Week 40: #52 Ancestors – Preservation
By Eilene Lyon
A blessing of this blog is that cousins find stories here about their ancestors and reach out to me. Suzanne is one, and we have enjoyed a couple visits here in Durango. Recently she brought her Carey family photo album for me to scan and hopefully identify some unlabeled images.
The album belonged to her ancestor, John Arlington Carey, originally of New York. Several images of John in his Civil War uniform are pasted in the pages, as well as four of his cousin, George L. Carey, with whom he served in the 112th New York Volunteer Infantry.
Some photos and engravings were apparently collected like baseball cards, showing prominent military men, such as Gen. Joseph Hooker. Most are probably John’s close relatives, but only a few were identified on the page margins. Most of the images are from the 1860s and 1870s.
I have been grouping those that might be of the same person or closely related. Research on Ancestry is also helpful, especially if others have posted images. One helped me figure out the person in the tintype on page 5 is likely John’s older sister, Jenny (Jane M. Carey Damon). This is, of course, a tentative ID.
Because Suzanne does not have descendants to preserve John’s collection, it will likely go to an archive. I’ve reached out to the Chautauqua County Historical Society in Westfield, New York, to see if they might be interested.
My query had the delightful consequence of a reply from a Carey family descendant who is affiliated with the society and their museum. She might be able to help with photo identification, and also ensure that the album finds an appropriate permanent home.
In the meantime, I will be compiling information on the people pictured as they reveal themselves through the research process. This information will then travel with the album, adding to its historic value. Because the album’s binding has become separated from the pages within, I will also seek out repair options to preserve it for future Carey generations.
Feature image: Inside cover and title page of the John A. Carey photo album. The closed album measures roughly 4.5″ x 5.5″.