Monday, April 13, 2015

Alfred Walter Stark--Photographer Extraordinaire

     I have spent time blogging about my maternal grand uncle, Alfred Walter Stark, in years past.  From all my Mom told me, he was quite a character.  Before she died she asked me one day, "I wonder what ever happened to my Uncle Walter?"  I was not blogging when she died in 1999 and frankly not all that much genealogical information was available on the net.  Now, all that has changed.  With the 1940 census and other new information out on ancestry and elsewhere, I have been able to fill in a few of the empty blanks.

Alfred Walter and Frances Stark
Looks like he has his camera in hand.
Wonder who took the photograph!
     I am still missing one critical piece of information--the maiden name of his wife!  Walter and Frances Stark did not have any children; however, perhaps someone will find this blog on line and might have a Frances married to an Alfred Walter Stark, who often was listed as A. W. Stark, and one of my brick walls will crumble.

     Six years ago for a Carnival of Genealogy:  Uncle Uncle meme, I wrote a lengthy piece about Uncle Walter, including several photos.  I hope not to duplicate that information here.  Walter's birth, parentage and death information is on that blog.  Some of his work as a photographer is also listed.  It is his photography work in and around the Pittsburgh area that I would like to concentrate on here as I have found some new items to add to his timeline.  And an additional update as to the whereabouts of Walter and Frances in the late 1930's and early 1940's.

This little cutie is my Mom.  The photographer
was her uncle, Alfred Walter Stark.  It was picked
up by a national magazine circa 1921-1922.
     Alfred is listed on the 1910 Pennsylvania Federal Census as age 25, single and working as a photographer in a studio.  It is unknown as to whether he is working for a company or the studio is his own.  (Year: 1910; Census Place: Avalon Ward 3, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1292; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 5; Image: 913)

Frances and her mother-in-law, Wilhelmina Stark along with
unknown adults.  I wonder if these are Frances' family.

     By 1920, Walter is married to Frances.  They are renting an apartment on Palo Alto Street on the North Side of Pittsburgh.  He is a photographer.  Frances, who was born in Germany to German parents, immigrated to the United States in 1900.  She was born August 5, 1893.  To date I have found no marriage information. There is no marriage record for them in West Virginia.  I will have to wait until Pennsylvania posts some on line.  

     I was aware that Walter was the school photographer for the Avalon, Pennsylvania school system in the mid 1920's through the early 1930's.  I have my parent's elementary class photos and Mom's Uncle Walter is listed as the photographer.  Googling Walter's name, I found a class photo he took in 1930 for the Emsworth, Pennsylvania elementary school. 

     I was unaware that he was the official photographer for the Avalon school system beginning in 1910 until I was flipping through the pages of an Avalon High School yearbook on line looking for someone.  I decided to go from back to front in case there was an index, which would make my search somewhat easier ;-)  No index; however, several pages in I was excited to see the advertisement pictured above.  WAHOO!!  The question from the 1910 census is answered--Walter was operating his own photography studio. By the time my Mom and Dad graduated from Avalon High School in 1939, Walter was not the school photographer.  

     There is a 1930 Pennsylvania Federal Census report for the Starks, they are renting an apartment at 3332 Niagara Street in the city of Pittsburgh.  Walter is still employed as a photographer.  Frances lists that she was 16 when she married, which would be circa 1914.  (Year: 1930; Census Place: Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1971; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 56; Image: 139.0.)

     Walter and Frances are not listed in the 1934 Pittsburgh City Directory; however, they are on the 1940 Florida Federal Census.  Walter is listed as Andrew W.  I was somewhat confused and thought that perhaps this was not Uncle Walter until I found a 1944 Miami Florida City Directory in which they are listed and at the same address as the 1940 census report.  The census shows that Walter and Frances were living in Pittsburgh in 1935, so sometime between 1935 and 1940 they relocated to Miami, Florida.  Walter is age fifty two and is not working. (Year: 1940; Census Place: Miami, Dade, Florida; Roll: T627_631; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 69-92C)

     The story about Walter and Frances moving to Hot Springs for therapy for Frances' arthritis may or may not be true.  I cannot find them in any further listings in Miami City Directories.  They may have moved on.  Walter did attend my paternal grandfather's (his older brother) funeral in Avalon in 1945.  He signed the funeral book, Frances did not.  Was she unable to travel or had she passed.  No answers.

     There is a death record for Walter in Miami, Florida, October 1962.  In an interview years back, with one of my Mother's cousins and a niece to Walter and Frances, she told me that she was contacted as next of kin by the coroner of Miami asking for financial assistance with Walter's burial. He obviously returned to Miami.

     So a few more pieces are in place in the puzzle that is my grand uncle.  If there is anyone working on family genealogy that has my Uncle Walter Stark and his wife, Frances, as a branch on their tree.  Please contact me. 

Other Alfred Walter Stark Blogs on Flipside:

The Stark Family Vacation of 1928

I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. All comments are welcome; however, if they are inappropriate, they will not be published.    PLEASE post your e-mail in the comment section if you would like to network about a particular surname or topic. I will capture it for my use only and not include it when I publish your comment.
© 2015, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

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