Friday, April 23, 2010

Send Me Your Pictures, Please

Family Pictures.  How important are they? Are they worth a special effort to preserve? Where do you keep them? Are they all identified? Why spend the time to identify them?  I know who they are. I can go on and on with such questions but the simple answer is--you bet they are important. Human memory, while excellent in some regards, remembering precisely how someone looked even a few years ago is difficult to almost impossible without some sort of an aid---a picture. Over time, pictures can reveal a lot of information about someone and if that someone is a long-ago, deceased ancestor, say a hundred and fifty years ago, without a picture you haven't the foggiest notion of their physical appearance, what their face looked like, kindly, friendly, fat, skinny, happy or sad.   A picture that has been preserved of that person almost lets you know them.
The individual farthest back in time of any of my genealogical lines of whom I have a picture is that of Elizabeth Windle, b25 Oct, 1796, daughter of Eleanore Holt and Francis Windle. With regard to my oldest direct ancestors I have a picture of William Humphrey Holt, born in 1806. He is one of only three of the 16  great, great Grandparents of whom I have pictures.  He appears to be friendly, tall, well built, not skinny or fat, obviously dressed for the picture taking occasion and I got the feeling that he was a competent person from his countenance.  How about his wife, Mary Noss? I know little or nothing of what she looked like, was she  tall or short, skinny or fat, dressed well or was sloppy. All I know is my Grandfather Holt described her as being small, fairly agile, enjoyed sitting on her front porch in the evenings smoking a small, white-clay pipe.  A picture of her would be worth more than a thousand words of description.  The other two you haven't seen yet: Jeremiah Smith b1831, and his wife Rebecca Evans, b l844, are the only pictures I have of any of my sixteen great, great Grandparents.
I am fortunate I have pictures of five of my eight great Grandparents, Mary Ann (Taylor) Holt, John and Fanny Bell (Smith) Thornhill and John and Agnes Baxter (Ecoff) Childs. I would really appreciate getting pictures of the other three, Samuel Jacob Holt and Joseph and Sarah Ann (Kennedy) Davis.  Unfortunately, few people smiled for their picture taking in the early days of photography, it took too long to take the picture, so most were solemn, almost pensive, while they waited for the blinding flash and the photographer to say okay. But that doesn't matter, I can still form an image of what they looked like if I have a photo of them.
If any of you out there have photos of any of the folks listed above, or their ancestors or descendants, I would really appreciate having a copy. I'll happily pay for the reproduction. I'd just like to know what they look like. I don't want to restrict my desire for photos to just my direct ancestors, I'd like photos of any of their descendants right up to today. Photos can be exchanged via the Net without any cost. If I publish a photo that you would like a copy of, just ask and it will  come flying your way. I promise you I will not publish a photo of any living person without that person's consent.  I'll wait awhile and then publish the pictures I have as a group.

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