Wedding Wednesday – George’s Wedding Photo Part 5: Lizzie?

I’ve been deconstructing a photograph taken at the wedding of George and Bella Elgey (1920 in Durham, England) and trying to identify the people in the picture using pictures of the “English relatives” in my grandmother’s collection. If you’d like to catch up, I’ve listed the links to previous posts at the bottom.

Identifying the first few individuals was pretty easy, but I ran into trouble as I continued. A letter from “Aunt Jennie” to my grandmother, Eveline Coates, provided information about several people whom I assumed were Jennie’s children.

I knew that my grandmother’s father was Joseph Coates and found him in the 1881 Census for England and Wales. There is a son, Joseph (age 13), and a daughter, Jane Ann (age 3), with their parents John and Ellen Coates in Willington, Durham, England.
gen.1881EnglandCensus-johncoates crop

I’m a little slow, but it finally dawned on me – Jennie must be a nickname for Jane Ann.

I found Jane A. Elgey in the 1901 Census in Hetton-le-Hole, Durham, England married to Frederick Elgey with children Jane P., John, Ethel, George and Elizabeth. All of those names were in Aunt Jennie’s letter except Jane P.

1901EnglandcensusFrederickElgeyJaneACoates crop

It seemed that I had the family group identified, so I returned to the wedding photograph. I had not yet identified Lizzie, the youngest child in the 1901 census, so I looked at the girls seated in front. Lizzie would have been about 20 years old at the time of the wedding. If those girls in the front are 20 maybe I should be calling them young women. Elgey, George.Wedding

The picture below has this signature on the back:
With Fondest Love
from Lizzie

Elgey, Lizzie

Lizzie – Mrs. Jack Hall

My mother’s handwriting also appears there, with this inscription: Mrs. Jack Hall.

At first glance, I thought Lizzie looked like the girl on the right in the wedding picture.
Elgey, on rightElgey, Lizzie crop

I also found the picture below…..

Mr. and Mrs. John Hall.Aug1926 copy

Mr. & Mrs. John Hall

and thought she must be the girl on the left.

Elgey, on leftMr. and Mrs. John Hall.Aug1926 crop woman

But wait – the back of the picture of the rather dour-faced couple reads:

Mr. & Mrs. John Hall
30 Wear Street
August 1926

Jack Hall copy

Jack Hall

Are Jack Hall and John Hall the same person? Could be. We’ve all heard of John Kennedy aka Jack. And I found a picture identified as Jack Hall that looks like he could be the man in the picture above – although the profile view makes it difficult to match.


So are these pictures of the same woman – Lizzie?
Mr. and Mrs. John Hall.Aug1926 crop womanElgey, Lizzie crop

And if so – is she one of the girls in the wedding picture?
Elgey, on leftElgey, on right

There is one more picture of Lizzie. The back of this picture names Jack, Lizzie, Nell and John. I’m pretty sure that’s John Elgey and his wife, Nellie, on the right. So that’s Lizzie in the middle and Jack on the left. Jack and Lizzie look like they could be the unhappy looking couple in the earlier picture. I’m so glad they are happy here! Maybe they are laughing about Lizzie’s house slippers.

Nell, John, Lizzie, Jack copy

Jack, Lizzie, John, Nell

Could this be a progression of Lizzie as she aged?

Elgey, Lizzie cropMr. and Mrs. John Hall.Aug1926 crop womanLizzie crop
Or is the woman in the middle not Lizzie? And if she is not Lizzie, then are John Hall and Jack Hall two different men?

And if all 3 of the pictures above are Lizzie – is she one of these girls?
Elgey, on leftElgey, Lizzie cropElgey, on right

Aunt Jennie mentions “cousin Ida” in her letter – but I have pictures identified as Ida and she doesn’t look like anyone in the wedding picture.  Jennie also mentions Hilda in the letter – whom I now know is Ida’s sister. Ida and Hilda are Jennie’s nieces.

Until I started typing this, I had never considered the possibility that Hilda might be in the picture – but a cousin could be in the wedding party. I must take a look….. Hilda would have been about 20 when the wedding occurred. Does she look like the girl on the right? (Hilda is pictured here on either side.)
Hilda 2 copy cropElgey, on rightHilda copy 2 crop

Here is what I think:

Jack Hall and John Hall are the same person.
Lizzie is in the 3 pictures – two identified as Lizzie and one identified as Mrs. John Hall.
Lizzie could be the girl on the left in the wedding picture. There seems to be enough resemblance in the shape of her face, nose, and eyes.
The girl on the right could be Hilda.

I don’t know if I will ever solve the question of the girls seated in the wedding picture unless I hear from a cousin somewhere who knows who they are, but I’d like to hear what you think!

There are five people left to identify in the wedding picture. Stay tuned.

If you’d like to catch up with who’s who, here are the links:
Isabella Lidmore
George Elgey
Ethel Elgey
John Elgey
Nellie – Mrs. John Elgey



Sepia Saturday – George’s Wedding Photo Part 4

The question I am asking myself: How many times can I use this wedding image as my contribution to Sepia Saturday before being asked to STOP!!? This is the 4th (5th – if you count the clue on the wedding cake) part of a continuing series on how I identified the people in a photograph of a wedding party and those I still need to identify.

