Posted by: suekenney | September 14, 2012

My Grandmother’s Scrapbooks: An Introduction


Esther Corinne Lambert, July 1936 – or “CTL” as she called herself, Corinne Tyson Lambert

My maternal grandmother, Corinne Tyson Lambert (1894-1993), was a great one for looking into family history.  My mother has often told me of how Grandma used to take entire days going to the various venues in Worcester, MA, for genealogical research:  the historical society, the library, the museums, etc.  She took copious notes, many of which I still have in my possession (having inherited the family historical materials when we had to divvy up the contents of Mom’s house), and painstakingly copied those notes into ledgers and journals, which I also have. 

She inherited much of this interest from her own father, Edwin Comly Tyson (1864-1946 or 48), who had done much of his own research in what time he could spare from his business.  I have seen, amongst the masses of papers and such, letters written by my great-grandfather to various folks asking about bits and pieces of family history, and their replies.  At least one of the hand-drawn family trees in my possession was begun by him, in his elegant 19th century handwriting.

My great-grandfather, Edwin Comly Tyson, not sure of the date

In turn, Grandma passed this interest on to my mother, who eventually was able to consolidate some of the most basic information into a self-made book, copies of which she gave to each of us kids, to her mother and sisters, and possibly to a few other folks I don’t know about.  The book only covers what Mom always called the “Four Quarters,” the four families of my grandparents – Watson, Plummer, Lambert, and Tyson.  Mom had always hoped to get to the other family lines, some of which had been traced back several generations to the very beginnings of the American colonies, but never finished that monumental work.

And now the torch has passed to me.  I would like to carry on the tradition, but am somewhat daunted by the sheer volume of material now in my possession.  I have written a few blogs before about various little bits of family history – William Bartlet (a many-times-great-grandfather), Richard Lambert (my grandfather), Kitty Niles (my mother’s sister), John Watson (my father).  But nothing very connected.

Well, my grandmother had taken some of the material on her husband’s family, the Lamberts, and put it into a couple of scrapbooks.  I thought I would give a try to go through the scrapbooks, page by page, picture by picture, and see what was there.  Organizationally my grandmother was definitely a bit challenged – skimming through these books, there is plenty of jumping from one century to another, from one ancestor to another with no warning.  But perhaps I can make some sense of it as I go through it in detail; and when I redo these scrapbooks (as I must, because they’re not in the greatest of shape) I would hope to get things more in some sort of order, chronological or otherwise.

So, to begin – much of Grandma’s research focused on Henry Calvert Lambert (1812-1899), her husband’s grandfather, and the first Lambert of the line to come to America, in the 1830’s.  The very first picture in the first scrapbook is of “the Little Store” in Rye, England.  According to Grandma’s caption, it is “where Henry Lambert went as a boy, for sweets.  The very same house.”

The Little Store, Rye, England, where Henry went as a boy for sweets

Note that the picture was taped into the scrapbook – not what would be recommended today.  I am not as hyper-conscientious about using only the most archival-friendly materials as some people I know, but even I cringed as I went through the books and saw how Grandma had put them in.  Maybe this can be corrected; maybe not.  I’ll see what I can do.

As far as Henry and Rye go – according to the records I’ve got, Henry was born in Winchelsea, England, the fifth of ten children.  Since the father, Luke, was a military man, those ten children were born in a number of different places, including England, Ireland, Scotland, Malta, at sea, and Italy.  Rye was obviously one of the places the family stayed for a while, in between travels.  More on Rye and Winchelsea to come.  Next time, though, I want to look at the introduction my grandmother wrote for this scrapbook.


  1. This is neat! My mom is very knowledgable about our family genealogy but when it comes to me I too get overwhelmed! However, a couple Christmases ago, one of my sisters did a really neat printed book with a lot of our grandmothers recipes (scanned copies of their handwritten ones) and I love using it. Good luck piecing through these scrapbooks!

  2. To paraphrase Jack Kerouac: “It is not what you write, it is how you write it.” And you do iit
    very well!I just cannot decide if to share this website with
    my pals or keep it as my own, personal private secret…

    • Thank you for the kind words. Glad you liked the post.

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