Friday, September 24, 2010

Michael Comer (Conner?)

I found this in an envelope with family birth certificates, death certificates and military records.
I find it interesting as this is an entirely new name.
Comer? (Conner?)
I really have no idea who this guy is or why my family would have kept a record of his grave.
The way the notes are worded makes it sound to me like the guy was still alive when these where written.

"Michael Comer OWNS one grave" not 'owned' or 'presently resides in'.

Why would he need a document to prove this (was he using it as colateral for another purchace?) and if these are a real documents, why do they look more like casual notes than an official proof of purchace?

I looked up North Cambridge Cemetary and with the plot directions so clearly noted, it should be an easy enough grave to find.
I may even head over there today, I really would love to see if there is a stone on that grave and what other info that stone might have carved into it.

Running on the ragged edge of posting a truely tasteless joke,
my first thought on reading these notes was,

"The plot thickens...."

I'll post more as I make inquiries.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love this geneology stuff?

: )

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Kieran J. Kilday 1886-1976

Digging into the family tree a year or so ago, I happened along a branch with a member whose death certificate listed him as passing away in Randolph, MA. This was very interesting to me as Randolph is where I have lived for the past 10 years. When my husband and I bought our house we were under the impession that neither of us had any friends or family in this area or with any with ties at all to the South Shore community.
But then, at first Kiran Kilday born of Ireland didn't have any either, what brought him here, I wonder? Did he and his wife see a realtor advertisement stating that homes in thier price range were available in a town they never heard of, like us?
Kieran Kilday was my Grandmother's maternal Uncle. I have no idea why neither myself or my Mother (who also now owns a house in Randolph) had ever heard of him before finding his name on a list of birthdates in a notebook buried in the attic of my Grandparent's home but such as it is, it is true. We never heard of him and yet here he is, joined to us by DNA and a commonality in choices of where we made our homes.
Never heard of the guy at all and then suddenly here he is, family and all, in a cemetary right across from the town ice rick where my husband plays hockey once a week.
A cemetary I used to drive by every day on my way to work at the mall.
Go figure...

Even living here, it still took some searching to find Mr. Kilday, there are 20 cemetaries in the immediate Randolph area. I had gone through about 5 of them on foot, sent emails and letters in regards to some of the others and done some more searching on line. All efforts with no luck until on a whim today, I turned into St. Mary's cemetary and as I was about to give up and leave,
there he was:

Having searched for other family members I knew it was entirely possible that he could be buried in the cemetary without a stone or I may have found him buried under a stone that mearly read KILDAY (a common enough name), he also could have been buried in a plot under another name entirely (a plot owned by his wife's family or children perhaps).
The chances that I would just luck across him,
well, as slim as they were,
the odds apparently were in my favor after all.

So, one mystery solved, here lies my Grandmother's Uncle and his family, but then it also begats another mystery or 2.
Who is this metioned behind the main head stone, but clearly in the same plot joining the Kilday's for eternity?

How does Joseph McElroy fit into the family tree puzzle and considering he passed away this year, is there someone still living in Randolph, tending this plot who may be able to add information to my branch?

Then there is also the question of what happened to John R.? It seems that he must have been a child of Kieran and Sabina but to have died so young, in a time of war without military mention on his stone. What was his story?

It may take me years to come to find out more but the fun of discovery in the process of the search makes it all worthwile.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Snap shots...

I guess being glossy 8x10's these are actually more than snap shots but the fact is that there are no markings on the back so as obviously eventful as the events pictured are, what we are left with amounts to a couple of quick snap shots of a life. The woman in the pearls and black dress in the fore ground of the top photo is my Great Aunt Catherine "Kay" E. (Cummings) McIntyre and the woman in the bottom photo with the corsage is also her. It just makes me wonder, how many great photos out there of cultural or historic intrest have been lost in time because someone's friend, family member or neighbor didn't label the image? Who is that guy with his arm around Kay in the first picture? Who are the obviously posed couple in front of her in the second one? And for that matter, what's the story behind the short chunky woman and her tall dancing partner, the girl with ther teired ball gown in the top picture, and the lady in the second picture that appears to be signing something. Who were they? They all strike me as interesting and the only reason I even know they ever existed at all is that they had the happenstance to cross paths with my Aunt Kay at some point in time. Maybe out there, someone else has a copy of these pictures that their relative saved and is wondering right along with me, what's up with that lady with the pearls/corsage? I wonder who she could have been.... Update: (4-13-11) The last photo is a publicity event held at Boston Music Company, the celebrities seated are: Robert Merrill, Roberts Peters (also known as Mrs. Robert Merrill) and Rise Stevens. All 3 were Metropolitan Opera Stars and this appearance occured Tuesday April 22, 1952 from 3 to 4pm at The Boston Music Company Boylston Street, Boston. I found out this information when my aunt gave me a folder full of documents and photos from the same event.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Double Dating with the Draft Board.

