Look and Look Again Part One or My Most Embarrassing Genealogical Moment

We have all been told many times the value of looking again at the information we have accumulated and revisiting sources we have used in the past when trying to make progress in our family histories.  We simply cannot stress this enough, there is always new information out there and frequently new ways in which to view the information we have already collected.  In my next post I will give you several examples from my own research and ask Pat to join me with a few of her own.

But for now I will simply recall my most embarrassing moment in this category.  We had a pleasant mix of family and friends assembled for Thanksgiving and, as Pat said in her last post, there are pictures on my wall that I hardly notice anymore, including one of my mother’s family, the Steins.  It’s a terrific photograph of my great-grandmother surrounded by her children taken either shortly before or shortly after they left Russia.

Someone asked me about the picture and I responded, “That’s my great-grandmother surrounded by her eight living children.”

We are a math-friendly family.  I have spent a good portion of my adult life dealing with numbers, my husband calculates all kinds of stuff in his job as a city planner, together we raised a computer major and a math minor.  Everyone in this family can count to ten without taking off his or her shoes , even me. So imagine my surprise when my son said, “Mom, there are ten people in that picture.” I stopped, I looked and, yes, there are nine people surrounding my great grandmother.

My mother told me that the photo was her grandmother’s family. I knew my great-grandmother had eight children that survived infancy and that was that.  I never really looked at that picture.  Now I see that not only are there nine children, some of the women are wearing the same dresses.  This might be a wedding photo or one child might be a grandchild.  I have lots of information on this family that will help me sort this out, and this afternoon we’re taking the frame off and very carefully getting a look at the back and scanning the photograph for posterity and for this post.  Then I’ll be spending the rest of the afternoon looking at old photos.

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