I’m all thumbs

Thumbs Plus that is, still my favorite way to organize my image collection.  There are occasional problems, it’s true, but for the most part it’s a damn good program.  If you’re struggling with a large digital image collection you might want to take a look at it.


Ella OsgoodIn the process of sorting the photos I’ve already digitized, I came across some images that I’d love to share.  The first is my great-grandmother, Ella Jane Osgood, who was born in 1851 in Vermont.  She moved

Walter Wilson

to Illinois to teach and married a farmer, John Walter Wilson, whose father moved to Illinois from Glasgow as a young man.  The Osgood women all had sultry eyes.

Ella Jane’s mother, Ellen Lee Osgood was born in Vermont in 1823 and died in Chicago, in her grand-daughter’s home, in 1922.

Ellen Lee Osgood


Great-great-great grandmother Mary Lucy OsgoodElla Jane’s paternal grandmother, Lucy Kingsley Osgood was born in Vermont in 1783 and lived to be 91 years old.

It’s through the Osgoods that my family is related to: Katharine Hepburn,  John Hancock,  Robert H Goddard,  Robert Frost,  Samuel Morse,  Richard Lovelace,  Lillian Gish,  John Steinbeck,  E.E. Cummings,  Philo T. Farnsworth,  Julia Child,  Bette Davis (Who had the Osgood eyes),  Laura Ingalls Wilder,  Robert Graves,  Amelia Earhart,  Shirley Temple, and a number of Presidents and First Ladies.   My mother’s family has been in this country since at least the 1580s.  I’ve traced her family back to the late 12th century.


Minna and her three sonsMy father’s family are relative latecomers to this country. The earliest mention of any of them settling here is 1606.  Pikers! His maternal great grandparents came from Germany in the late 19th century.  Minna and Henry had three boys, the eldest of whom, Henry Jr., was my great grandfather.  Most of Minna’s relatives remained in Germany and I have postcards and photos that they sent to her.  There’s evidence that there were any number of trips back and forth to visit each other, and her grand-daughter, Clara, may have moved back there at some point.

My father’s father came from Stroud in the UK.  He was the oldest boy in a family of eleven children, and I’ve saluted his mother’s stamina by naming one of my characters “Hopson” for her side of the family.  She looks like she could keep eleven children in line, doesn’t she?


Clissold clanI enjoy the heck out of doing this.  I love the old photos; they make me feel more connected to my family even though I never met most of the people in them.  It’s a picture-takin’ family on both sides, and I’m the richer for it, particularly when I consider what it means to have old daguerreotypes like this one:

unknown Osgood-Lee-Wilson men
unknown Osgood-Lee-Wilson men (Photo credit: Tracy Rowan)

I also have a treasure trove of old snapshots my maternal grandparents took not only on their travels, but around Chicago at the turn of the last century. I could do this all day. Every day.


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