Friday, March 25, 2011

Same Person???? Jessie Pool VanGilder

I love to have photos of my ancestors. The coined phrase, "A picture is worth a thousand words" is certainly true for me and genealogy blogging. This week, while working on a blog about Sarah Ann Pool Pinyerd, I was scrapping the bottom of the barrel when it came to a photograph taken of her. Then I remembered a three piece group of photos sent to me by another Pool/Poole researcher, my cousin, Dr. Robert Poole Wilkins.

It was a xerox copy of a Pool Family Reunion photograph taken circa 1923. Some of the folks were identified and when he sent it to me I noticed that my paternal great grandmother, Jessie Pool VanGilder was among those named. I looked at her, measured the face up with other photos I had of her and decided that it was NOT Jessie.

This week it dawned on me that perhaps the identified woman was not Jessie, but her sister, Sarah Pool Pinyerd. I knew that Sarah was a regular attendee of the Pool Family Reunions as there were mentions of her travel to Morgantown for these events in her local newspaper.

Now I have a more sophicated photo program than when I first received the Pool Reunion photo. I rescanned the poor quality xerox, changed it into a photo of older quality and enlarged just the woman in question. The face still did not seem to be that of my great grandmother VanGilder......however, her dress caught my attention BIG TIME!

Scrolling back through my VanGilder photos I stopped at one in particular. It is a photograph of my Great grandmother VanGilder sitting beside her daughter, my grandmother, Sarah VanGilder Hughes. I can almost date the photo as Great Grandmother VanGilder's goiter is still showing and she had it removed in 1928.

However, it is the DRESS that I enlarged and studied.....the dress is the SAME on both pictures. I had to chuckle at her choice of this outfit to wear to a family reunion.....usually folks get "duded up" for such However, notice that Jessie is holding a summer hat on her lap ;-)

My great grandmother probably "traveled light". She was a
cook on a riverboat during the 1920's and moved around alot up and down the Monongahela River. I highly doubt that she had a large wardrobe. She probably had one good dress for church and events that became a work dress as it wore out. Maybe these two photos show the life of this particular for the reunion and gently used for the second photo.

I guess the lesson learned here is that a photo has to be dissected when trying to identify a person.....the face is not the only identifier....and this blog has turned into the genealogy of a dress!

© 2011, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser


  1. Great post! So terrific that you have so many bits and pieces of information to tie it all together!

  2. It does look like the same woman to me. She looks like maybe she has her teeth out in the second photo? What photo program can you turn bad scans into "old photos"?? I often get scans from a cousin of mine and would love to get a better photo from them.

  3. It looks also that in the second photo she may have had her teeth removed. Her mouth has a fullness and the second the support of the teeth in her jaw seems to be missing.

  4. Genealogy of a dress, what a wonderful idea! Well done Linda!

  5. Bravo! Outstanding example of why digitizing these collections of ours is so useful - at least to someone with such attention for detail.

    Perhaps we need clothing or jewelry recognition software to go with the facial recognition software we're beginning to play with.

  6. I love it and now I am going to have to try and figure out how you scanned a xerox and turned it into old photo quality. Marvelous detective work.