Some of you may have noticed that, in lists of events pertaining to people on this list, the dates were not sorted. Instead, they appeared in the order they were entered into my database, which made for a fairly random list, since I rarely found out about things in chronological order. Now, they are finally sorted! As an example, see my great grandmother Hillery (pictured as a child at the top of this post), and notice that her birth is listed before her death (it wasn’t before…) Also, have a look at my 7th great grandfather, John Ross.

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My daughter married a Luczyk . Starting with information provided by her sister-in-law, I was able to find quite a bit of information about the family. While researching my own family and its many branches, I have become accustomed to seeing people from Germany or the United Kingdom, and, well, that’s about it. The Luczyk family, however, comes from a number of interesting places. This presented a few research challenges, such as reading records in Dutch, but was a nice change of pace.

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Someone in 1912 Ohio is having a bad day. I can’t identify anyone in this photo; I just thought it was interesting. It was in the collection of photos that came to me through my mother and my grandmother. I don’t know whether this actually involved the Patterson family somehow, or if my great grandfather just came across this scene and took a picture. Judging by the sheer number of photos I have from that era, he must have been an avid photographer!

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Privacy

Privacy

There is a lot of family information on this site, and more all the time. How do I decide what to show on the site, and what to exclude? I follow standard practices for family history sites. For deceased relatives, privacy is less of a concern. A great deal of information is released once someone dies, and much of it can be found online; most of the information presented here is just gathered from other public sites.

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My daughters, being step daughters, and their children are perhaps less interested in my side of the family than they would be their actual blood relatives. I posted about their mother’s side of the family a few days ago. Now I have gone out and done some research on their Bayne ancestory, starting with their grandfather, James Kenneth Bayne, who is pictured at the top of this post. James, who passed away a couple of years ago, appears to have been quite an interesting person!

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I have started to research my wife’s ancestors, the Habers, Henrys, Burkes and Kohlhepps. Of those, I have found quite a bit about the Habers, Henrys and Burkes, but very little about the Kohlhepps. Clearly, there is still much to do. Most of what I have on the Habers I got by slogging through census records. They lived in Schenectady and the surrounding area. New York in the 1800s and early 1900s is a relatively easy place to hunt ancestors, since New York did their own census every 10 years, usually offset 5 years from the federal census.

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My great grandfather, James Layton Patterson was a builder and inventor. This photo shows an installation of an air conditioner that he built. It was installed in the Charles Restaurant in Fremont, Ohio. I don’t think his air conditioner ever made it big. Instead, he was known as a builder in the Tiffin, Ohio area. He built a number of commercial buildings and homes, at least two of which were his own homes.

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Today I learned about the concept of “replacement children”. I have noticed that several of the families I am researching have multiple children with the same name. When a child dies, the name is sometimes re-used on another child. An example is my 2nd great grandmother, Elizabeth Coles Padden, who was born in 1828. She had a sister, Elizabeth Coles Padden, who was born in 1824 and died in 1826.

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Researching family history is enjoyable and interesting, but it is also a bit sad because, well, most of your relatives are dead and you never got to meet them. Many of them lived full, and presumably reasonably happy lives, but often there are those who died at a young age. The death of William Hillery is particularly sad. William Sanford Hillery was my 2nd great grandfather. He was born in Monongalia County, Virginia (now West Virginia) in 1846, and he married Margaret Ann McKee in 1872.

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Last year, I posted an article about our family’s move to the U.S. from England. In that article, I mentioned that I did not know why the family, originally planning to travel on the Titanic, took and earlier ship, the Baltic, instead. My brother, who clearly paid much better attention to our grandfather when we were younger, has an explanation: the National Coal Strike of 1912. This was a strike by Britain’s coal miners with the goal of setting a minimum wage for their work, and it was the cause for many shipping cancellations.

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This is the only photo I have found of my great grandparents, William and Annie Baker. As you can see, the quality is poor, but the original is much, much worse; it’s barely recognizable as a photograph. I was able to get it in this condition only with some help from Photoshop. I hope I can eventually find some more pictures of them. William was born in Bridgwater, Somerset, England in 1862.

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Since one of the purposes of this site is to show the many old family photos I have collected, I’m going to write about one photo every Friday. This photo is from the collection of my grandmother, Gail (Patterson) Joachim. I see her and my grandfather in the picture. From their apparent age, I’m guessing the photo was taken around 1935 or 1936. I also see Gail’s parents, Layton and Lillie Patterson.

