My last post Is it Live or is it Memento Mori? relied on information about the dates of the photographer of the photograph in question (whether the lady is dead or alive in the photo). I used information from a listing of late 19th and early 20th century Kalamazoo photographers on Bushwacking Genealogy.
I started wondering if I approached my photos from this perspective if I could add information to my identification of photos and dates.
For example, this photograph of Carrie Paak Waruf was taken by Evans. Evans is not on Bushwacking’s list, but notice how the photo says “Successor to Packard 120 E. Main St.” So I looked when Packard seems to have stopped being a photographer at that address: 1887. But wait. Mary H. Packard seems to have been in business at that address in 1899. (The lesson here is to pay attention to the photographer’s address if it’s on the photo–they moved around quite a bit and it can help identify a year). Her husband committed suicide in 1898. So who was Evans? And what year was this photo of Carrie taken?
Carrie was born 8 May 1862 in Lexmond, Netherlands. She was my great-great-grandmother’s sister. That means that if Mary Packard was out of business by 1900, Carrie would have been 38 years old. And even older if it was sometime after that point.
That is not possible. This photograph is of a young woman. This is confusing. I might have learned something, but now I have still more questions (is this The Family Kalamazoo refrain or what? more questions, more questions)
Here is another one:
This woman is Jennie Remine Meyer (Meijer, married to Klaas Meijer who became Carlos Meyer). She’s my first cousin, 4x removed. How old do you think she looks in this photo?
She was born 12 April 1860 in Kalamazoo. Just for the record, she passed away in Kalamazoo on 20 September 1940.
This photographer also bills him or herself as a successor to C. C. Packard, the photographer who died in 1898. You are correct if you are guessing that Kidney is also not on Bushwacking’s list of photographers.
This is where I wish I had a Kalamazoo city directory for every year right at my fingertips.
If this photo was taken in 1900 or after she would have to be 40 or older. I think she looks pretty good for 40. No botox, no makeup, no hair dye. But she could be 40, whereas I don’t see how Carrie could be 38 or older.
Then there are the clothes to consider. My instincts tell me Jennie’s clothing and hair is from an older period than Carrie’s, but that would be impossible because she is older than Carrie in the photos, but these two women are only two years apart in age.
There is much work to be done on solving the mystery of these two “successors” to photographer Packard.
Let’s just spot check a couple and see if the information on Bushwacking seems to correspond with the information I have about my photos.
This is Gertrude, Richard, and Adrian DeSmit, the children of John DeSmit and Mary DeKorn DeSmit. Gertrude was born in 1889, Richard 1887, and Adrian in 1891. If we assume that the children are about 6, 8, and 4 in this photo, the year it was taken would be 1895. The photographer Wood was Thomas E. Wood (also went by T.E. Wood) who was in business at least from 1887 to 1895, according to Bushwacking. She says he was not in the city directory in 1899. From 1887-88 he was at 316 E. Main St. From 1889-1895, he was at 134 S. Burdick St. The address on this photo is 134 S. Burdick St. (way up the street from the neighborhood where my relatives lived).
OH WAIT, what does that say in the middle of the bottom of the photo? 1895!!!!!!!! So my calculations about their ages was correct, plus it means that my grandfather was correct when he identified exactly which DeSmit children are pictured (there were many, but these were the youngest). This verifies my info about the photo, as well as the info provided by Bushwacking.
Here is one more. Gerrit Leeuwenhoek:
Photographer Philley is not a common one in my albums, but he is on Bushwacking’s list. Silas Philley, Jr. In 1895, he was in business at 303 E. Main, and in 1899 at 305 E. Main. This photo says 303 East Main Street.
Gerrit died in the service of our military 23 July 1898. If you want to break your heart, read this: he only immigrated to the United States on in April 1897. I’ve written about him previously in several posts–his death, his life in an orphanage, and the court case he brought against a teacher. You can search his name in my blog’s search bar.
But look at these dates. Since this photograph had to be taken in 1897 or 1898, it means that Philley was still operating out of 303 E. Main Street through that period. This helps narrow down the Bushwacking information a bit more.
I wonder why this photograph was taken and who paid for it. Since Gerrit was a young immigrant, I wonder if his older brother Lou paid for the photo. And I also wonder if it was taken because he was leaving for Cuba for the Spanish-American War. Would the government have taken photographs of new enlistees? If this were true, there might be more photos of young soon-to-be soldiers taken by Philley at this time period.
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