23 November 2020

A Picture Is Worth…

(nowhere near a thousand words if you don’t label it properly)

I took a break from doing a very needy job of trying to organize my genealogy data files today.  These files are in desperate need of some type of organization, but I don’t think I’m the one to come up with a good scheme to do the job.  I’m trying out two pieces of software, Evidentia and Clooz to help, but the struggle is real.

I decided to look at some pictures that my paternal grandmother, Nanny who you’ve met before here on the blog, had glued into a repurposed wallpaper sample book.  And I do mean she glued them in.  Most of the time I can just cut the photo out and keep it on the backing from the album.  Not always but I think I’ve only had to sacrifice two or three pictures to save one I felt was of more value.  I hope that doesn’t come back to bite me.

But here’s what I want to address today.  No, I’m not going to get into the correct or incorrect ways to mount and preserve your heirlooms.  Nanny did it the way she could, and I’m not going to say it was right or wrong.  I think she did this over many years starting in the 1960’s or maybe even earlier.  I only know I got it when she died.

The Wallpaper Sample Book

And pictures just glued right in!

Nanny wrote directly on many of the pictures.  While this makes it easy to identify many of the subjects of the photos, she wasn’t always clear.  Here’s what I mean.  Look at the two photos below.  

Both are of the same gentleman, her husband Herbert J. Campbell.  One is clearly labeled “Herbert Campbell” with the year 1905, but one is labeled as “Dad at 22” with the year, 1908.  If I didn’t have the picture with Herbert’s name I would not know just whose dad he was.  I’ve used the versions I colorized at MyHeritage here, but I have the faded originals as well. 

Now look at these two.

The first is taken from a postcard that is signed by Herbert and addressed to Nanny.  It is also labeled “dad” with 1905 as the year.  The other is undated, but again labeled "dad". Remember the other picture (with the trombone) is also labeled “dad”.  These gentlemen do not look like the same person to me.  Then we can confuse the issue even further.  On another page of Nanny’s album, the “dad” from the postcard picture has been cut out and pasted separately back into the album. 

As you can see in Nanny’s shaky handwriting it says “Dad Don Mother” next to it.  The only one I can claim to know by name here is Don, my father, Herbert and Nanny’s only child. 

If you take that part of the page from the album together, it just may make more sense.  Maybe.  Possibly.  Probably not.  Why?  Because in the photo at the bottom, is, I believe Nanny’s mother.  So, which mother is she listing?  To make it even worse, my father never called his mother anything other than “mother”.  I don’t remember ever hearing him call her mom, or momma anything like that.  He even called my mom mother, which she hated!


At the top is a picture of my dad, Don, and his mother, Nanny.  In the middle is the main problematic picture of “dad” cut from the postcard.  Using this rather convoluted logic, this should be my grandfather, Herbert.  We'll address the bottom photo shortly.

However, the postcard picture (the four gentlemen) is dated 1905, the same year as the picture labeled “Herbert” with him standing on the staircase. These two men do not look like the same person to me.  The man in the postcard looks much older to my eyes.  And if you compare it to the picture of Herbert dated 1908 (with the trombone), they don’t look anything alike.  Here’s another picture of “Dad at 21”.  Herbert was born in 1884, so he would have turned 21 in 1905.  Sigh…

Could this be Jerome Bodle, Nanny’s dad?  Let’s look; here is the only photo I can say with any degree of certainty is him.  Luckily Nanny labeled it “Dad Bodle”.  Jerome was born in 1857, so that would date this picture to 1878 or so.   The clothes don’t look right to me for that time frame.

Nanny seems to have pasted a cut out of her mother on this photo labeled "Dad Bodle".  I wonder why she didn’t label this with “mother”?  Oh, that’s because she labeled this one that way.

I had to zoom way in on that picture to make sure it wasn’t a picture of Nanny.  She and her mom must have looked a lot alike.  And if you look at the bottom photo in that long one, you can see its Nanny’s mother, Elizabeth Eve Chapman Bodle.  I don’t think the man in the photo with her is Jerome.  I think it looks like they’re in a car and Jerome died in 1923. I doubt that cars were that readily available in rural Clinton County, PA back then.  And if one of their children brought the car to show off, Jerome probably didn’t have the skills to drive it and make everyone laugh like they are in the photo.  I guess it could be nervous laughter.  There is that.

It could be a child's car, after all when Elizabeth passed away in 1941 at the age of 81 she had 135 living descendants!

Now, where does that leave me?  Basically, still trying to figure out just who “dad” was in these pictures.  Take a look at them and let me know what you think.  Which photos match Herbert on the stairs or with the trombone? 

Personally, I think that the older gentleman in the postcard is not Herbert, and I’m not sure about the guy in the hunting photo.  But hunting guy has a better chance of being Herbert than the postcard guy.  But I’m not sure.

I’m gonna need a double single malt after all this!


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