Sunday, April 29, 2012

That house in England image – I can't stop thinking of it!

In the prior post, I was looking at the "macro" mystery house in England. I had some clues, but I didn't have a high resolution image to take a closer look at. I asked cousin Sharon to rescan the original image of the house and two men plus some close ups of specific spots I had questions on. I thank her for helping out by taking the time to rescan. I'm coming closer to solving the mystery of who are those men and whose house is it anyway?

Sharon also corrected what was really written on the image: "Will Porteous Home (England)." By adding "Will" makes a big difference from what I had before. This identifies one of the men in the picture as great-great grandfather William Dennis Portas, but didn't point out which one. I'll get to that later with a little more sleuthing. This just might be the first good picture of William Dennis I have seen.

This picture must have been taken sometime before 1875 because William Dennis, wife Elizabeth, daughter Jane and grandson John William Marshall along with great-great uncle John R. Vamplew, emigrated from England to Lake County, Illinois and then finally settling in Garfield, Kansas. 

One mystery is solved... those white things that looked like a person bending over doing garden work actually turns out to be clothes drying on the hedge!

The web-looking black thing on the brick between the window and door is still a mystery, but the picture of great-great grandparents James and Anne Vamplew shows it is a vine. If this is the same house as the one the two men are at, then the black web-looking thing is a vine.

On further examination of the doorway of either house, I noticed the bricks are the same. Giving the angles of the pictures, there seems to be a doubt, but when you look closer, you can see they are the same. Count the bricks down from the inside corner of the door, the colors match up layer for layer.

I have concluded I have the same house. I'm still not sure of whose it is?

This dark image of a bearded man with a cigar could very well be my great-great grandfather William D. I wish I had a better image. I'll have to look in the picture box for the original so I can rescan it in high resolution.  I found it some years ago. Back then I had a strong feeling it was him, but had nothing to substantiate it. The picture was taken in Illinois or Kansas. 

Hard to see the hat in the left image. It sure looks real similar to the one worn by the man on the left in the other picture. It has a rounded top and thin brim. 

Other things I noticed are the collar of the coat and how the left side of his coat buttons close to the collar – in both images; the sleeve looks a little big for the arm in both pictures; there is a horizontal pocket flap on both images. Like I said before, I don't think he kept up with the styles of the day and he probably had that coat for many years including in England. 

Now compare the noses and creases on the cheeks, really similar especially his left cheek. Barely seen is his right eyebrow – kind of straight high arch which looks similar in both pictures. The beards are pretty much the same length and the color variances are close giving the different angles of the faces in the pictures. I really think we are looking at the same person!

One more thing, the other man on the far right. I believe he could be Will's brother Richard who lived not to far away. Richard was a few years younger. These men do look like brothers – their noses and eyebrows are similar. Richard would be the likely one since another brother lived a distance away and not sure he could be around for a photo which doesn't seem like a "planned" formal picture.

I have recently been in contact with a descendant of Richard's. Alan lives in Horncastle just up the road from Tumby and Mareham le Fen the area where William lived. I have sent him the image of the house and hopefully between him and his sister, they can identify the second man.

Let's hope that soon all the questions will be answered and I can stop thinking about the two men and a house in England!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Family picture sleuthing...whose house is it anyway?

Sleuthing in genealogy and family history is fun when you have someone to share thoughts, memories, and family items with.

My cousin Sharon has been sending me quite a collection of digital images of family photos from an album she hadn't looked at for years. Together we are trying to identify people and places in these not-labeled pictures! It's good to collaborate and run thoughts past each other.

One of two house pictures sent is this one below. Whose house is it? What year was the picture taken? So who are these two men? What is that white thing in the garden? Is that a person? <grin>

Handwriting on back: "Porteous Home in England." I have to admit I did get excited about this find. I have never seen a picture of a Porteous ancestor's house in England before. 


You can't really see the photographer's name, but we do see "Horncastle" which is a large town about 15 miles from Lincoln in Lincolnshire. I recognized the markings and found an image from my family photo collection that had the same photographer mark.

So we have established this house is in England.

Since the image was labeled "Porteous" we would presume it to be right. It is typical of many homes in the area of Lincolnshire where my Portas (Porteous) and Vamplew ancestors lived. Mareham le Fen and Tumby Woodside are the two places each family lived around the time this picture was taken -- possibly the late 1800s. This all seemed reasonable to me until I saw another picture in Sharon's e-mail which puts doubt in my mind.

There sitting in front of a door is Anne Vamplew and standing next to her is James, her husband. They are my great-great grandparents. Look at the top of the door. Now look at the other door in the house picture... are these the same doors? Could this be the Vamplew house in Tumby Woodside?


When Bob and I were in Lincolnshire a few years back, a cousin from my Vamplew line gave me a picture of the Vamplew house in Tumby Woodside below. Check out the front door. It is surrounded by stucco not bricks. So, either there was a new all-brick house built later, or my great-great grandparents were at the "Porteous home" when the picture was taken.

The first house picture -- "Porteous home in England" -- is in Lincolnshire, England. It may or may not be the Portas house. Still don't know who those two men are. Don't know when it was taken, but it could be sometime around the late 1800s. The style of clothes may not be a determinant. My ancestors were agricultural labourers and probably didn't have the money to "keep up" with the styles. They probably had to "make do" with what they could afford. Back to square one!

Monday, April 23, 2012

YIKES! My first post...what do I do now?

Being my first post, you can't imagine how excited I am to be able to share my research adventures with you. I have toyed with the idea of starting a blog for a long time, but never did anything about it. Lazy? No. Scared? Possibly. What would I write?  Do I have enough to say? I'm sure I can muster up enough things to talk about.


Maybe I should just clue you in on surnames I am researching. PORTAS, VAMPLEW, FOWLER, BUSCHICK, VOIGT and the variant spellings of those names.

My main focus family is PORTAS -- families in England (mainly from Lincolnshire), Canada, and United States. For the past 18 years or so, I've been hunting and gathering as many PORTAS families I can find with hopes they will connect somehow to my family. My quest is to eventually find the baptism and burial of my 5x great grandfather Joseph PORTAS who married Elizabeth MOOR in Wyham cum Cadeby (Lincolnshire) 1740. They didn't move around too far and spent most of their married life in Marshchapel and North Coates only a few miles east of Wyham cum Cadeby. Joseph is my brick wall. 

My other focus family is FOWLER -- 1650 in Massachusetts to Rhode Island, New York State, Michigan, to present Illinois. Great-great grandfather Luther married Lydia CORNELL sometime around 1840 in New York State. They migrated to Allegan, Michigan and then on the Chicago, Illinois. I know about his death and where he is buried and when. I'm in search of his birth and marriage records. Don't know much about Lydia either. More things to discuss and share another time I guess.

The other families? Not so much being harvested.
 Although BUSCHICK family is starting to gain my interest within Chicago Fire connection.

Excitement is starting to well as I prepare for a trip to Salt Lake City and the Family History Library. My trip is less than two weeks away and I am in a panic! I need to get organized and fast! 

I don't want to take a lot of paper as I have done in the past. I have moved to the "Cloud" which will make my communications easier. I am starting to store some items on Dropbox for easy retrieval, too. The less paper I take, the easier it will be to pack light!

There is a learning curve to this new way of doing things. How fast technology is moving. I wanted to attend RootsTech last February, but didn't get a chance... so now I'm stuck learning on my own. 

I must remember to put the latest Reunion 9 family files on my laptop, iPhone, and iPad! I will need my Lincolnshire map with all my circles and scribbles on map online can take its place, yet. Well, I guess I will have to update my ToDo list!

I'll let you know how successful I am this trip.