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 at familyphotoreunion [ at ] yahoo [ dot ] com. I hope you enjoy your visit!
~The Archivist


Friday, April 20, 2018

When Hard-To-Read Handwriting Is Actually a Good Thing - (Possibly) Charles Gipe, Kentucky, 1886

Handwriting is everything when there is very little to identify a photograph.  This cabinet card is one of those frustrating instances where everything should fall into place, but doesn't because you're unable to decipher, with certainty, the surname of the subject. When I first investigated this photograph a few years ago I gave up on it, thinking it might be a hopeless case. Upon revisiting this mystery it turns out that the difficult-to-read signature may be just the clue needed to figure out who this gentleman is. 


Initially, I thought the man's surname was "Gifoe."  But, after plunking "Gifoe" into Ancestry and coming up with only one (and highly suspect) hit on the surname Gifoe, I abandoned that idea, at least temporarily.  If not "Gifoe," what could it be?  Next I tried "Gifre" which provided a few hits, with one single Charles Gifre (d. Kentucky at age 87 in 1918) which I now suspect was a transcription error--but more on that later. Before I could begin to look further into this possibility, I needed to consider the photographer.

The reverse of the cabinet card does provide us with a photographer's name:  Jas. Whited, Cosmopolitan Studio. A location isn't given. A search of various photographer's indexes didn't yield any photographers by the name of James Whited, but I did find a conversation on a genealogy board that suggested Jas. Whited operated a studio in Bowling Green, Kentucky. However, I couldn't find anything online that indicated this was accurate.

Perhaps a reader has crossed paths with the Jas. Whited Cosmopolitan Studio in their research. If so, I'd be so happy to hear from you. It's usually at this point in a fruitless search that I put the photo aside for another day but after staring at the signature for a long time I decided that the surname might be "Gipe." While I am not able to say definitively if this is Charles Gipe, I will say that I found a signature on a marriage bond for the marriage of Chas. A. Gipe and Louisa Hilbert in Nelson, Kentucky that looks very much like the signature on the cabinet card above1.



Charles A. Gipe was a shoemaker, born in Bavaria around 18312. After immigrating to America, he settled in Nelson County, Kentucky3 and later moved to Louisville4 where he died in 19185. In the Ancestry transcription of this record, Charles' surname is recorded as "Gifre," which is an understandable mistake--understandable because I made the same call myself early on in this investigation. If the information on the cabinet card is correct, the image of Charles Gipe would have been taken in 1886.

What do you think? Could this be Charles A. Gipe?



1 "Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797-1954," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FW12-M4M : accessed 19 April 2018), Charles A. Gipe and Louisa Hilbert, 30 Jul 1894; citing Bardstown, Nelson, Kentucky, United States, Madison County Courthouse, Richmond; FHL microfilm 1,929,401.
2 "United States Census, 1860", database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MZB8-S8R : 14 December 2017), Charles Gipe, 1860.
3 "United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MCZK-QQ9 : 14 August 2017), Chas Gipe, New Haven, Nelson, Kentucky, United States; citing enumeration district ED 210, sheet 292A, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0436; FHL microfilm 1,254,436.
4 "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M2DR-2XJ : accessed 20 April 2018), Charles A Gipe, Louisville Ward 11, Jefferson, Kentucky, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 180, sheet 6A, family 124, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 486; FHL microfilm 1,374,499.
5 "Kentucky Deaths and Burials, 1843-1970," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FWPS-8PL : 10 February 2018), Charles A. Gipe, 30 May 1918; citing reference ; FHL microfilm 2,024,938.

Friday, April 13, 2018

'Little Nugget,' A.A. Paull, Photographer, Nanaimo, BC, Circa 1901




I found this unidentified photo in a dresser drawer in a shabby-chic design store in Campbell River, BC. It appealed to me because it was photographed right here on Vancouver Island around the turn of the century, and so I bought it.

Most of Vancouver Island was still pretty wild in 1900. The province's capital, Victoria, was a growing, modern city and Nanaimo, with its mining and logging industry, was a centre for employment mid-island. The New Westminster Columbian reported in their December 1903 issue that "A.A. Paull, photographer, though a native of Jersey, left the Old Country when two years old, and until 1892 lived in London, Ont., where he learned the trade of cabinet maker. His next move was to British Columbia, and he has resided there since then, doing a good business as a photographer."1

Alfred Albert Paull, son of Alfred (a baker) and Mary Paull, immigrated to Canada from St. Helier, Jersey with his parents and sister, Jane, in 18722. The Paulls settled in Ailsa Craig, Middlesex North, Ontario3. By 1891 Alfred was living on his own and working as a cabinetmaker4, but the rest of the family, including Alfred's 10 siblings, had moved across the county to live in New Westminster, B.C5. A year or two later, Alfred Albert moved to British Columbia as well.  In 1893, the reunited family lived at 912 Seymour Street in Vancouver6.

I found an entry for A. A. Paull, the photographer, in the City of Nanaimo Archives' Information File. Using various city directories, the staff at the archives traced his movements at the end of the 19th century, into the early 1900s. Paull worked for the CPR as a freight checker and deliveryman in Vancouver from 1894 to 1901. In 1901 he is listed as a photographer for the first time, having opened a studio on Fitzwilliam Street in Nanaimo, in the area now known as "The Old Quarter." I believe my photograph dates to this time period. In 1902, Paull shows up once again in the Vancouver Directory, this time as a photographer at 45 Cordova Street, and the following year at 61 Cordova6. But Paull is in business in Nanaimo until at least 1903, as several advertisements appear in the Nanaimo Daily News that year promoting his studio "opposite the Presbyterian Church."

He has a roving photographic business up and running in 1903.

Cumberland News, March 10, 1903
It seems to have been a "pop-up" type of operation. Perhaps the Paull Studio made the rounds to small towns, opening a studio for a period of a month or so before moving on. I believe Paull may not have always made these trips himself. The Cumberland News states on October 8, 1902 that "Mr. Schinck of Paull's Studio has terminated a successful visit here and returned to Nanaimo on Friday morning." It's quite possible that other photographers, hired by Paull, helped run these studios. Schinck appears in the 1904 BC Directory as a photographer based in Nanaimo.

Cumberland News, September 24, 1903
The A.A. Paull Studio also shows up in other BC towns, including Moyie, a small town located on the mainland in the East Kootenays.

Moyie Leader, March 27, 1909
In a November 1909 issue of the Moyie Leader, the paper announced that A.A. Paull was moving his studio to Michel.

Cranbrook appears to be another location for his photographic business. On June 5, 1911, the Cranbrook Herald wrote:  A. A. Paull of the Albert Studio, is away to Rossland on a business trip and will be absent from the city for a week or so.

In the 1920s A. A. Paull is still taking photographs. Many commercial images relating to the BC lumber and mining industries are available on the Vancouver Public Library's Special Collections website for viewing7. Alfred Albert Paull died on the 18th of June 1958 in New Westminster, BC8.

The name of the woman in the photograph is still a mystery.



1 New Westminster Columbian, December 1903, p. 1
2 Manifest, S.S. Prussian, 17 May 1872, List, A. A. Paul (age 9 months), digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.amazon.ca :accessed 12 Apr 2018).
3 "Canada Census, 1881," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MVDK-6HT : 11 March 2018), Ailsa Craig, Middlesex North, Ontario, Canada; citing p. 13; Library and Archives Canada film number C-13270, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario; FHL microfilm 1,375,906.
4 "Canada Census, 1891," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MWLJ-X6Y : 3 August 2016), Alfred Paull, Ailsa Craig, Middlesex North, Ontario, Canada; Public Archives, Ottawa, Ontario; Library and Archives Canada film number 30953_148154.
5 "Canada Census, 1891," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MWK3-3S1 : 3 August 2016), A H Paul, Vancouver City, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada; Public Archives, Ottawa, Ontario; Library and Archives Canada film number 30953_148093.
6 Henderson's BC Directory, various years, digital images, Vancouver Public Library Digital Library (http://www.vpl.ca/digital-library/british-columbia-city-directories :accessed 13 Apr 2018)
7 http://www3.vpl.ca/spe/histphotos/photos-search.htm
8 "British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986; 1992-1993", database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FLRM-85H : 8 November 2017), Alfred Albert Paull, 1958.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Wee James Jesse Taylor and his Family, Nova Scotia, ca. 1866


Last week I spent an afternoon making the antique store rounds in search of any identified family photos. I found this family portrait cdv in a Vancouver Island shop. The fading carte de visite called out to me, and I felt I should try to preserve what was left of the image before it disappeared entirely. Now that it is scanned, I feel much better, and can begin discovering the story behind the image.

