Back Home From Vacation

Red Rocks, Colorado - CCC Statue

Red Rocks, Colorado – Honoring the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) that helped with land conservation.

“National Public Lands Day keeps the promise of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the “tree army” that worked from 1933-1942 to preserve and protect America’s natural heritage.” ~

Saturday was National Public Lands Day, a day dear to my heart. I’ve been away in Colorado and Wyoming for the last two weeks, enjoying the great outdoors. I saw this statue in memory of the CCC men that helped shape some of our great national and state parks at Red Rocks, Colorado. I have previously posted about some of my family and their service in the  CCC in the states of Washington, Montana, Idaho, and Utah, during the Great Depression.

Historic Red Rocks, Colorado

Historic Red Rocks Amphitheater , Colorado. Copyright 2015 Maryann Barnes

Red Rocks Amphitheater has a lot of history gathered in the museum in the visitor center. Before we visited that morning there had been a 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb.

My husband and I celebrated National Grandparents Day with our two precious grandchildren, our daughters, and their husbands. This holiday has been celebrated in the United States since 1978, and is also noted in many other countries on other days of the year.

Grandparents Day - 2015 - Copyright Maryann Barnes and Genealogy Sisters

National Grandparents Day. Copyright 2015 – Maryann Barnes

After visiting in Colorado with our family, my husband I headed to Jackson, Wyoming. There we settled into one of the historic cabins at Colter Bay Village, in Grand Teton National Park. It was nice to give up TV for the week, and to have very limited cell and internet coverage.

Colter Bay, Grand Teton National Park

Colter BayMarina, Grand Teton National Park

The rain we had the first few days translated into snow on the peaks of the majestic mountains. I was glad I had packed my down jacket and waterproof hiking boats. We stayed out at the marina one evening, and met a few other photographers waiting for the pumpkin hour, when the mountains start glowing with the evening sun.

IMG_3985We went to Yellowstone National Park through the south entrance for one of the days. What an unique place! We had been to the Grand Canyon before, but never the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. The force of water is simply amazing.

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

The next couple of days were sunny and clear and in the mid 70’s during the day. We saw many wild animals including herds of bison, elk, mule deer, a moose or two, and one black bear. I took this bison photo from the safety of our car. No bison selfies for me!

Colorado Wyoming 089My husband and I went on many hikes, carrying our trusty can of bear spray.

Colorado Wyoming 195

By the pines – 2015 – Copyright Maryan Barnes and Genealogy Sisters

This photo reminded me of one taken by my mother fifty years ago, below. I have always loved hiking by the evergreen trees. Oh, that heavenly smell!

Maryann - by the pines - 1965

Maryann – by the pines – 1965

It is great to be back home in Virginia, but I do miss our family, the  beautiful western landscapes, and clear water. Before my trip out west, I spent one week in New Jersey visiting family and friends. In late August my brother and I met with two of our father’s first cousins in New Jersey. They shared some amazing stories and photographs about their parents journey to America. I learned more about my Irish great-uncle, William John Doran, and his beautiful and kind English wife, Rosina Evans. I took this image of their wedding photograph with my iPhone.

William John doran and Rosina Evens - 1920 - Canning Town, West Ham, England

William John Doran and Rosina Evens – 1920 – Canning Town, West Ham, England


After learning more about our Irish roots, later that week we enjoyed some delicious homemade Polish food to celebrate our other side of the family! She also sells at a market in Hoboken, NJ.

Maria's Homemade Pierogies, 17 Bridge Street, Milford, NJ

Maria’s Homemade Pierogies, 17 Bridge Street, Milford, NJ

I’ll post more about my New Jersey visit later, and yes, like all good family researchers on vacation, I visited cemeteries! Happy trails!

Posted in Blogger, Colorado, Doran, Photography, Vacations, Wyoming | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Mystery Monday – Belfast, Ireland Couple – Photographer, J. Thompson

J. Thompson, Photo Artist, Belfast, Ireland

J. Thompson, Photo Artist, Belfast, Ireland

During a recent visit to my father’s cousins in New Jersey, my brother, John, and I came across this mystery photograph. He was looking through an old religious book that had belonged to their maiden great-aunt, Lizzie Hall. There stuck inside one of the pages, was this picture that neither Ted nor MaryLou had remembered seeing before! Their father, William John Doran,  had received the book, along with some holy pictures, from the estate of Lizzie Hall in 1933.

They both said that I could keep the picture and research the history. The photo was one of the early post cards popular from the early 20th Century on.


Back of photograph.

