Everything’s Relative

By Family Tree Editors Premium

Young Blue Eyes

As the oldest grandchild of 25, I’ve always felt compelled to be the “keeper of the flame” as far as family history and stories. I liked to get the old folks talking and take notes. My dad, Mike Brigida, told this story years ago:

Dad was born in Hoboken, NJ, in 1916. He and his brother Guy frequently played with a little boy named Frankie who lived on the block. They roamed the docks where my grandfather worked; they organized kickball games on Adams Street; they had fun with the Dalmatian in the firehouse where Frankie’s father was a firefighter; and they played hide-and-seek in the storeroom of the local bar where all the men gathered. Dad said that even when he was 8 years old, Frank Sinatra knew all the best places to have fun.

Marlene Brigida Baldwin
Keene, NH

Card Confusion

I visited the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Ind., staying a few days at a local hotel. My hotel gave me a plastic key shaped like a credit card.

My interest was locating my French Canadian great-great-grandparents Thomas Crotty and Genevieve Element in the library’s Drouin Collection on microfilm. After hours of sitting in the dimly lit microfilm wing, I learned to interpret its working sounds: the whir of automatic microfilm readers, the clunk of film scanners, and the hum of copy card vending machines.

I also could eavesdrop on the quiet conversations around me. I know it’s not nice to listen in, but someone else might be sifting through the unindexed parish records of Gaspé Peninsula, too.

A husband and wife were in the row in from of me, close to the bank of microfilm copiers. Suddenly, I heard an unidentifiable mechanic sound. “Grrrrr. Grrrrrr.” Pause. “Grrrrr. Grrrrr.”

The husband returned to his wife’s microfilm reader and whispered, “Honey, I think I just put $5 onto our hotel key.”

Cherie Bowers
Byron, Mich.

All in the Family
September Winners: The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far


Little did we know: In addition to genes, hairdos can skip generations, too. That’s what we found out after readers answered our call for photos of ancestral look-alikes. It was a tough call, but we chose these uncannily similar entries to win The Family Tree Resource Book for Genealogists edited by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack and Erin Nevius (Family Tree Books). See the rest of readers’ retro resemblances in our Back Fence Forum <www.familytreemagazine.com/forum>.

In the most generation-spanning entry, Esther Gross of Nashville, Tenn., sent photos of her granddaughter Victoria Caroline Gross (right) and Victoria’s third-great-grandma Esther Stauffer Porter.

After comparing her son, Eric Robert Snider (right), to his great-great-grandfather John Ransom Powers, Sharon Schooler Gallegos of San Antonio concluded her family’s gene pool “isn’t very diluted.”

Linda Rae Ralston (right), sister of Family Tree Magazine reader Lorie Zirbes of Las Vegas, shares taste in tresses, dresses and expressions with their paternal great-aunt Mayme Zirbes.