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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!
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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Somewhat a Shame Wednesday: Geo McDonald, Glasgow, Scotland and Vancouver, BC, 1890s



This chromotype carte de visite features an older man with an amazing white beard, taken at the J. Whyte Studio in Glasgow, Scotland.  On the reverse we have an handwritten inscription:


The problem here is the "Mrs." in front of Geo McDonald.  Clearly the subject is not a Mrs, so we aren't sure if Mrs. Geo McDonald is the man's wife, a recipient of the photo or if, perhaps, a mistake was made with the Mrs. part.  The reason I include the latter possibility is because I have a photograph taken at the same studio, probably at the same time, of an older woman.  These photos were found together and this photo of the woman has a similar inscription in the same hand on the back:

Notice that this one doesn't have the Mrs. part.  Could the inscriber have mixed up the labelling on these?
This second back also provides an additional clue. There is a studio stamp on the back "The Convex Art & Novelty [Company]."  On David Mattison's Camera Workers site, he shows that this studio was owned by T. Elf, a photographer who operated out of 3 - 319 W. Pender St., Vancouver, BC in 1911.  The address, "265 Victoria Drive" is also a Vancouver address.  I could only find one match for a George McDonald at this address in the year 1911 (Henderson's Greater Vancouver Directory):

George McDonald, emp. P. Burns & Co. Ltd.  h.265 Victoria Dr. 

The images look to be of mid-1890s vintage, and J. Whyte was in business at 75 Jamaica Street from 1893 to 1897.

So, are the images of a Mr & Mrs. George McDonald?  Are they the recipients?  Is G. McDonald simply making copies of the original J. Whyte cdvs at the Convex Art & Novelty Company? I suspect (but have no proof) that George MacDonald may be a son or son-in-law to the man in the photo.  If George McDonald  is employed in 1911, then George is not the man in the photo.  If the original image was taken in 1895, and we guess the man's age to be 75 at the time the photo was taken, the gentleman would be 91 years old in 1911.

What are your thoughts? 


1 comment:

  1. One thing is for sure, the handwriting on both photos is the same. Did you determine the full name of the older woman?

    The man in the photo doesn't appear "ancient old" to me. If George was that old, perhap he moved to 265 Victoria Drive in the last year(s) of his life? If so, he most likely wouldn't be "employed by P. Burns" (the meat packer?) unless he was "an elder night watchman" sort.

    There are 11(!) George McDonald's buried in Mountain View Cemetary, 5455 Fraser Street at East 41st, Vancouver. Unfortunately none of the findagrave memorials have further information that might be helpful (not even birthdates).

    Those graves could be any number of father-son (Jr.) pairs (assuming the older George "came over" from Scotland).

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