98-Year Old Boat Nearly Sinks its (Previous) Owner

The following excerpt is from an article in the 1 August 2016 Seattle Times. It has nothing to do with genealogy – but it’s a topic that many genealogists can identify with. That’s the tendency for many of us to drop lots of money on historic stuff… The story is local to where Patty and I live. I can identify with this guy.

Marc Landry, who purchased Harbor Patrol No. 1 in 2008, says he spent $78,000 in materials to restore it. He failed to move the boat after an eviction notice, and it is now owned by the Port of Port Townsend and could be headed for demolition. (Sy Bean/The Seattle Times)
Marc Landry, who purchased Harbor Patrol No. 1 in 2008, says he spent $78,000 in materials to restore it. He failed to move the boat after an eviction notice, and it is now owned by the Port of Port Townsend and could be headed for demolition. (Sy Bean/The Seattle Times)

PORT TOWNSEND — There is something about old, historic wooden boats that, for some, turns them almost into living beings.

Says Mike Luis, former executive director at the Center for Wooden Boats, “They stir your soul. Boats are inherently emotional. They are beautiful things. They have interesting stories, they did interesting things. They’re not a neutral object.”

This is the story of Patrol No. 1, a little-known but significant Seattle tugboat that a century ago guarded and watched our waters for more than four decades.

It’s not an overstatement to say Patrol No. 1 ended up taking over the life of its last owner.

Marc Landry, 58, has used up his savings trying to restore it over the past eight years. He’s now homeless, staying with various friends in town, going to the food bank.

Since the boat left service, he’s been among three owners of the boat who have spent some $300,000 in total restoring it. But only Landry has had this much emotional investment. The other two knew when enough was enough.

Read the full article.

Be Careful What You Throw in the Trash

This weekend, Patty and I, with the help of grandson Robby (age 4), and Tucker (our lab – age 5) spent what seemed like unending hours loading a large trailor with yard & garden debris, as well as tree trimmings. Using two chain saws, and two sets of loppers, we cut and disposed of more yard waste than we’ve dealt with in years. Sunday night about 9 pm we finally gave it up as it got too dark to do anything more.

Early Monday morning, our son, Lee, came by with his truck and picked up the trailer for a run to the Bountiful land fill. As we were unloading, Lee and I both noted the number of pictures that were thrown around the dumping area. I saw a full album of photographs that someone had tossed in the trash. It wasn’t “old,” and considering where it was lying, it never would be… I commented to Lee that someone must have gotten divorced. Whether that was the case, we will never know. This got me to thinking about photo albums and family memorabelia that gets tossed. I’ve seen lots of items that got scheduled for the land fill when a divorce took place, and the same thing happens when folks die. As genealogists, we need to impress upon our friends and relatives that keeping the family memorabilia might be a good idea… Even if these items don’t seem important at the time.

Houstory’s Heirloom Registry Scavenger Hunt March 4-10, 2013

The following news release, all dealing with friends of mine, is from PRWEB:

Ferndale, Wash. (PRWEB) February 28, 2013: Nationally respected genealogy experts and authors Maureen Taylor and Janet Hovorka are the latest sponsors of Houstory’s Heirloom Registry Scavenger Hunt, which runs March 4-10.

Hovorka, who is currently president of the Utah Genealogical Association, has donated a copy of both her new book, “Zap The Grandma Gap,” as well as an accompanying workbook. Hovorka said “Zap The Grandma Gap” was created to help people connect with their family by connecting them to their family history.

Taylor will be contributing a copy of her book, “Preserving Your Family Photographs.” The book teaches family historians how to take care of their photo collections, and safely preserve these important pieces of history for the future.

“Both Janet and Maureen are well-known figures in the genealogy and family history communities” said Dan Hiestand, Houstory marketing director. “Their passion for genealogy and historical preservation is evident in their writing. Each book would be a valuable addition to any family historian’s tool kit.”

Taylor said The Heirloom Registry provides a valuable service for most anyone who appreciates family history. “We all have family heirlooms – large or small – that need saving for the next generation,” said Taylor.

Hovorka said she is, “passionate about the nutrition family history brings to the soul.” The Heirloom Registry – and the scavenger hunt – may help people tap into that sentiment, she said.

Said Hovorka: “I’m excited to participate in this fun hunt that will get people excited about their family history, help them learn more about The Heirloom Registry and give them opportunities to win great prizes.”

