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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


Monday, August 13, 2012

From the Mary Harrison Photo Album: Sarah McCallin, Nova Scotia or New Hampshire, 1870s



This tintype image comes from the Mary Harrison Photo Album (see earlier blog post) I purchased last December at a Vancouver Island antique shop.  Mary grew up in Maccan, Cumberland, Nova Scotia and later lived in Lawrence, Mass.  This image, labelled "Sarah McCallin" on the album page as well as on the back of the tintype, was found with three other McCallin photos in the same album.  The first two are carte de visite photos of labelled "Mr. McCallin" and "Mrs. McCallin" respectively; both are elderly.  The third is labelled, "Eunice McCallin," and is also a tintype.

I located a Sarah McCallin, who had a sister named Eunice in the 1871 Canada Census.  The census taker recorded the surname as "McCallim."  The family lived in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia, quite near to where Mary Harrison grew up, which might explain how Mary knew the McCallins.  Sarah was the third daughter of John and Mary McCallin.  John was born in New Brunswick and was of Irish descent; Mary was born in Nova Scotia, of German descent.  The other children in the household were Eunice, 21; Clara, 16; William, 12; Elvira, 10; Kate, 7; and Maretta, 5.  Sarah was fourteen years old1.  All of the children were born in Nova Scotia.

At only 28 years of age, Sarah McCallin died on the 20th November 1885 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire2.

It's possible that the older couple in the two other photographs, which I would date to somewhere around 1875-1880, are Sarah's parents, but perhaps more likely, her grandparents.  Eunice McCallin is Sarah's sister.  I also suspect that another picture in the album, marked, "Mrs. Charles Haley" is another of Sarah's sisters, Elvira McCallin3, and that the "Mrs. Tozer," also featured in the album, is Sarah's youngest sister, Maretta4.  While I didn't locate Elvira and Maretta's marriage records, I did locate their children's marriage records in the New Hampshire Marriage database, which shows their mother's maiden names, in addition to the names of their fathers.

So when was this image taken?  Tintypes throw me off just a little bit because we can't assess the physical aspects of the photograph like we would a carte de visite, nor do we have a photographer's imprint to work from.  The tintype does give us one slight clue.  Those produced before 1870 generally had black backs, those after, were mostly brown.  This one is brown.

For other clues, we have to look at the image itself.  While we can't see Sarah's skirt, we can see that the waist is pulled in quite tightly.  This, along with her collar, accompanied by a white silk bow, and slightly dropped shoulder, seem to fit into the mid-1870s.  I'm inclined to guess a slighter earlier date of 1873-75, though, because of the hairstyle, which is similar to a style popular with younger girls in the late 1860s up until about 1873, where long hair is pulled back from the front with a hair comb and is left to fall into loose ringlets at the back.  This loose hairstyle could be an indication of Sarah's age at the time the photo was taken.  Victorian women generally did not wear their hair down in public, but a younger, unmarried girl would.

If you have an insights to add, please leave a comment.



1 1871 census of Canada, River Philip, Cumberland, Nova Scotia, population schedule, District: 198 Cumberland, subdistrict G, River Philip, Family #68, p.23 (penned), John McCallim [McCallin] family, digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed July 1, 2012), citing LAC microfilm Roll: C-10556
2 "New Hampshire, Death Records, 1654-1947," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FS2L-M6T : accessed 07 Aug 2012), Sarah M Mccallin, 20 Nov 1885.
3 "New Hampshire, Marriage Records, 1637-1947," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FLH9-J76 : accessed 07 Aug 2012), Elvira Mccallin in entry for Wilbur James Haley and Annie May Pearson and null, 1906.
4 "New Hampshire, Marriage Records, 1637-1947," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/FLZ2-1PJ : accessed 07 Aug 2012), Maretta Mccallin in entry for Granville Tozer and Annie M. Wiggin and null, 1909.

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