Sunday, May 1, 2016

Jacob Frederick Ast

Last week I took a Time Out to share some photos that a cousin of my husband had shared with us.  Since he has since shared even more, I need to continue with this theme.  And what better way to start than with the oldest of the children of Eberhard and Anna (Strauss) Ast, Jacob Frederick Ast.

Ast Jacob Frederick c 1885

Jacob was born 22 Aug 1878 in New York.  Sometime between 1880-1884, Jacob moved with his parents to California and in about 1901, he and Pauline Perez became husband and wife.

Ast Jacob 'Fred' _Pauline Perez Wedding cropped

Jacob Frederick Ast and Pauline Perez, abt. 1901
Jacob and Pauline had one child, Frederick W. (b. 1902) and in 1910 the family was living on Folsom Street in San Francisco.  But by 1920, Jacob and Pauline were no longer together and Jacob was married to Josephine McLaughlin.  I’m fairly certain that the marriage ended in divorce since it appears that Pauline also later remarried to Charles Lester.

It seems that Jacob worked as both a Veterinarian and a Butcher and for the most part, settled in San Mateo.  He and Josephine had two children, Rita (b. 1918) and Joseph (b. 1924).

I’d heard the story about Jacob being killed in 1958 as he walked across the street but it wasn’t until I found his obituary in the 29 Jan 1958 edition of The Times (San Mateo, California) that I learned the full story.  Doesn’t sound like he was hit by a drunk driver as I’d heard from the family 20 or so years after the accident occurred.

Dr. Jacob Frederick Ast, 79 year old retired San Mateo County veterinarian and resident of 124 Tenth Avenue, San Mateo, was instantly killed while crossing Capital Avenue in Woodland last night.

He had been attending a veterinarians’ convention and was on his way back to his motel following a banquet across the street.

Highway patrolmen said he was hit by a car driven by Lawrence B. White, 50, of Long Beach, executive secretary of the California School Boards association.

Officers Roy Jones and Robert Moyer said Dr. Ast was wearing all dark clothing and was difficult to see in the darkness.  No citations were issued.

Well known in this area for many years, Dr. Ast had been in practice with Dr. James D. Tuohig of Menlo Park.

A native of New York City, Dr. Ast lived in California for 76 years and in San Mateo city for 30 years.  During the past 12 years he was a member of the San Francisco county board of health.

He was a life member of the California Veterinary Medical association and a member of the Bay Counties Veterinary Medical association.

He was a life member of Occicental Lodge No. 22, F.& A.M. of San Francisco.

In addition Dr. Ast at one time was a meat inspector and held membership in Local 115, San Francisco Butchers’ union.

He is survived by his wife, Josephine, of San Mateo, and the following children:  Mrs. Rita Ast Thomen of Belmont, Joseph F. Ast of San Lorenzo and Frederick William Ast of Kelseyville, Calif.

He was a brother of William Ast of Williams, Calif., Mrs. Emily Williams of Concord, Herman P. Ast of Mountain View, and Miss Bertha Ast of San Francisco.  Four grandchildren also survive.

Funeral services will be held from Sneider and Sullivan chapel at 2 p.m. on Friday.

Jacob is buried with Josephine, who died in 1961, at St. John’s Cemetery in San Mateo.

More on the Asts in later posts. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Time Out!

I need to take a time out and set aside my family and work on my husband’s for a minute.  Especially since I received a gift from a cousin in my e-mail when I woke up this morning.

Take a look at this!

Ast_Eberhart_Ana_Wm_JF_ Emily_1885
                Left to right:  William Charles/Carl, Anna (Strauss), Jacob Frederick, Eberhard, Emily (about 1885)

This handsome family is my husband’s great grandparents, Eberhard and Anna (Strauss) Ast.  The children are the first of their children (six, I believe), none of which is my husband’s grandather.  But look at what a beautiful family this is!  And how about those clothes?  Love it!

And then another.

Ast, Herman and Bertha abt 1900
Herman and Bertha Ast, about 1898

That is my husband’s paternal grandfather and his younger sister!  Since they look to be about two and four, I’m guessing this was taken in about 1898.  And again, great clothes!

