Monday, December 20, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Letters from Finland

Last year I was very fortunate to meet a cousin through who had many items of importance to my Finnish family history research. Among these items were 34 letters from my great grandfather Matti Wiita Reini's sister's family in Finland that were sent to the US. I was also very fortunate to receive a tremendous amount of help translating these letter from Finnish to English from my wonderful Finnish friends, members of the FinnGen community and, eventually, Finnish cousins that I was able to track down thanks to information from the first few translated letters. You may notice that the English is a bit awkward since we strove to preserve the original intent/wording of the letters as much as possible. I edited the translations provided to me just a bit to make them readily understandable. These letters were mostly written right after WWII and show the suffering that the Finnish people were enduring. I chose this one to post because it so clearly shows the state of affairs in which many Finns found themselves.

Lapua, Finland - 26 May 1946.
Dear relatives!
Aunt and cousins, a lot of thanks to you for the parcels that have arrived. I have to describe Mother’s joy- if only you would have seen how Mother enjoyed keeping a a package of coffee under her arm, and saying, "It is good that my dear sister still lives and remembers me and my children and also her children take so much care". This is because mother hasn't had a chance to drink real coffee in such a long time. Now there have been no breaks, as cousin Ernest has sent so many parcels and there has been coffee in all of them and so many other good things that we have not had in many years. A lot of thanks for all the clothes and shoes as we now in summer time get only paper shoes with wooden soles. Also the quite new fabric that we have not seen in many years. It is so odd here that you have to be a good friend with the dealer, then you are sold to under the counter. That's as things are so that sometimes there's new fabric in the shop, but you have to be at the shop right away. We can't as the shops are far away and there is nobody to save any for you, so you have to be without. Liisa’s husband is in the book store and they do not have that type of stuff. It is so wonderful to see fabric with a summer look.
Original in Finnish, Courtesy Sara Grostick
Original in Finnish, Courtesy Sara Grostick
Here the summer is soon at its most beautiful. The leaves on the trees are half grown and the cuckoo is calling and the birds build their nests - in everything you see the beauty of the Creator. It would be lovely if I could shake your hands and thank you, but it is not possible, so I thank you from my heart for everything that I have received from you. The shoes were too big for me, but Mother swapped her smaller size shoes with me so I got the right size anyway. So, we thank you for everything.
With many heartily greetings,
Sanna Liisa and Saima (Honkaharju)
*Translation by Ismo Nuuja*

Finland was decimated by the wars that raged there from 1939-1944. Then, to add insult to injury, the Soviet Union imposed heavy war reparations on Finland after WWII. Most Finns had almost nothing - not even the basic staples of life. In response, the US organized a program called "Finnish Relief" or "Help Finland, Inc", overseen by the former US President Herbert Hoover, to send over desperately needed packages of food, clothing and shoes. Judging from the letters, Matti's sister Josefina (Wiita) Kitinoja was sending these supplies to their sister Sanna Liisa (Wiita) Honkaharju and her children. Most of the 34 letters are from this time period and are full of appreciation for the, obviously, much needed supplies. Lucky for me, some even contained extremely valuable genealogical information.

It was a real eye-opener to be able to read my Finnish family's actual feelings and experiences, especially at such a trying time in their history. Although the letters were often sad, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the various writers' personalities through their individual styles and stories. I can't help but wish that I had letters like these from my own great grandfather, Matti. Unfortunately, that is probably an impossible wish since he did not keep in touch with his family back in Finland or his siblings in the US.

That, however, is a story for another day. One that I am sure to tell...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sepia Saturday: Identifying an Unknown Photo

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 #1 is Nettie Cole and her husband Jessie Smith. Nettie was the daughter of Samuel Cole who was the brother of my ggggrandmother Amanda Cole. She was also the sister of Ned Cole who married Gladys' sister Hazel. Nettie and Jessie were married in 1908 in Washington. In the postcard above, I believe that the man standing on our right is Jessie and the young woman sitting in front of him is Nettie.
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
Photo #3 - I only have this one photo of Ned Cole that is positively identified. Again, it is obviously many years later, but the facial structure, and even the ear, of the man standing next to Jessie looks extremely similar to this photo. Its even the same angle again! The timing also fits since he is Nettie's closest sibling and he didn't get married until three years after she did.

