Sunday, August 25, 2013


Super awesome.  Another stereoscope of an old family member of mine.  I should remember how lucky I am to have these.  A lot of people don't.  I think this is a great-aunt.  Just one great, isn't that cray?  This is at least turn of the century, maybe older.  Women had their children late on that side of the family.  Because there were 13 kids in that family, I don't know which one she was.

There are other pictures of this girl that I haven't scanned.  She is so dark-haired and dark-eyed, but her lineage is all Irish, Scottish and French-Canadian.  In the pictures, she and some of her sisters actually look a little Hispanic.  I wish this was Julia, my great-gram's ill-fated sister and BFF.  So fascinated by her.

I love these period indoor pics because I like to enlarge them and check out all the details.  Her rolled hair, and the bow in it.  The picture of a suffering Jesus, and the framed cross that angles away from the wall.  The wallpaper.  The random articles nailed to the wall.  She is working at a needlepoint, and there is a crazyquilt on the bed.  I wonder who she is.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

You're doing it wrong.

Someone asked Stephen Fry about the difference between Americans and the English, and he talked at length about the American bootstraps self-help can-do culture.  In thinking, I find the "Anyone can do anything!!" culture to be destructive, particularly in the way later generations have interpreted it.  Because it's not true.  You probably can't do anything you want to do, and you shouldn't want to kill yourself when you realize that.  And once you get over all that drama, you might realize that you can create new aspirations...ones that might even be relevant to the world instead of your plebian ideas of luxury and coolness.

Unrealistic, childish ambition is so characteristic of Americans.  Why does everyone have to be the brashest idiot in the room, with the most money and the stupidest car?  That shit will never make me happy.  It doesn't even make me happy in the short term, because I have analyzed my life and gained perspective on the things that I do enjoy.  I think much of this type of ultra-American teenagerish ambition is mindless and motivated by emotional issues or other disturbances.  That's why it makes me angry that this brainless, unplanned type of ambition (along with the psychopathic planned-out kind, for that matter) gets such wholesale respect in this culture, as though it is a positive trait to have.  The over-ambition I talk about is often ugly and degrading, with much fallout.  

Conversely, he described the British as having a far more "defeatist" (wrong word, too lazy) perspective, but in a way that I find to be kind of...healthy.  No matter what's going on, life is still kind of bullshit, right?  Don't assume that your good time somehow mitigates all of the pain and horror in the world.  This isn't negativity, it's realism, and if you think that recalling the struggles of others to mind is a buzzkill, it's because you're a privileged asshole who can't see past his own front lawn.  Even moving past human suffering, it's still all pretty much futile, right?  Don't forget that one.  My perspective on life is pretty unapologetically Allenist, and I'm ok with that, because there's no other way that I find to be at all legitimate.  That doesn't mean that it's wrong to be happy.  Just do so responsibly, ok?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Well, You're Assholes.

Today, I sat in on an interview in which the applicant was asked why she would apply for a job in a domestic violence shelter.  She replied, "Well, I wouldn't consider myself a feminist, but...I believe domestic violence is an issue to be addressed."

1. You just maligned feminism to a group full of women you don't know inside a domestic violence shelter.
2. Your random anti-feminist comment was essentially an apology for giving a fuck about domestic violence.
3. You think shitting on feminism is so socially acceptable that you did it in a job interview.
4. Domestic violence isn't ~a feminist issue~.  It affects ALL OF THE PEOPLE.
5. Fuck you.

This is what I wanted to say.  Actually, what I wanted to do was shove my chair away from the desk, pantomime washing my hands in she and my boss's faces, and then walk out backwards while flipping them off.  Because I literally can't go anywhere without this brand of ignorant bastard thinking that the wholesale dismissal of things like feminism, and the minimization of domestic violence are things you can do IN A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SHELTER WHILE YOU'RE ASKING FOR A MOTHER FUCKING JOB, not to mention everywhere else.

Afterwards, only one other person was even able to recognize or remember the comment.  These are the people in leadership at a social services nonprofit dedicated exclusively to the safety and empowerment of abused women who have no resources.  These slackfaced apathetic babies, despite the profession that they disingenuously trot out to impress their friends with, don't even have enough piss in them to get riled by some bitch in their midst whose response equates to "yeah? i mean it sucks rite idk."  Particularly when she wants to be the agency's face to high dollar donors.  Could I make up a more absurd scenario that will probably happen?  I'd be hard pressed.

