Old images give up their secrets

By Warren Nunn



Grace Helen Silver: born 20 Mar 1895, at Kooroongarra, via Millmerran, died 12 Feb 1897, at Kooroongarra. Click for larger view.

For anyone fortunate enough to have photographs of family members going back multiple generations, identifying people can be almost impossible.

Fortunately some images have names on them and others are recognisable from later pictures. Some even have the name and location of the studio.

The source of the images helps as well. For instance, I have images from my grandparents' property at Boolburra, some of which connect to my maternal great-grandparents James Silver and Janet Todd.

They had six children, including my mum's mother, Bella Dobbs (nee Silver). She was the eldest, but two of her sisters died before their second birthday. 

Business name gives clue

Her younger sister, Grace, pictured at right, has been identified partly because of the photographer's name; "T.Mills (late A.Lomer & Co.) photographer, Ruthven St, Toowoomba".

Given that the business only started to advertise in 1895, (see http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article218300889), there appears little doubt that this is indeed Grace Helen Silver.

Another image is that of twins Eva and Nettie Silver, who were born 18 November 1899, also at Kooroongarra.

Eva lived to be 98



Silver twins Eva and Nettie. Click for larger view.

It's obvious by the photograph that Eva was the more robust of the twins.

She lived to be 98, but Nettie, like her older sister Grace, did not see her second birthday.

It's a harsh reality for families that some children don't live through those early years.

It was more common 100-plus years ago without the medical help we now take for granted.

For James and Janet, it must have been a wrench to lose two of their first four children.

And the heartache did not end there because their youngest, James, died aged 34. 

James and Janet eventually moved from Kooroongarra to Millmerran and then to Taringa in Brisbane.