View Full Version : Photo Identity Help

08-10-2012, 7:45 AM
I am currently researching my ancestory and I have recently received 3 images of very well-to-do ladies that are somehow connected to my ancestory. The trouble is that I have no idea of the names of these ladies or who they are. I think the date of the photos is somewhere around the 1870-1880 era going by the clothes that they are wearing.

The only piece of information that I have about these photos is that the photographer was William McLeod, 20 Keith Street, Stornoway, Scotland. And that one of the ladies might have been called Christine.

Does anyone have any idea who these ladies are, and where the photo would have been taken? I would appreciate any help to solve this mystery.


08-10-2012, 8:01 PM
There were two William Macleods, photographers, working in Stornoway - Father and Son.
William snr was born in Harris c.1832. His parents were Donald Macleod, a joiner, and Peggy Macaulay.
William started his working life as a painter and sign writer before moving on to photography. It is likely that he learnt photography in Glasgow where he worked for a time as a painter.
He was a notable portrait photographer in Stornoway from the early 1860's to 1889. The business operated from 20 Francis Street, then 20 Keith Street and later 34 Keith Street. William died in 1899. His son William carried on the business, but was killed in the First World War (1917)while serving with the Seaforth Highlanders.
William snr was married to Jane Morrison. Their family were Annie (died in infancy), Donald, John, Angus, William, Ann, Margaret, Jessie Isabella, Jane and Donaldina (Dina).

There is a little info here relating to the photographer


09-10-2012, 3:07 AM
Hi Codge01, Thank you so much for your very informative reply about the photographer William McCleod and his son.

Also I was very interested in your reply because you mentioned a surname that is connected to my family tree. I have a McCaulay somehow related to my family tree butI have not yet worked out how.

Both Aberdeen and Stornoway are connected in my family tree and I have hit a brick wall trying to figure out how these photos of 3 sisters photographed in Stornoway fit into the picture.

Here's hoping someone else can add some light to the mystery.

09-10-2012, 4:33 PM
Glad to be a help, please feel free to ask away if there is anything I can help with, searching etc in your tree.

10-10-2012, 6:10 AM
Hi Codge01, I really appreciate your offer of helping me with my family tree and I would like to take you up on that offer.

I have hit a brick wall in trying to find out information on my father’s mothers side of the family. Only recently I discovered who my gg grandmother is and the discovery was incredible for my family and extended family.
My gg grandmothers name is Janet George b1830, born in Aberdeen, Scotland her mother was Ester or Esther McKenzie. Ester McKenzie’s parents were John McKenzie and Christian Munro.
Janet had an elder sister called Isobella Georgiana and I do not know anything about her at all. Ester, Isobella and Janet all resided in Old Machar, Aberdeen, Scotland. I have no idea who Ester was married too as in the Scotland 1841 census no husband was mentioned. When Janet was sentenced in 1849 the convict record states that her mother Ester was a widow . Ester was born in 1806 in Edinburgh, she died in 1872
My gg grandmother Janet George was sentenced to 7 year imprisonment for stealing and transported to VDL (Tasmania) in 1849 at the age of 19. Her convict record states that she is a woman of COLOUR, a mulatto. Meaning she had African ancestry.
I recently had my father DNA tested just to prove that I was on the right path and sure enough the test revealed that my father has 6% African DNA.
The photo taken in Stornoway of the 3 sisters I have been told are Janet George’s sisters. Now how can it be that 3 white girls in a photo taken in Stornoway be sisters of Janet George, a mulatto from Aberdeen.
My father’s DNA test reveals that he has shared DNA with distant family members (4th or 5th cousins) in the Southern States of the USA. Places like Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, Mississippi, North Carolina, Kentucky and Arkansas .
Also the surnames McCauley, McKenzie and Kittoes or Kitto I have been told are in the family also from Scotland who were involved in the fur trade perhaps.
Slavery comes into my mind and I had thought of the West Indies but with all those Southern States showing shared DNA with my father it looks like my West Indies theory might be wrong.
So you can see how I am more than slightly confused in trying to work out how my gg grandmother was a mulatto with 3 white sisters.
Any help would be awesome in trying to unravel this confusion in my family tree.

