Thursday, June 21, 2018

Thanks for the Hint

Over the years, in reviewing what people included on the reverse of their family photographs, I've been able to imagine the scenario surrounding the decision about what to write. In some cases, I can envision an elderly woman, desperately trying to pass along the details of her family history memories before she, herself, passes from the scene.

Sometimes, the subject's name might have been written, then crossed out and re-entered as something else. Other times, memory failed entirely and all that resulted on paper would be a description of a relationship, sans any names at all. Those descriptions could get convoluted by the time the task was completed.

For the photograph we are currently examiningthat of a couple from Guelph, Ontario, which I found in an antique shop in northern CaliforniaI suspect we will be witnessing a re-enactment of such a scenario as described above. There isn't much to go by, as far as hints as to who our subjects might have been. I'm quite sure, in the midst of labeling the photograph, that someone forgot a name.

See for yourself what hints we have been provided. Here, in its entirety, is the reverse of the photograph. We'll see what can be found from all of this, tomorrow.

Henry + Cousin
John Reed Daughter

Above: Reverse of photograph from Burgess & Son studio in Guelph, Ontario. Photograph found in antique store in Jackson, California; currently in possession of author until claimed by a descendant of this family.


  1. There are a couple ways to read this: 1) the woman is Henry’s cousin and she is the daughter of John Reed and therefore John Reed is Henry’s uncle, 2) the woman is the daughter of Henry’s cousin John Reed so therefore Henry and woman are 1st cousins once removed. All this changes if “cousin” was used loosely to include any level of cousin. Well, at least you have one full name. Will Henry also be Reed?

    1. Wendy, you and I are on the same wavelength here. I've gone round and round about all those possibilities for interpretation, as we'll see tomorrow. I'm opting to take a different route for a more secure research footing, at least for this first step: find the years of operation for the photography studio. And then we'll move from there.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...