29    May 20123 comments

Mystery Soldier: His identity expands a family tree

Tuck Studio male soldier, Gloversville, NY

Tuck Studio male soldier, Gloversville, NY

This is a guest post by Ava Cohn - known as Sherlock Cohn, The Photo Genealogist - who writes The Photo Genealogist blog*

Sometimes it takes more than the proverbial village to solve a mystery.

This is the tale of three cities, of a mystery photograph and of how an intricate web of relationships helped a family researcher learn more about a lost branch. Perhaps it can serve as an example of how similar mysteries can be solved in your family.

This story starts in Hampshire, Illinois, where I met Michele Halt after one of my talks on old photographs. She showed me a photo of a proud and distinguished soldier in full regalia.  Who was he? The photo came from a family album passed down to the females in Michele’s Radley family for over 100 years.  Each time the album changed owners, new photos were added.

Michele’s grandmother’s great-aunt, Maggie Radley Mole, started the meticulous family photo album. There was only one problem - Maggie knew everyone in the photos so she never labeled or identified them - nor did any of the album inheritors label their photos. Only one person was identified and he wasn’t the soldier.

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