The Orphaned Images Project: Gertrude Kitchen and Olive May, revisited

Last week I received a comment on this post from Charles, a wedding and portrait photographer near Detroit, Michigan. Visit his website here.

“Wow, Gertrude is my wife’s Great Grandmother (Grandma Gerdy) and Leonard would be her son; Olive would be Leonard’s sister.”

We continued our correspondence and he shared some details on “Grandma Gerty” that I’d like to share as an update to this post:

It’s crazy that those photos made their way to VA. I’m in Michigan, about 25 miles north of Detroit. Gertrude lived here with my wife and mother in law in her later years, in this very house, in fact. I just found out yesterday that she also died here… this very house! Right in the next room! How did that fact get by me all these years?

My wife often talks about brushing her Grandma Gerty’s long silver hair for her when she couldn’t do it anymore (she was actually her Great Grandmother). She lived to be 97 years old. Gertrude also lived in Indiana with her sister Mildred, sadly, we don’t know much more than that. The Leonard that was mentioned in the postcard should be her son, but his last name was Duncan, I’m guessing there was a second marriage; I’m on the hunt for more information now.

I have done some research on my own family history but have never gotten very far with my wife’s; last night I typed in “Gertrude Kitchen” and your blog was fourth on the list— the really fun part was my wife’s reaction, I didn’t know who I was looking at—when I read that the postcard was sent to Indiana, I thought it could possibly be someone that my wife might know, but I was very doubtful. I mean, it was just a photo on a blog, out there on the internet. I would be shocked if it was actually someone that my wife knew…..well, I was shocked.

I called her into the office and she walked in behind me and said “that’s my Grandma Gerty!!!!!, that’s my Grandma Gerty!!!!” She read your post and then she was off to the old ceder chest in the living room (it belonged to Gertrude). She came back with a handful of photos, some of Gertrude, one or two of Olive as a toddler and also at age four, and some others of people that were obviously important to Gertrude, but we have no idea who they are.

I will certainly send you photos as soon as I can get them scanned, along with any info I can relate to them.


Originally posted on July 17, 2011
From the writing on the back of the top postcard, I’m surmising the lovely young woman is Gertrude Kitchen (or Kitchens). It is addressed to Miss Ethel Noland, a woman I wrote about in a previous posting on this blog. There was no address or cancelled stamp, so the postcard was never sent.

The second postcard is addressed to Mrs. Frank Wilson, Idaville, Ind., RR No. 19. It was sent June 27, 1913 at 8:00 a.m. from Lima, Ohio. (Postage was just a penny!) The card reads as follows:

Dear ??? and all: How is this for outdoors picture. Why don’t you write. How are you and (Maud?) and Leonard? — Gertrude

The baby is identified as Olive May, 14 mo. old.

About cindydyer

Self-employed graphic designer and photographer Never bored: Oil and acrylic painting, photography (portraits, glamour shots, nature, macro, floral/botanical, travel), cement leaf casting, crocheting hats like crazy come winter time (what else can a gardener do when it’s cold out?), needle felting, sewing, murals, faux painting, making jewelry, Polaroid transfers (if it’s something crafty, I’ve probably at least tried it once), biblioholic (any topic, you name it–--I probably have at least one book on the subject…don’t even begin to guess how many gardening books I’ve amassed!), animal lover (3 cats---Pixel, Lobo and Queso), used to have ferrets, several goldfish, two other beloved cats (Jasper and ZenaB), and one white rat named Lucky Fred Chewy Ratatouille), handy with power tools and do-it-yourself projects, obsessed with gardening and gardening books (reference, how-to, essays by other gardeners), writing poetry, entertaining (all my parties must have a theme, dress code, and guests pose in front of related theme backgrounds for their photos!), animal lover; magazine addict (covering photography, graphic design, Photoshop, Mac, home and garden, food, crafts, travel)…love to travel (so far: Iceland (most beautiful place on earth!), Italian and French Riviera, Rome, Chile (Buenos Aires), Argentina (Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia), Antarctica, Alaska, the islands (Tortola, Virgin Gorda, St. John, St. Thomas, St. Lucia, St. Barts), southwest U.S. several times over (Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah), all the eastern states, Ohio, California (San Diego, Monterrey, Carmel, San Francisco, Napa/Sonoma Valley, Death Valley), Texas (mostly South Texas and Mexico), Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, Point Pelee for bird migration, Maine (and all New England states), Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon), Wisconsin….love a good road trip…need to do more...who wants to join me on the next one? In a nutshell, I live to create.
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