Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Family Pictures - Samuel George Blake 1875 - 1953

Sorting through boxes with my husband we came across another cache of family pictures. This time it was the originals of some photographs that I had originally labeled Grandma Blake's pictures. They are actually my grandparent's pictures not just solely Grandma Blake's pictures as it turns out. I have now scanned all of them and because I now have the original of a picture of the Union that my grandfather belonged to (International Brotherhood of Blacksmiths, Drop Forgers and Helpers Local 183) I was able to spot him and have now written to the London Leaf to see if they want the image to put in the newsletter as a "Can you name any of the men in this picture?" I have told them which one is my grandfather which is a start. I have no idea on the names of any of the other men. By the time that I knew my grandfather he had been retired for several years and did not really speak a great deal about his time of working.

When we chatted it was about the green hills of Upper Clatford and stories of his life there. It was somewhat hilly actually when we visited but he was remembering Bury Hill which they had climbed as children. I didn't get to climb it and I think it might be on private land actually now. But perhaps when we go again I can have a longer look at it.

I put together a collage of pictures of my grandfather and decided to put it into this post. Not so much that it will aid anyone researching our family since I know all of his descendants but there may yet be cousins lurking out there that I have not yet discovered who might like to see a picture of my grandfather. I understand that he resembled his father and that Harry in Toronto resembled his mother's side of the family.

Pictures of Grandpa through the years (the early dates are approximate with the latter three to the year).

All of the pictures have a story actually with the first having been sent to me by my cousin in England with the query is this Sam? When I first looked at it I wasn't sure because I only had pictures of Grandpa when he was over 50. The earliest one that I had of him at that time was the lower left picture where he is clearing away snow from their laneway on Hackett Street in London, Ontario. My father had purchased a camera and this was a picture that they sent to all the relatives back in England that Christmas of 1925. The next picture was a more formal portrait that included my grandmother Blake and was likely taken at the wedding of my parents in 1938. The blossoms are definitely spring and they were married in May 1938. The last picture is from his railway pass and that was 1940. My grandmother died in 1940 and the strain of her illness and death shows in this picture of my grandfather. In later years some of the strain was gone from his face but he always missed my grandmother and would often visit her grave. When my husband and I first went looking for my grandparent's grave in the 1970s I was able to walk right to it having been a number of times with my grandfather as a child. On the other hand it was much harder to find my mother's parent's grave as I had almost never been there in my memory. I knew it was up on the hill not far from my other grandparents but it was quite a bit further than I remembered plus a columbarium had been built which had changed the look of the graveyard. I thought it was somewhat surprising to have remembered a distance as shorter given the much shorter legs of a child!

Since I received that first picture I have since discovered the second picture at the top in the middle which is from a picture of my father and grandparents whilst they were still living at Eastleigh Hampshire and around 1910 as my father would be about six years old and as I recall it was just before he went off to school (it could actually have been closer to 1908). I have a number of pictures of my father and have not yet placed this one into the collection of his pictures which is quite extensive. Being an only child, his parents quite doted on him and he was 33 before he married. The top picture on the right I just identified last night from a picture of his Union (Local 183 International Brotherhood of Blacksmiths, Drop Forgers and Helpers, London, Ontario). When I scanned the original image I was able to pick him out which I hadn't been able to do with the small copy I had from the earlier set of images. The story behind that picture is unknown to me but I am sort of hoping that London Leaf will take me up on my suggestion of printing it as a "Can you name any of the men in this picture?"

When I started genealogy I just had a few pictures of my grandfather starting with the one shoveling snow and right up until the early 1950s (he passed away in 1953). Now I have a picture story of him from his early adulthood. It is amazing how you can put together information as you glean it from various sources on your family. I have pictures of his brother's family (now all deceased I think) that I will post later in case any of my other cousins should happen upon this page. I have now yet been able to determine if anyone else is still living aside from my known cousin's family.

I just have a very few pictures of my grandmother Blake but that cache has too been added to since my initial foray into genealogy. I think there is also a picture of my grandfather's grandmother Ann (Farmer) Blake but I haven't found it yet. My grandfather was 18 when his grandmother Blake died and because she lived right next door to them he knew her very well. Many of her stories have now become stories that I can pass on to the next generation.

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