The Psychogenealogist Pic of the Week (#119) - The Hanley Homestead at 739 E. Baker Street in Flint, Michigan

Every Friday The Psychogenealogist shares a "Pic of the Week." The intent is to encourage thought and imagination about the spaces where psychology, genealogy, and history converge.

Here is one from my personal vault. It is a photo taken probably around 1929 at 739 East Baker Street in Flint, Michigan.

739 East Baker St., Flint, MI

That is my great grandfather, Michael John Hanley (1890-1964), standing in front of likely his three oldest children. My grandfather, Michael John Hanley Jr. (1924-2015) is on the left, his older sister Helen Hanley Toups (1922-1989) on the right, and their sister Mary Ellen Hanley Topolinski (1927-2015) in the middle. Michael’s two youngest daughters are not pictured here and possibly weren’t even born yet.

Michael and his wife, my great grandmother Alma Ratz Hanley (1894-1979), moved to Flint from Atlantic Mine, MI around 1921. They moved into a neighboring house at first, but by 1924 they were living in this house at 739 East Baker St. They lived there until about 1959.

My grandfather and great aunts were raised in that home. My father and aunts and uncles have some memories of it. The home also served as a rental property for extra income. At varying points there were several separate apartments rented out (often to family) in the home in addition to the main living quarters.

Michael’s role as a landlord was no doubt influenced by his experience growing up in a boarding house himself. His mother, my 2nd great grandmother, Ellen Sullivan Kelly/Hanley (1850-1938) ran a boarding house and saloon for Irish immigrants in Atlantic Mine, MI in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In fact, Michael’s son, my grandfather Michael Jr. also owned rental properties throughout his life.

Until I started thinking about this photograph I really hadn’t fully considered the idea of how occupations (e.g., being a landlord in addition to your “day job”) might actually be passed from one generation to the next. In some ways I suppose it seems obvious — “You do what you know” really is a thing — but it is really neat to see it when the story all comes together as it did for me with this photograph.

Do you have stories like this in your family’s history? I would love to hear about them!

Featured Tag: Flint, Michigan