13 December 2017

A Musical Interlude

Jingle Bells!

I have had this music box since I was quite young (1960's). The angel is missing her wings, some of her hair, and she should be holding a little Christmas tree. Also, there is a small tree missing from the base. But it still plays! In fact, I just set it out on the mantel and the start pin slipped out enough that it started on it's own.

I can remember taking the base apart to "see how it worked" when I was a kid. I'm glad I didn't tinker with the moving parts and break the music box.

In the background you see a small feather tree that is about the same vintage, and one of the lamps that used to grace my Grandma Dixon's bedroom dresser.

09 December 2017


Ancient and decrepit these pinecones may be, but they've been part of the tree decor for many decades. They are made of some sort of metal foil. Through the years they've gotten a little crinkled, but I still love them.

06 December 2017


 A few old favorites are sparkling on the tree today. I love these little glitterers.

I have a few of these elves and birds. No clue how old they are, and I don't remember when we got them, but I think they're pretty "vintage" by now.

05 December 2017

Basement Baubles

Season's Greetings!
When my Dixon grandparents hosted a family gathering at their house in Roselle it was held in one of two locations - in the backyard for warm weather gatherings, or in the basement for cold weather parties. When the family gathered at 1023 Thompson for Christmas it was down to the basement.

We had all of the amenities there, surrounded by green cinderblock walls. There was a  stove to keep the food warm, a bar which the kids used as a play space and the adults used for adult beveredges, a stereo for music, a big trestle table and benches for seating, and we even had a bathroom down there. Like I said, all of the mod cons (that's modern conveniences, not groovy criminals) that a person could ask for.

The red plastic reindeer.
And of course, at Christmas, there was the Christmas tree. Small, artificial, and because there were young children and pets, decked with plastic ornaments. Naturally, I still have some of them. And they still dominate the bottom of our tree, where a happy tail wag from our pooch is not a recipe for disaster. These suckers bounce, and bounce right back.

Here's a peek at the party in progress, Christmas 1961 or 1962.

The best part of any holiday - the family! Second best, the food! Those ladies could cook.
From left to right : Alice (Rimkus) Karvoius, and her daughters : Tess, Estelle, and Sophie.

 Here are a few more baubles for you.

This one says "Merry Christmas.
The reindeer were always my favorites.

04 December 2017

Elf, no shelf

One of the originals, before the whole "Elf on the Shelf" craze. You can tell this fellow's been around the tree a time or forty. Just look at the state of that hat. Still smiling though, after all these years.

Why back in my day elves sat on branches, not shelves. Scratchy, piney branches.
This younger generation doesn't know how good they've got it.

03 December 2017

The angels sing

Once more with feeling!

I didn't mean to imply in my previous post that I have something against angels. I actually have one near the top of the tree. I think she's been around at least since the 1960's, but she may be older than that. She's a little bit decrepit now. One of her wings has a pretty bad crease. There's a little wear on the gold flower in her hair. Still, she makes me smile when I gingerly place her near the top of the tree to belt out her tunes, clutching her candle and her evergreen. It's a very operatic pose, don't you think?

The angel on my tree. She's made of paper mache, foil, pipe cleaners, and spunk.
If you don't join in on the chorus she might whack you with that tree.

02 December 2017


You can have your frilly treetop angels.
I prefer the sleek gaudy glamor
of mercury glass and glitter.

This shiny bauble first made an appearance on our family tree some time in the 1960's, I think. It's been around forever, which is to say about as long as I have.

We have occaisionally used other toppers. There was that "rustic" phase with the twigs and twine. There may even have been an angel, long ago, that lit up with multi-colored lights. In recent years, however, I've settled on this one to top our little tree. It's very pleasing to top the tree with something that's been in the family for a good long time.

01 December 2017

It's the most wonderful time of the year

Santa Claus & Me

Hello friends and cousins! As we head in to the holiday season I though I'd kick the month off with this - my one and only photo with Santa. I guess Mom decided one bout of that childhood trauma was sufficient.

Me and Santa, off to a rocky start. December 1961, probably at a department store in NJ. Collection of E. Ackermann, 2017.
My mug shot with Santa, Christmas 1961.
I still have that rabbit. We both survived the encounter.

