Aunty Jane

anty jane

This wonderful cabinet card from the Welsh Album caught my attention immediately. It was taken in Longton, Staffordshire by photographer Fred Hulse.

The severity of the of the eldest child’s hair style makes me wonder if she had been ill (I have read that Victorian children sometimes had their hair cropped when they contracted a fever). However, a closer look reveals wavy hair down the back of the neck, so perhaps the hair was simply scraped back from the face:

Anty Jane child

The reverse of the card is blank, but there is a hand-written inscription above it in the album:

anty jane inscription

This probably deciphers as Chwaer Anty Betsi Jane Scubor Ddu, with chwaer being Welsh for sister . According to friends on the Rootschat forum, it could mean that the woman is the sister-in-law of A(u)nty Jane. So who is Betsi? Where is Scubor Ddu? And was it Jane or her sister-in-law who lived there? This begs more research… and underlines the importance of labelling photographs clearly!


Men With Moustaches

Cabinet card by Cross Photo Studio, 256 1/2 Essex St., Salem, Massachusetts

Cabinet card by Ritz Portraits, 58 Temple Place, Boston

The first two cabinet cards in the Welsh Album depict men with moustaches, something of a craze with Victorian men. Apparently by the late 1800s a full beard was seen as old-fashioned, the younger generation preferring to wear a ‘tache instead.

There are several photographs in the album that point to a connection with North America. The upper portrait, taken by Andrew B Cross, probably dates to the 1880s. The lower portrait can be dated quite precisely; Ernest Ferdinand Ritz was a solo photographer from 1884 until the date of his death in 1890. More information can be found in the 1889 edition of Illustrated Boston.

Which Lizzie?


Deciphering hand-writing can be a particular problem for family historians. Throw a different language into the mix, and it can be especially tricky.

Take this entry in the Welsh Album, for example. My best guess is ‘Lizzie Llwyngwgan’. Notice how the ‘a’ is open at the top and the ‘n’ falls away at the end of the word? Judging by other entries in the album, this seems to have been a particular quirk of the person’s writing style. Another quirk involved running a Christian name into a place name, so after much head-scratching I realised that Llwyngwgan is the place where ‘Lizzie’ lived. Or the name of a farm. Or a cottage. All of which appear in the censuses.

There is one entry that stands out. In 1901, the family of David Jones (age 29) is living at Llwyngwgan, Llanfairfechan, Caernarvonshire in North Wales. Living with him is daughter Phebe Lizzie (age 4), and servant Lizzie Jones (age 14). And then there’s another daughter called Elizabeth (age 7).

Could one of these be our Lizzie? My head hurts already!

No more she’s heard to grieve or weep…

Jane Thomas Cabinet Card

It’s hard to know where to begin with the Welsh Album, so I’ll start with the photograph that originally caught my eye, a cabinet card by Mitchell of 505 Main Street, Kansas City, Mo.

It bears a portrait identical to a carte-de-visite also found in the album, below. I suspect that the cabinet card is a reprint of the smaller photograph. There is a poem by Jane Thomas on the reverse which reads as follows:

No more she’s heard to grieve or weep
Beyond the reach of care
No passions awake her from her sleep
For thoughts never enter there
In vain! Alas! These thoughts forgo
Thy sister dwells on high
A stranger grown to pain & woe
She now forgets to sigh
Rise maiden rise thyself prepare
Thy lamp of wisdom tend
To meet the Lord with watchful care
Thy w(e)ary footsteps bend

Jane Thomas was an English poet who published in the mid 19th century. The nature of this poem makes me think that the sitter may have died and the cabinet card was then sent home, perhaps to Liverpool. I can’t find any information about the photographer Mitchell in Kansas City, USA, but Daniel Jones was a photographer in Liverpool, UK, during the 1860s, 70s and early part of the 80s. Which provides a (very) rough date.

Jane Thomas Carte-De-Visite

More Liverpool connections to come. And Wales, of course!

Many thanks to friends at Antiquers and RootsChat forums for help with this research.

The Welsh Album

Welsh Album 1

When my husband asked “what would you like for your birthday?”, my instant reply was “a trip to the local antiques fair!”. And I picked a lucky day, because I stumbled on this Victorian photograph album, stuffed full of cartes-de-visite and cabinet cards. Plus a few more recent black and whites, and a tin-type thrown in for good measure.

Welsh Album 2

The album isn’t in the best of shape. I like to think it’s been well loved and that somewhere out there might be family who are missing it. The dealer had bought it in Wales and many of the photographs have a Welsh connection. Some are connected to the USA, and the rest… well, we’ll find out as we go along.

Welsh Album 3

So it’s time to do some research and find out a bit more.

The Boy With The Gun

Boy With Gun Cropped

My final post relating to the Barnstaple Album… for a while, at least. I still have some interesting photographs to go through but none that can be easily identified. Take this one for example; a serious looking boy wearing a bowler hat with a gun slung over his shoulder. Norfolk, where the photograph was taken, is a rural area and (rightly or wrongly) hunting was a popular activity.

Two additional cartes-de-visite show a group of boys, presumably brothers. The boy in the centre of the second one appears to be the boy with the gun. Note that his jacket is the same in both images:

Brothers 1   Brothers 2

I am going to move on to a new album in my next post, one that originates in Wales. Watch this space!

Boy With Gun Brothers1 Brothers2

Is This You, Agnes Phillips?