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.

For more great Sepia Saturday posts, please visit my friends here.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Follow Friday: Iowa Old Press for Iowa genealogy

While researching my Travis family for a post earlier this month, I came across a treasure trove of transcriptions of historic newspapers at the wonderful Iowa Old Press. On their site they state, "This IAGenWeb Special Project is dedicated to the scores of newspapers that are printed chronicles of the lives and times of Iowa and Iowans. Join us as we step back in time and learn how the Press reported the news & influenced our Iowa ancestors in the 1800's and early 1900's..."

If you are researching ancestors in Iowa, by all means, be sure to visit this site. There are myriads of genealogical gems. Even the entries that don't mention my family have my rapt attention. The details that these articles give on family structure (including adoptions), migration, deaths, local businesses and social events is amazing. I am constantly struck by how much this information could mean to many family researchers. I would like to publicly thank the volunteers who spent many hours transcribing for this excellent site.

When I entered "Travis" into the search engine, I got 52 hits. Most of those (if not all) are "my" Travises. There were many exciting tidbits on my Travises and even some promising hints to help solve the mystery of Asa Travis' origins.

After at least thirty-five years of research, none of the Travis family researchers have been able to successfully tie our branch into other Travis families. The recent DNA results of my third cousin have shown that we are indeed related to the New York branch of this family and, most likely, connect all the way back to the Colonial Travis family. However, we still do not know how. Perhaps the newspaper clips below will help to sort the connection out.

1. THE FREMONT SUN. September 3, 1896. "William Travis of Ottumwa [Wapello County, Iowa] is a cousin of the Travis brothers" 

I believe that "Travis brothers" refers to my great grandfather Abraham, a frequently mentioned pioneer of Fremont, and his brother Nicodemus who came together to Iowa in 1852. Ottumwa is right by Fairfield where they lived upon arrival. William was previously unknown to us as a family member. I found a William Travis in the right area at about the right time who was born in New York, Dec 1835/7.  He married Mary Taylor and lived in Carthage, NY in 1880. Both of his parents are listed as born in New York in the federal censuses. One Ancestry Tree lists his father as Joseph. 

THE FREMONT COUNTY HERALD. September 5, l929. "OUR OLDEST SETTLER TELLS OF EARLY DAYS. Came to Fremont County When Sidney Was But Two Years Old. SEVENTY-SEVEN YEARS AGO".--(Joseph Hiatt, Jr., the oldest settler of Fremont county now living, relates the following historic facts of the county in early days...)
In the fall of 1852 I came with my parents from Peoria county, Illinois, to Fremont county, then spoken of as the wild and woolly west. It sure was all this and more. It was a land of deprivation and hardship unknown in our nation today... we lived in a double log house together with Abe [my 2nd great grandfather] and Nick Travis and families. This house was located on the south side of the road across from the old Dr. McCracken place in west Sidney. It was here the late Sadie Travis Gordon was born...The claims were filed at the land office in Council Bluffs, known then as Kanesville."

If William is a cousin to Abe and Nick, then William's dad should be Asa's brother.

2. THE FREMONT HERALD. April 2, 1896. "Grandpa Travis died, aged 85 years, 6 months- son is M.A Travis of Sidney."

I found an Amos and Sarah Travis (b. born about 1807 in NY)  living with Martin A Travis of Sidney in 1885. Martin was born 1846 in Ohio. Amos was called "Grandpa Travis" and my Abraham was called "Uncle Abe". Amos was born in 1810 in Greene County, NY and his parents were probably Gilbert Travis of New York and Phoebe Fish.  Gilbert was one of the early settlers of Linn County, Iowa. He was born about 1775 and may have been Asa's brother. Maybe it is a coincidence, but Amos' wife was Sarah Emeline Armstrong Travis and Abraham's firstborn was Sarah Eveline Travis. Abe also had sons named Amos, William and Joseph.

