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by Maureen A. Taylor

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# Sunday, 26 March 2017
Old Family Photos of Women in the Workforce
Posted by Maureen

Jeanine Black saw the post How to Learn About Working Women in Old Photos and sent me two images of women in her family. It's a fitting end to Women's History Month.



In about 1909, her 15-year-old paternal grandmother, Louse (first on the left) worked in a Brockton, Mass., shoe factory. Louise's mother, Louise, is the first woman on the right. The family immigrated from Canada to Brockton in 1895 once Louise's husband found a job.  

Her other image is more recent.



It depicts her maternal grandmother, Augusta (second from right, first woman looking at the camera). It was taken in 1962 in Gloucester, Mass., where she worked in the garment industry. Jeanine even has her International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union membership card!

Augusta immigrated from Madeira, Portugal, at 18. Decorative handwork on fabric is well-known in Portugal and it looks like she found a job doing similar work at Vita Creations.

These photos not only document the working lives of these two women, they provide Jeanine with information she didn't have. Her paternal grandmother died before Jeanine was born. Augusta didn't talk about her time in the factory. It was only when Jeanine found that color photo and membership card that she learned more about her grandmother's life.

While it's wonderful to find photographs of men and women working, they aren't as common as other types of paper documentation about employment. In Jeanine's case it was a membership card, but it could be a work badge, a pass, a pay stub or an account book.  

What have you found?


Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now

  • Save
    1900-1910 photos | 1960s photos | occupational | women
    Sunday, 26 March 2017 19:44:59 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [23]
    # Sunday, 19 March 2017
    Comparing Faces in Old Family Photos
    Posted by Maureen



    Here they are again. I'm enamored of this photo; it's a layered puzzle with many clues.

    In my first post about it I examined the clothing details and asked for additional information. In the second post, we considered the other couples in the family that married in the 1880s.

    William Davis supplied background for the couples and their families. 

    Henry Wille, married in approximately 1886 in St. Louis, was a probable match for the couple. His parents, John Henry Wille and Bertha Emilie Heitmann, were Catholics from Oldenburg, Germany. German weddings are very formal and brides (and grooms) often wore gloves. John Henry Wille ran a tavern and later helped his son open a grocery.

    Henry's bride Elizabeth Theresa Boedeker also had German roots.

    Let's step back and examine who owned this photo:

    William's cousin remembered this picture hanging in his grandmother Wille's house, suggesting that this could be someone in either the Wille or the Carrigan family. The Carrigans were Irish. Hanging on the same wall was a beautiful needlepoint tapestry sewn by great-grandmother Theresa.

    So does this photo show Henry Wille and Elizabeth Boedecker, or William Isaac Carrigan and Sarah Ann Hutton? For more on the second couple, see 3 Clues to Identify Family In Old Wedding Photos.

    Compare the faces:
    When presented with a case like this, it would be great to have the photographer's information (we don't) or other pictures for comparison.   William sent several to see if we could match up the family resemblance.

    Here's a photo of John Wille, son of Henry and Elizabeth, and his wife.



    I thought the wife's nose looked familiar. Here's a comparison of their faces with the bridal couple. What do you think?



    I'm not going to share the detail that confounds the whole thing even further until next time.  :)



    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now

  • Save
    1880s photos | facial resemblances | wedding | women
    Sunday, 19 March 2017 15:36:12 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [5]
    # Sunday, 12 March 2017
    How to Learn About Working Women in Old Family Photos
    Posted by Maureen

    March is known as Women's History Month. It's a good time to celebrate our female ancestors. Did your ancestral mother's work outside the home either before or after marriage?  Many did. 

    Michael Albrecht sent in series of family photos. In the pile were two very interesting images of a tailor shop in Baltimore, Md.  He labeled the images with the name of the tailor: Boleslaw Cwalina.

    Before you think "what an uncommon name," try searching for men named Boleslaw in Baltimore. There are a lot of them.



    Look closely at this image. The clues are in the fashion plates hung over the head of the clerk.



    The fashions in these plates suggest a date of late 1910s to circa 1920. Those large feathers in the women's hats and the narrow skirts are clues.

    The second image shows women at work.


    It's not very often that you see a picture with an exact date stamped into it's surface.  This one says "Feb. 15, 1935.  Model Coat Makers. Baltimore, Md."

    So the women in this photo appear to be making coats for customers to try on.   I'm hoping that Michael knows the story behind these two photos. I'd love to know who's behind the counter in the first one and if any of the women in the second are his relatives working in the family business.

    To learn more about the occupations of the women in your family:
    • Look at the category that states a woman's work in a census, then see if the name of the company that employed her appears on the same line.
    • City directories sometimes list unmarried working women separately with the place of employment. Married women are generally mentioned in parentheses next to their husbands.

    Do you have an image of a woman in your family at work?  I'd love to see it.


    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now


  • 1920s photos | 1930s photos | occupational | women
    Sunday, 12 March 2017 14:57:37 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [3]
    # Sunday, 05 March 2017
    How to Identify the Right Couple in an Old Wedding Photo
    Posted by Maureen

    In the recent post 3 Clues to Identify Family in Old Wedding Photos, I asked a series of questions relating to this image belonging to William Davis: 



    This week, I'm back with more information.

    The clothing clues in this picture, including the woman's front-pleated skirt and  her bodice, all date the picture to the 1880s. Davis thinks the photo depicts William Issac Carrigan and Sarah Ann Hutton, who married Sept. 4, 1884.

    Other Brides

    To narrow the possibilities, I asked William if there were any other family weddings in the 1880s. There were three! (Four if you count the couple married in 1879, but I'll eliminate them for now. This bride's outfit is definitely from the 1880s.):
    • John Bailey Peyton Boswell and Lydia Ann Jane Trull married  Dec. 6, 1882, in Williamson Co, Ill.
    • Henry Wille and Elizabeth Theresa H. Bodedeker married circa 1886 possibly in St. Louis, Mo. 
    • William Issac Carrigan and Sarah Ann Hutton married Sept. 4, 1884, in Carrolton, Greene, Ill.

    Financial Clues
    All the couples except the Willes were from farming families. Henry Wille's father was a tavern owner who helped his son become a grocer. 

    Armed with the list of other couples and some financial clues, I'm going to dig into the databases and see what other clues might pop up. I'll have more information next week.


    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now

  • Save
    1880s photos | wedding
    Sunday, 05 March 2017 14:22:52 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [4]