About Janet Hovorka
Janet Hovorka and husband Kim Hovorka own Family ChartMasters (http://www.familychartmasters.com). They are official printers for most of the genealogy software and database companies, and pride themselves on being able to print *any* kind of genealogy chart – ranging from beautiful fine art pieces to 600-foot family reunion charts. Janet is a prolific genealogy lecturer, and is the author of “Zap The Grandma Gap,” a book/workbook series she created to help people connect with their family by connecting them to their family history. She also writes the award-winning “The Chart Chick” blog (http://www.thechartchick.com), the new “Zap The Grandma Gap” blog (zapthegrandmagap.com), and has written for numerous genealogy publications. She is currently serving as president of the Utah Genealogical Association and teaching genealogy at Salt Lake Community College.

About Maureen Taylor
Maureen Taylor, known as “The Photo Detective,” is a genealogist, author, and speaker. Taylor is an internationally recognized photo identification and family history expert, and the author of a number of books and magazine articles. She has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Hallmark Television, The View, Better Homes & Gardens, the Boston Globe, Martha Stewart Living, MSNBC, PBS Ancestors, and more. Her second volume of her popular book, “The Last Muster,” will be available in May, and her new book “The Family Photo Detective” is now available. She is also in the process of working on a television-style documentary based on the stories behind the photos of the Revolutionary War-era men and women featured in “The Last Muster.” For more information, visit http://www.lastmusterfilm.com. To help support this important project, visit the film’s Kickstarter page.

About The Heirloom Registry
The Heirloom Registry is a new service from Houstory. Record a family heirloom’s history in The Heirloom Registry, and its story travels with it. Always. Inexpensive, simple: Tag heirlooms with Registry IDs, and share stories in words and pictures at heirloomregistry.com. Registered stories are permanently accessible to future owners.

Lost Kirker Diary Returned to the Family

The following excerpt is from a VERY INTERESTING article posted in the February 7, 2013 edition of thepress.net.

Antioch resident Gail Kean is an amateur treasure hunter who enjoys scouring thrift shops for unique items others discard as junk, but she never dreamed the discovery of an 80-year-old diary would lead her on an adventure through history.

Kean was casually browsing the shelves of the Hospice of the East Bay Thrift Shop in Antioch last October – the shop has since relocated to Martinez – when she came across a box of old books. She gently sifted through the box and discovered that one book, despite its appearance, wasn’t a hardbound novel like the rest but a diary written by a woman named Myra Kirker.

“I’ve always loved going into these shops and looking for treasures,” said Kean, a teacher at Jack London Elementary in Antioch. “You never know when you’re going to find something truly unique and special. When I found the diary, I couldn’t resist, and it only cost $1.”

Kean wondered if Myra Kirker had any relation to James Kirker, for whom Kirker Pass is named. She logged on to Ancestry.com and signed up for the two-week free trial to see what she could find out. After countless hours of research on the genealogy site and some lucky Internet searches, Kean was able to locate Myra’s granddaughter JoAnn Kinyon in Red Bluff, Calif.

Read the full article.

Lost Telegram Reunited with Family

A few days ago I blogged about a telegram that Daly City police Sr. Detective Joe Bocci was attempting to reunite with the family that rightfully owned it. The following excerpt is from an article posted in the January 3, 2013 edition of the Post Tribune.

Jan. 03–SAN CARLOS — By the time Thanksgiving hit, members of a San Carlos family were wondering what happened to a letter carrying a precious piece of their history.

The letter, which contained a 1938 telegram that was the “opening page” of a family love story, was mailed in early November but never arrived. They feared it was lost until Wednesday, when they learned they’ll get back the memento after its strange voyage through the postal and criminal justice systems.

The telegram was first transmitted the day after their parents’, Fred and Minnie Ciolino, Christmas Eve marriage in Reno, Nev. But a subsequent trip, this time through the mail, may have been derailed by a postal worker who’s accused of stealing about 10,000 letters since at least 2008 to finance his drug habit.

Postal worker Romeo Natan, 38, of San Bruno and two colleagues face felony charges in connection with the thefts. Natan allegedly stole letters carrying credit and gift cards or anything else he could turn into cash to buy methamphetamine.

Read the full article.

Daly City Detective Searches for Telegram’s Rightful Owner

The following excerpt is from an article in the January 3, 2013 edition of the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

DALY CITY [CA]– On Christmas day 1938 a couple named Minnie and Fred sent a telegram to Emma Gonzales in San Francisco telling her they’d arrived in Reno and wished her a happy holiday.

