Saturday, June 10, 2017

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Recent Ancestor Photographs

Even while he's busy posting about Genealogy Jamboree, Randy Seaver found time to come up with a new challenge for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun!

For this week's mission (should you decide to accept it), I challenge you:

(1)  Do you have photos of all of your ancestors back to the 1850 time frame?  
Which recent ancestors do you not have a photograph of?  

(2)  Review your files, and list the ancestors for whom you want and/or need to find a photograph.  Also list where they resided and where they died.  Where would you look to find a photograph of them?

(3)  Share your answers on your own blog post (and leave a comment here with a link), or on Facebook or other social media.

1.  I have photographs of my parents, all four grandparents, and eight of nine great-grandparents, counting my paternal grandfather's adoptive father.  As I have not yet identified my grandfather's biological father, it would be surprising if I had a photo of him.  Of my sixteeen great-great-grandparents (eighteen if I count the unidentified great-grandfather), I have photos of only ten.

2.  The great-great-grandparents of whom I have no photographs are:

• Frederick Cleworth Dunstan (1840–1873) and Martha (Winn) Dunstan (1837–1884), who lived and died in the area of Manchester, Lancashire, England
• Amelia (Gibson) Gauntt (1831–1908), who lived and died in Burlington County, New Jersey
• Cornelius Godshalk Sellers (1845–1877), who was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and later lived and died in Philadelphia
• Simcha Meckler (?–before 1903) and Baila (?) Meckler (?–before 1925), who lived and died in the area of Kamenets Litovsk, Russian Empire (now Kamyanyets, Belarus)

My great-grandmother Jane Dunstan had a brother, Frederick, who also immigrated to the United States.  I could try to track down his descendants to see if any of them have photos of the parents.  I also know of some cousins on a collateral line of that family who are still in England.  They would be another possible resource.

I am in touch with several Gauntt cousins.  I'm sure that at least one of them has a photo of Amelia, right?

Cornelius Sellers is a tough one.  He died young and his widow remarried.  Cornelius' only surviving child died young also (before his mother), but one son survived from the widow's second marriage.  Perhaps someone on that side of the family might have a photo of Cornelius.  Another possibility is through his Civil War service.

I doubt any photograpohs of Simcha and Baila Meckler ever existed.  The only person I know of to ask is my cousin in Israel.

Unfortunately, other than Cornelius, it is unlikely that these great-great-grandparents appear in any archival collections, but one should always check, just to make sure.


  1. There is a good chance Albert has pics of the Dunstans... I remember copying a few from him from England before a computer crash. I have not been successful in getting him to copy them again for me as Albert is declining.. I will have to work on Michael. I as of yet have found no existing pic of Amelia,but sure would love to!

  2. I agree it's a good idea to work on Michael. I know Albert had some photos of Dunstan cousins, such as the McGoggys, but I hadn't heard about any photos of older generations.

    I'll have to find descendants of collateral Gauntt lines to ask about Amelia!

  3. I would think the one that ended up in Philadelphia might have findable photos. I would not know where to begin to look for photos over seas. Keep us posted on if you have luck finding some more photos.

    1. The trouble with the one in Phillie is that he was away from most other family members and that he died young. That said, his widow's second family seems like the best bet, since the family from his son didn't have any.


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