Category Archives: Web Site

Photo Connections

One of the advantages of having a public presence in genealogy is the interesting people you hear from – not just those connected to you DNA-wise, but also those with any interest or comment.  A few days ago I received an interesting email from someone who has a terrific hobby – finding “orphan photos” and trying to return them to their “family owner.”  Her web site is “Grandma’s Picture Box“.

It turns out she had purchased a old photograph of a little boy in an antique store in Monroe, Georgia.  On the back was written a name and a place – “Ernest Patton VanHook, Prentiss, North Carolina.”  Thanks to Google, she located this name on my genealogy web site and dropped me a note, hoping I could fill in who this was and if I knew anything about his family, and maybe they might want the photo.

With a little detective work, I was able to locate his son living out west and we were able to get the photo back into the hands of the family.  A terrific ending!  There’s a lot more detail to the story, but I wanted to share what a nice experience this was and along the way I made two new connections – one with the photo’s finder and one with the ultimate owner.  It never hurts to connect with more generous and grateful people in this world!


Posted in Web Site.

The Great Race

Over the weekend, my family went skiing (at Snowshoe, WV).  Monday night we watched a great old movie with the kids, which everyone enjoyed immensely.  A classic from 1965, The Great Race – starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Natalie Wood.  While fun and interesting – what does this have to do with genealogy?

Well, while this movie was a slap-stick comedy (and the most expensive comedy made at the time at a cost of $12M), it was actually based on real events. In 1908, there really was a New York to Paris race (the long way) staged with entries from multiple countries. The winner and entry from the United States was a 1907 Thomas Flyer, built by the E.R. Thomas Motor company of Buffalo, NY, and driven by George Schuster.  The car survived, was restored and is on display in Reno, NV at the National Automobile Museum.

Edwin Ross Thomas was the founder of the E.R. Thomas Motor company.  Thomas was the son of Joseph Batty Thomas and Elizabeth VanHook.  That’s right – the VanHook family has a connection to one of the great comedy movies of all time!  Click on Edwin’s name to find out more about him and his family. E.R. Thomas led an interesting and colorful life – his photo is shown here.Edwin Ross Thomas

Posted in Web Site.

Rebuilding my Genealogy Web Site

New TNG SiteWell,  it’s been an interesting couple of months.  I wanted to upgrade TNG (the Web site application used to present my genealogy database and information) to Version 9 to take advantage of some new capabilities.  Simultaneously, I also wanted to couple that with a genealogy blog site (which you are reading now).  I also wanted to refresh the “look and feel” of the web site (and make it somewhat consistent with the blog site).  I thought the old site layout and colors were somewhat dated.  Anyway – after catching minutes here and there to work on this – it is somewhat up and running.  I still need to reload all the media content (photos, documents, histories, etc.).  That will take a bit of time because I wanted to also clean those up a bit and get a little more standardization around the labeling and presentation of them.  There may be random errors and functioning issues on the new site.  So, please be patient.  Thanks.

Posted in Web Site.