My interest in genealogy started last year with the discovery of many family photos tucked away in shoeboxes, bigger boxes, and other such files. During visits to family in Michigan and Florida, I’ve been slowly making progress scanning these photos and organizing them in AppleÂ’s Photo database for Macs. I’ve been fortunate to have the time to work on matching these photos with FindAGrave memorials. Some notable photographers in our family include:
- Van Phillips (1909 to 1977), my father's uncle: An accomplished amateur photographer, Uncle VanÂ’s portraits of the Phillips family in the Lansing area date back to the late 1920s. His work with photography continued during World War II, when he was drafted into the Army Air Force. He worked in airfields in England and later France, constructed behind the Allies' advancing front toward Germany. Uncle VanÂ’s job was to load film onto the wings of departing bombers and fighter planes and, upon their return, to develop this film for analysis of the success of bombing missions. After the war he returned to his job in an Oldsmobile factory in Lansing, but quit soon after to take a trip to Alaska. Subsequently, he maintained a workshop on his familyÂ’s small farm in Wacousta, fixing radios and televisions.
- George Bonnell (1855 to 1931), my great Aunt MerleÂ’s father-in-law: 'Uncle' George (who isn't actually a blood-relation) was one of Michigan's early professional photographers. He had a photo tent in the Grayling area in the 1890s, and a photo studio in Leslie circa 1890 and in Lansing from 1906 to 1931. His descendants understand that many of his photos of lumber camps are part of a collection held by Hartwick Pines State Park near Grayling, Michigan.
- Sarah (Sally) Mason nÃ©e Wilson (1898 to 1985), my maternal grandmother: Clearly she enjoyed photos, given numerous photographs of hers (many of which I've posted on this web site). She and her younger sister Peggy posed for in the 1910s while teenagers in Belfast, Northern Ireland and young women in service in England. Several photos are fanciful, using kimonos, nurses uniforms, and other interesting props. I believe most photos were taken at Ashleigh Studio, at 112 Royal Avenue. Sally probably paid for them with part of her wages from a linen mill and while in service. In the 1920s, when she emigrated from Belfast to Detroit, she invested in a camera and some of her best snapshots were taken with fellow servants on their time off while in service for a family that summered in Northport, Michigan. And in the 1960s, as a child, I clearly remember her ever present camera, and the excitement of her first Polaroid camera and its instant film/print.
Branches of ancestors that weÂ’re working on are listed below. In Michigan, we are still looking for missing photos of George Bonnell. Future cemeteries to visit include Thiepval (northern France) for Rifleman Andrew Wilson's grave on the Somme battlefield, and Lynn, Mass for Hilliker graves.
Wendy Rose PhillipsManhattan Beach, CA (updated July 10, 2016)
I'm a descendent of:
On the side of my father (Robert Rolfe Phillips):
- Phillips line in Michigan
- Rolfe line (including, although not blood-related, some of the Bonnell line) in Michigan
- Hubbard line in Michigan; and the earlier Hough and Johnson lines in New York.
On the side of my mother (Margaret Rose Phillips nÃ©e Mason):
- Mason and Burn lines in Newcastle, England
- Wilson and Lindsay lines in the Belfast area of Northern Ireland
My husband, David Clinton Hilliker, is a descendent of:
- On the side of his mother (Lois Hilliker nÃ©e Cook), the Cook and McMenomy lines in Canada and Northern Ireland
- On the side of his father (Clinton Roscoe Hilliker), the Hillikers of Lynn, Massachusetts and Hampsons (Martha Alice nÃ©e Hampson, born in Widnes, England)