I found these letters and article folded together in Charles J. McIntyre's belongings. I find them interesting from both a family history and a sociological 'America in wartime' point of view.
My Grandfather, Charles J. McIntyre never served with the armed forces during WWII or Korea for a couple of reasons.
Early in the war, his father was an elderly widower, in poor health who had no other children to care for him. Charles was trained as an accountant by trade but took a temporary position as a patrolman for The Boston Police Department to replace a man who went to fight over seas. In time the position became permanant and later in the war, it was deemed that he should not be drafted due to the nature of his job.
(I have a letter regarding that somewhere that I will find and post later)
I was surprised to learn that legitimately getting married would have been an excuse to avoid getting drafted but got some insight as to why after reading the letters that were saved with the article.
My Grandfather had to write a letter attesting to the fact that my Grandmother was "performing her household duties to the very best of her ability"and if she was working, why was she doing it and how much money was she bringing home.
I kind of get the whole, 'if she's working, maybe we can eventually draft him because he doesn't really have to support her' thing but I don't get the kind of vague threat that Uncle Sam might come knocking and if Claire McIntyre didn't perpare and perform just the right "duties" as a housewife then off to the war her husband would go. I really do wonder just what was meant by that question, if Grandpa Charley had sent a signed affidavit attesting to the fact that his wife kept a clean house but was a lousy cook (both true*) what then?

The letters are pretty easy to read but the most interesting part, the article, is not so i will transcribe it here:


When a Roslindale boy meets a girl from now on, falls in love with her and marries her, he must have witnesses who will furnish him with a sworn affidavit concerning the legnth of time of the courtship, and the date of the engagement.
The newly married registrants of local board 36 yesterday were astonished to recieve the following form with thier questionaires:
"Dear Sir:
"In order that this board may properly classify you, and insamuch as you have married subsequent to the 16th of October, 1940, it will be necessary that you file with us a sworn affidavit covering the following facts:
"1- The legnth of time of your courtship and the date of your engagement.
"2- The fact that you have established your own home: that your wife is dependent upon you for support; that she is, or is not, working, and following the duties of a housewife.


"It will be necessary that you obtain from some person who has known you for some time a letter in the form of a sworn affidavit substaining the facts of your courtship.
"Your prompt attention to this matter is requested."
The draft prospects asserted last night that romance becomes a matter of affidavit hereafter in West Roxbury and Roslindale. No longer may sweet nothings be whispered in the canoes on the Charles River or under the grape arbors of suburban homes. For when "Jane" says "Yes," John must stop to jot down the date and rush to get a couple of friends to make an affidavit that it is an engagement.
Some of the prospective draftees may have had long courtships. Others may have had short ones. But, according to the rules, if they were married since Oct. 16, 1940, which was nearly 14 months before Pearl Harbor, they must file the statements of the legnth of thier love-making before they popped the question.
It may have been a cleverly devised question box to determine if there were young men in West Roxbury and Roslindale who became married-since Oct. 16, 1940 - just to escape the draft. Perhaps, under government regulation similar questionaires are being sent to draftees in other local draft board areas. But it certainly put a crimp on the activities of Cupid and there were rumors last night that (unreadable) the district were even going (unreadable) draftees asserted last night was just like living in a goldfish bowl, as far as West Roxbury and Roslindale are concerned.
In case, for instance, a young man registered in the district should meet a young woman, he must perforce write down her name, address, and the date of thier aquaintenship. When aquaintenceship blossoms into something more serious, it appears, witnesses are needed. When the engagement is clinched, then more witnesses are needed according to the board."

