History and Genealogy, Part 2

During a recent visit to my mother’s house, we went through two very old, battered suitcases, one oak chest, and three steamer trunks, each filled with family items. Out came handmade quilts, antique linen tablecloths and napkins, plates, vases and cutlery. There were also reams of aging photographs, tin types, and crinkly yellow documents: marriage and death certificates, titles and deeds, letters and postcards, children’s scrap books and a ticket for a steamer that brought one of my ancestors here from Liverpool, England in 1890.

History and GenealogyMy Grandmother Dawson and two great-grandmothers were obsessive about collecting these things. Grandma Dawson also did extensive research into family history in order to qualify for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution, and her typed up genealogy reports were exhumed from one of the suitcases.

When I was a teenager, it might have found it an interminable drag to go through trunks like these, but as early as my twenties I learned to love it. Now it’s like Christmas, carefully opening wrappers of tissue and newsprint to discover unexpected delights.

Here is a tiny sampling of the photographs, history and genealogy we uncovered.

History & Genealogy

The actual ticket used by my relative William Dawson to come over from Liverpool in 1890

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Working the oil rigs in El Dorado Kansas

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Girls basketball team from 1907. My great grandmother Mabel Effie Tarkington–who I had the privilege of knowing–is second from the left in the middle row.

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The Talkington family farm

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Bonus Photo: Portrait of the artist as a young man. It’s me!


  • David Waid ! I think that I last saw you when you were just a little boy living in SOHO– (if you are the son of Mary Joan and Crandall Waid ?) How wonderful that I have stumbled upon you and your marvelous writing !!! I knew your father when we were both in the Music Department at the University of Wichita — I was a pianist and used to accompany his vocal lessons from time to time. Your mother was such a gifted painter — I have followed her career with great interest. Please say hello to your father for me if you get a chance. (I reached out via Facebook, but have not heard back.) I am looking forward to finding your books via Amazon ! All the best to you and your family.

    • It is amazing that you stumbled across the website and, yes, you have the correct David Waid. What an incredible connection. Here is one of the marvels of the internet and interconnectivity, up close and personal. I am so glad you left a comment and I will certainly pass your message on to my Dad.

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