In some families, photographs don’t actually document the travels, they become the icon for the retelling of a family story. Carole Hayden owns two images of women with a baby. She found them in a box of newspaper clippings saved by her great-great-grandmother, Catherine Lavinia Denison (born in 1848).
When Catherine was a mere 2 years old, her parents took her to Oregon. In those days, that meant boarding a ship and sailing around the tip of South America. Approximately 6,000 other people also made that trip. If you’ve got an ancestor who decided to settle in Oregon in 1850, you can check his or her name against this online list of pioneers. It’s not comprehensive and the Denison family doesn’t appear there, but you might get lucky.
Now Catherine’s descendant wants to know the significance of these two tintype images. Do they show the same woman?
Definitely! These images depict the same mother, but is the baby the same? That depends how many children Catherine Denison had with her husband Asbury Belieu. They married in 1863, and judging from her clothing, these two pictures were taken in the year or two after their marriage. Family history research would provide information on when their children were born and the sex of the babies. The babies in both images appear to be female.
I need to do a little more research before I can answer the rest of Carole’s questions. Back next week with more!
By the way, thank you to everyone who added comments about last week’s column. You’ll have to look at the column and the comments to see my response 🙂