Friday, June 12, 2009

Carnival of Genealogy 74: Swimsuit Edition

The 74th Carnival of Genealogy is back in town. This time it's the Swimsuit Edition! Here's the challenge as it was issued to us bathing beauties:

Why should Sports Illustrated have all the fun? This is your chance to show off the bathing beauties in your family. Pull out the old photos of Grandma Moses in her seaside bloomers, Auntie Mae in her pin-up girl suit from the 1940s or 50s, cousin Paula in her psychedelic bikini from the 1970s, or even yourself in your Speedo! Let's have some fun here! Memorial Weekend is behind us and that means the start of the summer sun, sand, and lakeside season so let's get in the mood with summer fun photos.

For my entry, I present my great-grandmother. Sometimes she was known as Gertrude. Sometimes Eleanor. Occasionally, I find a Genevieve in one of her records.

She's a mystery to me. She died on Christmas Eve, 1935 at just 43 years old. Her only child, my grandfather, never spoke of her. All I have are a handful of photos. In each, she has a subtle smile that gives few hints of her life or personality. We just have to guess. Heck, I don't even know her given birth name. Maybe it's Gertrude. Maybe Eleanor. Maybe Genevieve. I've seen 'em all. In the few records of her life, she never tells. She just smiles that smile and makes us wonder.

I can only guess about the bathing beauty modeling below. These pictures were taken on a beach in Los Angeles, likely in the early 1930's. My great-grandmother lived in Oklahoma at the time. She (and probably her son / my grandfather) would have visited her half-sister or sister-in-law in Los Angeles.

Would she have been mad to know she's now on the Internet in her bathing suit? I don't know...

...but she seems very happy here.

Gertrude Eleanor Baerecke Lenertz (1892-1935).


  1. Amy, she looks so sweet and happy at the beach. I especially love her bathing cap! I think she would have enjoyed the attention she will get here. She may not have a very big smile, but I bet her eyes would twinkle!

  2. I think she is enjoying being on the net in a blog....I can see her waving at me ;-)

  3. Funny you should mention the internet, Amy. I've often wondered the same thing about my relatives. In fact, every time I post a picture on my blog I wonder if the person(s) in the photo would be proud, embarrassed, or something in between.

    Thanks for sharing the pictures in the COG! I love 'em!

  4. Love this line: "She just smiles that smile and makes us wonder."
    I too wonder sometimes about what the ancestors would think about being online. Very interesting concept.
    Love your photos. Thanks.

  5. Amy,
    I think she'd be flattered she's online.Or at least the younger her would. some older folks aren't happy sometimes about seeing their younger selves in pictures.

    As for my ancestors, the few I have pictures of, I think they'd like being on the internet. Photographs were big deals in the 19th century, a way to commemorate their family. And that's what we
    are doing as geneabloggers.

  6. Your very own Mona Lisa! Thanks for sharing her photos. See that everyone has such favorable comments, how could she mind you sharing her with us? Maybe the right person will come along, see her pictures posted here, and tell you a story that will let you know her a little better than you did before!