Friday, February 22, 2013

Sepia Saturday: Who Dat?


Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.




This week Sepia Saturday encourages all Homo-Sepians to blog about those unidentified people in the photos passed down through the generations.  Does Alan think he’s being funny?  Being UNable to identify people is my life!  More often than not my blogs are attempts to put names with those unnamed faces on cabinet cards and on wrinkled or fading photos glued to brittle black pages of scrapbooks.  In short, I got this.

While I have lots of photos to choose from, this one is most similar to the prompt photo.


Unidentified family in collection of Jollett, Davis, Ryan, Woodring, Rucker photos


For a long time I was caught up in the notion that the photos passed down in an old dress box had belonged to my great-grandmother Mary Frances Jollett Davis.  Every unidentified face prompted me to compare pictures to those of known ancestors.  If no match was apparent, I assumed the person was some distant cousin, an aunt or uncle, or maybe even a neighbor. 

Foolishly, I overlooked the idea that some old photos may have come along with a marriage into my family, that these Great Unknowns were “the outlaws,” as I like to call them:  those parents and siblings of the men and women who married into my family but whose genealogy isn’t my concern.

So while this family is technically unknown to me, I do have a guess:  maybe my great-aunt Velma Davis Woodring’s husband "Woody" as a child.

Does the boy look like he might have grown up to look like this?


Arthur H. Woody Woodring
Arthur H. "Woody" Woodring
1903 - 1951
                                                                                                                                                     

Or like this?
Arthur H. Woody Woodring 1929
Woody 1929




Arthur H. Woody Woodring
Woody






















How about like this?















Unfortunately, anyone who knows the answer is long gone, so this family photo remains among “The Unknown.”


Please visit Sepia Saturday.  It’s a virtual “Who’s Who” of “Who knows who.” 

55 comments:

  1. Isn't it sad that so many photos go unidentified? Both of my grandmothers marked the back of many, many old photos. I'm so thankful that they took the time to do that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is sad. How did you get so lucky to come from smart people?

      Delete
  2. Another one in the 'guessing' game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a rather odd way to spend the morning - visiting people who share the same question: Who is this?

      Delete
  3. I have so many (too many) of the guessing photos. I blame myself for not asking the questions.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think the little boy looks like he could be Woody. Another mystery!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Obviously, I think so too. But the parents don't look anything like some of the older people labeled as Velma's "in-laws."

      Delete
  5. I'm not sure about the second and third adult photo but the first one definitely looks like the little boy - the mouth is exactly the same. My mother would say "you can say it is whomever you want - no one will challenge you". Um, mom, that's not the point. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is tempting to write history, isn't it?

      Delete
  6. Thanks for visiting and commenting upon my blog too. These pictures are great examples of "who can it be?" but they also have another theme...what was going on at that time in these folks lives? I think that mother in the top photo was none to eager for the sitting, or perhaps she sat on something that made her look like that? No question the last photo is of joy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, Mom looks like a tough one. Dad looks like he could have been the poster boy for henpecked husbands.

      Delete
  7. I think the first Woody looks so much like the young boy in the unknown photo. Have you tried facial recognition to see if they come up as possibilities? Picasa does a pretty good job, considering it is free. It was pretty accurate with my family photos even going from child to adulthood. But it did tend to mix up first cousins and mother/daughter sometimes. And it can never seem to identify babies! Even if you don't find the missing names, the photo is a wonderful keepsake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have never done facial recognition nor do I know anything about how it works. Good - something else to consider and play with!

      Delete
  8. It really isn't easy to tell what years do to people as they grow up and grow old... I have a lot of questionmarks in my old family albums too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trying to match photos of young and old people is really a game with no end, it seems.

      Delete
  9. I think the little boy is Woody. The woman looks too old to be his mother though...and I agree she looks very unhappy. At last, you've found a decent name for those family-by-marriage folks. Outlaws is perfect!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm, grandparents - now that's a thought.

      Delete
  10. It's Woody with his grandparents. Did you make up the name "Woody" or is that actually a person?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Woody was his nickname. Arthur Henry Woodring was the official name.

      Delete
  11. Like Debi said, the boy in the first photo does look similar to the little boy in the group photo.

    Isn't it interesting how everyone's expressions are different in that group photo? The little guy looks a bit surprised with raised eyebrows, the man looks like a gentle, long-suffering soul and the woman looks just a wee bit perturbed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You described them perfectly! I always feel sympathetic when I look at that man.

