Saturday, July 20, 2013

Old vs. young

 More baby pictures with after and before shots – this time of brothers Cecil Davis and Albert Davis -- and an amazing portrait of the Brothers Davis as young tough guys.  First Albert –

Albert Davis, my great uncle, who I knew as Unk, had a personality that shines through in his photographs – he had a real zest for life.

Albert Davis 1960
Albert Davis - about 1919
Albert Davis 1903

Cecil Davis was a musician – an accomplished pianist.

 And I can't resist this comparison of the Brothers Davis as boys to men.

Cecil, George and Will Davis about 1900
George, Will, Albert, Will Sr., Cecil abt 1917-19

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cute babies!

So this week we go from rather serious looking women to...BABIES!  What's amazing is that the men I knew as old guys--grandpa, uncles-- were once cute little babies.  So here they are with some after and before shots.

George L.A. Davis
Baby George

William A. Davis, Jr.
Baby William A. Davis, Jr.

Will, Jr. is my great uncle.  But I never knew him.

William A. Davis, Sr.
Will Davis, Sr. as 4 yr old (1866)

Will Davis, Sr. was my great-grandpa.  Someone who I never met.

Cecil Davis

Albert Davis (Unk)

I'm not finding the baby pictures of Uncle Cecil and Unk.  But I know I've got them.  Unk looks almost like a baby in this teenage picture.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Maggie the Mystery Woman 2

As we continue with the Maggie the Mystery Woman of the Armstrong-Davis Family Album, I couldn’t help but see a resemblance between her and Annie Graham Davis. 


But, I’m flummoxed by Maggie’s identity.  I haven’t found any Maggies (or Margarets) in this Davis line so far.  Some possibilities: 
1.  She could be a cousin of W. Hunter Davis. 
2.  Her resemblance to Annie makes me wonder if she’s a Graham who could have married a Davis also. 
3.  Maybe her photo was mislabeled. 

In an attempt to date the photo I’ve been going through Savannah City directories to determine the years the photographers (Launey & Gloebel) were in business.  The engraving on the back of the cabinet card print provides an address:  141 & 143 Broughton St.

It's pretty time consuming to go through the Savannah City directories on Ancestry.  I'm lucky that some of the photographs in my album show photographs from the late 1890s that were taken by Launey's studios without Goebel.  By the look of the rather puffy sleeves on Maggie's dress, this photo was most likely taken in the early 1890s.

Still, it will take a lot more research to figure out the identity of Maggie the Mystery woman.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mystery woman, Part 1

My Armstrong-Davis photograph album contains several unidentified photos, but two that are labeled contain a mystery I have yet to solve.

I have two photos I’m pretty sure are of the same woman:

The handwritten label for the first photo appears to say "Maggie Davis."  It's possible it could be a different last name.  I'm pretty sure my mother wrote "Maggie Davis" on the second photo (a paper print on a cabinet card) as I recognize her handwriting.  There is nothing on the back except for the photographers engraving, so she probably labeled the photo based on the subject's resemblance to the lady in the ferrotype.  Even if the name is correct, I have no idea if she is related or how she fits into the family tree.

I’m pretty sure the first photograph, a tinted ferrotype (tintype), was taken around 1871 for two reasons:  the clothing and the photographer.

Maggie’s dress and hair are very similar to a girl in a photo from 1870 that appears in Joan Severa’s book Dressed for the Photographer.

Maggie’s dress has very similar sleeve style and ruffles.  Also, the young ladies’ hair styles have almost identical “temple rolls” drawn up from a center part, along with ribbon bows that are “arranged to lay flat on the crown.”

In Maureen Taylor’s Uncovering Your Ancestry through Family Photographs, she lists some style details from 1869-1874 women's fashions that show up in this photo of Maggie:
“Black velvet neck ribbon with brooch or charm…earrings and necklace matched.”
“Armhole over shoulder.”

The photographer's name shows up on the back of the paper sleeve:

J.U.P. Burnham shows up in the 1870 Savannah City directory on Bull Street and then in the 1871 Savannah directory at 158 St. Julian, the same address on the back of the photo sleeve.  He doesn't appear in the 1874-75 directory, but shows up listed in Richmond, Virginia's city directory.  From a search of city directories from the 1860s-1870s, he seemed to be based out of Portland, Maine, but lived in southern cities at various times.  

So the combination of the dress style and photographer's clues lead me to believe that 1871-1873 could be the most likely time range for the first photo.  Unfortunately, Ancestry didn't have Savannah city directories for 1872-1873, so I couldn't check for Burnham in those directories.

In the first photo Maggie appears to be in her twenties.  In the second photo she is obviously older.  Look at the ears of each lady.  Along with the facial resemblance, the ears help in concluding that these are probably photographs of the same person.


I’m guessing the second photo is from the 1890s or early 1900s.  Using hairstyle, costume clues and the photographers’ names (Launey and Goebel) I might be able to narrow the time period.  I’ll save that and discussing the possible relation to Annie Graham for next week’s blog.