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by Maureen A. Taylor

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# Friday, February 27, 2009
Wish I Were There!
Posted by Diane

Hope it’s OK if I butt into the blog for a second. Maureen’s on a whirlwind trip to the Who Do You Think You Are? Live family history show in London, where she’s staying with genealogy Facebook friends.

She says hi, and she sent a picture of the group queueing up to get in. More pictures and some words to go with them next week.



Mind the gap, please!


Photo fun | Photos from abroad | women
Friday, February 27, 2009 9:24:29 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, February 23, 2009
Two-Sided Mystery: On the Flip Side
Posted by Maureen

I love a good mystery. Last week I analyzed a group portrait and provided a time frame of the early 20th century. It was on one side of a sheet of pink paper. Before I divulge the family information behind this image, let's look at the other side. It's a two-sided mystery.

Over the years, I've seen photographs used for doing math homework, writing grocery lists and even sketching embroidery patterns. In this instance, the two photographs and the pink sheet of paper form a single scrapbook page.

cohen1.jpg

In the upper left hand corner of the flip side of the page is a picture of a young man dressed for work on a ranch--cowboy hat, tall boots, heavy gloves and riding pants that are wide at the upper legs and hips and narrow at the lower leg.

To the right of this image is a valentine.
cohen 2.jpg

The lower half of the sheet is a child's drawing of a flower with one of the petals ripped off.

cohen3.jpg

It's the final piece of evidence of this collage that so's interesting. It's a bit of a printed page.

cohen4.jpg

It turned out to be a piece of a music catalog for Conqueror Records. Carson J. Robison and his trio recorded Moonlight on the Colorado and Oklahoma Charley in 1930.  You can view an online catalog for Conqueror. Just below that listing is another song, My Blue Ridge Mountain Home, a tune that Robison wrote in 1927. If you're interested you can still purchase the sheet music from eCrater.

Wikipedia has a short biography of Robison with links to sites for more information.  He was very well known as "the granddaddy of the Hillbillies." In the early 1930s he formed his own band and travelled around the U.S. and the British Isles playing country music.  He was posthumously named to the Country Music Hall of Fame.  He died in 1957.

I have to admit that I couldn't do all this research without listening to his music. You can a recording of Going to the Barn Dance Tonight on YouTube and find a picture of him and a clip of I Don't Wanta Be Rich on Hillbilly-Music.com. It's foot-tapping music.

The pieces add up to suggest that sometime in the early 1930s, a person (perhaps a little girl) decided to piece together a few of her favorite things--a couple of pictures, a valentine, and a drawing. Maybe she was a country music fan.
cohen5.jpg
Next week I'll be back with the family details.


1910s photos | 1930s photos | men
Monday, February 23, 2009 3:36:15 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Two-Sided Photo Mystery
Posted by Maureen

This photo will have to be covered in several installments. It's a complex mystery that involves dating the picture, figuring out where it was taken and deciding who's in it. What's on the back of the image is a whole other story.

Let's tackle the simple part this week—assigning a date.



The 15 people in the photo wear everyday clothing. Only one man (on the far right) wears a jacket; the rest are attired in work shirts and pants with wide-brimmed hats to shield their faces from the sun. The little boys wear short pants and wide-collared shirts.

The outfits on two of the women suggest an initial time frame for this group portrait. The smiling woman on the far left wears a dress with full sleeves, a pouched bodice and a wide double collar. Her skirt has fitted tucks at the hips.


The woman on the right in the back row wears a loose tie around her neck with a pouched front blouse and full sleeves.

Their topknot hairstyles clinch the time frame: The group probably posed for this portrait circa 1900 to 1906.

Next week I'll be back to discuss how the rest of the facts add up.

BTW, the creases on the image suggest that this image was folded and unfolded multiple times. The paper has actually worn away at the center. The staining you see is due to the glue used to adhere it to the paper.


1900-1910 photos | group photos | hairstyles
Tuesday, February 17, 2009 3:16:12 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Pets in the Family on YouTube
Posted by Maureen

It's not hard to believe that the three installments of this blog on ancestors' adorable pets were among the most read. After all, it's family history from a different perspective—pets in the family. Since this week is the Westminster Dog Show, I thought I'd try a different presentation method for the photos.

I've received a few more pictures for this album, but instead of posting them individually, I incorporated them into a video.

I'm going to tweak it some more and see if I can boost the quality. I produced it in high definition but uploading it to YouTube compressed the files resulting in some blurring.

Just in case you missed the series: 

Pets in Pictures

An Album of Ancestors' Family Pets

Pet Photos: Our Ancestors Loved Their Dogs, Too!

I'd like to thank everyone who sent in pictures! 

(For more genealogy videos, see the Family Tree Magazine YouTube channel.)

BTW—I have a new e-newsletter that lists my speaking schedule,and contains a link to the Photo Detective video podcast. It's absolutely free. Sign up is on my Web site.


1870s photos | 1880s photos | 1890s photos | 1900-1910 photos | 1910s photos | 1920s photos | candid photos | children | men | Pets | Videos | women
Tuesday, February 10, 2009 2:13:17 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, February 02, 2009
Summer in the Family Album
Posted by Maureen

I live in New England. Winter started early this year and with more snow on the way, it isn't leaving anytime soon. It's one for the record books. 

The lack of a January thaw has me daydreaming of summer—sunshine filled days and the beach. Obviously, I'm not alone. Derek Sundberg of Essex, in the United Kingdom, sent me this photo. It's part of a series of 14 snapshots that all depict the same people.

20210young emily 3rd pic.jpg

The woman in the belted bathing suit on the right is his mother, Emily May. (I'm withholding her last name for privacy purposes.) Derek believes that one of the group members is the photographer. So who are the six other people shown above? He has no idea.

It's a lovely group snapshot taken at the beach in the late 1920s to about 1930. The girls' bobbed cuts and shapeless bathing suits confirm the time frame. I love the canvas bathing pavilions that surround them. 

In this picture, Emily (b. 1905) would be in her 20s, but I think some of the women look like younger teenagers. Derek wrote that his mother spent her entire life in Thurrock, Essex, and that she once worked at Thames Board Mills, in Purfleet, Essex. It's possible these folks are her friends from work, friends from town or a couple of younger relatives.

It's an identification mystery. Here are some suggestions:
  • I'd start by showing the images to relatives to see if anyone recognizes the man and the women. I'd also ask if anyone remembers his mother's friends from her job. Another relative might have other pictures of this group. The unknown photographer likely would''ve taken other pictures that summer.
  • Next, I'd compare their faces to other images in family albums. If these individuals were Emily's friends or family, they'll appear in other pictures.
If anyone recognizes these young people, send me an email and I'll forward it to Derek. I'm going to link this to my FaceBook page because it's possible one of my FB friends from overseas will know these folks.

Guess what? Next week I'll be back with more ancestral pet photos. I've found a way to show them all at once. Let's hope it works.


1920s photos | hairstyles | women
Monday, February 02, 2009 3:23:13 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [2]