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

Monday, April 30, 2012

In Scottish Plaid: Mary and Lenora Bain (and Doll), Astoria, Oregon, Circa 1873

This carte de visite was found in an antique store in Vancouver and is labelled, "Mary Bain, Lenora Bain" on the otherwise blank back of the photograph.  A photographer is provided:  H. S. Shuster, Artist."  But we're missing an importance piece of information on this card: the location.

The girls, presumably sisters, are wearing Scottish plaid dresses, which was a popular fabric pattern for girl's dresses during the 1860s and early 1870s.  The youngest is holding what appears to be a doll.  The setting has an 1860's feel to it because of the plain backdrop but it's possible that this photograph was taken at a travelling studio, or at the very least, in a hasty manner, because the chair draped with a somewhat wrinkly cloth, and the thin carpet is curled up in the right hand corner, exposing the floor.  The cardstock hints at more of a 1870s time period, with its rounded corners, and coloured, medium-thick paper.

I found two sisters, Mary and Lenora Bain, in the 1870 US Federal Census for Astoria, Clatsop, Oregon.  Their parents were Charles H. Bain, b. 1841 KY and Annie Bain, b. 1841, Iowa.  At the time, Mary was a one-year-old, and Lenora, only a month old.  The girls had two older brothers:  John, 5 and Charles, 3.  Charles Bain, Sr. was a carpenter and was probably doing fairly well at his trade. Lucy Langworthy, 13,  worked as a servant for the Bain family.

I wanted to learn a little about H.S. Shuster, to see if he would have worked in this area around 1873.

According to the 1880 Census, H. (Henry) S. Shuster, a photographer lived in Salem, Oregon.  He was born about 1830 in New Jersey.   Henry opened his first photographic studio in Middletown, Delaware and sometime in the latter part of the decade headed west to work as an itinerant photographer, first to Wichita, Kansas where he shows up in the 1870 Census, and then to Texas and Oklahoma.  At Fort Sill, OK, Shuster photographed the earliest images of the Tonkawa people. He moved on to Oregon in 1872, setting up shop in Astoria.  I found the following advertisement an Astoria newspaper:

Tri-Weekly Astorian, August 26, 1873
Shuster worked in Astoria for quite a few years afterwards, and also had studios in Portland, Hillsboro and Salem, Oregon.  In The Daily Astorian, Shuster ran a number of ads in the spring of 1879, inviting locals to "see late specimens lightning process of photographs, at H.S. Shuster's Art Galley."  The term "lightning process" was the latest buzzword in 1870s photographic circles.  Many processes were developed during this decade to speed up the amount of time it would take to record an image and develop it. The photographer was offering the curious public a chance to see a demonstration of the process.

So what happened to the girls?  They both appear with family in the 1880 census, still living in Astoria.  In Portland, Oregon; Its History and Builders, a local history written in 1911, we learn that Lenora married Charles P. Hogue, a prominent Portlander, in 1889.  There is an information-packed article about Mr. Hogue in the book, along with a photograph of the man.

Portland, Oregon; its history and builders, Volume 2, page 582
Lenora and Charles P. Hogue had one daughter, Lenora, born 1906.  In the 1920 US Census, the elder Lenora is listed as a widow.  By 1930, Lenora and her namesake are living in Los Angeles.  Lenora died the 7th of August, 1966 in Santa Clara.  The California Death Index lists her birth date as April 21, 1870.

Lenora's sister Mary was far more elusive.  The last mention I could find of her was in the 1880 Census (Astoria, OR).  

Friday, April 27, 2012

From the Jones Studio in Silverton, Oregon: Slethammer/Steelhammer?

This photograph isn't identified per se.  It has a name on the back, "Mrs. Stethammer" (or it could possibly be Slethammer, Steelhammer, or Shelhammer).  It was taken at the W.L. (William L.) Jones Studio in Silverton, Oregon circa 1890.  I am basing the date on the little research I did on the Jones Photo Collection Website (http://www.jonesphotocollection.com), which provides access to some of  W. L. Jones' photographs as well as to the Jones Family history.  This particular photographer's imprint seems to have been used in the 1890s.  W. L. Jones operated the studio in Silverton from 1880 to 1913, when the family moved the business to Grays Harbor.

I searched the censuses for any of the surnames I mentioned above and came up with one match in the Silverton area.  I'm going on record as saying this is a crazy long shot, because it's unclear what the name printed on the back means.  Was the photo ordered by Mrs.  S****hammer, Silverton, or was she the recipient?  Impossible to say.  There is other ordering information by her name, such as the dimensions of the photo ordered, 16 X 20, which leads me to believe that she may have had something to do with the ordering, since the pencil inscriptions seems to be in the same hand for both the name and the ordering information.

