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 also accept donations of pre-1927 images to be reunited. I hope you enjoy your visit!
~The Archivist

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Odourless and Preserved: John L. Kerr, Toronto Ontario, Circa 1885-1895

Sharing this image with you has been pure sacrifice.  I purchased this photograph in a lot of images, none seemingly connected to another.  It was enclosed by itself, double-bagged  in heavy-duty ziploc.  I knew it had been stored somewhere it shouldn't have been because it had a musty damp odour emanating from it, but I really had no idea how bad it was. When I got it home and opened the bag I was immediately assailed by the worst smell of mold and mildew.  I quickly scanned the cabinet card, both sides, zipped it back up and banished the vile thing to the garage.  Normally, I wouldn't store photographs in the garage. And, I even considered destroying it, now that a scan has been made.  I can't see anyone wanting to keep this in a collection, even if it is Great Grand-Dad.

However, I am happy to introduce you to Mr. John L. Kerr: odourless, and much more pleasant to be with. I'm not 100 percent on the last name, but I'm fairly confident that is what it is.

The photographer, J.F. Bryce worked out of Toronto from 1884 to 1895.

Unfortunately, the name John Kerr is very common in Ontario at this time.  While we do know that the photo was taken in Toronto, we don't know if John L. Kerr lived in Toronto.  While we could narrow it down to a group of likely candidates, I don't think we can come close to any certainty on this one.

If you have a John L. Kerr in your tree, and have a photo we can compare this one with, I'd love to hear from you.


  1. :)

    I'd love a photo of my great-great-great father even if it was smelly!!

    That signature is a doozy!

  2. I don't know, Iggy..."smelly" doesn't really describe it. Working with this picture was more along the lines of being locked in a car on a very hot day with a couple of crates of limburger cheese, a wet dog, and the contents of my under-sink compost pail. I think it just might be illegal to send this one through the mail :-)