This photo makes an appearance on the mantel every Christmas. I think it's awesome, and kind of funny. The numbers in front make it look like Santa's holding me up for a mug shot. Honest, I didn't steal that bunny! I also love the look on Santa's face. Stoic. Resigned. Hoping I don't yank off the beard. Wishing for the end of his shift so he can get a drink.

Despite our rocky start, I'm totally into Santa. I saw him and Mrs. Clause driving through my very town last year around this time in a sporty little SUV. They were rocking the red suits and fur trim! So, yeah I'm a believer.

Wishing you a great December, no matter what winter holidays you do or don't celebrate.

26 November 2017

The Payne Family : Part of the Merry Group

Back in 2016 I wrote a Mystery Photo post, "The Mystery of the Merry Group," where I pondered the possible identity of a group of people who appeared in some photos that all seemed to have been taken at the same event. The older lady in the group looked a bit like my great-grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Klein (Dixon) Payne, and the older gentleman certainly resembled her second husband, Thomas Payne. But I wasn't sure, and I had no clue who the other people were.

In recent months I've been in contact with three people who are connected with the Payne family in one way or another. Last week the granddaughter of Thomas Payne, Jr. contacted me. She was able to identify some of the people in these pictures. In fact, she wrote that she has a photo taken on that same day.

My step-cousin said that the photos were taken at Thomas Payne, Sr.'s farm in Massachusetts. I never knew he had a farm in Massachusetts! She also commented that he was very well-off and that at one time he owned a restaurant in New Jersey, and that my Great-grandmother, who she called Mrs. Dixon, ran the kitchen. [I've done some  preliminary research on the restaurant and will report on that eventually.]

So, a photo mystery gets closer to being solved, and I've got more fun things to research.

Here are the photos in question. My Great-grandmother died in 1938 at the age of 70. Andrew was born in 1905, and Thomas was born in 1910 and I would say that they look in these photos like they could be in their mid- to late-twenties. I'm going to guess that this was taken some time in the mid-1930's.

As far as I know, these are the only photos I have of my Great-grandmother that were taken after her marriage to Thomas Payne in 1927. According to my source, Great-grandmother raised Thomas, Jr. and he called her "Mother," and she remembers her father talking about my grandfather, Wallace B. Dixon, and his sister, Hazel. They would have all been children in the combined Dixon/Payne household at the same time.

Members of the family of Thomas Payne and Mary E. Klein (Dixon) Payne gather at the Payne farm in Massachusetts. c. mid-1930's. Collection of E. Ackermann, 2017.
Standing, from left: unknown; Mrs. Thomas Payne, Jr.; unknown; unknown; Andrew Payne; Mary E. (Klein Dixon) Payne.
Kneeling, from left: unknown; unknown; a dog; Thomas Payne, Jr.

I don't know who the fellow in the white shirt, standing third from the left, is but every time I see him in a photo I think "he sure looks like a Dixon!" He's in a good number of photos that I have with the woman standing on the far left, also unidentified.

Members of Thomas Payne, Senior's family, at his farm in Massachusetts. c. mid-1930's. Collection of E. Ackermann, 2017.
From left: Thomas Payne, Jr.; Andrew Payne; unknown; unknown;
Mary E. (Klein Dixon) Payne; Thomas Payne, Senior.
And the dog.

Thomas and Mary E. Klein (Dixon) Payne, Senior, with members of the Payne family. c. mid-1930's, Payne farm in Massachusetts.
From left: Thomas Payne, Jr.; Andrew Payne; unknown; unknown;
Mary E. (Klein Dixon) Payne; Thomas Payne, Senior.
Thomas Payne also had a daughter named Mary, from his first marriage, and I wonder if the young woman in this photo might be her. And then there's that Dixon-looking fellow in the back again! Who are you?!?
Andrew Payne, b. 1905. Collection of E. Ackermann, 2017.
Andrew Payne
Unidentified. Taken at Thomas Payne, Senior's farm in Massachusetts some time inthe mid-1930's. Collection of E. Ackermann, 2017.
Still unidentified

 As always, if you recognize anyone in these photos, I'd love to hear from you!


Private E-mail correspondance with descendant of Thomas Payne.

All photos from Wallace B. Dixon Collection, privately held by the author. 

