Thursday, April 10, 2014

How Much Can You Learn From a Photo?


How much information can you get from a photo? You have to combine what you know with what you see. Look at the above photo as an example.

This photograph may have been snapped after a church service. How can I tell? The sailor is holding a cardboard fan typical of those used while people were seated in the pews on warm Sundays. Certainly the church would not have been air conditioned at this time period. Another sign that they may have just left church is that all of the women are well dressed.

The fan, the white sailor's uniform and the women but one in light-colored, short-sleeve dresses point to it being either spring or summer.

Beatrice Pierce (1921-1993) is fourth from the left and her oldest sister Ina Mae Pierce (1903-1977) is next to her, fifth from the left. The names of the others in the photo are not known. Ina Mae married in February 1928, so this photo was taken sometime before then.

The photo may have been taken on one of the unpaved streets of Wilmer, Ala., where the Pierce sisters lived. Or it is possible that the group had driven to the Port City of Mobile and it was taken on one of the city's unpaved streets. A large building can be seen at the end of the street in the background.

Have I missed any clues?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ever Wonder About Those Photos of Children in Sailor Suits?


Dressing little boys as miniature sailors has been popular ever since a 4-year-old Prince Albert appeared in a child’s version of the uniforms worn by the crew of the Royal Yacht in 1846. By the 1870s, parents were dressing both boys and girls in sailor outfits.

Cartoon characters such as Popeye and Donald Duck, who wore sailor suits, gave the fashion another boost
in the 1930s.

In the above photo, a young Raymond Lamont Pierce (1923-1981), son of Mobile County farming parents, poses for his portrait in his fashionable sailor suit and shoes. The photo is probably from the early 1930s.

The photo and clothing are a sign that although Raymond's parents N.B. "Bonie" Pierce and his wife Julia L. Moody may have had to struggle to raise their family, it was a successful struggle in many ways.

Do you have photos of boys and girls from your family's history wearing sailor suits? Does the fashion reveal anything about your ancestors?


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Monday, March 17, 2014

Children's Toys and Play Clothes Can Tell You A Lot About a Family


Brothers Ralph Bailey Pierce (1917-1984) and George Carl Pierce (1916-1989) play in their wagon in the yard of their farm home in Wilmer, Ala. The photo was probably taken sometime in the 1920s.

Does anyone recognize the name on the wagon? Also, note the toy passenger train car. Does anyone familiar with antique toy trains recognize this one?

The boys' clothing, shoes and toys point to a family that had a comfortable, and maybe even a fashionable, lifestyle. Rural life and work may have been hard at times, but there were also times for fun and play.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Always Record the Names of Everyone in a Photo


Here is a good reason to always record the names of everyone in photo, even if you think you'll never forget them. It is also a good idea to note the date of the photo.

Around 1920, students at Wilmer (Alabama) School posed for this photo.

Velma Pierce (1913-1993) is in the second row from the front, third from the left. The boy behind her may be one of her brothers, perhaps Wilson Taft "W.T" Pierce (1910-1983).

The other children are not identified and may never be.
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Monday, March 3, 2014

Weddings a Good Time for Taking Family Photos


Twenty years separated the birth of the oldest and youngest of the nine children of N.B. "Bonie" Pierce and Julia L. Moody of Mobile, Alabama. They didn't often get together for a photo. One occasion when they did was the marriage in 1948 of Beatrice V. Pierce to Ralph E. Poore.

From left to right and from youngest to the oldest above are, Raymond Lamont Pierce (1923-1981), Beatrice Valara Pierce (1921-1993), Ralph Bailey Pierce (1917-1984), Velma Moree Pierce (1913-1993), George Carl Pierce (1916-1989) always called Carl, Wilson Taft "W.T" Pierce (1910-1983), Hazel Lee Pierce (1905-1985), Cecil Alvy Pierce (1907-1975), and Ina Mae Pierce (1903-1977).

Monday, February 24, 2014

Did Your Family Have a Tradition of Visiting on Sundays?



Did your family have a tradition going visiting on Sundays? That was the case with many of my family members.

Frequent visitors to the Wilmer, Alabama, farm home of N.B. "Bonie" Pierce and Julia L. Moody included Arvis Brown. Arvis appears in the above photo with a woman identified only by her last name of Tanner.

Notice that they were photographed with a field crop behind them, but it is difficult to identify the kind of plants growing there. Also Arvis and the young woman appear to be dressed in their Sunday finery. Perhaps they dropped by the Pierce home for a visit after church. This was a common custom among young people of the time.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Who Is That Guy In All the Family Photos?


Ina Mae Pierce (1903-1977), daughter of N. B. "Bonie" Pierce and Julia L. Moody of Wilmer, Alabama, appears in a number of family photos with Clifford York.

She and Clifford appear in the top two of these three photos. The woman in the bottom photo is unidentified. She may be a relative of Ina Mae's or Clifford's, or just one of their friends. These photos were probably taken in the 1920s.

The top photo appears to be the earliest (and the poorest quality) of the photos. The couple may have been teenagers when they posed for this photo, perhaps along the dirt road in front of the family farmhouse.

In the middle photo, Ina Mae and Clifford may be on an outing, perhaps going for a sail on a Mobile Bay boat, as they seem to be posing on a dock in front of a boat. Ina Mae seems rather formally dressed. Clifford either played the ukulele or else hammed it up for the camera with the four-string guitar that belonged to someone else.

Does anyone have more info on Clifford and his family?