I found one match for a Steelhammer family:

1900, June 21; Marion Co, OR; North Silverton Pct, p 68
Andrew G. Steelhammer, 53, Jan 1847, Swe, Swe, Swe, mar 29 yrs, to US 1869,
Christina, wife, 49, Aug 1850, Nor, Nor, Nor, mar 29 yrs, 9 children-8 living, to US 1869  
Carl G, son, 25, Nov 1874, MN, Swe, Nor, single, blacksmith  
Lars R., son, 17, June 1882, ND, Swe, Nor, single, grocery salesman  
Arthur E, son, 13, Feb 1887, ND, Swe, Nor, farm laborer  
George W, son, 11, Feb 1889, ND, Swe, Nor, farm laborer  
Henry W, son, 9, Jan 1891, ND, Swe, Nor, att. school  
Arliss G, gr dau, 4, Feb 1896, OR, PA, MN

Further information turned up in the book A Portrait & Biographical Record of the Willamette Valley, Chapman Publishing Company, 1903 for Andrew G. Steelhamer. It says that he and his family  came to Silverton in 1892 from Winona, Minn.

Mr. Steelhammer was united in marriage with Miss Christina Anderson...Of their union, the following named children have been born; John F.,  a resident of Salem, Ore. [became Mayor of Woodburn, Oregon 1916-1918]; Carl G., Deceased; Helma, wife of A. P. Allen, San Francisco, Cal.; Oscar Adolph, connected with the Military Bank at Salem, Ore.; Louie R., of Salem, Ore.; Artie E.,  living at home; George W., at home; and William H., living with his parents, plays in the Silverton band.

There are several Steelhammers in the Silverton Cemetery, Silverton, Marion County:
Steelhammer, Andrew G., b. 1847, d. 1937, s/w Christine A. Steelhammer
Steelhammer, Carl C., b. 1874, d. 1902
Steelhammer, Christine A., b. 1850, d. 1936, s/w Andrew G. Steelhammer
Steelhammer, Jennie M. Goode, b. 1878, d. 1925, "Mother", Wife of J. F. Steelhammer
Steelhammer, John F., b. 1872, d. 1962, "Father"
Steelhammer, Oscar A., b. 1878, d. 1935

I have looked for portraits of Steelhammers online, and did find one of John F. at the Oregon State Library Photo Website.  What do you think?  Is there a resemblance?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What A Shame Wednesday: Fifteen-Year-Old Mary, Philadelphia, 1884

When this cabinet card photograph was created in 1884, Mary was 15 years old.  We know this because someone has recorded this information on the reverse of the photo.  Unfortunately, while we're told this is "Aunt Mary," we haven't been given a surname.  The image was taken at the Blaul & Baumgardner Studio, 1937 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA.  Louis Blaul, a well-known Philadelphia photographer had two studios in the city by 1890.   Adolf J. Baumgardner was his business partner for a time in the 1880s.  By 1890 Baumgardner was working with Louis H. Helbing on Lancaster Avenue.

We know that Mary was born around 1869, but with a common given name like Mary, a big city like Philadelphia and with no last name, we don't have much chance of learning more about her.  Pity.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Adolf Bernhard Meyer's Favourite Tie, Dresden, Germany, 1906

Written on the reverse on this cabinet card:  "Frl. Mary E. Hawley zur freundlichen erinnerung,  A. B. Meyer, Dresden, Juni 1906."  It was photographed at the Hugo Erfurth Studio in Dresden, Germany. I believe it was sent through the mail in an envelope because of the round imprint on the card you can see in the top right hand corner.  It was probably made by a postal stamp.  It's too bad somebody along the way let the card get so stained. 

This started out as a "What A Shame" post because I thought the likelihood of solving this one was nil.  I have some experience with German records, but with a common German name such as Meyer, with only given name initials, in a big city like Dresden, I figured it was the longest of long shots.

I did the usual Ancestry search, knowing full well that the German records haven't been plentiful on that site.  Nothing.  I searched around online for a digitized copy of a Dresden City Directory of some sort.  Nothing.  I conducted a simple Google search and lo'....a hit for an Adolf Bernhard Meyer (1840-1911) of Dresden, who, according to Wikipedia, was a famous anthropologist, ornithologist and entomologist.

