Saturday, November 13, 2010

Clarence and Daniel

Aren't these two boys cute? The look like they could have been mischief-makers extraordinaire but chances are, during that day and age, childhood mischief was kept in bounds as much as possible through parental input.

I like their short pants and socks and Daniel's little one-piece outfit. Be sure to click on the photograph to get a good look at Daniel's expression. Do you think he looks like he's on best behavior?!

Also interesting to me is what appears to be a dirt road behind them. It's hard to imagine the little village in which I grew up with dirt roads though, of course, every road has a humble beginning.

I found this photo in my grandmother's album. Years ago my mom identified these boys but there was no note about whose boys they were. Through research I've been able to determine that their parents are William Henry and Lucy (VanKirk) Bickerstaff. William Henry is my grandmother's older brother. That makes these boys my mother's cousins and my first cousins once removed. (I only know that specific relationship because my genealogy program has a relationship calculator. Before looking it up I would have said we were 2nd cousins.)

Clarence was born May 12, 1920, in Austintown, Mahoning County, Ohio. Daniel was born November 1, 1922, probably in Austintown or Mineral Ridge, Ohio. Daniel was named after his uncle, his father's younger brother.

My grandmother's album has many photographs that appear to be of the same vintage, probably taken by the same camera (considering the color and size of the photographs), and in about the same location. My aunt identified the location of another photograph of Bickerstaff grandchildren as the home of their grandparents, Edward Jesse and Mary, in Mineral Ridge, Ohio.

This particular photograph has a different background but knowing where E.J.'s and Mary's house was located on Morris Street, I wondered if the church in the background was the Mineral Ridge Methodist Church, which was built in 1930. When I compared it with the church I knew as a child (above left), the steeples were different. Then I looked at the postcard of the old church (above right) and they seem to be the same. The old church was torn down on July 30, 1929 and the new one finished about a year later.

All of the clues tell me that this photograph was taken at the home of E. J. and Mary Bickerstaff on Morris Street, Mineral Ridge, Ohio, sometime between spring 1926 and July 30, 1929. To be sure, Clarence does not look old enough to be 9 so I'll go with a date of about 1927.

As an interesting side note, Clarence's and Daniel's father, William Henry, was the carpenter for the new Mineral Ridge Methodist Episcopal Church, shown in the drawing above.

Using photographs to help puzzle out family history is very satisfying.

Other folks will be sharing their vintage photographs and also possibly puzzling out family history at Sepia Saturday. Enjoy!


  1. What cute little boys! They do definitely look like mischief makers!

  2. love their clothes...and the looks on their faces!

  3. I love those boys! That is such a great animated photo. I can almost hear them squealing with laughter and running around chasing each other.

  4. They looked like they stopped and stood still and that youngest looks like he's smiling as told. i bet they took off soon as the camera finished. i realized someone was my first cousin once removed today while doing my sepiasaturday post.

  5. Daniel can hardly contain his mischief but big brother is doing a better job - boys will be boys :-) Jo

  6. Stiff posture and animated face - that little on will explode if he has to stand there much longer!

  7. Wonderful photo of the boys - the little ones face is delightful.

  8. Bursting with information. I love these posts where you almost dissect a photograph and squeeze out the last bit of information.

  9. These two boys look like the original little rascals!

  10. to me, they look like they think they got away with something here...

  11. Clarence was my dad and I am sure they were mischief makers I do not have any of these pictures this was very nice to see

    1. I'm glad you found the photo. (Thanks for sending a direct email, too.)


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