Monday, August 06, 2007

A Relaxing Day

Today I had a rare treat: nine hours of being home alone; no teens, no hubby, no cares, no interruptions (even the cat knew better than to bother me!). The kids were gone all day to Silverwood with their church youth group, so after my husband left for work in the early afternoon, I enjoyed the peace and quiet.

I polished up my syllabus on Message Boards that I'll be presenting on August 18th for our EWGS members' computer class. And I've been having an incredibly fun time delving into the lives of the neighbors of my great-grandfather, William Bryan ROBBINS, as part of the series of posts I'm blogging on his military service in North Russia at the end of World War One. In a letter from home, his mother mentions a number of relatives, friends, and neighbors, and putting this "mini-community" into context with my ancestors' lives has been enriching. I hope that I have enough time to post the next two blogs in that series before we leave on vacation this coming weekend (sheesh! all the work that goes into "getting away" creates a need for a vacation from the vacation, if you follow me!).

One of the things I "stumbled upon" while doing some more research on World War I, was this astonishing website of color World War I photos...did you know any existed? Well, neither did I! It is a true documentary of the grim results of war; shelled buildings, hospital wards, refugees. I must have spent over an hour visiting this site, by turns fascinated by how color creates a starker reality than black-and-white does and mourning the evident loss of life and destruction of the great architecture of France (medieval cathedrals have always captivated me).

Oh, and by the way, I was encouraged by the Footnote team to create a Story Page about Bryan in North Russia, especially considering their recent release of the Historical Files of the American Expeditionary Forces. Labeled "A Polar Bear in North Russia," my Story Page is a copy of the series found here on my blog. What are Story Pages? They can be anything you want them to be: a blog, a research log, an online scrapbook, a way to share information with family and friends. And you don't need to purchase a subscription at Footnote to start one; just sign up for a free membership. Think you might like to have full access to this website? Check out your local Family History Center to see if they have a Footnote subscription yet (if not, check back again - soon all FHCs will have access). This is a terrific way to discover for yourself all the fascinating features of Footnote; I'll bet after playing around on this site you won't be able to resist signing up for their affordable subscription!

Darn! It's time to turn off the computer and go pick up the kids!


Steve Danko said...


While looking at the color photographs from WWI, I noticed some features that make me think these photos were hand colored - the fact that some spats are brown while others are the exact same color as the uniform, the fact that some patches of paving bricks are gray while other patches are the same color as the background, etc.

I have several family photos that were hand-colored. My mother told me she bought colored pencils to color the photos herself.


Miriam Robbins said...

Steve, after a closer look I agree with you that some of these photos appear to be "colorized," but most others look so true with many shades and tints that I find it hard to believe that they are not originals. Perhaps there's a photography expert out there that can shed some light on this subject?

Barbara said...

Hi Miriam,
That French website with the WW1 colr phtos is SOOO interesting !
I think that we are on the same wavelenght today.

I had just finished writing a bio on my grandad, John B Carroll Sr.
And, I had written a few of the anecdotes that my Dad passed on.Including during WW1.
Grandad was career Navy.
I have heard that searching for a military record is very hard, becuase the archives burned down.

That sounds fascinating that your ancestor served in Russia !There will be quite a story to tell.

Glad to know that you had an afternoon just for you. Wasen't that a nice treat ?!

Take care.

Miriam Robbins said...

Hi, Barbara,

I believe you are in luck! The National Archives has information here about the 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The affected records were Army and Air Force personnel records only. This means your granddad's Navy records should be intact. Go here to find out how to request military records, and go here to find out about recently opened Navy and Marine Corps enlisted personnel records (non-officers).

Happy Hunting!