Arguably, my favorite part of researching my family tree is discovering photographs. A photograph is a meeting, an introduction of sorts. It says, “look at these features, you have them too! You’re separated by decades and centuries, but still, you’re family and it’s obvious.”
This is a picture of my great great great grandfather, Robert Garrison. It was taken in 1922, the year he died, but also the year my Pop Pop was born. It’s certainly not the oldest picture I have in terms of year taken, but it is of my oldest relative and that makes it my favorite. Robert was born in 1842 – 19 years before the start of the Civil War, 72 before World War I, and 97 before World War II. He was born in Newtown, Queens, to Robert and Eliza (Baker) Garrison, in between his brothers George and Stafford. He worked on ferries his entire life (I once found an article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle Archives about a ferry crash at the hands of a Robert Garrison, but I’m not sure if it was him). He married his wife, Adeline Jones, in 1863 and after her death in 1905 moved in with his daughter, Adelaide Garrison-now-Jeffreys, and her family. The Jeffreys were a huge family with something around 11 kids and various friends/extended family members coming and going. It must have been nice for Robert to spend so much time with all of his grandkids. (My Pop Pop moved in with my family when I was a kid and so this detail is interesting to me and makes me feel closer to Robert Garrison and the Jeffreys.)
Maybe it’s the history buff in me, but I get so excited thinking about the fact that my Pop Pop lived at the same time as someone who would have been 146 the year I was born. Even more exciting is the fact that I get to see what he looked like. Isn’t that incredible?