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by Maureen A. Taylor

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# Monday, April 11, 2011
Bad Hair Day Winner!
Posted by Maureen

Thank you for voting in the Bad Hair Day Contest and for sending in all those great hair photos. There is a winner!

Here's how the votes stacked up.

83.7 % of the voters selected this photo. Congratulations go to Pat Daughtery for winning the contest and a copy of Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900.

editdaugherty0157.jpg

The runner up is ...
editSophie Bentley.jpg
71 % voted for this photo.

I promised a few more photos this week so here goes.

editpeirceHunterCWhite9andHalfYearsOld.jpg




Rachel Peirce sent in this before-and-after picture of her ancestor Hunter Carson White at 9-1/2 years old during the Civil War. She owns a picture of the boy's father with his hair standing up on his head and wonders whether the second photo was taken to make the boy look more like his father.

editchaseimg501.jpg

Photo collector David Chase sent me this photo. It proves that man's best friend also can have bad hair. <smile>.

Last weekend I was at the New England Regional Genealogical Conference. I met Janine Penfield who showed me this unusual photo in her family album.

SCAN0136.jpg

It depicts a female performer known as Illavaro at age 14. She was photographed at several different times by Charles Eisenman of New York City. She would have been very comfortable in the late 1960s when this hairstyle was a fashion statement.

Hope you've enjoyed this look back at 19th-century hairstyles!


1860s photos | 1870s photos | 1880s photos | african american | children | Civil War | hairstyles | unusual photos
Monday, April 11, 2011 5:08:38 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, April 04, 2011
Vote for Your Favorite Bad Hair Day
Posted by Maureen

It's time to vote! My inbox is full of photos from readers and and Facebook followers. So which photo will win? You decide. I've create a survey form on SurveyMonkey.com. Click here to see the photos I selected for the survey and to vote for your favorite. The person who submitted the winning photo will receive a signed copy of my Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900. Photos 1 and 2 are from the 1870s, 3 and 4 from the 1880s and photo 5 dates from 1900.

Drum roll please...the finalists are:

editSanders Sylvia (pix found in album of DHSaunders).jpg
Linda Greff submitted this photo of Sylvia Sanders sporting a combination of extremely curly hair and the full hair styles of the 1870s, making an extreme fashion statement. 

editSophie Bentley.jpg
Another 1870s full head of hair. Sophie Bentley was born Dec. 6, 1849. Thank you to Katherine Maddox for sending in this image.

editdaugherty0157.jpg
Oh, those flat greased hairstyles of the 1880s were a dramatic contrast to the previous decade's look. Molly (Mary) E. Banning Ross (born 1867) was an older teenager in this photo, submitted by Pat Daugherty.

editNorwood1880sUnknown.jpg
Carol Jacobs Norwood sent in this unidentified family photo. It's a variation of that earlier 1880s picture.

editdavisonMinnie  Everell Dutton Smith.jpg

It's not the woman in this picture that has the hair problem. It's her companion. His natural wave and longish hair combine to make the style standout from the top and sides of his head. This circa 1900 image is lovely. He was a teacher in Kansas. The couple is Anne Davison's great grand aunt and uncle.

O.K...Please vote for your favorite here.

Next week I'll be back with some other photos -- a before and after hairstyle and proof that not just humans can have a bad hair day.


1870s photos | 1880s photos | 1890s photos | hairstyles
Monday, April 04, 2011 9:27:57 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, March 28, 2011
Uniforms in the Family
Posted by Maureen

It's not too late to enter your ancestral bad hair photos in my blog contest. See details in last week's post. I can't wait until you see what folks sent in! 

In the meantime, it's time for another photo mystery. This one is a 20th century challenge.

Nancy Yates sent in a few pictures of her father, taken when he was about 15 years old, between 1930 to 1932. In the first one, he's standing alone wearing a uniform with plain sleeves.

yates1.jpg

In the second he's wearing a different uniform with hash marks on the sleeve indicating his rank of corporal. He's standing with his sister.
Yates2.jpg

yates3.jpg

The mystery is the uniform. It doesn't look like a Boy Scout uniform. It's too bad I can't read the pin on his hat or the badge on his other sleeve. 

Nancy knows her Dad once served in the Civilian Conservation Corp as an adult. Men had to be at least 17 years old to serve in the CCC.

So what uniform is it? I'm not sure. There were several groups for teens in the 1930s. The 4-H Club, the Future Farmers of America and the Junior Birdmen of America are a few prominent groups, but this uniform doesn't represent any of those organizations. A great book on the period is William H. Young and Nancy K. Young's The 1930s (Greenwood Press, $25.00).

One lead is a group sponsored by the American Legion. They formed the Air Cadets in 1933, to train young men as pilots in case of war.