      Delete
  12. I'm in the minority. I don't think the boy in the first photo looks like Woody.
    But oh that woman. She looks so much older than the man. Poor guy.
    Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, that's ok if you disagree. That will keep me from blindly assuming I'm correct.

      Delete
  13. I like to think it might have been the 1929 photo. Such a happy face in the fishing photo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never knew Woody, but he was my mother's favorite uncle. She always thought he and Velma were lots of fun.

      Delete
  14. Try facial recognition. If you have a Mac, iPhoto does a reasonable job - the more photos you identify, the better it gets. Otherwise Picasa. This can be a lot of fun as it matches up today's faces with those of the past.
    Could your photo be of three generations? Mother, son (or son in law) and his son - maybe the stern and sad looks are following the death of the wife/daughter?
    Isn't it fun speculating?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had not thought of 3 generations. Interesting.

      Delete
  15. I think it looks like the same person. Have you tried overlaying the photos in photoshop? I have been told that the positioning of nose, eyes and ears doesn't change over time so this will give a good indication.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just got Photoshop for Christmas and haven't played enough to do that. It sounds like a good idea - I need to look for some tutorials, I guess.

      Delete
  16. I think they could be the same person.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Poor Nancy is quickly becoming a party of 1 since she seems to be the lone dissenter at this point.

      Delete
  17. yes,i think Woody 1929 looks similar to the boy in the family portrait.If so, he seems to have grown happier as he grew older!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In both pictures, there is some thick hair.

      Delete
  18. I am proud to be a fellow Homo-Sepian of yours, Wendy, lol. I can't believe how unhappy the three look in that first picture. The father looks a bit apologetic, maybe it was his idea to have the picture taken and the mother vehemently objected and there was a big fight, but they did it anyway.

    The boy sure could have been Woody. He sure did fill out by the time he went fishing, didn't he?

    What a great post, as always.

    Kathy M.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you guessed that Woody became diabetic, you'd be right. He was indeed a chunk, judging by all the photos I've seen.

      Delete
  19. I haven't finished reading everyone's postings for this Sepian weekend, but I will say now that your Unknown trio is my favorite with the most perfect fit and the most witty story.

    I have used the overlay method and it sort of works, but really only for elimination rather than matching. It's harder with children and adult faces. My own face at age 7 is quite different from age 21. And I would be startled to see the face under this beard now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If by the time you finish visiting everyone my post is no longer your favorite, don't tell me. I prefer to keep basking in the glow of that compliment.

      Delete
  20. Ha! Ha! I would love to hear those (well all of yours) talk! You made my Sepia Saturday reading morning again, from the first line! I do believe that Alan is chuckling too- even from across that big wide pond that separates him from us over here! You are a photo-finding-Goddess!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Well there appears to be a resemblance.Why don't we all just suspend disbelief and and say that it is! For a few brief seconds that we choose we have identified an unknown! Woody seems to be very jolly character anyway!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'm not going to hate on the woman in the photo..... I've got some "greats" in my family whose pictures make them look like you'd better run for your life. She looks pretty friendly by comparison.

    ReplyDelete
  23. You raise a good point about photographs in family collections being possibly derived from families further removed than immediate ancestors. That is why it is so important to document the provence of groups of photographs when they are added to collections.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I think you're right. I do not know how he looks so jolly when his mother makes deadly Earnest look positively flippant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like "deadly Earnest" as a name for my unknown.

      Delete
  25. Yes, I thought this would be a perfect theme for you. I love the idea of "outlaws" and your theory about how they come into our collections. As for your "Who did he become" question, it's time to bring out the facial recognition software.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I need to read up on how that facial recognition stuff works.

      Delete
  26. Great photo Wendy, and wise words to remember those photos might come from outlaws or friends or....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right - and pity the descendants of our Sepia Saturday friends who rescue orphan photos. But I'm sure they're smart enough to label which ones are family and which are "orphans."

      Delete
  27. The eyelids and the shape of the mouth seem just right.
    In this first picture, wouldn't he be with his grandparents?!?
    :)~
    HUGZ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a possibility. But I know nothing.

      Delete
  28. It is ssuch a striking, but sad family group that raises so many questions. As others have pointed out, the woman looks very unhappy, but life was hard for women then especially if she had to contend with many pregnancies. Could Woody be a late child? He has a startled look abut him, whilst the father has an anguished look. You could weave a story from this single photograph. Good luck with your research.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Searching for Woody. I think you have the making of a whole new blog!

    He does look like the same fellow between the first and second photos.

    ReplyDelete