Nearly 75 years later a Daly City police detective fished the creased and yellowed message from the backseat of the car of a postman accused of pilfering credit and gift cards from letters bound mostly for San Carlos homes. Sr. Detective Joe Bocci wants to get the message back to its rightful owner.

“I think someone was passing down some family history,” he said. “It means something to somebody.”

Police believe someone dropped the telegram into the mail in the run up to the holidays. It ended up among the thousands of letters allegedly stolen by postal employee Romeo Natan, 38, of San Bruno.


It was sent to “Emma Gonzales 4434 3 St” at the Western Union office that once sat at 2397 Mission St. in San Francisco. The address was recently a liquor store which is no longer a Western Union agent….

Read the full article in the January 3, 2012 edition of the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Barry H Landau Accused of Historic Document Thefts

This is a big story… And I’m afraid that we’re going to be following it for a while…

The following excerpt is from an article in the July 12, 2011 edition of The Baltimore Sun:

At the Maryland Historical Society, they’re calling it the Great Cupcake Caper.

Before being arrested by police on Saturday and charged with stealing dozens of historical documents, author and collector Barry H. Landau had brought cupcakes for the center’s employees. They figure he was trying to ingratiate himself with the staff, much as he has for decades with political and Hollywood elite.

And it may be a calling card of sorts. As the investigation into the thefts continued to broaden Tuesday, officials at another state historical society said they had been visited multiple times in the past by Landau and his alleged conspirator, who brought Pepperidge Farm cookies for the staff and aroused suspicions with their “odd” behavior.

Word of the arrests has set off a ripple effect among the historic preservation community, with the FBI requesting that other museums and libraries review their logs to see if Landau and 26-year-old Jason Savedoff had been visitors.

Landau is a renowned collector, reputed to have the largest collection of presidential memorabilia outside of museums and the presidential libraries. The former White House protocol officer has claimed to have 1 million artifacts in his Manhattan apartment on West 57th Street.

Read the full article.

Survivor Receives Family Artifacts – 70 Years Later

The following excerpt is from an article by Elaine Alexander, published in the St. Louis Jewish Light.

Earlier this month, 94-year-old Elsie Hirsch Levy received an astonishing phone call from Buettelborn, Germany, the town her family had fled during the Nazi era. The excited caller was Levy’s grade school classmate, Marie Beisswenger, with whom Levy has been in frequent contact. Apparently, for seven decades, Levy has had a date with destiny. And the singular moment had just arrived.

In 1941, before Levy’s parents were deported by the Nazis to Theresienstadt, a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia, a fellow neighbor named Marie Specht had received a box from them for safekeeping.

Specht passed away in 1987, leaving “The Box” in the hands of her daughter, Irma Bund, and her family. In it, the Bunds found some two-dozen photographs and a set of Hebrew-German makhzorim (prayer books) printed in 1907 and dedicated to different holidays of the Jewish calendar. Interested in seeing these artifacts returned to their owner, Irma’s son, Axel, went about trying to fulfill this mission.

Addresses and persons named on the back of the photos, including Elsie Levy’s grandfather, Abraham Bruchfeld III, led Axel to Joachim Hahn. Hahn is the author of numerous books on the Jews of southern Germany, a leader in Christian-Jewish relations and webmaster of a Jewish-German history website.

Read the full article.

Jamestown Pipes Found – With Names on Them!

A number of pipes – the tobacco-smoking kind, have been found in Jamestown, Virginia. And they seem to be inscribed with names of people… The following excerpt is from an AP article by Michael Felderbaum, and posted on the Yahoo News website.

AP – This 2010 photo provided by the Jamestown Rediscovery Project shows composite photograph of eight pipes …

RICHMOND, Va. – Archeologists at Jamestown have unearthed a trove of tobacco pipes personalized for a who’s who of early 17th century colonial and British elites, underscoring the importance of tobacco to North America’s first permanent English settlement.

The white clay pipes — actually, castoffs likely rejected during manufacturing — were crafted between 1608 and 1610 and bear the names of English politicians, social leaders, explorers, officers of the Virginia Company that financed the settlement and governors of the Virginia colony. Archeologists also found equipment used to make the pipes.

Researchers believe the pipes recovered from a well in James Fort were made to impress investors and the political elite with the financial viability of the settlement. They are likely the rejects that failed to survive the ceramic firing process in a kiln.

The find comprises more than 100 pipes or fragments. More than a dozen are stamped with diamond shapes and inscribed with the names or initials of luminaries including explorer Sir Walter Raleigh, who dispatched the colonists to the territory he named Virginia. He also is credited with popularizing tobacco in England and is said to have smoked a pipe just before being executed for treason in 1618.

