20    Sep 201510 comments

Old Photos: Why our ancestors didn’t smile

We remember our ancestors by their photos, which provide small glimpses into their world, and bring them to life once again. If preserved properly, photos offer lasting impressions for future generations.

When looking at old photos of our ancestors, it's easy to wonder what they were thinking at that moment. Their ambiguous expressions leave us questioning. Were they happy? Were they sad?

It's extremely rare to find 19th-century photos where people are smiling or showing any emotion. What's the story behind their stony and serious stares? Continue reading "Old Photos: Why our ancestors didn’t smile" »

15    Feb 20114 comments

User Story: Finding a Mysterious Murder in the Family

Many of us find skeletons in the family history closet, and John Hancock from London is no exception. In his family, the name ‘Jane’ had been passed down for generations along with rumors of a murder, but nobody knew anything for sure. While doing his research, John discovered the murder of a Jane Maria Clouson from the 19th Century, confirming the truth of these claims. The crime, originally believed to be an early Ripper murder, is still shrouded in mystery. Here John shares in his own words the story of the event and what he’s found out about it.

Jane Maria Clouson, daughter of James and Jane Clouson (formerly Hancock) was born in April 1854 in Deptford. She had one older sister called Sarah who died of consumption in 1863, a younger brother called Charles, who died young and one younger sister called Maria. Jane’s mother died when she was 13.

At the age of 14, Jane began working as a servant/maid for Ebenezer Pook, who owned a printing business with connections to The Times of London. Pook had a number of children, one being only 3 years older than Jane. His name was Edmund Walter Pook. He said that he suffered from ‘fits’ and could not be left alone. He also claimed to be a music hall entertainer.
Continue reading "User Story: Finding a Mysterious Murder in the Family" »

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