I don't know how this all ties together yet, but it is very important new information.

I also found these articles about my family along with many other mentions:

1. THE FREMONT COUNTY HERALD. May 18, 1906. "STORIES OF OLD TIMERS". -- A. Travis came to Fremont county in 1853 and located two miles southeast of where Sidney now stands. He has mowed grass within what is now the city limits and stated that a most excellent spring was once where the town well now is...

2. SIDNEY ARGUS HERALD. Jan 1934. "TWENTY YEARS AGO". -- Abraham Travis, pioneer of Fremont county, passed away Monday at the age of 86 years. Deceased was born in Ohio December 1, 1827, came to Iowa in 1852, was married in Jefferson county and settled in Fremont county the following year. The father of twelve children, he was a continuous resident of this county until his death.

3. THE FREMONT COUNTY HERALD. September 2, 1897. "FAMILY REUNION". -- One of the most remarkable family gathering in the history of Fremont county occurred at the home of Uncle Abe Travis last Sunday. It was the first time in twenty years that all of this family were together, and it will, in all probability be the last. Within the last 45 years death has entered this family but three times and then taking grandchildren. The immediate family circle, consisting of father, mother,and twelve children remains unbroken. It was indeed a happy meeting and one long to be remembered.

Promptly at high noon father, mother, eight sons and four daughters were seated around the family board and thorougly discussed a bountiful dinner served on the highest art of the old fashioned school of cookery, where eatables take the place of dishes and style. In this gathering were 12 members of this branch of the Travis family, father, mother, 12 children, 20 grandchildren and 8 children-in-law. Mr. Travis has lived here 42 years.

The HERALD extends congratulations to Uncle Abe and wife and wish them many more such joyful occasions.

4. THE HAMBURG REPORTER, Hamburg, Iowa. Friday, January 9, 1914. Abe Travis, 86, died at the home of his son, A.L. in Sidney. Uncle Abe as he was generally called has been a resident of this county for many years and has seen the prairie when there were few houses on it and when there were few towns in this part of the state. In company with H.F. Brumback he laid out the town of Hamburg and Mr Travis owned one or two lots in Hamburg at the time of his death...The funeral services were conducted at Sidney Wednesday. He leaves several children among them Mrs H. Hayes of this city...
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: Another Priceless Family Photo FOUND

Courtesy Yvonne Jackson, Australia
This photo is my great great grandparents George and Flora (Chitts) Allen with their infant daughter. Prior to locating this photo, I had never seen their faces. My great grandfather, George Henry Allen, was the only family member to leave Australia and, as far as I know, all of the other descendants of this couple are still living there. Apparently, my grandmother, Wanda Allen Moore Bloomfield, kept up a correspondence with our family in Australia, but, unfortunately, with her death that link was lost.

The hunt for my Australian cousins and the eventual discovery of this photo was quite an undertaking. First, I searched Ancestry's Public Family Trees to locate the names of any descendants. Luckily, I did come across some information on George and Flora's grandchildren in Australia and followed their families as far as I could. What I was especially looking for was an unusual name among the descendants. Eventually, I found it -"Bartheyl". My next step was to go to Facebook and search for that surname. As luck would have it, there were only four and they were all members of the same family in Australia. I sent a polite message (to the one who looked the oldest) inquiring about possible shared Allen heritage. Just two days later, to my great pleasure, I received an affirmative response. My newfound cousin then referred me to another Australian Allen cousin, who shared this photo with me. It was quite a search, but incredibly well worth it.

