As you know I’ve been working on a very big family history project. I don’t consider myself a genealogy buff at all – in fact if you asked me about genealogy I would tell you it is pretty much completely over my head.
Those of you who are Finding Photo Flow will know that I consider myself a family curator, not a genealogist. This is becoming even more real to me as I work to find flow with the photos and stories I have inherited, placing them with the correct family members and matching things up, guessing years, etc. It really is as close to a mystery treasure hunt as I ever have been.
My biggest mystery so far? Where the above photo was taken and when. I am seriously considering breaking out the face recognition to try to match up faces. My best guess is my great-grandmother’s family. I am sure I’ll figure it out as I catalogue the stories of their families and organize more photos.
Then there’s this photo that thankfully my great-grandmother wrote on the back the following: Dave & Min Farnsworth. Dave was Susan’s brother…
That’s a start but what about their children? I am sure there are people related to them I don’t even know who would love this photo… So I go to the only place I know to find clues – Ancestry.com. I find Susan Jane Farnsworth on my family tree and then find her parents.
After locating her parents, I notice a green leaf on a profile and click on it to review more hints and find another person who has documented these people in their online family tree – I can see my Susan Farnsworth and also a brother named David.
After further exploration of the hints on other individual trees, I find that David did marry an Esther Minnie and they had ten children. The amazing thing is that the children in the photo match up perfectly with their oldest six children : Edna Alta, David Jr., Philo, Edwin, Lindon and Roy. The toddlers are dressed in kilts as was tradition with their heritage.
The more I studied their names and birth dates, it was easy to approximate the date of the photo to be about the Fall of 1896.
Another story unfolded as I looked at the names of the children, The youngest son on Minnie’s lap is named Roy. On their family record it shows a son named Ray and another named Roy born on the same day. At first I thought it was a duplicate record for the same child, yet after further research it was revealed that Ray had passed away just a few weeks after being born. Roy & Ray were twins. I have had this photo for years and now after a little digging around I know so much more of the story.
It is truly amazing that because of technology and websites that people are collaborating and sharing and together we are all learning more about our roots. It may seem a tiny thing, but now I feel like I KNOW these people. I think of Minnie and how different and more difficult her life must have been. I think of the grief of having twins and then losing one. I think of the morning before this photo – getting those two wiggly toddler boys dressed in their kilts…
This photo has become more than a group of faces to me – these are REAL people who lived and I’m related to them!
I think sometimes we live so much in the day (as we should) that we can’t see the importance of our lives – who we are – what we are learning and growing and doing right now – and how much that will mean to future generations.
I’m 100% positive that on the day this photo was taken Minnie never envisioned a great-great-great niece searching the internet digging up clues to discover more about her family. Yet I did, and I loved every second of it and I’m so grateful to know more about these sweet people.
I know life gets busy and it seems so mundane and not worth recording. And yet I still have to ask you – whose Minnie will you be?