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Look for Clues in Old Photos

A distant cousin connected with me because of a query I posted on a message board.  He had several pictures that he emailed to me, one of which was of my great-grandmother’s wedding picture with her second husband.  He has the original pictures and he scanned them with the original cardboard frame. 

I am so grateful that he did not crop out the frame, because on the corner of the frame in faded lettering was the name and the city of the studio where the picture was taken. I called him to thank him for the pictures and I asked him where the marriage took place. He did not know but thought it was probably in Wisconsin or Minnesota because they were both from Minnesota and they had ties to Wisconsin.  I had always thought the same thing. 

As we were talking I looked closer at the scanned picture and saw the studio information which listed its location as Spokane. We talked about that clue and as I was talking I went to the Washington State Digital Archives website and it took me less than three minutes to find the image of the marriage record. Neither of us had thought to look in Washington State. The marriage record listed the bride under her previously married name and it listed the parents of both the bride and groom, the place of birth of the bride and groom and each of the parents. It also gave the middle names of both the bride and groom. (I had not known her middle name before.) Given the location for the wedding, I was able to use Google Maps to see a picture of the Lutheran Church where they married and the parsonage where the minister lived. 

Moral of the story, don’t crop out the clues in your pictures or on their frames.

Leslie Vaughn