Do you have any ideas? I'm still looking.


1930s photos | children | unusual clothing
Monday, March 28, 2011 7:12:50 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [12]
# Monday, March 21, 2011
Hair in the Family: A Contest
Posted by Maureen

At a recent lecture, an attendee told me about an ancestral photo that scared him as a child. The woman had a curl that stood up straight on the top of her head. (He's promised to send me a scan, and as soon as I have it you'll see it here. Can't wait!)

His comments made me think about hairstyles in the family. On page 83 of Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900 there is a picture of a woman wearing a hair piece. It's not unusual for a 19th century woman to add false hair to create a fashionable hairdo, and in this photo I doubt it's real hair. Women could buy expensive human hairpieces or fake ones made from horsehair or even yak hair.
ftmphoto48.jpg

Her natural hair is very fine and curly, and the loops on her head are an entirely different texture. You can also see long hair trailing down behind her head.

Inspired by the photo that scared a child, I've decided it's time for a contest. Send me photos of the most outrageous hairstyles worn by ancestors. You can send in 20th century photos of yourself, but not of living family members. You can email them to me at mtaylor@taylorandstrong.com. I'll feature as many as I can in this space and readers can vote for their favorite in the comment section.


hairstyles | unusual photos
Monday, March 21, 2011 1:19:50 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, March 14, 2011
Mom, Dad and Baby
Posted by Maureen

Marla Hathhorn sent in this picture with a simple question. On the back someone wrote, "Ann Hicks." Is Ann Hicks the baby or the mother?
 
Ann Hicks2.jpg

Marla knows that her ancestor Anna Foley Hicks was born in Canada in 1844 and died in Oklahoma in 1914. 

A lot of people ask me, "What do I look at first in a photo?" The answer depends on the image. In this case, I read Marla's e-mail and quickly glanced at the photographer's imprint at the bottom of the card to see where the picture was taken. Then I examined their clothing.

The woman's dress is from the circa 1880 period. The bodice extends over the hips, extra fabric drapes over her upper legs and there are two layers of pleats. Her choice of jewelry is also typical for the time -- a thick chain with a charm was very popular. In the early 1880s, women wore their hair pulled back with short bangs. This young mother is very stylish in an understated way. Dad's clothing agrees with this time frame. 

The baby is very cute in it's long dress, thick tights and buttoned boots.  Around it's neck is a lovely bib.

Could the mother be Anna? In 1880 she'd be 36 years of age, a likely fit. 

T.R. Colpitts took this photo. The Rock Lake Herald of 1881 featured a short bit of news about him. It stated that he was taking a trip into southern Manitoba to take scenic views for resale. It appears from this photograph that he also found employment with the Hudsons Bay Parlors, a photographic establishment possibly connected with the Hudson Bay Company. I'm looking for that link.


1880s photos | men | women
Monday, March 14, 2011 2:08:38 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Monday, March 07, 2011
Around the World with Family
Posted by Maureen

Reader Carol Norwood is a dedicated genealogist searching for more details of her mother's life in far off Indonesia.

Her mother Cita Dromer lived in Sumatra from 1927 to 1940. About a month ago, she sent scan of her mother's Poezie book (a type of scrapbook for poetry and other keepsakes) to The Indo Project. According to the group's website, "The Indo Project is dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and celebration of Indo culture and history through education and raising public awareness." They liked her mother's Poezie book so much they featured it in their newsletter. The album documents a fascinating period in her mother's life.

There are, of course, a couple of mystery photos. Norwood knows who's depicted in them, but she's trying to track down a living person. poezie.jpg
Since she's possibly still living, I'm not going to mention her name. When Carol's mother immigrated to the United States on the ship Poleau Tello, this South African girl was on board. The two became friends and wrote in each others album.

Carol has tracked down the girl's family and is hoping for a reunion. My fingers are crossed too. I'll keep you posted.


1940s photos | Photos from abroad
Monday, March 07, 2011 3:14:54 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2011
Posted by Maureen

I'm posting a couple of days later than usual this week because I was in London for Who Do You Think You Are? Live. (Plus, I had a little downtime with my English friends.)

ftm booth.jpg
Maureen solves photo mysteries at WDYTYA? Live.

A series of last minute serendipitous things happened this year. I was able to provide photo consultations as a partnership with a British website What's That Picture? I met that site's creator, James Morley, three years ago at WDYTYA? Live. We've teamed up to take the site to the next step with an interactive timeline of photos supplied by users of the site and powered by Flickr. James is the technical genius behind it. Take a look at the timeline here. It's still in it's infancy, but we have big plans for it. You can add your dated family photos to it.

