Saturday, February 23, 2013

Could this be my Great Great Great Grandparents?

My cousin has a suitcase of photos relating to the Scott family.  Unfortunately most of them are not dated or named.  As I gather more information and photos from family members, I have been able to identify many of these unnamed photos but the majority remain unknown.

The photo below was in the suitcase.

Could this be Catherine Glass and Adam Bisset Scott with their son Donald Scott?
Possibly taken before Donald came to Australia in 1851, age 23?
The kilt indicates that the photo is Scottish.  The younger man seems to be wearing a military outfit.  However I cannot find  a record of Donald ever serving in the military.

The couple appear very well dressed and wealthy.  The lady is wearing at least 3 rings, 4 solid looking bracelets, a necklace and a brooch.  The older man is also wearing a wedding ring.

Adam Bisset Scott, who died in 1872, was a tailor and owned at least 3 properties in Edinburgh (Leith).  One of these properties was 3 flats on one title.  Therefore it seems that the Scott's in Scotland were wealthy, which fits with the photo.  No other family members were wealthy!

There is only one other known photo of Donald Scott, which was taken in Australia in approximately 1890, when Donald was 61. 

Mary Ann Scott, Warrick, Donald Scott, Tom Scott, Jane Scott, Eliza Scott, Elsie Scott, Christian Scott, William Scott
Mary Ann (Polly) and Donald Scott with their children -
Tom, Jane, Eliza, Elsie, Christian and William
1861

Could this possibly be the same person?



I then overlay the photos


The eyes, nose and mouth line up and the ears seem to also, even though the faces are on a slightly different angle.  The shoulders are wrong though.  The older man does not have a visible neck. Could this just be the suit and angle?

Wishful thinking perhaps?  What do you think?

Is there anyone who can help me with identifying the tartan kit and uniform or the time frame of the top photo from clothing?

This weeks theme is unknown photos.
Click the picture to see more Sepia Saturday Posts

53 comments:

  1. Hi Sharon! Great to see you on S.S. again. I sure don't know who anybody is on this post, but the pictures sure are clear and wonderful. Best of luck.

    Kathy M.

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    1. Gee that was quick Kathy! I hope that someone can help me with confirming the approximate date or something else about the photo.

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  2. A fascinating story and I like the way you have analysed the original Scott photograph e.g. the jewellery worn and then doing the overlay - that would not have occurred to me. I envy you for having such a lovely family photograph of Donald with his wife and children. The dress of Donald's mother suggests it is of a later date than 1851 - the skirt does not seem very full compared with the style of the mid 19th century or even compared with that of her daughter in law. Donald's shirt looks khaki like, but I don't know if is necessarily a military shirt. He looks in the second photo as if life has been hard, but there is a similarity with the high forehead and low eyebrows. He must have had his young family late in life too. The jury is out, methinks!

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    1. They had one more child after that photo and Donald died soon after from "miners chronic bronchitis and pleuracy". There is another story there for another time.

      Donald did have a hard life as a miner then farmer, which makes me wonder why he left such a seemingly wealthy family to come to Australia.

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    2. Thanks, Sharon, for your reply and what a sad ending to Donald's life. I suppose that the wish for adventure drove many young people to emigrate, whatever their background at home. My husband had a look at your photographs and saw a similarity in the ears between the two images. He commented that no military shirt would have a button down collar. I look forward to reading more on how Donald's wife and young children survived his death.

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  3. Looking at the nose, looking at the eyes, looking at Donald's father's hairline, I'd put my money to Win that yes, they're the same. All the evidence of some wealth is another good argument.

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    1. It does seem that way Wendy but there is still doubt in my mind.

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  4. Have you tried to overlay Donald's father's face with the last photo to see if there is a 'match' there? Can't help with the kilt I'm afraid. Fine photos.

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    1. Just tried Bob. The nose, ears and eyes didn't line up although the head shape is very close.

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  5. I hope you find out! I love mysterious but even more I like to solve them.

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    1. Totally agree Kristin but lately I seem to have brickwalls all around me and it is becoming frustrating!

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  6. My first impression was that the photos don't seem to be from the right eras for the second photo to be Donald.
    I have a book of Tartans but without knowing the colors, don't think I could match it up. But I'll try and if I find anything, I'll let you know.
    Nancy

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    1. Thank you Nancy. The second photo is definitely Donald and his family but I am now thinking that perhaps the young man in the first photo could be Donalds younger brother, who to date eludes me, but hopefully not for long.
      I haven't been able to locate the tartan, as like you say, it is difficult not knowing the colors so if you can find anything similar it would be appreciated.

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  7. Sharon, I'm not very good at examining old photographs, but I would like to add my two cents' worth.

    While the two subjects may indeed be one and the same, it seems the drooping eyelid on the one is opposite of the other. I suppose that could be owing to the simple matter of one of the negatives having been reversed.

