6 Generations of the Mertens Family


I share a great appreciation for our family’s history with my Great Uncle Jack. I’m fortunate that through his many years of researching, I have access to a great collection of written history and photographs of the Mertens family. He has pictures and information on my direct lineage that goes back 6 generations.

I took some of the photos he’s collected and put them together so I could see everyone at once. I quickly realized that no one in this family is escaping a receding hairline (my son, I apologize to you in advance). I spent a great deal of time looking at the 3 pictures to the right and reading about their lives.  My great-great-great-grandfather (first picture on the right) was a Belgian immigrant. It was interesting reading about his life in Belgium and his eventual journey to Alexandria Louisiana. Anyway, as I read more and stared longer at these pictures it made me realize that one day in the very distant future (hopefully) I’ll be an ancestor to someone just like the 3 gentlemen to the right are to me now. I’ll just be a collection of photographs and information that someone reads about. I suppose that’s reason enough to make sure it’s interesting to read.

I’m glad I put these photos together and I’m going to try to make this a tradition. When my son gets older he’ll add his photograph, then teach his son to do the same. With any amount of luck, in the year 2345 a young Steven Mertens (I’m assuming that name will come back around, this time spelled the “wrong” way)  can admire his lineage in a large grid of photos during his interplanetary commute to work.

Do you have any ancestry traditions like this? If so, leave me a comment, I’d love to hear about it.


More Springfield, Ohio History Sliders

A couple of weeks ago I shared some jQuery sliders I made to compare past and present photographs of various locations in Springfield. I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback about them and I’ve been asked almost daily when I plan to make more. Luckily for those who have been waiting with bated breath for the next batch, my son went on a camping trip this weekend which meant I got a break from the incessant mischief and could dedicate some time on these.

The Crowell-Collier Building

The Lagonda Clubhouse Building

Francis Bookwalter Residence (on Fountain Ave.)

The Clark County Courthouse

Parade on High Street

South Limestone Street after the Blizzard (1950)

The Bushnell Building


Springfield, Ohio History Sliders

I found a really cool method for comparing past and present photographs. Here are a few pictures I’ve been experimenting this method with (more to come soon! Update: And by soon, I mean right now! Be sure to check the new sliders out when you’re done):

Main Street

Snyder Park Rest House

Littleton & Son Funeral Parlor

Warder Residence / Jones Kennedy Zechman Funeral Home

King Building Fire (1956)


Past and Present: The Montgomery County Courthouse

Within the last couple of months, I started working for a new company located in downtown Dayton, Ohio. One of the great things about this new job aside from the awesome work I’m doing is that the location of my office is near several historic buildings.  I’ve spent a lot of time exploring and learning about my hometown of Springfield and it’s been a lot of fun exploring and learning about the rich history of Dayton. 

About 3 blocks from my office is a beautiful Greek Revival building that used to serve as the Montgomery  County Courthouse. It’s located in a wonderful area near a fountain and square where I sometimes go to eat my lunch. In learning about this building, I came across some old photographs that I used to expand my Past and Present collection to now include Dayton.

Montgomery County Courthouse Dayton Ohio

I found some amazing photographs of downtown Dayton during the Great Dayton Flood of 1913 that I’ll be getting current shots of soon, so stay tuned!


Ice Skating at Snyder Park Circa 1958

I’ve heard many of stories about Snyder Park from several decades ago and one of the things that’s always interested me the most is the ice skating. Unfortunately no one skates there anymore during the winter and I’m not sure if it’s because ice skating is  forbidden no or if it’s because of the poor water quality due to the preponderance of waterfowl (it’s pretty bad…). I’ve always wondered what it was like to see people skating on the frozen lake. The International Hort Club Facebook fan page posted this video yesterday. It was so cool to see that and I’m glad there was someone who thought to bring a camera to the park to capture that. I think it’s important for people to see this so that we as a community can be inspired to turn Snyder Park into this type of place again.

Be sure to Like The International Hort Club on Facebook to see great posts on local history (a huge thanks to them for sharing this video). Have any stories from the historic Snyder Park? Please feel free to share by commenting below.