Monday, April 30, 2018
Yes, We Have a Keeper
I'm not sure why I was surprised to find a postcard inscribed in French at that northern California antique shop where I rescue abandoned family photographs. After all, people from around the world flocked to Gold Country after the California gold rush made international news—and quite a few of them settled there afterwards. Still, it somehow seemed a novelty to me, so I bought the picture postcard, intending to find a way to send it home to family, one hundred years later.
Now that I'm actually trying to figure out just who that family might be, I'm getting concerned that I won't be able to make it to mission accomplished. After all that self-talk last Friday—a pep talk designed to convince me to keep going on this project—I realized the first step needed to be to take that handwritten surname out for a test drive on the genealogical websites at my disposal.
My first step was to put "Hallee" through its paces at Ancestry.com. Thankfully, it did turn out that there is such a name in Quebec, Canada, the geographic area I'm guessing was home for the family at that time. Correct that: the name was likely written as "Halleé," possibly explaining that slight dot (or dash) above the double "e" in the postcard, which had at first made me think the handwriting was signifying "Hallie" rather than "Hallee."
With that good news confirming that I am on the right track to assume the word Hallee affixed to the bottom of the postcard was the surname for the children posing for their photograph, I then proceeded to test the waters further. Next question: could there be a Lucien Hallee? How about a P. Emile Hallee?
There were, indeed, such hits to my searches. In fact, I found more than one instance of each name. The problem was: I couldn't find any one family in Quebec province that included both children's names. I could find a Hallee family with a Lucien. Or an Emile.
Worse, once I took a good look at the actual document, I discovered one census record transcribed as Hallee was likely for a Vallee family. Another disappointment was that I found a Lucien Hallee in Find A Grave memorials—born in May, 1915, the poor baby was gone in just one brief year.
I did find a Paul Emile Hallee in the Find A Grave memorials, but his date of birth was slightly beyond what we had determined would be a latest possible date of birth—this one was born in 1920.
I even found a family tree on Ancestry.com which included both a Paul Emile and a Lucien Hallee—but Lucien was uncle to Paul Emile. That would never do, of course, because the postcard had signified that Lucien was the younger of the two children, certainly not the case here.
Of course, I can take my search to FamilySearch.org, as well as to FindMyPast and MyHeritage, since I hold a subscription to each of these sites. And I have other thoughts about getting creative in this unusual search.
In the meantime, though, something else came up over the weekend, which requires us to shift our attention to some unfinished business from previous photograph rescue missions for tomorrow's post.