22 August 2010

Emily or Eliza?

Do you have any portraits in your family that are difficult to identify? Here is one of mine. The photograph is probably of one of my great, great grandmothers from Shropshire. Is it Emily or is it Eliza?

Perhaps you can work out which year the photograph was taken. I think it may have been sometime in the 1890s though it could be from the 1880s. I am not very knowledgeable about fashion of any era!

It is likely that the woman is one of my grandfather Harry's grandmothers. Both died before he was born. The maiden name of his paternal grandmother was Emily Bailey. I have discovered from census records that she was illegitimate and did not have any siblings. The maiden name of Harry's maternal grandmother was Eliza Rowe. She had many siblings and was illiterate until later in life.

Eliza learned to read using a very big reference book, with the assistance of her children. My mother now has the book. I remember reading through it at my grandparents' house when I was a child. Perhaps that is why I still enjoy exploring encyclopedias today.

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I especially appreciate historical insights.