I reunite identified family photos that I find in antique shops and second hand stores with genealogists and family historians. If you see one of your ancestors here and would like to obtain the original, feel free to contact me. Donations of pre-1920 photographs are also most welcome. I hope you enjoy your visit!
~The Archivist

Friday, July 3, 2015

Knitting Was Her Passion: Marion Baird, An Image From 1896

I found the above photograph at a local antique shop. I am always intrigued by early interior portraits like this one of Marion Baird. It's as if we've been invited to afternoon tea in Marion's parlor. Naturally, she will keep knitting through our conversation because she's the industrious type and feels that even if she's socializing, she should be doing something productive with her hands.
Someone (perhaps the subject herself) was kind enough to provide a few details about Marion on the reverse of the image:

The photograph was taken by R. Emerson, Halstead.  Marion was born October 24, 1803, making her 92 when she was photographed. Does she look 92 to you? I would have guessed she was younger than that.

Upon searching Ancestry and Familysearch for Marion, I encountered a couple of problems, or more accurately, facts that needed to be uncovered before a search could really begin.

1) Where did our photographer operate his studio? I couldn't find a photographer R. Emerson, of Halstead mentioned anywhere, which is fairly unusual. It's our only clue to a location. Is it Halstead, Essex? Halstead in Leicestershire?  Kent? Kansas, USA?

2) Is Baird a maiden or married name? 

I am inclined to think we're looking overseas in England, seeing as I live in an area with deep British roots. And, I couldn't say why exactly, but I think she was from the UK. I was looking closely at a Marion Baird, born about the right time in Colchester, Essex, who appears not to have married, and was living with her unmarried Reverend brother, Samuel Bawtree Baird in Pattiswick, Essex at the time of the 1891 census.  But without a bit more info, it's still only a hunch.

So, who can find me R. Emerson, the photographer, of Halstead?

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Milligans: Elrod, Clark County, South Dakota, Circa 1910


This multi-generational portrait of the Milligans was a tremendous find.  Everyone in the portrait is identified on the reverse of the image, and the photographer's imprint provides the location where the photograph was taken:  Clark, S.D. 

A former owner identified the individuals as:  "Oscar Milligan, Ralph & Leota (Milligan) Mackey, Emma Taylor Milligan (center), Goldie Riddle Milligan and Irma Milligan."  Unfortunately, the only indication of who is who is a notation for Emma Taylor Milligan that tells us she is the older woman in the centre, but we can figure out the others with a look at the various US and Iowa State Censuses.  There is also a very faint pencil inscription on the back of the photo that reads "Lulubelle."  This may be the name of the person who received the photo.

I first had a look at the 1910 US Federal Census, and found the following family living in Elrod, Clark County, South Dakota1:

Oscar F. Milligan, 25, head, farmer
Goldie P. Milligan, 22, wife
Irma A. Milligan, 4/12, dau
Theadore Riddle, 45, uncle, farm labourer

The 1925 Iowa State Census us provides quite a few additional details.2  The family is now living in Morgan, Woodbury County, Iowa.  It tells us that Oscar's parents were Charley Milligan (b. Illinois) and Emma Taylor (b. 1865, Indiana).  It also provides Goldie's parent's names:  Hiram Riddle and Mary Boyer.

I believe that the woman holding the baby in our photograph is Goldie, and that the infant is Irma.  We could assume that the man standing behind Goldie is Oscar, but that is only an assumption.  So the remaining individuals would be Ralph and Leota Mackey. [Update:  Please see comments below for correct identification.  The couple in the back row have been identified by a grandchild as Ralph & Leota Milligan MacKay --Thanks Lillian!]

Ralph and Leota (Lena L.) were married on Valentine's Day, 19103.  According to the 1930 US Federal Census, Ralph and Leota lived in Moreau, Perkins County, South Dakota4. At that time they had 9 children, the youngest sons, William and Walter, were twins.  In the 1940 census, there is one additional child listed named Teresa, born 19315.

My first guess was that Leota was Oscar's sister, and this is confirmed with the 1900 US Census6.  Leota (b. Jul 1889) and Oscar (b. Mar 1884) are living with their mother Emma, here referred to as Emily, and their step-father, William Streeper in Maple, Iowa.  William Streeper's daughter, Belle Streeper, b. May 1889,  is also in the household.  I wonder if she is "Lulubelle?"

UPDATE September 16/14  A relative of the Milligans has claimed this photograph and it has been returned to the family. 

1 1910 U.S. census, Elrod, Clark County, South Dakota, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 108, sheet 9-B, dwelling 34, family 40, Oscar F. Milligan household; digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 13 Aug 2014); citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 1478
2 1925 Iowa State census, Woodbury County, Iowa, Morgan, Lines 89-93, Oscar Milligan household; digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 11 Aug 2014), citing Microfilm of Iowa State Censuses, 1925, roll 1995, obtained from the State Historical Society of Iowa via Heritage Quest.
3 “South Dakota Marriages, 1905-1949,” database, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 9 Aug 2014), entry for Ralph Mackey and Lena L. Milligan, 14 Feb 1910, certificate #20236, citing South Dakota Department of Health. South Dakota Marriage Index, 1905-1914 and South Dakota Marriage Certificates, 1905-1949. Pierre, SD, USA: South Dakota Department of Health.
4 "United States Census, 1930," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XQVF-6L2 : accessed 14 Aug 2014), Leota Mackey in household of Ralph Mackey, Moreau, Perkins, South Dakota, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 0039, sheet 1A, family 7, NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 2229.
5 "United States Census, 1940," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KM1H-5HB : accessed 14 Aug 2014), Oscar F Milligan, Morgan Township, Woodbury, Iowa, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 97-21, sheet 2A, family 26, NARA digital publication of T627, roll 1214.
6 "United States Census, 1900," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M9KB-TP2 : accessed 14 Aug 2014), Leota L Milligan in household of William Streeper, Maple Township Battle Creek town, Ida, Iowa, United States; citing sheet 5A, family 78, NARA microfilm publication T623, FHL microfilm 1240437.