Welcome!

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


Monday, December 2, 2013

From the Spooner - Hardy Family Album, Mrs. Huxley, Jersey, Circa 1865



This is one of the unidentified images contained in the Hardy-Spooner family album I recently found at a local antique shop (see previous post).  I didn't have much hope that I would be able to identify the woman in this 1860s-era carte de visite, but I try my best with each and every photograph I find, whether or not it's identified.  In this case, my options were somewhat limited, but I decided to research the photographer.  The back of the cabinet card has the following photographer's imprint:

Photographer's Imprint, ca. 1865

I found a wonderful Jersey family history site dedicated to providing information about the Hemery family and about Jersey Photographers.  There I found examples of the imprints that Henry Mullins used throughout the years.  According to the website, our imprint dates to somewhere between 1862 and 1865.

Now, it is a rare and very lucky occasion when a database or archive of a photographer's work can be found.  I soon learned that our photographer, Mr. Henry Mullins, was the first established photographer on the island of Jersey.  Furthermore, many of his contact sheets have been archived by The Société Jersiaise, and are available to browse online.

There were 9860 hits for "Henry Mullins" on the Société Jersiaise website, but I started browsing through the contact sheets one by one.  And eventually I found it:  the very same image, labelled "Mrs Huxley."  So, we now have a surname.

What's next?  Well, I don't have forename and I'm not entirely clear if the image was taken in Jersey, or if there is a possibility it was taken at the Regent Street, London studio.  I would guess that it was taken in Jersey, but I think it best to confirm that with the archive before proceeding with a search.

I found two other images from Jersey in the album, but unfortunately, neither were from Mullins Studio.  Both images were inscribed and identified, if I were able to read the handwriting.  I plan to post these very soon to see if readers can help me with deciphering the handwriting.

While this search has only provided a surname now, that surname may be a helpful clue towards working out the relationships in the album in the future. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mr. Charles Estlin is Invited to the Beattie / Campbell Wedding, Melita, Manitoba, 1897




Beattie/Campbell Wedding Invitation found in an antique shop, Victoria, BC.


"Mr. & Mrs. A. Trerice
invite you to be present at the marriage of
their daughter
Mary Grace Beattie
to
Mr. Joseph Campbell,
on Wednesday evening, January the
twenty-seventh,
eighteen hundred and ninety-seven,
at half after eight o'clock,
Melita, Manitoba

I love working on old wedding invitations.  They're a nice break from the trying to solve a photographic mystery since they usually contain something I cherish:  Cold. Hard. Facts.
The bride and groom are usually fully named in a wedding invitation.  Parents are commonly named as well.  There is also a wedding date and place since guests need to know where the ceremony will take place.  We know this invitation was given to Mr. Charles Estlin because his name is written on the accompanying envelope.  This invitation is a bit unusual since there isn't a specific location provided for the wedding.  It simply gives the town: Melita, Manitoba, which is located in the south-western part of the province.  Perhaps one was to assume the wedding would take place at the bride's parent's home.  Maybe the only building in Melita at the time was a church. 

Today Melita is a small farming community of just over 1000 people.  Alexander Trerice was an early settler to the Melita-Arthur area, and built the first framed house there in 1882.1   He was (Mary) Grace's step-father; Alex married Graces' mother, Hannah Beattie, on the 12th of February 1889 in Dresden, Ontario2

Before her marriage in 1897, Grace was a music teacher in Dresden.  The couple's first child, (Dorothy) Louise, was born in Winnipeg in 19003.

While I haven't found Graces' birth record, I believe her father to be William C. Beattie who died in Dresden, Ontario in 1887.4,5  If you can any further family details, I'd very much like to hear from you.

UPDATE April 23/14 :  Most genealogists have experienced serendipitous events in relation to their research and I can say I certainly have had my share.  Last month I attended my local family history society meeting, where there was a speaker from Victoria talking about her recent book.  The speaker went through her research following a family that came from England to Manitoba.  As she launched into her presentation one of her surnames stuck in my brain....Estlin.  Hmmm...where have I heard that name before?  
When it came to the portion of the talk about the family's life in Canada, she mentioned the town:  Melitta, Manitoba.  That really got me wondering and so, after a discreet search on my smartphone, I realized that I had blogged about the above-mentioned wedding invitation which had belonged to this woman's relative.  All I could say was "Wow."  Really.  Wow.  The invitation will be heading on its way back home soon.



1 Melitta-Arthur History Committee. Our First Century: Town of Melita and Municipality of Arthur, 1983; p. 2
2 "Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1801-1928," online database, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca: accessed 27 Oct 2013), Alexander Trerice and Hannah Beattie, Registration No.005852, Dresden, Kent, Ontario, 12 Feb 1889, citing original data at Archives of Ontario; citing microfilm MS932, reel 64.
3 Manitoba. Vital Statistics Agency. Manitoba Consumer and Corporate Affairs.( http://vitalstats.gov.mb.ca : accessed 26 Oct 2013), entry for Dorothy Louise Campbell, 15 Oct 1889, Winnipeg, registration #1899-007783.
4 “1881 Census of Canada,” digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca: accessed 25 Oct 2013), entry for William Beattie, Ontario, Bothwell, Dresden, District 178, p. 37 (penned); citing LAC microfilm C-13277.
5 William C. Beattie, Death Registration 008010 (8 Nov 1887); “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947,” digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 Oct 2013), citing microfilm MS935, reel 47, Archives of Ontario, Toronto.