Tag: liverpool

Historical Imaging



Showcasing images I’ve created, composited and/or altered in order to make historical situations, places or circumstances more readily accessible to as many people as possible.

This grew out of my effort–shared with anyone who gets intricately lost in making family trees–of trying to find relevant imagery to use for people of whom no pictures exist (e.g., anyone who lived before the 1840s). But not just relevant, you really want to push it further and find images that are interesting, too. Or at least I do. And accurate, for instance, to the time when a particular ancestor or historical personage might have actually lived or been at a given location. So from these endeavors, the following sampling of images.

First Example

This is Château de Jumilhac, a castle south of Limoges in southwestern France. In the course of working on a friend’s family tree, I learned some of his ancestors had been ChteaudeJumilhacleGrand copyinvolved in actually building it back in the 1200s. (!!) They’d been among its lords, too, for 150 years or so. After first thinking, aha! whatta sweet image to use for that string of ancestors, I learned as I read more about them and it, that the conical rooftops (that will surely strike Americans as quintessentially “fairy-tale”) were added hundreds of years after his family had been on the scene in the depths of the actual Middle Ages. Well I couldn’t use a historically inaccurate image, so I did something about it.

ChteaudeJumilhacleGrandOLD copy



This is much closer to what it would have looked like to the de Bruchard family as they knew it.




An older photograph also lent itself to easy changing:


















So the examples here are each within a category:

  • People & Location
  • Now to Then
  • Obsolete Professions
  • SketchUp 4 Teaching History
  • Now to Then 2 (showing elements)

People & Location

  1. Swedish origin spot of my great-grandmother and 3 generations of her people


South-central Sweden, Vastragotaland.


2. Recent Dukes of Argyll at their seat, Inverary Castle, Scotland

DUKE 11 1


Now to Then

  1. View from the Mayflower

2. Castle Hornby

On the left, as seen around 1900 (& today); on the right, as it was when my ancestor lived there (incidentally, just about the last–my most recent–ancestor to reside in a castle…500 years ago!)


Obsolete professions

Two variations


SketchUp 4 Teaching History

  1. Construction of the White House (the Executive’s Mansion) in the 1790s in Washington, D.C.

These are views of a multi-layered SketchUp model I’ve built of various stages of the White House’s construction. Here we see the foundation as it was originally laid down in 1791-2. The layers reflect the actual materials, orientation and configuration learned from researching primary source material (such as reports of the crew who laid the new foundations in the 1950s as to what they found as well as reports of Thomas jeffereson, architect Benjamin Latrobe and others involved in the early days of the building). The close-up is the northwest corner, seen from just a few feet south and west of it.


Here’s the southern facade, seen from the southeast, depicted as the Limestone facing began to be mounted on the brick walls.

And the same face seen from the southwest, a little further along in the process:












And here’s the north (properly, the front) as it neared completion. (The portico that we know today  was not added until the 1820s).


Now to Then 2 (showing elements)

Here you can see various elements that went in to the image at the very top of the page (the black & white 1800s looking street).

That’s Liverpool, England. Specifically, Vauxhall Road, looking across it from near where my gr-gr-grandad, a guy named Edward Dunn, had a business in the 1870s, to the intersection with Blacklock Street, toward the site of Vauxhall Gardens, a housing project that was destroyed in WWII during the Blitz just before Xmas 1940.




Composite of contemporary shot (made B&W) with old shot.






Composite of two images; the corner building has been added to the street shot. I then added this with the B&W version of the current corner seen in the shot above this to get the image seen at the very top of the page.

This is the current shot, unaltered.




And the combo with the building destroyed by Nazi bombs in WWII is below again for easy comparison.






St. Patty’s Day Greeting!

So my kids have an Irish ancestor–through their mom–who was born on none other than St. Patrick’s day.

Ellen Ryan, a 4th great-grandmother to them, was born March 17, 1833 in Galway. She came over to this side of the pond, married a fellow Irish (one Mr. Peter Maloney) where she’d settled in Louisville, Kentucky, and died there in 1911.

And here we have the map of Ireland showing the general point of origin of my kids’ Irish ancestors.

The Leprechauns came to my house two years ago on St. Patty’s Day, leaving unspooled rolls of microfilm all over the place that also happened to lead to little stacks of treasure for each kid. Well you can bet they were pestering me to do whatever was necessary to ensure that the little pests would return this year! (Cuz don’t ya know my kids loved the mayhem!) So indeed they returned, turning my house inside out, etc. My daughter then went about setting up a Leprechaun trap for next year. All good fun.

Well then later the next day as I’m researching some of my wife’s Irish ancestors I come to find that one of her 3rd great-grandmothers — lady named Ellen Ryan, from Galway — happened to have been actually born (back in 1833) on March 17th! What’s more, her father was a shoemaker! (Leprechauns’ story is that they were shoemakers). The kids still loved it when I told them.

On the Point of Origin Map

You’ll find six big dots indicating these locations, along with a surname and a year (and an arrow to make it bleedingly clear). The years refer to the year of birth in the referenced vicinity of the person or persons who later departed the green isle. Places, names and dates in red indicate people in my background, while those in green are from my wife’s side.

