The Ambrotype Mystery

02 May

After my great-grandfather, Clarence Jackson Davis, died in May 1995, an original ambrotype photograph was found. The image is of a woman aged 35-40s holding a small child on her lap.

No one in the family knows who is in the photo.


From what I know about this method of photography, they were produced between 1855 and 1865. The metal preservers of the ones produced before 1859 were quite plain. Since the one on this photograph is more ornate, I’m guessing it was made sometime around 1860 to 1865. That gives a pretty narrow time frame for it to have been made. Having the child in the photograph also helps out some, I think. How old is the child? Two?

The female ancestors from this branch of the family for this time period (for whom I have never seen another photograph) would be:

Etna Luvina Daniel O’Bryan (1822 – 1890). She had a son born in 1858, and a daughter in 1860.

Emily Huse Smith Cavender (1819 – 1900). She had a daughter born in 1858, and a son in 1861.

Margaret Elizabeth Wright Johnson (1834 – after 1880). Had children born in 1857, 1860, 1862.

These are the three that I have narrowed it down to. No idea if I’ll ever been able to say for sure who it might be.


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Posted by on May 2, 2013 in Uncategorized


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