Thursday, August 6, 2015

Lost relatives from Paulton and Apollo, Pennsylvania

Bertha Edna Smith
One of my favorite family heirlooms is a photo album that once belonged to Bertha Edna Smith, my husband’s grandmother. The album is full of photos dating from the early 1900s to the 1930s and cover Bertha’s teens and early adult years. Some of the photos are family members. Others must have been her friends, neighbors, classmates, and church members.

While my mother-in-law was still alive, she let me use her mother’s album to make copies of some of the photos. I’ve done a lot of research on this family and at some point, I told her I was just going to keep the album. I assured her that she needn’t worry, I’d take good care of it. That seemed to make her happy. We went through the album together and she told me who she knew, which were just a few people.

We lost my mother-in-law in 2006 and all of the family photos were given to my husband, including additional photos that belonged to Bertha. As luck would have it, Bertha had labeled some of these photos. Some were the same people in the album. I bought archive quality photo sleeves and put the new photos in a notebook so they were all together. In 2007, my husband’s uncle and aunt came for a visit. I pulled the photo album and notebook out and asked them to take a look. They only recognized a few people, but I’ll take what I can get.

Sadly, we’ve now lost all but one member of that family and he suffers from Alzheimer's so is no longer able to help identify any of his mother’s photos. So, I’ve made it a mission to identify as many of these people as I can. I’ve spent hours looking at these photos—begging them to speak to me and tell me who they are—but all I get is silence. Last weekend, I took a picture of all of the photos and uploaded them to an online album. With no family member left to help, I’m reaching out to the Internet. Surely somebody out there is looking for some of these people. One can only hope. If you’re reading this and you have family members who lived in Paulton, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania or Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, please take a look at this link. I’ve labeled the photos of people I know. I’d love to hear from you if you recognize someone. Maybe it’s our lucky day!

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