Monday, July 2, 2018
On Canada Day
While Canada Day is officially the designation for July 1, the holiday having fallen on a Sunday means the country celebrates today. While I'm happy for our neighbors to the north during this festive celebration, I'm anxiously awaiting the return to business as usual at the museums and libraries across the border.
Why? I'm still searching for clues as to just who the John Reed might have been whose unidentified daughter had her likeness taken at a photography studio in Guelph, Ontario, nearly 120 years ago. While it seems we need to rule out the two candidates for the identity of our man John Reed, I thought there might be some other avenues we could explore in this adventure.
For one thing, Guelph has a few repositories tasked with preserving the city's memories, and I'm hoping to find a helpful staff member who might guide me further in this identification process—after the holiday, of course.
There is the Guelph Historical Society, which provides a search page to locate specific items in their collection. Remember my second candidate for the true identity of the "John Reed" mentioned in the photograph? The man named John Read in the 1881 census happened to have a son named Clement. Just searching for that spelling—John Read—brought up this set of photographs with a possible shot of Clement, himself.
The other John Reed was mentioned in a different collection, found through the Wellington County Museum and Archives. My hopes were certainly raised when I found their online access included a collection of postcards, but alas, neither John Read nor John Reed were included in that set. Still, it was fun to look through.
But John Reed was found elsewhere in the midst of all that collection's details, included in a set of land records for Erin Township. Sure enough, that was the same John Reed we found in the 1891 census record. We just don't know—yet—whether that was the John Reed mentioned on the back of our photograph.
If all else fails, once the holiday is over, I can always contact the Guelph Public Library. In this age of budget cutbacks, genealogical researchers sometimes forget to just ask. We presume the answer, in the face of no money for frills, will always be "no," but that is not always the case. It is always free to ask. It's only the answer that sometimes costs money.
While, behind the scenes, I'll continue to build family trees for our two candidates—John Reed and John Read—I'll also be awaiting any responses from these archives and collections which might provide some hints from already-stored and identified photographs. That might help.
Even if that fails, though, there was one other suggestion from last week which turns out to offer a promising lead—but that will take some explaining...tomorrow.