High school and college yearbooks provide a snapshot of our ancestors’ youth and the times in which they grew up. As a genealogist and a board member at the Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, I particularly like to collect yearbooks from the Detroit area to add to our society’s online collection.

I was reading through the 1927 Visitation High School yearbook when I decided to see if I could track some of the senior class. I started with the first person listed, Joseph Michael Althoff, only to discover that he married the next person listed, Mary Elizabeth Blackman. Intrigued, I began to piece together a picture of their lives.

Joseph Michael Althoff was born July 15, 1907 in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Clement and Mary Althoff; and Mary Elizabeth Blackman was born November 1, 1908 in Illinois, the daughter of John and Jennie Blackman. They both graduated in 1927 from Visitation High School, Detroit, Michigan.

Althoff & Blackman

Althoff & Blackman Marriage Certificate (1)

The 1930 United States Census records indicate that Joseph became a police officer with the Detroit Police Department and Mary worked as a stenographer with the Detroit Board of Education.

They married on December 26, 1932 and eventually had two children.

Joseph went on to become a Detective and Mary was active in church and civic duties, and served as the archdiocesan chairman of daycare and led parenting seminars.

Detective Althoff died one month before his 38th birthday in an automobile accident. Oddly enough, Joseph’s brother, George, also died in 1936 at the age of 38.

I can’t help but believe that their High School yearbook quotes were truly a picture of who they continued to be throughout their lives.

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