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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


Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Christmas Research Semi-Miracle: The Edwards Family, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1913

 
This photo postcard was printed by the Lyall Commercial Photo Co., Ltd., in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  The Lyall Studio photographed many important Western Canadian sites and events.  Most of their work, however, centres on Winnipeg.  Their real postcard photographs are held in a number of archives across the prairie provinces.

Unfortunately, the location of this photo isn't given.  I thought it was likely that the image was taken in Winnipeg. There is an name and address on the reverse, even though the card was not sent through the mail.

 It reads:

Mrs. Edwards
35 Queen Street
Stratford
New Town
Essex.
Eng.

I tried finding an Edwards family, specifically with this address in the England Census, but I could only find several possibilities on Familysearch.org.  I couldn't take a look at the actual census pages because they were unavailable so I decided to take a different approach.

The family seems to consist of a mother, father, a young girl about three years old, and an infant.  I had to pull out my reading glasses to see it, but there is a house number on the column to next to the baby:  421.

I guessed the photo would have been taken around 1910-1915 based on the style of the mother's outfit and her hairdo. 

Since I only had a surname name to go by, I searched the 1916 Canada Census for any Edwards living in Winnipeg in 1916.  I thought it was doubtful that I'd find anything, since I didn't know if Mrs. Edwards was an acquaintance, friend or family member.  I had a hunch that it might be the husband's mother.  At least, I hoped it was because that would mean I was searching for an Edwards family.   I went through every Edwards entry in Winnipeg, looking for someone who had a house number of 421.  I found one.

George Thomas Edwards, b. 1883, England, to Canada in 1903.
Sarah Edwards, b. 1885, England, to Canada in 1908
Grace, daughter, age 6
Clarence, son, age 4
Alfred, son, age 3.

And the address:  421 Worley (or so the Ancestry transcriber wrote.)  I tried 421 Worley in Google maps.  Nothing.  I went back and re-read the original census page.  The street name was actually Morley.

I searched 421 Morley, Winnipeg in Google maps, and selected the street view.

The address still exists.  The house still exists!  It is most definitely the same home.  The exterior looks pretty much as it did back in the mid-1910s, with different paint colours and replaced windows.  There's also been an addition to one side of the house, eliminating half of the front porch, but it still has the distinctive attic window.   I would post today's version here for comparison, but I don't know how I'd feel if someone posted my home on their blog (although I guess if it wasn't for Google maps, I couldn't have made the connection).

I have no hesitation identifying these folks as the Edwards family.  Since Baby Alfred doesn't appear in the photo, and son Clarence is just an infant I think we can safely date the photograph around 1913.

UPDATE!  February 3, 2012 -- I am happy to report that the Edwards postcard photograph has been reunited with the grandson & family of one of children in the photograph.  It's on its way back to Winnipeg.

7 comments:

  1. 1911 census
    419 Morley, Winnepeg
    George born Feb 1882, Annie b March 1884, both in England, Immigration George 1903, Annie 1909, Grace born Dec 1910 Manitoba

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  2. Thanks, kbbc, that's definitely them. Either they lived at a different location on the same street in 1911 or the address numbers were adjusted by 1913 or so.

    I also found the family travelling back to Canada on the ship "Grampion" in 1920 after heading to England in November of 1919.

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    Replies
    1. I can answer this one for you... my name is Doreen Edwards and George was a carpenter and my grandfather-inlaw....
      I believe he built both homes and lived in 419 Morley until 421 was built and then they moved into there. They lived in these homes until they went back to England for a short time after the war only to return to Canada and lived at 621 Alverstone St. George worked for many years for and retired as a parks board construction supervisor.

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    2. Hi Doreen, I love it when all those loose ends get tied up so neatly. Thanks for the explanation on the extra house number. It was such fun working on this one!

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  3. Wow!!! That is fantastic detective work and you should be quite pleased with yourself!

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  4. oh my God ! That is my husbands family! Yes it is George Thomas , Sarah ,his wife, and Grace and my father in law, clarence. alf and Clarence are gone now but Grace is still alive at 101 years old! email me at qtpye@highspeedcrow.ca if you like to tell me how you came upon this photo. amazing that I come across this now... I have been researching off and on for some 20 years but never went past the first two pages of hits on any names finding them mostly irelelivent. holy smoke!

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  5. hi I have recently gone and ask permission to take photos of the same house at 421 Morley Street. A elderly woman and her grandchild were there. They were interested in my story and said it was all right to publish the photo on your site. How do you want me to upload the picture. Doreen Edwards

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