This was another photo from Great Aunt Gladys' album. Fortunately, that gives me a good starting point for identifying it since all of the old photos in the album seem to be Gladys' family. Gladys didn't appear to be in contact with her father's side at all and her close sister Hazel married her Cole first cousin once removed, so I should be related to pretty much everyone in the album. I didn't immediately recognize any of these people, although they do have a family resemblance to some of my known Cole relatives.
This is a Real Photo postcard with AZO symbols and arrows pointing up. This website is a great resource for identifying antique postcards and tells us that this postcard was made between 1904-1918. Now, assuming that the photo wasn't a copy of an older one, that narrows the time frame down to a very manageable window. Someone familiar with old fashions could probably tell me the time period of the clothes as well, but I don't know much about that myself.
Next, I looked through all of my other photos to see if I could recognize anyone from identified photos. These three looked like hits:
|1. Jessie and Nettie (Cole) Smith|
|2. Betsy Jane (Thompson) Cole|
Photo #2 is Betsy Jane Cole (1852-1927), the wife of Samuel and mother of Nettie. I believe that she is also the woman sitting next to Nettie in the photo above. She is quite a bit older in this photo, but her facial structure looks exactly the same to me. The photos are even taken from the same angle, which helps a lot for identification.
|3. Edward "Ned" Cole|
This photo was most likely taken sometime between Nettie and Jessie's 1908 marriage and Ned and Hazel's 1911 marriage (since Hazel is not pictured). All of the identified people were living in Washington at that time. Knowing the approximate time and place helps to narrow down who the other two family members may be. I am pretty confident that this is a photo of Samuel and Betsy Cole's family. Based on the probable time frame of 1908-1911, we can exclude most of their children.
Samuel and Betsy had nine children:
1. Earl (1869-1905) - passed away before this photo was taken
2. Mertie (1875-?) - married and living in Minnesota when this photo was taken
3. Maude (1877-?) - no information, but too old to be the young girl standing next to Ned
4. Lucy Blanche (1879-1962) - married with children when this photo was taken
5. Cora Bell (1881-1967) - married with children when this photo was taken
6. Edward "Ned" (1885-1964) - pictured standing third from left
7. Nettie Beatrice (1887-1955) - pictured seated in the front second from left
8. Nora (1890 - ?) - no information, but the right age to be the girl standing second from left
9. Daniel (1892 - ?) - no information, but the right age to be the boy standing first from left
My conclusion is that this is a photo of Samuel and Betsy Cole's four youngest children plus their mother and brother-in-law. I was discouraged when I first saw that this photo had no identification on it. However, with a little systematic sleuthing, it is often possible to, at least, partially identify and date your old family photos. So, treasure all your photos - identified or not. One day, with a little luck, you may be able to figure out who they are.
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