Friday, April 27, 2018

First, the Obvious

Finding the origin of this latest of the abandoned family photographs will be a challenge. Can you tell I'm having trouble latching on to a solid clue? When in doubt, I find it helpful to talk things out. So today will be my self-talk on the obvious details about the picture of P. Emile and Lucien.

To start with, we've already determined the Azo postcard which featured this picture of the two darling children had to have been printed between the years of 1904 and 1918. We also learned that, at whatever time the photo was taken, P. Emile was three years of age, and Lucien was one. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to determine that the date range possible for P. Emile's birth would probably be no earlier than 1900 or 1901 (given the wiggle room of how many months over three years that date might have landed). Likewise, Lucien would have been born about 1902 or 1903, at the earliest.

On the opposite side of the range, the latest year of birth for P. Emile would be 1915, and for Lucien, 1917.

Another obvious detail from the back of the postcard is the handy phrase, "Made in Canada." Not that the note itself wasn't clue enoughit was, after all, written in Frenchbut this at least eliminates the possibility that we were trying to draw conclusions on children living in France.

That, however, is where the obvious stuff ends. We could, possibly, conclude that, since this was a photograph of French-speaking Canadians, that this was a family living in the province of Quebec. The fact that the rest of the postcard was printed in English, however, leads me to realize that Quebec would be a first step in research, but not necessarily an only step.

Another point to reckon with is whether we can assume these were siblings. We can presume both children were called by the same surname, Hallee, but they could also be cousins.

An even stickier point would be to determine just what the "P" in "P. Emile" might represent. It could be Paul Emile. But it could also stand for Pierre. Or Philippe. However, in searching wikipedia for how many entries there are for each name combination, Paul Emile seems by far the more popular combination, especially in Canada—at least for famous people.

But the prime question is not whether there are any Paul Emiles to be found in Quebecor anywhere else in Canada, for that matter. What we need to do first is see if the name Hallee is a viable surname. If there is no such surname as Hallee, it is a trivial pursuit to decide whether Emile's first name is Paul or Philippe or anything else, at all.

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