Fayette County Texas Genealogical Society

Genealogy Research and Education

Genealogy Definitions (This is a long page with lengthy tips)

abstract: a summary of the most important information from a deed or will. Sometimes you may use abstracts instead of original documents when you do your research. You may also create them yourself from original documents.

ancestor: one from whom a person is descended

ancestry: a line of people from whom one is descended. You are descended from your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so forth.

deceased: dead; a dead person

deed: a record of the legal transfer of real property (land or building) from one person to another

document: an official certificate relied on as proof of something. A birth, marriage, or death certificate is a document. To document is to provide official sources from which information has been taken.

emigrant: one who leaves a country to live in another

estate: the property and debt belonging to a person that is left at death

family group sheet: a record listing the father, mother, and children of a family

generation: individuals making up a step in the line of descent from an ancestor. In a five-generation pedigree chart, you and your siblings would appear as first generation, your parents as second generation, your grandparents as third generation, your great-grandparents as fourth generation, and your great-great-grandparents as fifth generation.

immigrant: one who moves to a country to live permanently

maternal: related through one’s mother. Your maternal grandfather is your mother’s father.

namesake: a person named after another person

orphan: one who has lost one or both parents by death

paternal: related through one’s father. Your paternal grandfather is your father’s father.

pedigree chart: a chart listing an individual’s direct ancestors (parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so forth). Does not include siblings or other family members.

probate record or will record: a legal record used to dispose of an individual’s property after his or her death

sibling: a brother or sister

spouse: a husband or wife

surname: last name

vital record: a record of birth, marriage, divorce, or death

will: a legal declaration of how a person wants his or her property disposed of after death

Interview Questions


1. What is the name you were given at birth?

2. When were you born? Where? Hospital or at home?

3. Were you named after a relative or family friend? Why was your name chosen?

4. Have you ever had a nickname? Who gave it to you and why?

5. Did your parents or siblings like to tell any funny or embarrassing baby stories about you?

6. What did you want to be when you grew up?


7. What is your mother’s name?

8. When and where was she born?

9. Is she still alive? When did she die?

10. What is your most vivid image of your mother?

11. What is your father’s name?

12. When and where was he born?

13. Is he still alive? When did he die?

14. What is your most vivid image of your father?

15. Where did your parents meet?

16. When and where did they get married?

17. What are your brothers and sisters names?

18. What is the most enjoyable memory of time spent with

your parents, your family?

19. What are some of the most valuable lessons your parents

taught you?


20. What were the names of your mother’s parents?

21. When and where were they born and where did they live?

22. What did they do for a living?

23. Do you have personal memories of them? What were they


24. What were the names of your father’s parents?

25. When and where were they born and where did they live?

26. What did they do for a living?

27. Do you have personal memories of them? What were theylike?

28. What was the most enjoyable time spent with each grandparent?

29. Did they have a favorite story that you remember themtelling?

30. What do you know about your grandparent’s children, other than your parents?

31. What do you remember hearing about your GREATGrandparents?

32. Did you ever meet them?

33. From what part of the world did your family emigrate? Any

stories told in your family about the crossing? Did they become

U.S. citizens? Do you have any relatives in foreign countries?

34. Where did they settle in this country? Why?

35. Do you have any relatives who were famous? Or who took

part in well-known historical events?

36. How far back can you trace your family tree?


The family house

37. What type of house did you live in as a child? Other

buildings on the same property?

38. If you moved during your childhood, tell where and when

and what you can remember of each house and the family

circumstances and the reason for the move.

39. In what room did you eat? Kitchen? Dining room?

40. How was your home heated?

41. Did you have a fireplace?

42. What kind of kitchen stove did your parents cook on?

What fuel was used?

43. Did you have to buy the fuel or was this a chore, such as

cutting wood, with which you had to help?

44. Did you always have electricity? If not, when did you get

it? Was it a big deal?

45. Did you ever use candles or kerosene lamps?

46. Did your family have a cellar? Where did you store food?

47. Where did your family get water? Was it plentiful? What methods were used to conserve water?

Family relations, responsibilities, conditions

48. What was your position in the family? Oldest? Youngest?

49. What were your duties as a small child? Did you have chores?

50. Who cooked the meals? Ironing, cleaning, etc.?

51. Did you buy or make your own clothing?

52. When did you learn to cook and who taught you?

53. Did you ever learn to sew? Crochet? Knit? Embroider? And who taught you?

54. Did you ever learn the mechanics of a car and who taught you?

55. Did your family keep in touch with distant family? Do you still keep in touch?

56. Did you visit relatives often?

57. How did you get your mail?

58. What do you remember about family pets?

59. Were you especially close to anyone in the family? Who?

60. How did the family spend its evenings?

61. Did you get an allowance? How much? What did you spend it on?

62. Do you remember your family discussing world events and politics? What were some of the topics?

Family income and livelihood

63. What did your father do for a living?

64. Did your mother ever work outside of the home? What did

she do?

65. Did you contribute to the family income? How?

66. When did you get your first job outside of the family?

67. Did your family have a garden? Who did the work on the garden? What kinds of vegetables did you grow?

68. Did your family have fruit trees? Who did the canning?

69. Did you raise chickens?

70. What kind of meat did you eat?

71. If you lived on a farm, what crops were planted? Who did

the work? Family? Hired hands? Did you keep a cow for milk?

Did you make your own butter and cheese? Did anyone in the family sell eggs or butter?

Days, seasons, and special occasions

72. What did Sunday mean to you (family dinner, etc.)?

73. Did you attend church on Sunday? Where did you attend church?

74. Were there any other special days of the week?

75. How did you spend Christmas?

76. What kinds of gifts did you receive at Christmas?

77. Did your family observe Easter?

78. How and where did you observe the Fourth of July?

79. Other special holidays?

80. How was your birthday celebrated? What kinds of gifts did

you receive?

81. Did your family entertain often? When?

82. Did your family attend picnics? Family reunions? What do you remember about them?

83. How did you keep cool in the summer?

84. What did you wear in the winter to keep warm?

85. Do you remember any particular blizzards or tornadoes or floods?

Friends and Games

86. Did you have a favorite toy?

87. What were your favorite foods? What did you hate?

88. What did you do for recreation?

89. What kind of books did you read?

90. Did you or your brothers or sisters have any hobbies?

91. Who was your best friend?

92. What did you and your friends do when you got together?

93. Did you and your playmates play any organized games?

94. Did you ever learn to swim? Who taught you?

95. Did you participate in youth organizations?

96. What was the most mischievous thing you did as a


97. Whom did you admire most when you were young?

98. Has there ever been anyone in your life that you considered to be your “soul mate”? Who was it and why did you feel that way?


99. Where did you go to school? Did you ever attend a oneroom schoolhouse?

100. What were your favorite subjects? Least-favorite?

101. Who was your favorite teacher, and why?

102. Do you still know anyone that you went to school with? In what grade did you meet?

103. How did you get to school? If you walked, how far?  What do you remember about these walks? Did you walk alone or with friends? Were these walks a hardship in winter?

104. Did you ever miss a long stretch of school because of illness? If so, what did you do to pass the time?

105. What did you do during summer vacations?

106. In high school, were you involved in sports? What were some of the highlights?

107. Were you in the school band? What instrument(s)? Did you continue to play into adulthood?

108. What songs and dances were popular then?

109. What was some of the slang when you were a teenager?

110. What was your first date like? How old were you? What did you do?

111. What was your proudest achievement in school?

Transportation and surroundings

112. Describe the size of the town where you lived or shopped.

113. Where did your parents shop?

114. How large or small were the stores?

115. If you lived in a small town or on the farm, did you ever go into the city to shop?

116. What was the largest town you remember visiting when you were young?

117. Did you ever travel on a train while you were young?

118. Did you or your family own a horse and buggy?

119. When did your family acquire its first car? What make? How much did it cost?

120. When did you learn to drive a car? Did someone teach you?

121. Where did your family go on vacation?


122. What family traditions are still practiced in your family?

123. Can you briefly tell one or more your family’s best stories

or “tall tales”?

