Sunday, July 29, 2012

Identifying Year of a Photograph, with help from Google

Today, I was comparing notes with my brother, Walfrid, trying to guess when a photograph of our grandmother, Ida Maria (Hytönen) Huskonen was taken, probably by our father. I was able to enlarge the digital file of the photo large enough to be able to read the days of the month on a calendar hanging on the wall behind Grandma Huskonen. The month was January, and the first day of the month was on a Thursday.
Using Google, I found a website, Perpetual Calendar, at
With this tool, I was able to determine that in 1948, the first day of January was on a Thursday. After comparing notes, we agreed that this was the proper year.
In our emails back and forth, Walfrid came up with some other events at home around this time. While I didn't remember all of them, I did take note so that I can compile a time line of our growing up in Andover, and especially our house at 496 South Main Street.
That got me to wondering exactly when an explosion destroyed the Isaly Restaurant in Andover. I did a Google search for "Isaly Fire in Andover." Google returned three hits with news reports of the blast and fire. Needless to say, these reports brought back memories of the horror of the event. 
The first report I looked at, published in a Van Wert, Ohio, newspaper, has a list of victims and I quickly scanned it for a high school classmate, Ruby Shellito, but she was not listed.
I did another Google search for "Ruby Shellito" and found a Find-A-Grave listing where she is memorialized along with her parents in the Padanarem Cemetery (about four miles from Andover). That search result provided the following information:

Ruby H Shellito
Birth: 1938
Death: Aug. 10, 1955
Ashtabula County
Ohio, USA
Ruby was killed in an explosion at Andover, Ashtabula County, Ohio. She was a waitress working when Andover Islay's and Gateway Restaurant exploded.

These are just some more examples of the value of using Google as a genealogical research tool.

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