The photo was labeled on the bottom "George and Flora Allen, Baby Flora." If that is indeed who is pictured here, then this photo had to be taken in either 1886 or 1887. "Baby Flora" was the last child born to this couple due to Flora's premature death in early 1888. Flora Georgina Allen was born in 1886 in Cheltenham, Victoria, Australia. Since she looks about one year old here, it was likely taken within months of her mother's death.

I find it a bit strange that none of their other three children (Angelena Elizabeth b.1876, George Henry b.1880 and William James b.1884) are pictured here. This makes me question if the photo might be misidentified and the little girl here is actually their eldest child, Angelena. If that's the case, it would mean that the photo was taken c.1877-8. On the other hand, the provenance of the photo does point to it being "Baby Flora", since it is her descendants who shared it with me. The description that my cousin gave me of the original, leads me to believe that it is an ambrotype. According to Wikipedia, in the United States, the ambrotype was only popular in the 1850s and 1860s. However, Australia may have had a different time frame for their adoption and discontinuation of photographic processes.

Regardless of who the child is, this photo is very meaningful to me. One of my favorite parts of genealogy is finding "new" family photos. George and Flora have been gone since 1913 and 1888, respectively. Who would have thought that I would be able to discover this treasure more than 7000 miles away and a century later?

To have the opportunity to look upon the faces of my ancestors is priceless.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wedding Wednesday: Daniel Hewitt Proctor and Amelia "Millie" Travis, 1900

My great grandparents, Daniel and Millie (Travis) Proctor, Wedding- 1900

Right up front, I want to say that my grandmother Aune Reini Proctor said that Dan and Millie were the nicest people she ever met. Since she was their daughter-in-law, this is pretty significant. Aune met a lot of people in her 96 years of life and I never heard her say the same thing about anyone else. For this alone, they deserve to be remembered. Fortunately, this is not all that I know about them.

Thanks to the wonderful people over at Iowa Old Press who have transcribed and posted so many gems about my Travis family, I found their wedding announcement:

October 25, 1900

On October 24, 1900, at 7:00 o'clock p.m., Mr. Daniel H. Proctor and Miss Amelia Travis, Rev. E. Dickinson officiating. The wedding was a quiet one and took place at the home of the bride's parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. Travis, the immediate friends of the contracting parties only being present, with Livingston Mitchell who played the wedding march. The couple left on Tuesday morning for Omaha and will make a tour through Kansas to look up a location for a home. Their many friends extend warmest greetings and prayers for their happiness and success. 

Millie was 30 and Daniel was 34 when they married - unusually late for a first marriage in those days. I have found no evidence of an earlier marriage for either of them and in the 1900 Federal Census, just prior to the marriage, both lived with their tight-knit families. The Travises were one of the founding families in this area of Iowa and Millie was born and raised there, so it is a bit surprising that their wedding was such a quiet affair.

Daniel's family had moved from Equality, Illinois, the place of his birth, to Sidney sometime between the 1880 Federal Census and the 1885 Iowa State Census. I have not yet discovered what precipitated this move by Daniel's widowed mother, Mary Hewitt Proctor, and her children. Judging from the number of Proctors there in later censuses and in the cemeteries, it appears that others from the extended Proctor family may have been involved. Daniel's father, Ephraim, passed away in 1875, so Mary and the children may have been somewhat dependent on family members who decided to relocate. (Whatever it was, I am thankful!)

I had never heard that Dan and Millie considered living in Kansas before reading the snippet above. I have wondered what motivated them to move away from Millie's well established family in Sidney and settle in the Seattle area. This tells me that they had planned to move from the outset of their marriage, so it wasn't a spontaneous or rash decision. Judging from their children's birth dates and places, they came to Washington State between March 1903 and March 1905. Since their daughter Cleo Proctor Cavanaugh wrote in a letter from 1990 that she was born in the first house that Daniel built at 4221 Ferdinand St, Columbia City, they must have been there for awhile before her birth in March 1905 to allow time for the construction, thus narrowing the window.
4221 Ferdinand St, Columbia City, WA
I was so happy to find on my recent road trip to Washington that it still stands along with several other houses that Dan and his sons built. Isn't it pretty? It really was special to be able to touch something that my great grandfather created over 100 years ago.
[Update - Thanks to Scott R's comment below, I did some research on the house. Apparently, the current owner is running a yoga studio out of it (it must have good energy!). I will have to take a yoga class next time I am up there. Also, the state archivist is in the process of retrieving a photo of it from 1937. It was built in 1904.]