124. Do you recall any family members that were “characters”? What earned them their reputation?

125. What personal traits or characteristics seemed to “run in the family”?

126. What stories did you share with your children? Which ones didn’t you share?

127. Is there an enduring piece of advise or wisdom that’s been passed down from generation to generation in your family?

Higher Education and Career

128. How old were you when you left home? Where to and why did you leave? How did it feel to be on your own?

129. How many years of school did you attend? Did you study in your adult years?

130. What was your first job? Do you remember how much your pay was?

131. Who influenced you most and helped you to develop your skills?

132. What careers have you had? How long at each?

133. Would you choose the same career if you had it to do over?

Marriage and Later Life

134. When and where did you meet your husband or wife?

135. How and when did you get engaged? Who proposed? How long were you engaged?

136. When and where did you marry? How old were you andyour spouse?

137. Did you go on a honeymoon? Where?

138. Where was your first home? Did you move around?

139. What is your spouse’s occupation?

140. After living together for a time, what surprised you the most about your spouse?

141. How would you describe your spouse? What do you admire most about him/her?

142. What’s your favorite story about your spouse?

143. Did you or your spouse go into military service?

144. If your spouse went into service, what did you do while he/she was away?

145. What memories do you have of war years?

146. To what organizations have you belonged?

147. Have you been politically active during your lifetime?

148. Which presidents have you voted for?

149. Where and when were your children born? What are their names?

150. Do any stories come to mind about their births?

151. What were some of the family hardships you faced?

152. What were some of the most enjoyable family activities you shared?

153. What were some of the family rules?

154. What’s the most important lesson you hope your children learned from you?

155. What caused you to say “Just wait until you have children of your own!”?

Philosophy and Outlook

156. Do you have a philosophy of life to share with your

descendants? What is it?

157. Do you have a favorite philosopher, teacher, or writer

who best expresses your philosophy?

158. Do you have religious leanings or strong religious beliefs?

159. In your opinion, which have been the greatest advances or

inventions during your lifetime?

160. What things have given you the most pleasure or satisfaction?

161. Is there anything that has caused you perpetual concern?

What events or trends have disturbed you most in your


162. What has been your experience in regard to the following?

Answers to prayers? Necessity and power of love? Will power

as opposed to being ruled by one’s feelings?

163. What do you consider to be your most important achievements?

What one thing are you most proud of?

164. What would you say is the funniest thing that’s ever

happened to you?

165. Most embarrassing?

166. What has been your favorite time of life?

167. Which person most influenced your life and why?

168. What kind of music do you like to listen to?

169. Did you travel? Which places were most interesting and why? Where did you never get to visit?

170. Have you ever made a sacrifice that’s made a lastingi mpression on you?

171. What was your wisest decision?

172. What wasn’t your wisest decision?

173. What makes your family truly unique?

174. What single piece of advice do you want to leave your children and grandchildren?

175. Any other things that are important to you?



Ships passenger lists, census returns and other documents used in genealogy may give an ancestor's occupation, this list gives more modern interpretations of those terms.

Accomptant - accountant
Accoucheur - man who acts as a midwife
Accoucheuse - midwife
Administatrix - female administrator
Almoner - giver of charity (alms) to the needy
Amanuen(sis) - secretary or stenographer
Aquarius - ewer; waterman
Artificer - maker or fixer of intricate objects; soldier mechanic who does repairs
Ashmanshipman - sailor
Aulnager - official responsible for inspecting and measuring woolen cloth
Aurifaber - goldsmith
Avenator - plantifene; hay and forage merchant

Bailie - bailiff
Banksman - gives instruction or assistance to driver; overseer at a mine pit
Barker - tanner
Baxter - baker
Belhoste - tavern keeper
Belleyetere - bellfounder
Blacksmith - one who shoes horses
Boniface - innkeeper
Borsholder - officer appointed by the manor or parish, constable. Bowyer - bowmaker
Brasiler - dyer
Brazier - brass worker
Brewster - brewer; beer maker
Brightsmith - metal worker
Brownsmith - copper or brass smith
Burl - cup-bearer
Burneman - carrier of barm or waters for brewers
Burnisher - metal polisher

Campaner - bell maker
Cancellarius - chancellor
Cardmaker - maker of cards (instruments for combing wool)
Carner - granary keeper
Carnifex - butcher
Carpentarius - carpenter
Carter - maker or driver carts
Caulker - filler of cracks (in ships or windows)
Cautioner - guarantor (One who becomes security for another)
Chaisemaker - carriage maker
Chaloner - dealer in shalloon (a material made in Chalons)
Chandler - maker or seller of candles; retailer of groceries; dealer or trader
Chapman - merchant, often itinerant
Chesterman - guard
Chiffonier - wigmaker
Chirugion - apothecary or surgeon
Cissor - tailor
Clarke - cleric or scribe
Clericus - clerk
Clerk - clergyman, cleric
Clicker - printer in charge of final layout
Clicker - (shoe mfg) in charge of lace holes
Cobbler - shoe maker/repairer
Cocus (Keu) - cook
Cohen - priest
Collier - coalminer
Colporteur - peddler of books
Combere - woolcomber
Conveyor - grantor or seller
Cooper - maker or repairer of vessels made of staves & hoops ie. barrels, casks and tubs
Coppice keeper - one who takes care of small wood
Cordewanarius/Cordwainer/Corvisor - shoemaker, originally any leather worker using Cordovan leather (leather from Cordova/Cordoba, Spain)
Costermonger - peddler of fruits and vegetables
Cotiler - cutler
Crayman - driver of a cart carrying heavy loads
Crocker - potter; maker of crocks
Crowner - coroner
Cuhreur/Cunreur - currier
Culler - gelder of male animals
Cuper - cooper
Currrier - tanner of leather; user of curry comb on horses
Cutler - one who makes or sells knives etc.

Dareman - dairyman
Daunsel - gentleman in waiting; groom; squire
Dexter - dyer
Diviner/Dowser - one who finds water under the ground
Docker - stevedor; dock worker who loads and unloads cargo
Dowser - finder of water (or other items) using dowsing rods or witching stick
Draper - dealer in cloth and dry goods
Drayman - driver of the dray: a long strong cart without fixed sides for carrying heavy loads (later a brewery delivery team ie. the Budweiser Clydesdales)
Dresser - surgeon's assistant in a hospital
Drover - driver of animals to market; dealer in cattle
Drummer - traveling salesman
Dubbere - cloth dubber ie. one who raises the nap of cloth
Dudder - probably a maker of coarse cloaks
Duffer - peddler
Dyer - one who dyes cloth
Dysshere - probably a ditcher, or in some cases a disher

Elymaker - oilmaker
Endholdernn - inn keeper
Enumerator - census taker
Executrix - female executor

Faber - smith
Factor Agent - merchant for commission (or factor); attorney (not in the modern US sense); one who transacts business for another (usually absent); Scottish steward or bailiff of an estate
Falkner - keeper/trainer of falcons
Farmer - tax-collector or bailiff
Farrier - horse doctor, one in charge of horses; blacksmith; shodder of horses
Fell Monger - one who removes hair or wool from hides in preparation for leather making
Fence Viewer - person who inspects farmer's fences
Ferur/Ferator - farrier or blacksmith
Feuar - holder of lands granted for services
Fisher/Fishdryver - victualler
Flauner - confectioner
Flax Dresser - one who works with flax fibers
Fleshewer - butcher
Fletcher - maker of bows and arrows; arrowmaker
Forestarius - forester
Framar - farmer
French polisher - polish wood by hand using French polish, wax or lacquer
Frereman - servant of the Friars
Fuller - fuller of cloth; shrinker and thickener of woolen cloth by washing, heating and pressing; a felter; cleaner and thickener of cloth; one who trampled cloth, see also walker
Furber/Furbour - furbisher of armour
Furner - baker

