Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fab Feb Photo Collage - Day 23 aka Sepia Saturday

Unidentified cousins
Today's inspiration comes from Sepia Saturday and I quote:

Our theme image for Sepia Saturday 165 comes from the Flickr Commons collection of the Australian National Maritime Museum and is entitled "Group Portrait of an Unknown Family". All lovers of old photographs are familiar with unknown people, unknown families and unknown places, we all have them in our collection, and Sepia Saturday 165 provides an opportunity to give them their moment in the limelight, not because of who they are but because of who they may be.  

So here they are - the unknown cousins.

This photograph is from my mother's album and underneath it says "Cousins of Mums"

I suspect they are Forfars and that the photo was taken in a studio in England.

I was going to say "Do enjoy figuring this one out.  I am at a loss."

but then I enlarged the photo and found the following in the bottom right hand corner.

"E Pannell 75 Church Road Hove"

Brilliant!

So, yes, I am more firmly convinced that it is the Forfars or the Hollinghams because they came from or lived in Eastbourne Sussex.

So, from googling "E Pannell 75 Church Road Hove", I ended up with all sorts of interesting leads...not least of which from this blog post to this site

So now I'm thinking the photo dates from about 1905-1916.  Mostly because of the initials i.e. just the E rather than E.W. who was his son.

This is a postcard - rather than a carte-de-visite.

Other interesting sites to visit are this one,

And now I have also found Sussex Online Parish Clerks which I suspect could provide me with hours of endless entertainment.

So I really need to put my detective hat on just a bit more and find out about the siblings of Emily Mercy Hollingham, mother of Walter William Forfar, my maternal great grandfather.  Emily's family were confectioners/bakers in Eastbourne.

Why don't you go on a bit of a sepia seaside holiday and look at other unknown families and see if you can help with some detective work....

38 comments:

Mike Brubaker said...

Well done! A fun photo puzzle that deserves a solution. Their costumes make it a real challenge too. Dressed for a panto maybe?

Jackie van Bergen said...

What a great excuse this has been to revisit old photos and try to figure out who is who.
I love the costumes. I hope you figure out who they are and tell us in another blog post

Alex Daw said...

Thanks Mike - they are beautiful costumes aren't they. The little girl is wearing beautiful jewellery too.

Alex Daw said...

Dear Jackie - I think I have narrowed it down already. I did a bit of hunting on the Hollingham family but with not much joy. However George Robert Forfar's family seems the ticket. In the 1911 census he has five children - all born in Hove - Dorothy Violet aged 10, Ivy Sylvia aged 8, Vera Lilian aged 4, Alan George aged 3 and Iris Maud aged 1. I reckon it could be a photo of Vera and Alan in 1916 as the children look about 8 and 9 years old to me. Walter William Forfar was George's younger brother - the black sheep of the family as I understand it. If I had acted sooner I might have been able to confirm this with Vera - only she died in 1905 at the age of 99 and one day. I was busy with little children at the time and can't even remember if I had a copy of the photo then or whether it was still with my father. I might be able to confirm it with her niece if my cousin can make contact.

Cassmob (Pauleen) said...

Good hunting Alex! Seems like you're hot on the trail. How clever to narrow down the margins and I do hope you make contact with the niece. Thanks for the tip-off re Sussex. I'll be passing that on to Mr Cassmob for his future reference -I assiduously avoid doing his FH-it's his retirement project :-)

Bob Scotney said...

Well done Alex, keep up the research. How I wish that other areas had sites similar to Sussex. Our local borough's picture site has horrible yellow identification across the images they show which ruin what you are looking at and they charge you for every image you ask for with it removed.

Wendy said...

I wonder if Alan anticipated that some Sepians would be able to start figuring out their unknowns in the midst of drafting their post. Once you determine who these cousins are, I wonder if you'll be able to figure out why they are in costume.

Kristin said...

You don't mean 1905! You couldn't have been busy with young children then :) I wonder what program/play the children were in? They look like small adults.

Kathy Hart said...

I love the costumes. What a treasure!

Alex Daw said...

Dear Kristin - You are quite right - got my centuries mixed up - 2005!!! Don't know what my excuse was then - children were not so little then - sigh....troublesome teenagers perhaps??? Yes the children in the photo do look very grown up don't they....I'm going to go back through Vera's correspondence and see if I can find any clues.

Alex Daw said...

