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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


Friday, January 6, 2012

A Genealogist's Dream: Lily Vera Duncan, Rockland, Ontario, 1902


This girl is a star in my book.  She inscribed the back of her photo so there would be no question about her identity.  She lets us know that her name is Lily Vera Duncan, but that she goes by the name Vera.  She gives us her birth date:  November 26, 1891.  She tells us when this photo was taken:  Dec. '02, so we know that she has just turned 11 years old in this photograph.  She even tells us that the intended recipients were  "Arthur and Vina."  The front of the photo gives us a location.

Her birth record is easy to find.  A search of the Ontario, Canada Births, 1869-1913 database leads us to her birth record which  shows Lily Vera Duncan was born on the date Vera provides on the photo, in Rockland, Prescott & Russell County, Ontario.  Her parents are James Duncan and Ellen F. V. Woodly.

Vera shows up in the 1901 Canadian Census for Rockland, Russell, Ontario living with her parents James A. Duncan, 54 and Ellen Duncan, 41, with her siblings Clarence, 14; Elsie, 13; and her grandmother, Susan Woodley, 81. 

I can not find Vera in the 1911 or 1916 census.  I don't see her in the US Census, either.  I find her again in the British Columbia Marriages database, when on the 3rd of September 1913, she marries Nelson A. Harkness in Vancouver, BC.  I noticed that there is a Nelson Alexander Harkness attending the University of Chicago in 1912.  Perhaps they married after he graduated.

I thought I'd check to see if Nelson Harkness served in the First World War.  He joined the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force as a Chaplain and on his attestation paper he lists his address as Westbank, BC.  His wife is listed as Vera L. Harkness.

According to the British Columbia Death Index, Vera died 11 July 1972 at the age of 80 years.

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