This past week a photo was posted to the Appleton Historical Society’s Facebook page. I love old photographs, so I took a close look at this large group image. As I scanned the image a familiar face appeared, my great-grandfather, Lewis H. Cook. In my excitement, I read the verbiage associated with the post, then the comments below, and quickly responded that my great-grandfather was in the third row, first person from the right.
The thread was all speculation as to the reason for the group photograph – they were all wearing medals of some sort – and where the photo was taken. I immediately jumped to the conclusion that it must have been a postmaster’s convention, as that would explain the number of ladies included. I will say it again, I immediately jumped to a conclusion.
Why is it we sometimes do not use the basic rules and steps for sound genealogical research, but jump to conclusions with a passion? And stick to that conclusion no matter what?
I stuck to the idea that this was a postmaster’s convention even as others made sound research discoveries, such as identifying the building that stood in the background. The building is the Grand View Hotel in the Chain O’Lakes, Waupaca, Waupaca, Wisconsin. Thank you to the Waupaca Historical Society for the great image that helped in the identification.
Through my stubbornness, I kept searching through newspapers finding “proof.” See! Here is evidence! There was a postmaster’s convention in Waupaca, never mind there is no mention of the Grand View Hotel.
Finally, I came to my senses. Looking back at the original post I read: “My great uncle in the middle row second from the right. He was county clerk, William Wolf…” Image of me smacking my head with the palm of my hand. I had to stop being thick-headed and behave as the genealogist that I am. LOOK at the clues before me. Once I did that, it took me just a few seconds to discover the answer.
The 10th annual meeting of the Wisconsin County Clerks Association was held June 22-23, 1915 at the Grand View Hotel. The Appleton Evening Crescent reported that “County Clerk William Wolf will attend…”1 The Green Bay Press-Gazette reported “The state convention of county clerks closed on Wednesday at Chain-o-Lakes…There was a humorous talk on marriage laws and their administration by L. H. Cook, Wausau…”2 And finally, the Wausau Daily Record-Herald had this to report: “County Clerk Louis H. Cook3 arrived home this morning from Waupaca, where he attended the annual meeting of the Wisconsin County Clerks’ association. He was appointed a member of the executive committee and of the committee which will prepare the program for the next annual convention…”4
I foolhardily was barking of the wrong tree. The good news is that I came to my senses, and I now know the significance of the great photo, and another fabulous image to showcase the many Cook stories.
- “County Clerks to Meet at Chain O’ Lakes Next Week,” Appleton Evening Crescent, 18 Jun 1915, p. 8, col. 4; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 8 Jan 2022). ↩︎
- “County Clerks Will Meet Next Year at City of Superior,” The Green Bay Press-Gazette, 25 Jun 1915, p. 4, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 8 Jan 2022). ↩︎
- Lewis/Louis. Note to all – Never give your child a name that has variations. Just because you prefer one spelling does not mean that this is understood by all. ↩︎
- “On Committee,” Wausau Daily Record-Herald, 24 Jun 1915, p. 2, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : accessed 8 Jan 2022). ↩︎