Category Archives: Tacoma

Robert Brown Boardman – A little bit of mischief!

Robert Brown Boardman is his formal name but I knew him as Uncle Boardie.  He was unpredictable and you never knew what he would do next.  He was the only son of Robert and Ethel Boardman.

Uncle Boardie was born 26 October 1916 in Vancouver, British Columbia and he immigrated with the family in 1917-1918 at the age of about 2 years old so I doubt he had any memory of the trip to the U.S.  He probably grew up knowing only West Seattle as his home.  When the family was in Tacoma for the 2 years around the 1920’s he was pretty young at that time about 3-4 years old.

While his sisters, Aileen and Marjorie were done with high school, he was about to enter in 1932. The 1930 U.S. Census has Uncle Boardie as 13 years old.

Here he is playing with his sister Marjory.  (Sorry for the fuzzy photos but I still think they are fun.)

Marje and Boardie in a nice car

Marge and Boardie in a nice car

More silliness.

More Silliness

More Silliness

Not sure who was the one to encourage the action in this photo?

Marje and Boardie cutting up

Marge and Boardie cutting up

Here he is with his cousins in 1924 when they went to Pasadena to visit Boardie’s dad’s brother William (Willie).  The boys in this photo are probably Uncle Willie’s kids.  Yes, Uncle Boardie is the one in the middle making a comment with his hand.

Boardie with cousins, maybe?

Boardie with cousins, maybe?

Uncle Boardie looked very different as a child.  I would never recognize him unless I knew from other photos who he was.  Here he is with his sister Aileen enjoying a boat ride and he looks so different to me.

Aileen and Uncle Boardie enjoying a boat ride

Aileen and Uncle Boardie enjoying a boat ride


School Days for Marjorie!

While Aileen was attending West Seattle High School, Marjorie was attending Gatewood Elementary School.  Aileen graduated from high school in June 1925 but Marjorie was still in grammar school for at least another six months.

The interesting thing about Marjorie’s Gatewood Elementary School experience is that she entered that school when they first immigrated from Vancouver, British Columbia to Seattle about 1917.  Here is what Marjorie wrote about her experience:

“I attended Gatewood from about September 1917 to  June 1918 and then we were gone for 2 years to Tacoma.  I returned to Gatewood Elementary School and attended from September 1920 to January 29th 1926.”

For more information about the immigration from Canada to the United States see the blog post dated August 28, 2012 “On the move again:  Migrating to the USA!”  In this post I describe the 1920 U.S. Federal Census information and share some city directory research.

Where they attended grammar school in Tacoma it is not known at this time. The census has the names of the streets Madison and Gunnison written on it.  The information from the 1920 U.S. Federal Census would have to be studied more thoroughly to pin down their location.

Unfortunately the records for Gatewood are unavailable from the Seattle School Archives. So we cannot learn more about Marjorie’s experience in grammar school.

Her grammar school certificate did survive and she graduated January 29, 1926.  A Margarite Claussen was her teacher.

Marjorie's grammar school certificate

Marjorie’s grammar school certificate

This photograph that follows is amazing.  It has written on the back Typing Class II Teacher Miss Sundling.  At the bottom is written the name Walt [Dackworth].  No other names are written on the back, so I cannot tell you the names of the other children.

Marjorie Fay Boardman is the 4th one in the front row from the left.  She has a print dress on and a barrette in her hair.  Take a close look at this photograph for it has some very funny stuff going on in it.  If I was to place this photograph, it could be late in Marjorie’s grammar school years but I am leaning more toward her early high school years at West Seattle High School, 1926 to 1927.

Typing Class II teacher Miss Sundling.

Typing Class II teacher Miss Sundling.

Aileen Boardman’s Grammar School Days

Aileen attended Gatewood Elementary school in West Seattle, Washington.  It is located between California Ave SW and Fauntleroy Way SW on SW Frontenac and Myrtle St.

Seattle Neighborhoods from

Seattle Neighborhoods from

West Seattle is the area that is the light blue on the left piece jutting out into Puget Sound on the southern shore of Elliott Bay.  It is the birthplace of Seattle.  Arthur Denny decided to moved to the Downtown area at a later date.  I show you this map of the neighborhoods of Seattle because it is good to get and idea of a place.  You see I am a northern Seattle girl, so to me West Seattle is way over there!  West Seattle played a big part in my family history for my mother and my father’s family.  I remember Christmas Eve at Aunt Eddies (Dad’s sister) and Christmas Day at Aunt Aileen’s in West Seattle.

Aileen probably didn’t go to Gatewood for very long probably going there from 1917 to 1918 and then again when the returned from Tacoma in 1920 to 1921 with the family?   I do not know much about my family’s Tacoma days.

In this photograph below Aileen is the sitting on the bench, second one from the left.  She is very intent on her task an instead of the white bow, she has a black one?  It looks to me like they are knitting?  There are no names on the backside so I do not know the other girls or where this was taken.

Is this a knitting class?

Is this a knitting class?

In the photo below, we see Aileen surrounded by other children.  This was when she was at Gatewood Elementary.  Aileen is the one that is third from the left in the front row with the big smile.  If you can read the very badly scribbled names, good for you.  Flipping the photograph over I do not find any other names. It looks like it says 8th Grade at the top?

Gatewood School circa 1919?

Gatewood School circa 1919?

Here is a close up, it is too wonderful not to see it more clearly. Aileen is in the middle. She is smiling and has come a long way from the serious frown she had in her pictures as a child.  This makes me laugh, she is so happy.

A close up of Aileen.  She seems happy.

A close up of Aileen. She seems happy.

Aileen’s Grammar School certificate dated June 17, 1921, that means this certificate has been around about 91 years.

Grammar School Certificate

Grammar School Certificate

The date on the following photo reads Seattle, West 1921.  It must be spring or summer so it is probably something to do with graduation from grammar school?

Aileen in 1921

Aileen in 1921

Aileen was confirmed in 1921 per the certificate below.

A Confirmation 1921

A Confirmation 1921

On the move again: Migrating to the USA!

Several years ago, my hubby and I traveled to Vancouver, B.C.  He had a conference to attend and I tagged along.  It was in a very fancy hotel with many floors in the downtown area of Vancouver, B.C.   I used that time to do research on my Boardman family.  I walked several blocks east to the Vancouver Public Library:  They had city directories, newspapers and atlas’ for various Canadian counties.

Here is a little more on their genealogical collection:

As we ate our dinner on top of Grouse Mountain, I looked over Vancouver,  B.C. and pondered what it was like for my mother leaving her home at the age of 7 years old to travel with her family to Seattle, Washington.  The year was 1917.  She never talked about it and I regret asking. In any event, they arrived by 1917 and settled in what was called West Seattle on Wright Street.

Then they disappeared.  I learned why when I read a letter written by my mother, Marjorie.  In this letter she explains that they went to Tacoma, Washington for two years and then came back to West Seattle and settled in permanently.

The Boardman Family and others?

The photo above:  Backrow:  Ethel and Robert (grandparents), Hazel Aileen, Robert (Uncle Boardie). Front Row:  Unknown lady, unknown children, my mother Marjorie with the big bow.   (I suspect that the lady and the children might be Alice Boardman and her two sons Robert and William.  Alice was the wife of William (Willie) Boardman, younger brother to my grandfather Robert.  The age of the children is about right.  They left Canada and migrated to California.  The location and date of the photograph are unknown.

Source:  1920 U.S. Federal Census, Tacoma, Pierce Co., Washington SD#3, ED#346, Precinct 111, January 13-14, 1920, Image 589, T625-1937 Sheet 8A.

Boardman Household: Lines 8-13, House #3313, 169, 169. Boardman, Robert, Head, Renting, male, white, 36 years old, married, immigrated in 1917. Alien, able to read and write. Born in Canada, father born in England, mother born in Canada. Working as a riviter at the shipyard and has work. Ethel, wife, female, 36 years old, married, immigrated in 1917, alien, can read and write. Born in Canada, both parents born in Canada. No profession. Hazel A., daughter, female, white, 12 years old, single, 1917, alien, in school, born in Canada. Marjorie F., daughter, female, white, 8 years old, single, 1917, alien, in school, born in Canada. Robert B., son, male, white, 3 3/12 years old, single, 1917, alien. Charlotte A., mother, female, 62 years old, white, immigrated 1917, alien, can read and write. Born in Canada, father born in Scotland, mother born in England. No profession.

Take another look at the above census and you will find my great-grandmother Charlotte Boardman.  She migrated with her son Robert and was living with the family in Tacoma, Washington.

The move was completed for the Robert and Ethel Boardman family.  They were now residents of Seattle (see below city directory entries).  They made the  neighborhood known as West Seattle their home.

West Seattle is where Alki Beach is located and it credited with the birth of Seattle.  It is southwest of the downtown area of Seattle and across the West Seattle Bridge on the south edge of Elliott Bay. It is where the Denny party  first landed back in November of 1851.  Later they would move across the bay and establish the city of Seattle.

Below are some Seattle and Tacoma City Directory entries that show the family.  Remember that city directories are delayed by about a year before the listing appears.

Switching to the Seattle Polk City Directory I find the following:

1917 – No Robert Boardman – See the 1917 for Vancouver, BC.

1918 – Boardman, Robt (Ethel) Shipftr h 7205 Wright Ave.

1919 – No mention of Robert or Ethel Boardman??

Here is the move to Tacoma:

1918 Tacoma Seattle Directory – Robt Shipftr r. 7205 S. Wright Ave.

1919 Tacoma Directory – Robt (Ethel) shipwkr h 3310 S. Madison, pg. 140

1920 Tacoma Directory – Robert (Ethel) Shipwkr h. 3310 S. Madison, Other Boardman’s listed but unknown to me.

1920 – No mention of Robert or Ethel Boardman in Seattle Directory.

Back to the Seattle Directory

1921 – Boardman, Robt (Ethel) ironwk h 7205 Wright

1922 – Boardman, Robt (Ethel) mechanic h 7205 Wright

1923 – Boardman, Robt (Ethel) West Metal Works h 7205 Wright Ave. In this 1923 City Directory there is an advertisement for the West Metal Works. Plumbing & Heating…Sheet Metal Work with the name R. Boardman, Mgr. listed. It was on page 221 of this directory.

West Metal Works Ad

1924 – Boardman, Robt (Ethel) mgr West Metal Works h 7205 Wright Ave.

So the move to the U.S.A. was not an easy one.  They came to Seattle and then moved to Tacoma and then back all within an approximate 4 year period.   My mother was moved from one elementary school to another and back.   The end result was that Seattle was now the permanent home for the Robert Boardman family except for one member, Charlotte whose journey was not yet over.