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, November 29, 2011

Those Medford, Oregon Cousins

"Oh, this one will be easy," I said to myself when I found it at an antique shop in Coombs, BC a year ago.  All three siblings were identified.  Their hometown was provided.  The photographer's imprint also indicated that the photo was taken in the sibling's hometown.  Easy-peasy, I thought.

I have yet to find a relative of these Medford siblings.


Marked on the back of the photo, "John, Jennie and Julie Dodge of Medford.  Cousins."  The photographer was Frank H. Hull, View artist, Medford, Oregon.  This photo was probably taken around 1905.

I found John (b.1878), Jennie (b.1885) and Julie (b.1886) in the 1900 Census for Medford, Jackson County, Oregon.  They lived at home with their parents, Warren ( b. 1844) and Delia (b. 1853) Dodge.  A sister, Ella (b. 1884), also lived at home at that time.

In the 1910 census, John and Jennie are still living in the home of their parents.  Julia is not there.

I thought I would go back and see if there were any other children belonging to Warren and Delia Dodge.  There are two older Dodge children listed in the 1880 US census for Monticello, Jones County, Iowa:  Lillian, b. 1873, and Arthur, born 1875.

Julie appears in the 1920 census with her parents, Warren & Delia, but she is now married.  She and her new husband, Eugene Dow, 40, live under her parent's roof.

Jennie Dodge married Ransom Dopp in 1914.  I found an obituary for Ransom in the North Pacific Union Gleaner, April 27, 1953, V. 48, No.17.  Here is an excerpt.  I've left out the list of surviving family members for privacy reasons because some may be living today.


The 1930 US Federal Census for Medford, Jackson, Oregon shows John Dodge is now married to Mary Dodge, and has two children, ages 6 & 8.  His occupation is listed as a deep well driller.

John Dodge's WWII draft registration card shows he is still living in Medford, Oregon at age 63 in 1942.  We learn that his middle name is Mark.

If you have any of these Dodge's in your tree, feel free to contact me.



Monday, November 28, 2011

Taking a Look at Two Tintypes

I absolutely love finding tintypes on my photo-hunting trips.  Substantial and sturdy, tintypes aren't easily damaged and can offer moments in time that might have been lost if the image was recorded on paper. 

The first tintype was patented in 1856 by Hamilton Smith, and was very popular during the civil war.  It didn't catch on in Europe the way it did in America, so most of the tintypes you will find are of US-origin.   Tintypes were produced until the 1940s, though not nearly as popular as they were in the 1860s and 70s.

I've found, however, that tintypes are far less likely to be identifed than cabinet cards or cartes de visites.  It is  difficult to write on a piece of sheet iron.  Tintype backs are black and so a pencil or ink inscription wouldn't show.  Oftentimes, the tintype was presented in a paper folder, and identifying information could be written on it.  But these folders ripped fairly easily and were often separated from the tintype.  The other disadvantage to tintypes is that the photographer (and therefore, a location) is usually absent.

In both of the following tintypes, the paper folders have been preserved.  Only one is identified.



This tintype of George McCall was taken April 14th, 1873, according to the inscription on the back of the pink paper folder.  No location is provided.  Notice the subtle pink tinting of his cheeks?

I believe the second image is somewhat older.  It isn't identified in any way.  Someone has printed "tinted 1860 ferro-tintype" on the back.  (Probably the antiquarian bookshop owner where I purchased the photograph.)  I don't know if I agree that it was taken in the 1860s.  The dress doesn't seem to be full enough, when I think of the hoop skirts of the US Civil War.   The woman's hairstyle could be late 1860s.  If I had to guess, I would say the photo was probably taken sometime around 1868-1873.  I'm not an expert on hairstyles and fashions of the Victorian era, so if you can provide any insights into the time frame this photo was taken, I'd enjoy hearing from you.





The Adorable Edna Dalling, Manitoba, Born 1896


The four-year-old girl with the amber-tinted ringlets looked abandoned and neglected. I noticed her immediately as I walked into my community thrift shop.  Her cheeks were softly touched with pink and her eyes were fixed a deep sky blue.  When I pulled her down from the wall I soon realized I probably wouldn't be able to find a new home for her because the information on the back of the picture frame was so incomplete. There were names and dates, written in a shaky hand but, unfortunately, there wasn't a location anywhere.  And, she was a wee bit expensive. I didn't want to put her back on the wall.  My husband then commented that the price of the portrait was less than visit to the coffee shop with friends.  That's all I needed to hear.  Could you have passed her by?


