Construction Season

Construction season has begun. I expected this sort of thing to be going on outside, but not inside.

This was going on next to my cubicle when I got to work this morning.

They started disassembling the cubicles across from me last Monday. Silly me for assuming they would have done a better job of cleaning up after themselves.



[Note: I edited the last post to fix the incorrect letter. Oops!]

Untitled-Scanned-78 Untitled-Scanned-15

This was the inside of my step-dad’s woodworking shop in Metamora, taken in 1979. The shop was in the back of the old livery stable.

We lived in the house on the left. My room was upstairs, the two windows on the left.

The woodshop was in the back of the grey building next door. I worked in the front shop, from 4th grade until we moved away in 9th grade. It sold granny craft supplies and, weirdly, cabinet doors. The woman who ran it would make dried flower arrangements and attach them to the doors. Tourists ate that shit up like candy. I remember her telling me that crafting was cheaper than therapy, and I guess it was for her.

We didn’t have a shop in the house, and there was nothing on the porch to make it look like a shop, but tourists would walk in the front door all the time. It was a strange place to grow up. But on the weekends and in the winter, we had the whole town to ourselves. We were basically feral.

The Google street view image is from 2013. I expect it’s changed even more since then. I sometimes think I should go visit. I don’t live far from there. But I’m sure it would be depressing.


What the house and shop building looked like in 1979. That’s trumpet vine covering the corner of the house and the front of the shop.


My step-dad from the door of the woodshop, 1979. Basically, it was hippie hell.


Me in 1979. I’m pretty sure that’s a Hardy Boys book I’m reading. My mom’s purse on the coffee table was made by inmates at the Indiana State Prison. My step dad had worked there, teaching automechanics.


In the mid-1990s, when I was visiting my grandparents, grandma showed me a stack of letters that had belonged to her mother, Nell Basquill. They were written by Nell’s brother, William.

She sent me to the library with grandpa, to photocopy them, because she’d decided I would want them. I have no idea why she thought that.

I read them, and they didn’t make any sense to me. I put them away, and two moves later, I found them in a box of papers. That little stack of letters was what got me interested in genealogy.

I still don’t know who some of the people mentioned by William were. But every time I look at them, I figure out another little piece of the puzzle.

Hubert Martin Keane (1878-1957)

My most recent mystery was Hubert Martin Keane. I found him living with Mary Anne Baskwell in Boston in the 1940 census. I almost ignored him as just a random lodger, but since he was born in Ireland, I thought I’d try to find him in the civil birth register.

It turns out he was easy to pin down. He was born 9 Dec 1878 in Slaugar, County Mayo, and his parents were Michael Keane and Bridget Baskville.

It can’t have been a coincidence that the daughter of William Baskuil was living with the son of Bridget Baskville. I thought maybe they were first cousins, and that Bridget may have been an as yet unidentified daughter of Michael Basquil and Margaret Kelly, my great grandma Nell’s grandparents. (Mary Ann was the daughter of Walter’s brother, William, and Anne Gibbons. So Mary Anne and my great grandma Nell were first cousins.)

I thought there might be something in those old letters that could help, so I pulled them out. I hit the jackpot, but it wasn’t the one I wanted to hit.

Letter from William Basquil to his sister Nell, 9 Jun 1974

“Mrs. O Hara a granddaughter of Uncle Dennis told me that Dad’s [Walter’s] only sister Aunt Margarett lived in Boston & was married to a man named Bourke, did you ever contact her.”

Walter only had one sister, Margaret Theresa Basquil, who did indeed marry a man named Thomas Burke. She came to the US in the mid-1870s and died in Boston. So Bridget Baskville is not one of Walter’s sisters, which means that Hubert Keane is not a first cousin to Mary Ann Baskwell.

I still think there was a relationship between Bridget Baskville and my Basquills. It’s just too much of a coincidence, otherwise.


Bridget Bourke

Grave Marker

My aunt and her husband are in Ireland. She asked me if there was anything I wanted her to look for while she was there. They were planning to visit the are my great grandma Nell came from, so I asked if she could look for Nell’s parents’ graves.

Bridget Bourke was Nell’s mother she was Walter Basquil’s second wife. They married in 1886. Walter died in 1925 and Bridget in 1938 (the date on the stone is incorrect).

I don’t know where Walter is buried, which is annoying. It isn’t like it’s an ancient grave, so he should be there. But at least I know where Bridget is.

Fun fact: Walter was a carpenter and moonlighted as a coffin maker.

Genealogy, Photography

Martha Jane or Lula


I don’t think I’ve shared this. I’m not sure who she is, but she was in with a bunch of old family photos my mom sent to me to digitize. It’s in really bad condition, unfortunately. The photo studio was in Atlanta, so it’s likely one of my grandma Jeanne’s great grandmothers. My best guess is that it’s either Lula Cox or Martha Jane Edmonds.

Lula Cox married Henry Lewis Hoover. A bunch of trees on Ancestry have incorrectly linked to parents of a different Lula Cox, which is unfortunate. I don’t know who my Lula’s parents are, and I don’t even know when she and Henry Hoover married. She was born about 1847 in either Georgia or Alabama and died in 1909. Henry died in 1904. Both are buried in Hollywood Cemetery, in Atlanta, in unmarked graves.

Martha Jane Edmonds is the daughter of Asa T. Edmonds and Nancy Guice. She was born in 1846 in Walton County, Georgia and married James R. Thompson in 1869. He died in 1919 and she died in 1917, and both are buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Atlanta. (Holy crap! I hadn’t checked their memorials recently. Some lovely person has added photos of their grave markers.)

Both James Thompson and Henry Hoover were Civil War veterans, on the wrong side, and both were totally bananapants. Both were wounded. James lost an arm and was one of the few Confederate soldiers to be granted a pension.

I wish I knew whether this photo is of Lula or Martha Jane. It’s infuriating not to know!