Sunday, July 10, 2011

Frankum Family Portrait 1991

For over a year I have pondered the purchase of a portable scanner called the Flip-Pal. When you are a genealogist in motion, you quite frequently run into an unexpected photo or document in the hands of a distant cousin and that you would give your eye teeth to get a copy of into your personal collection. You hate to ask to borrow a precious item and you can see they hate to be asked, so you settle for taking a photo of the item with your camera. That is a hit or miss solution that disappoints more often than not.

At one point I purchased a full sized scanner that was fairly lightweight and lugged it along to family gatherings. That required lugging along my laptop and setting the whole mess up somewhere out of the way and missing the opportunity to visit because I was off in a corner slowly scanning the day away. And, a full size scanner was out of the question for airplane trips.

Some years ago I had tried a wand scanner and been severely disappointed with the thing. It was even more hit or miss than the camera, you could not check the scans until you downloaded them into a computer, and likely as not you would find out you had a collection of fragments rather than whole photos or documents.

The Flip-Pal came on the market about a year ago and seemed to be the answer to my problems. It is completely self-contained, runs on AA batteries, is lightweight, small enough to fit in my purse and has a display window that allows you to check your scans. In addition, it comes with software that allows you to stitch together multiple scans of objects too large for its scanning window. A year later the positive reviews much outweighed the mediocre and negative reviews and I decided the time was right. It was waiting on my doorstep when I got home Friday afternoon.

I decided to test it out with a group photo taken at my grandmother Ivy Wilcoxen's 90th birthday. Until now it was one of the few photos I had not preserved digitally because it was too big to be processed with even my large scanner. I set about breaking the 10-inch by 20-inch photo into 6 separate scans and then held my breath when I instructed the program to stitch the 6 pieces back together.

I was floored when the program produced an almost perfect composite of the 6 scans. The only flaw was a small area on the far right which was probably my fault when I scanned that area. I am very pleased with the first major test and I look forward to carting my little toy along when I have the slightest expectation that I will run into some photo or item I need to add to my collection.

Frankums, Wilcoxens and Friends
Pleasant Hill Baptist Church fellowship hall
Austin, Texas, 1991

And now, I ask my kinfolks to assist me in identifying all the people to be found in this photo treasure. While I know most of the dear people, I am unable to identify some of the children and friends who are included here. I also sometimes confuse names and faces, for which I apologize in advance if I've done so here.

Please email me or leave a comment below if you find an error or blank in my identification efforts.

1 - Edward Frankum
2 - Donna Frankum
3 - Keith Harrington
4 - Grace Johnston Harrington
5 - Joan Bownds Frankum
6 - Jim Butcher
7 - James Owens
8 - Peggy Frankum Murff
9 - Ruby Frankum Johnston
10 - Kenneth Frankum
11 - Barbara Green Frankum
12 - Vivian Kirkpatrick Frankum
13 - Jo Ann Smith Wilcoxen
14 - Rene Frankum Giles
15 - Dean Frankum
16 - Buddy Wilcoxen
17 - Faye McVay Butcher
18 - Janie McVay Thaman
19 - Mark McBrayer
20 - Marla Harrington McBrayer
21 - Markie McBrayer
22 - Chelsea Ibbeken Wall
23 - Kim Linder Schmidt

24 - David Wilcoxen
25 - Ann McVay Owens
26 - Ruth Wilcoxen Wilks
27 - Karen LeFevre
28 - Wanda Keith Frankum
29 - Ivy Frankum Wilcoxen
30 - James Karnes
31 - Bobby Frankum
32 - Laura Wilks Karnes
33 - Carol McVay
34 - Ora Frankum Lamb
35 - Earl McVay
36 - Virgie Frankum McVay Tiner
37 - Daniel Melton
38 - Nancy Warner Lamb
39 - Cindy Wilcoxen

40 - Erin Linder
41 - Casey Ibbeken
42 - Rachel Murff Fuller
43 - Lindsey Shipman

44 - Glynda Johnston Wester
45 - Dwight Lamb
46 - Mary Shutte(?)
47 - Donnie Wilks
48 - Norman Frankum
49 - Evelyn Shutte Smith
50 - Niki McVay (?)
51 - Neta Keith Frankum
52 - Mrs. Vivian McClanahan
53 - Erleen McVay
54 - Denise Melton Jechow
55 - John Thaman
56 - Clodie Nell Reeves Wyatt
57 - Lela Nuse
58 - Leroy McVay
59 - Calvin Wyatt
60 - Mrs. Eberhart(?)
61 - Cody McVay(?)
62 - Ross Shutte
63 - Oliver Tiner
64 - Craig Frankum
65 - Cassidy Shipman

What a quality group of folks gathered there that day to honor my grandmother. I was privileged to be there with them.