    While it may seem an impossible quest to find identities of these unlabeled subjects of your family's pictures, I do want to encourage you to continue posting your mystery photographs. As you examine the details in each of those unidentified pictures left to you from your cousin's collection, bit by bit you may notice details to help piece the story together.

    In addition, the more you post online, the more people will eventually stumble upon them--and, hopefully, help you out.

    I do have some suggestions on how to further go about this. These are steps that have been helpful to me as I pursue the same goals.

    First, do you know how to add alt text to the photographs themselves? That way, you assist search engines to identify the photos--even if you only know a few things about the photos. For instance, label the photo as "possibly Donald Scott at age 20" or whatever is appropriate. Also, once you label the photos with alt text, whenever a reader hovers a cursor over the photo, the same key words will pop up so the reader can see what record you've already embedded.

    If you are not sure how to do that, Caroline Pointer of BloggingGenealogy.com wrote a post with clear instructions on how to do this. It is a very simple process.

    Also, if you are not on Twitter, Pinterest or some of the other social media outlets, perhaps you could consider joining there, where you can then make entries directing potential readers to your blog post about your mystery photographs. The more eyes that see the photo, and the more accurately you label your plea, the better your chances become of getting some viable answers.

    Another way to increase your possibilities of gaining answers is to post a query on the various online genealogy forums, such as Rootsweb.com or GenForum.com. By making mention of this post in a forum for the Scott surname, as well as forums for Scotland, photographs, and whichever location in Australia your family ultimately settled, people will click your link, see your photograph, read your blog post...and maybe provide you an answer.

    I'm mentioning these ideas, because I have tried the same with some success, and it has been encouraging to watch others who have done the same.

    Best wishes as you seek further answers to not only this photograph, but all those in that mystery pile of pictures!

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    1. That is great information Jacqi. THANK YOU.

      I have already updated the photo with embedded text and really appreciate you sharing this information with me. Now to go back and do other images.

      The internet and genealogy community is wonderful. Thanks again :)



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  8. Jacqui has some great suggestions there, to which I can add that uploading the photos to a Flickr account and adding them to some of the myriad of old photo groups on that site can be very rewarding. Adding as many keywords (tags) as you can is the best idea.

    I'd explore the kilt design as well. Someone will recognise it, even in sepia.

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    1. Another good idea. Thank you. The photo has been uploaded to Flickr :)

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  9. The woman's dress in the first photo looks to be from 1905-1915 (hobble style skirt and wide, smooth bodice). The dress worn by the woman in the second photo is characteristic of 1860-early 1870 (dropped shoulder seams and full skirt). I'm sorry to say they are not the same man. However, family resemblance may be strong and one is related to the other in some way. I'm told I look a lot like my great-grandmother.

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    1. Something to think about. Maybe the older man is Donald's younger brother? I will add his name to my Flickr tags and try to trace his family, maybe they can help me?

      I am loving all the help and suggestions that this post has provided.

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  10. I agree with the other comments dating this photo much later than you thought....my reaction on reading the post. I can't help wondering if it's around the time of WWI hence the militaristic look of the young man's shirt. Maybe even a school uniform or club/society? The woman is quite likely wearing an outfit that's not contemporary with the photo ie photo may be later than the style. It will be interesting to see what people come up with.

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    1. I have the stubborn Scottish blood. I will not give up!

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  11. The features look similar, but the shapes of the heads look very different to me.

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    1. I thought that too. There is definitely family resemblance though. I am investigating Donald's sisters and their children now.

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  12. I can see where your coming from re those 2 faces...umm ,yes,could well be one&the same person.The Perils of aging !

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    1. Sometimes I think that men look better as they get older (eg Sean Connery) but not poor Donald. He had a tough life.

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  13. Now I am definitely confused as to who else it could be. The two other brothers both died prior to age 11 so it cannot be them. Donald was the only living son.

    Next I will look at Donald's sisters and their families. Perhaps it is one of them?

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  14. I would say the older man is not a sibling, more like an uncle or grand uncle. For him to look aged 45-60 in the large family photo (second photo), he would have to have been born in the 1810s to 1820s. My gut instinct is to look at family groups with children born in the 1850s and 1860s. Those children pictured are probably the link to the young Donald in the first photo.

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    1. Thank you for your comments. I appreciate any help I can get.

      The second photo is definitely Donald and his family and can be dated in 1890 based on the youngest pictured child, who was born Jan 1890. Another child was born in Dec 1891 but died in 1892.

      The males in the first photo have all the features of Scott male family members but I am struggling to place a Scott father and son who would be the correct ages in the early 1900s. Additionally all our Scott family members in Australia were poor farmers whilst the Scotts in Scotland were rich.

      Donalds two younger brothers died young so it is definitely not either of them.

