Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mystery Man

Several years ago I found this photo in a Coxsackie, New York, antique store and bought it because the man looked so much like my relatives.  Indeed, he also resembles someone in another photo I bought because of family resemblance:

This is what happens when your grandfather in a depressed state of mind burns all the known family photos.  You start collecting photos from antique stores that look like your family.  This is a large portrait I bought in a Slingerlands, New York, store because she looked so much like my paternal grandfather Earl Winchell:

I remember my boss let me take a long lunch to go back and buy the portrait, and even to use the company camera to take a photo of it.  

My Winchell family lived in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. When I bought the portrait I didn't know that the Rev. William Henry Winchell, my great-grandfather's nephew, moved to New York State and most of his family lived in the state.  I didn't know that Guy Warner, my great-grandfather's cousin, and his wife Cora Griswold moved to Orange County, New York, by 1910.

Earl Winchell and daughter-in-law Catherine Collier Winchell
 I think the resemblance is uncanny, myself, I don't think I'm too off the mark to think that the woman in the portrait is someone from my family, and she could very well be Winifred Olivia Ashley, Earl's grandmother.

The girl in the photo I could trace back to Great Barrington around 1878.  She could be Ada Winchell, Earl's aunt who died unmarried of consumption at age 23.  

The man in the first photo?  I have no idea.  There are too many possibilities.  He is too young to be my great-uncle Paul Herbert Winchell of Chatham, NY.  He could be a descendant of the Rev. William Henry Winchell, or Guy Warner.  Maybe someone will be able to tell me someday.

There is a moral to this post:  please, people, always identify the people in your photos.  Someday someone will want to know.

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