The inscription from the back of this portrait from 1900:  "Edna DALLING, 4 years old.  1896-1998.  Born 1896 March 7th." There was a notation about two other living relatives.  This portrait was found in Parksville, British Columbia. If you knew Edna, or have her in your tree, feel free to contact me.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Finding Henry Baron Dickinson of Tunbridge Wells

It's a definite help when you can find a photograph that tells you, without words, the occupation of the person in the photograph.  Today's photograph was signed "Henry Baron Dickinson, Xmas 1881" and taken at the C. F. Wing Gallery in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England.  It is clear he is a member of the clergy because he is wearing a clerical collar.



I first went to the 1881 England Census and found Henry Baron Dickinson, age 28, born in Brixton, Surrey and married to wife Esther on 14 Beulah Road in Tunbridge Wells.  His occupation is listed as Curate at St. James, Tunbridge Wells.




Working back to 1871, I found Henry B. Dickinson, (born 1853 in Brixton, Surrey)  living with his widowed mother, Catherine M. Dickinson in Hove, Sussex with sisters Emmeline (b.1854) and Catherine (b.1856).  The 1861 England Census for Lee Parish, Kent, provides us with the name of Henry's father:  Henry Dickinson, born 1807 in Deptford, Kent, England .  In 1861, in addition to his two sisters, there is also a brother named Frederick, aged 4.  Frederick does not appear in the 1871 census.  There is a good chance Frederick died young, and a search of the parish records would confirm this.

According to England & Wales Marriages, 1538-1940 on Ancestry, Henry Baron was just married a year and a half when this photograph was taken.  He wed Esther Wakeling, daughter of George Wakeling on the 15th of April 1880 in Brighton, Sussex.

In the 1891 England census, the couple lived in the parish of St. Peter's, Streatham, London, where Rev. Dickinson was the Curate of the parish 1890-1904.  St. Peter's Church provides us with a picture of Henry Baron Dickinson on their church history website which confirms the identity of the man in our photograph. They are clearly the same person.  After St. Peter's, he became Vicar of St. Stephen's, Lewisham from 1904 to 1922.

In 1913, Henry Baron came to the US for a visit.  He arrived in New York on May 4th, 1913 on the ship Caronia.  He lists his nearest relative as "Sherwell Blackheath."

It appears that the Reverend and his wife did not have any children.  Henry Baron Dickinson attended Trinity Hall and so I was able to find him in the Cambridge University Alumni, 1261-1900 databaseHe died Nov. 12, 1925, at Beckenham, Kent.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Two Brothers from Barlow, Washington County, Ohio

Even if these next two cabinet card portraits from the mid-1880s didn't provide names, you'd probably still guess that the subjects of these photos were brothers.      

Luckily for us, the photos are identified and we can safely say that these two young men are Everett and Morrison Laflin.  For the longest time,  I read the writing of  their surname as "Laplin."  One day, after yet another fruitless census search for I thought I would try substituting the "p" for an "f."  And there they were, in the 1800 Census for Barlow, Washington County, Ohio, sons of Charles S. and Caroline M. Laflin, along with their younger sister, Lizzie, aged three.  Morrison is actually the middle name of James T. M. Laflin, born 9 June 1874 in Washington County.  Everett was listed as Charles E. Laflin, in the 1880 census, but in 1900 census appears as "Everet" Laflin.  In 1900, Everett, who was born January 1871, can be found living with his parents in Watertown, Washington County, Ohio.

I noticed that the transcribers of the 1910 Census had some difficulty deciphering the Laflin name, as I did.  It appears as "Saflin" on Ancestry.com.   At this time, Everett and his parents are still living in Watertown.

Everett's brother James Morrison is living in Seattle, Washington in 1910 with his wife of three years, Dorothy.  He registered for the WW1 draft on September 12, 1918 in Cochise, Arizona.  His occupation is listed as "credit man & bookkeeper" and his nearest relative was Caroline M. Laflin.  I believe Caroline Laflin's maiden name may have been Cooksey, but a marriage record search would have to be done to confirm this. 

Laflin isn't that common a name, but hopefully there are Laflin researchers out there who will enjoy seeing these photos. 




Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Worthington, MN Photos, Circa 1890-1910 - Pt. 2

I'm curious when someone neglects to identify all the people in a portrait, and opts instead to name one or two people for posterity.  Perhaps the inscriber did not know everyone in the photo.  Or perhaps the owner of the photo is one of the folks featured in portrait and it seemed silly to identify themselves.  Whatever the reason, such omissions mean more detective work for those trying to sort out who is who in a photograph.

