Fred Gartz, left; Will Gartz, right. Probably between 1928-1930

Fred Gartz, left; Will Gartz, right. Probably between 1928-1930

It’s time for another CoG—Carnival of Genealogy. As always, thanks to Jasia at The Creative Gene, for sponsoring Carnival of Genealogy. All contributors’ posts can be seen by July 4th. 

This month is the “Swimsuit Issue.” Family history buffs (no pun intended) are sharing old swimsuit photos. 

Not quite as racey as the Sports Illustrated version, these folks were far from posing “in the buff.”  Modesty was more in vogue. I’ve dubbed their suits the “mankini,” a male bikini, about 1928-1930.

My dad, Fred Gartz (dob 10/10/1914),  left looks to be about fourteen-sixteen. His brother, Will, a year older. .

My grandparents, Josef and Lisi, worked non-stop during the week and Saturdays in their jobs as janitors in Chicago’s West Side,  but Sundays were set aside for family. My grandfather was quoted in an article that reported on his retirement from janitorial work in 1954. “Whenever we went out for a little entertainment, we all went together, the boys, my wife and me.” 

Given the number of snapshots I have of the whole family at the beach, even when the boys were young men,  their philosophy of family togetherness wasn’t just lip-service. It was documented in photographs.

This is probably North Avenue Beach in Chicago, about two miles north of downtown. It was one of their favorite destinations on a hot summer day.


Dear Friends, Loyal Readers, and Newcomers:

Family Archaeologist is taking the summer off. I’d like to use this hiatus as an opportunity to share the backstory of my paternal grandparents, Lisi and Josef Gartz, that many readers may have missed when the blog was getting started. I’ll still be posting every Tuesday, re-posting a bit about Josef and Lisi’s  lives in Austro-Hungary a century ago, including the story of Josef’s harrowing journey to America, as recorded in his journal and missives. I hope you’ll all enjoy the vintage postcards, their loving sentiments, and Josef’s diary and letters of the risks he took to start a new life in America. To see the very first post introducing the blog, click WELCOME.