Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Feast Of The Dead

In honor of the day, I present to you my paternal 3x Great Grandparents, Jacob and Catherine. This photo, taken around 1903, was found in a collection of glass negatives that were given to Drake Well Museum. http:// In addition to being a museum dedicated to the Birthplace of the Oil Industry, they also have a great archives collection, that is open to the public.

I didn't know a thing about these people before I started researching, and certainly didn't have a picture of them until we went to Drake Well. It was a bizarre feeling, finding a picture of a long-lost ancestor.

What I love about this picture, other than the sheer incredible-ness of finding it, is that I can see genetics in action. I don't know the why of it, but Jacob is posing for a portrait of himself and his wife wearing the filthiest shirt, and the most pitifully loose pants I have ever seen. It immediately puts me in mind of my father - he refuses to wear anything dressier than corduroy jeans, and doesn't own a single tie. Both my sister and I had to blackmail him to wear a tuxedo for our respective weddings, and he still bitched about it, before, during, and after. I like to think that his Great-great grandfather shared his disdain for fancy clothes.

It would also appear that Jacob might have been what is known as a "butt-less wonder", a trait also shared by my father, whose need to wear suspenders got him the extra pat-down at every airport security stop between here and Wales last year (much to my brother's delight).

Also, like my father, Jacob doesn't appear to be the kind of man you ever attempt to dress. Most of his face is blown out by the sun, but there remains one eye, intently staring, defying the laws of niceties. Now that I think of it, whoever took this picture takes pictures the way my dad does - everyone faces into the sun - maybe it was a family member? Another possible example of genetics in action.


flutter said...

aren't these old photos so fascinating and almost obssesive?

we_be_toys said...

Girl, you got my number! I have so many old pictures now, whereas I had none five years ago. I do get obsessed with some of them - I live in the present, but my head is often in the past.