Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Meet the Newlyweds

If it weren't for the fact that the names of the couple featured in an old photograph I found were so neatly inscribed on the back, my latest orphan photo project might not have seemed so promising. To start with, the couple's surname was Hopkins, a fairly common name. In addition, the location of the photography studio where they sat for their likeness, over one hundred years ago, was nearly obliterated from the frame by some unfortunately-placed water stains.

Still, it seems likely that the imprint for the studio said "Louisville, Ky." for the locationof course, I could have seen that wrongand the full names given included the maiden name of the woman. What more could a researcher ask?

So today, we get to meet William Bernard Hopkins and his wifeoh, help me with this one, since the handwriting slipped a bit on her extra long nameKaty Seegar (Siegar?) Smith-Allen.

At least, I presume that is William's wifeif Kate is one and the same as Katy. I've seen people do the strangest thing with the photographs they later attempt to label for benefit of younger family members. Of course, at this point, with as little as we know about them, these could have been brother and sister. Assumptions can be very misleading, but otherwise, how would we be able to form a working hypothesis with which to launch our research?

Now that you've had the opportunity to meet the couple, we'll start tomorrow by pursuing any Louisville, Kentucky marriage recordsor, for that matter, any other Hopkins records in that cityto see what we can find.


  1. I think they might be a couple, but this does not look like a traditional wedding photo to me. I wanted to see the front of her blouse so bad...yet it is blacked out...was she pregnant? She looks a bit peaked:) I will guess that this photo was taken in 1902...just a guess.

    1. You have examined so many of this type of photo, Far Side, that I tend to go with your hunch. The couple does look older than wedding age (whatever that might be!) but it seems to me that people back then usually had an occasion in mind when they posed for their picture.

      If I have the right couple, from what I've found, your guess of 1902 would be quite accurate.

  2. Good luck with your search. I love it when photographs are labeled on the back!

    1. Unless I get tempted by an irresistible picture or other worthwhile hint, Colleen, that requirement of a label on the reverse is my bottom line. Judging from all the photos I've sifted through in shops, now that I've had that excursion to the foothills, photos with complete labels on the reverse are a rare item, indeed.


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