Gaoler - jailer
Garcifer/Garcio - groom; attendant
Garlekmonger - garlicmonger; dealer in garlic
Ginerr - joiner
Glassewryght - glasswright; maker and mender of glassware
Glazier - glazier; repairer of windows
Glover - dealer or maker of gloves
Gobar - jobber
Grecher - grocer
Guilderer - maker of gold or silver coins
Gynour - engineer

Hacker - hoe maker
Hamberghmaker/Hamberow - horse collar maker
Hansard - weapon maker or seller
Harper - musician
Hatcheler - one who combed out flax
Hawker - peddler
Haymonger - dealer in hay
Hayward - keeper of fences
Headborough - constable
Hedger - one who trims and tends hedgerows
Herd - shepherd or herdsman
Hetheleder - provider of heather for fuel
Higgler - itinerant peddler
Hillard/Hiller/Hillier - one who covers houses with slate; tiler
Hind - farm laborer
Hooker - reaper
Hooper - maker of hoops for casks, barrels, tubs etc.
Horsler - hostler (stableman or groom), horse servant at an inn
Hosteler - innkeeper
Huckster - seller of small articles/wares
Husbandman - a farmer; animal husbandry; tenant farmer

Indentured servant - one who has committed to working for someone for a fixed number of years
Ironmonger - dealer in iron goods

Jorman - journeyman
Journeyman - craftsman who had served his apprentice, a master craftsman
Joyner/Joiner - joiner; skilled carpenter

Keeler - bargeman
Keller - salt keeper
Kellogg - slaughter man
Kempster - wool comber
Kepegest - innkeeper

Lardner - official in charge of pig food or keeper of the cupboard
Latouner - worker in latten (a metal resembling brass)
Lavender - washer woman
Lederer - leather maker
Leech - physician
Limeburner - maker of lime
Limner - draughtsman or artist
Lokeer - locksmith
Longshoreman - stevedor
Lorimer/lormer - bridlemaker

Macon/Macun/Marson - mason
Malender - farmer
Malster - brewer of malted beverages (beer)
Manciple - steward
Marescallus - marshall
Marshall - horse servant, or groom
Mason - stone carver
Mayer - physician
Medicus - leech; doctor
Mercator - merchant
Millow - miller
Millwright - one who designs or builds mills
Mintmaster - issuer of local currency [mintner?]
Molendinarius/Muner - miller
Monger - seller (of goods ie. ale, fish)
Muleskinner - teamster

Neatherder - cow herd
Nedder - needle-maker
Nettir - knitter

Ordinary - innkeeper; keeper of a fixed price Inn
Osler - bird-catcher
Osnard - herder of oxen
Outrider - mounted attendant riding before or behind a carriage

Packman - itinerant peddler
Palmer - a pilgrim; one who had been, or pretended to have been, to the Holy Land
Paneler - saddler
Pannarius - clothier and draper
Pannebeter - pan-hammerer, or perhaps clothdriver
Pardoner - one licensed to sell Papal Indulgences
Parcheminer - parchment maker
Parochus - rector, pastor
Patton/Patten Maker - a maker of a clog shod with an iron ring; maker of iron-rimmed pattens for footware. A clog was a wooden pole with a pattern cut into the end
Peever - pepper-seller
Pelliparius/Peltarius - skinner
Peregrinator - itinerant wanderer
Peruker/Perukmaker - wig maker
Pettifogger - shyster; lawyer
Pictor - painter
Pigman - crockery dealer
Pilcher - maker of pilches
Pinder - keeper of the pound or pinfold
Piscarius - fishmonger
Piscator - fisherman [Pescador (sp?) in Spanish]
Pistor - miller or baker
Plantifene - see avernator
Plomer - plumber
Ploughwright - one who makes or repairs ploughs/plows
Plumber - one who applied sheet lead for roofing and set lead frames for plain or stained glass windows
Porcher - pig-keeper
Porter - gate-keeper or door-keeper
Poulterer - dealer in poultry
Puddler - wrought iron worker
Pynner - pin-maker

Quarrier - quarry worker
Quarryman - stonecutter

Revenuer - federal officer enforcing the law against illegal manufacturing of whisky
Rigger - hoist tackler worker
Ripper - fish monger
Roper - ropemaker; maker of rope or nets
Rotarius - wheelwright
Rower - builder of (small) wagon wheels

Saddler - maker and repairer of saddles and bridles
Safernman - grower of saffron
Samitere/Samite - maker of a kind of heavy silk stuff
Sauntere - probably salt maker
Sausere - salter
Savant - servant
Sawbones - physician
Sawyer - sawer of wood; carpenter
Scabbler - person who uses a scabbler (pick) to trim the sides of a tunnel
Schumacker - shoemaker; cobbler
Scribbler - minor or worthless author
Scrivener - scribe or clerk; professional or public copyist or writer; notary public
Scrutiner - election judge
Seinter - girdlemaker
Seler/sellarius - sadder
Serviens - sergeant
Servus - servant
Sevier - sieve-maker
Sewer - tailor or shoemaker
Sharman/Sherman/Shearman - one who raised the surface of wollen cloth and then sheared it to a smooth surface; cutter of woolen cloth
Shether - see vaginarius
Shrieve - sheriff
Sifker - sievemaker
Sissor/Cissor - tailor
Sizer - one who applies size to textiles
Slater - roofer; tiler
Slatter - slater (same as hillard)
Slaymaker/Sleymaker - maker of reeds or slays (instruments to part threads in weaving) for looms
Slopseller - seller of ready-made clothes in a slop shop
Snobscat/Snob - shoe repairer; cobbler
Soper - soapmaker
Sorter - tailor
Soyor - sawyer
Spicer - grocer
Spinster - unmarried woman; spinner (female)
Spittleman - hospital attendant
Spragger - person who inserts a piece of wood (sprag) between the wheels of a lorry (truck) to bring it to a standstill
Spurrer/Spurrier - spurmaker
Stabler - ostler
Stasyon/Stawsun - probably a stationer
Stokiner - maker or weaver of stockings
Squarewright - carpenter, specifically a furniture maker
Squire - country gentleman; farm owner; justice of peace
Stuff Gown/Gownsman - junior barrister
Sugarer - dealer in sugar (grocer?)
Sumner - summoner or apparitor
Supercargo - officer on merchant ship who is in charge of cargo and the commercial concerns of the ship
Sutler - one who supplies an army with provisions

Tabernarius - taverner; innkeeper
Tannator - tanner; curer of animal hide into leather
Taper - candlewick maker or seller
Tapley - one who puts the tap in an ale cask
Tasker - reaper
Tawer - one who taws (makes hide into leather without the use of tanning)
Teamster - one who drives a team (horses or oxen) for hauling
Teinter - dyer
Tenter - attendant for an engine
Textor - weaver
Thatcher - roofer (using thatch)
Thirdbororough - tithing man or deputy constable
Tide Waiter - customs inspector
Tinker - an itinerant mender and seller of kettles, tin pots and pans
Tinctor - dyer or possibly a painter
Tipstaff - policeman
Todd - fox hunter
Travers - toll bridge collector
Tripper - dancer
Tucker - cleaner of cloth goods
Turner - turner of wood (using a lathe) into spindles

Upholder - upholsterer; also a cheapjack and seller of secondhand goods

Vaginarius - sheather; scabbard maker
Venator/Venur - huntsman
Verderer - a Borsholder, Constable. Victualer - tavern keeper, or one who provides an army, navy, or ship with food supplies
Vitner - wine merchant
Vulcan - blacksmith

Wagoner - teamster not for hire
Wainwright - wagon maker
Waiter - customs officer or tide waiter; one who waited on the tide to collect duty on goods brought in
Walker - fuller; cloth trampler or cleaner
Webber/Webster - weaver; loom operator
Wharfinger - owner of a wharf
Wheelwright - builder/repairer of wagon wheels, carriages etc.
Whitcher - maker of chests
Whitesmith - tinsmith; worker of iron who finishes or polishes the work
Whittawer - one who tans skin into white leather
Wonkey-scoop - driver who operates a one horse scoop
Wright - workman, especially a construction worker ie. wheelwright

Yeoman - farmer who owns his own land; freehold farmer




Genealogical research often involves a detailed search for people who disappear from local records, or migrate to parts unknown. This list of american epidemics may help in finding the cause.