10-10-2012, 6:28 AM
Just to add that my gg grandmother Janet George the mulatto, it means that she was a half-caste.

12-10-2012, 7:14 PM
Is this anyone you know for starters ? Just checking ?

12-10-2012, 11:31 PM
Hi Codge 01

Yes. The lady is from Tasmania, Australia and she has been helping me for the past 6 months to find my gg grandparents and the relationship of the photo of the 3 girls to the family.

We have hit a brick wall so that is why I am putting feelers out into other forums.

The reply from Madhouse51 on the forum Roots Chat his wife is a distant relative of mine and they are also searching for answers. We are all bouncing off each other with any information we find.

Madhouse51 has mentioned to me that the 4th Earl of Aberdeen, George Hamilton-Gordon is connected. That Ester McKenzie was his (COLOURED) servant, born 1806 from Edingurgh, Jamaica and that they had sexual relations as a result he sired Jessie/Janet George the mulatto. If that was the case then Jessie/Janet's mother Ester/Esther would have had to be African. But I have found online Esters death certificate and it states that her parent are John McKenzie and Christian Munro who were married in Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland and that John McKenzie served in the Aberdeenshire Militia.

I don't know if Madhouse01 is barking up the wrong tree or not. I am more inclined to think that Jessie/Janet George was the product of a relationship between Ester and a COLOURED man with the surname or maiden name of George.

13-10-2012, 7:28 PM
Thats good im glad your receiving help, I'm inclined to beleive your theory of Esther and a black man - surname George. Weirdly or not I have a couple of freinds from same family who are Mulatto with the surname george. And this surname seems strong in the old colonies. I can recall seeing a few programs were the mulatto gene does not manifest itself for a few generations and infact siblings can be black, white and mulatto. Also what i have seen on tv is the mulatto child seemed to originate from a master, servant scenario. Some mulatto children were born completely white in the slave days, and were dressed so as to ensure they were notised as slaves because they looked so european, and so I guess could flee, if it were possible. Maybe not a great deal of help, but just a pointer towards explaining maybe the white siblings.

13-10-2012, 9:45 PM
My gg grandmother was also described as a Mulatto. I have managed to find that her father came to the UK from the West Indies and married an English girl. As far as I know, all marriages down the generations were to whites though several married gypsy folk.

I have have found various references to their appearance:
black, mulatto, half caste, brown, Italian looking, Negro, exotic, and foreign. My father remembered some aunts and uncles that were definitely of mixed race by their features even though they had white skin and he was told his grandfather was a "darkie" which was the expression used at the time.
Another expression was 'throwback' meaning a reversion to an earlier ancestral characteristic. I am not sure if you have considered this to be a reason why Janet was black and her sisters were white and I have no idea how far back you need to go to find out.

Again, not a lot of help regarding your family but I wish you good luck. It certainly makes family history interesting. :smile5:

14-10-2012, 12:01 AM
Thanks for your replies it does make interesting reading.

My gg grandmother Jessie George as I mentioned before was transported to VDL (Tasmania) Australia where the local people thought and regarded her as an aborigine due to her dark skin, thick lips, flat nose, black curly hair and black eyes, not realising that she was a mulatto born in Scotland. All my family were led to believe also that we had aborigine in us. Jessie must have kept the secret very well from the family and extended family. Because of that it was a surprise for us all when I found out that our gg grandmother was half African from Scotland and not a Tasmanian aborigine.

Can anyone tell me if there was fur trading on the Isle of Lewis in the 1800s. I suppose that would be seal fur wouldn't it? I don't know much about that part of Scotland, excuse my ignorance :winkiss: