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by Maureen A. Taylor

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# Monday, August 30, 2010
Hand-Me-Down Family
Posted by Maureen

Years ago, Truli Powell's mother received a box of photos from one of her husband's cousins. Now Truli is trying to date and identify the images. She's hoping that the cousin only gave them images from their specific line.

Powell Unknown 1 (2).JPG

In this "like mother, like daughter" tintype, the mother and the woman in the back (I'm assuming grandmother) wear nearly identical dress designs and hats. This 1890s scene depicts three generations on an outing. I love the park bench as a prop.

Powell Unknown 2.JPG

In the second tintype Truli sent, a young man in a suit and coat poses with a painted backdrop that features a house and a wall. The "rock" in the foreground is supposed to create the illusion that he's actually standing outdoors. Since backdrops usually reflect the area where someone lived, I wonder where this was taken.

Truli wants to know if this could be her great-great-grandfather Peter Floyd Powell (1832-1922). Unfortunately, that doesn't appear to the case. This photo depicts a young man probably in his early 20s. From the neatly greased hair to the polished shoes, this is a young man who's dressed very nicely for the late 1880s.

She sent another picture and I have to include it. Last week I focused on backdrops.
Powell Unknown 8 (2).jpg
Here, two young girls posed behind a backdrop with cutouts for their heads. Their hats and the car date the picture to the early 1910s.  One of the girls would be the right age to be the young girl on the bench in the first photo.

It's too bad that Truli's father's cousin didn't label the photos in some way, but hopefully the information in this column will help her put names with the faces.

Need help with your own mystery photos? Look for Maureen A. Taylor's book Uncovering Your Ancestry Through Family Photographs.


1890s photos | 1910s photos | photo backgrounds | Tintypes | Vehicles in photos
Monday, August 30, 2010 4:07:19 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, August 23, 2010
Studio Backdrops
Posted by Maureen

At last weekend's FGS conference in Knoxville, I did a little shopping. Picked up a couple of interesting books and this lovely trio of photos. I just love the backdrops. This photographer spared no expense.

While in the 19th century most backdrops looked like the outdoors or living rooms, in the 20th century the backdrop often sets the scene into a historical context. 

In December 1903, the Wright Brothers lifted off the ground in the first flight. Mass transit by airplane was decades away, but that didn't keep folks from simulating flight. Here, a group of friends are posing in a painted backdrop that looks like an early aircraft, with the skyline at their feet.  Their clothing and the design of the airplane dates from circa 1912.  You can view early airplanes on the web at Early Historic Aircraft.
FGS001.jpg

In the next postcard, the same woman seated at top right in the first photo takes another picture in the same studio. This time, you can see the airplane set to her left while she sits on a fake racehorse. She wears the same suit and hat so it's possible it was taken on the same day.

FGS002.jpg

In the same batch of photos I found another image of her standing near a painted wall with "Pennsylvania Pullman" on it. George Pullman manufactured train cars, trolley buses and streetcars. You can read more about him on Wikipedia. I think this is a train car, but I'm still trying to find a reference to the words on the side.
FGS003.jpg

I may not know the name of this woman, but it appears that in the early early 1910s she liked to frequent photo studios with creative backdrops.

You'll find advice for creating, sharing and saving your family's photographs in the Family Photo Essentials CD, from the editors of Family Tree Magazine and Memory Makers magazine.


1910s photos | photo backgrounds | props in photos | unusual photos | Vehicles in photos | women
Monday, August 23, 2010 5:17:58 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, August 16, 2010
It's Time for FGS!
Posted by Maureen

Oh boy...it's time for another national genealogy conference. This time it's sponsored by the Federation of Genealogical Societies.  I can't wait!

This year I've partnered with Family Search to provide free photo consultations in the exhibit hall. I'm really looking forward to meeting all the folks (and seeing their photos) that signed up for a slot. Unfortunately, all the spaces are now filled on the Event Brite site.  My fingers are crossed that I'll be able to do this again.

If you're at the conference, wave and say hi.  I'll be in the Family Search booth space.

Back next week, with a photo mystery!


Genealogy events
Monday, August 16, 2010 6:47:04 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [1]
# Monday, August 09, 2010
Favorite Photo Mysteries
Posted by Maureen

I’m taking a short vacation, so instead of a new column I’m taking a look back at some of my favorite mysteries.


Back in January I published a photo of the Hobo 8, a group of young people (above) smiling for the camera. It’s a great photo that captures the fun they were having. The sign and the 80 after it remain a mystery. Any ideas?

 
The problem of the Texas Twosome continues to be a challenge. I’ve taken these photos on the road with me and shown them in locales from coast to coast in the hopes of a new clue. I’ve outlined researchers’ ideas in a series of blog posts, linked below. Please let me know if you have any new thoughts on the matter. 

Two Texas Mysteries
 
Texas Mystery Puzzle—No News

Texas Trouble: Readers Respond
 
Texas Twosome Revisited 


A fun picture of another group of friends was the image from Clues from Hats and Backgrounds. I love the fact that photos are in the background. Those images could help solve the identity of the people in the photo, if only they were clearer.

men | photo backgrounds | unusual clothing | women
Monday, August 09, 2010 2:33:29 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [5]
# Monday, August 02, 2010
Your Mourning Pictures
Posted by Maureen

Two weeks ago I wrote about mourning traditions and clothing and asked for e pictures of women wearing mourning clothes. This week, I'm featuring the two I received as well as one from my work collection of images.

davison headstone2 (3).jpg

Toni Mann sent in this very interesting photo.  It's a 20th century snapshot. It blurs when I enlarge it, but I think the women in the far background are wearing clothing from the early 1900s. The woman to the left of the headstone wears late 1890s mourning clothes. Perhaps her husband is buried there. Toni thinks it was taken in the Chicago area. Anyone recognize the headstone? 

edit1907 Hulse family reunion Greenville TX (2).jpg

Charman Davis emailed this photo of the Hulse Family August 1907 reunion. The woman on the left lost her husband the previous month.  Everyone wears light-colored summer clothes except for the widow.

funeraledit.jpg

I bought this photo several years ago. It dates from the late 1890s and depicts a woman in mourning standing by a burial. It's a new grave, based on the fresh flowers piled on it. It's intriguing that a widow would hire a photographer to take her picture in this setting.

You'll find advice for creating, sharing and saving your family's photographs in the Family Photo Essentials CD, from the editors of Family Tree Magazine and Memory Makers magazine.


1890s photos | 1930s photos | mourning photos
Monday, August 02, 2010 4:25:55 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [4]