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

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Robert Pollock Whyte Family of Stratford, Ontario, 1900

The details on this image might be skimpy, but it's such a lovely family portrait I have to attempt to figure out who they are.  The portrait was taken at the W. I. Becker & Co. studio in Stratford, Ontario, which was in operation between 1888-1900, according to the book, "The Ontario Photographers List: 1851-1900, Vol. 1" by Glen C. Phillips. The "& Co." portion of the imprint was only used after 1895. However, because the scope of the book ends with the year 1900, I am unsure how long the studio existed past that time, as I don't have a copy of the second volume in this series. 

There is a faint pencil notation on the back of the portrait, "Mr[s?]. R. P. Whyte, C--- ---alt & Church, Stratford." I believe the missing part of the inscription is "Corner Galt & Church [St], Stratford." R.P. Whyte did have a house on Church Street in 1905-19061. In the same publication I was able to find W. I. Becker & Co., still in business at 11 Market Street.

In 1901, 33-year-old Robert P. Whyte was a butcher2. He and his wife, Annie had two children: a two-year-old daughter named Leila and a son, Fred, aged four. Also living with the family is a boarder named Charlott Smith, who was born in the same year as Robert and Annie, in 1867.  If the photograph is a portrait of this family, it's likely that it was taken around the same time as the census was recorded, or perhaps just a bit later, around 1902-03.

Robert's full name appears to be Robert Pollock Whyte3. The family has moved to Vancouver, BC by the time of son Frederick's WW1 enlistment in May of 1918 and they are residing at 2915 Ontario Street.
Robert Pollock Whyte died in 20 Feb 1956, in Vancouver4.

1 Vernon's City of Stratford Directory, 1905-1906 (Hamilton, Ont. : 1906), page 93, entry for "Whyte, R.P.," digital image, Toronto Public Library (http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDMDC-37131055373187D&R=DC-37131055373187D) : accessed 06 Mar 2016).
2 1901 census of Canada, Stratford, Perth, Ontario, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 104, subdistrict # G6, p.8 (penned), dwelling 68, family 68, Robert P. Whyte family; digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 1Mar 2016); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm T-6428 through T-6556.
3 Canada, Soldiers of the First World War, 1914-1918, digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 Mar 2016), British Columbia, Victoria, 2nd Depot Btln., Frederick Whyte entry, dated 6 May 1918; citing Record Group 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 4930 - 35. Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa..
4 "British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986; 1992-1993", database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FLR6-H4B : accessed 8 March 2016), Robert Pollock Whyte, 1956.


  1. The Ontario Photographers List - Volume 2 (1901-1925) is available from Amazon.com (not saying you want to buy it!) I suspect it is available in some libraries.

  2. You might find this link more helpful


  3. Great article on Becker, Iggy. I missed this one in my searches. Thanks for posting the link!

  4. How do I contact you about the photo of Robert Pollock and family? Robert is the brother of my great grandfather.