1690New YorkYellow Fever
1732/3  WorldwideInfluenza
1738South CarolinaSmallpox
1747CT, NY, PA, SCMeasles
1759N. AmericaMeasles: areas inhabited by white people
1761N. America and
West Indies
1772N. AmericaMeasles
1775N. AmericaUnknown epidemic: especially hard in NE
1775/6WorldwideInfluenza: one of the worst epidemics
1783Dover, DE"Extremely fatal" bilious disorder
1788Philadelphia and New YorkMeasles
1793VermontA "putrid" fever and Influenza
Influenza: killed 500 in 5 counties in 4 weeks
1793PhiladelphiaYellow Fever: over 4,000 deaths
1793Harrisburg, PAMany unexplained deaths
1793Middletown, PAMany unexplained deaths
1794Philadelphia, PAYellow Fever
1796-7Philadelphia, PAYellow Fever
1798Philadelphia, PAYellow Fever: one of the worst
1803New YorkYellow Fever
1820-3Nationwide"Fever" - started Schuylkill River and spread
1822New York and New OrleansYellow Fever
1831-2NationwideAsiatic Cholera: brought by English emigrants
1832NY City and other major citiesCholera
1832New OrleansAsiatic Cholera: over 1,000 deaths
1832Ayrshire towns of Stevenston, Dalry and KilbrideCholera
1833Columbus, OHCholera
1834New York CityCholera
1841NationwideYellow Fever: especially severe in the south
1847New OrleansYellow Fever
1848-9North AmericaCholera
1849New YorkCholera
1849/50New OrleansCholera: 3,000 deaths
1850NationwideYellow Fever
1850Alabama, New YorkCholera
1850-1North AmericaInfluenza
1851Coles Co., IL, The Great Plains,
and Missouri
1852NationwideYellow Fever
1853New OrleansYellow Fever: 8,000 die
1855NationwideYellow Fever
1857-9WorldwideInfluenza: one of the greatest epidemics
1865/73Philadelphia, NY,
Boston, New Orleans,
Baltimore, Memphis,
Washington DC
Smallpox, a series of recurring epidemics of Cholera, Typhus, Typhoid, Scarlet Fever, Yellow Fever
1873-5N. America and EuropeInfluenza
1878New OrleansYellow Fever: last great epidemic
1878Memphis, TNYellow Fever
1885Chicago, ILwater-borne disease
1885Plymouth, PATyphoid
1886Jacksonville, FLYellow Fever
1900Galveston, TXcholera
1905New OrleansYellow Fever: last US outbreak

[high point yr] Influenza: more people were hospitalized in WWI from this epidemic than wounds. US Army training camps became death camps, with 80% death rate in some camps





WAR                     DATES           AREA  French-Spanish          1565-67         Florida English-French          1613-1629       Canada Anglo-French            1629            St.Lawrence Riv. Pequot War              1636-37         New England ???                     1640-45         New  Netherland Iroquois                1642-53         New Eng.; Acadia Anglo-Dutch             July 1653       New Netherland Bacon's Rebellion       1675-76         Virginia King Philip's           1675-76         New England War In North            1676-78         Maine Culpepper's Reb'n       1677-80         Carolinas        Leisler's Rebellion     1688-91         New England Revolution in MD        1689            Maryland Glorious Revolution     1689            New England King Willliam's War     1689-97         Canada Queen Anne's            1702-13         New England Tuscarora               1711-12         Virginia Jenkin's Ear            1739-42         Florida King George's           1740            GA & VA Louisbourg              1745            New England Fort Necessity          1754            Ohio Anglo-French            1755-58         Canada French & Indian         1754-63         New Eng;VA Siege of Quebec         1759            Canada American Revolution     1775-83         USA Wyoming Valley          1782-87         Pennsylvania Shay's Rebellion        12/1786-1/1787  Massachusetts Whiskey Insurrection    1794            Pennsylvania Northwestern Indian     1790-95         Ohio War with France         1798-1800       Naval War with Tripoli(Naval) 1801-05         North Coast Africa Burr's Insurrection     1806-1807       South Mississippi Valley Chesapeake (Naval)      1807            Virginia Northwestern Indian     1811            Indiana Florida Seminole Indian 1812            FL   (GA Volunteers) War of 1812             1812-15         General Peoria Indian           1813            Illinois Creek Indian            1813-14         South Lafitte's Pirates       1814            Local Barbary Pirates         1815            North Coast Africa Seminole Indian         1817-18         FL & GA Lafitte's Pirates       1821            Galveston Arickaree Indian        1823            Missouri Riv;Dakota Terr Fever River Indian      1827            Illinois Winnebago Indian        1827            Wisonsin         Sac & Fox Indian        1831            Illinois Black Hawk              1832            Illinois & Wisconsin Toledo                  1835-36         Ohio & Michagan Texan                   1835-36         Texas Indian Stream           1835-36         New Hampshire Creek Indian            1836-37         Georgia & Alabama Florida (Seminole)      1835-42         FL, GA, & AL Sabine / Southwestern   1836-37         Louisiana   Indian Cherokee                1836-38         --- Osage Indian            1837            Missouri Heatherly Distrubance   1836            Missouri Mormon                  1838            Missouri Aroostook               1839            Maine Dorr's Rebellion        1842            Rhode Island Mormon                  1844            Illinois Mexican                 1846-1848       Mexico Cayuse Indian           1847-48         Oregon TX & NM Indian          1849-55         --- California Indian       1851-52         --- Utah Indian             1850-53         --- Rogue River Indian      1851,1853,1856  Oregon Oregon Indian           1854            Oregon Nicaraguan              1854-58         Naval Kansas Troubles         1854-59         Kansas Yakima Indian           1855            Local Klamath & Salmon        1855            Oregon & Idaho   River Indian Florida Indian          1855-58         Florida John Brown's Raid       1859            VA War of Rebellion        1860-65         General Cheyenne                1861-64         Local Sioux                   1862-63         Minnesota Indian Campaign         1865-68         OR, ID, CA Fenian Invasion of      1866            From New England   Canada Indian Campaign         1867-69         KS, CO & Ind. Terr. Modac Indian            1872-73         Oregon Apaches                 1873            Arizona Indian Campaigns        1874-75         KS, CO, TX, NM, &                                         Indian Territory Cheyenne & Sioux        1876-77         Dakota Nez Perce               1877            Idaho Bannock                 1878            ID, Washington Terr.                                         & Wyoming Terr. White Riv. (Ute Ind.)   1879            Utah & Coloradp Cheyenne                1878-79         Dakota & Montana Spanish-American        1898-99         Cuba Phillippine Insurrection1899-1902       Philippine Islands  

Disease's of the Past



Ablepsy - Blindness Ague - Malarial Fever American plague - Yellow fever Anasarca - Generalized massive edema Aphonia - Laryngitis Aphtha - The infant disease "thrush" Apoplexy - Paralysis due to stroke Asphycsia/Asphicsia - Cyanotic and lack of oxygen Atrophy - Wasting away or diminishing in size. Bad Blood - Syphilis Bilious fever - Typhoid, malaria, hepatitis or elevated temperature and bile emesis Biliousness - Jaundice associated with liver disease Black plague or death - Bubonic plague Black fever - Acute infection with high temperature and dark red skin lesions and high mortality rate Black pox - Black Small pox Black vomit - Vomiting old black blood due to ulcers or  yellow fever Blackwater fever - Dark urine associated with high temperature Bladder in throat - Diphtheria (Seen on death certificates) Blood poisoning - Bacterial infection; septicemia Bloody flux - Bloody stools Bloody sweat - Sweating sickness Bone shave - Sciatica Brain fever - Meningitis Breakbone - Dengue fever Bright's disease - Chronic inflammatory disease of kidneys Bronze John - Yellow fever Bule - Boil, tumor or swelling Cachexy -  Malnutrition Cacogastric - Upset stomach Cacospysy - Irregular pulse Caduceus  - Subject to falling sickness or epilepsy Camp fever - Typhus; aka Camp diarrhea Canine madness - Rabies, hydrophobia Canker - Ulceration of mouth or lips or herpes simplex Catalepsy - Seizures / trances Catarrhal - Nose and throat discharge from cold or allergy Cerebritis - Inflammation of cerebrum or lead poisoning Chilblain - Swelling of extremities caused by exposure to cold Child bed fever - Infection following birth of a child Chin cough - Whooping cough Chlorosis - Iron deficiency anemia Cholera - Acute severe contagious diarrhea with intestinal lining sloughing Cholera morbus - Characterized by nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, elevated temperature, etc.  Could be appendicitis Cholecystitus - Inflammation of the gall bladder Cholelithiasis - Gall stones Chorea - Disease characterized by convulsions, contortions and dancing Cold plague - Ague which is characterized by chills Colic - An abdominal pain and cramping Congestive chills - Malaria Consumption - Tuberculosis Congestion - Any collection of fluid in an organ, like the lungs Congestive chills - Malaria with diarrhea Congestive fever - Malaria Corruption - Infection Coryza - A cold Costiveness - Constipation Cramp colic - Appendicitis Crop sickness - Overextended stomach Croup - Laryngitis, diphtheria, or strep throat Cyanosis - Dark skin color from lack of oxygen in blood Cynanche - Diseases of throat Cystitis - Inflammation of the bladder Day fever - Fever lasting one day; sweating sickness Debility - Lack of movement or staying in bed Decrepitude - Feebleness due to old age Delirium tremens - Hallucinations due to alcoholism Dengue - Infectious fever endemic to East Africa Dentition - Cutting of teeth Deplumation - Tumor of the eyelids which causes hair loss Devil's Grip - Pleurisy / bronchitis Diary fever - A fever that lasts one day Diptheria - Contagious disease of the throat Distemper - Usually animal disease with malaise, discharge from nose and throat, anorexia Dock fever - Yellow fever Dropsy - Edema (swelling), often caused by kidney or heart disease Dropsy of the Brain - Encephalitis Dry Bellyache - Lead poisoning Dyscrasy - An abnormal body condition Dysentery - Inflammation of colon with frequent passage of mucous and blood Dysorexy - Reduced appetite Dyspepsia - Indigestion and heartburn.  Heart attack symptoms Dysury - Difficulty in urination Eclampsy - Symptoms of epilepsy, convulsions during labor Ecstasy - A form of catalepsy characterized by loss of reason Edema - Nephrosis; swelling of tissues Edema of lungs - Congestive heart failure, a form of dropsy Eel thing - Erysipelas Elephantiasis - A form of leprosy Encephalitis - Swelling of brain; aka sleeping sickness Enteric fever - Typhoid fever Enterocolitis - Inflammation of the intestines Enteritis - Inflations of the bowels Epitaxis - Nose bleed Erysipelas - Contagious skin disease, due to Streptococci with vesicular and bulbous lesions Extravasted blood - Rupture of a blood vessel Falling sickness - Epilepsy Fatty Liver - Cirrhosis of liver Fits - Sudden attack or seizure of muscle activity Flux - An excessive flow or discharge of fluid like hemorrhage or diarrhea Flux of humour - Circulation French pox - Syphilis Gathering - A collection of pus Glandular fever - Mononucleosis Great pox - Syphilis Green fever / sickness - Anemia Grippe/grip - Influenza like symptoms Grocer's itch - Skin disease caused by mites in sugar or flour Heart sickness - Condition caused by loss of salt from body Heat stroke - Body temperature elevates because of surrounding environment temperature and body does not perspire to reduce  temperature.  Coma and death result if not reversed Hectical complaint - Recurrent fever Hematemesis - Vomiting blood Hematuria - Bloody urine Hemiplegy - Paralysis of one side of body Hip gout - Osteomylitis Horrors - Delirium tremens Hydrocephalus - Enlarged head, water on the brain Hydropericardium - Heart dropsy Hydrophobia - Rabies Hydrothroax - Dropsy in chest Hypertrophic - Enlargement of organ, like the heart Impetigo - Contagious skin disease characterized by pustules Inanition - Physical condition resulting from lack of food Infantile paralysis - Polio Intestinal colic - Abdominal pain due to improper diet Jail fever - Typhus Jaundice - Condition caused by blockage of intestines King's evil - Tuberculosis of neck and lymph glands Kruchhusten - Whooping cough Lagrippe - Influenza Lockjaw - Tetanus or infectious disease affecting the muscles of the neck and jaw.  Untreated, it is fatal in 8 days Long sickness - Tuberculosis Lues disease - Syphilis Lues venera - Venereal disease Lumbago - Back pain Lung fever - Pneumonia Lung sickness - Tuberculosis Lying in - Time of delivery of infant Malignant sore throat - Diphtheria Mania - Insanity Marasmus - Progressive wasting away of body, like malnutrition Membranous Croup - Diphtheria Meningitis - Inflations of brain or spinal cord Metritis - Inflammation of uterus or purulent vaginal discharge Miasma - Poisonous vapors thought to infect the air Milk fever - Disease from drinking contaminated milk, like undulant fever or brucellosis Milk leg - Post partum thrombophlebitis Milk sickness - Disease from milk of cattle which had eaten  poisonous weeds Mormal - Gangrene Morphew - Scurvy blisters on the body Mortification - Gangrene of necrotic tissue Myelitis - Inflammation of the spine Myocarditis - Inflammation of heart muscles Necrosis - Mortification of bones or tissue Nephrosis - Kidney degeneration Nepritis - Inflammation of kidneys Nervous prostration - Extreme exhaustion from inability to control physical and mental activities Neuralgia - Described as discomfort, such as "Headache" was neuralgia in head Nostalgia - Homesickness Palsy - Paralysis or uncontrolled movement of controlled muscles. It was listed as "Cause of death" Paroxysm - Convulsion Pemphigus - Skin disease of watery blisters Pericarditis - Inflammation of heart Peripneumonia - Inflammation of lungs Peritonotis - Inflammation of abdominal area Petechial Fever - Fever characterized by skin spotting Phthiriasis - Lice infestation Phthisis - Chronic wasting away or a name for tuberculosis Plague - An acute febrile highly infectious disease with a high fatality rate Pleurisy - Any pain in the chest area with each breath Podagra - Gout Poliomyelitis - Polio Potter's asthma - Fibroid pthisis Pott's disease - Tuberculosis of spine Puerperal exhaustion - Death due to childbirth Puerperal fever - Elevated temperature after giving birth to an infant Puking fever - Milk sickness Putrid fever - Diphtheria. Quinsy - Tonsillitis. Remitting fever - Malaria Rheumatism - Any disorder associated with pain in joints Rickets - Disease of skeletal system Rose cold - Hay fever or nasal symptoms of an allergy Rotanny fever - (Child's disease) ??? Rubeola - German measles Sanguineous crust - Scab Scarlatina - Scarlet fever Scarlet fever - A disease characterized by red rash Scarlet rash - Roseola Sciatica - Rheumatism in the hips Scirrhus - Cancerous tumors Scotomy - Dizziness, nausea and dimness of sight Scrivener's palsy - Writer's cramp Screws - Rheumatism Scrofula - Tuberculosis of neck lymph glands.  Progresses slowly with abscesses and  pistulas develop. Young person's disease Scrumpox - Skin disease, impetigo Scurvy - Lack of vitamin C.  Symptoms of weakness,       spongy gums and hemorrhages under skin Septicemia - Blood poisoning Shakes - Delirium tremens Shaking - Chills, ague Shingles - Viral disease with skin blisters Ship fever - Typhus Siriasis - Inflammation of the brain due to sun exposure Sloes - Milk sickness Small pox - Contagious disease with fever and blisters Softening of brain - Result of stroke or hemorrhage in the brain, with an end result of the tissue softening in that area Sore throat distemper - Diphtheria or quinsy Spanish influenza - Epidemic influenza Spasms - Sudden involuntary contraction of muscle or group of muscles, like a convulsion Spina bifida - Deformity of spine Spotted fever - Either typhus or meningitis Sprue - Tropical disease characterized by intestinal  disorders and sore throat St. Anthony's fire - Also erysipelas, but named so because of affected skin areas are bright red in appearance St. Vitas dance - Ceaseless occurrence of rapid complex jerking movements performed involuntary Stomatitis- Inflammation of the mouth Stranger's fever - Yellow fever Strangery - Rupture Sudor anglicus - Sweating sickness Summer complaint - Diarrhea, usually in infants caused by spoiled milk Sunstroke - Uncontrolled elevation of body temperature due to environment heat.  Lack of sodium  in the body is a predisposing cause Swamp sickness - Could be malaria, typhoid or encephalitis Sweating sickness - Infectious and fatal disease common to UK  in 15th century Tetanus - Infectious fever characterized by high fever,  headache and dizziness Thrombosis - Blood clot inside blood vessel Thrush - Childhood disease characterized by spots on mouth, lips and throat Tick fever - Rocky mountain spotted fever Toxemia of pregnancy - Eclampsia Trench mouth - Painful ulcers found along gum line,  Caused by poor nutrition and poor hygiene Tussis convulsiva - Whooping cough Typhus - Infectious fever characterized high fever,  headache, and dizziness Variola - Smallpox Venesection - Bleeding Viper's dance - St. Vitus Dance Water on brain - Enlarged head White swelling  - Tuberculosis of the bone Winter fever - Pneumonia Womb fever - Infection of the uterus. Worm fit - Convulsions associated with teething, worms,  elevated temperature or diarrhea Yellowjacket - Yellow fever.

