Monday, September 22, 2014

Matrilineal Monday

A Family Group photo - an older couple in the middle surrounded by three sons on the left and a daughter and a son on the right with a daughter seated at their feet.
Ellis Family Group Photo

Today's blogging prompt comes from Jennifer Geraghty-Gorman, of ‘On a flesh and bone foundation': An Irish History'.

The photo above is a copy of a photo obtained by my parents from a "newly found" cousin last century just before my mother died.  I'm afraid I don't know who is whom.  So I shall just have a big fat guess and hope that my guessing will bring cousins out of the woodwork to tell me where I have gone wrong ;)  I believe it is a photo of the Ellis family or my mother's great-grandparents and their children.

Relationship Chart from Alex to Isabella Sinclair and George Ellis.

Here's a bit of a relationship chart so you can see who's who in the zoo.

That's me at the bottom - the living one.  Then my mother.  Then my maternal grandmother.  Then her mother.  And then her maternal grandmother.

So - in the photo...I think is Isabella and George Ellis sitting together in the middle.  Seated on the floor in front of them is (I think) Beatrice, their youngest daughter.  On the far right, I'm guessing is their eldest son, George.  And next to George is Esther his sister.  There were five other sons - Charles, Henry, James, Laurence and Albert.  It's a bit difficult to judge which of the five sons are the three in the photo.  

The next thing to think about is when it might have been taken.

Esther, or the lady on the right who I think is Esther, has what I would call - leg-of-mutton sleeves.  According to Lenore Frost who wrote Dating Family Photos 1859-1920, leg-of-mutton sleeves reached their maximum size 1895-1897.  This photo must have been taken before 1911 which is when Beatrice died shortly after her marriage and the birth of her daughter.  If it was taken in 1897, Beatrice would have been aged 14 (which looks about right).  Laurence would have been about 23 and Albert about 21.  James would and Henry would have been 27, Charles would have been 33.  George would have been 35.

Maybe in fact, we just have the four youngest sons in the photo - Albert, Laurence, James and Henry.  James and Henry are twins I think so maybe they are the two on the left.  Maybe that is Albert in the middle.  It's hard isn't it?  Cousins ?  Where are you?

George Birrell Straw, George and Isabella's eldest son, married Ada Barton in 1894 (NSW BDM Index).  He refers to his wife Ada in his Will (257062).  He describes himself as a Chemist.

Charles died in 1914 and I don't think, judging from the funeral notice, that he ever married.

Courtesy of the National Library of Australia

Esther married John T Floyd in 1889 and had baby Sydney in 1890. However little Sydney is shown in the NSW BDM Index as dying the same year.  I wondered if perhaps it was not Esther in the photo and George and his wife Ada instead.  Now I'm not so sure.

Albert eventually became a Dentist I think according to a Legal Notice in the Sydney Morning Herald in 1941.

Egbert Laurence seems to have become both an Accountant and a GP according to various notices.

I am not sure where the Ellis family was living in 1897.  At one stage they were living in Glebe and then they moved to Hurstville, both suburbs of Sydney in Australia.

I suspect the photo was taken in Hurstville. But it's a wild guess on my part.

So that's my contribution to Matrilineal Monday.  


Karen S. said...

Very interesting posting.

Kerryn Taylor said...

I do a bit of guessing too from time to time. Often the guesses turn out right so I think it pays to follow your instincts. Good luck with flushing out answers.