Rachel "Sparks" Blackman (seattlesparks) wrote,
Rachel "Sparks" Blackman

More Family Archiving...

I've done a bit more photo archiving today. This time, it was more difficult... the photo album was literally disintegrating in my hands as it was touched -- I got brown leather-dust from the album cover all over my hands, the scanner, and the laptop -- but I was able to save most of the pictures. Some of them were of my grandmother when she was in her teens, playing dress-up and posing in the backyard for whoever had the camera. Some are of my grandmother and great-grandmother in their Girl Scouts uniforms, others are of my grandmother when she graduated, or with her college classmates, or her junior high school pictures, or with the horse she used to ride. I also got a lot of pictures of my great-uncle Fred, including a wonderful one of Fred and grandmother sitting on the side-board of the family car.

This picture, of my great-great-great grandfather, Isaac Bates, is the oldest I've yet found, though there are some of his son, Theodore Melzo Bates, which are quite good. One of them is Theodore sitting at his beloved desk in his law firm... a desk which is still in the family, and is now my dad's desk. :)

Some of the pictures of grandma, I really like...

A picture of grandma and great-uncle Fred sitting on the family car...

Grandmother's college yearbook photo...

Grandma around age 12/13, posing for the camera as part of a set of showing-off-clothing shots. :)

It's amazing to go through all these old family pictures, and really feel the connection. Now I see pictures of grandma with great-grandmother, Katharine Westerman Bates (the one who got expelled from finishing school for stealing the ferry, among many other escapades), and pictures of great-grandmother with /her/ mother, Marie Bourne Westerman, an Englishwoman who married a German worker who passed through Bath, and moved to the states... and one picture of Karl Friedrich Westerman, the worker in question... the last picture known of him before he was found mysteriously murdered and left in the street. All of Karl Westerman's letters. And then also pictures of Clifford Bates (grandmother's father), and of his father, Theodore Melzo Bates, and even of Theodore's father Isaac.

It's also interesting to see grandpa's side of the family; you can really see the gypsy blood, especially in grandpa's features when he was younger. We have fewer pictures from that side of the family, alas, but some of them are still quite good.

Many of these pictures had been packed away unseen for years, so it's interesting to finally have faces to put to names. I still have one more photo album to look through, though I dread it after the condition of this last one; I know this one remaining one is worse. After that, however, I have many documents -- letters from great-uncle Fred chastising grandmother when she and grandpa eloped, all of Karl Westerman's old letters and journals, all sorts of stuff -- to sort through and scan. Thankfully, one thing my grandmother and uncle did was go through all of the papers in German and type them up, then translate and type up the translations. As a result, I should be able to do optical character recognition and scan the stuff directly into .doc or .txt format, though I'll want to scan the originals for great-great-grandfather's handwriting nonetheless.

It's certainly been an interesting project!

At any rate, tomorrow I should be meeting up with stephdray and adamdray, and hopefully surubee and her family, to visit the University of Pennsylvania archaeology museum again. The rest of today, however, will be rather lazy; my aunt's car died, and she's walking to Narberth to finish the errands we didn't do when we went walking this morning. (I've been doing a LOT of walking out here...I always seem to.) When she gets back, since I finished the photos, we'll settle in and watch the Derby, and probably have something snack-y to munch on for dinner afterwards while we watch Lord of the Rings. Yay, lazy Philadelphia evenings...? :)
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