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Tuesday
May242011

* when examining family pictures, take time to smell the roses...

Spend a few extra minutes examining your family pictures. Look closer at the background details (location, buildings, furniture, etc). You might discover new details leading you to solve a mystery or better understand the significance of a picture.

In the case of this flowery picture, it was a mystery! A label on the back gave me some clues, but for the longest time I couldn't make a connection with anyone in my tree.

The back of the picture tells me this is Alice and Frank Robinson, they lived in Livingston NJ, and they were cousins of my great grandfather Wentworth Middleton. After months away from looking at this picture I randomly realized I had all of the information right in front of me!

Who are Alice and Frank Robinson? What is their connection to me?

Now I know this is a picture of Alice Purdue Robinson, the cousin of my great grandfather Wentworth Middleton! Robinson was Alice's married name, her maiden name was Purdue. Her mother was Alice Hunt Franks, sister of my gg grandmother Virginia Franks Middleton, who was married to Richard Purdue and lived in East Orange, NJ. Information from a fellow researcher told me Alice married Richard Purdue and had 2 daughters, Margaret and Alice. Alice was born about 1903, this picture says 1967, making her about 64.

After this revelation I took a closer look into the Purdue family,  Alice Robinson's father and grandfather were both FLORISTS! Go figure! This is the ONLY picture I have from this branch of the family. I just love that it's with all these beautiful flowers. A picture to forever memorialize this family tradition.

A bit of biographical information for Richard Purdue Sr. and Jr., Alice's grandfather and father.

"One of the most popular florists in the vicinity of Orange NJ is Mr Richard Purdue of East Orange. Orange was young when Mr Purdue first settled here about 1858. To hear Mr Purdue speak of Orange as it was then and see it now forcibly illustrates the progress of this country. He was gardener at the old Halstead place for some years and early in the sixties Mr Purdue with small beginnings laid the foundations of the present prosperous business. He was always the gardener's friend with open purse and kindly counsel and wherever he is known is loved. Owing to advancing age he has retired from active business and the place is now run by his two sons George and Richard the latter still affectionately known among the employes as Dickie." American Gardening, pg 133, vol 15, 1893

I was quite delighted when I found this information. The details in this picture didn't directly lead me to solve this mystery but now I have a greater understanding of the significance of the details. A little time and research can really bring pictures to life!

Check out a few other unsolved picture mysteries and tips for labeling your family pictures!

 

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Reader Comments (1)

My great-great grandfather was Richard Purdue of Orange, NJ. I'm descended from his son George (b. 9 Aug. 1856 and d. 1941). It's very interesting to find a relative. George was also a florist/gardener and, after a lapse of 3 generations, my son is also blessed with a green thumb. We had wondered for years where it came from but the connection is obvious. I searched long and hard to track down my Purdue heritage and have had some luck here and there. I have some info regarding Richard and his wife, Jane Gamble, and his father and mother (my branch of the tree has continued to use the names Richard and George to this day). Please feel free to contact me thru my e-mail address if that's easier.
Hope to hear from you.

Fred Purdue
Elmira Heights, NY

Jul 5, 2011 at 7:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterFred Purdue

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