Tag Archives: identifying

It is amazing what you can find with Google Street View

27 Sep

I was lying in bed yesterday morning reading the latest edition of Picture Postcard Monthly pondering their Picture Postcard Puzzles section, which features postcards with views whose location is unknown. I was thinking that it must be a lot easier to identify postcards now with the advent of Google Street View.

It was then that I cast my mind back to one family postcard in particular (shown below) which has been a bit of a mystery. The postcard shows a woman standing outside a quite distinctive small building. The quality of the postcard is not good enough to see any facial features, but I felt that if I could identify the building that would be a good start.

The Lodge, Ord House, Ord, Northumberland

Although this came from the TROWER side of my family tree the location didn’t look like anywhere in Sussex, certainly not one of the two main TROWER homes of Henfield or Sayers Common.

It is not clear what the building is, it looks a bit like a chapel perhaps, or some sort of community building like a village hall. It seems to be a little small for a house, but it is not easy to see how far back the building goes. One important feature is the material that the building is made of, it is almost certainly stone, rather than the more traditional Sussex building materials of flint or brick.

As I lay in bed pondering the image it struck me that there was one branch that I hadn’t previously considered, not actually a TROWER family but the family of Fanny FAIRS the sister of my 2x great-grandmother Annie TROWER (née FAIRS). She married Thomas Arthur BARRY in Henfield, Sussex in November 1894, but they lived in Northumberland at The Lodge, Ord House, Ord (Thomas was a coachman, presumably for whoever was living at Ord House).

I didn’t actually leap out of bed, but when I fired up my computer later in the morning I headed to Google Maps and searched for Ord House. Once the little orange Street View man hit the street I was convinced that this was the right place, because there was a nice long stone wall and stone buildings all over the place.

It took a couple of minutes exploring to find the building, unfortunately the Google Street View car didn’t drive right past the building, but close enough for me positively identify it.

I had a quick check on old-maps.co.uk and this building was identified as “Lodge”, confirming that this was the house of Thomas and Fanny BARRY, and that the woman is probably my 3x great-aunt.

It is a great feeling when you can put a name to a photo or postcard (I can’t be definite about the person, but I can about the place) and a really great way to start a Sunday morning!

How not to identify your family photos

4 Mar

Everyone knows that they should put names and dates on photos, and whilst we may curse our ancestors for not doing so, I am sure most of us are guilty of the same crime.

So when this possible family photo turned up today, from another of my father’s boxes, I had to smile, not just because it is such a nice photo.

Photo in envelope

It had been kept in an envelope addressed to my grandmother, then Miss D TROWER of 5 Hazeldene Terrace,  Hurstpierpoint, Sussex. The envelope is postmarked 21st July 1936, but the actual location it was posted from is not clear, but it may be nearby Burgess Hill.

Although someone had written on the back of the photo, as you can see it wasn’t particularly helpful.

Photo in envelope (back)

I couldn’t help smiling, perhaps one of my ancestors had a warped sense of humour, but more than likely it made perfect sense to whoever wrote it at the time.

So I have no idea if this is Dorothy Annie TROWER, I have nothing to compare this against, but it could just as easily have been her sister, cousin or a friend, or the envelope could be a complete red herring.

2010 to do list – identify my photos

27 Dec

Between now and the new year I will be writing about some of the things I want to achieve with my family history in 2010.

This is really something that needs doing before I try and carry out the to do item that I wrote about yesterday. Amongst all my photos are many that are unidentified, it is these that I need to try and make an attempt at identifying.

There is quite a mixture of photos, some have clues such as writing on the back or the name and address of a photographer’s studio. However many have nothing to go on at all apart from the side of the family that they came from.

Here is an example:

Unknown photo

It is in a rather poor state (it could do with some work on it) and I know it comes from a collection of photos that once belonged to my 2x great uncle Percy TROWER, and it is believed to be either one of his aunts or great-aunts.

I do have the name of the photographer’s studio, which as luck would have it is not far away in Horsham, Sussex. A quick bit of research will hopefully give me the dates when the photographer was working in Horsham and then I should be able to get a rough date for the photo and from there a rough date of birth for the young lady.

I could try and date the clothes that she is wearing, but as I am no expert on historical fashions it is unlikely that I will get very far with that. Likewise with the hairstyles.

Realistically that is probably about as far as I am going to be able to take this photo. I should be able to narrow her identity down to a particular generation but that is about it.

There is a real mix of photos, some men in uniform, several babies, several groups, really just quite a typical collection of family photos that are to be found in shoe boxes up and down the country.

It should be good fun going through these photos, at least they are already scanned. I think the first step will be to move all those that I do know into separate folders so that I am just left with the unidentified photos. I think I shall try and identify one a week, that way I won’t get too hung up on each one.

Of course some may require further detailed research, such as the men in uniform. These may well be the most interesting ones, as the photo itself will provide many clues.

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