Monday, January 21, 2013

Some Guesses Are Better Than Others

Alameda California possible Lincoln
I mentioned yesterday that, once I discover the identity of one mystery person in my heritage box of unlabeled family photos, I can begin the process of connecting the dots and getting names and faces put together.

That worked so nicely for yesterday’s photographs, where I was able to place the identity of a mystery man from 1923. It turned out to be the photographs of one Bob Grant, the husband of Leona Bean, the older sister of twins Sam and Bill.

I have a set of photos—one of which I’ve already shared here quite a while ago—which I started wondering about in just the same way. The set includes two subjects which remain the same: an older woman, and—of course!—a car. The angles for each of the photos shifts a bit, but I’m certain it is the same car and the same fence line.

I don’t really know much about photography, but in looking over these two pictures more closely, I also realize that one of these outdoor shots is more nicely framed, zoomed in on the subject, and not over-exposed.

Alameda California Lincoln
My guess is that the man in one of the pictures swaps with the man in the other picture to take turns serving as photographer.

I already know the man in the over-exposed shot is Bill Bean. His mother, Ella Shields Bean, is the older woman—but just in case you doubt me, rest assured that the second picture includes a label, “Mother.” And a date, 1926.

The label on that other photo also includes another name, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t the name of that other man. It says, simply, “Lincoln.”

How much ya wanna bet that’s the car he’s talking about?!

My first inclination, in trying to identify the other man—the one in the photo labeled “Lincoln”—is to think of male relatives about the same generation as Bill Bean. Who else would be traveling with Bill to visit his mother—and probably show off his car—than another relative?

Who could this relative be? Well, for one thing, it wouldn’t be Bill’s twin. Sam, his brother, by now was afflicted with the side affects of the injury that brought about his blindness. The only other male relative would be Leona’s husband, Bob Grant.

Bob Grant it was, in my mind…until just the other day, when I re-examined those photos of Bob. While the few firmly identified photos I have of him aren’t sufficient to grant me the confidence of correctly matching his face with other pictures, I had thought that I was right. Now…I’m not so sure.

There’s the matter of the hairline, for one thing. And the glasses. Well, granted, we all can age and start needing help where we hadn’t, before.

A third photograph had once given me the idea that these dots could be connected. It’s a shot of a man who looks like he is halfway between the looks of Bob Grant and the mystery man in the photo with Ella Bean. Sometimes, I stare at that photo and think I have a match.

And sometimes I think I don’t.

Maybe it’s all become a matter of too much staring. I may have to just tuck a few of these photos back in the box and see what they look like again in a couple more years.


  1. Maybe his name really is Lincoln. After all, if you have Ulysses Grant, why not Lincoln??

    1. Wendy, I suppose anything is possible with this family. The funny thing is, Sam senior's son Earle married a woman whose step-father was named Lincoln. That, however, would be just a little too small a world for me.

  2. There was a Model T it most likely is the car..Looks like one too. Perhaps a friend went along that know pals motoring about:)

    1. I was hoping you'd stop by and take a look. I knew I could count on you to help me out with this model identification!


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