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


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Who is John Bull of Hillcrest Mill, Duncan, BC?



I acquired this image in a Victoria, BC antique shop about five years ago. The photographer's imprint on the front reads, "A. Savard, Vancouver, B.C," probably Alphonse Savard, a Vancouver photographer who operated out of his studio at 225 Carrall Street from 1896-1899, and after that at 4 Cordova Street East, until about 19161.

On the reverse, there is a notation written in pencil: 
"Mr. John Bull
Hillcrest Mill
Duncan, BC"

There is also the photographer's negative number stamped on the back: 934543.

Duncan, BC is located on Vancouver Island, a couple of hours away via ferry from Vancouver. The research I've done into John Bull hasn't provided any worthwhile leads. There are a number of John Bulls in various censuses and vital statistic records, but without more specific information, I can't really narrow it down to which one it might be.

Perhaps the best course of action would be to look into the Hillcrest Mill history. I believe the mill was located at a place called Sahtlam.

To read a brief history of the Hillcrest Lumber Mill at Sahtlam, click here.

And that's all. So. The big question is, does "Mr. John Bull" represent the identity of one of the subjects of the photograph or does it refer to the recipient of the photo?

Can anyone help identify these two men?


1 Camera Workers 1858-1950 Website by David Mattison, http://cameraworkers.davidmattison.com/getperson.php?personID=I49&tree=cw18581950

Friday, February 5, 2016

Wilbur Fisk Gile, 1832 - 1888, Lawrence, Massachusetts


It's been a while, but you may remember the posts I wrote regarding the Mary E. Harrison photo album I found a few years ago. Mary was born in Maccan, Nova Scotia and moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts. In 1886, she was given the album as a Christmas present from Mr. W. F. Gile, of Lawrence, and accordingly, Mary saved the first page of her new album for Mr. Gile. The image appears above.

I did a little digging into the life of Mr. Wilbur Fisk Gile, and was pleased to see that a record of his life appears in a number of places.  According to his Mason Membership card, he was born on the 4th of January 1832 in Groveland, Massachusetts. The card also provided a death date of 5 February 1888, which matches the inscription in Mary's photograph album1. His occupation is listed as Attorney and Teacher. With that information, I easily found his birth information on Familysearch.org, which provided the names of his parents:  Thomas W. and Judith Gile2.

A plain old Google search turned up a book entry for  Wilbur's second wife Sarah France Norris. They were married in 18673. The book entry confirmed much of the information I have already found. It also provided two little words, which made me sigh just a little: "No Children."4 It would seem Mr. Gile did not leave any descendants, or at least Sarah, did not.  I searched out his first marriage, and found that he married S. Kate Poor on September 17, 18575. There does not appear to be any children from that marriage in the 1860 census6. Nor did I find children in any of the subsequent censuses in which Mr. Gile appears.

The gift Mr. Gile so generously gave Mary still exists, and hopefully, someday it can be reunited with one of her family members.



1 Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Mason Membership Cards, 1733-1990; entry for Wilbur Fiske Gile [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.
2 Massachusetts Births and Christenings, 1639-1915," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FCKS-HLM : accessed 5 February 2016), Wilbur Fiske Gile, 04 Jan 1832; citing BRADFORD,ESSEX,MASSACHUSETTS, ; FHL microfilm 0599732 IT 1.
3 Massachusetts Marriages, 1841-1915," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N4NF-9YH : accessed 5 February 2016), W. Fisk Gile and S. Frank Norris, 20 Jun 1867; citing 205, Lawrence, Essex, Massachusetts, State Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 1,433,025.
4 Morrison, Leonard Allison. "Lineage and Biographies of the Norris Families in America," Damrell and Upham: Boston, 1892, p.93
5 "Massachusetts Marriages, 1841-1915," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NW19-81W : accessed 5 February 2016), W Fisk Gile and S Kate Poor, 17 Sep 1857; citing 227, Lawrence, Massachusetts, State Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 1,433,015
6 Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line].Year: 1860; Census Place: Lawrence Ward 6, Essex, Massachusetts; Roll: M653_498; Page: 441; Image: 446; Family History Library Film: 803498