View Full Version : Opinions Please.
14-08-2009, 4:18 PM
I found this photo in a box of old photos belonging to my aunt after she died, it's the only one that I can't positively ID, but if I could get a reasonably accurate date I could work out who she is.
Barely legible on the back is the inscription "Great Grandmother approx 1890", which I assume was written by my aunt, but I can't be sure she wrote it or that the date is correct.
In addition to a date for the photo does anyone have an opinion on the age of the woman?
14-08-2009, 6:12 PM
This is only a guess, but I think she may be mid thirties. Looking at the dress, I would say that 1890s is a fairly good estimate, with the lace and the bow.
I would go with Glen's guess, but I am useless at putting an age on people in old photos - they always seem to be younger than they look!
14-08-2009, 6:37 PM
Was your ancestor very well-to-do, Graham? This portrait has the hairstyle of Queen Alex (especially when she was a Princess) so 1890s seems fine for the date - the dress too. But - not to put too fine a point on it - it's a very posh frock!
As to the age of the sitter - I'd be inclined to go a bit younger than others have suggested here. I'd put this lady in her twenties at the most.
14-08-2009, 8:50 PM
I'm hopeless at ageing people in old photos, to me she could easily be anywhere from 20 to 40! People seemed to age differently in the past, men especially could look like a 60 year-old would today, but actually be as little as half that!
I'm inclined to agree with the date though, to me the style looks about right for 1890, but I'm no expert on women's fashions and small details could make a big difference.
Marian I have yet to find anyone in my family who was well-to-do, most of them would have been lucky to have two farthings to rub together, including the possible candidates for this photo! I thought perhaps the photo may have been taken for a special occasion, and the dress provided by the photographer?
14-08-2009, 9:28 PM
IŽd go for about the middle of the decade. Those puffed sleeves were at their widest in 95-96. It was also about this time that wavy and frizzed hair became fashionable. I think it was straighter earlier in the decade.
I wonder if she was at a wedding?
Ages are so hard, in her twenties, just a guess. ;)
15-08-2009, 2:18 AM
I have just been looking at some of my old family photos and the hairstyle does seem to be from the 1890s. Posh dress too, not the sort one would wear whilst baking bread, so she could have been at a ball, celebrating her 21st, or been a member of a wedding party.
As for age, at first glance I would have said mid thirties, but that's what I thought about one of my GGG aunts until I found out she was 22 when the photo was taken. So like Mutley, I tend to think this one was also in her twenties, probably no more than 25.
15-08-2009, 9:59 AM
I would say 1895, and age thirty. What a dress, and the necklace points to this date as well.
15-08-2009, 10:49 AM
Hi Graham, she's in her early 20's I'd say, and not too poor either by the looks of her dress and necklace.
15-08-2009, 11:09 AM
OK, allow me to muddy the waters with a little background info, and some options...
Assuming the inscription is correct and she was my aunt's Great Grandmother, and therefore my GG Grandmother, and that the photo dates from around 1890-1895 which seems to be the general consesus.
That gives four options...
1) Jane Perkins, b.1829, d.1897
2) Elizabeth Bradford, b.1831, d.?
I think we can safely discard both of those on grounds of age!
3) Susannah Marker, b.1848, d.?
4) Ellen Baker, b.1856, d. 1925
These two are more likely, but is that the face of a 42-47 year-old, or a 34-39 year-old?
I would say Ellen, but making allowances for the date being slightly out it could concievably be Susannah.
In 1891 Ellen was married with at least four children, her husband was a gas stoker and she was a rag cutter.
In the same year Susannah had at least nine children, her husband was a "wood dealer" which I take to be some kind of timber merchant.
Of the two of them I would expect Susannah's family to have been the better off, and therefore more likely to have been able to afford the dress and jewellery, assuming they were hers! I doubt Ellen could afford anything like that.
15-08-2009, 12:53 PM
Was your aunt married Graham, and could this be a photo of her husband's g grandmother?
15-08-2009, 2:02 PM
Yes she was married, but I'm reasonably certain this is not from my uncle's side of the family. For one thing he knew next to nothing about his family history and had little interest, I know this from speaking to his brother at the funeral, also there are very few photos in the collection relating to his family, and those that do are just of the two brothers and their mother.
My aunt was far more interested in family history and probably knew more than anyone else in the family, if only I'd realised this before she died in 2004 my life could be a whole lot easier!
Having said that, I find it slightly unusual of her that she should only label the photo "Great Grandmother", and not say which one!
Don't know if this is of any use, but my great grandmother left some diaries and many entries threw me, as she kept referring to people as Auntie this and Uncle that. I thought she was talking about her own Aunties and Uncles, but she was, in fact, referring to her and her husband's brothers and sisters - and seemingly referring to them as she would to her children :cool:
15-08-2009, 4:49 PM
I get that too Ann, we still refer to my dad's aunts and uncles as if they were our own, rather than great aunts and uncles as they should be, and my mum still refers to her brothers and sister as auntie this or uncle that, at least when speaking to me or my sister.
But in this case I think it really is my aunt's/mother's great grandmother, and I'm pretty certain that the writing on the back is my aunt's, if only because if she didn't write it then who else?
16-08-2009, 12:09 AM
For your aunt to have labelled this lady just as 'Great Grandmother', this could signify that she had actually known her. What was your aunt's date of birth? Of course, it could just mean that her family had many memories of the old lady, so that your aunt remembered her being talked about.
16-08-2009, 9:40 AM
No she didn't know her, my aunt wasn't born until 1937, some 20 years after these ladies died.
I have a feeling I'm destined never to fully resolve this one, all I can say is that the photo is almost certainly one of the two ladies, but which one I can't say for certain.
The only other thing I can do is to study photos of their descendants to see if I can spot a definite likeness, not easy as I only have photos of one of Ellen's daughters, when she was quite an old lady, and I have no photos of Susannah's children at all, only her grandchildren.
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