Thursday, August 27, 2009

Who Are You???

What a frustrating enigma! I hold my "mystery photograph" in my hands, and look hard at the face, as if by staring at it a little longer, the lips will move, and the Mystery Woman will give me a hint... It's hard to know the woman in this photograph is a beloved ancestor, and have no idea who, specifically, she is.

I know one thing. It's not Julia, as was labeled on the back by a fellow descendant, who likes to guess at such things, not always accurately. I might have been tempted to make the same assumption, as this woman's photograph was among others from that family, had I not already known what Julia looked like. I have two photographs of Julia, both known to be her, although older in years in both of them. Her straight, white hair, parted down the middle, frames her oval face with its fine features. She's a small woman, with a little bit of a scowl on her face. The woman in the Mystery Photograph is a plump, hardy-looking middle aged woman with short dark hair, curling like scallops around her soft, square face. Her ears lay flat below her round-brimmed hat, while Julia's are quite the opposite. The Mystery Woman, wearing a long, double-breasted coat that appears to be wool, clutches a pair of gloves in her hands, and is standing beside an ornate, very unusual table that no doubt is among the photographer's props. No photographer, nor location, is mentioned.

I recall stories of genealogy researchers, standing in a cemetery, looking for their ancestor's grave, when suddenly they realized they are standing on it... or by some other miraculous occurrence, happen to find what they are looking for against the odds. While waiting for a similar miracle to fall from Heaven regarding my Mystery Woman, I keep trying to make contact with as many other descendants of this family as possible, hoping one of them will have send me a photograph with those familiar-looking eyes. And while they lips won't move, they will surely speak to me about this dear lady's identity, and her place among my ancestors.


  1. Karen, this is a fabulous article. I just spent some time reading most of your blog entries. You write beautifully. I have joined as a follower, and will be adding your blog to my favorite reads list. Now, how can we get you to write MORE frequently??

  2. Thanks for the kind comment, Carol! Very encouraging, and I appreciate it.