Grave Symbols - Abbreviations on Gravestones

  • AOF Ancient Order Of Forestters
  • AOH Ancient Order Of Hibermians
  • AOKMC Ancient Order Of Knights of Mystic Chain
  • AOUW Ancient Order Of United Workmen
  • ALOH American Legion of Honor
  • BPOE Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks
  • BPOEW Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World
  • CK of A Catholic Kinghts of America
  • CTAS Catholic Total Abstinence Society
  • CBKA Commandery Benevolent Knights Association
  • CCTAS Crusaders-Catholic Total Abstinence Society
  • EBA Emerald Benficial Assocition
  • FAA Free and Accepted Amerians
  • FOE Fraternal Order of Eagles
  • GALSTPTR German American Leigion of St. Peter
  • GAR Grand Army of the Republic
  • GUO of OF Grand United Order of Odd Fellows
  • IOI Independent Order of Immaculates
  • IOKP Independent Order of Knights of Pythias
  • IOOF Independent Order of Odd Fellows
  • ISH Independent Sons of Honor
  • IORM Improved Order of Redmen
  • JAOUW Junior Order-Ancient Order of United Workmen
  • JOUAM Junior Order-Order of United American Mechanics
  • KGL Knight Grand Legion
  • KM Knights Militant
  • KC Knights of Columbus
  • K of C knights of Columbus
  • K of FM Knights of Father Matthew
  • KFM Knights of Father Matthew
  • K of H Knights of Honor
  • K of L Knights of Loyola
  • Km Knights of Malta (Masonic)
  • KMC Knights of Mystic Chain
  • KPC Knights of Peter Claver
  • KP Knights of Pythias
  • K of P Knights of Pythias
  • KSC Knights of St. Columbkille
  • KG Knights of St. George
  • KSTG Knights of St. George
  • KSTI Knights of St. Ignatius
  • K of SJ Knights of St. John
  • KSTJ Knights of St. Joseph
  • KSL Knights of St. LawrenceKSTM Knights of St. Martin
  • K of STP Knights of St. Patrick
  • KSTP Knights of St. Paul
  • KSTP Knights of St. Peter
  • KSTT Knights of St. Thomas
  • K of STW Knights of St. Wencelas
  • KT Knights of Tabor
  • K of T Knights of Tabor
  • KWM Knights of Wise Men
  • KGE Knights of Golden Eagle
  • KHC Knights of Holy Cross
  • KKK Knights of Klu-Klus Klan
  • KOTM Knights of Macabees
  • KSF Knights of Sherwood Forest
  • KT Knights Tempar (Masonic)
  • LK of A Loyal Knights of America
  • MOLLUS Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States
  • MWA Modern Woodsmen of America
  • OUAM Order of United American Mechanics
  • PM Patriarchs Militant (Independent Order of Odd Fellows)
  • POSA Patriotic Order of the Sons of America
  • IHSV Red Cross of Constantine (Masonic)
  • RSTV Rite of St. Vaclara
  • RSTV Rite of ST. Vita
  • RK Roman Knights
  • MRA Royal Arcanum
  • RAM Royal Arch Masons
  • SBCL Saint Bonifazius Catholic Union
  • SBL Society B. Lafayette
  • SCV Sons of the Confederate Veterans
  • SAR Sons of the American Revolution
  • SV Sons of Veterans
  • TH Temple of Honor-Independent Order of Odd Fellows
  • UCV United Confederate Veterans
  • VFW Veterans of Foreign Wars
  • UR The Uniform Ranks designation found on markers

Graven Images

Grave Motifs and Their Meanings


Gravestone Motifs & Their Meanings


Anchor/Ships -- Hope or Seafaring profession

Angel, Flying- Rebirth; Resurrection.

Angel, Trumpeting- Resurrection.

Angel, Weeping- Grief and Mourning.

Arch - Victory in death.

Arrow- Mortality.

Bird- Eternal life.

Bird, Flying- Resurrection.

Book-Representation of a holy book: i.e. the Bible.

A pair of Holy Books on Mormom (LDS) headstones indicates the Bibleand Book of Mormon

Three Holy Books on Mormom headstones indicates the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine & Covenants -- all of which are scripture to the LDS Church.

Breasts (Gourds, Pomegranates) - Nourishment of the soul; the church.

Bouquets/Flowers -- Condolences, grief, sorrow

Broken Column -- Loss of Head of Family

Broken Ring -- Family Circle Severed

Buds/Rosebud -- Morning of Life or Renewal of Life

Bugles -- Resurrection and the Military

Butterfly -- Short-lived - Early Death

Candle being Snuffed -- Time, mortality

Cherub -- Angelic

Coffin, Father Time, Picks/Shovels, Darts -- Mortality

Columns and Doors- Heavenly entrance.

