My post for Sepia Saturday #44 is about the choices our ancestors made that, ultimately, determined our fate. It feels strange to look at this photo of my grandfather Everett Proctor with his girlfriend Francis Lee and muse on the fact that I would not exist if he had married her instead of my grandmother Aune. Many of these types of photos are doomed not to survive since often the future spouses make sure they end up in the trash or the fire. The only reason that I have this one was because my grandfather's sister Cleo Cavanaugh had saved it in one of her photo albums, tucked away from my grandmother's jealous gaze, for me to discover all of these years later. How many other suitors must all of our ancestors have had? How many myriads of life decisions and choices led to our very existence? If one little thing was different in our collective past, would everything be?
This photo has also led me to musing on an altogether different subject. Since I have Francis' photo here and some of her family as well, I decided to do a little research on Ancestry.com and Family Search to see if I could find her. Her parents were close friends of my great grandparents Daniel and Millie Proctor, so they must have lived around Seattle, Washington. The only Francis/Frances Lee that I found who seemed to fit the bill was born on October 28, 1908, the daughter of Charles Anderson Lee and Margaret Curtis Lee of Seattle. That makes her a bit younger than my grandfather, but still older than my grandmother, so that fits. My grandparents married in May 1927, so this photo must have been taken before that. Francis is probably about 18 in this picture and my grandfather about 23. During my research, I couldn't help but notice that Francis is listed on an Ancestry Member Tree as dying June 8, 1931. (I confirmed this at pilot.familysearch.org.) She was only 22 and the wife of Ben Whitehouse, still living in Seattle. On the 1930 Federal Census they are enumerated with no children in the household after two years of marriage. I wonder what happened to her? If this is indeed my grandfather's Francis that I have tracked down, it may explain Cleo's reluctance to dispose of her photos.
Why does genealogical research so often unearth such sad stories? *Sigh*
If you click on this picture, enlarging it, you will be able to see the faint pattern of a fingerprint over their faces and in the upper right hand corner. I wonder whose it is? Our ancestors have left their marks in so many ways.
**Update - I just received an Ancestry message that informed me that Francis died giving birth to twins, who survived. I am hoping that there are descendants with whom I can share this photo as well as the others of her family.
-- My contact (Francis' niece) looked at the photo and confirmed that it this is Francis Lee Whitehouse, as I suspected. I found a few more photos of the Lees, which I just emailed to her. Judging from the photos, the Proctors and Lees must have been very good friends and I am so happy to be able to share with Charles and Margaret Lee's granddaughter all these many years later.