I never had the pleasure of meeting Herman as he had died before  I came into the picture but I did spend some time with Bertha.  And this little cutie looks exactly as I remember her with that twinkle in her eye.  WHY didn’t I take more photos? 

But another cousin gave me this picture of Bertha when she was a little more grown up – see the twinkle in her eyes?

Bertha Ast

And Herman was quite a looker when he was married in 1915.


What’s especially poignant is that as I was preparing this post (April 24, 2016) I realized that Eberhard died on this date in 1912.  Maybe someone was trying to tell us something?

Thanks again for the photos, cousins!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

National Siblings Day – The Levy Kids

Today is National Siblings Day – time to hug our brothers or sisters and let them know how much we appreciate them.  Since my siblings both live in another state, I can’t really hug them but I can let them know how much I appreciate and love them by posting some fun photos of them!

Since my sister and I were 10 and 7 when little brother was born, you can understand why there were lots of photos of just the two of us during our very early years.

Dad was always posing us in different places.  I remember hating to do that but now I’m sure glad we did. 

My beautiful picture

Here we are with Mom – check out those stylin’ glasses!

My beautiful picture

This one is too good not to share – what the heck are you hiding under the scarf, sis?

My beautiful picture

Every once in awhile we added a stranger to the picture.  Not sure what I was thinking (or saying) as we posed next to the Indian Chief.

My beautiful picture

Then little brother joined in the fun as we posed with our grandparents, Sig and Loraine (Gunzendorfer) Levy.

My beautiful picture

And our maternal grandparents, Shell and Clara (Fitzgerald) Hunter.

My beautiful picture

When I was about 10, we got our horses, Smokey and Snap.  Here we are giving little brother a ride on Smokey.

My beautiful picture

Looks like we were packing for the beach – or maybe our annual family camp outing at Camp Campbell.

My beautiful picture

Every year dad would pose us for a picture to use on our holiday card.  It’s fun to look at a few that didn’t make the cut.

My beautiful picture

How did he come up with these poses?

My beautiful picture

As the girls grew older and were too busy to go places with Mom & Dad, little brother had lots of experiences without us.  Looks like this might have been Knotts Berry Farm or Frontier Village?  Love that Mom was all dressed up!

My beautiful picture

Hmmm, wonder where they were in this photo?

My beautiful picture

I don’t think there’s much doubt where this was taken.  And just like Dad with the camera around his neck!

My beautiful picture

Over the years we managed to get some photos together, but it became harder and harder as we all lived in different cities/states.  But we had some special shots together in 2000 as we celebrated Mom & Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary.


Big sisters always taking care of their little brother!


So here’s some big hugs and lots of love to my siblings.  Looking forward to seeing both of you SOOOON!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Owl - June, 1908 – Owl Staff and Dramatics

I took a detour for a bit but am now back to documenting The Owl, Fresno High School’s yearbook.  I last wrote about The Commencement Number from June, 1908 here.  There are so many photos from this edition that I’l break it down into small pieces. 

Next up – The Owl Staff.

Owl Staff Photos

I just love the way they are dressed and the hairstyles – such class.  I think they’d laugh to see high schoolers today – “why are these kids wearing pajama pants to school?  And for that matter, what are pajama pants?”

Owl Staff

And then a section about Dramatics.


The art work is beautiful – I wonder if Nelson Daniel or Lucy Walker (Art Staff) drew that?

“The first and one of the most enjoyable of these dramatic affairs of the winter, and one in which a number of the students displayed considerable histronic ability, was ‘BI BI,” which was given at the Barton Opera House on April the 9th, under the auspices of the Young Women’s Christian Association.”

I don’t know who is who in this picture but here is A Chorus from “BI BI”.

Chorus from BI BI

Some of the cast included Mrs. Jefferson Graves, Ivan McIndoo (former student), Willard Bates (former student), Grace Osborn (former student), Edwin Einstein, Hazel Beall, Mona Robertson, Edith Niblock, Sadie Burleigh, Dolly Vogel, Leora Schaeffer, Gwendolyn Barton, Ena De Yo, Louis McWhirter, James, Spratt, Howard Fisher, Louis Williams, Bertrand Gearhart, Will Tupper and John Morgan.