* My Mother has told me several times that her Mother (as great as she was in other aspects) was a lousy cook of almost epic perportions. One story stands out particularly in my Mother's mind because she got in trouble and was sent to her room in the middle of dinner through no fault of her own.
It was an evening when there were some tensions at the table and the food served apparently did not help the situation any. My Mother tried to do the right thing and just eat the meal but when she attempted to put her fork into the burger patty on her plate, it was so tough and over cooked that her fork would not pierce it and the patty slipped out from under her fork, bounced off the glass doors seperating the dining room from the living room and landed on the floor.
My Mother was then sent to her room and still seethes about the injustice of her punishment to this day...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Claire (Celia,Cecelia) Frances Cummings McIntyre

This is my Grandmother Claire Cummings McIntyre. (She was also identified as Celia and Cecelia in various documents through her life).
According to the back of the picture she is standing on Craigsville Beach (Cape Cod, MA) in July 1939.
I love the modest beach 'ensable' (including what appears to be a kerchief in her hair), her more cosmopolitan friend casually smoking in the background sporting extremely stylish shades soaking in the shade of her umbrella.
Add the vintage cars in the back ground and it's a grand day at the beach overall!

I'm on vacation this week myself and tho we are sticking closer to home, I really like that I found this one maybe 70 years to the day from when it was taken and am currently nursing my own sunburn due in part to the fair Irish skin that was passed down to me by this well covered up woman... : )

Sunday, June 20, 2010

This is my Grandfather Charles Joseph McIntyre as the public saw him:

It's got some funky blurring on it and the marking on the back explains why: "1:30am Jan 20, 1962 taken in front of 8 Tyler St. Taken with a Poloroid camera developed in 10 seconds."
The technology of instant prints must have been pretty new and exciting for it to be worth mentioning how long it took to delelop the shot.

This is how I remember him:

This shot was taken with a Poloroid as well but, a couple of years later. Apparently the technology was not so exciting any more because nothing is noted on the back of this one. My grandfather passed away when I was 7 or 8 years old and the few memories I have of him are of being instructed to "go kiss your Grandpa Charley goodbye" after visits to the house where he sat in his chair in the dining room, smoked his cigar and watched TV while "the women folk" visited in the adjacent living room.
I really can't remember a single word he ever uttered but I do remember he would give me a little smile and present his cheek for a kiss without taking his eyes off the TV.
That was about all I had of my Grandpa Charley but it was enough, to this day whenever I smell a burning cigar, I think of him.

A customer came into the cafe today and after I made his drinks he gave me his credit card to ring them up while he added milk and sugar and what not. I was a bit surprised by the unusual credit card and even more surprised by the name one it,
Charles E. McIntyre.
We had a little chat about spellings of McIntyre and what my Charles J. McIntyre did for a living.
Then Charles E. took his card back, took his take out tray and headed for the incredible Cape vacation that he was surely on his way to with the fam and thier very special (1/2 caf, splash of Chai, cafe au lait....) coffee drinks.
I thought about Charles E. after he left and the only other person I've ever seen use that kind of credit card (Joe Perry from Aerosmith) and wondered for a brief moment what Charles E. does for a living and why couldn't we all be decended from him and his black card lifestyle, then I thought some more about that duct taped leather chair that sat in the dining room for at least a year after Charles J. was no longer sitting in it.
I thought about the scent that hangs in a room long after hundereds of cigars have been smoked there, and that "Yeah, I'm watching the game but but the kids here smile".

We are collectively the product of where we come from and since I am pretty happy with who I became, I'll keep my memories and tho it might be tempting to day dream for a moment or 2, I really wouldn't trade tip jars with Charles E. for anything in the world...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kilroy was here...

