Monday, November 28, 2011

Using Indirect Evidence to Identify a Photo - Part 3

We are attempting to answer the question, Who is the woman in this picture? The notation on the back, which was written by my great grandmother Frances Lowe, says, "Walt Wood's mother." In Part 1, I tied Walt and Mary Ann together using the 1900 and 1910 census. In Part 2, with the help of fellow bloggers, I was able to narrow the time frame the photo was taken to the mid 1890s and then locate the photographer in the Denver City Directories to identify a date range.

Moving on to 1920, we find Walter is married to Maud (or Mand) with a son, Kenneth, and living in Rosebud County, Montana. He is 30, born in Colorado with his mother also born in Colorado. So not all of the information is consistent but it is pretty close.

At this point you might be wondering why I believe this Walter W. Woods in Rosebud, Montana to be the same as the one we have been following in Colorado. A little over a year and a half ago, I wrote a four part series, "Photo Album Archiving & Digital Sorting" about one of Mom's very old photo albums. In it is a photo from East Rosebud, Montana. Frances Lowe and her family lived a couple of counties to the west in Stillwater County, so I always wondered why they had this photo. Walter Woods and Frances Lowe were first cousins so that might explain why the Lowe family living in Stillwater County, Montana had a photo of a house in East Rosebud, Montana.

Taking things a step further, in 1930, we find Walter Woods with wife Maud (or Manda, if you believe Ancestry), and son Kenneth living in North Bend, Washington which is where his cousin Frances and her husband Mike Lowe were also living in 1930. When you compare all of the censuses, Walter's info is not completely consistent but it is reasonably close.

Finally, coming full circle, when we examine yet another of Frances Lowe's boxes of pictures and letters, we find a get well card address to Frances. It is postmarked 14 June 1949 in Snoqualmie, Washington just a stones throw up the road from North Bend. It is signed "Maud and Walt" and refers to visiting Kenneth. It starts out "Dear Cousin".

So we have tied Frances and Walt together which explains why Frances would have had this photo and written "Walt Wood's mother" on the back.

Later this week, I'll try to sum it all up and you can decide if you think the woman in the photo who is identified only as "Walt Woods mother" is in fact Mary Ann (Ballenger) Woods.


1920 U.S. Census, Rosebud County, Montana. Population schedule, District 121, sheet 1A, family 11, Walter Woods family; digital image, ( : accessed 26 November 2011), citing National Archives microfilm publication T625, roll 975.

1930 U.S. Census, King County, Washington. Population Schedule, North Bend, sheet 4B,  Walter Woods family; digital image, ( : accessed 26 November 2011), citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 2490.

Walt and Maude, letter, 14 June 1949, get well card and note; Lowe Family Papers, Privately held by Michelle Goodrum, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Mesa, AZ.

© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum

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