Posted in Library of Congress, Photos, Websites

Little-known database is a treasure of early photos and drawings


The Library of Congress houses a collection of early American photos and drawings of historic buildings you will want to explore (the photos—not the buildings, that is).

The Historic American Buildings Survey has “more than 556,900 measured drawings, large-format photographs, and written histories for more than 38,600 historic structures and sites dating from Pre-Columbian times to the twentieth century.” This collection is part of the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, and I plan to highlight a few other awesome collections in the future.

The collection is key word searchable, so try inputting the name of an ancestor’s hometown or a notable landmark. You might be surprised to find some pretty cool pictures or drawings that give you a glimpse into your ancestor’s life. And they are downloadable and free to use!

Posted in Biographical, Photos

I Can Do Hard Things

Today is the 112th anniversary of my Granny’s birthday.  Kathleen Matheson (Gooch) was born 14 May 1901 in Parowan, Iron County, Utah.  Because of her example, I know I can do hard things.

Kathleen Matheson portrait 1

When Kathleen was 36, her husband  of 16 years, Allen Lee Millard (Nig) Gooch, was killed in a flash flood in Clifton, Greenlee County, Arizona.  She was now faced with supporting herself and her son Millard Earl Gooch (my father), who was 13 years old at the time.  Kathleen had an 8th grade education.

Nig died 21 Sep 1937, and by December Kathleen had paid $90 tuition for cosmetology school in Los Angeles, California.

Kathleen Matheson Cosmetology School receiptWP

Her son stayed with his grandparents in Arizona while she studied to be a beautician.  She began school 3 Jan 1938, and earned her certificate 14 Sep 1938.  She was licensed 20 Jan 1939.

Kathleen Matheson cosmotology school certificateWP Kathleen Matheson Cosmotology licenseWP

It is my understanding that she then set up a little salon in the back of a barber shop in Safford, Arizona.  I admire her great strength at a very difficult time, when it would have been easy to fold.  Instead she took action.  It must have been hard to leave her son and travel alone to a big city to get the training she needed.  It must have been hard to adapt to the new role of breadwinner for her family.  I am in awe of her.  She was active in civic groups for businesswomen, and later worked in retail after her beautician days were over.

Kathleen and son Earl in her beauty salon, est. between 1944-1946

I think the portrait at the top of this post exudes strength and beauty, and great class.  I also love her hair—which I inherited, by the way!

Kathleen Matheson Gooch lived independently all her life, was mentally sharp, had very few health problems, and died at age 98 on 19 Jan 2000.  Her life spanned the entire 20th century!

Kathleen Matheson birthday 3Happy Birthday, Granny Gooch!

Posted in Biographical, Photos

Thanks, Mom!

Just thinking about my amazing mom and her influence in my life. She passed away 10 years ago but I think about her almost every day. Here are a few pictures to pay tribute to her love for life, her fun personality, and my love for her.
Here she is, staying with me after I had my first baby. She was announcing, “Dinner is served!”:

Doing the Bunny Hop with the grandkids at Easter:

Happily playing the organ:

Splash Mountain with the grandkids:

Showing the grandkids how to pick strawberries in her beautiful yard:

Coming home:

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

Posted in Books, Photos, Research tips

Jack Gooch, Sheriff of ?

I came across this old photo of my great-grandfather, Jack Gooch and thought I would share it.

Jack Gooch sheriff  3 color adjusted and cropped

The back reads, “old tintype, Grandpa Gooch” in my grandmother’s handwriting, but I don’t think it is a tintype after reading about the characteristics of a tintype in Maureen A. Taylor’s book Uncovering Your Ancestry through Family Photographs, 2nd Edition (Cincinnati, Ohio : Family Tree Books, 2005).

He is wearing what I presume to be a sheriff’s badge, but I don’t know when or where he was a sheriff.  This is going to take some detective work.  Hmmmm.

This chronology report, printed from my Legacy Family Tree genealogy program will give me a starting place for my search—Llano and Ellis Counties, Texas, Nichols Hills and Pottawatomie Counties, Oklahoma, and Greenlee County, Arizona. If I can date the picture type it might help me narrow down the localities I need to search.

Jack Gooch Chronology report printed from Legacy Family Tree by Dayna Jacobs.
Jack Gooch Chronology report printed from Legacy Family Tree by Dayna Jacobs.

Your genealogy software has a variety of reports that will help you in the research process.  Explore this feature by looking at the “print” or “reports” option and see what your program has to offer.


Posted in Military, Photos, Websites

Fold 3 Photographic Collections

Today I received an email with content updates for, a terrific website I have a subscription to. I have had some success using Fold 3 in my research over the years (it was formerly known as Footnote), and wanted to share this update with you. Although it is a subscription site, some of their content is free. If you want to use the subscription content you can get a trial subscription, or you can visit your local LDS Family History Center which has free access to the site. Fold 3 is unique in that its content is obtained through a partnership with the National Archives, so the digital collections are images of original sources, much of it with primary content.

I include here the email I received from Fold 3 regarding the Fold3 Photographic Collections, and hope it is okay that I copied it in its entirety because I thought it was so informative. I don’t think they will mind me giving them a plug:

“Fold3 is known for its unique collections of military records and historical documents, yet there are a vast number of photographs on the site as well. They are filed within more than a dozen photographic collections, as well as within some of the document collections. The most recent updates to digitized photographs include those from the Civil War and others from within the WWII Navy Muster Rolls.

The Civil War Photos are separate from the Brady Civil War Photos, yet share a common bond through a renowned team of photographers. The main distinction on Fold3 is that they come from different sources. While both sets of photos—with thousands of images in each—were taken by the Mathew Brady team of photographers during the Civil War era, the “Brady Civil War Photos” are from National Archives publication T252, “Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes,” while the similarly named “Civil War Photos” are from the Library of Congress collection of Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints. Although presented under two titles, they both support the rich Civil War Collection and are free to view on Fold3.

If you’re a fan of the WWII Navy Muster Rolls—a new title featured in last month’s content update email and Fold3 Blog post—you may have noticed photographs of ships and personnel distributed within these record images, as well. The photo categories are not included with every ship, so the easiest way to locate them is to type the word “photos” in the search box on the WWII Navy Muster Rolls title page and view the resulting matches. Using the filmstrip at the bottom of the Fold3 viewer, you can browse to see the wide range of offerings for each ship. Examples include a view of the USS Coral Sea underway in 1986, Doolittle raiders aboard the USS Hornet, and Rear Admiral Moffett on the USS Langley.

These photographs are rich in historical content and complement the document images on Fold3. Using them in tandem provides an enhanced perspective of U.S. military history.”