My great-grandfather, Robert Minor (1869-1943), was brought up on the family farm just outside the village of Garards Fort, Pennsylvania. Just down the red-dog Ceylon Lane stood the sturdy brick home of his Uncle Samuel (1825-1909) and Aunt Louisa (1832-1917) Minor. Sam and Robert’s dad, Marion Minor, were two of John P. and Isabella Minor’s sons, farming land purchased in the 1820s from the Myers and McClelland families.
Sam and Louisa were married in 1852. In the next eighteen years, Louisa gave birth to eight children, three girls and five boys. Their eldest daughter, Isabella, died in childhood. But the rest lived to thrive into adulthood. At the time of this studio work, two boys, Jesse and John, had migrated to Taylor County, Iowa, where they settled among many other Greene County transplants. Three boys, Friend, Sam, and William, were finding their way in and around the farm, and the two girls, Mary Euna and Della, were still living at home. A teenage Robert would have known those cousins well, and would certainly have recognized Sam and Louisa as they are captured here in this set of 1885 portraits by Thomas W. Rogers of Carmichaels.
Chances are that you, family historian, live within reach of a local genealogical server, an organization that is dedicated to preserving your sanity, as you preserve your family’s stories. These genealogical societies can host educational events, house regional history archives, and provide encouraging words during even the most discouraging of times.
My local server, The Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical Society, includes an amazing team of photographers who have rigged up a splendid system of cameras, lights and reflectors. These digitizing fiends capture a myriad of local documents, from baptismal records to century-old newspapers, AND, as I discovered, members’ family treasures.
I recently acquired a set of deeds for my husband’s childhood home in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. The series begins in 1883, with a wonderful document from the Diamond Coal Land Company conveying title to a parcel in Square #6 of the Diamond Addition. Measuring 16¾ inches by 27¼ inches, the yellowed paper proved impossible to scan and challenging to clearly photograph at home. After explaining my predicament to these local genealogists, the guys offered to make digital copies for me! While the cameras worked their magic, I read the Hazleton (PA) Sentinel’s 1884 account of the coal trade on an in-house computer, another product of their preservationist zeal.
Local genealogical societies are wonderful groups to support, with your membership fees and your company. We all have so much to gain from the camaraderie and sharing.