I was skeptical that I had a photo of Adolf Bernhard Meyer, so I went in search of photographs of the scientist.  I found one on the German Wikipedia site:


He's even wearing the same tie.  Have a close look.  It is the same tie.  It might even be the same shirt and coat.  Either it's his favourite tie or it's from the same sitting.

So, how do I confirm this for sure?  The Wikipedia post told me that Adolf Bernhard Meyer was Director of the Anthropological and Enthnographic Museum in Dresden from 1874 to 1905, so I sent them an email with A.B. Meyer's photograph attached.

While I wait, I thought I should look up the photographer, Hugo Erfurth.  Turns out Erfurth (1874-1948) was a sought-out portrait photographer in Dresden who had a lot of celebrity clients. He was very much a huge part of the Dresden's art scene during the early years of the twentieth century.

The following obituary for Adolf Bernhard Meyer was found in The Auk, a publication of the American Ornithologist's Union:

The Auk (American Ornithologists' Union), v. 28 1911, p. 519

I will update this post if I locate any information that proves or disproves the man in the photo is Adolf Bernhard Meyer.

UPDATE:  April 25, 2012:  I received confirmation today from  MUSEUM FÜR VÖLKERKUNDE DRESDEN  that the photo is, indeed, Adolf Bernhard Meyer. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Lost Surname: Vada and Lela Oswalt, Alliance, Ohio, Circa 1901

These two sisters have been in my collection for many years.   They've frustrated me a bit because, search after search, I could not find anything that matched the handwritten inscription on the back of the photograph.  The back reads, "Lela Kellers, 6.  Vada, 4.  Forest dated Lela."  The photo was taken in Alliance, Ohio by Lorin E. Miller, probably around 1900-1910, based on the style of card used and the fashion of dress.

Today I decided that simpler might be best.  Lela and Vada are somewhat uncommon names.  Instead of searching for Kellers or Keller, I thought I would perform a wide-open search, with no geographic or surname restrictions.  I was only going to search for two siblings with those first names.  The first hit that came up was an entry from the 1900 US Census for Lella and Vada Aswalt, of Alliance, Stark County, Ohio:

Aswalt, William, b. Sept 1862, OH, widowed, occ. Railroad Brakeman
Aswalt, Elby, b. May 1886, OH, son
Aswalt, Lella L.  b. Sept 1895, OH, daughter
Aswalt, Vada.  b. Mar 1898, OH, daughter

After looking at the actual census, rather than the transcribed index, I believe the surname is actually "Oswalt."   I wasn't getting too excited at this point, because Aswalt/Oswalt wasn't in anyway similar to the surname Kellers.    However, the next family on the census caught my eye:
Keller, Jessie, 53
Keller, Tabitah, 51

This made me wonder if something happened to William Oswalt which motivated the Kellers, who were possibly relatives, to take the children in.  I looked at the 1910 Census (Alliance, OH) where the Oswalt girls are living with the Keller couple:

Jesse Keller, 65, watchman Railroad
Tabitha Keller, 62
Lela Oswalt, 14, grand-daughter
Vada Vell Oswalt, 12, grand-daughter

Vada and Lela's brother Elby is married with a family of his own by the 1910 census and is living in Alliance.  It is interesting to note that William Oswalt, the father, is living with his son Elby at the time of the 1910, 1920 and 1930 censuses.  So it would seem the girls haven't been orphaned, and are just living with their grandparents.

I went in search of the girl's birth records.  I found Lela Viola Oswalt, born 30 September 1895, Alliance OH to Wm. H. Oswalt and Almeda Keller, in the Ohio, Births and Christenings Index, 1800-1962.  I couldn't find Vada.  I did find a boy named Raymond Oswalt, born 13 Feb 1900, Alliance, to the same couple.  I learned in the Ohio Deaths and Burials, 1854-1997 Index that Almeda B. Oswalt died on the 14th of February 1900,  presumably, of complications during childbirth.

William H. and Almeda Kellers were married in Stark Co., Ohio on October 18, 1894This was William's second marriage.

Stark County, Ohio Marriages, 1894 -1896, Volume 15, page 84

Familysearch shows a marriage occurring on October 18, 1885 between William H. Oswalt and Carrie Bevington.  Elby or (L.B) is  the son of William and Carrie Bevington.

I haven't been able to find out if Vada and Lela married.  I did find a couple of trees on Ancestry that have death dates for Lela and Veda (without mention of any spouses), but I am wary of pulling information from member-submitted trees without being able to verify the information myself.

We can assume that the person who wrote the note on the back of our photograph was not a direct relative, which would explain the mix-up with the surname.   I suspect we've followed the correct trail here, but again, there are no guarantees.

