Sunday, October 20, 2013

All aboard! ~ Family railway history

Carl Victor Judd
1st cousin 3x removed
b. 11/13/1888 in Texas
d. 1/17/1956 in California

Recently geneabuddy, Stephanie Pitcher Fishman of Corn and Cotton Genealogy, shared resources for railway research. The post brought to mind our families connection to this rich history.
Several years ago we connected on Ancestry with a very distant relation. I have written about Steve gifting our family with priceless photographs. One particular favorite is Carl V. Judd, 1st cousin 3x removed, in uniform.

Neither of us knew what the uniform represented. Steve enlarged the photograph to see if he could garner clues. Focusing on the buttons he was almost certain they were not military issue.

click on record to enlarge for better viewing

Steve located Carl's death certificate from the Sate of California, Department of Public Health. This record supplied the missing piece to our puzzle. Carl's "usual occupation" was that of "street car" "conductor".
Also, I found the December 4, 1914 "California State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Certificate of Marriage" for Carl V. Judd to Mary J. Mullin. There Carl's occupation was recorded as "conductor for the Los Angeles Railway".
All aboard!

On YouTube I discovered footage for the time frame Carl may have been a conductor. Watching the video you realize how difficult this job must have been. People, cars, and animals all casually walking directly in the path of oncoming trains!

Discovering these details brings our ancestor's to life.

Further reading on the electric street railway:

Images of the Rail : Los Angeles Railway Yellow Cars by Jim Walker, published 2007

Images of Rail : Pacific Electric Red Cars by Jim Walker, published 2006

Rails West: Street Railways Enable City Growth

The Street Railway History of Los Angeles : The Electric Railway Historical Association of Southern California

Thank you to Stephanie for reminding us to research this rich family history.


  1. Wow, Deb! That is an amazing post. I love the video that you found. It really adds to the time period and feel of your research, doesn't it? Just wonderful. Thanks for the shout out, too. I'm honored that I could add a little inspiration. :)

  2. Steph,

    So very welcome! Thank you for reminding us to look at our ancestors lives to fill in the flesh and blood people. This was fun and educational!