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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Relatives have Answers

Estelle Chambliss Tod
Estelle Chambliss Todd ... during 1940s when wearing a fur coat was the fashion in Atlanta
Relatives generally "know" the answers to your questions about family members. They simply cannot "recall" it.  However, if you can find something which occurred about the same time, that will help.  For example, most people have it engrained in their memories that it was around thanksgiving when Kennedy was assassinated. That event played in the news like the saga of a soap opera.  An excellent guide line is to converse with relatives on a personal level, discussing happy and sad events relevant to their era.

"Do you recall when Aunt Agatha was buried?"

"I know that it was raining that day and can tell you who attended (or who did not attend)."
Ah, a clue as to others who were still alive! "Uncle Joe died the following year."  Does anyone remember that year?

Then, there are old photographs.  The dress, the style, black-and-white or another media. Remember when photographs were tinted?  I do, because of my grandparents photos taken in the 1940s.  Most of the tintypes which my relatives saved dated during the 1870s. Staging: there was an era when the woman stood up and the man sat, then, it reversed itself.  Photographers used fancy screens as backdrops. Then there were those photographers who went to the home and did a group photograph of everyone sitting in chairs in front of the house.  A little study of photography, dress and hair styles will help to zero in on the year.  Using these techniques, a good visit with older relatives can be very rewarding.

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