Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sepia Saturday: Rewriting the Stories

When I'm browsing antiques stores and find
loose post-card photos of men, women and children,
I always wonder how they got separated from their families.

(This photo was marked "Grandfather Nelson"
and is obviously a vintage photo 
from a professional studio
in Engelholm, Sweden.)

Were there no tenders of the family flame?

When I found a slightly tattered red velvet photo album,
full of vintage photos taken in Sweden or Minnesota
or in Tacoma in the late 1800s or early 1900s,
I couldn't stand to see a whole family's history
for sale, with no one to appreciate the stories.

(Taken in a studio in Helsingborg, Sweden.) 

Being 1/4 Swedish myself (my maternal grandfather
was the first-born son of two Swedish immigrants
who met in Walla Walla, Washington in the late 1890s),
I decided to adopt them.

(Jacoby Studio, St. Peter, Minnesota)

Because there are few clues to identity -- other than
that the album belonged to a family on the "Peninsula"
(which I think might be a reference to the little peninsula on which I live) -- I can't uncover their stories.

I might just have to give them new ones.

(Studio portrait - Stillwater, Minnesota)

A kind of witness protection program
for forgotten families.

Want to help create their new identities? 

ps - If you know who these people are, please let me know.
And to see more SEPIA SATURDAY posts, click on the SS link.


Nana Jo said...

What a lovely idea to 'adopt' these lost pieces of history! In doing so you have added another chapter to their stories. Fate has brought them to tender hands.

tony said...

Lost No Longer!

Marilyn said...

What a wonderful family to adopt and how wonderful that you have adopted them would be so lovely if you could find their family to reconnect them but if not they are in a safe place now.

Titania said...

Meri such a fine idea adopting lost photos of people who have been abandoned. Yes, it is in a way sad that nobody is there who is interested and kept the memoirs. It seems to happen more and more. Many people are so engulfed in themselves and take their own life so important, that they do not have time for their kin nor their ancestors. It is very nice that you value the old photographs.

Tattered and Lost said...

Remember that it might just be that these photos were given to friends and not lost by family members. We always figure they've been somehow abandoned through time, but then I think of all the school photos I handed out as a kid and know, if they still exist, that the people who have them don't have a clue as to who I am, but they need not feel sad for my lost images.

The first gentleman looks like he should be a sea captain. Just has a sea captain look to him.

Joan said...

I always say..I didn't inherit any family heirlooms so I buy them..I never thought I could actually adopt a whole family! Wonderful idea.

Nancy said...

How kind you are to adopt these photos and the people themselves, so to speak. I am quite taken by the photograph of young "Elsa" from Helsingborg. Her eyes carry fire!

It's possible that a photo archive site like might help you find descendant family members. You would have to post the photos there for others to see them. There is another site like that but I can't remember it's name or link.

Thanks for sharing these folks with us. (P.S. If I can't get them out of my mind, I'll come back with "stories" about these people.)

The Silver Fox said...

I often see individual photos or even entire photo albums at flea markets. Maybe they wound up in estate sales, or maybe someone's relatives and/or descendants all died off... I've often tried to imagine a story here or there to fill in the gaps.