Other names include Capt. Samuel Argall, a major Virginia Company investor and governor of Virginia; Sir Charles Howard, Lord High Admiral of England; and Earl of Southampton Henry Wriothesley, a Virginia Company official who was also William Shakespeare’s major patron.

Read the full article.

Saving “Stuff” That May Become Artifacts

The following excerpt is from a good article on artifact preservation in the June 1, 2010 Deseret News.

The stuff of our lives — the meaningful things we surround ourselves with, find, are given, gather up, inherit — is the stuff of history.

“These things may not make big money on ‘Antiques Roadshow,’ but they can have real significance in our lives,” says historian and author Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, who has long enjoyed material culture and the “seriousness of innocuous things.”

History is not what happened, it is an account of the past, based on surviving sources. If there are no sources, there is no history.”

The article goes on to explain the basic of preserving many artifacts found around the home. It’s worth reading.

Read the full article.

Red Cross Auctioning Historic Memorabilia to Reduce Their Deficit

WASHINGTON – Rose Percy has a long history with the American Red Cross. Complete with an extensive wardrobe and Rose Percyher own Tiffany jewelry, this 23-inch wax doll was first sold for $1,200 back in 1864 to benefit the U.S. Sanitary Commission – the precursor to one of best-known U.S. charities.

Now, Rose Percy, is on the auction block again.

On Tuesday, Percy will be sold in one of the first rounds of an extensive sale of treasures the American Red Cross has amassed over the decades… The Red Cross also is selling a rare four-faced Cartier clock lamp, nurse uniforms from World War I and what could be the last Civil War-era flag of the forerunner U.S. Sanitary Commission.

Read the full article about the Red Cross auction at the November 16, 2009 edition of the Charleston Daily Mail.

The Citizen’s Canes of Massachusetts

Alerted by an article in the NEHGS eNews for April 29, 2009, I immediately checked out the Boston Post canes. Seven hundred canes were handed out to the oldest resident of Massachusetts towns in 1909. Following is an excerpt from an article in the April 26, 2009 Boston Globe.

…The manse where [Manson] Haws drew his final breaths at the age of 95 still stands – fittingly given the A Citizens Cane - photo by Christopher Kleinoriginal owner’s longevity – as a rest home for the elderly. Sandwiched today between the hustle of Route 2 and the bustle of a Dunkin’ Donuts, the Second Empire-style house looks like a quaint anachronism. Much like his old home, the ebony cane that Haws once clutched in his weathered hands has survived despite a dizzying century of change.

That cane and others like it are reaching a historic milestone this year. It’s been 100 years since Manson Haws, at age 92, first received a Boston Post Cane to celebrate the fact that he was the oldest resident in his town. Haws was just the kind of man that Edwin Grozier, the shrewd publisher of the Boston Post, wanted to exalt when he devised the publicity stunt. Grozier intended his walking sticks to be “a tribute to honored and useful lives, to thrift, temperance, and right living, and above all, to the superb vigor of New England manhood.” Seven hundred walking sticks were given out in 1909, and they were supposed to be passed from oldest resident to oldest resident in a never-ending tradition.

Read the full article.

Inscribed Christening Bowl Finds Its Way Home Thanks to Turtle and the Iowa Genealogical Society

There’s a great genealogy story in the April 26, 2009 edition of the Des Moines Register. It’s the story of the surfacing of a 100 year of a christening bowl, the search by Iowa Genealogical Society staff and volunteers, and the eventual reunion of the artifact with the family. The bowl has ties to the Runyan, Shaw, and Synhorst families of the Des Moines, Iowa area. Following is a teaser from the article:

Inscribed christening bowl

A century-old bowl sits on the coffee table amid a circle of amazed people. They don’t know all the answers to why, after so many years, it returned, though all played a part. They whisper of its spirit.

The tale of the bowl’s reappearance began with a homeless man known as Turtle. He held it in his camp along the Des Moines River in southeast Des Moines. One day last August, Lyle Danielson of Johnston was paddling a canoe, gathering trash from the river as part of the annual River Run Garbage Grab. He stopped on a sandbar to adjust his unwieldy cargo. Turtle greeted him there and asked his business.

Then, Turtle disappeared into the woods, emerging minutes later holding the circular metal bowl. The silver plating was worn off what is believed to be pewter, engraved with names and dates. He handed it to Danielson without words.

Read the full article titled “Century-old christening heirloom found, returned to family,” by Mike Kilen.