This week’s photograph came from Joan Lawler of England. In her family collection is this picture of an elderly woman she knows is one of her grandmothers: Mary Ann Spellman or Mary Ann Grime.
This photograph focuses on the head and shoulders of a woman wearing an elaborately decorated hat. The ostrich feathers date the hat to circa 1900.
Joan Lawler’s two grandmothers share similar life dates:
- Mary Ann Spellman was born in Dublin about 1834, and died March 13, 1900, in Rhodes, Manchester, England.
- Mary Ann Grime was born circa 1845 and died sometime after 1881. Lawler is still trying to locate a death date.
To help with the identification, Lawler provided a photo of Ada Booth, daughter of Mrs. Spellman.
Identifying two photographs solely on physical characteristics is difficult even when you’re looking at images of the same person taken at different times in her life. Comparing those elements across generations is even more complicated. A person’s facial characteristics change with age and illness, and a second generation introduces additional features.
The most obvious clue to identity would be discovery of a death date for Mary Ann Grime prior to 1900. This would clearly establish that the portrait shows Mary Ann Spellman. So Lawler’s continuing search for Grandmother Grime’s death date holds the key.
- Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
- Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900