The little girl in last week’s column has a name! She’s Lydia Rock.
It only took a few hours of research by Dan Gwinn. I’d suggested that he look for a child born in the early 1860s. He began by re-examining his Rock family history. I was thrilled to get an email that started, “I think I may have found something.” His third-great-grandmother Mary Ann Cooper Hornberger was the originator of the album. In it, she collected pictures of her aunts and uncles. Her uncle Allen and his wife Mary had a daughter Lydia, born in 1861.
In the back of the album was a labeled picture of Lydia from circa 1880. Take a close look at her smile and features.They match the little girl in the fringed chair! Don’t you love the marcel wave in her hair?
The little girl, whom we now know as Lydia, and the older woman had their picture taken in the same studio. Allen’s wife, Mary, was born in 1839. The older woman is quite possibly her.
Dan’s third-great-grandmother arranged the photos in the album. On the first page is an unidentified man. In the second and third spots are Mary (the woman above) and Lydia. Could the man be Allen? It’s very possible. The revenue stamp on the back of this photo dates it to between Aug. 1, 1864, and Aug. 1, 1866. This man is the right age to be Allen. Generally, family members are kept together in an album’s arrangement.
The first person in an album is someone that an album’s arranger knew very well. There was a close family relationship between Allen and his niece (Dan’s third-great-grandmother). She admired him enough to name one of her own children after him.
Dan wonders if the little girl’s boots are prominently displayed to show off her father’s wares. Uncle Allen Rock was an well-known boot and shoe store owner in Lancaster City, Pa.
The clues led Dan to identify not one, but three family photos. It’s equivalent to a home run hit.
Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor: