Friday, November 2, 2018
Anyone Here Speak Danish or Norwegian?
Sifting through the many photographs I found abandoned in an antique store in northern California, it was easy to see that several came from the same ancestral family. Others, however, may not have even been related to the Purkeys, the Wymers, the Goodmans or the Tuckers we've been discussing.
Take this one photograph I found—much older than the rest—which was inscribed with a greeting that filled the entire reverse of the picture. The picture itself featured what I presume would be a setting with father and mother in the background, with grown daughter seated in front of them.
Even though it was difficult to see the writing on the reverse—it looked like it had been written in pencil—it was clear this was not English I was reading. I tried typing into Google Translate as close an approximation as I could decipher to the original words and, for the first part of the opening sentence, the translation service pronounced it to be Norwegian...if I corrected the spelling on one word which was clearly spelled differently. Trying again with a phrase taken from the last few lines of the inscription, this time Google Translate thought it was written in Danish.
Who knows what it actually will turn out to be. Maybe it will be Norwegian. Or Danish. Or perhaps Swedish. Or maybe a very old form of one of these languages has stumped the ever-helpful Google. After all, the photograph is well over one hundred years old—my guess, at least.
One thing for sure about this message, though: it mentioned Fertile, Minnesota. Whether the message provided any names or any other clues to help me return this old photo to descendants of the family, I don't yet know.
But I'd be grateful for any translation help from anyone who knows any of the Scandinavian languages. Together, hopefully, we can figure out this puzzle.
Original appearance of the message on the back of a hundred-plus year old photograph pictured above, with contrast enhanced. Below, enlarged portion containing the message: