Thursday, April 26, 2018

Not Enough Pieces to Solve this Puzzle

When I first found the photograph I showed you in yesterday's post, I thought there was enough information to figure out how to send it home. That was then, in the excitement of the moment, sifting through dozens of photographs with my genealogy angel and good friend, Sheri Fenley.

Now, I'm not so sure I can do itdeliver that photograph back home to family members, that is. Some of the information can be interpreted in more than one way. There's a lot of wiggle room on another piece of the puzzle. And a slight problem with the handwriting.

Still, it's worth the try. So, today, I'll show you what we have to work with, and some of my misgivings about what I'm seeing on the reverse of the photograph. Tomorrow, we'll dig in and see if any of the details can actually lead us to some solid data.

The first detail that had convinced me that it was possible to successfully complete the mission was the fact that the two children were named and given ages. There were a couple problems, though. One was that the person writing the names was not writing in English, but Frenchbut hey, a little high school French should be sufficient to tackle this part of the equation. The second detailadmittedly, a small onewas that the word I presume the writer meant to signify the English word "and" looked more like "el" than "et."

More than either of those trifling annoyances, though, were two other issues. One was that the postcard stamp boxa detail hobbyists often use to help narrow the date rangewas the Azo design assumed to have been used any time from 1904 to 1918. That, as you'll see, takes away from the small victory of realizing that the two children's ages had been given on that same postcard detail.

The biggest doubt, though, is the very last word written on the postcard. At first, I thought it might be Hallie, which was part of the reason I bought the card in the first place. If you remember the photo of Baby Fay, you may recall that Fay's mother's name was Hallie. But once I researched the full story on Hallie Randall, mother of Baby Fay, I realized her story wouldn't match up with a photograph of other childrenespecially one written in French.

On second review, I thought better of my snap judgment, and realized the name was likely Hallee. My next task, therefore, will be to find anything I can with either of the children's names plus the surname Hallee. We'll get to that, tomorrow.

In the meantime, here is what we were left with, most likely written en fran├žais by a proud mama some time between 1904 and 1918:

P. Emile [et] 3 ans
Lucien       1 ans


  1. I don't have a problem with the "t" in "et" because that was the way t's were often written. Instead of crossing the "t," a writer made the "t" in one stroke, swinging up in a slight arc, like a leaf of a flower. But anyway, let's see what you have up your sleuthing sleeve.

    1. True, Wendy, that could very well be what the writer was doing with that letter. I can remember that seemed to be a school teacher's prerogative, back when I was in grade school, struggling with my own handwriting.

      As for what's up my sleeve, unfortunately there isn't much at this point. But we are still early in the game...

  2. Hello. Your Blogiversary is coming up. Please email me at so I can send you the form to fill out. Thank you!


  3. Replies
    1. I am still hoping, Far Side, though I may need a lot of help with this one.


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