I am now delving into the not-so-easily identified selection of images from the Barnstaple Album in the hope they might provide clues and maybe, just maybe, someone will recognise them as they browse the internet.


Above is a carte-de-visite of a Victorian lady in her finery, with the following inscription on the reverse: For Agnes Phillips with K.F.P’s love. Or perhaps V.F.P.? Either way, I originally assumed the initials belonged to the sender, the image being the sender’s image.

But could it be the reverse? Perhaps the image is that of Agnes Phillips herself, the photograph being a present from K.F.P.?

A little research shows that Agnes Phillips was the daughter of John South Phillips and niece of Fanny Heigham. Her full name was Agnes Maria Desborough Phillips, and she married Rev. Alfred Edward Gover in 1887 when she was about 37 years old:

Bury and Norwich Post - 4 Oct 1887
Bury and Norwich Post – 4th October 1887

According to the newspaper article, the guests included various members of the Heigham family and Mr and Mrs W. N. King, whose wedding gift was a photograph book. Mr and Mrs Raymond Smythies gifted a brass inkstand, candlestick and paper knife, and Colonel Alderson a china basket.

Cousin Jane

A second Carte-de-Visite (above) shows the portrait of a woman who is labelled Cousin Jane. I have yet to find a Jane. I am struck by her resemblance to Agnes Phillips / K.F.P., though, so I am sure she cannot hide for too long!

Newspaper clippings are from The British Newspaper Archive  © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Another Haggard?

Unknown Haggard

To my eyes, this man bears a resemblance to the author H Rider Haggard, whose family I’ve already referred to in my previous posts (see here and here). The National Portrait Gallery website has some great images of the author, though he is older in most of them. This one, for instance:

NPG x6513; Sir (Henry) Rider Haggard by George Charles Beresford
by George Charles Beresford, half-plate glass negative, 1902

On close inspection, the noses are different. And I’ve yet to come across a photograph of Henry Rider Haggard sporting such a large beard. So I’m inclined towards the theory that the man on the carte-de-visite was an older brother, either Alfred Hinuber Haggard, Bazett Michael Haggard or William Henry Doveton Haggard, who would all have been in their twenties when the photograph was taken.

In The Dog-Cart!


When my grandmother was annoyed with my grandfather she would refer to him as ‘being in the dog-house’; in other words, he had acted stupidly (in her eyes) and she wasn’t going to bother with him for a while. Of course, her mood never lasted long, but the phrase has stuck with me. So when I saw ‘in the dog-cart’ written on the back of this carte-de-visite from the Barnstaple Album, I immediately thought back to my grandmother. And although I can find no specific reference to the dog-cart variation, I assume it had a similar meaning, and that someone was annoyed with this gentleman.

Quite what he had done to deserve this, if it is directed at him, is a mystery!

Another mystery is his identity. I can connect him to the Haggard Family, since both this and a CDV from my previous post are labelled Barton (Lodge). Perhaps C.E.H. are his initials, which would be consistent with Haggard.

I think, though, that the surname is more likely to be ‘Heigham’ since, in 1861, Fanny Heigham can be found at the home of her brother-in-law John South Phillips in Great Barton, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. But I could be wrong.

The Sportsman - 3 Apr 1869
The Sportsman – 3rd April 1869

As for the dog-cart, I may be wrong about that too. Wikipedia describes it as a ‘light horse-drawn vehicle’, much like the one above from an 1869 newspaper. Whereas, I’m thinking of a cart pulled by a dog (see here).

If anyone can enlighten me with anything regarding this photograph, please do!

Newspaper clippings are from The British Newspaper Archive © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The Haggard Family – Part II

Among the photographs from the Barnstaple Album are others relating to the Haggards of Bradenham Hall, Norfolk. Two are sons of William Meybohm Rider Haggard (see previous post), and two have a connection but it’s unclear exactly who they are… yet!

Andrew Charles Parker Haggard

Andrew C P Haggard

Born 1854, Andrew C P Haggard was the sixth child of William Haggard and his wife Ella Doveton. He appears to have been close to his next youngest sibling, judging by the various references made in Henry Rider Haggard’s autobiography “The Days of My Life“. One story in particular stands out, when Rider Haggard confesses that he almost shot {his} brother Andrew through a fence. Perhaps they weren’t so close after all!

Andrew spent the early part of his adulthood in the British Army, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and the latter part of his life writing books and living / travelling in Canada and North America. He died in 1923, age 69, at St Leonard’s-On-Sea, Sussex. According to the probate record he left more than £1500 to his widow Jennie Ethel Haggard.

John George Haggard

John George Haggard

Four years older than his brother Andrew, above, John George Haggard was often referred to as Jack. In his autobiography, Henry Rider Haggard tells us that Jack the sailor {sic} did not have the advantage of a public school education. This does not seem to have held him back, however, serving initially in the Royal Navy and later in the Consular Service, stationed in various parts of the world including Madagascar, France, and Malaga (Spain) where he died in 1908 at the age of 58.

Interestingly, Jack appears to have been something of an inventor, being given credit for improving a whistle used in the Royal Navy, formerly known as the ‘Boatswain’s call’ and later as the ‘Haggard call’ after John George Haggard:

Portsmouth Evening News - 15 Sep 1897
Portsmouth Evening News – 15th September 1897

I’ll leave the ‘unknown Haggards’ for my next post. I need more time to look for clues as to their identities!

Newspaper clippings are from The British Newspaper Archive  © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.