Fuck that.  I've seen more passion in committees formed to address the matter of feral cat pee spots than I see for the mission of this organization.  It is appalling.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Research Research

Notes for myself, because Ancestry is very annoying for temporarily & informally documenting info.

Found Jack's obituary, he died in North Hollywood in 1954.  Almost no useful info contained in the obit, which I had to purchase to view:

I see an Anna Davis who died in Glendale, AZ in 1984 who has an almost but not quite exact birthdate.  I think it's probably her, but I have not been able to find any obituaries for her in Arizona to qualify it.  Annoying!

Since I'm at an impasse with those two, I'm branching out to her immediate family.  Not super relevant to searches, but her father's work industry in 1920 is recorded as "motion pictures".  1920 is so early!  Much earlier than that and movies were still things you paid a penny to see through a viewfinder while turning a wheel.  So that's kind of neat.

The diary was given as a Christmas gift to Anna and inscribed "from Errol".  Errol is her brother, whom the census indicates is her exact age, to the day.  A twin!

Researching him was a good idea.  I should have more of those.  Like Anna, Errol was living in Hollywood in the 50s and appears to have had some kind of stage career with his wife.  There are a couple of publicity shots of the two of them.  Haven't found anything on google yet.

Errol and wife Arlene Smith Whitney
Next on my list is to try to find Anna's 2nd husband, Charles "Chick" Davis.  Thanks for having a unique name, guy.  I'm sure it'll be easy to find you with no birthdate.

Also, I will have to branch into her other siblings, particularly a younger one, Kathleen, who potentially could still be alive.  Very old, but alive.

Repeated searches for daughter Colleen turn up absolutely nothing, and Kay, the woman I have been emailing with, apparently has no idea as to her whereabouts.  Frustrating, as she is a family member and therefore has access to other family members, theoretically (try, Kay).

I would do this all day long if I could.  I love untangling little balls of information and reordering it into something cohesive and meaningful.
This song always amuses me.  It seems like songs about dating or being married to a moron were a particular trend in the 20s and 30s, but then, that was a more immediate problem then.  When you have women marrying anything in order to avoid the most feared status of all - old maidness - you're going to have some problems.

My grandparents' marriage was not particularly successful, and when I asked my grandmother why she married him in the first place, she said, "I didn't want to be an old maid!"  I said, YOU WERE 20.  YOU COULD HAVE GIVEN IT A MINUTE.  She shrugged.

Dorothy Lamour, genuine creole princess & Miss New Orleans 1931.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Anna in 1967.  This is just what I thought she looked like.  How amazing.

Monday, August 12, 2013


Oooh, who got an email from another amateur genealogist today?  This guy.

It's so exciting to get data or evidence in a concentration to which so much is lost with a simple death.  People don't record things about their lives, especially excessively pragmatic people.  How the hell am I supposed to be a spy detective archivist when there's no material?  That's why this is exciting.

Subject: RE: Anna Helen Connelly Davis

Hi Brittany, 
Sorry I have not back to you sooner. I just reaad the message today. Anna Ireland is my husband aunt who married John Connelly and then married again after the death of John. I know she lived in Arizona and we did visit her back in the late 60's. She had a daughter Colleen who married a doctor. We have no idea where she is living now. I will have to check my files and see what I have enter in the records about her. I will try to update them for you. 
you can contact me through my e-mail. 
What are the dates in the diary? I wonder why her diary was in an antique store? 
Wow, you may some information in the diary that I could use. 
I hope this will help for now. 
Kay Connelly

So!  She lived in Arizona in the late 60s.  A record without a source on Ancestry says she died in 1966, and I can't find anything reliable in the Social Security Death Index.  None of those entries seem to fit her, so I can't reasonably say when she died at all.

That explains how the diary got here.  She schlepped it with her over 30 years, through various marriages and moves, so it must have retained some meaning for her.  I assume that she died in Arizona, and her personal effects were boxed up and donated, diary included.

I asked for a picture and for her to try to find a way to contact the daughter.  All right!  I wish someone would find some artifact belonging to one of my ancestors and send it along with some research.  Damn!