Tag: mayflower

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.






Giving Thanks 1: for TV/Movie History Best Practices


Ye Olde Mayflower

And thanks be to God for the deployment by the production team hired byScreen shot 2015-12-01 at 8.38.33 PM the National Geographic TV channel of everything that is right, just and good in potraying history in a dramatized, semi-fictionalized way in their recent, 2-part miniseries, Saints and Strangers.

If you didn’t catch it when it aired last Sunday and Monday (Nov 22 & 23rd), the Nat’l Geographic channel is apparently re-broadcasting it on occasion and it’s available online at their site.

Screen shot 2015-12-01 at 8.38.49 PM

It’s amazing.

As you might already know, what’s immediately so impressive about this production of the Grande Olde Tale of the Mayflower’s Atlantic crossing and the Pilgrims’ first, horrific and death-filled winter and that first, lucious, much-ballyhoo’d giving of thanks in Nov 1621 is that it is in-your-face gritty; unflinching in its insistence on keeping it real. So real, in fact, that the big take-away after watching it is a genuine feeling of being grateful that we weren’t actually THERE, because my dt.common.streams.StreamServergawd: it sucked.

BUT! Another part of that reality was the clear and present fact of the folks who already lived there: the Indians, the native Americans, the Wampanoag, the Narragansett, Massachusett and other peoples native to the land. And everything about their presence and reaction and involvement is so much more, well, present! than ever has ever been depicted in any presentation about the situation

My family (my kids, mom, aunt and six 1st cousins on that side & their kids) had four people in attendance at that first thanksgiving. Six had been on the voyage on the Mayflower, but Priscilla Mullins’ parents didn’t make it through Tribal_Territories_Southern_New_Englandthat first winter.

And–my stars!–that very event, ie, their death aboard the harbor-bound J ALDEN TV 1AMayflower, is actually depicted in this awesome miniseries: young John Alden, who was not a pilgrim as such, but a 19-year-old hired hand, is standing on the shore near Plymouth receiving a boat of more dead from the ship, told that two of the bodies are the Mullins; he looks sad but stolid, then worried and asks after Priscilla (the Mullins daughter, just a few years younger than he & thus of his age-group) and is assured that she’s fine.

They get more screen time and Autograph_JohnAldenthe blooming of their affection is straightforwardly (w/ nothing but taste and class) depicted, too. Yes, we are descended from them.

And I’ll be honest, I totally loved seeing them depicted up there on P MULLINS TV 1Athe big old TV screen. In anime and other fandom circles, this kind of thing is known as “fan service”*. And though in certain sectors of that phenom it can imply more openly romantic, or even (gasp!) sexually charged or erotic nods to what fans want to see, that certainly wasn’t the case here. In fact, fan service, whether teen-aimed and perhaps risque, or geek-aimed and bristling with gear-head details actually evinces an aspect of media inter-engagement that’s quite interesting.

front_house1Be that as it may, however, there was good reason for them to semi-gratuitously focus on these two: among the show’s viewers you can bet were lots of us who could be labeled the “genealogy” fandom (family history enthusiasts), specifically who have traced a line or more of our ancestors to these particular two. Indeed, they have the most descendants of the Mayflower passengers. These kinds of things are hard to ALDEN HOUSE WRKRMestimate, but it’s reckoned that perhaps somewhere around as many as 30 million Americans alive today are descended from one of the folks who rode the Mayflower (and was at that first thanksgiving). How many of those can trace a line or 2 or more to Alden & Mullins? I have no idea, but millions. Millions of Americans can. You betchyer ass they were gonna give a little nod to good ole Gramma and Grampa Alden. (more like: 10th-great-gramma & gramps!)


Part 2 will include my line-item suggestions for “best practices” in movie and TV dramatic depictions of history.

But here’s one other good example (and it’s total jonah-hex-movie-image-josh-brolin-31-600x400fiction, but) replete with the good and best practices I’m thinking of). The movie “Jonah Hex”, based on the DC Comics character who’s a deeply wounded (ha ha) Confederate vet from the US Civil War who can get the scoop on how the dead died…from the dead. And he (played by Josh Brolin) is on a righteous vendetta against, in the movie version, deliciously evil John Malkovitch.


*fan service: “scenes that exist only to gratify the wishes of fans”, from Robin E. Brenner’s Understanding Manga and Anime, Connecticut, Libraries Unlimited, 2007, p. 88
“Other forms of fanservice include gratuitous amounts of detailed mecha transformation scenes, mascot placings and so-on.” from Anime News Network’s Lexicon, http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/lexicon.php?id=54