January 26, 2015

Bridgeport Connecticut Photos Rescued

Recently I purchased 35 loose Cabinet Cards and CDVs (Cartes de Visite) that had been removed from an old photo album and were up for sale. Every photo except one was clearly identified and I had a bit of fun yesterday scanning the photos and researching the family.

 This is one of the photos. It's a really lovely photograph of two children, almost certainly brother and sister. They are labelled in period handwriting "Edmon & Fannie". This is the only identified photo that does not include a surname.

Because little Edmon is wearing a dress, we know he is a toddler and not toilet-trained, so probably around 2 years of age. 

The photo is a CDV with rounded corners and this can help date it. Rounded corners on CDVs did not begin until 1872.

Studying the photographer's mark on the verso of this CDV and finding out when M. Smith was in business, as well as studying the clothing styles, children's hair and other clues would allow this photo to be dated with some precision.

From my research yesterday it appears the photos may all connected through family relationships. For example there are 5 photos of brothers and sisters of the Williams family of Bridgeport Connecticut. This became evident as I searched census records on Ancestry.com . I believe, but have not yet proven. that 2 other Williams photos are of wives of two of the brothers.

The Williams family consisted of Benjamin Williams and his wife Elizabeth Goss. Benjamin was born in Maine and Elizabeth in New Brunswick Canada. All the children were born in New Brunswick. The photos I have are of the siblings Simeon, Orlo, Hartley, Eva and Samuel. 

There are photos of the Deniger family, also of Bridgeport. Joseph Henry Deniger and his sister Gertrude are two that I have found so far. Interestingly, their father Joseph Deniger Sr. was born in Canada and their mother Harriet was a Chatfield before her marriage. In the group of photos is one labelled "Uncle Lew Chatfield" and I found 21 year old Lewis Chatfield living with Joseph Deniger Sr in 1860 in Bridgeport.

I hope to have these lovely photos scanned, researched and online on Lost Faces soon. Meantime here is a list of the surnames written on the photos:

Williams, Jackson, Henderson, Morgan, Wells, Deniger, Night, Curtis, Dumbull, Marley, Carpenter, Ferry, Chatfield, Rider, Bowen, Smith, Diott, Polk

Locations of photographic studios were: New York, Bridgeport Conneticut, Danbury Connecticut, Boston Massachusetts, Norwalk Connecticut, Kingston Ontario, Gananoque Ontario, Davis New York, Poughkeepsie New York, Chicago Illinois, Detroit Michigan, and Lynn (Massachusetts?)

Sixteen of the photos were taken in Bridgeport Connecticut.

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