Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Star cross-country man

Before Christmas I wrote about my wife's 2nd-great-grandfather, Andrew Jackson Halter and several of his children. Her great-grandfather was Calvin Luther Halter, born 16 May 1909 in Evansville, Indiana. He appears in the 1927 school yearbook for Evansville Bosse High School.
Calvin Luther Halter, 1927.

He also appears in a photo for the Chemistry Club (2nd row, 4th student on the left), looking very much like he could have been at Hogwarts School for Wizards.
1927 Evansville Bosse yearbook, via Ancestry
Just after graduation, Calvin married Helen Elva Umbach on 13 June 1927 in Evansville. They appear in the 1930 US Census, living in the household of Helen's parents. Allison's grandmother appears in this census record, not quite a year old.

The family appears in the 1940 US Census in Evansville, Knight Township, Vanderburgh County, Indiana.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Wonder & Rochambeau Statue, DC

On Christmas Eve we went into DC to visit the newly renovated Renwick Gallery. The WONDER exhibition is very cool and highly recommended. The exhibition closes between May and July 2016.
Photo by Patrick Jones. John Grade's Middle Fork, Renwick Gallery, DC.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Jennifer Angus, In the Midnight Garden, Renwick Gallery.
Yes, those are bugs in the photo above. A whole room in the Renwick features these critters. Other rooms allow visitors to see a woven sculpture suspended from the ceiling of the gallery depicting the energy waves from the tragic Tohoku earthquake and tsunami (you have to experience this by viewing the installation from the floor looking up) and a rainbow made up of nearly 60 miles of thread. The exhibition is likely to be one of the most Instagrammed spots in DC for the next few months.

After the Renwick we walked past the White House and through Lafayette Park. On a corner of the park is the Rochambeau Statue, created in 1902 by sculptor Fernand Hamar. Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau, was a French military commander who aided America during the Revolutionary War, playing a key role in the Battle of Yorktown. While the top of the statue shows Rochambeau, the part that caught my eye was the lower portion showing Victory defending the American Eagle. There are other statues in the park, but this was the first time I had taken a closer look at this one, and I was interested to learn more about the statue in the National Park Service webpage linked above.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Fernand Hamar's Rochambeau Statue.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Victory and the American Eagle. 24 Dec 2015.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015 recap, 2016 look ahead

My end of the year recap post has become a blog tradition (see last year's post and 2013's post here), providing an opportunity to look back over the year and think ahead to the some of the exciting events to be in 2016.
Painting at Terra Restaurant, Columbia, SC.

As with the past few years, I started 2015 with meetings in Los Angeles. In February I returned to Singapore for meetings, and found time to see some cool street art. I then made a quick visit to Cairo in March. Later in the month, we took the kids to St. Kitts for Spring Break. In April I was in Istanbul and Seattle

May brought a return visit to Istanbul and a memorable trip to Tashkent, Uzbekistan. In June I returned to Buenos Aires, Argentina, with an amazing layover visit to the Wynwood Walls in Miami along the way. I didn't travel in July and August, but I did enjoy a solid summer of training for my first half marathon in September. Prior to Labor Day I had another set of meetings in Istanbul, and an opportunity to see the Asian side of the city. 

October included by first trip to Dublin. November took us to Columbia, South Carolina for a family wedding. December included a whirlwind set of meetings and talks in Warsaw, Vienna, Bratislava and a return through London and Dublin.

From a family history perspective, 2015 has yielded some breakthrough research, from finding an early connection to Los Angeles, a previously unknown first wife of my great-grandfather Harry O'Brien, seeing photographs of my 2nd-great-grandfather Thomas Robert Jones and 2nd-great-grandparents Vicente Campuzano and Maria Jesus Vasquez. 2015 has also uncovered some of the mystery behind the parents of my 2nd-great-grandmother Mary Alice Cain Read, opening up the research on her mother Nancy Jane Flatt and the Flatt family. I am hopeful 2016 will continue bringing these types of historical detail back to the surface for sharing on the blog.

2016 is already shaping up to be an exciting year, with some new places on the horizon, including plans for my first marathon. I am extremely thankful to have good health, a great family and the ability to experience the world.

Thursday, December 24, 2015


Image from Corona's 1990 O'Tannenpalm commercial, source YouTube
The weather in DC feels more like Miami this Christmas (we hit 74 earlier today). It's perhaps fitting to use the image above from Corona's classic O'Tannenpalm ad for my Christmas Eve post. Until today I didn't know the ad was 25 years old in 2015. If you're interested in the story behind the ad, Corona created this YouTube video last month.

The cabana in the ad is located in Akumal, Yucatan, between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. We visited the area in January 2004 during a trip from Merida through Yucatan.

