tree site where participants post photos they have ask others to help identify the time it was taken or if they recognize any of the people or buildings in the photo – for example, I posted another photo and a complete stranger is helping me find out information and has already sent me a link that I didn’t have before.
  5. search on a family genealogy site for a similar photo. If you know the family name the photo is related to – for example, I think the photo above is related to the Clarke family because it was in with other family photos that we did recognize. I will log in and search other family trees for similar looking people in the photo or a similar photo.
  6. take a photo of it with the other photographs or items it came with or was found with, then put it in an envelope, write on the envelope any information you have about the photo – for example, on the envelope for this photo I would put these labels and then underline the response/answer:
      • what is the family name associated with this photo _____

      (in this photo, I know it is the Clarke family)

      • who I think it might be ______________
      • where I got the photo _____________
      • what other photos were with it _____________

      (this was in with my grandfathers photos)

      • what year(s) you think the photo was taken, _________
      • today’s date ______________________  It is important to put the current date on the envelope, this will help with researching it later.

It may take some time before you get your answers. Be patient.