Sunday, July 12

Tale Of Two Florences

Even when people in old photos are named, one can still...forgive the pun...'bark up the wrong family tree'.

Such is the case of two girls named Florence, both looking remarkably alike with their dark hair tied back with a huge bow. And not so far apart in age, it turns out, meaning they were dressed in clothing from the same era.

At left is a grainy 9-year-old Florence Anna Sowerby, Mother's double cousin, from a group photo with her parents and a dozen of her mother's relatives (all named on the back) in late summer 1909 in front of a large white house in Rochester, NY.

And here's the photo from Mystery Cousins, in which I identified the girl on the right in the back row as Florence Sowerby. According to the caption, all the girls were cousins.

I began to suspect this was not "Florence of Rochester" after determining she had no cousins by any of the names on the photo.

Sure 'nuff, it's not.

It's Florence MORRIS, born in 1894, daughter of William H. "Henry" Morris, a brother of Samuel Grant Morris.

Below is a photo postcard with 28 people from Sam and wife Josie's "Thanksgiving dinner party" (her words) in front of the same house in California behind her sons Owen and Howard and their bicycles in another photo. Naturally, the camera had to be far away here, making it impossible to tell who was who without magnification.

After popping it into my trusty flatbed scanner and zooming in, here's part of what I saw (without the names, of course, which I added later):

Clara was always called Etta (or Ettie). Her mother was Jennie May Morris, sister of Sam.

Etta's father was Jennie's first husband, Josie's brother Albert Isaac "Bert" Cupp. After Bert abandoned Jennie when Etta was still a tot, Jennie divorced him and later married Ed Brown, and Etta unofficially became "Etta Brown".

Corrected caption
(back) Clara "Ettie" CUPP, Florence MORRIS
(middle) Orel N., Ethel Gladys MORRIS
(front) Carrie Ellen KERBY

Florence Morris was no relation to my mother, but three of the others were:

Etta, Albert Cupp's daughter, was Mother's first cousin.

Ethel, Josie (Cupp) Morris's daughter, was also Mother's first cousin. (Sadly, Ethel died 12 May 1910, so we can date the photo to sometime in 1909 or early 1910).

Carrie was the daughter of Clark Edward Kerby, grandson of Mother's great-aunt Mary Ellen DENHAM. Carrie's mother was Addie Permelia MORRIS, sister of Sam, Jennie, and Henry. (Obviously, that side of my mother's family had a "thing" for the Morrises...)

"Orel N." is still a mystery. Like Etta, she may've gone by her middle name and I have her by only her first.

At any rate, four out of five isn't bad!

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LondonGirl said...

A very easy mistake to make, same name, similar clothing, etc!

Was the "Clara" in your story pronounced "Clar-rah" or "Clare-a"?

JamaGenie said...

Clare-a, like Sarah.

Duchess of Tea said...

Darling, you have so many posts, I have been reading all afternoon into night and now morning. I can't say enough about your posts, they are amazing. I am taking notes as I go along.
Duchess xx

P.S. Pineapple is not my cup of fruit, do you have a chocolate recipe? Just kidding, actually I am not.

LondonGirl said...

My great-aunt, and her mother, my great-grandmother, were also Clara (like Sarah), but the more common modern English pronunciation is Clarr-ra.

Clara's sister was Florence, another of my great aunts, we have a lot of names in common higher up our family trees!

JamaGenie said...

Duchess darling, I've sworn off chocolate for awhile after (mentally) devouring that divine cake at Vintage Amethyst!

London Girl - It's not surprising that we have so many names in common since most of my people came from England!