Have a safe and merry Christmas with friends and family!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Merry Christmas 1911

Source: NYPL Digital Collection. Postcard, 1911.

Back to Evansville

Continuing with a recap on the life of Robert A. Halter, brother of my wife's great-grandfather, around 1942 Robert returned to the Halter family home base in Evansville, Indiana with his wife Alma and daughter. They appear in the Evansville City Directory in 1942, with Robert working as a salesman.

Two years later, Robert and Alma divorced, and Robert married Nellie Mae Puckett of neighboring Henderson County, Kentucky. Robert and Nellie appear together in the 1945 Evansville City Directory, showing Robert had become President of his own sales company, Halter's Sales and Service. By 1950, his company appears as a real estate brokerage, large enough for the extra cost of bold type in the city directory.
1950 Evansville City Directory.
Robert operated his real estate brokerage for over the next 30 years. He died at the age of 90 on 4 May 1989.
Source: Browning Genealogy database, Evansville Library.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

White River Races

In August 1922, Robert A. Halter was featured in a boat race on the White River in Broad Ripple, Indianapolis. The races were in addition to the national championship swimming races being held at Broad Ripple. Perhaps my great-grandparents Harry and Blanche O'Brien were in attendance with my grandmother Blanche, who was an aspiring swimmer at the time.
Indianapolis News, 8 Aug 1922.

The Tenor

The next child of Andrew and Cora Halter was Robert Adolfus Halter. Our family has had its share of musical talent, including my great-grandfather Harry O'Brien and his brothers John and Roy. On my wife's side of the tree, her great-grandfather's brother Robert showed his musical skills through singing. Robert entered the US Navy in 1918 and sang in the Navy Glee Club. He later moved to Indianapolis, and possibly participated in the same music circuit as my great-grandfather Harry O'Brien. A 1926 clipping in the Indianapolis News gives a sense of Robert's success as a tenor, describing how he won a spot with the Orpheus Male Chorus of Cleveland to compete in an international singing contest in Swansea, Wales.
Indianapolis News, 20 Jul 1926
Robert must have had quite the trip, sailing from Montreal to Liverpool in July, then returning from Liverpool to Canada in mid August 1926 as a champion. Robert appears on the passenger list from the "Celtic" arriving from Liverpool on 19 August, crossing from Canada into the US on 21 August 1926.
Indianapolis News, 3 Sept 1926.

In October 1926, Robert appeared in the News again, performing with the Paramount Popular Four on the radio program for WFBM.
Indianapolis News, 5 October 1926.
Robert arrived in Indianapolis after leaving the Navy. He married Alma Elizabeth Eaves in 1921, and they welcomed a daughter, Mary Elizabeth, into the household in March 1922. The family appear together in the 1930 US Census in Indianapolis.

There is much more to Robert's story, he lived to be 90 years old. I will have a few more posts on Robert coming up.

Monday, December 21, 2015


The oldest son of Andrew J. and Cora Halter made an appearance in the Indiana newspapers in 1909, when at the age of 12 he saved his little sister Rose from burning in a fire.
Newspapers.com, Indianapolis Star, 13 Nov 1909.
Oscar Halter survived the fire and operation. He signed a World War I draft registration card in June 1918.

He also appears in the 1920, 1930 and 1940 US Census in Evansville, Indiana. Oscar died on 23 February 1966.

Revisiting the Halter family

Back in February I wrote about my wife's 3rd-great-grandfather, Joseph Francois Halter. His son, her 2nd-great-grandfather, was Andrew Jackson Halter. The recent addition of the Evansville Press newspaper archives to Newspapers.com allowed me to find Andrew's death notice, which appeared in the 10 November 1919 edition of the paper.
Source: Newspapers.com
Andrew J. Halter was born 1 June 1867 in Warrick County, Indiana. He married Cora Belle Medcalf on 9 October 1895 in Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana. They had at least the following children:
- Oscar Lett Halter,  born 14 June 1896, died 23 February 1966
- Robert Adolfus Halter, born 11 February 1899, died 4 May 1989
- Earl J. Halter, born 7 December 1901, died 5 April 1920
- Arlie C. Halter, born 10 January 1904, died 28 January 1904
- Charles A. Halter, born 10 January 1904, died 10 January 1904
- Irma May Halter, born 28 July 1906, died 6 November 1988
- Rose Halter, died before 1910 [?]
- Calvin Luther Halter, born 16 May 1909, died 19 June 1979
- Richard Charles Halter, born 22 November 1912, died 30 December 2002
- Mildred Delta Halter, born 3 December 1914, died 22 September 1937
- Helen Halter, born 15 December 1917, died 6 April 1995
- Andrew Glenn Halter, born 31 December 1919, died 31 January 1945

Andrew and family appear in the 1900 US Census in Knight Township, Vanderburgh County, Indiana.