Thanks Pauleen. Yes, I feel very chuffed with the work done on this post...what a shame my Mother isn't around to enjoy it. Researching two family trees can be exhausting can't it? I keep comparing family history with gardening but my husband just won't buy it ;)

Alex Daw said...

Thanks Bob - it's been a ton of fun. Yes, that Sussex site does look good. Can't wait to investigate it further.

Alex Daw said...

Dear Wendy - I think Alan is very clever indeed and deserves some kind of award for inspiring us each week. I am very grateful to him for helping to unravel this particular mystery. I'll let you know if I discover anything re the costumes.

Alex Daw said...

Kathy - I wish I had been there on the day. I imagine it must have been lots of fun.

Postcardy said...

I am wondering more about why they are dressed like that.

Alex Daw said...

Hmm.. yes...I've just gone through some old correspondence from Vera about her father's catering business and I quote "We did all the high class weddings for miles around, the Garden Parties and Ladies Nights (although my Pops was never a Mason!) The Mayoral Banquets were a sight to see. We had a wonderful French Chef and a real 'Gentleman's Gentleman' for a Head Waiter - no waitresses in those days. Of course all this was before the War and nothing has ever been the same since." In another letter to my cousin she says about her life "I have traveled the world, 4 medals for gymnastics, very strong swimmer from age of 3. Loved tap and all kinds of dancing, skated, roller skated, played Badminton etc." She said that she was "the middle one of five. Four girls and one boy. Alan died in his early fifties, and was an asthma sufferer from the age of two (but such a sense of humour)."

So I wonder if they had a French themed occasion once in the business and convinced the children to dress up a la Louis XIV. Or was it for a dancing class? I hope to chase up one of Vera's descendants through my cousin in case they have a copy of the photo too and know the story.

viridian said...

A pantomime ? A Christmas play? Thanks for visiting my blog!

Alex Daw said...

My absolute pleasure and thank YOU for visiting mine :)

Kathy Morales said...

They look like they could be kids from today dressed in costume.... Clues provided by their hair and clothing hidden by wigs and costumes. Sepia gives it away, but a few clicks of the mouse and we can manufacture sepia.

Alex Daw said...

Hi Kathy - this is so true - so many photos today are not to be trusted are they? Just about anything can be manufactured. I guess that's why that photographer's stamp in the bottom right hand corner is helpful to place it in time.

Little Nell said...

What a charming photograph Alex; I bet there's a story behind it.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Good for you! What a great picture too, I'm wondering if they were in a play or something.

Kathy M.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

They often did use props in photography. I have one of an unidentified man dressed as a pirate and it must date from about the same time I would think.

Alex Daw said...

Thanks Little Nell. I think so too!

Alex Daw said...

Thanks Kathy - I think it's a great picture too.

Alex Daw said...

Ooh Sheila - I for one would like to see that photo!

Karen S. said...

They are adorable, and such style and grace they share together! Good luck on finding out who they are. Also, I really like your back ground photo on your blog!

Alan Burnett said...

I start reading your blog and become fascinated with your picture and the resulting detective work. I then start reading the comments and finish up blushing with pride. Personally, I think Sepia Saturday is a great collective which has managed to attract a very high quality of participants. Your post is a perfect example.

Alex Daw said...

Oh Karen - I'm so glad you like the background...I thought it was just perfect when I found it.

Alex Daw said...

Dear Alan - now it's my turn to blush and curtsey! :)

TICKLEBEAR said...

A school play, or studio props?
The things we put children through...
If you're going to wreck your brain over a pic,
might as well be this one.
It is lovely!!
:)~
HUGZ

Joy said...

They look adorable dancing in those costumes. You've found out a lot from the little details you started with.

Brett Payne said...

Even in the 1900s/1910s I think the young lad would have been itching to get out of that costume.

barbara and nancy said...

Those costumes are really beautiful. I just saw the film "Marie Antoinette" with all those beautiful costumes.These children would have fit right in.
Nancy

Alex Daw said...

Indeed....though I remember having lots of fun with Cas and Bel dressing them up as a pirate and Cleopatra respectively at about the same age.

Alex Daw said...

Joy, I think you're right. That pose does suggest dancing doesn't it?

Alex Daw said...

Dear Brett - Yes, he was being very gracious wasn't he agreeing to it.

Alex Daw said...

Hi Nancy - Was that the film with Kirsten Dunst in it? I wanted to like that film so much but it left me a bit flat...not sure why....