Corn -- Ripe Old Age

Cross -- Emblem of Faith

Crossed Swords -- High-ranking military person

Crown- Glory of life after death.

Cup or Chalice- The Sacraments.

Dove- Purity; Devotion.

Dove, Flying- Resurrection.

Drapes- Mourning; Mortality.

Flame or Light- Life; Resurrection.

Flower- Fragility of life.

Flower, Severed Stem- Shortened life.

Flying Birds -- Flight of the Soul

Fruits -- Eternal plenty

Full-Blown Rose -- Prime of Life

Garland or Wreath- Victory in death.

Grim Reaper- Death personified.

Hand, Pointing Up- Pathway to heaven; Heavenly reward.

Hands, Clapsed- The goodbyes said at death.

Hand of God Chopping -- Sudden Death

Handshakes -- Farewell

Harp -- Praise to the Maker

Heart- Love; Love of God; Abode of the soul; Mortality.

Horns -- The Resurrection

Hourglass- Passing of time.

Hourglass, Flying- Time flies.

Imps -- Mortality

Ivy -- Friendship and Immortality

Lamb- Innocence.

Laurel ---Fame or Victory

Lily or Lily of Valley -- Emblem of Innocence and Purity

Lion- Courage; The Lion of Judah.

Morning Glory -- Beginning of Life

Oak Leaves and Acorn -- Maturity, Ripe Old Age

Open Book/ Bible -- Deceased Teacher, Minister, etc.

Pall- Mortality.

Palm Branch -- Signifies Victory and Rejoicing

Pick- Death; Mortality.

Poppy -- Sleep

Portals -- Passageway to eternal journey

Rod or Staff- Comfort for the bereaved.

Rooster- Awakening; Resurrection.

Roses -- Brevity of earthly existence

Scythe- Death; The divine harvest.

Seashell- Resurrection; Life everlasting; Life's pilgrimage.

Sheaf of Wheat -- Ripe for Harvest, Divine Harvest, Time

Skull- Mortality.

Skull/ Crossed Bones- Death.

Skeleton- Life's brevity.

Snake (Tail in Mouth)- Everlasting life in heaven.

Spade- Mortality; Death.

Stars and Stripes Around Eagle -- Eternal Vigilance, Liberty

Sun Rising- Renewed life.

Sun Shining-Life everlasting.

Sun Setting- Death.

Thistle- Scottish descent.

Thistles -- Remembrance

Tombs -- Mortality

Torch Inverted -- Life Extinct

Tree- Life.

Tree Sprouting- Life everlasting.

Severed Branch- Mortality.

Tree Stump- Life interrupted.

Tree Stump w/Ivy -- Head of Family - Immortality

Tree Trunk- Brevity of life.

Tree Trunk Leaning- Short interrupted life.

Trumpeters -- Heralds of the Resurrection

Urn- Immortality (ancient Egyptian belief that life would be restored in the future through the vital organs placed in the urn).

Urn with /Wreath or Crepe -- Mourning

Urn with Blaze -- Undying Friendship

Weeping Willow Tree- Mourning; Grief; Nature's lament.

Willows -- Earthly Sorrow

Winged Face- Effigy of the deceased soul; the soul in flight.

Winged Skull- Flight of the soul from mortal man.

Wreath- Victory.

Wreath on Skull- Victory of death over life.

Wheat Strands or Sheaves- The divine harvest.


                                      DATING OLD PHOTO'S

DAGUERREOTYPE (1839 - 1870, approx.)
The case resembled a double frame. Very decorative. The photo image is on a silver clad copper sheet which is attached to a sheet of glass by a foil-like brass decorative frame. This sealed packet was then force fit into a special wood case and was often padded with velvet or silk. Many times, the silver image tarnishes with silver sulfide in the same way as silverware. The cost: $5.00 (more than a weeks pay for most people).

CALOTYPE (1845 - 1855, approx.).
The first photographs on paper. A two step process. The first step was to make a negative image on a light sensitive paper. Step two was to make a contact [print] with a second sheet of sensitized paper to make a positive print. Calotypes were never widely popular, and most of those surviving are in museums. Apparently Talbot (the inventor) did not fully realize the importance of washing his prints long enough to remove all the residual chemicals, or perhaps his fixing was inadequate. Either fault leads to the same result: fading image, discoloration, etc. These defects are now noticeable in many calotypes, some of which are today little more than pale yellow ghosts.

AMBROTYPE (1854 to the end of the Civil War)
The ambrotype is a thin negative image on glass made to appear as a positive by showing it against a black background.
Similar to daguerreotype in assembly of parts: 1- Outer protective case. 2- Backing of black paper, cloth, or metal. 3- The on-glass-image, emulsion to the front and black varnish on the back. 4- Brass die cut frame 5- Gilt border of thin brass to edge wrap the frame, glass, and backing.

It was common for the ambrotype to be colored. Suggestions of rouge cheeks or lips suggested a person of substance. Buttons, watch chains, pendants, broaches were often tinted with color.

Disadvantages of ambrotypes: 1. A very slow (up to 20 sec.) exposure, compared to 2 sec. for a daguerreotype. 2. The glass was very fragile. It couldn't withstand travel or being carried in a locket as a daguerreotype could.

Advantage of the Ambrotypes: Price. It could be sold profitably at a low price, approx. 25 cents. The cost of the ambrotype was less than half of the daguerreotype.

THE TINTYPE (1856 to W.W.II)
"The penny picture that elected a president".
Price- sold for a penny or less, making photography universally available. The cost of an image at the time the process became obsolete was about 25 cents.
Advantages: 1. Lighter and less costly to manufacture. 2. Camera was lighter and easier to handle. 3. Wouldn't shatter as a glass image photo would. 4. Could be colored or tinted.

As the public sought lower prices, the cases (which cost more than the finished photographs) were eliminated. In their place, paper folders of the size of the then popular card photographs were used for protection. Instead of a glass cover, the photographer covered the tintype with a quick varnish to protect any tints or colors added to cheeks, lips, jewelry or buttons.

Popularity: The tintype was very popular during the Civil War because every soldier wanted to send a picture of himself with his rifle and sword home. They could be mailed home safely without fear of shattering.

The tintype actually does not contain any tin, but is made of thin black iron. It is sometimes confused with ambrotypes and daguerreotypes, but is easily distinguishable from them by the fact that a tintype attracts a small magnet.

Introduction 1856 - 1860. The earliest tintypes were on heavy metal (0.017 inches thick) that was never again used. They are stamped "Neff's Melainotype Pat 19 Feb 56" along one edge. Many are found in gilt frames or in the leather or plastic (thermomolded) cases of the earliest ambrotypes. Size range from one-sixth plate to full plate.
Civil War Period 1861 - 1865. Tintypes of this time are primarily one-sixth and one-fourth plate and are often datable by the Potter's Patent paper holders, adorned with patriotic stars and emblems, that were introduced during the period. After 1863 the paper holders were embossed rather than printed. Uncased tintypes have been found with canceled tax stamps adhered to the backs. The stamps date these photographs to the period of the Wartime Retail Tax Act, 1 Sept. 1864 to 1 Aug. 1866.

Brown Period 1870 - 1885. In 1870 the Phoenix Plate Co. began making plates with a chocolate-tinted surface. They created a sensation among the photographers throughout the country, and the pictures made on the chocolate-tinted surface soon became the rage. During this period "rustic" photography also made its debut with its painted backgrounds, fake stones, wood fences and rural props. Neither the chocolate tint nor the rustic look are to be found in pre 1870 tintypes.