In this fourth cabinet card from Worthington, Nobles County, Minnesota, we have two people identified, and the third left nameless.


It was taken at the E.F. Buchan studio in Worthington circa the early 1890's.  "At left - Mr & Mrs. Gene Smith" is written in ink on the reverse.  Who is the woman on the right?  A daughter?  That's a mystery.

I did a quick search in the 1890 & 1900 censuses for a Gene or Eugene Smith in Worthington.  Minnesota had a state census in 1905 as well.  I found two Eugenes in Worthington in 1900.  Neither seem likely to me.  I expanded the search to cover adjacent counties.  There are several possibilities.  Of course Gene could have been using his second name.  Or he could gone by only an initial.   But would that be "E. Smith" or "G. Smith?"  Boy, it sure would have been helpful to have that third person identified. And how wonderful would it have been to have Mrs. Smith's first name.
If any of you über-researchers out there are able uncover  additional clues about this family, I'd love to hear from you. 

The inscription on this next photo (below) is marginally better than the Smith photograph.   We are provided with both a maiden name and a married name.  From the back of the photo "Anna Peterson (Mrs. G. Erickson)," taken at the Buchan Studios in Worthington.  I'm not an expert on costuming, but I am guessing we're still dealing with a 1890s time frame.  Is it just me, or do the younger women in all of the previous Worthington photographs look alike? 






I found an Anna Peterson (b. 1872, Sweden)  living with the Falk family in the 1895 Minnesota State census.   As with the other Worthington photos, it's very difficult to state definitely who she is at this point.

                                                                                                     


The final photo (right) wasn't taken in Worthington, but it was found with the Worthington photographs and is labelled in the same handwriting as the others, and is therefore, connected in some way.  It is simply inscribed, "Mrs. Chas. Gustafson," and was taken at the LeBurt Company Fine Arts Studio on Nic. Ave in Minneapolis, circa mid-1890s.  I probably don't need to tell you how many Charles Gustafsons there are in Minnesota during this period.  Sigh.  These Scandinavians sure know how to make it hard on a person. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Worthington, MN Photos, Circa 1890-1910 - Pt. 1

I acquired a set of cabinet card photographs from Worthington, Minnesota close to 20 years ago now.  I will feature these items in two postings.  Cabinet Cards are photographs printed on 4 1/4 X 6 1/2" card stock, introduced to North America in 1866, and were most popular between 1870 and 1895.  They remained in use for decades after their popularity waned.                                                                                               
Elsie Palm, the young girl featured in my first photo (left), was born October 1898 in Minnesota to August and Amelia Palm.  August immigrated to the US in 1888 from Sweden and married Amelia in 1896.  In the 1900 US census, Elsie is living with her parents and Uncle Carl in Worthington, Nobles County, MN.    Sometime after, her family moved to Fergus Falls in Otter Tail County, MN and appear in the 1910 census for that location.  By this time, Elsie has two sisters, Mabel (b. 1903) and Verna (b. 1908).           

Ten years later in the 1920 census, I found an Elsie Palm, with matching information, living in as a roomer in Duluth, MN.  Elsie is still living in Duluth in 1930, working as a School Teacher there.  The inscription on the back of the photo simply reads, "Elsie Palm" and "daughter of August & Amelia."  The photo would have been taken around 1905, give or take.



The second  & third photos in this series (right & below) are probably from the early 1890s in view of the standing puff-sleeves and style of dress the women are wearing. Both were taken at the Buchan Studios in Worthington.  "Jennie Johnson" is written on the reverse of the individual picture. "Anna, Jennie Johnson" is written on the other.   Johnson is such a common name in Minnesota, but you'd think it would be helpful to have the name of at least one sibling. So far I haven't found these Johnson siblings in the census for Worthington listed together. I have found a Jennie Johnson with Norwegian roots, b. 1874 in South Dakota who appears in the 1900 census working as a servant in Worthington.  Could it be her?



Saturday, November 19, 2011

Two Danish Postcards + CDV

I'm always curious how family photos end up in a local antique shop, especially ones from faraway places.  Today's grouping of photos, are, as far as I know, unrelated to each other and have only two things in common:  Denmark, and the fact they were found in antique shops on Vancouver Island, BC.

The first is a postcard photograph of a family from the island of Bornholm, Denmark.


