Sunday, January 4, 2009

Nameless Faces

I have several pictures from my father's family that give very few clues as to who they are of. I'm not even certain if they are from his maternal or paternal line.

A pretty girl. Was she a Kelly? Or perhaps a Hollington or Berry?

Is this the same girl?
My grandmother, Mary Kelly Berry or her sister, Isabelle?
I see myself in this picture so I lean towards Mary.

And who is this very unhappy looking soul?

On the back, written in pencil and hard to see, is "Age 81". On the front is Sproule & O'Connor, Ottawa, Can. The first time I find Sproule and O'Connor listed together in the Ottawa City Directory is 1896.

Edited 7 January 2008 - Janet Isles was kind enough to send me a corrected link for the city directories above and some additional information.

I have two books that I checked for you that go beyond the coverage of what is online. They are derivative sources but are well done.

Phillips, Glen C. The Ontario Photographers List, vol 1 1851-1900 and vol. 2 1901-1925 Milton, ON : Global Heritage Press, 2002 (2nd ed.)

Vol 1
p. 59
Sproule & O’Connor 1896-1900

Vol. 2
p. 46
Sproule & O’Connor 1901-1903

In 1903 Harry W. Sproule is shown listed separately 1903-1908.

So it looks like the photo was taken between 1896 and 1903.

Being from Ottawa it must be from my father's side of the family. I am guessing that it is a direct line ancestor but it could be an aunt. I feel I can eliminate all those that didn't live to 81 years. Grandma Lottie only lived to 68 and her mother only to 34. Sarah Lower Ross made to to only 72. Ann Berry made it to 81 but she died in the UK at Shipston Union Workhouse, so we can eliminate her.

So I still have six possibilities that lived to age 81.

  1. Agnes Adam Craig 1802-1882 Dalhousie Twp.
  2. Isabella Craig White 1826-1908 Dalhousie Twp
  3. Isabella White Kelly 1865-1951 Syracuse, lived Ottawa
  4. Eliza Ewing Hollington 1815-1897 Ottawa
  5. Jane Rawlings Berry 1830-1914 Ottawa
  6. Mary Kelly 1830's-aft 1900, Adams, NY

Agnes Adam Craig died in 1882 and I don't believe that Sproule and O'Connor were working together that early so it is unlikely that this is a picture of her. *Janet also sent me Agnes' death information. She died 14 August 1882, so she was only 80 and her death date is well before 1896 so the picture is not of her.

I have many pictures of Isabella White Kelly and since she lived until 1951 I can safely eliminate her as a possibility.

Isabella White Kelly, year unknown

Isabella Craig White and Mary Kelly never lived in Ottawa as far as I know but I believe they both may have visited family there so I cannot totally eliminate them. *Based on the new information from Janet, Sproule & O'Conner worked together from 1896 to 1903. Isabella would have turned 81 in 1907 and Mary in 1911 so I can eliminate them.

Jane Rawlings Berry and Eliza Ewing Hollington lived near each other in Ottawa and are the most likely candidates. Eliza would have been 81 in 1896 when I first find Sproule and O'Connor together. Jane would have been 81 in 1911. I don't know if the photography studio was still open then. Are the glasses a clue? Two of Jane's grandson's, Thomas and Kimberly Berry, both wore glasses. They are the only descendants of hers that I have pictures of. Some of Eliza's descendants wore glasses and others did not. *So I can now eliminate Jane too. Leaving me with Eliza Ewing Hollington as the most likely candidate. This could of course be someone else, a great aunt perhaps.

For comparison here is a picture labeled Kim with Aunt, another mystery to be solved. Was this aunt a Hollington or a Berry?

Maybe someday I'll find a cousin that also has copies of these pictures, only their copies will be labeled!

This was written for the 9th edition of Smile For The Camera, Who Are You?"

These pictures have previously been highlighted at The Apple Doesn't Fall far From the Tree on 10 June 2006 and here at Apple's Tree on 7 February 2007.


Nikki - Notes of Life said...

I've got a number of unknowns, I should really dig them out and scan them in!

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

If you get them online someone may know who they are! I really hope someone will find these and help me out.

Judith Richards Shubert said...

Great pictures, Apple. I wonder what kind of head covering the "unhappy soul" is wearing? At first I thought it was her hair, but then after a closer look realized her hair is white and the covering a dark color. Her dress is very interesting as well. She looks like she might be a woman of some wealth?

Donna Hague Wendt said...

Hi Apple,
Enjoyed seeing your photos, and reading their stories. Thanks.

wendy said...

You've done wonderful research in order to narrow down which lady that could possibly be. Good luck in finding out her identity!

Miriam Robbins said...

Apple, the clothing and hair styles are so different in the first two photos, that I don't think they possibly could be the same person, much less the same generation. The girl in the first photo has hair and clothing styles of the 1880s, while the second girl appears to be from the 1920s. They do bear a remarkable resemblance, although their chins are different. It's possible that this is a mother and daughter.

Good luck!

Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

Judith - She does have an odd cap. I don't know if it was supposed to look like hair or not. It's my impression that my paternal family was far from poor but certainly not wealthy. Something to explore further.

Donna and Wendy - Thank you both!

Miriam - If you think the second girl is from the 1920's then it most likely is my grandmother or her sister. The 1880's for the first photo leaves open lots of possibilities. Thanks for helping me out with them!