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Some of you will know about the second blog I set up last year called Identifamily – which mixes together the two words ‘Identify’ & ‘Family’. I set it up originally due to my own personal sadness at the amount of old photographs I had of people – which have, somehow, through history, become disconnected from their living relatives. I wanted to try & reconnect them – because, as a family historian myself, there would nothing better than someone contacting and informing you that they had some photos of your great grandparents! I think they call that ‘striking gold!’ ;-)

Anyhow, with a new blog in tow, I set about doing just this. It was at times, extremely hard – not only finding out information about the person in the photograph but also tracing someone connected to them through their family tree. I used online census’s and genealogy websites; and whilst I often identified the pictures subject, their address, their birth & death dates and their offspring – it was only recently that I had my first reconnection to a ‘living’ relative. I wanted to share this with you now.

This is what I wrote back in April 2011:

For your family history viewing pleasure today I have a beautiful young lady called Clara Yates – and her eventual husband Cyril Bowden.

From my research, I believe Clara was born in 1897/8 in Charlesworth, Derbyshire. Daughter of Samuel and Lucy, Clara had lots of brothers and sisters (some of which I believe I also have photographs of) including Mary, Mabel and Tom.

In the last quarter of 1921, she married Cyril Bowden. On my research, I found a young man with this name and of similar age to Clara, living close to her in nearby Glossop (which is where relatives of the Yates family also lived). The youngest of 5 surviving children, Cyril is listed on the 1911 census as living with his parents Lemuel and Sarah and siblings on St. Mary’s Road in Glossop.

Here is a photograph of both Clara and Cyril together, (click to enlarge) taken in approximately 1925/6 (according to the back of the photograph). What happened to Clara & Cyril. How long were they married? Did they have any children? Are you descendents of them? I have emailed several people through ‘Genes Reunited’ who appear to have both Cyril & Clara within their family tree – I have heard back from one gentleman, although it is still unclear how he is actually related to the Yates family. I have, as yet, to hear anything back from the others.

It transpired that the gentleman (Stewart) I was talking to was also a family historian – and his parents had been cousins of Clara Yates. The great-grandmother of Stewart had been a sister of Clara’s mother (don’t you just LOVE family history!!) and he had known some of the Yates family as a young boy.

I informed Stewart that I had only bought 8 photographs from a photo album on the local market – but that indeed the rest of the album was still for sale along with some postmarked letters. These were addressed to Olga Yates, the daughter of Tom Yates – who had been a brother to Clara. Stewart was very excited to hear about this (as he had met Olga on various occasions as a boy) and asked me to purchase the photo album on his behalf – which I posted to him in November last year. Other photographs were inside of the family – and it appears that the photo album actually had been the property of Olga Yates who had died in the year 2000.

Here are a few photographs of the album and its content:

Olga had been a very successful business woman and had set up her own company called Errin Foods – which apparently was sold on to Heinz. It was said within the family that one year she had bought virtually every crop of British tomatoes for her foods. Sadly, I’ve been unable to find out anything more about this through my research.

Stewart has since informed me that he has found another relative, linked to Olga’s grandparents, and has contacted them for information – and is considering sending the whole album to Glossop’s Heritage Centre to help identify the remaining photographs. I’ll let you know if I hear anymore.

It’s been wonderful to think that, through my blog and my research, I have been able to reconnect an album of 160 photographs to a living relative. However, I’d love to do so much more with ‘Identifamily’ – although it takes up so much time and money that I’m sadly having to limit my involvement with this at the moment. My subscriptions have currently run out, plus I need more time to ‘hunt down’ and purchase photographs that contain traceable names. This is quite a feat in itself; I literally have hundreds of Victorian photographs – but the majority of which do not have any identifiable information on them. And why would they…how many photos of our own have traceable details on them? I find it really sad to think that our current treasured historical and family images may, one day, end up, unloved, on a market stall (although more likely on a USB stick than a photo album admittedly)!