Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Heading Home

After a long detour which ended them up in an antique shop in Sonora, California, three photographs from Indiana are finally heading back home to family. Unlike other century-old photographs I've rescued and returned, the route leading to this homecoming was a path less traveled.

A photograph of George and Elmira Wymer, their sons, and their daughter Maude and her family was first featured in a post back in October, 2018. Usually, once I determine the main members of a photograph subject's family tree, I start looking for researchers who have posted their tree on searchable genealogy sites. I had found several public trees which included that couple's names—but not any posted by direct descendants.

If I had found any direct descendants, my next step would have been to send them a message, one person at a time, and then begin that long, unbearable wait until I got an answer to such an off-the-wall question as "hey, do you want your ancestor's photograph?" No answer to that message would mean moving on to the next possible descendant, if there were any others.

That, of course, has been the usual route to connecting antique photographs with their long-lost family. Sometimes, things went differently—like the time I posted a private message to a descendant on Facebook, or the time I succumbed to joining Geni.com just so I could message another member. I've contacted local librarians, local historical societies, and local genealogical societies, all in that attempt to get lost photos back to family who would appreciate them.

But finding the family of George and Elmira Wymer went differently. It took nearly three months before the connection was initially made—and then another eight months before the transaction was finally completed—but the connection showed up not through my initiation, but because someone contacted me.

Actually, make that two descendants contacting me—and doing it directly to my blog, in fact. I'm still waiting to hear just how they found me, but I can tell you they are two sisters who are great-great granddaughters of George and Elmira. The Wymers' daughter Maude was the sisters' great grandmother, thus the opportunity to send not only George and Elmira's two portraits, but also the picture of the extended family, including Maude's first husband and eldest two daughters.

The next heart-stopping moment on this timeline will be to await the news that these irreplaceable photographs have indeed made it home safely, a message I anticipate will come through in a matter of a mere couple days.

Above: Photograph of George and Elmira Wymer, their two sons and daughter Maude with her husband and two young children, finally on its way home to the Wymers' second great-granddaughters.


  1. This so touches my heart. I am on the quest of looking for a photograph of my great grandmother. I am sure there is one out there somewhere. Hopefully we find each other.

    1. Miss Merry, I certainly hope you do find a picture of your great grandmother. That would be wonderful! Are there any other family researchers on Ancestry or FamilySearch who might be the distant cousin who got all the family gems like that? Never know when a third cousin has a stash of the very stuff you are yearning for.


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