Another production was described as “the most ambitious affair in the line of dramatics the school has ever attempted was the Operetta ‘The National Flower’ in which some two hundred and thirty-six students took part”.  Where did they find 236 students?

Dolly Vogel

Who are these lovely ladies?  How I wish they were identified!

Jury in National Flower

At least John Morgan and Leora Schaeffer are identified.

John Morgan_Leora Schaeffer

Last up was “Mice and Men”.  The Owl states that this was a romantic comedy so not the John Steinbeck novel that we read growing up.  But since that wasn’t published until 1937, I guess that makes sense. 

Mice and Men

This production was the Senior Farce and was under the direction of Mrs. Ina Millward.  The entire Senior Class was included in the farce with the principal actors being Louis McWhirter, Robert Collins, Floyd Cowan, Henry Hopkins, Victor Gaines, Rainey La Rue, Ena L. De Yo, Belle Millward, Pearl Duncan, Victoria Cutten, Olive McFarland. 

What a grand time it must have been to attend high school in 1908!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sometimes you just have to scratch your head

Just about the time I start putting pieces of the puzzle together, something new appears that just makes me scratch my head and say HUH?

Today’s mystery is the Official Program of the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles.  Why did someone have this?  And, more importantly, why did they keep it?  Sure I know that both of my grandparents, as well as my parents, were packrats but what was the significance of this?

Front Cover

The cover is beautiful and I chuckled to see that you could buy it for only 10 cents.  Looks like I have the program for the opening day, July 30, 1932.  So much history is inside the cover!

Here’s the President and Vice President of the United States in 1932.

Herbert Hoover Charles Curtis

And the Founder and Life Honorary President of the Olympic Games, Baron Pierre De Coubertin.

Baron Pierre De Coubertin

In 1932, the President of the International Olympic Committee was Count De Baillet-Latour.

Count De Baillet-Latour

Hoping that maybe, just maybe, I’d come across a name that I recognized, I scoured the names of those on the International Olympic and Honorary Committees.  No such luck.

International Olympic Committee

Honorary Committee

The Riviera Country Club was located near Santa Monica and was “ideally situated for most of the colorful equestrian events of the Games”. 

Riviera Country Club

The closing events were held in the Olympic Stadium.


Today it is known as the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Photo by Ron Reiring

It is interesting to see the planned Opening Ceremony Events.  But what is even more mind boggling is that it was only about 90 minutes from beginning to end – these days it’s more like 4-5 hours with a production meant for television.

Opening Ceremony Events

And there were just 39 participating nations in 1932 – the 2016 Olympics in Brazil expects 207 countries to join in the fun!

Parade of Nations

Weightlifting, boxing, and wrestling events were held in the Olympic Auditorium.


And the Fine Arts Museum was filled with rare exhibits of ancient and modern culture.

Fine Arts Museum

I’ve always been amazed at the Olympic Athletes’ Village – I can’t imagine how large that would have had to be in 1932 and it’s impossible to wrap my head around how large it will be in Brazil this summer.

Home of the Athletes

Close by the Stadium was the swimming venue.

Swimming Stadium

Swimming is one of my favorite summer events – it would be fun to find the winning times for each event and compare them to this years’ winning times.

There is nothing like reading about the ticket prices 84 years ago.  You could see events for just $1.00! 

Program and Ticket Info

The first night of the Olympics brought Weightlifting. 


While the United States had two participants in the Lightweight class, the medals went to Rene Duverger (gold), Hans Haas (silver), and Gastone Pierini (bronze).  The light-heavyweight class proved to be a bit more productive for the United States with the medals going to Louis Hostin (gold), Svend Olsen (silver), and Hendry Ludwig Duey (bronze).  Oh wait – there were only four participants so no question the United States would take at least one medal.

The next day Track & Field began.  My grandfather was always a track & field fan and shared that love with my dad.  I like to think Grandpa Sig was there so he could partake in those events.  Who knows – maybe one day I’ll run across that program.  Until then, I can only imagine.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

This week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun by Randy Seaver has been circulating on facebook for a few days.  The challenge is to create a five or six generation ancestor chart that shows our ancestor's birthplaces.

Although it took me a few days to complete the task, I finally did it yesterday.  So here's my chart - guess you could say I really am a California girl.

Thanks for the fun, Randy!