It's difficult to tell, but I would guess the the family consists of two children (one boy, and probably a little girl), an older boy and a father.  This postcard was never sent through the post, though it may have been placed inside an envelope and mailed.  The inscription reads, "En Glædelig Jul og et godt Nytaar ønskes af Familien Hjorth, Aarsdale."  The family Hjorth is wishing the recipient of the photo a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Aarsdale is a small fishing village located on the eastern part of Bornholm with a population today of less than 500 people.  

I think it would be safe to say the image was taken somewhere between 1907-1930, with the middle of that time frame being most likely.   That's quite the spread, I know, but I don't believe I can narrow it down much further without first identifying this Hjorth family and using their vital statistics to date the photograph.  In 1907, the Kodak company was the first to offer a service called "real photos" that allowed the general public to make postcards out of any photograph. I plan to do some more research into dating postcard photographs.  Aren't the wooden shoes wonderful?

See my follow-up post about the Hjorth Family Portrait.

The carte de visite photo of two children (below) was also taken in Denmark.  Again, the gender of the children is difficult to tell.  In the old days very young boys were sometimes outfitted in dresses.  The photographer was A. Munch, of Horsens.  The photo is inscribed on the back to Fru Ginnerup of Tugthusby

Two CDVs from Philly

Civil war-era cartes de visites are fairly easy to date.  They are usually printed on very thin card stock and the portraits are often in head-shot, vignette style, with quite a bit of white space left around the subject.  The 1860's photographer's imprint is more subdued than in later years and seldom cover the entire back of the photograph.  Of course, a date cinches it, which is the case with the first of today's found photos.



Mrs. E. L. CLARK was photographed in October of 1863 at H. Manger's Photograph Gallery, on Chestnut Street in Philadelpha. It also has the mysterious phrase, "rats & mice" scribbled on the back of the photo.

Update:  the notation "rats & mice" may refer to Mrs. Clark's hairstyle.  Margaret Mitchell offers up a description of a hairstyle called "Cats, Rats, and Mice":  "The hair was parted in the middle and arranged in three rolls of graduating size on each side of the head, the largest, nearest the part, being the 'cat.'" (Gone with the Wind, Chapter XIII)



Our second photo, taken at Groom's Carte de Visite and Photograph Gallery, on Second Street, Philadelphia doesn't include a date, but provides this inscription, "Master D. F. DICKSON.  Sab. School Scholar. 1st R. P. Ch, Pa."

Both hairstyles in these photos hint at a 1860s time frame, as does Mrs. Clark's subtly pink-tinted cheeks. As you can see, there's always a few clues hiding in cartes de visites.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Three Photographs, Kittitas County, Washington - 1897

I found this trio of photographs at an antique show and sale in Calgary, Alberta about 20 years ago.  While the surname for each person is different, they are most certainly connected to each other in some way, probably through the original owner.  The handwriting on the back of the cabinet cards are in the same hand.  All the photos were taken in the same year.  I've tried to find out more about these individuals in the census but haven't had much luck.  Here are the details:



Above:  "Janet Adams & John Mills, Nov. 1897" taken at the Post & Ransier studio in Roslyn, Washington.

Cartes de Visites and Lovely Collars

The carte de visite photograph is one of my favourite image formats.  These calling-card sized photos often contain interesting fashions and hairstyles.  They were most popular between 1860-1890.  If you have a carte de visite, and don't know when the photo was taken, you can sometimes determine the approximate date of the photograph by analyzing the thickness of the cardstock.  The thinner the card, the earlier the photograph.   Portrait styles, the use of cheek tinting, and even the photographer's imprint on the reverse of the photograph can provide clues as to the photograph's vintage.

I just love the collars worn by the two young women below.  I found these photos at an antique show in the 1990s.



Above left:  "Sarah Buckley (Rose's Mother)" taken  at the W.B. Miles Studio, 151 High Street, Holyoke, MA.  I would guess that this photograph was taken in the 1890s.

Above right:   "Annie Williams, Brown Hair 12 yr, Sept 19, Black eyes, 2 watercolors" The photograph was taken at the Morton Artistic Photographer, 75 Westminster Street, Providence, Rhode Island circa 1890.  This photograph may have accompanied Annie's entries in an art show. 


Above left:  The dapper man in the photograph is "W. M. Lawson" and we know this because he was kind enough to sign his CDV.  Though it is not visible in the scan above, there is a faint photographer's imprint in the lower right corner that reads, "Sheldon & Davis."  

Above right:  This little girl was photographed at G. Wilson's Photographic and Portrait Gallery on Water St. in Mary's, Ontario, Canada, probably sometime after 1877 and before 1885.  "Annie Lytle" is written on the back in pencil.