Archive for the ‘Photo Identification’ Category

Harry Murphy and the Photo Mystery

A couple weeks ago I wrote about the discovery of a brother to my 2nd great grandfather, the elusive James Joseph Murphy.  This brother, Harry Murphy, had immigrated a couple years after his parents and siblings to Sharon, Pennsylvania.  The only way I found out about him is because my great grand aunt had his obituary with a large pile of old photos which was then passed on to her niece who recently passed the photos on to me.  Many of the photos are of unknown people; my mom and relatives have gotten lots of  “who are these people?” emails.

There are 6 photos with nice little captions on the back, all written by the same person in a somewhat affectionate way.  One in particular stands out.

“Bob’s wife Barbara, taken only two months ago with their new car a Ford Victoria”

Stylish woman, new car, and a huge cat! I love it.  I must be related to her.

“This is the only picture I have of Jim. From right to left they are myself, Harry Luse, and Jim my brother. This was taken about three years ago.”

The caption of the three men below tells me that the recipient probably didn’t speak or visit those in the picture on a regular basis.  Maybe they are cousins of my great grand aunt’s husband?

In this big pile of old photos and obituaries is also an envelope from H. Letson in Huntington Beach, CA to Mr. Harry Murphy.  That’s Harry Letson, Harry Murphy’s son that lived in Huntington Beach. Nothing in the envelope though; I wonder why it was saved.

As I was scanning some photos today, I realized that the return address handwriting is strikingly similar to the handwriting on the back of these photos.

The “to” address is written in big block generic letters so it never stuck out, but the return address gives the clue.

Bingo!  Harry Letson was sending these photos to his (estranged?) father.

Another clue: the date on the stamp is June 13, 1956.  Harry Murphy died in 1956.  Was his son sending him photos because he knew his father was dying soon?  I can only wonder.  All the captions are very kindly written and I get a sense that they were selected specifically to let the recipient a view of the immediate family living in Huntington Beach.

“This is me the old man and my two gals the best in the world”

Luckily, I found a descendant of Harry’s brother Jim on  Hopefully they can provide some context. Meanwhile, I need to find the exact date of Harry Murphy’s death.

Who is this?

I had this photo labeled as James Joseph Murphy, but I’m starting to think this may be someone else.  James J Murphy died in 1917 at 36 years old.  This man looks a little older, don’t ya think?  To give some comparison, the photo on the right is actually James J Murphy.

The hair part is different, but the eyes and cheeks are very similar.  Could be him, his father, or someone completely different.  What are your thoughts?  Does anyone know where the photo on the left came from?

Murphy Reunion Photo

One of my favorite family photos.  The Murphy family in Youngstown, Ohio 1955.  Let me know if I have misidentified someone.
1. Patty Ann Gallagher
2. Margaret Arnaut
3. Owen W Gallagher
4. Mildred Elaine Murphy
5. Unknown
6. Unknown -possible friend of Mildred Elaine Murphy
7. Edward Murphy
8. Mildred Whitacre
9. Robert Lee Updegraff
10. Katherine Irene Murphy
11. Leo Arnaut
12. Margaret Ruth Arnaut
13. Margaret Beake
14. Terrence Arnaut
15. William James Arnaut
16. Ruth Louise Haney
17. Cheryl Arnaut
18. Virgil Leonhart
19. Delores Jean Murphy
20. Dennis Wellington
21. Margaret Murphy
22. Charles Wigton
23. Sharon Lynn Arnaut
24. Margaret Richards
25. Daniel Charles Updegraff
26. Elizabeth Lou Updegraff
27. Pearl Murphy
28. Barbara Lynn Updegraff
29. Elizabeth Murphy
30. Diane Kathy Gallagher
31. Dennis Murphy
32. William Arnaut (Leo Arnaut & Margaret Beake’s son)
33. Robert Lee Updegraff, Jr.
34. William Arnaut (William James Arnaut & Ruth Louise Haney’s son)
35. Lottie Ann Leonhart