Friday, April 24, 2015

Sepia Saturday: Oh Baby!

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


This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt seemed almost too easy. After all, I have plenty of photos to fit the theme of newlyweds and babies. In reviewing the many possibilities, something happened that has never happened to me in preparing for Sepia Saturday. I experienced an epiphany. A breakthrough. A mystery solved. All thanks to the prompt.

For years, I have been sure of the identity of only half the people in these photos.
Orvin Davis, Orvin Jr., Ben Davis, Ben Jr. 1925 http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Orvin and Orvin Jr. on the right

That’s my maternal grandfather Orvin Davis as a young father to first born Orvin Jr. 

And that’s my grandmother Lucille Rucker Davis as a young first-time mother.

Lucille Rucker Davis, Orvin Jr., Fleeta Berry Davis, Ben Jr. 1925 http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Lucille Davis and Orvin Jr. on the right



















But who the other man and baby were was the question. A friend? A relative? And the woman? That the baby was possibly the same baby had never entered into the equation. Somewhere in time I tricked myself into assuming the man was a relative and the woman was my grandmother’s girlfriend. Years of just thinking it had somehow made it so, preventing me from considering any other options.

Children of Ben Davis 1924 http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Children of Ben Davis
I should know better, and I learned that lesson this month during the A to Z April Challenge. In looking for photos to accompany my posts, I kept seeing the same ones over and over. Then suddenly it happened – that “ah ha” moment when I finally saw a connection between
this one











this one
Children of Ben Davis 1925 http://jollettetc.blogspot.com

and this one.
Orvin Jr. Davis and Children of Ben Davis 1925 http://jollettetc.blogspot.com

I knew the first one was the children of Benjamin Davis, my grandfather’s first cousin. The number of the girls in the second photo matched the number of girls in Ben and Fleeta Davis’s family. Those lovely socks tied the last two photos together.

Forehead slap – I coulda had a V8. Orvin and Lucille had their baby boy in 1925; so did Ben and Fleeta. Then it all made sense. “Let’s get a picture of the dads with the babies.” “Now let’s get a picture of the moms with the babies.

Probably only another family historian can appreciate that moment of recognition. Even though I’ve looked at the photos hundreds of times, this week I saw my distant cousin Ben Davis and his wife Fleeta for the “first” time.


Lucille Davis and Orvin Jr. 1925  http://jollettetc.blogspot.com
My grandmother Lucille Rucker Davis age 21
My uncle Orvin Jr. just months old 1925

Newlyweds and babies await all visitors at Sepia Saturday. Please, no gifts.


© 2015, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

36 comments:

  1. Don't you love when that happens!

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    1. I do! If it happened every day, I'd never get tired of it.

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  2. Amazing stuff! I'm going to go and take another look at all my old photos. I've got lots that puzzle me - maybe a fresh look at things is all that's needed.

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    1. Yes, that's a good idea. It's funny how one day you'll see something you never noticed before.

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  3. Congratulations on your breakthrough discovery!

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  4. A wonderful discovery and shows that our family history journey never fails to surprise - that's why it is such an absorbing hobby! . Congratulations on making the link and as ever you have shown us some lovely photographs. .

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    1. I do wish those discoveries came more often! Sorry to be so greedy ~

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  5. When you see something you didn't notice before when looking at old photos it can go two ways. You either say: "Ah-ha!" & finally put to rest the question you had about that photo; OR you say "Wait a minute - if what I'm noticing now is right, then that CAN'T BE . . . " & the research begins all over again for the one you thought you had down pat. Whichever . . . when all is said & done, the epiphany break-throughs are always something to celebrate. Congrats!

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    1. Yeah, I know what you're saying. But at least a negative discovery is still *A* discovery. Then you can go about fixing it.

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  6. thank goodness for those socks!

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    1. Yes, indeed. Now don't you wish you had a pair?

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  7. Yay! Congrats on the breakthrough!

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  8. That is fantastic! I love those "aha" moments!

    I hate to hear when people have thrown out their old unknown photos as someone may be able to work it out in future!

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    1. Exactly! You never know when that light-bulb moment will happen.

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  9. The same house in the background, the socks...and don't you love the shadows of the two fathers in the photo of the women and their babies? (There's a female shadow in the shot of the men, too). But the socks! Oh, it's great when those lightning connections happen -- a ZAP!

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    1. When the dots finally connect, I always wonder how I missed it to begin with. I have so many photos with that house in the background that I really needed something else to stand out. Like striped socks. That'll do!

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  10. Excellent news. It’s so exciting when the loose ends get tied together; well done!

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    1. I have a regular rag rug of loose ends -- I need more to tie together.

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  11. Bravo, Wendy, and thanks for sharing your Eureka moment. I've been cataloging my dad's vintage camera collection and noticing the way they influenced the photos. The old box camera film only offered 8 shots, sometimes 12. It explains why so many family photographs came in quick sequences of different poses. They wanted to finish the roll to get it developed. They were also hard to aim which accounts for missing feet and heads.

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    1. Even with my little Polaroid and the Instamatic, I was eager to use up the whole roll.

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  12. Great family photos and of so many babies, so cute. I have the same puzzlement with the few family albums that I have too, where so many have people that I have so idea who they are.

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    1. Hang in there -- you never know when the next clue might occur.

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  13. Your grandmother, Lucille was a very lovely young woman, and congratulations on your "discovery" based on striped socks of all things!!!!

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    1. Yes, my grandmother was lovely. And the socks are a hoot.

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  14. I've had a few of those moments too, when the penny finally drops and you wonder why on earth you didn't make the obvious deduction before. Great work.

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    1. I know. Looking at those photos now, it's so obvious.

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  15. The baby has the same hair in both those first two photos - there's another connection to the prompt, but great to be able to identify the parents through the girls' socks. By the way, what is a V8?

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    1. Yes, that hairline is the same. But I didn't see it. And the V8 - oh funny. It's a juice, like tomato juice but with other vegetables. There used to be a commercial in which a person would slap their forehead when they realized they drank something else when they could have had a V8.

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    2. Ah ok, we have V8 here too, and I drink it regularly, but no such ad so I thought it must have some other meaning.

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  16. I LOVE it when Sepia Saturday gives you an AH HA moment! Fantastic match up, and you get to mark another mystery off the list.

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    1. Amen! And on to the next mystery ~

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  17. Wow, great work. Even after you pointed it out, I barely noticed that the socks were the same. I can see why it took some time to make the connection. Congratulations!

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    1. Then good -- I don't feel so bad for overlooking those socks for so long.

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  18. Enjoyed your ah-ha moment as much as the photos --- also prompted me to go back and re-examine the photos of this post. Now to remember to do this new view thing with my own photos.

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