Update 7/11/2011 - Thanks to cousin Karen Frankum Ryman, we've almost got everybody identified.
Update 7/12/2011 - Thanks to cousin Glynda Johnston Wester we now have a name for every face.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Heirlooms of the Week - The Bibles

I have an abnormal amount of Bibles in my possession. A few are mine, acquired down through the years. The rest of them once belonged to (mostly) relatives. As word got out that I was standing ready, willing and able to take on the caretaking of whatever family papers and objects that relatives, near and far, would like to pass into my care, the stack of Bibles began to grow. I would guess that I have 25 or 30 of them at this point.

Looking through a newly acquired Bible is always an adventure. You find all sorts of things tucked inside: obituaries of friends and relatives, old church bulletins, poetry cut out of magazines, birthday and Mother's day cards, pictures and the odd gum wrapper. I regret that in the early days I was not so good about keeping the Bibles in their original condition, removing the items inside and placing them in my family notebooks. Nowadays I scan what I find and put the original material back where I found it. That way, when I take a sudden notion to flip through one of the old Bibles, I am pleasantly surprised to feel the presence of the original owner, as if they are standing over my shoulder watching.

The two Bibles in the next photo were once used by my Hodge grandparents (the black one on the left) and my great aunt Fay Hodge Branton (the blue one on the right).

The next two Bibles belonged to my Wilcoxen grandparents. The tattered black one was my Grandpa's. The one lying open behind it belonged to Grandma and had a special treasure awaiting inside. Grandma had taken the time to fill out marriage dates, birth dates, death dates and military service data, as well as a capsule of her own family history. While it can't be used as an "official" source, it is wonderful to have all of this information in her own handwriting.

One day my grandmother Lucy Hodge gave me a very large Bible in horrible condition, missing both covers and the necessary page with the publication date that would have made this an official Family Bible. It had belonged to my great-grandmother Mary Caroline Morgan Sewell Mobley. In Mary Caroline's handwriting are a handful of dates, including the only record I have ever found giving the date of her marriage to Joseph Mobley and the only record I have ever seen concerning the child she had with her first husband G. W. Sewell, a little girl who died in infancy. It is bulky and tattered, but a treasure in my family archives.

The small Bible on the right, the cover spotted with some kind of decay, belonged to my great-grandmother Cora Mobley Hodge, Mary Caroline's youngest daughter.

I have the Bible my mother carried to church every Sunday (the black one in the middle of the photo below) as well as several of my father's Bibles. He wore them out quickly. The ragged black Bible on the left was given to him by Pleasant Hill Baptist Church when he was just starting out in the ministry. He carried his ordination papers inside until he gave them to me. The large Bible lying open behind has been literally read to pieces. It is held together by Scotch and duct tape and heavily annotated by my father in every shade of ink. The little book at upper right is not a Bible, but a Minister's handbook. I was pleasantly surprised to find it among his belongings after he died. Inside on the end papers, both front and back, is a meticulous record of funerals he conducted or assisted with over a period of more than 20 years. He began the record before we moved to Smiley and kept it for a number of years after we moved to Bastrop. The list includes many, many relatives.

The last little Bible on the far right was another of those unexpected surprises. My grandmother Hodge gave it to me along with several other Bibles and I don't recall her saying anything special about it. It is small, in pieces, and missing the back cover. I didn't immediately realize what I had. But one day I gave it a closer inspection and discovered that it had belonged to my great-grandmother Nettie McAfee Mason and on the loose pages at the end she had recorded the birth dates and death dates and marriage dates for herself, both husbands, and all of her children.

They are not the prettiest items in my collection, but they are treasures nonetheless. Not only do they come with odds and ends of items that can cause a genealogist to go giddy, they are imprinted with the personalities of those who carried them on many a Sunday and studied them for understanding or for comfort in bad times.

"The Bible is a good book that's even better when it's the worse for wear."