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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Entries in santa ana (2)


    Adding Context to a Family Keepsake

    Now that I've decided to reproduce my aunt's home economics notebook, I am looking for ways to make the book more interesting and uncover any other stories related to this little keepsake. My approach isn't strictly genealogical; it's more a blend of local and family history with a dose of literary criticism from my high school English Lit teacher past.

    My purpose is to add a "sense of place" to the notebook, not to overwhelm it with facts, figures, or history. I will probably need to select the most compelling information and save the other research for background. Here's my initial brainstorm list of possibilities; feel free to leave a comment if you can add to the list.

    I used MindNode for Mac (free) to brainstorm possible topics:

    I like using a mapping tool for brainstorming, but here it is in list format:

    Franny's Food Notebook

    Food Notebook

    • Part 1 Requirements
    • kitchen how-tos
    • 50's homemaking
    • food trends
    • Part 2 Personalized
    • recipes
    • clippings
    • comments

    Author: Frances Brown

    • age 13
    • family
    • parents Frank & Arline father working?
    • 1 sister Susie
    • home address frequent moves
    • friends

    Willard School

    • junior high
    • santa ana, ca
    • new school bldg 1931
    • home economics class semester or yr long?
    • teacher?
    • what was it like? girls only?


    • home ec
    • wartime
    • orange county

    With so many possibilities to make the story richer, it will be tough to choose the best. What have I missed?




    Princess Diaries: Looking for Answers in the 1940 US Census

    Princess Usha Holkar, The Maharani of Indore India, was one of my mother's playmates during the years that the Princess lived in Santa Ana, California with her father, the Maharajah of Indore and his second wife, American Marguerite Lawler.

    Mom remembered playing with the Princess's fabulous toys and dolls in a corner playroom under the watchful eye of her governess and birthday party snapshots show the girls together in party dresses. But, memories are a tricky thing, and it's been hard to pin down dates and places. I am looking for answers with the release of the 1940 U.S. Census to help figure out who lived where, and when.

    "Party Picture, 1912 N. Spurgeon, Santa Ana, Ca, Front Row L-R Patty Bright, 
    Kathy Bright, Susie [Brown], Usha, Fran in back sticking out tongue"

    This birthday photo shows Mom and her sister Frances with Princess Usha and three other little girls. In recent years, Mom remembered the event as her own birthday party, although when assembling her photo album in the 1940's she noted it as "Frances Party." Both sisters had January birthdays, and the address on the back of the photo adds to the confusion. I wrote more about this puzzle in Wordless Wednesday: Dating a Photo of Princess Usha at the Brown Girls' Party. The 1940 U.S. Census may hold a clue to the mystery.

    The Brown Family moved frequently, the census should help pinpoint where they were living on the census date and we can work back from there to January, 1940.

    More About the Brown Girls and Princess Usha

    Happy Birthday Princess Usha from your friend Susie Brown

    It's the Holiday Season at Princess Usha's Orange County House


    Photograph: "Party Picture" photograph, in Susie (Brown) Freeman Photo Album, ca. 1942, unpaginated; 
    privately held by Denise Levenick, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Pasadena, Caliifornia, 2010.

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