A Pictorial Reveal

By Maureen A. Taylor

A little bit of information can send your picture identification in a new direction. In last week’s column, I examined a picture submitted by Mimi Maxwell. She was pretty sure that the woman in glasses was Elizabeth Toner, born in 1797. That was until she read my analysis.

The picture of that woman was likely taken in the 1870s. That date changed her mind. She wrote: “If it is 1870’s, the only person in my tree that it could be is Isobella Maxwell, daughter of William Maxwell and Elizabeth Toner. She was born 1820.”

Bingo! We have a tentative identification.

For comparison purposes, Mimi got permission from cousins to share two images of William and Elizabeth Toner’s children.

William and Elizabeth Toner’s children

Dr. John Maxwell b. 1817 Keady, Armagh, Ireland, was William and Elizabeth’s first-born child. They when they were both 20 years old at the time. This image of Dr. John and his first wife was taken in the 1860s. He dresses very formally in a double-breasted vest and frock coat.

Dr. John Maxwell

Mimi also sent along a picture of another one of their children. Her 2nd great grandfather William J. Maxwell, b. 1835 in Ontario Canada. He’s sporting those walrus sideburns that connect to his mustache.

Alas, no picture of Isobella for comparison. She has fuller lips than either of siblings and light blue eyes.

I’d like to know more about this family. It’s hard to stop finding new clues. The Canadian Census of 1871 might hold some additional information ☺