Friday Finds from the past

Elmer & Martha

The genealogy bug has bitten me again. A few years ago I started down this path and lost days and days of my life collecting, gathering and recording information from relatives. Then, real life got in the way and my quest was put on the back burner.

Recently, I connected with a cousin who lit the fire again. Through her love of history and all things genealogy, we’ve renewed our relationship and friendship. She’s sharing with me photos of ancestors…like this one.

This handsome couple are my mom’s grandparents….my great grandparents…Elmer and Martha Louise (Mattie). We’re not sure when this photo was taken, but they were married in April of 1899 so this could be their wedding announcement photo in the newspaper. I really have no idea, but that’s the story I’m sticking with.

According to, they were quite the sojourners, living everywhere from Missouri to Kansas to Oklahoma to North Dakotas to the state of Washington! Talk about gettin’ around!

And evidently they had a number of kids in tow as they moved around. Here is a 1913 family portrait. Notice the youngest child was actually drawn into the picture after the fact!

1913 Wescott family portrait 72

Don’t you wonder why no one in these old photos ever smile?

Linking up with Friday Finds

14 thoughts on “Friday Finds from the past

  1. The genealogy bug bit me several years ago! Sort of put it on the back burner for now. And yes, I have noticed they never smiled…but then again life was much harder so they were probably really tired!


  2. Lisa, BOTH these photos are faaaaaaaabulous!

    I have such a fascination with vintage photos. I can sit and look at them over and over, and not even know WHO the people are; just imaging.

    “Don’t you wonder why no one in these old photos ever smile?”

    HA! Yes, I do! I have a vintage wedding photograph (from the early 1900’s) that my father was in when he was a little boy (probably no older than 6-years old), and not ONE person is smiling!!!

    Have a super weekend, my friend…X


  3. I just love these old photos and the stories behind them. I think perhaps that people had a very difficult life just surviving, and maybe they just didn’t feel like smiling. I did have one set of relatives who were always having fun and high jinks… climbing trees etc and they always seemed to be having alot of fun. I have especially loved these shots! Have fun with your genealogy, and it is so fun sharing these things with cousins


  4. Great find…..Family history is so interesting…the photos look amazing….I guess it took so long for the photo to be taken, they were just tired out of smiling.


  5. Fun! Your post is rather in line with mine this week. I was told they couldn’t smile because the cameras took about 15 minutes to expose the image, so they had to hold extremely still in order to get the shot. No smiling allowed.


  6. These are wonderful photos, and it is a lot of work collecting information but well worth the end results, I’ve being doing it for years and still am, stopping when I get discouraged, then pick it up again-it is the dead ends, no names on old photos that are discouraging as well as challenging, good luck with your families history adventure. maybe smiling just wasn’t in fashion as it is today, or its was there were no teeth, missing teeth, discoloured teeth?


  7. Wonderful old photos. I wonder about the not smiling. too. It hmay have been something about having a photo taken was a serious event at that time and smiling might tend to make the event more trivial.


  8. Lisa, I figure that there are no smiles in these vintage photos because the pose would take so long. Try smiling for a while, the muscles get tired. The photographer had to do many things before the camera finally flashed the picture. I know that even in the 1950s one usually took more than one capture to make sure that one would be good. I love these old photos. My sister-in-law did most of the gathering because she got the “bug” years before I did. God bless those who do all the hard work of compiling!


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