Gem Period 1863 - 1890. Tiny portraits, 7/8 by 1 inch, or about the size of a small postage stamp, became available with the invention of the Wing multiplying cameras. They were popularized under the trade name Gem and the Gem Galleries offered the tiny likeness at what proved to be the lowest prices in studio history. Gem Galleries flourished until about 1890, at which time the invention of roll film and family cameras made possible larger images at modest cost. It was no longer necessary to visit a studio that specialized in the tiny likeness. Gem portraits were commonly stored in special albums with provision for a single portrait per page. Slightly larger versions also existed. Some Gems were cut to fit lockets, cufflinks, tie pins, rings and even garter clasps.

Carnival Period 1875 - 1930. Itinerant photographers frequently brought the tintype to public gatherings, such as fairs and carnivals. They came equipped with painted backdrops of Niagara Falls, a beach, a boat, and other novelty props for comic portraits.

Postmortems. In the nineteenth century it was common to request a photographer to make a deathbed portrait of a loved one.

THE CABINET CARD (approx. 1866 - 1906).
A card stock product, nearly four times the size of previous photographs on card stock.
The larger size created new problems of photographic quality. Flaws that were not obvious in the smaller cards now became very visible. This gave rise to a new skill of photo retoucher.

Success in retouching led to innovations in the darkroom and at the camera. Diffusion of the image reduced the need for retouching. This led to verbal skirmishes between photographers who insisted in "truth in photography". Opponents called retouching degenerating, demoralizing, and untruthful practices.

Cabinet cards can be further dated by color of stock, borders, corners and size.

The earliest American made cabinet cards have been dated only to the post- Civil War period, beginning in 1866. Design and colors of these cards followed those of the cards of that time. Cabinet cards are rarely found after 1906.

Card Colors:
1866 - 1880 White card stock of a light weight.
1880 - 1890 Different colors for face and back of mounts.
1882 - 1888 Face of buff, matte finished, with a back of creamy yellow, glossy.

1866 - 1880 Red or gold rules, single and double lines.
1884 - 1885 Wide gold borders.
1885 - 1892 Gold beveled edges.
1889 - 1896 Rounded corner rule of single line.
1890 - 1892 Metallic green or gold impressed border.
1896 Impressed outer border, without color.

1866 - 1880 Square, lightweight mount.
1880 - 1890 Square, heavy board with scalloped sides.

Photographs mounted on card stock.
The most popular mount sizes were:
Carte-de-visite 4 1/4" x 2 1/2"
Cabinet card 6 1/2" x 4 1/2"
Victoria 5" x 3 1/4"
Promenade 7" x 4"
Boudoir 8 1/2" x 5 1/4"
Imperial 9 7/8" x 6 7/8"
Panel 8 1/4" x 4"
Stereograph 3" x 7"

As part of the effort by the Congress to fund the Civil War, among a number of taxes levied was an 1864 Act which provided that sellers of photographs affix stamps at the time of sale to "photographs, ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, or any sun pictures", according to the following schedule, exempting photographs too small for the stamp to be affixed:
Less than 25 cents: 2 cents stamps (blue/orange).
25 to 50 cents: 3 cents stamps (green).
50 cents to $1: 5 cents stamps (red).
More than $1: 5 cents for each additional dollar or fraction thereof.

Stamps were applied from 1 Aug. 1864 to 1 Aug. 1866. Blue playing card stamps are known to have been used in the summer of 1866 as other stamps were unavailable as the levy came to an end. The stamp was to be canceled by requiring that the seller cancel the stamp by initializing and dating it in ink. The most rare of all of these stamps is the one cent (red) "playing cards" and the most common is the orange two cent "playing cards". Values for all of these stamps appear in the Scott's Specialized Catalog of United States Stamps.

THE STEREOGRAPH (1849 - 1925).
"Parlor Travel" both educational and entertaining.
The stereograph is an almost identical side-by-side set of images of a single scene, viewed simultaneously through an optical device held to the eyes like a pair of binoculars. Each eye looks at a slightly different image, and the fusion of the two images in the mind creates the illusion of depth. Price: a few pennies.
Sizes of stereo cards and slides: The typical mass manufactured stereo card of the period between the Civil War and WW I had a standard dimension: 3 1/2" x 7". This is the size commonly found in boxed sets. The earliest of these cards were made on slightly curved mounts; later cards were made on slightly curved mounts that permitted greater clarity when they were seen in the stereopticon viewer. A number of photographers, working with larger field cameras, created slightly larger cards of 4" x 7", 4 3/8" x 7" and 4 1/2" x 7". Until about 1873 the smaller sizes were sold at twenty five cents per card and the larger "artistic" size for fifty cents. Within a decade sets of twenty or more were made on printing presses, not by a hand photo-graphic process. The on-glass slides, a stereo form more popular in Europe than in America, were available in two standard sizes, 45 x 107 mm and 6 x 13 cm. Both were smaller than the standard card stereograph.

THE WET-PLATE PRINT (c.1853 - 1902).
"The photograph that opened the West". (A large contact print).
To identify the wet-plate negative, look for an uneven coating were the syrupy colloidal base of the glass plate did not flow to the very edges of the glass. Many of the plate edges reveal torn or rippled emulsion and even the fingerprints of the darkroom technician who handled it with wet fingers. Only occasionally is it possible to determine whether a print was made from a wet-plate negative, especially if the outer edge of the print has been trimmed away. It is the edge that would immediately reveal the irregularities of the coating prepared in the field.
Few Americans could afford the cost of a studio enlargement made with a solar enlarger. The technique of making such enlargements were so complicated that few photographers had the proper skill to make an enlargement from a standard studio negative. Much of the demand for larger photographs could be satisfied by making larger negatives and larger cameras to handle them. Wet plate negatives were often 11" x 14" up to 20" x 24" sheets of sensitized glass.

Wet-plate photographers helped to open the American West by taking their cameras out of the studio and on location assignment with the survey teams of the U.S. Government and the railroads in the Far West, and with the geological expeditions moving into the unmapped wilderness beyond the Rocky Mountains. The giant spaces they discovered demanded giant cameras. The camera that documented the famous meeting at Promontory Point, Utah of the tracks of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads on 10 May 1869 was built to accommodate glass plates 10" x 13". The camera boated down the Colorado River during the Powell Expedition into the Grand Canyon was 11" x 14". The work of these photographers, shown in major exhibitions in Washington D.C., is generally acknowledged to have been instrumental in convincing Congress to enact legislation establishing many of the major national parks, monuments, and preserves. The maps of the surveys showed where everything was; the wet-plate photographers showed precisely what was there.


Dear Ancestor

Your tombstone stands among the rest;
Neglected and alone.
The name and date are chiseled out
On polished, marbled stone.

It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn.
You did not know that I exist
You died and I was born.

Yet each of us are cells of you
In flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
Entirely not our own.

Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
One hundred years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
Who would have loved you so.

I wonder if you lived and loved,
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot,
And come to visit you.

(Author Unknown)

stack of books falls from above animated gif 


Your Name

You got it from your father
It was all he had to give
And right gladly he bestowed it
Its yours as long as you may live.
You may lose the watch he gave you
And another you may claim
But whenever you are tempted
Be careful of his name.

It was fair the day you got it
And a worthy name to bear
When he got it from his father
There was no dishonor there.
Through the years he proudly wore it
To his father he was true
And that name was clean and spotless
When he passed it on to you.

Oh, there's much that he has given you
That he values not at all
He has watched you break many toys
In the days that you were
You lost the knife he gave you
And you caused him many a pain
But you'll never hurt your father
If you're careful of his name.

Its yours to wear forever
Yours as long as you may live
Yours perhaps some distant morning
Another boy to give.
And you'll smile with pride and
As you look down on that baby there
Its a good name and a clean name
You are giving him to wear.

Author unknown.

 stack of books falls from above animated gif