I searched and searched for pictures of aprons for this weeks Sepia Saturday and I could only find two pictures! I decided to go with the apron that is not really an apron. You will understand when you see the picture.
The photo is of a mother and child, who may or may not be my relations, taken maybe around 1870s to 1880s. The child has a kind of apron style dress on. I have no idea who they are and it is frustrating. Our beautiful Victorian photo album has no names in it, only those that could be identified by my great grandma and written on the backs of the photos by my Mum and myself. About 60% of the people in the album have been identified now and they are all relations. So are the remaining unidentified pictures just of friends?
This mother and child may have been identified in later photos but as we all know, people's looks change with age, added weight and hairstyles, which make it hard to identify them when they were younger.
If anyone can date it more accurately from just "1870s to 1880s" I'd love to hear your comments.
Anyway I posted a photo last week of Jabez Lord and his family with lovely moustaches on display. Jabez died in 1924 and his wife Mary Ann Lord nee Spencer in 1896. I thought it odd that we didn't have any photos of Mary Ann as she died quite late. Then one day I was looking at a photo which had "Uncle Ellenberger" written on it. I suddently realised that the face was not that of Uncle Ellenberger. It just looked wrong or different. This is the photo:
The man in this photo doesn't have a hat on, but if you imagine him with the same hat as my confirmed photo of Jabez, I'm sure it is the same man. What do you think?
Unconfirmed picture of Jabez Lord and a confirmed picture of Jabez in a hat. Then a picture of Uncle Ellenberger with his wider face. What do you think?
I am 99% sure the two photo are of the same man, Jabez Lord, with the man below being Uncle Ellenberger (the incorrect label on the photo). Uncle Ellenberger's wife looks nothing like the woman in the photo. The beard is longer in one photo than the other (easy to happen) and of
course in one photo he has a hat on and the other he doesn't. You have to remember that my great grandma was in her 80s when she identified the photos and it was 70 odd years since she had seen these men.
What other clues could I find. Well the photo of the man and woman is more faded than most of the photos in the album, which suggests it has been in a frame on a mantelpiece at some stage, meaning probably close family members rather than extended family or friends.
Now if this man is Jabez Lord then the woman sitting next to him must be his wife Mary Ann Lord nee Spencer. This would be the only photo we have of her!
Then I looked at the picture of the younger lady thinking maybe it was Mary Ann when younger. But if you compare the two closely, their features are different. The woman I now think is Mary Ann has what looks like blue eyes (or the photo is actually faded) and the younger lady has darker coloured eyes. The ears are different also. The younger lady has a kink in her earlobe. The hairline is also different and the hair. The younger lady has flatter hair and a wider hairline, the older lady has curly hair and her hairline is narrower at her forehead. So despite the similarities in the face shape, they are not the same.
I confirmed for myself that they are different ladies!
This is the process that I go through with all my unidentified photos. "Maybe that photo could be of this person when younger." I then compare the two photos in minute detail to determine whether I am correct or incorrect.
An example of a photo that I identified by this process was of my ancestor Elise Meng. My Mum wrote to relatives in Germany in the early 1990s and received a photo back of Elise, taken in the 1870s. I looked at her unique face and knew her instantly. She was in our photo album standing next to her new husband in about 1866. It was such a wonderful discovery and so exciting! We had received the photo before family members in Germany died and the information was passed down before being lost forever. Elise never looks happy and she has a particular look around her mouth with tiny chin that can't be mistaken. I hate to admit that I used to think, "Oh my goodness she is not very attractive," when looking at the photo album. I had other very beautiful relations. If she had smiled it would have probably lifted her face and shown her beauty, but her photo had been taken at a time where sitter had to sit very very still and not smile.
We only have two photos of Elise and are so lucky! I have mentioned before that she died in 1879 after having a stillborn child and bleeding to death, so to have two photos of her is absolutely amazing for someone who died so long ago.
Most photos in our collection will probably never be identified, but I'm chipping away at them slowly! I'll probably never identify the baby in the apron.