12 November 2017

Missing Records : John Dixon in the Civil War

Yours truly A Lincoln
Well, howdy friends. Have you ever been this close to  solving a family history mystery only to be thwarted by a missing or misplaced document or file? I sincerely hope not, because I'm here to tell you that it is great big no fun.

Here's the situation. My great-great-grandfather, John Dixon (b.abt. 1837, d. after 1917) was a veteran of the Civil War. He enlisted in 1861 and deserted two month after he mustered in. [He was later pardoned and served with his regiment through the end of the war.] I have a theory that he deserted because his wife, Isabel was either having trouble with her pregnancy, or their infant children (I believe she gave birth to twins) were not doing well. I had hoped to find his Court Martial files with the case notes to discover what reason he gave for deserting the Army.

Natually, I turned to Debbie Hadley of Bring Out Yer Dead, who does research for me in New Jersey. She was going to be spending some time at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and agreed to dig up the court martial case file for me.

The Good, the Bad, and the Letter from Abraham Lincoln 


The good news : Debbie did find a file relating to my John Dixon.

The bad news : the transcript of the trial was missing.

The good news : there was some useful information in the file, including the name of the officer who requested John's pardon and return to duty. There were also a lot of notes about where the files had been sent. They got around a bit and the clerks dutifully noted the particulars.

The bad news : There was no mention of the final resting place of the file. They don't appear to be at the National Archives. Which means they could be in any number of places, or they may no longer exist. Vexing.

And then there's the letter from Abraham Lincoln. Naturally, it's not addressed to or written about John Dixon, though his case is mentioned in some of the notes written on the letter. The letter itself concerns one Joshua Francis Noble. It appears Joshua deserted at the same time as John, from the same regiment, was court martialed and sentenced at the same time, and also had a pardon requested by the same officer as John. The letter is President Lincoln's inquiry into the status of Joshua Noble's case on behalf of Joshua's wife. The poor man had been sentenced to prison in the Tortugas, and although the pardon was approved, the paperwork was misplaced. Eventually he got sorted out and returned to his regiment.

Here's the President's letter. You can click on the image to make it larger.

Dear Judge Advocate General, where in the world is Joshua Noble?
His wife would like to know.
Yours truly, A. Lincoln (1)

Here's the response from the Judge Advocate General, and a sideways note from Mr. Lincoln. Ditto with the click to enlarge.

Dear Mr. President, I have no clue. The War Department mislaid the file.
We did sort out that John Dixon fellow.
Illegibly, Judge Adv. General. (1)

And here are the notes written on the back of the paper. Ditto, click, enlarge.

Summary of the cases of Dixon and Noble, with mysterious clerical notations. (1)

If you have any suggestions on where one would look for the missing court transcripts, please leave a comment or send me a note.

I'll be writing more about John Dixon soon, and will also put a transcript of the documents that were in the file up here on the blog.

Source Citation

1. Court martial case file, 1863-1865; John Dixon and Joshua F. Noble, File NN98; Court Martial Case Files 1809-1894; Record Group 153: Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Army); National Archives and Record Administration, Washington, D.C.

26 October 2017

Wedding Bells 1925 : Karvoius & Dixon

 On October 26, 1925 Wally Dixon and Sophie Karvoius were wed. It was Sophie's 19th birthday. Wally had turned 20 in March of that year.

The ceremony took place at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church on Ripley Place in the Elizabethport neighborhood of Elizabeth, New Jersey. St. Pete's (as we called it) was a Lithuanian church that Sophie's immigrant parents attended, and which the extended family would continue to attend for many decades.

Reverend Joseph Simonaitis performed the wedding ceremony. The witnesses were Sophie's youngest  sister, Estelle Karvoius, and Wally's friend, Peter Moretti.

My grandfather looks so dapper in his bow-tie!
Left to right: Jimmy Fahey, Wallace B. Dixon,
best man Peter Moretti, and an indentified friend.

Sophie Karvoius in her wedding dress.

The photos and the wedding invitation are from my personal collection.

01 September 2017

First Day of School

Off to Bender Academy!

Me, Steven?, and Heidi Lenartowicz on the first day of school
at Bender Academy in Elizabeth.
Collection of E. Ackermann, 2017.