My Grandmother Claire (Cummings) McIntyre is not the bride but the maid of honor in this picture. The Bride is Ann Kilroy and her high haired betrothed is Frank Keenan. Tom Kilroy is the best man and the picture was taken approx 1936 or 1937.
I know this because the picture is such labeled on the back in the handwriting of Claire's sister, Catherine (My great Aunt "Kay").
I absolutely love my Grandmother's gorgeous velvet dress, the flowers, the snazzy gloves on the men but what I really like about this picture is that it was labeled.
Even tho the portrait was obviously an important occasion, by the time this picture came into my hands, there really was no one left to ask the question, who were all these people?
My Grandmother Claire (aka Cecilia or Celia) passed away in 1967, 3 years before I was born. Although it is nice that my Mother is available to readily identify her own Mother in pictures, she had no idea who the other people were and without the label, this lovely portrait of a rather important time in thier lives could be completely lost.
I'm going to ramble a bit here and I would like it if you would hang with me for a paragraph or two because my point is one that I think is important.
There have been 2 significant fires in my life.
The first destroyed my Father's home nearly taking the life of my sister and her Mother along with it. The second occured a few years later in the house where I had grown up but had not lived in for about a decade.
Both homes were total losses.
That is to say, everything was destroyed either by fire or by the water used to fight it. Both of the families living in those homes at the time of those fires lost everything.
It is very easy to say,
"But they kept the most precious thing of all, thier lives."
And yes, thankfully, very thankfully, all of the people living in those homes at the time of those fires, survived without serious physical injury.
But think for a moment about what they really lost, not just things but thier entire history, thier original birth certificates, thier children's first teeth, and all of the photographs that their parents and grandparent had lovingly preserved in albums for future generations, gone forever in less than 12 hours.
Generations of history, just gone.

This is also related to my point,
trust me for just a little bit longer...

My Paternal Grandmother (Ruth (Simmons) Pearson collected post cards for decades that she would pick up in antique and trinket stores along the routes of her many travels. One one night a couple of years ago while browsing through her old albums, I took it upon myself to Google the name and address of one of the recipiants of a post card that had caught my eye. I found a link to a geneology page for a decendant of the adressee and contacted him about the card. I asked if he was indeed related to the recipiant, amazingly enough he was and I was able to scan the card and email it to him.
You never really know where things with your name on them will wind up after you are gone...
My sister Sarah made a pretty great family hisory discovery when she was only about 15, knowing that her Grandfather (Roy Pearson) had writen several books and had a habit of inscribing them for friends and family on special occasions, she searched "Roy Pearson" on Ebay and Amazon and found some of his books for sale that were inscibed by him to friends and co-workers.
I have since found a few more of his books and and with every one we dig up out of the modern web, it's like a friendly little note from the past saying,
"Hi, I was here."
The point of this whole ramble is this:
Most of us are taught from a young age that modesty is becoming and shouting to the world in big flashy letters just how magnificent it is that a person born bearing our name turned out to be as great as we think ourselves to be is unelegant and distateful behavior.
I, a formerly extremely shy person, have now to seriously beg to differ...
If we don't shout our names to future generations by labeling every possible passing thing that we come into contact with, "I WAS HERE" than what will become of our memory?
Sure, your decendants will save every scrap they can but what if that all that care and hard work goes up in smoke?
What if somewhere along the way, you had the misfortune to lose a home?
What if there is a picture somewhere of your ancestor, completely unrelated to the owner of the photo who happens to get on line one night and Google your ancestors name in the hopes of finding someone else out there looking back for the same person?
All I can think is how wonderful it would be if someone contacted me with a photo of my family that I had never seen before.
Who knows if the modern Kilroy family is even insterested at all in thier own ancesators, maybe they were real jerks at heart and best forgotten. Who knows?
I will try in my spare time to hunt down the modern Kilroy's (such a common last name, I might not have much luck but then through the generosity of my friend Elizabeth, I found a modern McIntyre cousin, 5 times removed, in NH so stranger things have happened...)
So, the whole point of my ramble is,
I know who those total strangers are because someone took the time to tag this photograph,
"Kilroy was here."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Joe O'Leary and Maureen O'Hara

This is a neat one, but not for the obvious reasons. Yes, Maureen O'Hara was a fabulously famous actress but the most interesting person in this photo I think is Joe O'Leary.
He was absolutely crazy about my great aunt "Kay" (Catherine McIntyre) and even though they were quite advanced in age by the time they met, he was rather insistant that he wanted to marry her and asked her several times before she finally, tentetively, said yes.
I remember his coming over the house in Roslindale many time but one day when I was in the dining room watching TV I was absolutely shocked at what I saw. Mr. O'Leary came in the back door, swept Kay up in his arms and greeted her in a big bear hug and a very passionate kiss on her neck.
Highly charged romantical-type greeting, stuff in my very young mind that only happened when either Olivia Newton-John and/or John Travolta were involved and preferably when both were involved in a song and dance number.
Even tho I knew that "Kay was going to marry Mr. O'Leary", in my young mind, romance was surely the last thing they would ever be thinking of, "old people" just didn't think about those sorts of things, did they?!?
In the end, the event never happened, as I recall Kay dragged her feet a little too long and Mr. O'Leary passed away.
But I could be wrong on how it ended, like I said, I was viewing the whole relationship from the corner of my eye and the point of view of an 11 year old more occupied with the TV in the dining room.
A few posts ago I mentioned friendships but going through old letters sent to Kay it is clear that she had many admirers and some serious relationships developed from those. These men who were never really related to us in any way have no real branch on the family tree but I do remember Mr. O'Leary and how significant his relationship to Kay was.
Even if he was never really realted to us, the relation is worth remembering.

