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, July 3, 2015

Knitting Was Her Passion: Marion Baird, An Image From 1896

I found the above photograph at a local antique shop. I am always intrigued by early interior portraits like this one of Marion Baird. It's as if we've been invited to afternoon tea in Marion's parlor. Naturally, she will keep knitting through our conversation because she's the industrious type and feels that even if she's socializing, she should be doing something productive with her hands.
Someone (perhaps the subject herself) was kind enough to provide a few details about Marion on the reverse of the image:

The photograph was taken by R. Emerson, Halstead.  Marion was born October 24, 1803, making her 92 when she was photographed. Does she look 92 to you? I would have guessed she was younger than that.

Upon searching Ancestry and Familysearch for Marion, I encountered a couple of problems, or more accurately, facts that needed to be uncovered before a search could really begin.

1) Where did our photographer operate his studio? I couldn't find a photographer R. Emerson, of Halstead mentioned anywhere, which is fairly unusual. It's our only clue to a location. Is it Halstead, Essex? Halstead in Leicestershire?  Kent? Kansas, USA?

2) Is Baird a maiden or married name? 

I am inclined to think we're looking overseas in England, seeing as I live in an area with deep British roots. And, I couldn't say why exactly, but I think she was from the UK. I was looking closely at a Marion Baird, born about the right time in Colchester, Essex, who appears not to have married, and was living with her unmarried Reverend brother, Samuel Bawtree Baird in Pattiswick, Essex at the time of the 1891 census.  But without a bit more info, it's still only a hunch.

So, who can find me R. Emerson, the photographer, of Halstead?


  1. My grandmother used to do the same - knitting whenever her hands were idle. I think she would have smoked 4 packs of cigarettes or something in its stead if she hadn't!

    I would think this mystery location would be in Essex, UK. But I can't see full records there in Ancestry. From what I can see - I can't determine if this is a married name or not -

  2. There is a Marion Baird born est 1804 who died at age 97, in the district of Essex England. Essex also has a Halstead. I note that the date on the back is in American format vs UK however, but that doesn't mean she wasn't in the UK of course.

  3. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?gss=angs-g&new=1&rank=1&msT=1&gsfn=marion&gsln=baird&MSAV=1&msbdy=1803&gskw=halstead&_83004003-n_xcl=m&cp=0&catbucket=rstp&uidh=ei2&pcat=ROOT_CATEGORY&h=1300403&db=FreeBMDDeath&indiv=1&ml_rpos=13

  4. "Baird Marion of Pattiswick-rectory, Essex spinster died 29 Mar 1901 Administration (with Will) LONDON 2 August to Helen Frances Bagley Effects £183 2s. 1d."

    From: Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.

  5. I run a local heritage Museum in Halstead Essex and have some photos in our collection by R Emerson but as yet have not been able to pin him down but would guess he was local to us.