Monday, February 8, 2016

Sleuthing

It's an unassuming little photo album. There are no notations of any kind...no letting future family family members know who these people are nor the places they inhabit nor the animals they photograph. 

Here's the key. Him I recognize, even though he passed away while his daughter, my mother, was still a teenager. His name was John Parker. He was an engineer on the CPR, which is how he happened to live in Maine though he worked for a Canadian railroad.

 Here he is with a man I am assuming is his father. I know his father's name was Herbert. I know how he died and how difficult it was for his family. He had a number of daughters; my grandfather was his only son.


Nice asymmetrical coat, though I have no idea who is wearing it. Perhaps one of my grandfather's sisters, perhaps a friend, perhaps even his first wife who died young in the great flu pandemic of 1918. (Notice that smear of glue.) I am highly tempted to try lifting a photo or two from its dark black paper page just to see if there could be any writing on the backs. He sure glued the photos down good and tight.




There's a colt, a collie, and even a fox. My mother might have been pleased about the collie as she loved collies. I don't recall her ever saying that her father had one, though. My parents raised collies for a few years when my sister and I were children. 


This is my true great-grandmother (I think), not the mystery woman in the kitchen. I think so because this is the same man I believe to be my great-grandfather. He is holding a daughter and the way the woman standing has her arm draped casually over his shoulder makes me think that they are a pair. I am interested in the wallpaper...a clock motif, I believe. 

Oddly enough, the old Sessions clock I have is theirs. I know this because my grandfather took all the furnishings from his mother's home to the camp. The clock lived there for many years until it was given to me.


I would have been thrilled to see it in their parlor!


Here is the mystery woman again. No, she could not be the same woman seen above. Perhaps she is an aunt or a friend. I may never know. Her entire kitchen wall, cupboards, and ceiling are all done in beadboard. Everything looks in need of paint. There is some sort of lace or shelf paper on every shelf in her cupboards and on the wall above her sink. I notice a receipt (recipe) on a nail by the door and a calendar on the door. How I have tried to make it out! I should make a detailed list and thereby get to know this early 20th Century Kitchen better. 

Wonder if she could have made a meal to make Mr. Carson happy. Doubtful!

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On the left, my great-grandmother whom I can see that my mother favors now that I am taking a closer look. On the right, the mystery woman in the kitchen. I do not believe that they are one and the same.




38 comments:

  1. beautiful selection of pictures
    with stories all their own ..
    i wonder - if you used a razor blade
    to carefully & gently slice the picture
    from the glued paper - you'd be able
    to see any clue. :)

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  2. Oh I soo thoroughly enjoyed these pictures. I don't think I could ever refrain from trying to somehow loosen those pictures and see if there is writing on the back. That last one especially intrigues me. It looks like a scene out of an old movie doesn't it? Enjoy your day Vee..

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  3. A treasure trove of family history. I do believe I would just have to try to free the photos from the book. I have been scanning the old family photographs and adding names, places and dates so that future generations will know who their relatives were. (I am lucky that I have my Mother and 95 year old aunt who have helped with identifying relatives I don't recognize.) You are fortunate to have these wonderful old photographs.

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  4. I love that you know your family history so well. My dad has photos that we are going to go through and label just because of this. My grandma's photo album has some names, but a lot of nicknames like "punky", which was my mom's nickname as a baby.

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  5. You are a good sleuth, Vee. You have pieced a lot of the puzzle together, and you have an eye for detail. (Speaking of detail, I love the asymmetrical coat too!) It would be quite helpful to discover names and dates on the backs of photos, although it seems that it would be difficult to do so without damaging them.

    My own family has a tremendous lot of photos. It can be overwhelming to make sense of them. My mom has made a family history scrapbook for her side of the family, including names and relations, birth and death dates if they're known. It helps.

    Good luck with your sleuthing!!

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  6. Absolutely wonderful stockpile of photos. The faces, all serene- 'don't show teeth!' they were told- but here I see calm happiness despite the trend in somber photo taking. And they were all attractive people and their homes pleasant. I enjoyed seeing the photos!

