Chasing Ghosts: Old Photographs

I’ve been digging through my family history box a lot in the last few weeks, probably because I’ve been thinking about dad more lately, with it being the holidays. I’ve also been on ancestry.com, making connections and finding a few new things. It’s addictive!

In addition to the many records that I have from my dad, the smattering of pictures, which are often unlabeled, provides a different kind of glimpse into my forebears’ lives . . .

The Stradfords in the 1910s
The Stradfords in the 1910s

This photographs shows my great-grandfather Albert Stradford and his family. My grandmother, Alberta Stradford Dickson, is sitting in her father’s lap. Her two siblings, Carl and Dorthy, are in the middle, and her mother, Louie (Davis) Stradford, is seated on the right. These folks would be my great-grandparents, my great aunt and great uncle, and my grandmother. (And those are not misspellings: my great aunt was Dorthy, not Dorothy; my great-grandmother went by Louie, not Louise or Louisa.)

Stradford children, May 1935
Stradford children, May 1935

This photo is not labeled, though the back of it notes that it was from Birmingham in May 1935. The picture was placed by itself in the Stradford notebook that my dad kept. The best guess that I have, since my grandparents didn’t get married until 1937, is that these are two children belonging to one of grandmother’s older siblings. I also think so because this little girl really favors my grandmother’s older sister Dorthy (see above).

Louisa Mayhall Stradford
Louisa Mayhall Stradford

This (very old) grainy old photo is of my great-grandfather Albert Stradford’s mother, Louisa (Mayhall) Stradford. No date is listed on the picture, though the writing on the back must have written by my great-grandfather, since it has her name and under it “my mother.” This lady is my great-great-grandmother on my father’s side.

Crother Louis Foster and family
Crother Louis Foster and family

This picture was glued onto the page for my grandfather’s father Crother Louis Foster, though names are not given on the picture. (Crother is Andrew Conley Foster’s father.) I am assuming this is Crother and his second wife Rosa, who was my grandfather’s stepmother. Because Crother and Rosa look older here, the two boys are probably my grandfather’s sons, Louis T. Foster and Fred Foster, who according to the US census were living with them in the 1930s.

Elrath Alexander Taylor
Elrath Alexander Taylor

This photo is of a young Elrath “Ed” Taylor, who was my grandmother’s father. No date is included, though he was born in the late 1800s, so this picture is probably from the turn of the century. Ed Taylor was from Butler County, Alabama and later became a farmer in Lowndes County, Alabama, and his oldest daughter, Gladys Taylor, was my mother’s mother. My mother spent summers on her grandparents’ farm when she was growing up.

Sally Estelle (Dean) Taylor
Sally Estelle (Dean) Taylor

This is Ed Taylor’s wife, my great-grandmother, Sally (Dean) Taylor. My mother called her Granny and spoke very fondly of both her grandparents. In this picture, which is from the early 1970s, she is holding my older brother.

Gladys Emma (Taylor) Foster
Gladys Emma (Taylor) Foster

This is my maternal grandmother, Gladys (Taylor) Foster, when she was young. The photo has no date on it. This lady was the only grandparent I knew, since the rest had passed away before I was born.

Edward Lowndes Taylor
Edward Lowndes Dean

Finally, this very dark (and very old) picture is of Edward Lowndes Dean, Sally (Dean) Taylor’s father, so he would be my great-great-grandfather. No date is listed on the picture. He lived from 1857 until 1924, so given that he looks older here, this photo is likely from the early twentieth century.

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