Millie and Dan spent the rest of their lives in the Seattle area and raised a happy family of four sons and one daughter. I have many photos of them in their later years, but I especially like the one below for the following two reasons:
1) They look every bit as pleasant as my grandmother Aune described them.
2) I am quite confident that I recognize the shadow on Millie's dress.

I find it a fitting metaphor that just as Aune's remembrances of Dan and Millie shaped my understanding of them, her silhouette is clearly visible in this image. In our search for our ancestors, we often find ourselves "chasing their shadows," so be sure to find out all you can about your family history from your older relatives. It may be the only real chance that you have to get to know those who have gone before you.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"My Tangled Vine" nominated for Family Tree Magazine's 40 Best Genealogy Blogs

I am honored to announce that this blog is among the nominees for Family Tree Magazine's "40 Best Genealogy Blogs" in the category New Blogs. Congratulations to all of the fantastic bloggers recognized. To review all of the nominees, you can click through to the full list at Geneabloggers. There are a lot of fabulous blogs on the list, so be sure to check them out!  

The voting is open until Monday, December 20th, and you can vote as many times as you would like. The winners will be published in the July '11 issue of  Family Tree Magazine.

If you enjoy reading this blog, I hope you will consider voting for it. Look for "My Tangled Vine" under Category 7. Thank you for your support!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sepia Saturday: Tough to Track- Laurence Travis Murphy (1892-1954)

Courtesy Jack Cavanaugh - Kent, WA
This is another old family photo from Cleo Proctor Cavanaugh's album. The back says, "Aunt Etta's son -Mom's nephew", then in different writing, "Laurence Murphy". Aunt Etta would be my great grandmother Millie Proctor's sister, making Laurence my first cousin twice removed. I have no information about him at all, so I will have to search the available records to see what I can piece together about this confident looking young man.

His parents were Arthur Douglas Francis and Etta May (Travis) Murphy. According to Laurence's WWI draft record, he was born on August 12, 1892, in Sidney, Fremont County, Iowa.  In the 1910 Federal Census, he is living in Pierce, Page, Iowa with his parents and little brother Maurice. On June 5, 1917, when he filled out his draft card, he was single and still living in Iowa. He was described as tall, medium build, blue eyes and light hair. He was working as a drug clerk for C.A. Hill in Ottumwa. Interestingly, it is noted that he had "2 years of university training".

In the 1920 Federal Census, there is a Reverend Laurence Murphy working as an assistant pastor at St. Anthony's Church in Davenport, Iowa. The age is correct, but both parents are listed as being born in Ireland and "my" Laurence's parents were born in Iowa. The only other one who looks possible is a Lawrence Murphy in Chicago. He was born in Iowa and so were both of his parents, but he is listed as 31 which would mean he was born in about 1889. Since I am not satisfied with either of these, I can't be sure where he was in 1920, which is probably about the time this photo was taken.

The sign behind Laurence reads, "Sargent's". There was a Sargent's Jewelry Store in Mt. Pleasant, Henry County, Iowa. According to the Daily Reporter from October 27, 1879, the proprieter was J(ames) F(ranklin) Sargent, Jeweler, Watch and Clock Repairer. He was also a "dealer in school books, stationery, blank books of every description and a thousand other items". The store was located on the "North side of the Park, Mt. Pleasant". After James' death in 1899, his family continued to run the store, so it may have still been there in the teens and twenties. I don't know if the storefront in this photo is the same one, but I think it is possible.
[Update- I did some more research on Laurence's employer C.A. Hill listed on his June 1917 WWI draft card. Finally some luck! It turns out that C.A. Hill bought out W.L. Sargent's drug business in Ottumwa in 1917! According to the Bulletin of Pharmacy (Volume 31, part 1, page 45), Mr. Sargent sold Mr. Hill his business and gave him a long term lease on the building located on the corner of Main and Market Streets in Ottumwa. The article also noted, "The business will be continued under the name of 'Sargent's.'" So, we now know exactly where this photo was taken! Based on this new info, I will place the date of the photo a bit earlier - c.1917. Like I always say, persistence does pay off!]

