If I Only Knew Their Names

For a junior genealogist like myself, who enjoys prying into the previous lives of my ancestors, discovering a new name to add to my family’s growing tree is a feeling like no other.  It gives an identity to those previously unknown.   A researcher is doubly blessed if they are lucky enough to posses actual photographs of their ancestors and can add a face to a name. Such photographs also document the history of early photography and add an extra layer to the family story.  For me peering into the eyes of an ancestor adds an even bigger excitement and vintage photographs are genuine gifts.  Last year I attended a lecture given by photo detective Maureen Taylor.  I find it amazing that if you know what you are looking for a picture surely does speak a thousand words, but for me it is not always easy to hear them! Picking up visual cues in old photo’s is a welcomed challenge for me. I am lucky enough to have some vintage family photographs from my mother’s side of the family, but I am also unlucky to have so many unidentified photographs that remain “nameless”  Many of the photo’s were marked in ink but the author referred to them as “sons and daughters of” only deepening the mystery of these lost family members and friends.  I thought I would share some of these faces with you today, in the hopes that my fellow photograph detective’s might be able to catch some clues.

John Plummer's daughter #1

This is a photograph of my 3rd cousin (daughter of my great grandmother’s brother) I love the flapper style of clothing which would date the photograph to about the 1920’s. If I knew enough about cars, I could probably learn a lot about the photo from the car parked in the background.  I am of course intrigued by the tropical looking trees.  This family was from England, but this photograph may have been taken on a holiday.

John Plummer and Family2

My Great,Great Uncle John Plummer ( pictured above center)  is the father of the My unknown 3rd cousin.  This photograph was simply marked “brother John family and friends.” The mountains in the background offer beauty, but not many clues as to location.

I wish I knew

Finally, this photograph was found with the same book of photo’s.  This appears much younger than the rest and is one of few color photographs in the album. “The Mad Men” clothing style and home interior give this photograph an early 60’s feel.   After that, this photo and all those in it are a complete mystery, and I will be honest, I didn’t notice the dog….until now.

Do you have any mysterious family photographs?  Do you find photographs to be an exciting tool for genealogists?  I would love to hear from you!

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The Genealogy Series “A Typical English Girl”: Eva Daisy Long

As much as I enjoy crafting, I also am passionate when it comes to my family history and genealogy.  I started my family quest back in November of 2009, after re-discovering a box of old family heirlooms and an autograph book from my Great Aunt Eva.  With the advent of the internet, researching one’s family history has become easier than it was previously. Record Items once attainable only by visiting local county vital statistics offices, and via library micro film are now available on many online records websites such as Ancestory.com.

Today, I am beginning a new feature on my blog called the Genealogy Series.  My goal is to feature  biographies on various ancestors of my daughter, and family. I also want to place them within the history of the time in which they lived.  This, I believe is a fitting tribute to all of those ancestors who are not much different then ourselves, except for the times in which they lived. It is also a wonderful project to share with you when I am in between various art projects.- Like now.

My first biography features the relative who started it all.

Eva Long

Eva Daisy Long was born in Nottingham, England in June of 1906 to parents Harry Long an Engineer, and Daisy Plummer.  Eva worked a job as a stenographer (typist) in England before coming to the United States with her family and her brother (Vincent Long born in 1909, my maternal grandfather) Eva was 19 when the family sailed together to America in 1925 aboard the USS Ohio.  Upon arrival, they settled in Woodside, Long Island, (Queens) NY.

In 1927, At the age of 21, Eva was diagnosed with advanced stage Tuberculosis. TB, was the biggest health crisis in the UK and around the world at that time.  During the 1920’s, treatment options were limited, and the disease often times proved fatal. Effective antibiotics to fight the disease did not become available until quite a few years later.   Upon the families request,  Eva was admitted to The Reception Hospital in the town of Saranac Lake, NY.  At the time Saranac Lake, NY a small town nestled in the Adirondack mountains,  was known for it’s cutting edge treatment of TB.    It was believed that the colder air in the New York Mountains, was more breathable and helped in healing and treatment of the disease.

Eva Long Admission Card, 1927

Above: Eva Long’s admission card to a sanitorium at Saranac Lake, NY.

It was while Eva was here she kept an autograph book from 1927-1929.  The book also has entries from 1925, before she left England for the United States.:

Family History 047

Journal entry dated April 14th 1925 wishing Eva well on her journey from a family friend

She was referred to in her autograph book as”A Typical English Girl”, and dressed the part in  flapper style clothing popular during that era. She also wore her hair short.  A modern look at the time that according to family lure, my great-grandmother “despised”!

Photo’s of Eva:

Eva Long Saranac Lake, NY

Eva and friends taken at Saranac Lake, NY

Above: Eva Pictured with Friends Saranac Lake, New York

Eva’s last autograph book entry is in 1929.  What happened to Eva after this time is unclear; However I think it is safe to assume her disease had progressed, and at this time could no longer live life to the fullest.  She made many friends at Saranac Lake, and appeared as though she enjoyed her time here.  Sadly her life was cut short on March 24, 1931 at age 24.  She passed away in Saranac Lake, NY and is buried next to her father, Harry Long at Brookside cemetary, Englewood, NJ,

It is unclear if Eva ever got to return home to her family.  My grandfather was very close to his sister, and suffered from TB himself, but he recovered.  He found it hard to talk about these events according to my mom.  He held on to her personal items, until he passed away himself in 1985.  I have many memories of my grandfather, but an interesting memory is, he always kept a separate fork, knife and spoon that only he ate from,certainly a fear of spreading his TB to others he loved remained throughout his life.

Autograph Book Entry

One of many entries in Eva’s autograph book featuring hand drawn artwork

Family History 009

An entry from a  friend who resided with her Abbott Kinney (listed with her on 1930 census records) notice the quote from Robert Louis Stevenson, a famous resident of Saranac Lake, NY

See more of the “Eva Long Autograph Book” uploaded to the digital archives of the Saranac Lake NY Historical Society Wiki an amazing site run by wonderful folks.  Be sure and check it out!

Anyone else have a similar ancestor in their tree?  I would love to hear about it!