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!
Monday, August 27, 2012
This little cutie has given me a very hard time. I can't seem to figure out who she is. This baby portrait was found with another baby photo from around the same time period with the same notation on the front of the card that reads, "Merl Cilley."
There isn't a photographer's imprint on the front of the card, but on the reverse we are given several clues.
First, the child is identified:
"Lottie Brown, Age 9 months 2 weeks. Died Dec. 26, 1915"
"Aunt Olive's Children also other picture."
And finally there is, what I believe to be a photographer's rubber stamp on the back. It simply says, "True, Clinton, ME.
I located Samuel M. True, a photographer, who worked out of Clinton from 1900 to at least 1912. He could have been in business earlier than 1900, but I was unable to find him in the 1880 census, nor is he in the 1920 Census in Kennebec County. However, I did locate his wife Carrie and their children in the 1920 census and she is listed as a widow.
As for Lottie Brown, we know that her mother's first name is Olive. I could not find any Lottie or Charlotte Brown's in the censuses with a mother named Olive. I went further afield, and found several possibilities, none seemingly more likely than any other.
The one clue that could help us pinpoint which Lottie Brown is correct is, of course, the death date provided on the back of the image. If we can locate a death record for Lottie Brown who died 26 Dec. 1915, her parentage and/or birth date may be noted as well. Unfortunately, the image of the other child has no inscription other than the same photographer's stamp. Merl Cilley, the name that appears on both photos may be the recipient and is likely related. One could have a look at his ancestry, but that's a rather time-consuming approach.
How would you proceed?
Sunday, January 1, 2012
This young fella is identified as "Master Clifford Brown" on the reverse of this cabinet card photograph circa 1890s.
A search of the 1900 US Census provided 11 hits on the name "Clifford Brown" born between 1880 and 1900 in Tennessee. There was only one from Bristol, Sullivan County, TN: Clifford M. Brown, b. May 1892 in TN, son of Walter Brown, and living with his father and step-mother, Clenna Brown. This birth date fits in with the time period of the cabinet card.
In 1910, Clifford M. Brown was eighteen years old and living in Civil District 16, Sullivan Co., TN in the home of his uncle Dr. Fred Massengill and Fred's wife, Eulalia Massengill.
At the time of the his WW1 draft registration, Clifford is living in Bluefield, West Virginia, and working in the hardware store there. He also registered for the WWII draft and is found living with his Aunt Sallie J. Smith in Bluefield.
Clifford never married, and died 2 June 1954 in Bluefield at 62 years of age. He managed a flower shop there for many years. His parents are listed as Walter K. Brown and Naomi Massengel.
I did a quick search on the photographer S.C. or C.F. Hodges and Hodges Art Gallery. I couldn't find any reference to S.C. Hodges in the directories or censuses for Bristol that I have access to. I did find C.F. Hodges listed as an artist in the 1880 census for Bristol, and later, in the 1900 census, as "photographer." C.F. Hodges died in 1903. If he was the photographer, the photo would have to have been taken prior to 1903, which is fairly obvious by the style of photograph.
While I can't say for certain Clifford Massengill Brown is the as the young man in the photograph, it's a good possibility. It would be helpful to locate a photograph of Clifford Massengill Brown to compare it with.
On a side note, I found some references to the Massengill family of Bristol, TN. Apparently the family was quite influential in the medical sciences. I would not be surprised if Clifford's uncle, Dr. Fred Massengill, belongs to this family. It would be interesting to know if Dr. Fred appears in the book I found online called, Sketch of Medicine and Pharmacy and a View of Its Progress by the Massengill Family from the Fifteenth to the Twentieth Century by Samuel Evans Massengill, who started the S.E. Massengill Pharmaceutical Company in Bristol in 1896.