Tuesday, August 17, 2021

No Captions - A Loss for Future Generations

Now that I'm scanning, inverting, and enhancing negatives from the collection left by my late father-in-law, James Edgar Wood (1903-1986), I'm finding clues to family history--and so many mysteries.

A few (but not many) of the negatives had dates scratched into the edges, sometimes very specific dates. Most of the negatives were in small paper folders with titles such as "Summer, 1919" or "1917-1918-1919."

Help from genealogy folks on social media

With a bit of help from the wonderful genealogy folks on social media, I'm getting ideas about where some of these photos were taken, the groups, the clothing, etc. 

Genealogical folks identified the uniform worn by a young man in several 1919 photos as Royal Air Force. I know from previous research that one of my husband's ancestors from Canada served in the RAF during WWI. Very quickly, I found a US/Canadian border crossing card for him during the same month as that 1919 photo. As a result, I've been able to caption a series of photos with names and dates. Thank you, genie friends!

More research is in my future

The group parading in the image at top holds a banner indicating it's a lodge from London, Canada. Thanks to a Canadian genealogy social media group, I now have some leads to follow up.

Also, I'm interested in the group shown in this parade (date uncertain, sometime between 1917 and 1919). This is not necessarily from the same parade as the previous photo, not from the same batch.

Most of the men are holding what looks like a ceremonial staff, perhaps from a lodge? More research is in my future.

Not having captions for my father-in-law's photos would be a real loss--a family history tragedy for future generations. 

--"Tragedy" is the theme for week 33 of Amy Johnson Crow's #52Ancestors challenge.


  1. Cool photos, but a shame there's no specific info with them... And groups on Social Media have helped me as well :)

  2. Hi Marian. Yes, it would be a tragedy. I am trying to label all my pics for my descendants.

    Regarding your 2nd pic, just my anecdotal guess, but I would not be surprised if the older marching gents were GAR vets. From pics I have seen of GAR reunions, they all seem to display those large multiple chest medals and ribbons. And they also seemed to have walking canes which might have been an accouterment of the time. Hope I am not muddying your research.

    Best regards, Charles

  3. Yesss! I am so detailed in my labeling. About 20 years ago my mom and I got all the photos we could find and spent almost ten years sorting and labeling them. I'm so glad we did this.

  4. I wish I had been more careful when asking my older relatives who were in the photos. I need to add captions to all of mine now.

  5. Thanks to all of you for commenting. I'm reorganizing these old photos and negatives to keep them safe and make life easier for future generations.