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by Maureen A. Taylor

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# Thursday, May 24, 2007
Church Clues
Posted by Maureen

Jan Oliver thinks this picture of an older man and a younger woman shows her great-grandfather John Henry Smith (born 1861) and his daughter Alice (life dates 1888 to 1962). Oliver knows Smith was alive in 1921, but she can’t find mention of him after that year. Will this photo tell her he lived longer?



The stone archway behind them, the people around them and the formal clothing with a boutonnière for him indicates this snapshot was taken at a wedding outside a church; perhaps one in which the elder Smith was a participant.  

Alice’s floral print dress, hat, net gloves and small clutch purse are perfect for a summer wedding. In the mid-1930s, women wore wide-brimmed hats tilted to the side with a single band of trim. No well-dressed woman was seen with a bare head. Social events also called for gloves—leather in the cooler months and net or crocheted styles in spring and summer. Through her choice of accessories, Alice is the epitome of fashion.

Both individuals look the right ages to be father and daughter. If this photo was taken in 1935, Alice would be 47, and her father, 74. But the wedding image raises other issues:
  • Since Oliver can’t find Smith after 1921, she has to figure out where’s he’s been for 14 years and why he’s dressed as a member of a wedding party. His common first and last name presents a research challenge.
  • Whose wedding is it? Listing who in the family was married in the mid-1930s may give Oliver a date for the photo and help her track down Smith in the intervening years.
I bet the photographer who snapped this spontaneous shot took others. Oliver can start by circulating this photo to family members who remember Alice and her father. Likely, a relative has a photo of the wedding party with Smith included.


1930s photos | men | women
Thursday, May 24, 2007 9:20:14 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [1]
Thursday, May 24, 2007 9:05:02 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Cool blog! What a great idea.
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