This picture was most likely taken at a fund raiser of some sort, I am quite ceratin that Maureen O'Hara was never a dinner guest at the Roslidale house tho that's a bit of a shame, I bet the plastic would have come off the furniture for her....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My Grandfather Charles Joseph McIntyre was hired as a City of Boston "military substitute" patrolman in June 1941 by September of that year he was hired permanantly and retired from the force in 1976. In the 1950's he worked a lot of details outside bars and nightclubs in Boston's South End. By the time he retired he was working a desk job.
A couple of years ago I had a bit of a "brain fart" and sent and email requesting his employment records from the City of Boston. (to the best of my knowledge, I didn't have to pay anything for this service)
What I got in the mail a few weeks later was a documented almost month by month history of his life from the time he was about 30 til very near his death.
His medical records as well as employment records were all included in the 100 some odd pages (some hand written) that were sent to me.
My Mother listened to me talk about these documents with a sort of quiet patience that parents reserve for kids who get all excited about something the parents find hopelessly dull.
Then I read from a medical examiner's letter that detailed a night when my Grandfather was:
"struck on the head with a glass by a prisioner he had arrested outside the G&N Restaurant, 518 Tremont Street, City."
At that point my snapped her head around and with a very surprised look on her face said,
"I remember that night!"
When her Father came home the night of this incident she was sent to her room. Having no real reason to remember it, she had almost forgotten it.
As any kid would remember thier father coming home injured, she remembered the night but being only about 11 at the time, and a girl as well, she was not told what happened at the time and the memory kind of slipped away to the back files of her mind.
Charles Joseph McIntyre's employment record turned out to be such a wealth of information to me. Not only did it contain interesting glimpses into his day to day life but it records time off he took for his parents deaths and his children's births and childhood injuries. It also is a priceless record of his medical history.
We got a bit lucky that he worked for one employer for so long but I often wonder if other "companies" still in business would still hold records of former employees and what hidden genological/historical gems may be out there just waiting for some interested party to dig them up and blow the dust off....

Monday, May 10, 2010

Car Wash Babes

The woman in the middle might be my grandmother "Claire" (Cummings) McIntyre but it's hard to tell.
This snapshot was not in an album,
(some other old pix were in albums that look like they were made by whoever processed the roll of film and sometimes the other pix in the album hold clues but this one was adrift on it's own in a box with many others from different occasions and differnet generations)
and had no markings on the back so I don't really know who the women are or whose car they are washing.
I do know that I have an almost identical lobster pot to the ones in the picture in my kitchen right now. Not much to go on but I am hoping that by searching through more pictures I will find snapshots of these outfits in other pictures, perhaps one's with writing on the back, and be able to indentify who these women are.
In the mean time, this snapshot is going up in a place of honor on our garage wall and may even get sent to the editor of a "tasteful" Hot Rod magazine or the transportation museum if I can identify the vehicle in it.

Til then, forever in posterity these women are having
"fun, fun, fun til her daddy takes her T-bird away..."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

This is Katherine "Kay" McIntyre and her friend Doria sometime around 1942-45.

We have tons of pictures of Kay and her friends and it's recently occured to me that although we know most of thier first names, their last names have been lost to time and the feeling that thier last names were just not important pieces of information to hold onto.
It is interesting that although there are many sites dedicated to ancestry and geneology, I can't think of any that have spaces set aside for close friends.

I come from a very small family and perhaps that is why I developed a handful of very close friends at a young age that have developed into extended "family". All of my milestones from grade school til now have been shared with the same handful of friends.
It seems to me that any historical record of my life would be lacking without thier being a part of it.
Seeing all of these pictures of Kay and the friends she kept for life, makes me think something important is missing in any family record that does not include them as well.
I've noticed that now has a photo upload function. As they grow, maybe sometime in the future they might add links for other non-familial but never the less important, relations.
It is not only blood that shapes where we come from, I think it's clear that who we are is, in the end, built by all of our important relationships.

