Thursday, May 1, 2008

That One Defining Moment

In the life of every family historian or collector of old photographs, there comes a defining moment. A moment when what you've always known in your heart, that this is what you were meant to do, becomes a reality. That defining moment came for me yesterday, April 30, 2008.

This year I started a new digital publication called Shades Of The Departed. It is here I write about my passion for collecting old photographs and how analyzing those photographs can fill in our family history. Every week I post a Photo Of The Week, one of those "orphan photographs" I buy on my many trips to flea markets, second hand stores, antique shops and auctions.

One of my first Photos Of The Week featured what is my favorite photograph in the collection, "the little girl wearing pearls". I was captivated by her from the moment my daughter brought her home to me. I would like to think that this connection was her reaching out from the past, urging me to find her family.

I analyzed the photograph and researched the name written on the back "Mary Irene Brunton Reynolds." I found the little girl had been married to a part of Northwest History - Edward "Tige" Reynolds, a famous political cartoonist. I wrote about what I had found.

There was more information concerning "Tige" Reynolds that I didn't include, because the focus was on the little girl. (That information is included in the Going Home article on Shades.)

In a comment to the article, Nikki-ann of Notes Of Life wrote:

Somebody has gone to the trouble of writing the little girl's name on the back of the photo (something that few people do, as you know). I wonder how it found it's way to an antique store. I'd be mortified if a relative gave away family photos, especially one who can be identified.

A brilliant analysis. Thanks for sharing :)

I answered Nikki-ann saying:

Maybe by saving this photo and posting the information a member of her family will find her.

There is only one known photograph of my GGGrandfather Campbell. Every day I say a little prayer that someone will find it and do our family a good turn.

Yesterday, I received the following email:

Dear sir or madam.

Today I was looking for some cartoons of Edward Reynolds, and to my shock I came across your website. I am the great-great granddaughter of the little girl in the photo posted (Mary Irene Brunton Reynolds). My name is Krista Reynolds; I am the daughter of Stephen Reynolds (who you mention in the analysis). I don’t know how you obtained the Brunton/Reynolds lineage but I am ever so grateful. We have lost everything in regards to our family due to unfortunate circumstances and I know nothing of my history. I am almost in tears to know you have found such detailed information.

The handwriting (I would know it anywhere) on the back of the photo is from my grandmother, Winona Reynolds who was married to Edward Brunton Reynolds. Both Edwards shared the nickname “Tige”.

I know this is in your private collection, but I would be ever so honored if I might have the photo or at least a copy.

Very truly yours,

Krista M. Reynolds

Now it is time for me to walk the walk. You can read the other comment and emails I received that answer Nikki-ann's thoughts regarding the photograph and share the "little girl wearing pearls" happily ever after in Going Home, Going Home, I Am Going Home!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is just so awesome! Congratulations!

May 1, 2008 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger Miriam Robbins said...

I love stories with happy endings!

May 1, 2008 at 4:44 PM  
Blogger Janice said...

A very touching story. How wonderful that you've reunited a family with its past.


May 1, 2008 at 5:26 PM  

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