Campbell 1775 – Londonderry, Derry ~ Alexander Campbell, my 4th great-grandfather, presumably of Scottish derivation as part of England’s intentional populating of Northern Ireland in the 1600s, nonetheless, he seems to have been born around Londonderry. Based on historical context, it’s thus highly likely his parents and grandparents were as well, transplanted from Scotland. He and possibly an as-yet-unknown wife went to the newly independent USA in the 1790’s, joining a large pod of other Scots-Irish in what we know today as western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. He is my mom’s direct, male-lineal ancestor.

Rourke 1821 – Newry, Down ~ Owen Rourke, another of my 4th great-grandfathers (of which we all have 32, along with 32 4th great-grandmothers), his daughter Bridget married one Patrick Coughlan (probably born in this area as well, although much research is still needed), and the whole bunch moved to Liverpool by 1842 (when Thomas Cochlin was born there, son of Patrick and Bridget, grandson of Owen, and gr-gr-grandpa to me.) Particularly interesting is the fact that these folks are all on my dad’s side (my dad was born in Liverpool), but it seems that what can be inferred is that in the year 1780 or so, my mom’s namesake ancestor (Alexander Campbell) and a few of my dad’s ancestors were living all of 50 miles (80 km) from each other in Northern Ireland. Funny!

Garvey 1843 – Roscommon ~ Winifred Garvey, daughter of a John Garvey, was born here. She married the Thomas Cochlin mentioned above. Their life together was, again, in Liverpool, where their daughter Sarah married a fellow named John James Dunn, whose parents (and grandparents) hailed from Wicklow (see next). John and Sarah were the parents of my dad’s dad.

Dunn 1844 – Wicklow ~ Edward Dunne was born there that year, as were his parents, Peter and Ellen Welsh, in 1818 and 1819, respectively. They all went to Liverpool together in the 1860s. These last ones are my dad’s people. Edward’s son John J. Dunn married (in Liverpool) another child of Irish immigrants to the ‘Pool, and their son, also John J, pure Irish, was my grandfather. But since he was a mean and cruel man, we’ll move on and just ‘tank ‘im fer dem Irish genes!

Happy Irishness to you for St. Patrick’s 2015. (And happy 182nd, Ellen Ryan Maloney!)

The Long Wait for My Irish

From knowing absolutely nothing at all about my paternal grandfather or his ancestry just two years ago — including being uncertain about what his first name even was — I’ve been able to rather quickly learn quite a bit. (And boy howdy! Lemme tell ya: back in the days before the Web, when we researched in civic offices and archives and by letters in the mail, the three or four generations that I’ve uncovered would have been enough to satisfy for a while. For me there are layers of tasty irony in this because on the one hand, the tree I share today seems so modest compared to the many branches elsewhere that reach back to the dim and distant recesses of the actual Dark Ages; it’s just a few generations, barely breaking into the 1700s! But on the other hand, the satisfaction is as deep as any I’ve enjoyed in my long genealogical adventures because of the basic fact that this wasn’t just a road block in my research, it was the deadest of dead ends, and at nearly 40 years old I’d juuuust about surrendered to my never knowing anything about my paternal line.

This handful of my people — one of my two grandfathers, his parents and grandparents, six of his eight great-grandparents and three of his gr-gr-grandparents — were hard-won with that extended wait-period, not to mention some emotionally harrowing (and ultimately utterly rewarding) ins and outs. At some point I’ll get into the whole tale of their discovery, but for now, suffice it to say that the breakthrough was obtaining my grandparent’s marriage certificate, which was practically only possible due to my grandmother’s maiden name being unique. From there, some military service records and the census of England thawed the informational ice, et viola! Hey, look! I’m a quarter Irish! (roughly… 😉

Final note for now: the lives that these newly discovered ancestors lived unfolded entire new worlds to me as I came to know something of the urban life of Liverpool 100 years ago, and of course, of the flow of people on the Green Isle. Having always assumed my dad’s father was “regular” ole “English”, my connection to Ireland was limited to my admittedly deep-bordering-on-fanatical love of James Joyce’s writings. Though I didn’t know any of these ancestors of mine, or live in cramped urban tenements or in verdant Irish woods or feel more than a general empathy for the impact of potato blight, suddenly their movements which led to my dad’s life journey are directly relevant to my being here at all. Not to mention the whole large portion of my DNA coming from the Irish gene pool.

Learning is fun!

Father’s Hood Poetic…

The chart above shows the ancestors I know so far on my father’s side, which are essentially new discoveries for me.

Closer view of my father's tree back to his great-grandparents
One style of view of his tree
Another style of view of his tree

Below are pictures of typical scenes of streets and a court in Liverpool (which is where my dad was born and raised, where his dad was as well, and his father before him. That guy’s dad – my great-great grandfather – was a kid when his father before him had moved his brood from County Wicklow, Ireland to Liverpool in the 1860s.)

Site of 4 Court, Queen Anne St., Liverpool (Dunn residence 1901-ca.1930
Liverpool street, early 20th Century
A Court in Liverpool, typical of the kind where our folks lived