Mother When She Worked

from collecion of Ida (Trautvetter) Neill (1910-1994) materials, photo in possession of Michael John Neill, undated

It is easy to say “don’t use just the word ‘Mother’ on the back of a picture.” The reality is that many photographs are identified this way and often individuals who could help us clarify the information are long deceased.

This photograph was in a collection of materials that apparently belonged to my paternal grandmother–at least the album they were in were all photographs of other members of her family and that of my paternal grandfather. I am assuming that because of the grouping it is someone from one of their families. Some of the photographs are more clearly identified than this one is.

I jumped to the conclusion was the mother of my grandmother (Ida [Trautvetter] Neill) because the handwriting “kind of looked like Grandma’s. That may not be correct. I’m pretty certain the “Carthage” reference is to Carthage, Illinois. There are towns with that name in other states, but given where all of my family is from the one in Illinois is the most reasonable conclusion.

What I need to do is try and get an estimate of when the photograph was taken (based upon the clothes and the photograph itself) and the approximate age of the woman pictured. That information could help in determining whether “mother” could even possibly be my great-grandmother born in 1874–or my other great-grandmother born in 1883. More research into John Welock is also warranted. I could even post the photograph to local or regional Facebook groups to see if anyone recognizes the homes pictured in the image.

But I have to watch my assumptions. Always watch the assumptions and stick to what is actually known.

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