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Thursday, May 31, 2012


I love old photographs. And not just my family's, like those below. But old photos in general. The best are the ones with personal notes written on them. I have learned so much history in just a jotted down note. Like Roosevelt visiting the Prime Minister of Sweden in a psych hospital in 1938. Just because a family member thought to jot it down before mailing a picture home. 

But then you get those photos that have a story to tell, but no one left to tell it. You can only hope that a family member knew the story, and can share it. 

I am in the process of doing just that. Discovering my family in more detail, through photos, rumors, and stories. And if this blog survives, family a hundred years from now will know where they have come from. 



Mary Doud

US Naval Academy

Traffic Section Balboa District, Canal Zone Police

CZ Motorcycle Officer Eldon "Ed" Phelan with kids


James "Jim" Phelan



Azo postcard


Anonymous said...

I adore old photos! The one of the woman breast feeding must have been a huge thing at that time. it is very beautiful.
Are these all your family members? I asked my mother to please write on the backs of her old photos, so I would remember who they were.
Great pics!
Lisa p
(love the blog by the way!~)

Phelan said...

Family with friends. Funny the breast feeding one, the back says "hazel, look at their fireplace." so I don't think it was a big deal at the time. Of course my family wasn't all in the US so views were different.

carol anne said...

I love this. I am the keeper of all of my family's photos. I need a scanner so I can scan them all and give them to the younger family members.

Yart said...

Absolutely, amazing photos.... Thanks for sharing them... I love the rooster and the one of the mother breast feeding.

Phelan said...

Carol Anne, I am finding it more important to write things down with the photos. My grandmother's handwriting is hard do decipher at times.

Yart, the rooster one, the boy is my father. The back of the pic says he was feeding the rooster a grape, and now they are good friends. I am not sure who the breast feeding one is of though. I hope my aunt knows. It's a great photo. My fab is the girls gone wild. The one were the women are in their bathing suits.

kymber said...

i love the gypsy-tambourine girl...but then i have always had a thing for gypsies. what does the back of that pic say, Phelan? and is it one of your relatives? i would love to know the story.

your friend,

Phelan said...

The gypsy girl would be my grandmother, Mary Alice Doud. I don't know what year it was taken, but the place was Cuba. I am slowly getting more info. I have 300 pics like these on my Flickr page. I am scanning about 100 a day. If anything was written on the backs, I have been including them in the description.

This is to also help out some family members that lost all their photos in a hurricane a few years ago.

Phelan said...

Forgot to mention, the film developer colored the photo in when is was a negative, by hand.

kymber said...

i was going to say that i could tell that the developer coloured it - it's beautiful. as is your Grandmother! what was a proper young Irish girl doing in Cuba at that time? and can you send me a link to your Flickr page (not sure if it is on your blog - will have to go and look!). you have my email...i would love to see more!

just fyi - i have NO family outside of my mom, dad, 2 sisters and a brother. my dad is dead and i don't speak to my brother or sisters. my mom has no photos of her family (very poor growing up). for a long time i would collect old photo albums and pics from yard/garage sales. i loved it when something was written on the back. i think i was trying to collect family or something. i gave them all to a genealogy group about 10 yrs ago.

anyway - enough blathering. your friend,

Phelan said...

Just click on any of the pictures, it will take you to my Flickr page.

Family left ireland. Took a cruise. . . They lived in the virgin islans, Haiti, Cuba, panama, anywhere warn. They had the money. The pic of my grandmother is just before the revolution. She told me the story of troops stomping through their home, she was hiding under the bed. It was a brutal time. They had all their land taken away and sent off island. They ended up in Panama. Hence why I loathe any one that says Chavez was a hero, they didn't see the Irish heads mounted on fence posts.

Phelan said...

Let me qualify that before some one freaks out. The revolution, if you want to call it that, happened before chavez's times. But he is of the same regime that BRUTALIZED not only foreigners but natives.

Phelan said...

Oh and Kymber, you are more than welcome to adopt my family.

Mary Doud (Phelan) is grandmother
Eldon (Ed) Phelan is grandfather
James (Jim) Phelan is father

kymber said...

Phelan - wow! you're from an Irish family that had money?!?!?!? never heard tell of such a thing - bahahahahha - naw just teasin' witchya! we have a lot of Irish, and Scottish on my island but they were not the ones with money. no matter - it's what makes this island so awesome! i am so sorry that your Grandmother saw such horror - what an amazing life that she must have led! i completely understand your not thinking of Chavez as a heroe...everything in it's context eh?

i think that is the sweetest thing that anyone has ever said to me - that i could adopt their family. thank you so much Phelan. i am going to go and look at all of the pics now. i didn't realize that i could see more of them than you posted. i don't know diddely about Flickr. so i didn't even try to look at more. ooooh...sooo exciting to have family!!! thanks me dear!

lots of love. your friend,

Sloat garden center said...

Good to know about your blog and thank you such a wonderful post, And so true. Yet again, you got to the right words perfectly.
Thank you for sharing with us.

Phelan said...

I was looking at your blog, was going to make comments there about the pics you have
posted, but I am somewhat computer illiterate and couldn't figure it out, so am doing it
this way.

Let's see, pic 2 the little girl in front is Grandma Mary behind her is her Dad (Roy
Milton Doud). They lived in the Isle of Pines, Cuba. And yes the dancing girl is
Grandma Mary. Grandpa Roy was the International VP of Finances for Ford, plus in Cuba
they owned a plantation.. Sad thing was once they retired, there was no medicare or
equivalent, and he went through their life savings paying for cancer treatment for his
wife Grandma Alice. Once she passed away he came and lived with us in Panama.

Police line up of course in the middle is Grandpa Ed. That was taken in Balboa, the
section behind them was called El Prado (sorta like a park).

We did have an Aunt Hazel, she was Grandpa Ed's Aunt (Hazel Kelsey).

The two wild women, would not surprise me if the one on the right was Grandma Alice.
Everything I've heard of her and remember of her she was a wild one. She's the one who
stressed to any female, get a college education, be able to support yourself, before you
ever think about getting married.

From my Aunt.

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