Charles Cummings

I think this might be Charles Cummings. The house in the background and the pony seems very similar to the photo I recently posted of Katherine Cummnings and the age seems right that this might be her brother.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I wasn't entirely sure who the girls in the second pictures were until I found the first one and noticed that the girl standing on the left is definately Katherine Eileen Cummings (my great aunt).
The other girl is either Katherine's sister Mary or her other sister, my Grandmother, Claire (also known as "Cecelia/Celia"). My Grandmother died before I was born and I did not see Mary often as a child but I did see Auntie Kay quite often and I think that's how I knew it was her in the more casual picture. The glasses threw me a little but something in her expression made me realize, "Oh, that's definately her."
I never knew Auntie Kay to wear glasses but I do remember her wearing contacts when I was growing up. I saw them on her dresser when I was a kid and thought the very idea of sticking little things into your eyes was just the weirdest thing.
I'm not sure when contacts were invented (or put into popular use by the masses) but I do know this may be the only picture I have of Katherine in glasses. There are tons of pictures of her from her late teens-30's and none of them show her wearing glasses.
I find it an interesting insight to her personality that she must have taken great care not to be photographed wearing them. I am pretty sure she wouldn't have had contacts until she was older, I just don't think they were in mass circulation then, but I could be wrong...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

This one is really neat on a lot of levels.

This is my Grandmother Cecelia/Celia/Claire (Cummings) McIntyre and her brother Charles Cummings. When I first saw it, I thought how great it was that the background shows that the stone wall that now surrounds the yard was not yet built but the intersection of Walter Street and Cotton Street in Roslindale is still very easily identifiable.
(What happened to that evergreen behind them, who knows? It wasn't there in my lifetime...)
It's pretty obvious that this picture was taken at or near wartime but a mark on the back narrows it down even further.
"MAR 1943"
(My Mother was born June 6, 1944 which is no matter in regards to this pic but interesting none the less.)
I really liked this picture because I thought my friends Rebecca and George, who in the early 90's lived in a great attic apartment just up the street from where this was taken, would find it interesting.
But there was more...
Ages ago,
(sometime in the late 80's perhaps?)
there was a Christmas party at the Rolindale house and my Mother wanted to give a special gift to her Aunt Mary's family.
(Mary was "Claire", Charles and Katherine's sister)so she had some old pictures she had copied (this was before the ease of scanning, she paid a photograph professional quite a chunk of change to have those pictures copied and I remember how tense she was til she got the originals back, but I digress...)
I very clearly remember sitting in the living room near my Mother and Mary when small talk turned to where we were living, My Mother told Mary that we no longer lived in Brookline and had moved to Jamaica Plain. My Mother was describing the neighborhood when Mary seemed to recognise a street name and animatedly exclaimed, "We used to live near there!"
At that point her sister Katherine entered the room behind her and stated rather vehemently "We never lived near there." and kind of rolled her eyes a bit.
At the time it seemed that Mary might have been confused and the conversation was dropped but I always kind of wondered about it.
Then along comes this picture with a faded mark on the back that looks a bit like a postmark and reads "MAR 1943 Jamaica Plain".
I'm not sure who made the mark but taken in context of that old tossed away in the back of my brain conversaion, I think it's pretty clear that someone lived in Jamaica Plain in or around 1943 and they had to be close enough to the family to get the film developed.
Curiouser and curiouser...
I am sure there is some totally boring explaination but mysteries like this are why I really love digging through all these old pictures.
On the back of one in every dozen is a really great clue to figuring it all out...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Retro Beach Bunnies

With as much rain as we have had around here lately, it may seem that beach attire would be the most appropriate thing for all of us to be wearing these days...
I love old pictures not only for the people and things that the photographer meant to capture but the things that they inadvertantly captured without really thinking about.
Katherine McIntyre's bathing suit style is cute enough that it would be retro chic on the beach even in 2010 but can you imagine seeing anyone wearing a bathing cap on the beach or any men dressed like Charles Cummings (center) or Charles McIntyre?
I am also wondering if my Mother's (Kathleen McIntyre) suit was possibly a hand medown from her older brother, poor kid...

Monday, March 29, 2010

I wrote a long, lovely post about how my sister Sarah's (McNeil/Pearson) ancestors came to the Boston area via England and Scotland and Catherine McIntyre's (Cummings) parents came to Boston from Ireland.
I waxed poetic on the symbolism the statue represents to all who come to this country no matter how they get here.
It was a really great post,
would have made you cry,
which is what I almost did when I tried to post it and got a message telling me to hit the back browser and try again...
they say a picture contains a thousand words.
(or something to that effect...)
In this case it better because it's too late to write the whole thing all over again...

This "snapshot" could not even really be called that, it's size is only slightly larger than a postage stamp (a photographers proof perhaps?).
Looking at it in tiny size it appeared that the man in the fore front might be my Grandfather Charles J. McIntyre but blown up larger I am no longer sure that it's him.
The intersection where this was taken I would recognise anywhere tho, this picture was taken just outside Park Street station, Downtown Crossing, Boston.
Even without proper ID of the people in it, I still like it for cars and the history of place.
From approx 1998-2004 I worked as a Department Sales Manager for Filene's right up the street from where this was taken.
When I was a kid, Charles's second wife Catherine used to dress me up nice and take me "Downtown" to the restaurant located in the Filene's building where I eventually wound up working. Interesting enough I found myself working with women who had worked in that restaurant as well as women hired in the 1940's who still worked the sales floor. That building held an incredible amount of history not only in it's walls but in the memories of those who commuted there every day.
I haven't worked in that area for years but I still find the history of it fascinating.

Monday, March 22, 2010

My mother, my uncle and I cleaned out the house that my McIntyre great grandparents bought about 1916 a couple of summers ago and just as we were about to leave on the last day my uncle suggested I check the attic one last time.

(The stairs were very steep and I was the only one from the family who was able to safely climb them and go through the attic before the proffessional cleaners came and took away all the last of the old deteriorating broken furniture and junk)

At the top of the stairs was a box with some stuff I'd already gone through and discarded as junk but just in case I went through it one last time and I swear this item was not there the first time I went through it but I can say with much certainty that I was rather exausted at the end of the process so I might have missed it the first time, I dunno... I'm just really thankful that my Uncle Danny asked me to check one last time, this old fashioned address book contained no addresses but it was full of Cummings/Kilday birth and marriage dates and places. Totally irreplaceable information that would have been impossible to verify without this first hand source.

I have no idea who the person was that wrote most of the entires (some were noted by Catherine Eileen (Cummings) McIntyre but most were the handwritting of a person unknown. Most likely it was a woman, definately a Cummings, and as I look at the pages I often wonder what that woman would think of where the book wound up and the household it lives in now. It also makes me wonder who in the future will be looking at these virtal pages.
neat stuff no matter how you look at it...

I believe this is my maternal great grandmother Mary (McNamara) McIntyre but I could be wrong, I only base that on thinking that maybe I was told that once. This picture was on display in the office of my grandparents house for years and I know I saw it quite a few times and probably asked at some point who the people in it were.
If I was told, I have forgotten who the man is.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

This is my Mother's Uncle Charles Cummings who served overseas in WWII. He's always stood out in my mind because I never met him (he died either in 1969 or 1970, very close to when I was born). It seems that during his time over seas he was based mostly in India.
Although I enjoy the pictures of him in familiar living rooms and family scenes, his pictures from India are most fascinating to me because being born in 1970, my idea of World War II centers almost exclusively in northern Europe and Japan. I suppose I could read up and educate myself more on the subject but there is soooo much out there to read. It really is hard to know where to start, a couple of old pictures found in a Roslindale cedar chest I guess, is as good a place as any....

The family has many very small ivory figurines that "Charley" sent back ( knowing what we do now about the horrors of the ivory trade, in looking at these objects, I try to remember that it was a different time and his intent in sending these home was not to perpetuate cruelty to animals but to send his sisters something pretty. ) We also have books and letters that he sent home during that time. He may have been a bit of a heavy drinker who never married but it's abundantly clear that he was also, in his own way, a sort of family man.
Amusingly enough, when we were cleaning out the family house in Roslindale, my husband took some old dusty, rusty junk metal from the basement that we figured could be sold and work make the basement look nicer to prospective buyers at the same time. Amongst that stuff were a few small wooden boxes that had assorted nails and screws and such organized into them. Michael kept those to use in our own home and was organizing them one night at our basement bar. I think I was just watching TV or fooling around on the computer when he asked,
"Who is Charles Cummings?"
I told hime that's my Mother's uncle and asked where he saw that name. It was on a label affixed to one of those small wooded boxes that were taken from the basement. The box had been previously used by "Uncle Charley" to send those ivory figurines from India.
You never really know where you are going to find great information, it could be preserved nicely in a photo album or perhaps affixed to back of a box of rusty old nails in the back of a dank and dirty basement...

Monday, March 1, 2010

I love this picture of my Great Aunt Katherine (Kay) McIntyre. There are far more pictures of her in well posed situations, the spontinaity and humor of this one are what make it one of my favorites.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The top image is my great grandfather John Cummings(also known as 'Commings' in Ireland) citizenship papers. This copy was requested by his wife Catherine in 1920. John and Catherine Cummings were parents to Catherine, Charles, Mary and Cecelia (also known as Celia and Claire).
I am not sure who the man in the second photo is. He is definately a Cummings (or Cummings related) My town's local historian (Henry Cooke-Randolph, MA) designs period costumes for movies and such and I am hoping he will be able to tell me more about the hat in this photo. I am wondering if the man was a trolley conductor or something like that.
Once I find out what he did, I should be able to determine who he was.

My Mother's cousin informs me that this is my Mother's Grandfather who came to Boston from Ireland, married and had a few children and then abandoned his family to return to Ireland. He was a streetcar conductor, hence, the hat.
Have I mentioned lately how much I love the internet? : )

Friday, February 19, 2010

These are a couple from an assortment of many pictures that Charles and Catherine McIntyre took on their trip to Ireland in 1974.
The first was taken on the Cliffs of Moher and the second was taken outside a tea shop in or near Kerry.
I went on a tour that visited the same cliffs in 2005 or 2006 and I can say with much confidence, it's a miracle that this smiling threesome were not immediately swept out to sea. They are standing very close to the edge.
When I visited there were tons of signs warning against getting too close to the edge but they didn't help a woman who was swept off the cliffs by a hard gust of wind the day after we were there.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

This was a fun picture to find. I was digging through a big box of pictures with my Mother and asked her who this guy was in the middle of my great aunt and her friends.
I didn't recognise him at all.

She took the picture from me, looked at it and passed it back. \
"Rocky Marciano."
"Get out!" says me. "Rocky Marciano? How do you know that?!?"

( It wasn't like he was a frequent guest at Sunday dinner or anything... )
Slueth that I am I had neglected to look at the back of the photo.
My great aunt Catherine (Kay) Cummings-McIntyre is on the right in this photo, her friend Doria is on the left of Mr. Marciano, I'm not sure who the woman in the front is.

Let us begin...

I have paternal relatives that have done extensive geneology research and thier stories and photos got me wondering about my maternal line.
Unfortunately, my family on the Cummings/McIntyre side is very small and no immediate relatives that I know of have had any intrest in researching the family past.

It seems to me that a lot of Irish imigrant families had a habit of leaving more than thier immediate relatives in Ireland when they came to America, a lot of them seem to have left behind a lot of thier past.
Perhaps that is why many Irish families were so successful in thier immigration and prolific once they arrived, perhaps for the valuble ability to blend and assimilate, something had to be sacrificed.

Or perhaps that's just my family...
About 2 years ago I started working at the bookstore with Bill West ( ) who has a really great geneology blog and lunch room discussions with him got me thinking,
"I'd love to just stumble across something like that for my family..."
Conversations with another friend with an intrest in geneolgy and an account got me really digging and one day my friend Elizabeth emailed me and told me a McIntyre had contacted her through and would I like her phone #.
Whould I?!?
I wound up speaking with a total stranger, Donna, on the phone for an hour and a half and learned more from her than I ever could have gotten from my own relatives about where we came from.
About 2 years ago we cleaned out the family house that my McIntyre great grandparents had built in Roslindale, MA about 1915. Much to my surprise, the attic, basement, cedar chests and every cabinet and closet was filled to the brim with pictures.
For a family that did not seem to care much for it's past, they sure did one heck of a job documenting thier present.

My idea for this blog is to use what I have, the pictures, to document what I can in the hopes that I can create the sort of blog that I would love to have stumbled on in my own search.
So where am I going with this?
Who knows?
Let's just wait and see what develops....

Hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I do!
: )