If you have knowledge about the lives of Vada and Lela that you'd like to share, or if you have a picture to compare this one with, I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What a Shame Wednesday: Unknown Young Man, Chandler Star Gallery, Beverly, Ohio, 1880s

This is a true "What A Shame Wednesday" photograph.  There is no identification on the subject at all, just a photographers imprint which reads, "Chandler Star Gallery, Main Street, Beverly, Ohio."  I couldn't learn anything about this particular photographer.  Even a census search came up dry.

I looked through the public pictures on Ancestry that were connected with Beverly, Ohio to see if I could find this exact photo.  How desperate is that?  I did find photos of one fellow named Will H. Clark, born 1872  in Beverly, who I thought could bear a resemblance to the young chap in this photograph.  Unfortunately,  after scanning photo after photo for resemblances, it doesn't take long until everyone looks related. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Lasso the Moon: The Other Mary Bailey, Vermont or New Hampshire, Circa 1893

When I hear the name "Mary Bailey," I can't help but think of Donna Reed's character in It's a Wonderful Life. I don't think the fictional Mary Bailey is going to be the only Mary Bailey we hear about on this particular search.  No, Sir-ee, I expect we're going to find a whole mess of Mary Baileys in the censuses. 

There's no other identification on this photograph other than a pencil note on the back, "Mary Bailey, friend of Mum's."  The photographer is Charles F. Bracy who had not one, but three studios at the time this photo was taken:  one in Woodsville, N.H., another in Wells River, VT and a branch studio in at Lake Morey in Fairlee, VT.   

Bracy appears to have been in business from the mid-1870s to about 1910.  But I think we can date this by Mary's attire to the 1890s.  I can't see the width of her sleeves, but the shoulders seem to indicate somewhere around 1893.

As expected, I found way too many M.B.s to make an in-depth search worthwhile.  The difficulty, once again, is that we don't know if Bailey is a maiden or married name.  We have three geographic areas, a very common name, a non-existent 1890 census, and not much to go on at all.  Sigh.

George Bailey:  What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.

Me, I'd settle for a birth date. 

*** For my regular readers:  I'll be moving to a M-W-F posting schedule over the spring/summer, beginning April 16  and will resume my normal schedule (Mon. through Sat.) in September.  I hope you keep stopping by!*** 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Super Sleuth Saturday: Who is Richard D. Hall?

Here's your Super Sleuth Saturday Challenge for this week.

Written faintly, in pencil on the back:

To Libbie from her 
Cousin Richard D. Hall
age 21years 11months
Oct 25, 1895

Can you uncover more details about Richard's life?

*** I'll be moving to a M-W-F posting schedule over the summer, beginning April 16  and will resume my normal schedule (Mon. through Sat.) in September.***

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Fine Young Gentleman: Harold Beamish, Shoal Lake, Manitoba, Circa 1905

Harold Beamish had this portrait taken at the Lawrence Studio in Birtles or Shoal Lake, Manitoba.  I would date the photo sometime around 1905-1910, taking into account the style of photograph and Harold's attire.  After speaking with a volunteer from the Birdtail Country Museum in Birtles, I learned that A. J. Lawrence was in the photography business in Birtles from the early 1900s to about 1947.

I could find only one Harold Beamish in Manitoba at the beginning of the 20th century that might fit the bill.  I can't say with absolute certainty that I have the correct Harold Beamish but an 18-year-old with that name appears in the 1906 Canada Census living in the Shoal Lake area.  His parents were William and Sophia Beamish.  He had eight siblings:  Georgiana Beamish (Wilkie), Imer E. Beamish, Samuel R. Beamish, Margaret M. Beamish, William H. Beamish, Robert W. Beamish, and Mary Ann Beamish.   Harold enlisted as a soldier in the First World War in 1917.  In the registration document his birthdate is given as the 29th of July, 1888, Harding, Manitoba.  

Harold died on the 17th of February 1954 in New Westminster, BC at the age of 65.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Fading Portrait of Mary Fors, Fargo, ND, ca 1897

This cabinet card photograph labelled "Mary Fors," taken at the Hanson & Stene Studio in Fargo, North Dakota has degraded over the years.   Hopefully, by keeping it out of the light this is where the image will stay, rather than fading into a more ghost-like image.

We can narrow down the date this photograph was taken quite handily.  According to The Institute for Regional Studies, North Dakota State University, Hanson & Stene operated on 508 Front Street in Fargo beginning in  June of 1897.  In January 1898 the partnership of Charles F. Stene and Hans J. Hanson was dissolved.

