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

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Stodders, Morden, Manitoba, Circa 1895

There's a lot going on in the photograph.  Taken at T.C. Birnie & Co., in either Morden or Manitou, Manitoba, this cabinet card features, presumably, a husband & wife and a portrait of a young girl.  Perhaps the young girl is a deceased daughter. The table placed between the couple is holding several books.  I tried to read the titles on the spines of the volumes, but the print wasn't clear enough.

On the reverse of the card mount, someone has written three names:
"Mrs. Alex Murdock" at the top of the card. (The recipient?)
 Then, "James Stodders, Alice M. Stodders"  in the centre of the card. 

I am operating on the assumption that we are looking at James and Alice Stodders.  James Stodders and Alice Mary Wyatt were married on the 2nd of March 1892 in Winnipeg1.  James Stodders appears in the 1900-1901 Directory for Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, which shows his occupation as "grain merchant," and his residence as Morden, Manitoba2.

The Western Canada Photographer's List, 1860-1925 by Glen C. Phillips shows T.C. (Thomas C.) Bernie operated his studio in Morden between the years 1892-1904.  The photographer's imprint mentions a Manitou location as well, which was in business for only 2 years, 1894 and 1895. Can we safely say that the image dates from that time?  

Who is the girl in the portrait? 

1 “Manitoba, Marriage Index, 1879-1931,” database, entry for James Stodders and Alice Mary Wyatt, 2 Mar 1892, reg #1892-002246 Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 1 July 2012), citing Manitoba Consumer and Corporate Affairs. http://vitalstats.gov.mb.ca/Query.php: accessed 2 April 2012.
2 Lovell's Directory of Manitoba and Northwest Territories for 1900-1901: Province of Manitoba Directory. Including A Complete Classified Business Directory and Farmers Directory of Manitoba, John Lovell & Son, Winnipeg, MB, 1900, p. 628.


  1. It's interesting the girls head is slanted in the picture frame inwards to the photograph. Is this a "prop" or something the couple brought with them? Are the books the same, props or possessions? It's a shame a quick search of T.C. Birnie & Co. doesn't turn up other photos so one can see what is in them (prop wise).

  2. This is exactly the problem I was having with the girl portrait being included in the photo. If the subject of the portrait was a child of theirs, then why did the photographer choose to cut the portrait off in the composition of the picture? If you look closely at the portrait on the stand, you can see that it's a slickly-posed image like something you'd find in an advertisement. The girl is about 6-10 years of age (hard to tell) but if we work with the dates, it's unlikely she's a child of theirs.

    It almost seems as if the photographer was trying his best to replicate the busy-ness of a parlour with drapes, portrait, table, rugs, chairs, the books, and (possibly) a newspaper.