This press release appeared on the site and in the WDYTYA? Live newsletter just before I left for London. As soon as the show opened Saturday morning, the line (or queue, as the British call it) started forming. I've lost count of how many photos I actually looked it. Seems like hundreds, and it probably was. It was a fascinating experience to look at family photos from across the Atlantic. 

I love looking at pictures from all over the world.! There are subtle differences in clothing, especially men's work attire. The historical context of the images also has to be considered. English history has different milestones. I saw a lot of World War I images and some from the Boer War. One of the military pavilions would send folks to me to assign a photographic time frame to a picture, so they could go back to the military booth to find more information. We were sending people back and forth for the whole show!

I also managed to squeeze in a quick visit to the National Archives in England to meet with their photo specialist. Wish I could spend weeks looking at what they've got there! I was looking for something special, so I just might have to build another visit into my itinerary for next year.


Photos from abroad | Photo-sharing sites
Wednesday, March 02, 2011 2:45:56 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, February 21, 2011
Double Mystery Revisited
Posted by Maureen

Well, this photo problem is a tough case tough to crack. In Double Mystery and Back to the Double Mystery, I analyzed the clues in Sandy Forest's photo of her ancestor Felix Forest and an unidentified man.  

sandyforest1.jpg
Have you added your thoughts to the comment section? I'd love to hear from you. This week, a couple of readers think the objects in the photo are just props and not real items owned or carried by the men. I agree that some of the items are just for showing off -- the bottle of liquor, the glass and the fake dog. But how far does the photo clowning go? Are their hats and the spike photographer's props as well? That's what we'd all like to know.

I emailed Robert Holzweiss, president of the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society about the spike and the hat that reads "Asst. Engineer."  He showed the photo to a panel of railroad experts and they agreed that there is no railroad connection. They suggested the spike could be an in to hook wagons together.
 
What do you think? I want to revisit family history with Sandy Forest and see if census records identify any other occupations in her family. That's my next step.

In honor of Valentine's Day last week, I have a short video on my Vimeo channel. If you like it, please click the "like" button.

Later this week, I'm in England at Who Do You Think You Are? Live. In my next column I'll have a report for you and hopefully a few photos.


unusual photos
Monday, February 21, 2011 2:05:51 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Monday, February 14, 2011
Back to the Double Mystery
Posted by Maureen

Two weeks ago, in my Double Mystery post, I began dissecting the evidence in a photo owned by Sandy Forest. A couple of readers asked about the hat worn by the man on the right. It's a big clue.

sandyforest1.jpg

sandyforestcropped hat2.jpg

It's difficult to read the hat, but it says "Asst. Engineer" with letters beneath it. The first letter is "H,"  followed by what I think is an "E" and maybe a "D." Initially, I thought the second letter was an R, but there seems to be a bottom line to the letter. So what does it stand for? That's the big question.

He's holding a spike and is an engineer. That suggests a railway connection. But I'm not sure it's a locomotive railway line. It could be a street railway. Perhaps they are celebrating the inauguration of the first tracks being placed where Felix lived.

Railroad spikes come in different shapes, but the ones used to lay the rails have an off-set head. I've spent time researching spikes and so has Sandy. Something doesn't seem to quite add up.
sandyforestspike.jpg
I'm looking for an expert on railroads and think I've found one. Hopefully, I'll be back next week with an answer. 


1880s photos
Monday, February 14, 2011 4:59:56 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, February 07, 2011
Baby Picture Week
Posted by Maureen

Last week, Genealogy Insider blogger Diane Haddad, gave birth to a beautiful baby. In honor of this, I'm featuring your ancestral baby photos. Thank you for all the submissions.

estelle baby2.jpg
Kim Dolce sent in this picture of her grandmother Estelle Miller Moore, who was born May 12, 1911, in Riverside, N.J. Estelle looks like she's about to topple over. 

Ben  Adolph babies2.jpg
Linday Bly Holub emailed me this charming picture of her grandfather Benjamin Bly (on the left), born November 1890, in Moberly, Mo., and his baby brother Adolph Bly, born January 1893, in the same town.

Carol Norwood submitted several photos of three generations of baby pictures. Here are two.
norwood2edit.jpg
This is her maternal grandmother, Agnes Catherine Caroline Simon, born in 1896 in Erlangen, Germany. Don't you love her bare feet!

Norwood1edit.jpg

This is Carol's maternal grandfather, Helmuth Dromer, born in Potsdam, Germany in 1900. Small children of both sexes wore dresses. Carol actually owns pictures of his two older sisters, who as toddlers also posed in this dress sitting in this basket.

I've seen many different techniques and devices to photograph babies and small children, but one has to wonder about this basket. Cute, but if you look closely you'll notice the basket is on a pedestal. One false move the this tot is on the floor. 


1890s photos | 1900-1910 photos | children
Monday, February 07, 2011 2:50:32 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]