52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Popular

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Popular

While scanning and organizing old photos and letters, I uncovered a postcard mailed from Ida Jaeger in Burton to her Aunt Emma Tonn in Galveston. The postcard, stamped January 30, 1913, reads

Dear Aunt Emma, I guess you know this bunch, we were out for a walk when we took this picture. It is not good, though I thought I (sic) send you one. Ida

The photo of the five girls has the look of a modern day selfie, minus the stick. Five girls out for a walk, pausing to take an impromptu picture. Each girl is fashionably dressed, standing confidently before the camera, wondering how it will turn out.

My mother, who is my go-to person for identifying people and events, identified the girl in black as her aunt Elsie (age 16). She immediately recognized Ida, age 18, with her stern face and hand on her hip. Ida was often called the “dictator” because of her outspoken and demanding personality. It is possible that the first and third girls are their cousins Laura and Lillie Jaeger (Rudolph and Sophia Jaeger’s daughters). My mom was unsure who the one second from left was.

I did a little bit of research on Aunt Emma Tonn, to figure out how she was related to the Jaeger family. She shared the same surname as Alvine (Henry Jaeger Sr’s wife) and my mother said that she was Alvine’s sister. However, records are sparse and there was no evidence that the two were sisters aside from the 1910 census which shows her living with Henry and Alvine, and lists her as Henry’s sister in law. What we do know is that Emma came to the United States in 1873, the year after Alvine was born. She came over with her mother Caroline and sisters Ottilie and Louise. Note, Alvine’s mother was named Wilhelmine. Some oral history identifies Emma as Alvine’s half sister but again, the evidence is sparce.

I found out that at the time she would have received this postcard, she was in her early 30s, living in Galveston with her sister Ottilie, her brother in law Thomas Hardee, her niece Vanda, and Vanda’s husband Claud Edwards. Emma was working as a Seamstress in a dry goods store. On April 26, 1913, just a few months after getting this postcard, she married James Bartley “JB” Rose.

Emma, who adopted the nickname “Embee” and her husband were referenced at various points in letters my grandfather Henry wrote to my grandmother. Their son, James Bartley Rose, Jr., served as a Merchant Marine alongside Henry in World War 2.

Even though I was unable to learn much about Emma’s life, it is clear that she was well loved by her nieces. I imagine she was the “fun” aunt, who loved spending time with the girls.


Leave a Reply