Last week I spent an afternoon making the antique store rounds in search of any identified family photos. I found this family portrait cdv in a Vancouver Island shop. The fading carte de visite called out to me, and I felt I should try to preserve what was left of the image before it disappeared entirely. Now that it is scanned, I feel much better, and can begin discovering the story behind the image.
There's a lot of information written in ballpoint on the reverse of the photo:
Child James Jesse
Taylor with parents
(father of Agnes
Parent is George
from Peebles, Scotland
Even though the inscriber did not provide any precise birthdates, there is enough information here to do a little digging.
Since I knew the name of the child in the photo, and the name of this child's future daughter, I thought I would begin by trying to locate the grown-up James Taylor's family in a census or perhaps try to locate Agnes Margaret's birth record. I wasn't successful in locating Agnes' birth record, so I focussed on a census search. While I could not be absolutely certain that Holden was Agnes' married name, I thought it was likely. So, I looked for a James Taylor born between 1860 and 1866, with a child named Agnes Margaret Taylor. I found one possibility to investigate in the 1901 Canada Census1.
1901 Truro, Colchester County, Nova Scotia
J. J. Taylor, 35, born 14 Mar 1865, Nova Scotia, Occupation: C. Engineer [civil engineer]J. C. Taylor, 29
Hudson Taylor 10
Phyllis Taylor 7
Agnes M Taylor 4, born 26 June 1896, Truro, Nova Scotia
1911 Moncton, Westmorland, New Brunswick
James Jesse Taylor 46, b. Mar 1865 Nova Scotia, Civil EngineerJane Taylor 39
Hudson Taylor 19
Phyllis Taylor 17
Agnes M Taylor 14, b. June 1897, Nova Scotia
Minnie Leblanc 20, maid
I noticed what I thought was probably a photographer's imprint in the very centre on the back of the card. The small, circular photographer's stamp is so faint that it is very difficult to discern most of the letters even with a magnifying glass. By using Photoshop software and experimenting with the curves tool I was able to make out that the photographer was Parish & Co., at 124 Hollis Street in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Isaac Parish operated his studio there from roughly 1862 to 18693,4.
Okay, so this is all looking very plausible to me now, but a few questions remain. Did this Agnes M. Taylor marry a man with the surname Holden? Yes, she did. On the 27th of October 1915, Agnes married Charles Patrick Holden in Fredericton, NB5. On this marriage record, Agnes' parents are listed as Jas. J. and Jane C. Taylor.
And what about George, the alleged father of James Jesse Taylor? I was able to locate the marriage record of James Jesse Taylor. He married Jane C. Hudson on 2 Oct 1889 in Pictou, Nova Scotia. James' parents are listed as George and Jessie Taylor6.
And then I found an interesting write-up on George Taylor and his family connections on the NS Memory (Council of Nova Scotia Archives) site, which seems to corroborate the information above and the inscriber's assertion that George was from Peebles, Scotland. For descendants, it looks like Nova Scotia Archives has a wealth of information about George Taylor, including correspondence, account books and George and Jessie Taylor's marriage certificate.
1 1901 census of Canada, Truro, Colchester, Nova Scotia, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 29, sub district S, p.5 (penned), dwelling 43, family 46, J. J. Taylor family; digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 7 Apr 2018); citing Library and Archives Canada microfilm T-6428 through T-6556.
2 1911 census of Canada, Moncton, Westmorland, New Brunswick, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 11, sub district # 8, p.18 (penned), dwelling 172, family 180, James Jesse Taylor family, digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 7 Apr 2018), citing microfilm LAC microfilm T-20326 to T-20460.
3 Hutchinson's Nova Scotia Directory, for 1866/67, Containing Alphabetical Directories of Each Place in the Province, with a Post Office Directory and an Appendix Containing Much Useful Information. -- [Halifax]: [Thomas Hutchinson], [1866?]., page 75, Parish & Co. advertisement.
4 Burant, Jim. “Pre-Confederation Photography in Nova Scotia,” Carlton University, Ottawa, Ontario. http://jcah-ahac.concordia.ca/pdf/download/jcah-ahac_4-1_burant
5 "New Brunswick Provincial Marriages 1789-1950," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVBF-FJ57 : 13 March 2018), Charles Patrick Holden and Agnes Margaret Taylor, 27 Oct 1915; citing Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, p. , Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, Fredericton; FHL microfilm 2,024,762.
6 "Canada Marriages, 1661-1949," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F2GN-FT8 : 10 February 2018), James J. Taylor and Jane C. Hudson, 02 Oct 1889; citing Pictou, Pictou, Nova Scotia, reference 2:3R03LVK; FHL microfilm 1,298,992.