Photo Mystery Solved!

By Maureen A. Taylor

Two weeks ago I wrote about Russell
Chowning’s search for an identity to go with a photo
(right) in his collection. I added up the fashion details and estimated the picture was taken about 1919.

That’s all it took for Russell to locate two snapshots of the same man and put a name with the face: Edward Haskins Brockman (born 1894).

He lived well into the mid-20th century. Before submitting his portrait to this column, Russell had shown the image to all the older members of his family, but none of them claimed to know the young man’s identity.

It’s a mystery why no one recognized someone who lived that recently. Although the young man had a full head of hair, later in life he lost much of it. Perhaps this detail distracted family who may have known him before he died.

Take a look at the 1919 picture (top). Compare it to these pictures of him in the 1940s (above left) and 1955 (above right), both already identified in Chowning’s family collection. This man’s distinctive ears and nose are a clear indication all three pictures show the same person.

It’s important to look for the facial details that stay the same as people age: noses (without plastic surgery or injury), ears, and the shape of your ancestor’s eyes. Keep this in mind when you’re trying to match photographs in your family album.

Several people sent me interesting background shots. I’ll show them off in next week’s column. Thank you!