Here’s one of those found treasures that is my favourite kind! It has all the important clues to make our search successful. It states the names of the children Gladys, Gertrude, Willie and Sydney, and the names of their parents W.S. Valentine and Grace Edna Clark Valentine, as well as the photo studio location in Mt. Vernon and the date May 1904 when the photo was taken. What could a genealogy-detective’s heart want more :)!
Photographed here were the four children of William Satterly Valentine and Grace Edna née Clark from Yonkers, New Jersey, where the oldest children were born. Sometime around 1898 and before the 1900 Census the family moved to Mt. Vernon, New York, where this lovely photo was taken in 1904. According to the 1910 Census, the children’s father William Sr. was a salesman with an oil company.
By 1920, mother Grace is listed as widowed. I don’t know what happened to father William, apparently he died in 1913, but I have not been able to find his death record. Mother Grace passed away in November 1952:
But let’s look at the lives of the children in more detail (I hope I’ve got the faces right since I don’t know which child was who):
Gladys Valentine was born on February 20th, 1893 in Yonkers, Westchester, New York. She married Clarence Edwin Cockefair (1891-1967) in 1919 in New Jersey. The wedding day was reported about in detail in The Montclair Times, Oct 4th, 1919:
In 1920, the couple was living in Bronx, NY. Clarence was a manager in real estate. Gladys was a homemaker and tended to their two children Gertrude Louise Davis née Cockefair (1922-2002), and Philip H. Cockefair (1925-2010). In 1940, Gladys and her family were living in Montclair in Essex, NJ. Clarence was working as an architect of theatre frame builders. Gladys passed away on June 12th, 1974 in Glen Ridge, NJ. Her obituary was published in The Montclair Times, New Jersey, on June 20th, 1974:
Gertrude Clark Valentine was born on December 4th, 1894, also in Yonkers, Westchester, New York. Gertrude graduated from Montclair State Teachers College in 1915 and as a teacher did not opt for a life of a married woman. In April 1924, she applied for a passport for the purpose of travelling to Great Britain and France. And look at that, the application included a passport photo of Gertrude as an adult!
Gertrude continued to work in her profession all her adult life. Her obituary says she worked in the Montlair school system for 42 years before retiring in 1960. According to the 1920 Census, she was living together with her mother Grace, granny Emma and her two brothers at 229 Inwood Avenue in Montclair.
Gertrude apparently loved to play bridge. I found this mention of her in The Montclair Times from March 26th, 1924:
In 1940, Getrude was working as a teacher at a public school and living alone at 210 Inwood Avenue, just a few houses away from her mother Grace.
Gertrude passed away in June 1967.
Since the brothers William S. Jr. and Sydney Valentine were born so close apart, I cannot be sure which one is which in the photograph.
William “Willie” S. Valentine Jr. was born on July 10th, 1896 in Yonkers, Westchester, New York. According to the 1920 Census of Montclair, he and his brother Sydney were living at home with their mother and sister Gertrude and working as brokers in sugar industry. William was single at the time. I find him on a passenger list from Bermuda to New York in 1929. On February 25th, 1931, he married Anne (Anna) Catherine née Worden (1908-1966) in Orange, New Jersey.
Maybe they met on the sea since Anne was into travelling too, she is to be found on passenger lists on her own in 1927 from Naples, Italy, in 1929 and in 1930 from Southampton, England. Perhaps it was the couple’s honeymoon to Bermuda in May-June 1931, as I find the two of them on another passenger list, this time together. And then I came across the passenger list of the cruise ship “Kungsholm” from February 1932:
Apparently, William committed suicide while at sea on February 5th, 1932 (he did not die in 1990, as a family tree on FamilySearch suggests). William’s young wife Anne Catherine never re-married and passed away in 1966.
The youngest sibling Sydney Mead Valentine was born on August 5th, 1898 in Mount Vernon, Westchester, New York. As mentioned above, in 1920 he and his brother were brokers in the sugar industry. In 1928, Sydney switched to real estate. He co-owned a real estate company with Orme Staudinger (later taken over by Cyril Staudinger) in Montclair.
Sydney married Florence Underwood Davis in May 1923. Their wedding day was reported about in detail in The Montclair Times of May 19th, 1923:
He and his wife Florence D. née Davis and their 3-year-old daughter Florence (1926-2001) were living in Montclair. The couple had another daughter Robin who married Michael Lobsitz in April 1950. Strange that I don’t find Robin living with the Valentines in either in the 1930 or 1940 Census. Sydney passed away on August 10th, 1991, at the age of 93 and was buried at Mount Hebron Cemetery in Montclair.
Maybe one of them was your ancestor? Please contact me if you’re related to any of the Valentine kids!