Wednesday, February 7, 2018

When Guesses Turn Out to be Wrong

It's a good thing I did a thorough second look through that bag of photographs I brought back from Sheri and Jacqi's Most Excellent Adventure in the northern California foothills. If you thought we were done talking about little Alta Barnes and her two big sisters, you are as wrong at your guess as I was. There was not just one picture of Alta. Not two. There were several. And, thankfully, Alta saw to it that the others were adorned with chatty notes on the reverse, as well.

How did I miss that? Guess I'm not a stickler for details. Or perhaps there was so much happening on that whirlwind shopping spree, I missed focusing on that one detail of names. As long as a photo included a name, I was happyand not particularly concerned whether the one name matched any others.

A few more details from the backs of these additional photographs tell me I need to keep looking for more clues. One postcard, for instance, labeled the photo of a woman as "Aunty"and then provided her name and the town where she was living. It turns out to be Alta's older sister Mollie. Another postcard is a grouping of three, including a toddler, but this time, the youngest isn't Altashe's now the oldest of the three siblings. Yet another, labeled "Baby Face," is dated March, 1910, and includes Alta's married name. It includes a very faded note which I'll likely be able to read better by the help of a magnifying glass.

It's a good thing I had invested some time in extending Alta's family tree. Otherwise, I would have had no idea whatsoever that the much older photograph of a family grouping included Alta's mother. Its only label was the name, Clara Tousley. Thankfully, we know now how Clara fits into the family picture. Perhaps with that clue, we can figure out who the others were in the photo, despite lacking any other namesthanks to some explanations written in a hand looking suspiciously like Alta's own.

While I'm waitinghopefullyfor a response from the person I identified as the closest descendant I could find online, we'll take a day each to examine these additional photographs. Maybe a few more discoveries will pop up, once we slow down and search for the fine details.


  1. Replies
    1. I couldn't believe it, Miss Merry! I'm pretty excited, too!

  2. I do the same thing, just look for names in the antique shops then come home and sort through. Sounds like if a relative shows up they will have a good bunch of photos:)

    1. There were so many photos to sort through at that one antique shop, Far Side, and we just flew through the details. All I could remember was that we walked out the door with photographs that all had names.

      The more photos I find for this family, the more I wish a close family member would show up. This wait is killing me!


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