And don't we look just thrilled? That's me on the left, with the up-flip. I remember my mother making me sleep in rollers for this "special" day. Torture! The curls may have lasted until I got to school. Not much longer than that though. My hair never would hold a curl. The boy in the middle is, I think, named Steven. I don't remember if he was in my class or not. He lived at the end of the block next to Warinanco Park. The other girl is Heidi Lenartowicz. She was a year younger than me.

This was the first day of either first or second grade for me. There were at least four or five kids on the block who went to Bender Academy in Elizabeth. Our parents took turns driving us.

30 July 2017

Immigrant Ancestor Checklist : Naturalization Records

My local genealogy support group spent a session a month or so ago learning about naturalization records. It seemed like a good idea to use the notes I took in class to make a little worksheet that would help me gather the information that I might need to track down my immigrant ancestors' naturalization records.

And then I thought I should share it with you :-)

  • This worksheet is designed to help you gather in one place the information that you might need to find immigration records. 
  • Once you narrow down the time and place, find out where your ancestors might have filed, and where those records are stored today.

Note the section at the bottom that gives some information you might find useful if your ancestors didn't naturalize as US citizens. My Lithuanian great-grandparents never became citizens, but I was able to get some great information about them through their A-File (Alien Files) records.

When you are trying to pin down the earliest possible dates for Declaration of Intent and for Naturalization be sure to find out what the immigration rules were for those actions at the time your ancestor might have been applying for citizenship. You'll find a general overview at the National Archives website.

PDF : Immigrant Ancestor Checklist : Naturalization Records 
I hope you find this checklist helpful in tracking down naturalization records for your ancestor. Free for your personal use. Enjoy!
You can click on the image to make it larger, or click on the link above to access the PDF file.

28 July 2017

What I did on my summer vacation : GRIP 2017

This was my second year at the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP). Last year I learned about being a family archivist. It was a great class, and the whole experience at GRIP was terrific.

When the class list for this year's sessions came out I knew I had to sign up for this one : 
Gateway to the Garden State : Sources and Strategies for New Jersey Research

I'm so glad I did! For five whole days the class got what seemed like a never–ending list of great sources, repositories, organizations, and how–to's. We covered history, record groups, and the law. The presenters were Melissa A. Johnson, Michelle Tucker Chubenko, Karen Mauer Jones, and Judy Russell.  My classmates were a nice mix of professional researchers and seasoned enthusiasts. There was a lot of sharing of information, and some nice conversations.

I'm hoping to make use of the resources in the extensive syllabus to push my research along and discover some new stories for this blog. So many records, so little time...

12 June 2017

Resource Roundup: New Jersey State Census Update

Good news! FamilySearch has now made available the 1885, 1905, and 1915 New Jersey state censuses. They are indexed and searchable, and best of all, with images.

Previous indexes I've seen for the 1915 census included only the most basic information. With access to the images of the enumeration pages themselves you get so much more. Information on the census form includes:
  • Address
  • Name
  • Color or race
  • Sex
  • Month and year of birth
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Place of Birth
  • Place of birth of parents
  • Citizenship information, including number of years in U.S. and naturalization status
  • Occupation
  • Education: reading, writing, abitlity to speak English
  • School attendance, including the name of the school and whether public, private or parochial
  • Home ownership information, including ownership, rental, mortgage, and house or farm

Here are the links to search the newly updated records:

I've been going through the 1915 census and have found some interesting things. For instance, my grandmother, Lillian (Maita) Traina, was 11 years old when the census was taken, but the name she is given on the census is "Rosalie." Was Rosalie her middle name, or was Lillian? 
 "New Jersey State Census, 1915", database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QV9W-4DZY : 8 October 2014), Vincent Maita, 1915. Downloaded 11 June 2017.
1915 NJ state census record showing my grandmother, Lillian (Maita) Traina - listed under the name Rosalie.
The birth month and year are a match, so it must be her.
 "New Jersey State Census, 1915", database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QV9W-4DZY : 8 October 2014), Vincent Maita, 1915. Downloaded 11 June 2017.
 I've also found adults ennumerated in both their parents' household as well as in the household with their own spouse and children. More than one example of that, actually.
If you've found anything interesting about your family in the 1915 census I'd love to hear about it! Leave a comment below.

