Friday, August 16, 2019

Photo identification—a never ending struggle

The 52 Ancestors theme this week is “comedy.”

What comes to mind when you look at this group of photos? I picture these young men being the life of the party, bringing a little comedy to the lives around them. OK, I got nothing for the theme this week so I’ll just leave it at that, lol.

The photos above (and below) are part of the Bertha Smith Athya collection. Bertha was my husband’s maternal grandmother, born in Paulton, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in 1898. Sadly, she passed away in 1979, right after I met my husband, so I never got to meet her. Bertha left a wonderful collection of photos behind when she passed away, which we now have. Some are labeled and some aren’t, including the three above. I’m always on a quest to identify unlabeled photos so thought I’d take this opportunity to post a few and ask for help.

I believe I can identify the man on the right as Bertha’s brother George Nelson Smith, born in Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania in 1885. For comparison, here’s a picture of George that was labeled by Bertha. What do you think?

George Nelson Smith

The young man on the left may also be Bertha’s brother—Benjamin Gordon Smith, born in Apollo in 1882. Here are two pictures of Ben that Bertha labeled (sorry, not great but the best I have). What do you think? Same person?

John Athya with his uncle Ben Smith
Ben Smith

Or do you think the man on the left is it this young man, a friend named Willis Hawk?

Willis Hawk

Willis Hawk

Willis Hawk

Always looking for answers. If you recognize these fine looking young men, I’d love to hear from you!


  1. I can see a resemblance to the two brothers. But the ears and nose of Willis do make him a contender. Good luck!

    1. I agree! Thanks for reading and weighing in.