Friday, June 6, 2014

Sepia Saturday: When One Door Opens

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




This week’s Sepia Saturday photo prompt is actually NO prompt at all.  HomoSepians are free to do whatever they please this week.  My answer to the Open Theme is an Open Door.


Lillie Killeen and John Jr. 1917 New York
Lillie Killeen holding John Jr.
1917 New York



This door was somewhere in New York in 1917.  The occasion might have been the birth of this baby, perhaps the son of my grandaunt Lillie Killeen’s cousin.


Unknown cousin 1917 New York
Maybe John SENIOR?

  

Probably this is the baby’s father.  But what is his name?


The door might be open, but I can’t get inside the house.  I thought this thin little photo album housing the memories of trips to New York between 1917 and 1921 would be the key that would unlock the mystery of my great grandmother Mary Theresa Sheehan Killeen Walsh’s life. 

Mary Theresa emigrated from Ireland in 1886.  Very little is known about her family prior to marriage in New York.  But I do know that she made many trips to New York to visit her family.  She had a number of sisters and at least one brother, but they have been difficult to study.  

So thanks to my grandaunt’s habit of MAYBE supplying dates but NOT names, this door is locked tight!

Family of John Jr. and Bob, in the Bronx 1921
The Bronx 1921
Probably one and maybe 2 of the Sheehan sisters
and the mother of "Bob" and John Jr.

 
Unknown 1917 New York
Is this John Jr's grandfather?
I wonder if he is
Mary Theresa's brother.  













Lillie Killeen and maybe "Bob" 1920 Richmond Hill, NY
Richmond Hill, NY 1920
Lillie Killeen and is that "Bob" or John Jr?













More surprises await at Sepia Saturday.  The door is always open.

40 comments:

  1. Delightful idea! Many folks like posing at the door. When our children were small I'd take a picture of them each year on the first day of school; posing at out front door with their lunch boxes in hand. ha!

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    1. I have pictures of my girls with backpacks and lunches the first couple years of school, but then the excitement of that wore off.

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  2. Great photos - love the posing at the doors.

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    1. Wouldn't it be fun to see inside?

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  3. A great theme with lovely photographs.

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  4. I like the posing by doors too.

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    1. I really hadn't noticed how many photos included a door until I started putting this post together.

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  5. It is so frustrating when photos haven't been named but at least you have dates and locations and I guess the censuses might help you fill in some of the details.

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    1. I have one sister down pat, thanks to census records, but the others have names that make it more challenging.

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  6. I love your theme for today...and I have that door....the one in the first pictures! At a craft fair I bought a door with a small table attached to the front that fits perfectly in my entry hall. When I bring my camera home from work I will send you a photo.
    TGIF!

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  7. They are lovely photos (especially the last one) and maybe, one day, you'll be able to put names to faces.

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    1. The first pictures make me think they lived in a tenement but the last one looks like a really nice and refined home.

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  8. Ah, everyone is searching for themes - I love your open door take. And I really do love those photographs, so full of life.

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  9. When there were few cameras with flash attachments, or a need for bright lights to take pictures inside, everyone knew you had to step outside for a portrait that would show up on film.
    The search for knowing identities of these folks leads onward with your sleuthing. Did you do any work with Ancestry.com? I find lots of pictures are now being posted there, and can be downloaded into my own collection.

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    1. Yes, I live in Ancestry! Mary Theresa's sisters are just hard to find -- too many Sarah Burns/Byrne/Burnes/Byrnes. Too many Josephine Burns/Byrne/Burnes/Byrnes -- plus my aunt is now unsure whether she was actually a Burns at all! Too many John Sheehans.

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  10. Knowing how creative and determined you are, I just know you'll get through the doorway and into her answers. Please share them when you do!

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    1. If I make a breakthrough, you'll hear me loud and long -- won't even need the Internet!

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  11. Such a fun and creative post! You have some really great pictures of your ancestors and hopefully someone will show up with a key to that door!

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    1. If someone shows up, they'll be my new best friend. Keep hoping ~

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  12. Frustrating indeed...I guess folks seldom see far enough into the future to realize that not everyone looking at the photos will know who the subjects are!

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    1. Well, I know I haven't been really good about labeling photos myself. I did have them organized one time.

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  13. When we inherited a box full of loose photographs of my husband's grandmother and grandfather and grand aunts and uncles without names, places, or dates written on the backs of them, we were lucky enough to have one of his aunts (his mother's youngest sister, age 98!) still living who has been able to help us identify most of the people as well as the places and likely dates the pictures were taken. But the struggle to gain the information has me going back into our own photo albums to pull out pictures & write dates, names, & places on the back of them so they can be identified OUTSIDE of the album!

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    1. I had a 98-year old cousin who identified SOME photos, but she identified a couple incorrectly, I've since learned.

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  14. If only someone - anyone - had written names on the backs of photos! That's how I feel about my unidentified photographs. I really like the photo of mom and baby but they're great photos. I porch where the ladies sit looks beautiful, with all the iron and woodwork detail. It's fun to see the shadows of the beaded trim at the top of the porch. It looks like there's a sign on the window at right that says "Cleaners." Hmmm. (It's so much better to look at the photos in feedly because they are very large and clear.)

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    1. Yeah, that "Cleaners" got me too -- in fact, Mary Theresa's sister Delia and her husband William Christian ran a dry cleaners, but it was much later than this photo -- in the census 1930, but in 1920 they were in New Jersey, which is closer to the time of this photo. Is it too much coincidence? I might have to rethink this.

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  15. Woulr john's Grandpa by any chance be wearing a New York policeman or fireman's unifrom and if so do those departments have any searchable record where you could loolk for the family names ? Just a thought.
    some interesting doors there.

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    1. I posted this picture on a uniforms message board thinking it was a fireman, but the responder said it was Navy.

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  16. It is like finding pieces of a puzzle or game under the sofa. Who knows where they fit or what they were called? Yet we save them anyway in a little bowl or a desk drawer --- or the internet.

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    1. Obviously I'm missing the most important piece that would make this puzzle complete. Love that analogy ~

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  17. Loved the photos at the door. What was so magnetic about the door? Maybe it was to get out into the light for the picture.

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    1. I'm sure that was the main reason -- probably no flash.

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  18. So many unanswered questions arising from those photographs, but at least you have them and can speculate about the people and stories behind them, and hope that some day the answers may somehow be revealed, perhaps by finding more photographs.

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    1. Aw I've been too long in the speculating business -- I WANT ANSWERS. Please?

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  19. I like the one of the baby in the doorway. Too big and chubby for a newborn.

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    1. yeah, probably several months old ~

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  20. That’s a neat trick; the open door with the lace curtain is a much prettier backdrop than the brickwork it’s hiding! The Bronx picture benefts from enlarging I think; I wonder what the little boy was doing with his eyes.

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    1. Yes, I like seeing that Bronx picture enlarged, mainly because I get a better look at the young woman who just has to be mother to the two little ones. What IS John Jr. doing with his eyes? Was he sleepy? Was he looking into the sun? (Doesn't look that sunny.) Was he making binoculars?

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