This summer I visited the Penn Yan Craft Market which is located in the Finger Lakes region in New York. They had vendor after vendor selling all types of handcrafted items that took more talent to make that I could ever hope to have. Along with all these fine items was a robust farmer’s market. As I was going from booth to booth and in one building then to the next, I sighted the display shown below.
I started to look through the box of pictures and found one with the following inscription written on the back, Byron Duckwall Charley Duckwall’s son. It was clear to me that Byron did not need to be an instant relative for some unrelated family he had to find his own family. The picture below I believe was taken for Byron’s high school graduation.
I was able to trace Byron family very quickly on Ancestry.com where vast amounts of information were found. Byron was born in 1916 in the state of Indiana to a family that was doing very well for its self. The 1920 U.S. Federal Census shows his father Charles was furniture merchant and they had two live in servants at home. In the 1930 Federal Census Byron’s father was now a civil engineer doing surveying for the county. His mother also had a job listed as a hack driver for the public schools. No servants were listed for the family. Perhaps due to the Great Depression that was just starting. According to Byron’s army enlistment records, he entered the service during World War 2 in July of 1942. He was married and had four years of college. I also noticed many pictures of Byron shown on Ancestry.com at various ages. I also saw one picture the same as I had but it had writing across the front. I found several family trees that listed Byron. I was able to send out six emails and waited to see who would reply. I received three replies. One person said they did not have Byron in their tree while another person said they would think about it and let me know if they are interested. It has now been well over a month, and I have not heard back. The third reply explained how they are related and would “love” his photograph. I did ask them if they knew how his picture could end up in a box in New York when as far as I could find out he did not ever live in New York. I also asked if they had any stories about Bryon they could share. I made this request twice and never got any information except a mailing address for me to send the picture. The picture has been mailed, and I hope they are happy with it.
We all should do this when we get a chance. I know if someone was to find a picture of my ancestor and send it to me that I would be very appreciative. All this cost me was a dollar for the price of the photograph and just a little more for the mailing. It did take a little time to track the family down but to be honest; I enjoy that.