15 May 2017

Wedding Bells 1955 : Dixon and Traina

My mother, Mary E. Dixon, married her best friend's brother, Frank J. Traina, on May 15, 1955. From photographs I have seen, Mary was well acquainted with the Traina family for years before she and Frank tied the knot.

The wedding took place in Union, New Jersey, and was a civil ceremony performed by a Magistrate of the Court. Mary's Matron of Honor was her future sister-in-law, Frances (Traina) Carlino. The Best Man was Frank's friend, Leo Piazzo.

Here are a few photos from their wedding day.

Mary (Dixon) Traina gets help with her hair
from her sister-in-law and
Matron of Honor, Frances (Traina) Carlino.

Mary (Dixon) and Frank Traina
15 May 1955

Matron of Honor, Frances (Traina) Carlino
and Best Man, Leo Piazzo

The toast.
Frank and Mary (Dixon) Traina toast,
as Fran (Traina) Carlino looks on.

The happy couple and their parents.
Left to right: Joseph Traina and Lillian (Maita) Traina;
Frank and Mary (Dixon) Traina; Sophie (Karvoius) and Wallace B. Dixon.

Mary (Dixon) and Frank Traina cut the wedding cake.

Frank Traina dancing with his sister, Mary Ann,
and Mary (Dixon) Traina dancing with her brother, Wallace A. Dixon.

The happy couple in a snazy car.
Mary (Dixon) and Frank Traina.

08 May 2017

My Immigrant Ancestor : Marian (Reina) Maita

Marian [or Mary or Marianna] (Reina) Maita, on the right, and an unidentified friend or relative. Collection of E. Ackermann, 2017.
Marian [Marianna] (Reina) Maita, right.
Collection of E. Ackerman, 2017.
If you recognize the lady on the left,
drop me a note!
What a thrill to hold in your hand a photograph of someone you've never met, but who is intimately connected with you. A person that is, if you think of it, instrumental to the mere fact of your existance.

I would like to introduce you to my great-grandmother, Marian (Reina) Maita.

That's her, on the right in the photo. You can click on it if you'd like to see it a bit larger.

This "meeting" would not have been possible without the happy convergance of a number of things. First was the generous gift of this photo, along with many others, from a first cousin of mine. He did not know who these ladies were, though my first thought was "that woman sure looks like Grandma Traina." The second was the wonderous connections that Ancestry.com DNA has given me to living cousins that I never knew I had. I was able to send a digital image of this photo to one of them who confirmed that it was her grandmother - my great-grandmother. Hooray!

"They were married in Sicily..."

The helpful cousin who identified the photo for me shared the few facts that she knew about her grandmother, who died when my cousin was a young child. According to her, Marian and her husband, Vincenzo Maita, were married in Sicily before coming to the United States. They lived in Elizabeth, in "the Italian section" – Peterstown, where Vincenzo had a house built on Christine Street. The house is still there, and she describes it as being all brick, with a green door and shutters. My cousin also confirms that Marian and Vincenzo had eight children, one of whom was my grandmother, Lillian.

So now I have a place to start, and I know 100% more about my great-grandmother than I did two weeks ago.

"...then they came over to the U.S."

It's the Maita line that, ultimately, pushed me into researching my family tree. A death in the family lead to frantic e-mails amongst cousins asking "do you know Grandma's maiden name?" We sorted it out after a bit, but it bothered me that none of us knew even that much about our grandmother. Sheesh.

Early investigations led me to discover that three of my grandparents had more siblings than I ever knew of - if I knew of any at all. At least I had personal knowledge of my maternal grandmother's family, and I knew my great-grandmother in that line, although she died when I was a child.

In any case, aside from the Dixons, who appear to have been in this country for many more generations, I have three sets of great-grandparents who were immigrants to this country. This is, to coin a phrase, a very long walk off a short pier that points straight out into the Atlantic Ocean. But before I put on my water wings and take that leap to research in the "old country" there is plenty of research to do in my homeland - Elizabeth, New Jersey!

25 April 2017

Other People's Ancestors : Success and a Reunion

This photo of  George Wickham Metcalfe
is soon to be reunited with his family.