But who was Mary Fors?  I found only one Mary Fors in North Dakota in the 1900 US Federal Census, but this Mary was a one-year-old, so is not the Mary Fors we are looking for.  A wider search yielded far too many possibilities.  I tried to find a city directory for Fargo for the year 1897, but could not find one online.  If one exists in hardcopy, it might be worthwhile to see if there are any entries for the surname Fors.

Several things could have occurred here.  Mary might be from elsewhere and simply had her picture taken in Fargo on a visit.  Or perhaps she did live there and moved away shortly after.  She could have married.  There are so many, too many possibilities surrounding Mary that I think it is difficult to continue with the search without some other breakthrough.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What a Shame Wednesday: Chas. E. Lanyon and Jack McCartney, Circa 1907-1911

This postcard photograph signed "Chas. E. Lanyon" and "Jack McCartney" is a puzzler.  There isn't a location and the reverse of the postcard hasn't been written on.  The postcard itself dates after 1907 because of the dividing line between the address and message.  The approximate date can be narrowed down further by looking at the stampbox.

This particular stampbox appeared on Velox postcards produced between 1907 and 1911.

My census search for "Charles E. Lanyon" started out promising.  Only one or two hits in the time frame we're looking at.  However, once I dropped the "E" and started looking at all Charles Lanyons, the research future didn't look quite so rosy.  There are dozens of Charles Lanyons.

I really didn't have to run "Jack McCartney" through the same test to know the result, but I did anyway. There are many, many more people with that name in the censuses.

This real postcard photograph was found in an antique store in Coombs, B.C., Canada.  I don't know if this is much of a clue since I've found photographs from all over the world in antique stores around here.   Most of the photographs I find in BC shops have not originated in Canada.  There are many folks living here who are originally from the UK.  Vancouver Island is a favourite spot for retirees from across Canada, and many Canadians have connections to the US.

This one is a shame, because we don't even have a country, let alone a city.  I was intrigued by Charles' lapel badge.  I had a look with my magnifying glass, and it appears to be a shield with stars in the centre.  Perhaps a police organization?  I am also curious about the relationship between these men.  Are they related?  I have a hunch their connection is occupational, but I really have nothing to base that on.

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Miss Amy E. Creaser, From Yorkshire, England to Lawrence, MA, Circa 1880s

I had a little bit of an advantage with this photograph.  It's clearly labelled, "Amy Creaser" and although it was taken in Boston at the Towne Studio, I know that Amy lived in Lawrence, Massachusetts.  Once again, it's a case of provenance.  It was discovered with a collection of portraits from Lawrence, Mass and Nova Scotia that once belonged to Mary Harrison of Maccan, Nova Scotia.  Mary lived in Lawrence during the 1880s.  In addition to Amy's carte de visite portrait, there were also photographs of George, Annie, and Joe Creaser, taken in Lawrence.

So, who was Amy?  Well, I started by searching around Lawrence.  In the Massachusetts Town Vitals Collection, 1620-1988 I found a marriage record for Amy E. Creaser, born about 1861, and Edward S. Riley, who married on the 19th of July 1890 in Lawrence, Mass.  Amy's parents are listed as Elizabeth and John Creaser.

In the 1900 census, I found John and Elizabeth Creaser, with children Annie, born 1867, England; and Mary E., born 1874, England.  It appears John and Elizabeth Creaser immigrated to the US in 1881.  I also found Amy and her husband in Lawrence.  At the time they had five children:  Cora, Charles, Edward, Edith and Marion.

I thought I'd see if I could find Amy and her parents in the 1881 England Census.  Amy and her sisters Edith Jane (b. 1870,  London Lower Norwood, London, Middlesex, England) and Mary Ethel (b. 1874,Oldham, Lancashire, England) are living with their grandparents Thomas and Mary Cole of Nafferton, Yorkshire.  The parents are not there.  Amy and her eleven-year-old sister, Edith are working as factory hands.  It is interesting to note that the Smith grandchildren of Thomas and Mary Cole are also living there, and again, no parents.

On April 25 1881, Amy, her mother, and siblings arrived in New York aboard the ship, Nederland.  They travelled in steerage.  Note the appearance of Joseph, age 2.

I searched for her father next.  I found a  John Creaser who arrived about year earlier, on the 19th of April, 1880 at the port of Philadelphia aboard the Indiana.  George W. Creaser, a young man of 15, accompanied him.   It's unclear if George is a son or some other relative of John's.  Of course, without more research I can't say for certain if John and George even belong to Amy's family.  I know that in Yorkshire, there are a number of Creaser families with similar given names.

This photo probably dates to the early-to-mid 1880s.

UPDATE JULY 24, 2012:  This photograph of Amy, along with three other Creaser images, have been reunited with a descendant who wrote, "I just stumbled unto your 4/12/12 post on Amy E. Creaser while googling a family relative and was just amazed at the photo and information which you provided. I have been spending months getting this side of my family recorded. All your information agrees which what I have been able to piece together --cudos. The 2 year old Joseph who immigrated with his mother and sisters in 1881 was my paternal grandfather. The George who arrived in Philadelphia in 1880 was a son to John and the older brother to Joseph."  So glad these photographs are "going home." 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Another Senior Studio Portrait: Rhoda Jane Kerslake, Usborne, Ontario, Circa 1905

Margie, a Family Photo Reunion supporter from Calgary, sent me this lovely photograph of Rhoda Kerslake (whose name is inscribed on the back) quite a while ago, so it's only a coincidence that last Thursday's post was also a photograph taken at the Senior Studio in Exeter, Ontario.

Luckily, Rhoda has an unusual name, so it was fairly easy to locate her in the Canada Census.  She first appears in the 1891 Census in Usborne, Perth South, Ontario as a nine-year-old.  Her mother, Mary Ann Rowe Kerslake, shows up without her husband, but I suspect there may have been a mistake made.  Perhaps the census taker overlooked husband John altogether.  I really don't know why he isn't there:  he is present in the 1901 and 1911 censuses and Mary isn't listed as head of household in 1891 or widowed, so clearly she was still married to John.  Rhoda had at least four siblings:  Mary, Charles, Alice, and Ethel. 

According to the 1901 census, Rhoda J. Kerslake was born 10 September 1881.  She married Robert George Reid, son of John Reid and Eliza Anne Clarke Reid in 1919 (Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1801-1928, Huron County).  Rhoda's mother passed away in 1904 and is buried in Exeter Cemetery.  Her father, John, died in 1925.  There are a number of Kerslakes in Exeter Cemetery, including John's parents. Henry Kerslake and Rebecca Vanstone Kerslake.  Rhoda and her husband Robert Reid lived in Varna, Ontario.  Even though I haven't been able to confirm this, one of the trees I found online shows that Rhoda died in 1971 at the age of 90 years. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Mrs. Thomas Egan, How Do you Like Yourself? Gladstone, Manitoba, 1911

This is the reverse of the postcard photograph above:

The letter reads, "I received the plants OK. thanks.  They are doing fine.  How do you like yourself.  Now I hope you will be good.  It does not look like Rain to-day it is quite fine again now.  How is Tom.  The other card are not too bad.  I will send some others as well. Say the roll I got from Ernie Budge was spoiled.  So long for the present.  Frank."

It is addressed to Mrs. Thos. Egan, C.P.R. Gladstone, Man.

It wasn't difficult finding a Mrs. Thomas Egan, aka. Maggie Bell Egan in Gladstone, Manitoba.  Her Thomas was even a telegraph operator for the Canadian Pacific Railway.   They lived in Gladstone from at least 1901 to 1916.  Cobbling together the information from all of the censuses during that time period we know that Thomas Egan was born 29 Jan 1871, probably in Ireland. He came to Canada in 1880.  Maggie Bell Egan was born 18 July 1875 in Ontario.  They had two children:  William L., born 12 April 1898 in Saskatchewan and Mona Bell, born 1902 in Manitoba.

In Gladstone, Then and Now, the local history book published in 2001, there is a short notation concerning Thomas Egan:   "Two of the longest-serving agents were Tom Egan, who worked for the CPR and served in that capacity for around 40 years, and ........" "Tom and his wife, Mona & Bill lived in the old CPR station until it was torn down in 1940."

There is another local history book, THIRD CROSSING: a History of the First Quarter Century of the Town and District of Gladstone in the Province of Manitoba but I didn't find a mention of the Egan family there.

The following notice appeared in the Manitoba Free Press, June 30, 1897...

...which lead me to this article in the Qu'Appelle Progress newspaper on July 1, 1897.  My apologies for the fuzziness of the article.

So, I think we can say that Maggie Bell Blackwell Egan is the woman in the photo.  Who do you think the man is?  Is it Thomas?  Or is it their son, Bill?    Or perhaps Maggie's younger brother, Willie Blackwell?  The man looks quite young to me, but perhaps not as young as William Egan would be in 1911, the date the postcard was mailed.  Any thoughts?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Bill and Lou Horner, Twice for Good Measure, Circa 1910

This real postcard photograph is simply labelled, "Bill and Lou Horner"... twice.  But, unfortunately, there isn't a location or photographer mentioned.

There are a few clues that can help us narrow down the date the postcard was made.  There isn't a postage stamp or postmark, so we aren't lucky enough to get an exact date but the picture was made on AZO paper and you will notice that there are four triangles in the corners of postage stamp box.  This tells us that the postcard was made somewhere between 1904 to 1918.  Later AZO postcards have two triangles up, and two down.  You can also see that the postcard is divided down the middle:  one side for correspondence, the other for name and address.  This development was implemented in North America around 1907.

Lastly, the location of back printing on the card is fairly high up on the AZO card.  This indicates a date of around 1910 and later.  Earlier AZO cards have the words "Post Card" a bit lower on the card.

So I think we can guess a time frame of 1910-1918, making some allowance for photographers using older paper.  But narrowing down which Bill and Lou Horner is another problem entirely.  We have a fairly common surname, with common given names and no location.

I ran it through an Ancestry search anyway.  I did find a William Horner, born 1913, New Jersey, who had a brother Louis, born 1915, New Jersey,  living in Pennsylvania in the 1920 & 1930 censuses.  They were the sons of William and Grace Horner.  The family lived in Philadelphia in 1930, and in Quakertown, PA in 1920.

I haven't been able to find any more on the family, but perhaps a search of the 1940 census would provide some more information to go on (once the site gets less busy after its recent release!)  It's very difficult to know if this is even the correct Bill and Lou, though.  Perhaps we will get lucky and find a relative who has other photos to compare with.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

From Dora Kelland to Annie Jones, Exeter, Ontario, Circa 1901

According to the inscription on the back, Dora Kelland gave this photograph of herself to Annie Jones.  Dora was probably Dora Kelland, b. 20 December 1884, who appears in the 1901 Canada Census in Exeter, Ontario, daughter of John and Mary Kelland.  At the time she had four siblings:  Ada, 10; Franklin, 7; Wilber, 5 and Elva, 2.

I placed this photograph around the time of the 1901 Census.  It could have been taken a bit earlier or later. Perhaps someone well-acquainted with Late Victorian/Early Edwardian fashions could weigh in.  The shirred sleeves and upper bodice could perhaps be a clue.  The hair seems early Edwardian and Gibson-girl like. 

I investigated the photographer, "Senior," located on Main Street, Exeter and discovered that members of the Senior family were in the photography business from 1867 to the 1940's, so I wasn't able to narrow down the dates that way. 

I did find a few trees on Ancestry that had Dora in them.  She seems to have married Harry Waghorn, and had ten children.  Dora died in 1979 and is buried in Kirkton Union Cemetery in Kirkton, Ontario.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What a Shame Wednesday: Three Men from Wellston, Ohio, 1920s

The only identification on this photograph is contained in the photographer's imprint on the lower right front of the card.  It reads, "A. M. Handley, Wellston, O."

A. M. is Arthur Monroe Handley, born February 19, 1879 in Ohio.  I tried to narrow the time frame in which he practiced photography.  The first mention I could find of A.M. Handley, the photographer, is in the 1910 US Census .  Arthur is 31 years old, living in Wellston, Jackson County, Ohio and owns his own photography studio.  He seems to have kept up this occupation until at least 1930.

Sadly, this information doesn't tell us who these men are.  They would appear to be a father and two of his sons.  It's hard to date, because men's fashions don't have a lot of fashion points to date by.  If I had to guess, I'd place somewhere in the 1920s, but that is purely a guess.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mother and Daughter: Laura and Frances Horton Judson, Michigan,circa 1913

While identified with a mother and baby's name, this postcard photograph does not provide us with a photographer or location.  As you can see, the front is labelled, "Frances Jeannette Judson, Age Four Weeks."  The reverse is marked, "Laura Horton Judson And Daughter."

A quick search of the US Federal Census yielded only one match for this mother-daughter name combo, in 1920, Osbron, Maricopa, AZ:

George A. Judson, 32, Principal, Public School
Laura H. Judson, 28, born Michigan,
Frances J., 7, born Michigan
George A. J., 4 2/12, born  Arizona

The family is found in Scottsdale, AZ, in the 1930 Census with the addition of Eugene H., b 1922.  Frances is now going by the name "Jeannette."  Laura Judson's occupation is listed as "Dietitian, Private School."
It would appear that the Judson family moved to Phoenix and started a private boys school there.  George, Jr. taught at the "Judson School" in 1938.

