Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Telltale T

No, T is not for Tax Time, though I can certainly understand such a guess on a day like today.

T, in this case, is for Thirza, and just as I was preparing to send Thirza's picture home to a Cole descendant, its intended recipient, Karen, sent me a little interesting clue.

Remember Thiega? That scrawled name with the spelling which caused me so much doubt? How's this for a possibility? Wouldn't you think this handwriting said "Aunt Thiega" instead of Thirza?

That happens to be Thirza Cole's signature on a letter to Karen's parents, back in the 1940s. You can see how a beleaguered researcher might feel confused.

But that's not the only thing about that handwriting sample. There was something else. Remember that much older photograph I stumbled upon, from that same expedition up to California Gold Country to rescue some more abandoned family photos? The one of the elderly couple, Grandfather and Grandmother Browne from Grand Rapids, Michigan? It didn't have Thirza's name on itas had all the other photographs I found from her collectionbut it did have one other detail.

See if this handwriting looks familiar to you.

Just in case you think that T might have been a fluke, here's another handwriting sample received by Thirza's nephew and niecesubsequently passed to their daughter, Karen.

In my opinion, the handwriting on the reverse of the Browne grandparents' photograph is that of someone in her later years, but no matter when it occurred, the curious flourish over the T in both the Thirza signatures and the T in Timothy remain consistent. Whether Timothy and Caroline were indeed the names of Thirza's paternal grandparents or simply the grandparents of whoever wrote the original entry remains to be uncovered by additional research. But it's an encouraging clue. One that couldn't possibly have been discovered without input from another genealogist intent on collecting everything available about her family history.


  1. Replies
    1. With just one or two examples of it, I would have thought it was just a simple case of a mis-stroke. But with these added examples from Thirza's own letters, it does become her distinctive mark, doesn't it?


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