G.W. Metcalfe is heading home!

I'm thrilled to report that I've been able to reunite this photo of George Wickham Metcalfe with his family. [You can read more about George in an earlier post on this blog.]

George's granddaughter contacted me via Ancestry.com, where I had created a tree for George and uploaded his photo. I included in every note space available on that site the invitation for a family member to contact me to reclaim the photograph. And it worked!

This is a photograph of George that his granddaughter had never seen. She was kind enough to share some of her memories of him with me, and I treasure that. I feel like George is part of my family too, after spending so much time researching him.

Happy trails, George!

13 April 2017

Easter 1964 : Bonnets!

Ah, Easter! Chocolate bunnies, jellybeans, dyed eggs, and the dreaded Easter outfit. Please, take a moment to absorb the rediculous things that we are wearing on our heads. [You can click on the images if you want to make them larger.]

In our Easter bonnets... The Dixon/Traina ladies showing their Spring style. 1964, Warinanco Park, Union Co. NJ. collection of E. Ackermann, 2017.
Mom, Grandma, and me. Easter 1964. Warinanco Park.
Collection of E. Ackermann, 2017.
That's my Mom, Mary (Dixon) Traina, in the black mushroom hat, complete with some sort of half-veil thing. No idea what is on the veil. It looks like a bug.

My Grandma, Sophie (Karvoius) Dixon, looks a lovely in neutrals, with her spiky ribbon pouf-hat. Her purse looks big enough to put me in!

 And then there's little me. Snappy double-breasted camel-hair coat, eh? You can see my whole ensemble below.

A four-year old Liz, wearing a cute little yellow suit and a hideous daisy-covered Easter bonnet. 1964. Warinanco Park, Union Co. NJ. Collection of E. Ackermann, 2017.
Easter 1964. Liz enduring the indignity of The Bonnet.
Warinanco Park, Union County, NJ.

Check out my little yellow suit! This may be the most well-coordinated outfit I've ever worn in my life! But really, what the heck were they thinking with the hat? The daisies are bad enough, but what's with the mound of yellow bow meringue on top?

The Easter bonnet was my least favorite holiday tradition. And I probably had a few unkind thoughts about the gloves and the saddle shoes as well. But what's a four-year-old to do?

Endure. Simply endure. The Easter baskets full of treats are on the horizon...

05 April 2017

Sophie (Karvoius) Dixon : Safety First!

"How to Keep My Family Safe"

"...an ideal way for the lady of the house to improve the safety of her family..."

Promotional photo taken of the winner of the 1959 Esso Bayway safety contest - my grandmother, Sophie Dixon. E. Ackemann 2017.
One of the promo pictures from the contest.
Sophie (Karvoius) Dixon, 1959.
Collection of E. Ackermann, 2017.

On 19 Feb 1959 a letter went out from G.R. Murrell, Manager, to the employees of the Esso Standard Oil refinery in Bayway for a safety contest. In it he invited "the wives of our employees and the married women employees at Bayway to develop a Home Safety Program for their families." Entry forms and instructions were included with the letter. The forms listed the leading causes of home accidents and asked the entrants to explain the ideas that they found successful in preventing these types of accidents. "English composition will not be judged, only the safety activities presented..." in each contestants submission. (1)

Offering a total of $750 in prizes, each contestant was also eligible to select an award from the Esso safety award catalog. (1)

My grandfather, Wally Dixon, was employed at Esso. He retired in 1960 after 28 years of service. (2) He probably encouraged his wife to enter. I would love to see the completed form that my grandmother submitted for this contest.

And the winner is...

Western Union Telegram to Sophie Dixon informing her that she won the 1959 Esso Bayway safety contest. E. Ackemann, 2017.
You're a winner! I would have loved to have seen my Grandmother's face when she got this telegram.
E. Ackermann, 2017. (1)

 On April 15 my grandparents went to the Bayway Refinery so my Grandmother could accept her award.

Sophie Dixon accepts the first place award in the Esso Bayway safety contest. 15 Apr 1959. Esso/Bayway Refinery Photo. E. Ackemann, 2015.
Sophie Dixon accepts her award from G.R. Murrell.
Her husband, Wallace B. Dixon looks on.
Esso Standard Oil Co. Bayway Refinery.
Photographic Group. Number 1016-2. 15 Apr 1959.
Collection of E. Ackemann, 2017.