There's a lot of information written in ballpoint on the reverse of the photo:

Child James Jesse
Taylor with parents
-about 1868
(father of Agnes
Margaret Holden)
Pat Holden's 
    grandfather
about 1860
Parent is George
from Peebles, Scotland

Even though the inscriber did not provide any precise birthdates, there is enough information here to do a little digging.

Since I knew the name of the child in the photo, and the name of this child's future daughter, I thought I would begin by trying to locate the grown-up James Taylor's family in a census or perhaps try to locate Agnes Margaret's birth record. I wasn't successful in locating Agnes' birth record, so I focussed on a census search. While I could not be absolutely certain that Holden was Agnes' married name, I thought it was likely. So, I looked for a James Taylor born between 1860 and 1866, with a child named Agnes Margaret Taylor. I found one possibility to investigate in the 1901 Canada Census1.

1901 Truro, Colchester County, Nova Scotia

J. J. Taylor, 35, born 14 Mar 1865, Nova Scotia, Occupation: C. Engineer [civil engineer]
J. C. Taylor, 29
Hudson Taylor 10
Phyllis Taylor 7
Agnes M Taylor 4, born 26 June 1896, Truro, Nova Scotia

Unfortunately, the given names aren't written in full. I then located the family in the 1911 Canada Census, now living in Moncton, New Brunswick2:


1911 Moncton, Westmorland, New Brunswick
James Jesse Taylor 46, b. Mar 1865 Nova Scotia, Civil Engineer
Jane Taylor 39
Hudson Taylor 19
Phyllis Taylor 17
Agnes M Taylor 14, b. June 1897, Nova Scotia
Minnie Leblanc 20, maid

At this point I'm beginning to think I might be on the right track.

I noticed what I thought was probably a photographer's imprint in the very centre on the back of the card. The small, circular photographer's stamp is so faint that it is very difficult to discern most of the letters even with a magnifying glass. By using Photoshop software and experimenting with the curves tool I was able to make out that the photographer was Parish & Co., at 124 Hollis Street in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Isaac Parish operated his studio there from roughly 1862 to 18693,4.


Okay, so this is all looking very plausible to me now, but a few questions remain. Did this Agnes M. Taylor marry a man with the surname Holden? Yes, she did. On the 27th of October 1915, Agnes married Charles Patrick Holden in Fredericton, NB5. On this marriage record, Agnes' parents are listed as Jas. J. and Jane C. Taylor.

And what about George, the alleged father of James Jesse Taylor? I was able to locate the marriage record of James Jesse Taylor. He married Jane C. Hudson on 2 Oct 1889 in Pictou, Nova Scotia. James' parents are listed as George and Jessie Taylor6

And then I found an interesting write-up on George Taylor and his family connections on the NS Memory (Council of Nova Scotia Archives) site, which seems to corroborate the information above and the inscriber's assertion that George was from Peebles, Scotland. For descendants, it looks like Nova Scotia Archives has a wealth of information about George Taylor, including correspondence, account books and George and Jessie Taylor's marriage certificate.



1 1901 census of Canada, Truro, Colchester, Nova Scotia, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 29, sub district S, p.5 (penned), dwelling 43, family 46, J. J. Taylor family; digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 7 Apr 2018); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm T-6428 through T-6556.
2 1911 census of Canada, Moncton, Westmorland, New Brunswick, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 11, sub district  # 8, p.18 (penned), dwelling 172, family 180, James Jesse Taylor family, digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 7 Apr 2018), citing microfilm LAC microfilm T-20326 to T-20460.
3 Hutchinson's Nova Scotia Directory, for 1866/67, Containing Alphabetical Directories of Each Place in the Province, with a Post Office Directory and an Appendix Containing Much Useful Information. -- [Halifax]: [Thomas Hutchinson], [1866?]., page 75, Parish & Co. advertisement.
4 Burant, Jim. “Pre-Confederation Photography in Nova Scotia,” Carlton University, Ottawa, Ontario. http://jcah-ahac.concordia.ca/pdf/download/jcah-ahac_4-1_burant
5 "New Brunswick Provincial Marriages 1789-1950," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVBF-FJ57 : 13 March 2018), Charles Patrick Holden and Agnes Margaret Taylor, 27 Oct 1915; citing Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, p. , Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, Fredericton; FHL microfilm 2,024,762.
6 "Canada Marriages, 1661-1949," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F2GN-FT8 : 10 February 2018), James J. Taylor and Jane C. Hudson, 02 Oct 1889; citing Pictou, Pictou, Nova Scotia, reference 2:3R03LVK; FHL microfilm 1,298,992.