      Would you like to hazard a guess of the ages of the people in the first photo?

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  15. Have you considered that the second photo, which is definitely from the 1860 era, could be Donald and his family? There's one boy and up to five girls pictured.

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  16. Most lovely photos, and your title made my day. It reminded me of when I was young and I'd hear great grandma this or great-great grandpa that, and I thought my daddy's mother should be called, Great, great, great grandma because she was such a wonderful grandma. Then I grew up and learned how they got the great in front of their name! Thanks for the delightful memory!

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    1. That is so nice and reminds me of my own great grandma Scott ( coincidentally the wife of Donalds son...the boy on the right in the second photo). The only time I met her, I was about 5 years old and she gave be 20 cents for my birthday. I thought she really was a great grandmother!

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  17. I have nothing to add to what has already been said. Sorry. I do see the similarities. All the girls in the family portrait are holding some lovely fans!

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    1. I hadn't noticed that Kathy. I wonder if they have Scottish significance. Some of the girls are also holding flowers that I can't identify and the little one at the back has tartan on her.
      You now have me wondering if the photo was taken to send back home to Scotland.

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  18. The first photo is definitely Great War era, so no way it could be your 3g-grandparents, I'm afraid. The second photo, as mentioned by others, is probably from the 1870s, so I think it's drawing a rather long bow to match the family likenesses. Great photos, though.

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    1. Do you think the first photo could be a bit later, say around 1925? If so, then I think I may have worked it out.
      Stay tuned!

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  19. The comments on here are as fascinating as the original post. Well done!

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    1. It has been so fantastic to obtain so much help and different thoughts, leading me in lots of different directions and different research. THANK YOU EVERYONE.

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  20. I have to agree with Nell - a whole new way(s)have been opened up

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    1. This illustrates the benefits of the internet and helpfulness of other bloggers. I have learnt from many of these comments and respect and appreciate all comments and opinions.

      What a wonderful group!

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  21. An enjoyable and interesting post on all sorts of levels and the comments genuinely add to the original post. I like your approach to do-it-yourself facial recognition

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    1. Thanks Alan. The comments have definitely added to my research.

      Look out next weekend for another post of facial recognition :)

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  22. You've given us all a poser Sharon! I went back to my photo books and agree the second photo is either 1860s or 1870s (the woman's dress could be an older one). Fans were used as adult accessories in the 1870s so perhaps that's why the children have them, though I can't figure out what pattern is on the middle girl in the front. Did your families have any connection to Asia so they may be displaying gifts? I really don't think this is 1890s Australia. Also convinced the top photo is either 190-1920. I think 1925 would be pushing it as her outfit would be very dated by then. I suspect their ages are 45-55 but I'm not all that great with ages. I think the boy in the second photo has a resemblance to the lad in the first one...perhaps the lad in the kilt is his grandson?

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    1. What books do you recommend Pauleen? I think I should get myself a good one.

      It wouldn't surprise me if the outfit is outdated as they were very poor with the drought, so many children and Donald not very well. The bank was going to forclose on the farm several times but each time they were helped out from rentals from Donalds fathers properties.

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    2. Pauline, I think you hit the nail on the head! I was thinking the same thing after all the wonderful comments. Well Done.

      I have photos of this family (the boy is William Adam Bisset Scott...My Great Grandfather) so this is the avenue that I am going to investigate further this coming weekend.



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  23. I also wondered if the older man had lost an eye or had it damaged in some way.

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    1. I don't know of any damage to his eye but it is normal for Scott family members to have a droopy eye (or both eyes) as they age. I had always been told that it was because we had a chinese gold miner in the family (from the name Foy) but my research has revealed this to be incorrect. The name Foy was from Ireland not China! Family rumours can be so wrong!

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  24. Did I mention I have Irish, Scots and German so I can relate to your stubbornness ;-) This time I looked at the background and floor of the 2nd photo and have to withdraw what I said about it not being Australia. It looks a bit too rough and ready to be Scotland. Maybe a travelling photographer (even a Chinese one) would explain the varied accesssories. Still unsure of the date though unless the woman was wearing a seriously outdated dress, long preserved. Her hands do look quite worn.

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    1. Lol. Yes I have Scottish, Irish and German in me too!

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  25. Overlaying the photos is such an interesting idea in experimenting on identities. And I learned something new: kilt is indicative of Scottish.

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    1. Hi Hazel. This post is proof that it doesn't always work as I was wrong in this instance but it did confirm the family likeness. I have quite alot more overlaying to do this weekend based on the information and thoughts here :)

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  26. Well I'm very late joining the discussion but I'm with Brett and think that the first photo is more recent than the second photo.

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    1. It really is a mystery. There is definitely a family similarity. Hopefully someone out there will so a search and recognise the people in future. Fingers crossed!

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