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Fellow Bakers, I discovered a possible new family name today. It appears we have a 5th great grandmother named Joan Jennings (or possibly Jening, but I am assuming Jennings is correct for now.) She lived in Somerset, England from 1700 to 1785, and married Thomas Knapton, the 2nd great grandfather of my great grandmother, Elizabeth Ann (Annie) Knapton, who of course was the wife of William Henry Baker. The records on her and the couple of generations of Knaptons following her are a bit tenuous, so I’ll be on the lookout for better documentation.

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I was researching my grand uncle, Ralph Swarthout, today. He was married to Hilda Baker. Both are buried at Lakeview Cemetery in Penn Yan, NY in a plot that was originally purchased by my great grandmother, Annie Baker. My father mentioned to me several times that Ralph had always been his favorite uncle. While looking through the cemetery records at the Yates County Cemetery Project, I noticed that Paul Baker, who was born and died in 1936, is also buried in that plot.

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I ran across this photo in one of the Patterson albums. It is badly faded, and I can’t tell who is in the picture, but it is very clear that the Pattersons took their snowball fights very seriously. This is one of about a thousand family photos on the site. There is no overall index of photos; you can see them by visiting the page for someone who has photos.

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For years, I have been using Reunion for Mac as my database for tracking family history. A couple of weeks ago, it suddenly stopped working. It would crash whenever I tried to export a GEDCOM file, among other operations. I looked for help online and noticed a new version, which I downloaded and installed, but it made things much worse! It would crash as soon as it started up. Contacting customer service produced no results.

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Merry Christmas to my ever-growing family! The image at the top of this post is a Christmas card sent by my grandparents, Idris and Alyce Baker in 1938 or 1939. The little boy in the picture is my father, Robert Baker. I am not 100% certain of the year, but my father looks like he’s about 3 years old in the picture, and my Aunt Joan is not around yet (I assume she’d be in the picture if she were!

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I have learned a few new bits of information about my Ely ancestors. My great grandfather, Glenn Ely married his wife, Violet Mae Aldrich (that’s her in the picture at the top of this post), on 5 Oct 1908. He was 21 and she was 17. I remember them both from my childhood, and of course I thought of them as being quite old. It’s strange to think of them being so young!

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Now that I finally have all the photos from my old website available here, I can get back to researching again! Since I haven’t done any real research in years, I’m finding new tools on the web and new information that wasn’t available previously (or at least was much harder to find…) Ancestry.com is a good source of information, but quite expensive to join! I did join, and it’s yielding some great information, but I was disappointed in the difficulty in pulling information off the site to include in my database.

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Those of you with long memories may remember my first family website, which was taken down some years ago. I have finally loaded all the pictures from that website onto this one! This took some time, since I wanted them to be larger and had to regenerate each one from the original scans. Many of them were in bad shape and required quite a bit of work to make presentable.

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There is a family story that the Baker family, headed by my great-grandfather William Henry Baker, had originally planned to come to the United States on the Titanic, but had changed their plans and come on different ship. While I don’t have any documentation of that, I believe it to be true, since my grandfather, Idris Baker, told me about it several times. He should have known whether it happened or not, because he was there; he was about 8 years old when the family made the trip.

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I have expanded the site to support photos. There are not many available yet, but more will be appearing over time. Also, I’ll be working on improving the layout in the future. As I scan them into the database, they will appear in the Photos section near the bottom of each person’s page. They are displayed using PhotoSwipe. Hovering over each photo displays the caption, if any. Clicking on any photo displays a gallery of all photos on that page.

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In this post, I’ll talk about the technical details of how I am generating this website. I am a software engineer by trade, so of course I’ve come up with the geekiest way possible to build this site. If you aren’t interested in the geeky details, read no further! Instead, why not go explore some of the families I have been researching? I’ve been wanting to build this site for some time, but I don’t usually develop websites, and most of the work I have done has been with Wordpress.

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The Idris Project is my experiment to present the information I have collected about my ancestors and extended family over the years. The project is named after my grandfather Idris Charles Baker, pictured to the left, and also after my father, Robert Idris Baker. I started researching my family several years ago after I found and rescued several boxes of hundreds of family photographs that my mother was storing in her garage and was planning to throw out.

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