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And favorite images

Painted eggs and chocolate bunnies.

Easter baskets that rarely survived more than a single season.

And the hope that sprang eternal in the breast of The Legal Genealogist‘s mother that — this year at least!! — all the kids would be healthy enough and the school break would be long enough and the weather would be decent enough to head south to The Farm in Virginia.1

Where my grandparents spent their very first Easter in April of 1950 — and, yes, actually, I can confirm that now: the 1950 census shows that these Texas-to-Virginia migrants made it east by the enumeration date of 1 April that year; Easter wasn’t until April 9th.2

And where, for the next 60 years, someone in the family would spend Easter — usually with a bunch of kids around, hunting for those painted eggs out in what were usually muddy fields.

And where there were surprisingly few photos taken — at least not of my crowd, and none that captures all of us together.

But going through what the family does have, there are two favorites to share. Two sets of kids, a generation apart.

This one is one of my personal all-time favorite family photos, taken in Texas around 1945. From left to right, my mother’s siblings Trisha, Mike, Marianne, Jerry and Carol, and the little girl on the right is their niece, my cousin Bobette.

Cottrell family Easter 1945

There’s just so much about this picture to love: Trisha’s eyes scrunched closed, the mischief on Marianne’s face, Carol’s what-am-I-doing-here expression, the bunnies in front of the kids — and in the right front corner, proof positive of the identity of the photographer. I don’t think my maternal grandmother ever took a picture without getting her shadow in the image.

And, a generation later, at that family farm in Virginia. In front from left to right, my cousin Susan, brother Paul and sister Kacy, then my older sister Diana and I are in the rear.

Geisslers Easter 1959 or 1960

Again so much to love: one of the few times you’ll ever see any of my crew dressed up. Paul having already ditched his jacket and bow tie. And that car…

Sadly, so many of these folks are no longer with us. Only two of my mother’s siblings are celebrating this Easter; two of my cousins already gone.

But the faces — and the memories — of Easters past live on.

In those favorite images.

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Of Easters past,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 16 Apr 2022).


  1. The odds were never all that good of that coming together. See, e.g., Judy G. Russell, “An Easter tale,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 21 Apr 2021 ( : accessed 16 Apr 2022).
  2. See 1950 U.S. census, Fluvanna County, Virginia, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 33-3, sheet 13, dwelling 134, Clay R. Cottrell household; digital image, ( : accessed 1 Apr 2022).
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