05 December 2011

What I Did With My Weekend

So how was your weekend? I just moved to a new area, so I was checking out the downtown. I ended up in a few antique stores trolling for goodies and look what I found:
Several Photos, some with names/dates

This part always makes me sad. To imagine someone just selling their history.... it happens all too much I think. So you don't know who someone is and no one is alive that remembers them? Why throw it out? Terrible.

Then there are the ones with names. I was talking to one shop owner who told me she bought the entire estate of a woman with no living relatives. She had photos, marriage certificate, playbills.... everything this woman had ever been. No living relatives? Are we sure? And even so, did that mean she deserved to be relegated to a second hand shop? To be purchased by a stranger for kicks?

Physician's daily record, postcards, photo of a man/his car

Then there are the postcards. I found packets of postcards that had some blank, some used. I don't collect them, so I'll be selling the blank ones, but I plan to transcribe the used ones on a page here soon. Some are in Swiss or German or something. Very interesting. And again sad; The store had so many from one family spanning years...... imagine all that you were being forgotten by your family (who are probably the ones selling this stuff). I forget the culture, but there is a belief that one dies three times. Once, when you literally die; then when your body is buried; and lastly, when no one speaks your name anymore. That is the most tragic thing I've ever heard.
Unknown men, tintype

And my favorite new find? A 1942 Physician's Daily Record. One year of a doctor's patients. I found an envelope with the name Dr. F. W. Cowgill, in Nevada, Iowa. It's a pretty good guess this is his book. I've set up a page to transcribe the entries. I'll list them by name to make them easier to search. Keep in mind that handwriting is hard even for an expert (which I am not) and I have no medical training. So there will be some parts marked illegible. Once I can get my scanner working (or pay for someone to scan a year's worth of pages), I'll post them. If you think someone may be a relative of yours, I'm willing to send you copies of the pages they are on, just let me know. It's a very interesting read. I've researched a little about Nevada and there was a Sanitarium that was the only hospital for a while. It burned down in '43, so I may have something you can't find elsewhere! As for the photos, I've put up a Flickr page with the individual pictures and any information that was on them. You can access it from the right sidebar. If you recognise someone, let me know. If you have your own unknowns, send me a copy and I'll add it to Flickr.

I've put up four posts that should get you started on your search, so I'll not be posting daily. I'll have a weekly post and anytime I feel like something needs to be said. The transcription of the record and postcards will take some time and I still have to devote my energies to my own lineage, so I'll be occupied for quite a while I think. Not that I mind at all! This is my favorite part, being knee deep in real world history. Not just some dry date with some facts, but a face with a breathing past.


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