Thursday, September 27, 2018

Some Brockman In-Laws

Most of the time, when I rescue abandoned photographs from their resting place at an antique shop, it is the one solitary picture amidst the collection which contains that particular surname. But when my project partner Sheri Fenley and I arrived at one of the antique stores in Sonora, California, the collection turned out to be different. Along with that photograph labeled "Adolph Brockman and wife," there were several others which came complete with names listed on the reverse. The good news in this caseat least for somebody out there who shares our fascination with family historyis that many of the names were from the same family.

At least one of those surnames, as I came to discover, was connected with the same Brockman descendant whose father was born in West Point, Nebraska, and who eventually moved to live in Sonora.

The Brockman father who was born in Nebraska was a younger brother of the Adolph Brockman whose wedding photo we've been struggling to properly identify. This brother, Edward, was eighteen years younger than Adolph. Unlike his older married brother, as a teenager, Edward moved with his family from Nebraska to Colorado, and when in his twenties, moved again to Pocatello, Idaho.

It was in Idaho that the younger Brockman was married to a young Pocatello woman named Corinne. When I discovered her maiden name was Purkey, I felt like I had just hit the genealogy jackpot; Purkey was the surname on the back of several of the photographs I had found in that Sonora antique shop.

Even though each of the Purkey pictures was labeled with names, it wasn't exactly self-evident just how these Purkey people were related to each other. While it seemed I was handed the answer sheet to this portion of my quest to reunite such hundred-year-old photographs with their family's descendants, it wasn't quite so simple to zoom straight to the conclusion.

Take this portrait, below, of what looks like five energetic Purkey children. I know from the label that the picture represents Burt Edward, Mabel Theresa, Myrtle Ivy, Lester Manford and Leslie Earl Purkeybut how, exactly, were these children related to our Brockman in-law Corinne Purkey?

It is this next adventure that will lead us through several photographs of the extended Purkey family, and examine the path that took the Purkeys to Pocatello, Idahoand then, eventually, to Corinne and Edward Brockman's son in Sonora.

Above: Found in a Sonora, California, antique shop undated, with location unknown, this photograph of five children is labeledhopefully correctlywith the names Burt Edward, Mabel Theresa, Myrtle Ivy, Lester Manford, and Leslie Earl Purkey; photograph currently in possession of author until claimed by a Purkey descendant.


  1. I like you description of energetic! What a bunch :)

    1. As still and stiff as most subjects seemed to appear in photographs from that era, whoever the photographer was in this case seemed to have just the right touch in bringing out the personality of each of the children.

  2. Replies
    1. I just love this photograph, despite the worn condition. Looks like such a fun bunch of kids! And yes, thankful for whoever had the forethought to insure their names were listed.


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