Monday, August 9, 2021

Researching Ancestors in Photos from 1918

My late dad-in-law (Edgar James Wood, 1903-1986) took thousands of photos in his life, beginning in 1917. 

We've inherited many of the negatives, which I'm steadily scanning, inverting, and enhancing, one batch at a time.

Family and more from 1918

I just finished working on 20 negatives in a batch titled "Negatives, 1918...prints in album." Although the album itself doesn't seem to have survived, I can identify some of the people now that I've turned the negatives into positives.

From earlier negatives and photos, I recognize members of my dad-in-law's immediate family. Here is one of Edgar's younger brothers, in an outdoorsy outfit (note buttons on belt). Also in this batch were negatives showing other brothers and, of course, Edgar's beloved mom, Mary Slatter Wood (1869-1925).

Mystery photos

At right, a nurse whose portrait appears in two negatives. Who is she? 

Other "unknowns" are two brothers, who appear to be about 6 and 12, and a 20ish guy in a uniform (no military insignia visible).

There are no place clues visible in the photos, and no inscriptions other than dates scratched into the negatives by my dad-in-law. But the Wood family tended to motor around the countryside in their 1917 Ford and visit relatives, so more than likely, these mystery people are folks on the family tree whose faces I don't recognize (yet).

So many ancestors to research

James Edgar Wood (1871-1939), Edgar's dad, came from a large family. To try to identify mystery people in these photos, I'm looking closely at children of his six siblings who were still alive in 1918. The younger generation would be around the age of the folks in these negatives.

It's possible some of the mystery people might be from the family of Edgar's Mom, Mary, of course. Most of her nieces and nephews lived in Canada. I have to consider that possibility, as well.

Without a doubt, more research is in my future. If I can connect with descendants and get identifications, I'll gladly share photos privately with them and, I hope, swap family history stories.

1 comment:

  1. I have hundreds of slides that my dad took from the 1940's to early 2000's. For the most part I can identify most people - I can't even imagine trying to do that for the time period you're in.