Thursday, June 8, 2017

Going with the unknown. . . .

Sepia Sat. for June 10th.

What an interesting photo Alan has presented to us this week.
Once again one of those that leave it to us to decide what we want to take from it.

Did we have a box maker in the family? No.
How about a hat maker? Nope.

Did any of our family wear bowler hats? Not that I have seen. Although not to long ago I tried one on and thought it suited me. Wife said no it didn't. In all our old photos we seem to have only one family member that made a point of wearing a hat; Uncle John in London.

He is a tradesman of some sort I suppose. Maybe in veggies. It seems like it would be a good box for veggies. Pack them in and send them off to market. It's not a fancy box. Something made to us maybe just a few times, made out of rough lumber, then burned our used for something else.
He has on a tradesman's jacket. Something to wear over his clothes.

I love the moustaches and his eyebrowes.

But I couldn't come up with anything I could associate with the old pictures I have (probably find one tomorrow).

So I thought I would go with, 'In search of the unknown.'

We have a photo in my moms collection that is an unknown, and intriques me.

 On the back is written, 'Your father and Gorden'.
That's all.

This is the photo.

I have been assuming the older of the two individuals is the one called, 'Your Father' while the younger of the two would be 'and Gordon'.

It is a wonderful photo. The small pipe, the covering on the table. The watch chain. The ring on the mans finger. The glass of I hope Guinness on the table.
Even the 'binky' on the end of the ribbon for the baby.

The pipe appears to be clay, and the man seems to have happy eyes. Is he finally our Irish connection?

There is a drain of some sort coming out of the wall just behind the table.

But other than those four words on the back, I don't know anything for sure about these two.

We do have a Gordon on my mothers side of the family.
Here he is in his uniform from the British Army in WW2.

I have written about him, here, a few times and his time in service.

He is the one I think is the above 'and Gordon'.
If that is the case the photo was taken around 1915.

As I do with most pictures I don't know, or mom doesn't remember, I us Facebook to send them to cousins overseas and see if any of them know anything about it.

None did. 'Your Father and Gordon' remained a mystery.

At least for a while.

A couple of years ago I got in touch with some cousins on my moms side and asked them to send me any old photos they may have of the family so I could add them to my collection.
Well a copy of 'Your Father and Gordon' was amongst my cousins collection.
Except on his file it was labeled 'Cyril'.

One more piece of the puzzle?

So with that bit of information I once again inquired of overseas relatives and asked if anyone knew of 'Cyril'.

None did.

Jump to yesterday.
Each time I go over to moms now I usually pull out some of her 'old' stuff and start to go through it.

My daughter had a blast going through old jewellry with her,  (she even went home with a couple of pieces!).

Well, while they were doing that I discoverd a bunch of old letters exchanged between my mom and dad and family 'back home' from the late 50's through about 2005.

So I brought the letters home and over the last few days have been going through them finding wonderful bits of family history that I was to young to remember back when they were going back and forth over the ocean.

A couple of the letters were from an aunt I never met.
She died before I was old enough to know her.

Well last night before we went out I had a bit of time to go through a few more letters dating about 1956, just after we came to America.

Now as many of you know letters like these were often the only way relatives overseas found out about the passing of someone, whether family member or family friend. So the letters were a source of news to distant relatives.

Well while going through one of the letters from that aunt last night she wrote a line about '. . . how Auntie Edith was missing Cyril.'

CYRIL! Could it be one and the same? This is the only other mention of Cyril other than the label on the photo from my cousin.

It at least gives me somewhere new to start. One more piece of the puzzle.

There have been other pieces of puzzles to come out of some of these old letters about other family members, and I hope to share some of those discoveries here some day.

For now, I'm off to hunt the elusive 'Cyril'.


  1. Isn't it fun?!! I love stuff like that - little bits of info coming from here, coming from there, and eventually you have enough to put it all together in one big answer with a tremendous feeling of gleeful accomplishment! Happy sleuthing! Sounds like you're almost there. :)

  2. How interesting that the same photo was labeled differently. So possibly Cyril was father of Gordon. OR depending on when someone labeled your photo, "your father" could be the baby in which case HE was Cyril and maybe Gordon was father of Cyril. Fun mystery is close to being solved, methinks.

    1. It is a mystery indeed, but I am now a few steps closer.

  3. I assume Gordon's father or son wasn't called Cyril? Good luck solving the mystery!

    1. Not a father, and no son. Perhaps the Uncle.

  4. I enjoyed your introduction, as that is how I often feel when thinking "what can I write about for this prompt?" "Binkie'" is a new word to me - I take it is the baby's teether.

    1. Yes a teether, which is a new word to me:)

  5. What fun to have found a link to the unknown person (whether father or Gordon) as being Cyril...and the question of which one is still interesting. I expect more to come in the future! Yes, I often start my SS post with self-discussion of the photo prompt, but usually remove those musings as I decide to go with something else, which may or may not have a thing to do with it.

    1. I think once I have all the old photos organized it will be easier to go with the prompt, or maybe not.

  6. Family detective sleuthing of poorly marked photos is challenging for sure, but sometimes it just needs a single clue to open up the doors. Good luck.

  7. Thank goodness for relatives who hoard old letters. I hope you solve the mystery.

    1. We just put them all in order last night so mom can start going through them.

  8. hi, this is my great uncle Gordon!!! the Cyril and Edith were Swifts and were uncle Gordons Aunt and Uncle that had the bungalow on Doncaster Road Built and which Auntie Em and Uncle Gordon then lived in. My Uncle Gordon was THE greatest uncle in the world! We still live in the Selby area, i can't believe how much your mum is like him. Fiona

    1. Who are you and please get in touch.