I don't know what became of (Frances) Jeannette Judson after 1930.  With the 1940 Federal US Census coming out soon, we may be able to find out more.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Story of a Miner and His Son: The Two John Mochars, Nanaimo BC, circa 1896

Little Johnny Mochar was photographed sometime around 1896 by John Wallace Sampson at Sampson's Diamond City Studio in Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, BC.  According to David Mattison's Camera Workers website, which has an inventory of early BC photographers, John Wallace Sampson purchased his studio from E. L. Boyden in 1886 and was in business for approximately six years (or perhaps closer to ten years as this photograph appears to have been taken in 1896).  The photograph is identified, "Johnny Mochar" on the reverse. 

There is an entry in the BC Marriage Index, 1872-1935 on Ancestry.com, that shows John Mochar married Christina Tausche in Nanaimo on the 24 November 1894.

In the 1901 Canada Census, the spelling of John's surname is Mocher.  The family is living in Nanaimo South:
John Mocher, 42, b. Dec. 15, 1868, Austria, imm., 1888., occupation: coal miner
Christina Mocher, 38, b. Nov. 30, 1872, Austria, imm., 1893
John Mocher, 16, b. May 14, 1895, BC
Frank Mocher, 9, b. Apr. 12 1900, BC

Sadly, Frank Joseph Mochar, died at age 3, on May 3rd, 1903 (British Columbia, Canada, Death Index, 1872-1990. Ancestry.com)

It's very rare to locate documents that let us "hear" the voice of the people we research. In my search for information on the Mochar family I discovered that John Mochar, Sr. was called to provide testimony in the "Report of the Royal Commission on Industrial Disputes in the Province of British Columbia," issued by the Department of Labour, Canada in 1903.  Coal miners at the Extension mine had voted to unionize, and the Wellington Colliery Co. Ltd, owned by Mr. Dunsmuir, was now under investigation for their treatment of the workers.  While a bit too lengthy to include in the body of this post, I have provided a link to that testimony, taken at Extension, BC on May 8, 1903, here.  It's interesting to note that Mochar is testifying only five days after the death of his son, Frank Joseph.  I discovered a fascinating book at my public library that takes a detailed look at the coal industry in Nanaimo and Ladysmith, BC as well as the business practices of the Dunsmuirs.  If you are interested in this subject, I highly recommend John R. Hinde's When Coal Was King.

I'm not sure what John Mochar, Sr. did for employment immediately after leaving his mining job, but on the front page of the December 2nd, 1905 issue of the Victoria newspaper, The Daily Colonist, a report on Nanaimo businesses states, "The Nanaimo Hotel property of Robert Evans, who for thirty years has successfully conducted it, was sold tonight to John Mochar."  The 1909 & 1910 city directory listings for Nanaimo show John Mochar as the proprietor of the Nanaimo Hotel.

There would soon be more changes for the Mochar family.  In the 1911 Canada Census I found the family on the mainland at 1035 Pender Street in Vancouver, BC, where John Mochar operated a "lodging home."  He had 15 tenants at that location.  The Mochar's Argyll Rooms Lodging Home has been gone for quite a while now, replaced by high rises and business towers.  John Mochar, Jr. has two more siblings on that census:

John Mochar, 42, b. Dec. 1868, Austria, imm., 1888.
Christina Mochar, 38, b. Nov. 1872, Austria, imm., 1893
John, 16, b. May 1895, BC
Johanna, 9, b. Aug. 1901, BC
Joseph, 5, b. Oct. 1905, BC

John, Sr. moves the family to 3510 Sophia in 1915, and then to 475 Broadway, where the family will reside until at least 1940.  In the 1920 Vancouver directory, John, Sr. is operating a grocery at 479 Broadway. 

John Mochar, Jr. headed to the US for work sometime between 1915 and 1917 because he registered (as an alien) for the World War I Draft in Washington State.  According to his draft registration card, he is living on South Mission, in Wenatchee and is working as a farm hand for Bart Svetko.  The birth information on the card matches the information shown above.  John, Jr. doesn't stay there long, and is back in BC by at least 1920.

In the early 20's he appears to be employed at his father's grocery, and then becomes an insurance agent for New York Life.  In 1930 John Mochar, Jr. gets a clerk job with Vancouver City Parks, a job he holds for many years.

In May 1934 John, Jr. marries (Laura) Mary Owens.   John, Sr. died on the 24th of April 1945 at the age of 76 in Vancouver.   Christina Tausche Mochar passed away in 1936.  John, Jr., died on the 18th of December 1972, in Vancouver.  He, too,  was 76 years old.

John Mochar, Jr. and his wife Laura Mary (d.1978), are buried in Mountain View Cemetery.