My Mother Does Not Abide Photography

I am reading a surprisingly wonderful biography called The Rocket Girl.  It’s about Mary (Sherman) Morgan, American’s first female rocket scientist.  She worked for a company that did government contracts during the infancy of space race. Her many achievements included an inventing the rocket fuel used in our first rockets.  Many of her contributions were lost until after her death when her son started digging up her story.

The chapter on Mary’s early childhood caught my interest. She grew up in North Dakota in the 1930s.  Mary’s family never took photographs because, as the author wrote, her mother did not abide photography.  When offered to have their photos taken, either by friend or a professional, her mother refused.  She was completely against the whole practice.

It surprises me that this kind of view was present in the 1930s.  I could see in the early years of photography that it might hit up against religious or societal views against vanity and the like.  But, you would think by the 1930s, most people would have had a baby, school, or marriage photo done.

I’ve never run into a relative or ancestor who refused to be photographed on the grounds that it might not be morally right.  Was this a widespread view?

I wonder if this was really what Mary (Sherman) Morgan’s mother believed or if there was something else behind it.  As a genealogist, I find it sad especially for her offspring.  Her son realized too late that preserving photographs would be important to her story and to himself.  How sad it would be to have no photographs of ones family.  And, how thankful I am that my family has many!

Have you come across anyone in your tree who was opposed to photography? Don’t count those who seemed to avoid cameras…LOL

In this video, Mary Sherman’s son discusses her achievements.


A very young marriage

I came across a marriage for the sibling of one of my ancestor that gave me pause to think.  The marriage is for Joze Correa and Roza de Rezendes.  He is the son of Mateus Correa and Maria de Mello.  She is the daughter of Domingos Pimentel and Barbara de Rezendes.  They were married in 1777.

What caught my eye was the baptismal years.  If I was reading it correctly, Joze was baptized in 1764 and Roza in 1766.  It was the practice of the Azoreans to baptize children very soon after birth.  If that held up here, the groom was 13 and bride 11 when they were married.

I know that at different times and places a young bride and groom was not uncommon.  My own great aunt was married at 14.  However, I haven’t seen this in the Azorean records.  They are usually at the minimum 16 and the groom is usually 20 or so.  Roza’s brother, Antonio, didn’t get married until 1797.  These two were already married 20 years by then.

Maybe the priest recording the information messed up.  We all mistakes.  Maybe this was a rare case where the bride and groom were baptized in their teens.  I haven’t found that in my research in the Azores but it’s a possibility.

The only way to find out was to find the baptismal records.  Luckily, the dates were given in the marriage record.  I headed over to the arquivo website to see what I could find.  First page I looked at gave me Roza’s sibling (lucky for me!)  Next, I found Joze’s record, and then I found Roza’s.  In both cases, they were born and baptized same month and year exactly as written on the marriage record.

Woah.  I have to wonder how that came about since it wasn’t the norm.  He was just hitting adolescence and she was really still a child.  Could it be that he got her pregnant?  The only way to find that out will be to search the baptismal records in 1777 or 1778.  Otherwise, I will never know what might cause parents to agree to a marriage between what really is two children.

Looks like I’ve got another genealogy mystery to solve.



Book of Me, Prompt 21: My Hobbies

[This is prompt 21 of the Book of Me, Written by You series:  Hobbies]

I have always had a lot of hobbies.  When I was growing up I loved to make things:  Shrinky Dinks, Shaker Makers, String Art, Latch Hook Rugs, Embroidery, Needle Point, Plastic Canvas.  If they made a kit for it, I probably tried it.  I still enjoy crafts as an adult.  However, arthritis prevents me from doing almost any kind of fine work or stitchery.  I just can’t hold a needle anymore.  My middle niece loves making things and we’ve worked on various projects together over the years.

I’ve always enjoyed jigsaw puzzles, word puzzles, and board games.  I love when my nieces and nephew come over and we have our board game marathons.  And, now I don’t have to let them win because they are old enough to handle losing :D  I love that my tablet allows me to play a whole variety of games.  I enjoy nothing more than mental challenges.

Growing up I collected baseball cards.  I used to have a box (the type you use to wrap clothes for a present) filled with them, especially of the 1970s Oakland A’s.  I began collecting postage stamps in my early 20s.  I was fascinated by the different stamps that came on my letters from pen pals.  My Aunt was the one who got my started collecting them.  I still do this, though not as regularly.  I also collect postcards.  I have postcards from around the world from my pen pals.  They fill several shoe boxes.

I used to love to spend time in nature, going camping, taking hikes, setting out with my camera.  Arthritis put a damper on that.  The pain in my feet making it too difficult to walk for long periods.  But, I’ve kept up with nature photography.  Just in my backyard I can find different flowers and critters to take pictures of.  We get some spectacular sunsets where I live.  When I set out with my camera, it gives a chance to be outside and in the fresh air.  Something I miss since arthritis.

I guess as with most folks doing these prompts, my main hobby is genealogy.  I collect dead people ;)  I also collect binders which are filled with family group sheets and documents.  And, I collect documents and old family photographs.  There isn’t really anyone in my family that is interested.  But, thanks to the internet, I’ve linked up with others who enjoy my passion and I’ve found cousins who are interested in our shared history.

So, you can see that I’m one of those people who can always find something to do (though, I do get bored at times).  I don’t know how I’d get through the day without my various hobbies.