While it was a great idea to name each person for posterity, the numbers are written on the front of the photo in India ink. Here are the identifications:
no.1 Is my feller
” 2 Nans feller
” 3 Papa
” 4 Nan
” 5 me
” 6 Mamma
” 7 Mrs. Ashcroft (a neighbor)
” 8 Miss Smith (the school teacher)
” 9 is Miss Smiths feller
” 10 Lucile
” 11 Pleasant
” 12 Mabel
That’s all she wrote. I’m sure you’ve seen other examples of photos identified with arrows or x‘s, but if you really want future generations to be able to say who’s who, follow these three steps.
1. Never write on the front. On the back is OK if you use a soft lead pencil for cardboard-mounted images, or a special photo-marking pen (such as a Zig marker) for 20th-century resin-coated snapshots. You can tag digital images using photo organizing or editing software.
2. Use the full name whenever possible. Wouldn’t it be great to know who “Nan’s feller” was? While this woman knew everyone’s name, it’s doubtful that identification lasted past her generation.
3. We’ll probably never know why all these folks got together on a summer’s day. If there’s a special occasion associated with the image, include a short note.
If you’re curious about when this picture was taken, look at the hats on the neighbor (7) and the school teacher (8). Those broad-brimmed, deep-crowned chapeaus were very common in the 1910 era. By the way, this is a postcard, and the design on the back first became available in late 1907.