Monday, January 15, 2018
Making its Way to California
As I repeat this process of rescuing orphaned photographs once again, I'm beginning to learn the patterns that shape these now-familiar results. First of all, for the three original mystery photographs I found—the photo album from Ireland, the portrait of the Kansas salesman, and now, the picture of the young couple from Louisville, Kentucky—each was sold by the same northern California antique shop. No matter where the item originated, its final resting place was in the city of Lodi, California.
Apparently, the place where the shopkeeper got each of these photographs was also a consistent location. I discovered that fact when I was first puzzling over how the Irish photo album ended up in a place as small as Lodi. The shop owner explained the process: hers was a consignment store, and she kept track of the various sellers through a simple code placed on the back of each item for sale.
Sure enough, looking on the back of the photo album, alongside the price was another entry: "#51." I cropped the image I used on this blog so as to cut the tag off the back of the photo for William and Kate Hopkins, but if you look closely, you can see the top of its slight mark just below the "g" in Seegar. Number 51, as it turned out, was the code for an antique distributor with whom our shopkeeper did business—and that dealer happened to live in the Bay area around Contra Costa County.
The trick is, of course, to find the nexus between the supplier's range of services and the extended Hopkins family's descendants. Somehow, that dealer number 51 needed to have come across an estate sale within (I suspect) driving range of the Bay area in northern California.
The catch is, as we've already mentioned, that William and Kate apparently had no children of their own. Furthermore, Kate's brother William Allen had no children who ventured out west, and it seemed unlikely that her half-siblings' descendants did, either. Since William Hopkins, after Kate's passing, had married a woman with children of her own, it seemed unlikely that that would be the line to cherish and pass down a photograph of William's previous wife. I wasn't sure which way to turn next in unraveling this puzzle.
However, someone popped up over the weekend to remind me that I neglected another obvious resource: the siblings of William Bernard Hopkins, himself.
That someone was named Lee—the researcher in Minnesota whose Ancestry tree contained so much documentation on this entire family line. In addition, Lee passed along a few stories of the family in an email I received on Saturday, which prompted me to do some more searching on my own.