Discovering Stored Treasures

Discovering Genealogy, One Ancestor at a Time.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday's Faces From the Past: Summer is Around the Corner

It's Friday, which means it's time to pull out another of my favorite photos from the archives. This one is from 8th of July 1926 (according to the inscription in the back). Can you identify the ancestor in the photo?

Click to enlarge
You might have to click on the photo in order to get a better view, but if you look at the woman surrounded with three kids to the right hand side of the boat, you should be able to recognize Minnie Crane (who would have been 118 a couple of days ago). My uncle, actually pointed out that April 30th was a fictitious birthday. She didn't know her real birthday (not uncommon back in the 1890s in poor Jewish families where parents had more to worry about than remembering their children's date of birth), so she made one up.

Back to the boat. In this photo, she is seated with her daughter Ethel (my grandmother) to the right and her nephews Fred and Herb Crane to her left. By 1926, Minnie was living in Houston, Texas, so this must have been a summer trip up north to visit her siblings in Atlantic City. I think the woman in the white dress and light hat, seated 3rd from the front, on the left, across from Minnie, maybe Sara Crane, Minnie's sister-in-law. She is holding a little girl who is probably her daughter Flossie who was born in 1924.  I don't recognize any of the other people on the boat, maybe some of my elder cousins will?

I chose this picture because it reminds me of summer. Summer has been so hesitant to arrive this year to Boston. We really need it after the long winter we had, therefore, I  thought maybe this beautiful vintage photo of a summery scene, can conjure some warm rays of sun. Enjoy the weekend everyone!


  1. My grandmother was unsure of her birthday too -- October 9 or 19? She went with Oct 9 maybe because everyone wants that birthday to hurry up and get here.

    1. That's a great reason to pick a date Wendy. It would be kind of fun to be able to pick your birthday, wouldn't it. Being so fixed on dates as genealogist, it's a bit frustrating that so many of our ancestors were unsure of dates and changed them to their convenience, but understanding why they did that, often helps make sense of the records. Sometimes people wanted to appear older, for example if they wanted to register for the draft, but weren't quite old enough. Other times they wanted to appear year, for example when they married a man who was a bit younger then them. Since so few people had any record of their actual births, they just chose what fit the moment. With time, they tended to stick to a date.

  2. My son-in-laws great grandfather was listed in the US census with 4 different years as the birth year. Most people back then did not have good records, and prior to 1900(?) many jurisdictions did not have a formal system of recording births or issuing birth certificates.

    I've enjoyed reading your stories - Howard in Kansas City.

    1. Hi Howard! So nice of you to stop by!
      It's really one of our challenges as genealogist is to figure out how to make sense of all these dates. It's true that many people back then did not know their date of birth. Many births were not recorded or if they were recorded, people didn't have access to the records. Particularly when they came from poor backgrounds.
      Just as an aside, census records are not the most reliable source for dates of birth because you don't know who the informant was to provide the information. Anyone could answer the door to the census taker and provide information on who was living in the house. It could be a child or a neighbor. A census will give you a good idea of a date of birth but it's always best to compare with other records.


Thanks for sharing your comments!