Sepia Saturday – George’s Wedding Photo Part 1

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images.

Today’s prompt photo comes from the Flickr Commons collection of the Australian National Maritime Museum and is entitled “Group Portrait of an Unknown Family”. I thought of a photo that has been a great puzzle to solve. And I got a new clue this week thanks to Sepia Saturday!

I started by scanning two pictures – a wedding cake and a wedding party. I got sidetracked by the cake when I discovered a clue to the identity of the bride in the wedding party (!), so the cake turned into a post of its own. I have decided to deconstruct the wedding photo into several posts. So that is where we are headed.

Please take a look at the wedding cake. It kind of sets the stage – and its a really interesting cake! The back of the cake photo was identified by this:

To Miss Eveline Coates
From Cousins George and Bella

Eveline was my grandmother. At the time I was first going through papers and photographs that belonged to Eveline, I had no idea who George or Bella were.

Also among the photos was a picture of a wedding party – but there was no identifying information on the back. I thought they might go together.

Elgey, George.WeddingOne of the things I have found frustrating and funny as I go through family photos – a picture of a cake, or a cat, or a building will be identified – but not the people! But I guess life would be pretty dull with no mysteries to solve…

As a little girl, I knew that my grandmother corresponded with relatives in England. I didn’t know their names or the relationship. She may have told me, but that’s all I remembered. That  – and the mention of a castle. What little girl wouldn’t remember that her grandmother said something about relatives and a castle in the same sentence?

There are quite a few  photographs that I assumed were the English relatives and began the process of setting them out and trying to match them up with people in the photo above. There were two pictures of a young man named George. The cake picture mentioned a George – worth a look.
Elgey, George

It is identified on the back with this note:
Elgey, George.back

Don’t you think G’s like your pa. Will send you his photo in his sailors clothes as soon as possible.

And here is George in his sailors clothes as promised.

Elgey, George.sailor
He is identified on the back simply as George. My grandmother added a last name – Elgey. Ah ah – Elgey. That was a new name to me.

Here they are side by side…

Elgey, GeorgeElgey, George.sailorElgey, crop

They look like a match to me.

He signed the cake photo as “cousin”. So Grandma had a cousin named George Elgey.

I posted a letter that George wrote to my grandmother from the HMS Birmingham during WWI here.

I’ll be working on others in the wedding party in days to come. In the meantime, visit other Sepia Saturday bloggers to see what they have created with today’s prompt.

25 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday – George’s Wedding Photo Part 1

  1. I really enjoyed the posts about your photo detective work! I remembered the thrill I got when I matched a few lines in my grandfather’s 1913 diary with some photos my cousin happened to show me during a visit. See,

    Once you have experienced these “eureka moments” yourself, you understand how genealogy and problem solving across the generations can be such an “addictive” hobby! :-)

  2. Everytime I see posts like this it makes me regret we have no photos for generations before our parents, However I have acquired copies of the war photos of my sailor elder brother thanks to a contact made through a Sepia/facebook post. His name was George too, although he was always known by his second name of Arthur.

  3. A wonderful piece of detective work – tracking down relatives is not always a piece of cake! As for the photographs in this post, they are wonderful : I do so want a tie like George’s.

  4. That’s some cake! What a handsome man George is and agree they look like the same man…a very flash tie!. The wedding group is great- I love seeing the fashions of the day because people tend to wear their best and most up to date clothes I think. I’ve never seen a bride with a shawl before…was there some special significance?

    I suspect when we label our photos we expect our peers to know who the people are, but perhaps not the story behind the cake, for example. it’s only over time that the people become a mystery to later generations. A lesson for all of us!

  5. This is the way photo-detective work should be done, slowly and with care. It’s wonderful that you were able to link the wedding cake photograph with the group wedding portrait, and I look forward to reading about the others in the wedding party.

  6. Certainly an interesting journey drawing a larger portrait of a once unknown “cousin”…
    That cake was full of riddles and I wonder if this was typical of the times. As for the tie,
    I would venture it was an icy pale blue.

  7. Cool. I’m starting with the first blog in this series, in order to watch the mystery unravel. I do remember George from reading your blog a while ago.

  8. I may be able to assist with who is in the photographs.

    It’s my late Grandfather Tommy Lidford standing outside the sweet shop!

    • How exciting! So is that Tommy standing on the right of this picture? His mother in back – and the same woman as in front of the sweet shop? Oh – I have so many questions!

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