When I saw this photograph I instantly remembered a similar picture, that had been emailed to my sister and I, from a fellow Belfast Doran clan researcher, James Doran. His photo shows his father, “wee Artie” and his grandparents, Arthur Patrick and Sarah Hermon Doran. It was taken about 1911 in Belfast. When my brother and I got back to his house we compared the two photographs. The two men are sitting on the same type of chair, called a throne chair, popular in photographers’ studios in the early 20th century. Looking at the pictures closely, we all agree that it seems to be the same chair the men are sitting on, and a different chair that the ladies are sitting on. James Doran said his mother has the original and he will try to locate it to see if there is anything printed or written on the back. It is possible we are related since our two families were next door neighbors in Belfast at one point, plus a few other similarities. Thanks, James, for your permission to share the photo!

Arthur Patrick Doran Family, taken in Belfast, Ireland, circa 1911. Photograph courtesy of James Doran.

Arthur Patrick & Sarah Hermon Doran, and their child, wee Artie, taken in Belfast, Ireland, circa 1911. Photograph courtesy of James Doran.

Along with my brother, my sister and I started researching the photographer. James Thompson was listed in both the 1901 and 1911 Irish censuses as a Belfast photographer. In the 1911 Irish Census he was living with his family at 33 Cranmore Avenue, in the Windsor Ward of Belfast. He was 42 years old, and born in England. His son, also James Thompson, was age 17, born in Belfast, and also a photographer.

Taking in account the address on the back, our mystery photo was taken around 1912, or later in Belfast. Grosvener House, now called Grosvenor House, was designed by the Irish architects, Patterson and Grahame, active circa 1911 – 1915. The building has a date of 1912 for completion. To find out more about their work please look at his link:

Prior to being in this building, the photographer, James Thompson, was in the Cranes Building, in the same vicinity, Wellington Place, Belfast, near the Belfast City Hall. Information from the website of Lennon Wylie, in his databases – Belfast / Ulster Street Directories, was researched by my sister, Veronica, my brother, John, and myself to try and pinpoint when the photo was taken [ ].

1907 Belfast / Ulster Street Directory: Thompson, Jas., photographer, #26, Fourth Floor, Wellington Place, Donegall Square to College Square East, Cranes Building.

1908 Belfast / Ulster Street Directory: Thompson, Jas., photographer # 26, Cranes Building [same as 1907].

1910 Belfast / Ulster Street Directory: Thompson, James, photographic artist, #26, Cranes Building [same as 1907].

1918 Belfast / Ulster Street Directory: Thompson, Jas., photographer, Grosvenor House, Donegall Square North to College Square East, St. Anne’s Ward, South Par. Div., 5 Wellington Place, res., 17 Stranmillies Road.

1913 Belfast Telephone Directory: Thompson, James, photographer, 5 Wellington Place.

Now that we know the mystery photo was taken after about 1911 in Belfast, Ireland, we can start researching any family members that were still living in Belfast during that time. The unknown picture could show Doran or Hall family members, or turn out to be simply friends of Lizzie Hall. Lizzie emigrated to New Jersey from Belfast in 1914. By researching when the Belfast YMCA was in the same building as James Thompson, we may be able to narrow the dates. Here is the back of the photograph postcard.

BelfastPhotoBMystery Monday is a blogging prompt suggested by Geneabloggers. Many thanks to my father’s first cousins, Ted and MaryLou, and their spouses, for the mystery photograph, and all of their help researching our Doran family, and for a wonderful day spent together! Thanks also to James Doran, who is our honorary cousin, if not our direct cousin!

Copyright 2015 by Maryann Barnes and Genealogy Sisters.

Posted in Belfast, Blog Prompt Series, Brick Walls, County Antrim, Doran, Family Names, Hall, Ireland, James Thompson, Mystery Monday, Photographers | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Six Word Saturday – 15 August 2015

Enjoying the little blessings of life!

Taken 1937 - Copyright Genealogy Sisters - 2015.

Taken 1937 – Copyright Genealogy Sisters – 2015

This young lad is getting a lesson on how to gently hold small creatures, by his aunt Mary. Auntie and nephew look like two kindred spirits enjoying a warm summer day. These two photos were taken in 1937, at the Mirota farm in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.

Copyright 2015 by Maryann Barnes and Genealogy Sisters.

Copyright 2015 by Maryann Barnes and Genealogy Sisters.

Take a look at Cat’s blog, Show My Face, for more Six Word Saturday postings. Happy Saturday!

Posted in Blog Prompt Series, Family Names, Hunterdon County, Locations, Mirota, New Jersey, Six Word Saturday | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments