Week 14 (April 2-8) – Favorite Photo: Who is in a favorite photo of yours? Or tell the story of the photo itself — where was it taken, what was the event?
With Easter weekend coming up, I was procrastinating, and I went off and did something completely different.
The family I had planned for this week was not quite finished. The information was in draft form and sources were cited. I had to write in details to make it an interesting read. Only I didn’t have a favorite photograph (or any at all) for the family to fit the proposed theme. Amy Johnson Crow says there is no 52 Ancestors police but I’m enjoying trying to fit the theme each week.
Did I mention how I was dawdling and dragging my feet? There are always things I want to get done and I usually find something more interesting to do instead.
Six weeks ago I received a zip file with 251 images of about 150 old photographs from my 4th cousin once removed, Joe ROONEY. His cousin Sandra LILLIE had saved them from the trash can. Joe and I share my 4th great-grandparents Landon S. GOWING and Sally CRISP as ancestors. The story of how these old photographs came into his possession is included in this note he wrote:
15 February 2015: This collection of photographs was scanned at 300 dpi color by me. The original photos were sent by Sandra Lillie about ten years ago after she found them cleaning out a relative’s garage in Southern Illinois, finding no other takers (suckers). She believes they were a collection by L Vance Lillie. Many of the pictures seemed to be removed from frames or were in albums evidenced by fading characteristics and may have been from other’s collections. I scanned the reverse if there was laboratory advertising or writing. Some of the authors’ identification may be figured out of the handwriting matches. I did not scan the reverse of photos where there was only a three digit number that I believe to be sequence numbers on a roll of film. I didn’t spot any obvious helpful commonalities.
How do you choose your favorite photograph out of a 150 when many are of people who aren’t even in your database?
On Friday I was home alone (no interruptions) and decided to have a quick look through the photos and compare names with my database.
Cousin Joe derived file names from personal recognition or what was written on the reverse side. He used surnames first, given names next, and tried to find some means of differentiating photos of the same person by including detail: sitting, standing, wearing a hat, a date or some other detail from the photo. The pictures that were not identifiable he labeled with UNK and details.
I was able to match the most obvious LILLIE family members. Landon S. GOWING and his wife Sally CRISP’s daughter Martha C. “Martissa” GOWING married Wyatt F. LILLY in 1833 in Amherst County, Virginia. They moved to Caldwell County, Kentucky, where they raised 9 children. One son, Joe’s great-grandfather, Albert Spencer LILLIE, changed the spelling of his surname.
Albert S. LILLIE (1848-1913) is actually the closest relative in the entire batch of photos, being the nephew of my 3rd great-grandmother Clementine (Gowing) DEMPSEY. There were three photos of him in the batch along with scans of the reverse sides giving more information.
The first photo was taken when Albert was 22 years old.
Four different persons wrote information on the back of this tinplate. In ink at the top: Albert S. Lillie. Directly below in pencil and very faded only the beginning of Albert can be read. In the center, again in pencil, A. S. Lillie 22 yrs. At the bottom, in yet another handwriting in ballpoint pen, Isaac Lillie father.
In the second photo of Albert S. LILLIE, he is with a woman. On the back Samuel Royalty LILLIE or his sister, Ruth J. LILLIE wrote, “My Grand Pa was going to marry Mrs. Roper But she died. Then he married Geneva.” From this information, the photo can be dated at between 1900-1904 as his first wife died in 1899 and he was married to Geneva MASON 6 years in 1910 as seen on the census.
Joe Rooney has kindly given me permission to use these photographs on my blog.
Old Photographs Help Solve Relationships in Family Tree
While I worked through the other names, the pieces of the puzzle began to form a larger picture of the family tree. I ended up attaching nearly 120 photos to 51 persons in my database. About 30 photos remain, 10 with names, and the rest being unidentified persons.
Lynn Vance LILLIE and Joe ROONEY’s grandmother Florence ROYALTY, wife of Isaac Spencer LILLIE, appears to be the lady who plays the leading roll in the story of how these photos came to be collected. Not only did she collect photos of her siblings and their families, her husband Isaac Spencer LILLIE’s family, her mother-in-law Pernecia Elizabeth GLASS’s family, but also of her stepmother Johanna PADDOCK’s family. I believe her children Samuel and Ruth who lived with her until her death in 1946 may have taken over her collection of photos which then went to Samuel’s son Lynn Vance LILLIE.
When Joe sent me the digital files he wrote, “Or I can mail the originals to you .” I didn’t take him up on offer as I didn’t know how serious he was. When I let him know how all the photos fit into his family tree he may be happy that he kept the originals.
I asked Joe about using the photos and he kindly wrote, “Please use them at your will. I feel it is keeping it in the family and don’t need credit. If anything, I appreciate your evaluations, identifications and detective work. I’m hopeful you and yours enjoy them. On a blog, in a book, above a cloud.” So a spin-off of this blog post will be coming as I share the photos, one person at a time.
© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey
This is my weekly entry for Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge:
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. It was so successful in 2014 that genealogists wanted to continue or join in on the fun in 2015. Be sure to check out the other great posts by visiting Amy’s blog No Story Too Small where she’ll be posting the weekly recap on Thurdays and allowing all participants to leave a link to their post(s) in the comments.