I have an idea about how to tie in to the prompt picture. We’ll see if I can manage it by the time I get to the end of this post.

Here is the wedding photograph in question:

Elgey, George.Wedding

In previous entries, I recounted how I identified a few of the people using other photographs in my grandmother’s collection. The groom is George Elgey and the bride is Bella (her surname revealed to me only a couple of weeks ago). John Elgey stands to the left of the groom. Ethel Elgey stands second from the right behind the seated girl.

After identifying these three Elgeys and the bride known only as Bella, I was stumped. I thought I might be able to identify the girls seated in front, but I wasn’t sure. The other men – nothing. And I still didn’t know exactly how these people were related to my grandmother, Eveline Coates.

Then my mom sent me copies of a few letters my grandmother had received from her English relatives. The undated letter below provided several clues.

Coates, Jennie. letter to Eveline

Coates, Jennie. letter to Eveline.pg2

There is a wealth of information here, but today’s task is identifying people in the wedding photograph.

This portion of the letter….
Coates, Jennie. letter to Eveline crop 1

… refers to the photo I included in my previous post about John (with pipe) and sent me looking for a picture of two women with glasses, one seated in a chair.
Elgey, Bella and Nellie

The back of this picture says “Nellie and Bella Elgey”. Bingo! John’s wife, Nellie, is sitting in the chair. George’s wife, Bella, is standing.

Here is Bella, the young bride in the wedding photo, compared to the later photo above.
Elgey, cropElgey, Bella and Nellie.Bella crop

But what about John’s wife, Nellie? He is presumably an older brother to George. Is his wife – or future wife – in the wedding photo? I’ll sandwich this later picture of Nellie between the two young women in the wedding photo who are the likely candidates.
Elgey, left cropElgey, Bella and Nellie. Nellie cropjpgElgey, right crop

The woman on the right looks like she could be Nellie, although she isn’t wearing glasses. Maybe she took them off for the picture, or didn’t need glasses at the time the wedding picture was taken. The woman on the left looks a little young to be Nellie, although John could have married a younger woman. Her mouth is smaller and so is her nose, I think. Of course, it’s possible that Nellie isn’t even in the wedding picture.

My vote is that the woman on the right is Nellie, wife of John Elgey. Do you think I am correct?

At the risk of this post becoming too long, I’ll continue the photo identification in future posts. Which, of course, is at the risk of the continuing series being too long. Oh well.

Sepia Sat 09 March 2013And now to find a way to make this all fit with the Sepia Saturday prompt picture which features trees, houses, a pier and a steamer.

My guess is that this letter was written in 1939-1940. Aunt Jennie’s only mention of war is her concern that her youngest son, Alfie could be “called up,” and she writes that it takes longer now for her to receive letters from Eveline and that it will take a few weeks for this letter to reach her. The little internet research I did doesn’t give me any real answers about the route Aunt Jennie’s letter might have taken from Easington Lane in England to the small town of Mystic in Iowa. And so I’ll venture a guess that this letter traveled by ship, making this post on theme for Sepia Saturday.

Cruise on over to Sepia Saturday to see where others have ventured this week.

Sepia Saturday – George’s Wedding Photo Part 3

Sepis Sat 02 March 2013Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images.

I’m not sticking with the theme today – which suggests boxes and paper and factory workers. Instead, I’m continuing with what I started last week.

My grandmother Eveline Coates had several photographs of people I presumed to be her “English relatives” and I didn’t know anything about them. As I went through her photographs, I tried to match them to the people in the picture of a wedding party below. The first person identified was the groom, George Elgey.

(Other posts related to this group are: Letters from the HMS BirminghamThe Clue on the Cake, George’s Wedding Photo Part 1 and Part 2.)

The fellow on the left, standing next to the groom, is next.

Elgey, George.Wedding I have one picture of a young man identified only as John.

Elgey, John



Elgey, George

George Elgey

If you read the post about George Elgey, you might notice some similarities between the picture of John above and George at right. Their clothing looks identical – except for the ties – and even the ties have a similar look. I thought John and George looked like they could be related.

The photographs were taken by the same photographer:
Mack, The Photographer, 12 Holmeside, Sunderland – although the papers they are printed on are slightly different.

Elgey, John reverseElgey, George.back

I look at things like postcard paper and photographers now,  but I didn’t when I was first working with these pictures years ago!

There is another photograph that is identified as John Elgey. I assumed that John is the one with the X over his head since there is only one name on the back of the picture. A little older here – but it could be him.
Elgey, John with pipe















Time to compare them side by side.

Elgey, leftElgey, JohnElgey, John with pipe crop

(Sorry about my poor cropping technique that made every picture a different size!)

They looked like a match to me.

After identifying John, I was stumped by the rest of the men as none of the other photographs seemed to match. Trying to match up the rest of the girls and women wasn’t easy either. And I still wasn’t sure how my grandmother was related to George, Ethel and John Elgey.

Thankfully, my mother provided copies of some letters that held additional clues. But that’s for another day…..

Please visit other Sepia Saturday participants who may have thought inside or outside of the box for today’s prompt.