"Wins Esso Safety Contest." Clipping about Sophie Dixon, Singer employee, winning Esso Bayway safety contest. June 1959 issue of E'Port Observer. E. Ackemann, 2017.
"Wins Esso Safety Contest"
click image to enlarge
E'Port Observer, June 1959
E. Ackemann, 2017
 According to this article in The E'Port Observer, newsletter of the Elizabethport Works of the Singer Corporation, "It took a Singer employee, Sophie Dixon of the Oil Milling Department, to win first award in an Esso Bayway Refinery safety contest." (3)
"Mrs. Dixon used a humorous approach to offer practical safety suggestions. Among them: "If the roof of the car must be held up. the car or the driver should be replaced." Another comment was that people who work in gardens and backyards should not go beyond their limit, lest they overcome garden fragrances with liniment. She encouraged drivers to "leave baby shoes where they belong" because they clutter up visibility in a car."
I was thrilled to find this article which provides a glimpse into the winning entry, as well as a little snapshot of what other members of the family were doing at the time."Mrs. Dixon has been with Singer for 18 years. Her sister, Estelle Karvoius, is chief clerk of Dept. 33 and a daughter, Mary Traina, is in the Employment Office." It also reports that my grandfather was on sick leave from Esso at the time.

All the winners of the Esso Bayway Refinery 1959 safety contest, along with their husbands and the plant manager, G. R. Murrell. 15 Apr 1959. Esso Bayway photo. E. Ackemann, 2017.
All of the contest winners and their spouses. The Dixons are on the far left, Mr. Murrell is in the center.
Were my grandparents very short, or are all those other people freakishly tall?
Esso Standard Oil Co. Bayway Refinery. Photographic Group. Number 1016-8. 15 Apr 1959.
Collection of E. Ackemann, 2017.

Safety First!

Photo of Wallace B. Dixon pointing to the steel-toe shoe that saved his foot from the lawn mower. Date and photographer unknown. E. Ackemann, 2017.
Wallace B. Dixon, showing the shoe
that saved his toes.
E. Ackermann, 2017. (1)
The caption my grandfather wrote on the back of this photo says

Wallace B. Dixon
Summer 1953
Sheer luck!
Safety shoes purchased at Bayway

Be careful out there! (Especially when you're mowing the lawn.)

[This photo is probably not related to the 1959 contest, but I thought it was fun.]


(1) Sophie (Karvoius) Dixon - Correspondence and photographs relating to Esso Home Safety Contest; E. Ackermann, 2017.

(2) Esso Standard. Retiree Identification Card. Issued to Wallace B. Dixon. Esso Standard, Division of Humble Oil and Refining Company, Bayway Refinery. E. Ackermann, 2017.

(3)  "Wins Esso Safety Contest," E'Port Observer; A Publication of the Elizabethport Works of the Singer Corporation. (June 1959): p. 2.  

30 March 2017

Wallace B. Dixon 1912

Wallace Bernard Dixon, age 7. Portrait taken by E.L. Jenkins & Co. NY in 1912. Held by E. Ackermann, 2017.
Wallace B. Dixon. 1912.
Held by E. Ackermann, 2017.

Wallace B. Dixon in 1912, at the age of 7. Photo by E.L. Jenkins & Co., 122 Front St., NY. Held by E. Ackermann, 2017.
The original photo of Wallace B. Dixon. 1912
E.L. Jenkins & Co., 122 Front St. N.Y.
Held by E. Ackermann, 2017.
This is my grandfather, Wallace B. Dixon, at seven years old. The photograph was taken by E.L. Jenkins & Co., 122 Front Street, New York. The handwriting on the front of the original mounting is my grandfather's.

I haven't been able to learn much about the photography studio, but I did find another photograph with the same mounting by way of a Google search. Interstingly, that photo of a young man also appeared to have been taken outside, next to the front steps of a building. I wonder if this was Jenkins's particular style of portrait photography. If you know anything about them drop me a note.

You can see a photo of Wally B.'s son, Wally A. Dixon, at about the same age in my previous post, "Wally Jr. Strikes a Pose."