Saturday, January 13, 2018

52 Ancestors - Favorite Photo: July 4th

This photo has resided on my blog for almost 11 years now, so it's familiar to long-time followers:

52 Ancestors - Favorite Photo: July 4th - NewEnglandGenealogy.net
July 4th

I was 12 the first time I saw this photo and it, in addition to wanting to know more about where I came from, started me on the road to researching my family history.

My grandmother, Barbara (Shaw) Wood, had it in a crumbling old wallet/folio that held several documents about our Blake ancestors. Touching original photos and paperwork, including Civil War documents, transported my young mind to another time and place, and I knew I had to learn even more about these people.

When I reached adulthood, my grandmother allowed me to keep the wallet and the precious documents. I have the original photo, as well as a couple of copies.

The back of the photo says "July 4 Picnic" and lists the people pictured. From left to right, they are:

Pa Vaughan, Ma Vaughan, Aunt Ada, and Uncle Ed. On the ground are Nina Gertrude Blake and Horace.

This photo was probably taken in Middleborough, Massachusetts, where my paternal grandparents are from.

The little girl, Nina, is my great-grandmother. Ada Estella Gay and Edward Henry Blake are her parents, my great-great grandparents. Nina was born in 1891. Judging from this photo, perhaps she's about 8 or 9-years-old, so I place the photo circa July 4, 1900. That means her mother, Ada, was pregnant with the only other child she would have - a son named Erwin, who would be born in October of that year.

Ada was born in 1861 and Edward was born in 1856, so they look the appropriate ages for this to be about 1900.

I am not sure who Pa and Ma Vaughan are. They could be Alvan Vaughan (born about 1839) and Lizzie C. Dunham (born about 1847), who had a son named Horace A. Vaughan (born 1877). The Horace on the lawn looks like a young man in his 20s, so this might be the right family.

The Blake and Vaughan families also connect to the Shaw family. Sylvanus F. Vaughan was the husband of Bessie Bartlett Shaw. Bessie is the half-sister of my great-grandfather Harrison Clifford Shaw, who married Nina in 1912.

I wonder who referred to Ada and Edward as "Aunt Ada" and "Uncle Ed," and the older couple as "Pa Vaughan" and "Ma Vaughan." 

Certainly not any of Edward's nieces and nephews, all of whom lived in Norfolk County. And not Ada's nieces and nephews, who spent their lives in Worcester County. It would probably be a child or grandchild of "Pa and Ma Vaughan," so they might have referred to Ada and Edward as aunt/uncle as a sign of affection, not an actual familial relationship.

It appears, however, that Horace did not have any children. Nor did he have siblings who lived to adulthood. So the person who labeled this photograph and their connection to the family remains a little mystery.


Copyright (c) 2018 Wendy L. Callahan

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