The Love Family Revisted

The Love Family Revisted

In the July/August 2016 issue of Family Tree Magazine, the Photo Detective column, "An Afternoon Outside" focused on this photo. It's from the collection of Bradley Richardson. His mother inherited the photo and knew it was from either the Love or Allan sides of her family. Bradley shared...

In the July/August 2016 issue of Family Tree Magazine, the Photo Detective column, “An Afternoon Outside” focused on this photo. It’s from the collection of Bradley Richardson. His mother inherited the photo and knew it was from either the Love or Allan sides of her family.

Bradley shared his exhaustive family research (which included Excel spreadsheets of analysis) with me, as well as another photo.

One of the clues in this picture is the house number “1204.” The 1901 and 1902 city directories for Kansas City, Mo., list William Allan at 1204 West 25th St. in those years. Allan, his wife Alta E. Love and two children lived here. By 1903, they’d moved to another area. His father lived with the family and Alta’s sisters often visited. The 1905 Kansas state census enumerated the family along with Allan’s father and two of Alta’s siblings, Lois and Laura.

Photo identification is a process based on genealogical research and picture details. It seemed to fit that the women standing behind the rocker were Lois and Laura, but maybe not. Take a close look at the woman in the blouse.

Is the opening in the bottom of her shirt due to her pulling it slightly open by putting her hands behind her back, which also puffs out the front of her skirt? Or could she be pregnant? In the early part of the 20th century, pregnant women generally avoided the camera, especially unmarried pregnant women. This woman looks young. In 1902, Laura was 16.

Here’s Bradley’s other picture for comparison

In this picture, taken circa 1910, are as follows: Front row: George Harmon Love (1845-1926); Mary Cook Love (1850-1946); Harold George Love (1877-1922). Back row from left: Lois Love (1881-?); Laura Love (1886-1913); Iva Love (1874-1954); Alta Ella Love (1872-1940); and Mamie Love (1878-1910).

One sister is missing from the photo: Esther (1890-1958).

Bradley and I thought maybe the young woman in back of the first picture could be Mamie or Laura. Here’s a comparison of the mystery woman to Mamie and Laura.

Look closely at their noses, lips and eyebrows. It appears the mystery woman has a bit of a “lazy eye.”

OR she could be Esther Love.

Bradley is still researching the sisters. He’s making a trip in September to try to track down more details on the family and their descendants. It’s a lovely mystery.


Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now
  • Related Products

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    1. I think Mamie is out — her mouth is too full and her left eyebrow is too rounded. But I could go for either Laura or Esther. If the "lazy eye" is actually what is seen in the casual group photo, that would rule out Laura because it’s clearly not there in the formal group photo. Obviously these women were related!

    2. If you look closely there appears to be a sheen around her waist. Was there a style to have a ribbon/belt with split hem blouse at that time?
      I initially thought she was pregnant but now I think there is a waist and then flair.