All in the Family: January Winners

By Family Tree Editors Premium

After 70 straight years of losing the watermelon-seed spitting contest, at this year’s family reunion, Great-aunt Polly is determined to win.
Doug Williams » Palatine, Ill.
This is the darnedest harmonica! Yummy, though ….
P.J. Achramowicz » Hollywood, Calif.

Your Story

Sage Advice
Because I like vintage autograph books, I wrote an article about them in the memory-sharing publication Yesterday’s Magazette describing three books in my possession, but not from my family. They had belonged to a William Lord, his young daughter Ethel, and the adult Ethel’s young daughter, Evelyn Pruitt.

The Lords lived in San Francisco when young Ethel collected verses in her book, whose pages are dated between 1900 and 1903. The front cover is ivory-colored celluloid with a landscape scene. The back cover is burgundy velvet.
The first page, dated Oct. 8, 1900, has a drawing of a table, on which sits a vase with flowers laid beside it. In the corner is a spider web. The person who drew the picture wrote a verse in almost calligraphic script:

Dear Ethel: We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have done.
Kingsley Cannon

From the verse and the drawing, it appears Kingsley Cannon was an adult. He used black ink, whereas most of the children who signed Ethel’s book wrote in pencil, their faded verses no longer legible.
Three years after my article appeared on the Yesterday’s Magazette website, reader Leesa Cannon emailed the publisher. She’d found the story while using Google to research her great-grandfather Kingsley Cannon, who lived in San Francisco. He was a lawyer who adopted a son and named him Kingsley W. Cannon Jr. Leesa’s father is Kingsley W. Cannon III. “Thanks for the familial clue,” she wrote me.
To Leesa’s delight, I offered her the book.
“Thank you for your generosity,” she wrote. “Aside from the obvious family interest, it’s an amazing piece of history. I know that these sayings are passed down through generations; therefore, when asked to sign someone’s book, I plan to use my great-grandfather’s quote. It’s also interesting to see the similarity between the written name in the corner and my father’s handwriting.

“But my dad is funny,” Leesa continued. “He said, ‘How do I know it’s him?’ I find it valuable—even if he does not.”

 Madonna Dries Christensen » Sarasota, Fla.
 From the May/June 2012 issue of Family Tree Magazine