In the 1910 US Census, the family had moved to Ward 7 in Evansville.

Andrew worked as a laborer for various businesses in Evansville, Indiana. He died at the age of 52, leaving behind his pregnant wife Cora and 8 children. One month after Andrew's death, she delivered a son, naming him Andrew G. Halter.

Cora and family appear in the 1920 US Census (taken on 3 January 1920) in Evansville. Cora's son Earl died 3 months later. It is also interesting to see Cora was working as a farmer, which must have been difficult with young children in the house. Oldest son Oscar had married Ruth Wood on 18 November 1918, and they were living in the house at the time, so perhaps Ruth provided some assistance to Cora with the children.

By 1930, Cora was working as a maid, and her children Mildred, Richard and Helen appear in the household.

In 1940, Cora was living with her daughter Helen and grandchildren Marcella, Ethel and Laughlin.

Cora Halter died in Petoskey, Michigan on 19 October 1949. I don't have an obituary for Cora yet. There are quite a few news articles on Andrew and Cora's children. I'll post some of these during the week.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Here's our family Christmas card for 2015. We're a bit colder than last year's card taken at Yellowstone. Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Street art Warsaw Part 3

This should be the last set of photos from my quick visit to Warsaw (see Part 1 and Part 2 here). While in Warsaw I had the opportunity to see the amazing Fryderyk Chopin Museum. I highly recommend it, and wish I had spent more time there. I also visited the National Museum, but if I had to do it over again I would probably skip the National Museum for more time at the Chopin Museum. The museum is very interactive and lets you experience the history and music of Chopin in a variety of ways. Across the street from the Chopin Museum is a large mural (see below).
Photo by Patrick Jones. Across from Chopin Museum, Warsaw.
From the back roof terrace of the Chopin Museum, one can see two murals behind the building. One on the right is associated with Chopin, while the one of the left is clearly an advertisement for Coca-Cola.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Rear roof terrace view.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Behind Chopin Museum.
Photo by Patrick Jones. 9 Dec 2015.
After viewing the Museum, I crossed the bridge of the Vistula River to explore the old district of Praga. Large Communist-era advertisements can still be found on some of the buildings, such as the one below.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Praga, Warsaw.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Painting at Kondrat & Partners, Warsaw.
The final shot is a painting by a Polish artist currently on display in a conference room of the law offices of Kondrat & Partners. The firm now owns the building where Wladyslaw Szpilman was hiding from the Nazis in World War II (and whose story became the 2002 movie The Pianist). The conference room is likely where he played piano, including the music of Chopin. We used this room for meetings, and I learned of this historical connection on my last day in Warsaw.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Street art Warsaw Part 2

Continuing with my series of photos taken last week around Warsaw, Poland, here is a mix of art from Communist-era styles, a Greek-inspired mural, a paste-up, and a cafe chalk drawing.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Outside a cafe. 6 Dec 2015.
Photo by Patrick Jones. On building in Old Town Warsaw.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Paste-up, 9 Dec 2015.
Photo by Patrick Jones. 9 Dec 2015.
Photo by Patrick Jones. 9 Dec 2015.
Photo by Patrick Jones. 9 Dec 2015.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Palace for Culture & Science, 8 Dec 2015.

Street art Warsaw Part 1

Photo by Patrick Jones. Mural in Praga, Warsaw.
Photo by Patrick Jones. "The Heart of the City".
Photo by Patrick Jones. Metal door, 9 Dec 2015.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Mural at Centrum Metro, Warsaw. 8 Dec 2015.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Mural in progress. Centrum Metro, Warsaw.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Holiday Plans

Family history blogging has been slow this month. With my business trip to Central Europe last week and preparations for the upcoming Christmas vacation starting this weekend, I haven't quite had the focus to do extensive research or explore loose ends. I will have some new items to post, but generally things are slow on the research front right now. And that is ok.
Christmas Bouquet (1885) by Lucia Bliss
The new items include some newspaper articles from the Evansville Press, which was recently added to Newspapers.com, and photos from Warsaw, Poland & my visit to the wonderful Chopin Museum. I have a nice break from travel for the next two weeks and am looking forward to some down time with family, seeing the new Star Wars movie, and enjoying the currently warm temperatures in DC.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas in Vienna

On Thursday evening I had the chance to experience the Christmas market in Vienna's Karlsplatz. The lights, music and stands offering warm punsch were wonderful. There are other large Christmas markets around Vienna, but time was limited and this one was not too crowded. The festive atmosphere in Vienna and Warsaw has me in the mood for the holidays back home in Virginia.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Vienna Christkindlmarkt Karlsplatz.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Stands offering punsch & gluhwein.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Vienna, 10 Dec 2015.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Vienna Christkindlmarkt Karlsplatz.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Christmas lights in Vienna.