Monday, January 7, 2019

Now, Where Was I ?

It's Plough Monday. Time to get back to work!

It took some revisiting of old posts to remind myself of where we left off before the holidays. It was on the Friday before Christmas that I had reviewed the third possibility for the true identity of a man named Albert Roberts—a man who stopped in at a photography studio in Council Bluffs, Iowa, to have his portrait taken with his wife.

I'm still trying to figure out just who that "Mr. and Mrs. Albert Roberts" might have been, so I can return that hundred year old photograph to family. We have one possibility of a man born about 1869, and another of a man with the same name, who was about ten years younger than our first candidate. A third Albert Roberts, partially by virtue of his later birth in 1896, seems most likely to be eliminated from the roundup. So we are now left with a fifty-fifty chance at making the right guess.

Guessing, however, is not what we are here to do, of course. So now what?

For one thing, despite all the holiday festivities, I did manage to check out a few potential routes to right answers. I did a thorough search for family trees on which contained either of these two couples, to see if any were maintained by close relatives of either of the Alberts in question. One of these has, thankfully, responded to indicate willingness to help us explore this puzzle further. The other trees, unfortunately, were not posted by descendants or close relatives, so I didn't even contact them.

Another route I am taking is to contact the county libraries, as well as genealogical and historical societies, to see if there is any photograph collections there which could help with comparisons. Thankfully, one helpful person—who happens to be connected to such photograph repositories—has indicated willingness to help, as well.

And so, the search grinds onward. Besides reaching out to these organizations and individuals, however, I've learned that there are a few other ways to seek potential answers. For one thing—and I have been reminded of this in past searches—not everyone keeps their tree on Ancestry. Witness one of my first photo-sleuthing stories about Penrose Hawkes and the mystery photo album that turned out to come from County Cork, Ireland: that answer came, initially, through a family tree posted on (Though the person didn't reply to my posted message—which I had to join in order to even send—the discovery was of the right descendant, and I did eventually send the album to her, though it was through the Cork Genealogical Society's Facebook group that the nexus was successfully made.)

And again, most recently, I was reminded to look for answers in places like the universal tree kept on, where the researcher who discovered the unburied cremains of the Civil War veteran we discussed prefers to post her discoveries.

There is one other way I can circumvent this research brick wall. I can try seeking people who might have more knowledge of the unnamed Mrs. Albert Roberts. Though I don't have her given name—or this search would have been over by now, wouldn't it?!—I do have candidates for each of those names. If anyone is researching any family lines for those two maiden names, perhaps they might have access to photos of the young Mrs. Roberts to help us evaluate which one is the right candidate.

Now that the holiday season is over, we have a full list of items to attempt in completing this photo puzzle. One by one, we'll check them off, as well as check out another possibility—but I'll save explaining that idea for another day.


  1. Happy New Year, Jacqi! I was MIA in the blogisphere the end of 2018, but I have caught up on your latest photo project. It's a good one! I'm always amazed at the number of people who have the same name.

    1. No kidding, Wendy! It's always been an eye opener when I've googled my own name.

      Glad you are back, Wendy, and no longer MIA in the genea-blogging world.


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