I think everyone has that one group of pictures that they hold on to, that they have no clue who the people in the photos are.  I have an entire album like that!  It belonged to my grandmother.  She was great at keeping the photos…and some of them even have pencil markings on the back.  Which is great except for one thing….THEY ARE GLUED INTO THE ALBUM!!!!  UGH!  Thank you Grandma Anna!

So…what am I going to do with these photos?  Figure out who the people are, of course!  I have a few clues…so not all hope is lost.  My grandma did mark on the front of a couple of them, things like…”Mom and Me” and “Grandma and Me”.  Those are GREAT photos…That means I have pictures of my Grandma as a 2 year old with my Great Grandmother, and a picture of my grandmother (most likely that same day) with my Great Great Grandmother!  WOW!  If I put them in a frame with a picture of my mother, myself, and my daughter, I will have pictures of 6 female generations of my family.  This may not sound exciting to some of you because you might already have pictures of 4 or 5 generations in one photo.  But for me this is tremendous!  Especially since the only people still living in those generations is myself and my daughter.

So…how do we take photos we have no knowledge of and try to figure out who they are?  Well…you have to really take a close look at the photos.  Sometimes they hold clues that you miss the first few (dozen) times you look at them.  And be sure to get a good, strong magnifying glass for your photo research…you will thank yourself for the investment later.

I’ve started really looking at this photo album…the people in it…the possibility of WHO these people might be….and who they definitely are NOT.  My list includes a lot of people, but I’m not discouraged.  I’ve already identified 5 or 6 people, just from other pictures I have.

I found pictures of my Grandpa Jim…pictures of my grandma’s brother, Carl…and a picture of my mom’s godfather (Yes, he was important to the family too…maybe even related).   I can’t assume, at this point in time, that anyone in this photo album is insignificant.  They were all important to my grandma…so they are important to me too! I just have to figure out who they are.

I pulled the album out again today.  I’ve been thru it a hundred times in the past couple months.  I’ve made copies of the pages and tried to match up pictures and faces…I’ve looked at them in bright lights…with a magnifying glass…in the morning…and late at night.  It never seemed to matter.  But…today I matched up another set of pictures…I think.  I’m still not convinced…but I’m pretty sure.  Here are the 2 pictures…you tell me if I’m right or wrong.

Bottom of the photo says "Carl Lee" This is my Grandma Anna's older brother.

Bottom of the photo says “Carl Lee”
This is my Grandma Anna’s older brother.

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Written in pencil below this photo it says “My Pal”. I believe the man on the right is my Grandma Anna’s brother, Carl Lee.

I can’t be positive of the identification yet, but I’m pretty sure.  Carl Lee was a newspaper salesman in Chicago.  He had a news stand at the corner of 106th Street and Ewing Avenue…right near where they lived.  Family stories told me that he was crippled and it was proven when I received a copy of his death certificate about a month ago.  I spoke with a cousin just yesterday and he told me that Carl had been injured severely when he was younger when scaffolding fell on him.  His back and legs were badly injured and he could no longer stand up straight.  The first thing that caught my eyes in the bottom picture is the man’s legs.  He doesn’t seem to be sitting straight.  I had looked at this picture many times, but until I had talked to my cousin Jack, I never thought this was Uncle Carl.  I only knew him to be the person in the first photo.  It was the only image I had of him.  So you tell me…help me be a detective…Are the men in these two pictures the same man?

I also found my grandmother with her first husband…I figured that one out because of a date on the front of the picture and location…and it matches up with her first marriage! But there are other pictures that I assume are her first husband, Wilbur.  Here they are….

Joe and Wilbur An easy one...This would be my grandma's first husband, Wilbur Frechette (on the right), and his brother Joe.

Joe and Wilbur
An easy one…This would be my grandma’s first husband, Wilbur Frechette (on the right), and his brother Joe.

Assuming this is, again, Joe and WIlbur Frechette...they were both in WWI.

Assuming this is, again, Joe and Wilbur Frechette…they were both in WWI.

Caption at the bottom reads, "Gone but not forgotten". I'm almost positive this is Wilbur Frechette.

Caption at the bottom reads, “Gone but not forgotten”. I’m almost positive this is Wilbur Frechette.

Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong.  Wilbur Frechette died in 1920.  None of my living relatives ever met him. I can only go by the information that I have…and that would be these photos.  I do know that my grandma loved him deeply.  I have her journal and have read her feelings.  She never got over his death.  The least I can do for her is to properly identify him in her pictures and in our family tree.

I still have a lot of work ahead of me with this photo album…but today gave me new hope.  If I can just match up one set of photos every time I dig into this album I should have them all identified in about…..10 years.!  I’m not giving up.  I know my Grandma Anna would want me to keep moving forward with this project….and for her…I WILL.

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