Friday, October 1, 2010

How I Identified the People in the Old Photo -Akins? Blanding? Squier? Ells?

 Mystery People from my Great-Grandparents Album 
Ralph ---  Matt  --  Frank  --  Dorothy
 I have had an old photograph, from my great-grandparents photo album, which has caused me many hours of fruitless searching and wondering.  It shows four people, of probably three generations, who I didn't know how they were connected to my family.  Since my Great-Grandmother, Edith Akins was from Minnesota and she married Frank Blanding in Minnesota, I figured it must have been taken when they went back to Minnesota in the 1920s or 1930s from their Los Angeles home (since 1905) for a visit.  Luckily there were four names listing the people:  "Ralph, Matt, Frank, Dorothy"  But no last name!  I looked all through my Akin, Squier, and Ells families, but couldn't put all the names into a logical family connection.

   I recently made a connection with a Squier cousin, Cheryl, through Member Connect with the Family Trees on  We have been exchanging copies of old photos with our e-mails so we can expand our Squier family portraits.  We've also exchanged many other tid bits of family information.  Anyway, I scanned off the entire photo album with many unknown photos during a recent online "Scanfest" that Miriam organizes, and had them all in a "album" folder so I wouldn't forget just where I had originally obtained the images.  I attached many I thought might be a Squier connection to Cheryl so she could have a look.   The next thing I did was look at that one photo with the tantalizing four names.  I though "I wish I could search my index in Family Tree Maker by first name (given name), and when I looked around at the index in version 2011, I saw that option!!!! 
      I don't know if it was available in earlier versions (probably) but for some reason I never thought to try that kind of search.  So I did search through all the Dorothys in my index, and lo and behold I found Dorothy Hatinger..  So I went to the Hatingers and found my Great-Grandfather's sister, Martha Blanding (Mattie), had married three times and her first husband was a Safford, with a son named Ralph, her third husband was a Hatinger and had a daughter, Dorothy!   The Frank in the photo was her third husband, Frank Hatinger (Hattinger).  What a relief to have those pictures go into the right places - with surnames - into my database.  I also copied the photo and cropped each person for their thumbnail photo in Family Tree Maker.   
   I'll have to write Cheryl and tell her that the photo with "Ralph, Matt, Frank, Dorothy"  weren't Squiers after all.  And since they all lived in Montcalm County, Michigan (where Frank Blanding was from originally), I now know it wasn't Minnesota in the background.
   I believe my great-grandfather took the photo, and in that case it was before 1926 when he died.  Also the photo was taken before 1930 because that is when Frank Hatinger died - as evidenced by the photo I took of his tombstone when I drove around Michigan in 2002 (see my other blog
   I love genealogy!

My Great-Grandparents, Frank Blanding and wife Edith Akins

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