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  7. Vee I have a similar clock that was my father's grandmother's. We got it fixed once, and enjoyed the chimes for a few years, but then it stopped working. I was just talking about old photos to someone recently. My family had a thing about writing on the back of photos. My cousin scanned my grandmother's photo albums and I have them on a CD but he did not take the photos off the page to see what was on the back side. Her visible notes were more dates and places. My dad and I went through some of them and he identified people but then died before we finished the project.

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  8. What treasures! Perhaps over time you'll be able to more accurately identify each photo. And I'm not sure that anyone's cooking besides Mrs. Patmore's will satisfy Mr. Carson! I am going to miss them.

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  9. What interesting photos. Too bad they don't have captions but you've done a good job of figuring them out.

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  10. Good job sleuthing. We have a couple albums that need some sleuthing work, too. That coat is pretty cool. What a handsome guy with a great pose in that first shot! Dear and I have been having some fun back and forths where I call him Mr. Carson when he suggests what I might do with a dish I'm making. Hope you have a good Monday!

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  11. I love the old photos, Vee. They tell of a very different time in many ways (yet human nature is the same, we know). Too bad they hadn't captioned those photos. But then my great great grandchildren will wonder why there are no photos at all - because I so seldom get around to printing them out. I know that's a shame and I need to remedy that.

    As for Mr. Perskickety Carson, Mrs. Hughes should have known this would happen. Did she think he would change just because he was married? (the same trap that so many women fall into)

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  12. What a wonderful treasure! So annoying though for you not to know who is who! If only you could find out! Hope you do someday. xx

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  13. You are a good detective, Vee. I hope your questions will be answered. It's a lesson to all of us to make sure our photos are labeled! The different styles of clothing is always interesting to see.
    I do believe Mr. Carson thinks he's Lord Grantham. Won't even have a little port wine with dinner. Poor Mrs. Hughes...I can't wait for her to set him straight! ♥

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  14. Interesting photos, Vee! I do hope you find out who this woman is one day. When I look at old family photos I realize how hard life was back in my parent's day. My Dad was a young man during the depression and he told me many stories of men selling apples on street corners and of others fishing in local creeks to feed their family. My Mother was 10 year younger than my dad but her dad died in a mine cave in when she was an infant. To make ends meet my grandmother took in other miners as boarders and grew all her own food in her garden and had chickens and one cow that sustained them. I think back to how hard life was back then and how easy we all have it today, yet we all complain how bad times are. We should reexamine the past to see how good our era really is!

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  15. I do wish that I had such wonderful old photos. I remember that my mother gave me a box of things. It's somewhere in our storage unit. I am truly looking forward to finding that box. It also contains my great-grandmother's well-worn Bible. It needs to be recovered. Do you know the best place to have that done?

    I was told that there is a product to dissolve old glue from photos. Maybe it's on the scrapbooking websites.

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    Replies
    1. Not sure...might a shoe repairman be able to help?

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  16. Vee...these are such great old and interesting photos! Wouldn't you like to just be able to jump in and be transported back, if only for a few moments to chat and find out who they are? I know that sounds crazy but I have fantasized about that very thing before...OK, so I AM crazy...lol. I love the idea of having a bead board kitchen :) And since you mentioned it, I was not anticipating the "issues" Carson and Mrs. Hughes/Carson are having. Actually, she isn't having the issues, but he is! He needs to lighten up a bit, to say the least!

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  17. I have a few of these photos, faces from the past but who they are is anyone's guess.
    Merle..........

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  18. Vee, I think our family has many photos like that...no names or printing any kind on them. Now my sister in law's picture have everything on them right down to the 1/4 or 1/2 year of someone's age. LOL. I love your clock. Bless you, xoxo,Susie

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  19. Some good sleuthing Vee, frustrating when you try to figure out the relations in old photos.
    As for the last comment, Carson with his comments is fuelling his new wife to blow any time soon I think.

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  20. I think that almost universally, we forget to write anything on the backs of photos. We can't imagine forgetting who someone is. At least in my case future generations being able to decipher who is who just didn't occur to me while I was raising my family. My mother has boxes and boxes of photos of family that no one living can identify. Sad, but I guess it's part of the circle of life. New photos, new memories, new people to love.

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  21. It's sad when we look at old photos and the families members who once could have told us the names of those people are all gone. I regret not asking for more information.
    I had to laugh at your Mr Carson comments. I love Mrs Carson's looks during the show!

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  22. I just think it's so neat that you have these old family photos, Vee! It's making me realize that I need to redo my own photo albums. I keep telling myself to get to it...one day!
    As to Mr. Carson...I've always loved him, but he's starting to get on my nerves (and I'm sure on Mrs. Hughes' serves, too!).

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  23. I love old photos and the mystery that always seems to surround them.
    Just looking at the mystery woman, I know that she would put Mr Carson right in his place with regard to his culinary demands.

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  24. Love looking through old family photos. Grieve over the mystery people. I do identify people in photos I take but suddenly realized I should write the names of people in old pictures I didn't take, too...Oh, my. I have thousands.
    I am also curious to see the reformation of Mr. Carson, which I certainly hope is coming!

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  25. Ugh---that Mr. Carson is about ready to get a piece of my mind, lol. Are you sure, Vee, that their not the same woman???? The photos sure look similar. Have a beautiful day.

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  26. Fantastic old photos ! Mr Carson is to picky and to spoiled with Mrs Patmoors cooking lol ! I wounder if there is a way you can find out who is in the last photo ? would be an interesting journey . I had an uncle who came here form England years ago and worked for our Canadian CPR . Thanks for sharing , have a good day !

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  27. I was wondering the same ... are you sure that one of the women in the other photo is not the same as the mystery woman in the kitchen? Could she have been in someone else's kitchen, perhaps helping out at a busy time such as after the birth of a baby?It seems to me that there is a resemblance, but I think the cap hard to tell. Hope you solve the mystery, Vee! Be sure and update us all if you do!

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  28. Meant to say, "I think the cap makes it hard to tell." Typing too fast ...

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  29. Oh I love all the pictures! If pictures could talk...and...sometimes they do! It might be the setting in which the picture was taken, the background or something! I just love looking at your heirlooms! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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  30. Oh this is just soooo interesting, Vee- I love getting to know your family through your posts. We lost a relative on my father's mother's side to that same flu on 1918. Tragic. Thank the good Lord for penicillin!

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  31. I am totally disappointed in Mr. Carson. Do you think Mrs. Hughes will put up with that? Love your stories about your family and the way you figure out who may be whom.

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  32. Your family photos are great treasures, Vee! It is hard to figure out who is who, which is why I've started writing names on the back of my pictures now.
    How long now until Mrs. Hughes loses her patience with Mr. Carson's remarks about her kitchen skills?

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  33. I love these old photos Vee. I have albums of black and white photos of life in the early to mid - 1900's and someone actually took the time to write in white pencil (on the black pages) the names of the people and even the animals, of which there were a lot - mostly dogs and horses, under the photos. They tell so much of the lifestyle in those days. I was surprised how many photos they took in those days too, weren't you? It is nice to see the larger photo of the mystery woman and how the kitchen looked in her day.

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  34. Wonderful photos, Vee. They spark stories and wonderings about the past. I have some of the same, and think that I should write down the little I do know before I forget. The clock wallpaper looks interesting. Let us know what further sleuthing turns up about the mystery woman or your great grandparents.

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  35. oh, family history that is fun, i am glad you got to do a bit of research. my mom is doing that for our family now. lots of digging through pics & all that jazz. ( :

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  36. Perhaps the mystery woman in the kitchen is a cook or other type of hired help? She looks like she's aproned and hatted, prepared for work like a uniform.

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