28 September 2012

Rule for Photographing Ancestral Places

view of Portage looking southeast
One thing I did not expect when we traveled to Hancock, Michigan was the gigantic presence of the Portage River. Hancock is perched on one bank and across the expanse is the town of Houghton. The Houghton-Hancock Bridge connecting the two towns is vital to the prosperity of both, but as the only land access to the northern most area of Michigan it is also indispensable to the entire Upper Peninsula called the Keweenaw Peninsula. To the south the Portage River becomes Portage Lake and to the north, connects to Lake Superior as the Portage Canal. 

location of Temple Jacob with view of Portage
Temple Jacob has made its home on the bank of this venerable river since 30 May 1912, the day its cornerstone was laid.[1] The view is spectacular and I wonder if there is another synagogue in the United States with such a setting.
Temple Jacob building and the bridge

Rule for Photographing Ancestral Places

The pictures I did not take were 1) a panorama of the river from the steps of the synagogue and 2) street views of the temple's location. I was so busy recording the building and the events that I forgot my rule: Whenever you visit an ancestral place, stand in front and take pictures down the street, up the street and across the street. Then, walk away from your ancestral place and take pictures of it from each of the three angles and from a distance; i.e. from down the street, up the street and across the street. 

And what do you do with all of those pictures? Put them in an album, photo book or scrapbook, of course!
page elements: Journey of the Heart
© 2011 Elise Hansen of Elise's Pieces Designs
Hope this helps you record and memorialize your own ancestral journeys. 

Scrappy Gen
Let's Remember!

[1] Rochelle Berger Elstein, "The Jews of Houghton-Hancock and Their Synagogue," Michigan Jewish History 38 (November 1998); online archives, Jewish Historical Society of Michigan (http://www.michjewishhistory.org/pdfs/vol38.pdf : accessed 28 September 2012), page 7

14 September 2012

Traveling Back in Time - Hancock, Michigan - Part I

Hello friends. How was your summer? Did you do any genealogy traveling? We spent most of our summer on the road, in the air and on the water. I have thousands of pictures, documents, memories and notes to process. How about you?

In August we traveled to my father-in-law's birthplace, Hancock, Michigan. We were a small group, but it included three generations of my husband's family. That's his Dad in the middle. He just turned 91 years young. 

We took this picture right before we had dinner at Gemignani's Italian Restaurant. The restaurant has been a landmark in Hancock for many years, but more importantly it is housed in the same building where my father-in-law was born and where his family ran a kosher butcher shop. 

We traveled to Michigan, but it was more of a journey, a journey into our family's past and into my father-in-law's memories. It was a profound gift to have been part of it and I will forever be grateful.

Let's Remember!
Scrappy Gen

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