HISTORY

by WENDY McMULLIN and MILLI KAFCALOUDIS

Geneology Sunshine Coast

If you are lucky enough to have old photographs in your family collection, especially those larger portraits of groups of people outside local buildings, you are holding a great treasure. 

Scanning these photographs with high-quality scanners at high resolution can often uncover clues that are not easily visible to the naked eye. 

One of our favourite photographs is of the early Cobb and Co stop at Cobbs Camp (now Woombye). We have had access to copies of the original image for many years, but last year we came across the original photo with names written on the back from earlier times. 

This overcame a lot of guesswork as to the identity of each person in the photo. Some were family members so we had a chance to compare their images with known family groups of later dates and find family resemblances. But others remained a mystery until we scanned the original image and checked the names. 

The other major advance in identifying images is that an app on your phone such as Google Lens can search for similar images and similar faces in the vast digital collections available online.  

With a steadily growing collection of family trees online, searching records for a name on the back of a photograph is surprisingly easy. So in this photo the name of the lady on the far left was given as Mrs Harley with her two children Janet and Jack seated in the front row.

A quick check located her in a family tree from New South Wales – but what was she doing in Queensland?

We can date this photo from Trove digitised newspapers, the records of the licensing of the hotel, the relative ages of the children and the signage on the hotel. Zooming up on the photo, a figure can be seen on the right standing on the veranda wearing a white suit coat and carrying a white hat – he turned out to be Dr Harley, husband of Mrs Harley, and they were heading for Rockhampton. She had been included in the family group as a relative – so we now had more research to do to recheck the newspapers for the records of their visit, thus giving us a date for the photograph of 1890.

What would we do without all the newspapers, both past and present, to document our life and times over the generations?

The only question we haven’t yet answered is why Dan Short turns up in so many photos – we know who he is, where he lived, what he did … but why is he in these photos so often? I can only think he might have been responsible for bringing the travelling photographer around the district? 

If you have wonderful old photos you would like to have scanned, please contact us at Genealogy Sunshine Coast. Perhaps you have a collection of photos you don’t want to keep or you don’t know who the people or places are? We are happy to scan collections and research them, and we have had great success in finding people and locations over time. We also stock Albox archival photo albums and sleeves if you wish to store your photos safely in this very variable climate we live in. 

Stay safe and keep your treasures safe! 

For more on Genealogy Sunshine Coast visit facebook.com/gscnambour.

 

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