It was a photo album sent as a Christmas greeting that started me on the genealogical equivalent of a wild goose chase. The slim volume beckoned to me to find its origin. Opening the cover, I could see there were several photos identified by name—or, at least, tagged by given names. It could, indeed, be possible to follow the trail backwards from this antique shop where I found it, most likely garnered from an estate sale, to the home of the people whose faces smiled out at me from fading pages.
Theoretically, the signers to that holiday message—Harry and Alice—would be a couple, and the children they included in the photos to follow would presumably be their two daughters. Right at the start, though, an introductory page listed the characters in an order I hadn't expected.
W. O'Malley, Alice, Harry + self. Taken Aug. 1936. "Off on a spree"!
Harry seemed to be coupled with a woman identified as "self"—the source of those white-inked notes which accompanied the photos on each page of the album—and Alice was paired with a Mr. W. O'Malley.
Wherever they were, they were dressed for a splendid afternoon out and about. The only hint, besides the one surname, was the fact that the picture was snapped in August, 1936.
In fact, almost every person identified in this twenty-four page collection was listed by his or her first name alone. Whoever the recipient of this Christmas greeting was, it was someone for whom each of the photograph subjects would be familiar.
The question is: with only those few clues—and a scattering of more solid evidence—can we determine just who was the sender and the recipient of this Christmas gift from eighty years ago?