By June 11, 1924, when Laurence married Ruth Hulda Jones, he was in Burlington Junction, Nodaway, Missouri. In 1930 he was still there, farming with his wife and two children - Bill and Patricia. A couple of trees on Ancestry have his death listed as occuring on Feb 20, 1954 in Maryville, Nodaway, Missouri, however I can't find anything in the Missouri death records to support this.

I spent a couple of hours researching Laurence and, unfortunately, didn't come up with much. Notably, I am missing his 1900 and 1920 Census records. I checked Ancestry, Family Search Beta, Iowa Old Press and Google without a lot of luck. Some people are just more difficult to research and I guess Laurence is one of them. Oh well, better luck next time!

Thanks for reading and please go here to read posts from my talented friends at Sepia Saturday.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sepia Saturday: Dating a Photo

Courtesy Jack Cavanaugh - Kent, WA
This is a Real Photo postcard of the Gordon home in Sidney, Iowa taken around the turn of the last century by "J.F. Lewis of Sidney, Iowa". According to various issues of the Fremont County Herald, Mr. Lewis opened a photography studio in Riverton, Fremont County in 1889 and ran his business from there until his studio burned down. He then moved to Sidney, Fremont County where he was again eventually burned out, moving West in 1917. I haven't yet been able to find the exact date that this move to Sidney happened, so it is difficult to date the photo from the photographer alone. Fortunately, I do have some other information from the back of the photo that should help to date it. The home is identified as that of Sadie Gordon, my great grandmother Millie Travis Proctor's sister. From other photos I recognize Sadie (Sarah Eveline Travis) as the woman standing on our left, so the man sitting next to her is most certainly her husband Andrew Marion Gordon. They married in 1893, so that narrows the date to after that year. A close-up of the photo gives me more clues. Although the three people on our right are unidentified, I have a pretty good idea of who, at least, two of them are. Sadie's parents were my 2nd great grandparents, Abraham and Ruth (Stolebarger) Travis. I own one photo of each (below).

From comparing these to the postcard, I am pretty confident that the elderly man and woman are Abraham and Ruth. Since Ruth died in June 1901, that further narrows the date to between 1893 and 1901. The photo that I have of Ruth was taken in 1893, so the postcard must be a few years later since she looks substantially older. It is pretty exciting to me that I have most likely discovered another photo of my great great grandparents!

I'm not sure about the younger woman standing on our right, but it is possible that she is my great grandmother Millie. She married my great grandfather Daniel Proctor in Oct 1900. Prior to that date, she was living with her parents in Sidney. The body, stance and arm look very much like hers from later photos that I have, but the face doesn't look quite like her wedding photo. I would conclude that it was another of the Travis sisters, but I have seen photos and it definitely isn't them. Below is a direct comparison of the young woman in the postcard versus Millie in a full length photo from later years and a close-up from her wedding photo in 1900. Could it be her? Looking at it like this, I think it just might be!

From all of this, I think I can safely conclude that the photo was taken no earlier than about 1897 and no later than June 1901. If that is Millie in the photo, that further narrows the time frame to before Oct 1900. The Gordons lived at 21 Clay St, Sidney Town, Iowa in the 1900 Federal Census, so I can further conclude that this photo was likely taken at that address.
Pretty neat what you can do with a little research!

For more great posts visit my friends at Sepia Saturday.