Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The Photograph, Grandma's Doll, and A Necklace

"A photographer's imprint may reveal the places where you ancestor lived, or an artifact depicted in an image may be something you own today."
       -Maureen A. Taylor

As I mentioned in a previous post, my Grandma (Norma ANDERSON VandenEynden - 1921-2010) pretty much refused to talk about her family. So, inheriting her things has put me on a path to find answers to questions I've had my entire life.
     The other day, I was going through her boxes of pictures when I found a cabinet card photo of a beautiful, young lady. The top of the photo says 'Amelia DORMAN'.

I had never seen a photo like this before. I've been reading the book that I quoted from at the beginning, and my understanding is that most young girls at this age had their hair pinned up in the same style as their mother's hair. Amelia's hair was completely let down. I sat admiring her beautiful blond curls and porcelain complexion. I thought about her parents, who were both immigrants from Prussia. I wondered what her life was like. I turned the photo over to see the Photographer's Imprint, which was very elaborate.

I had one more look at Amelia before I started to scan the photo, when something caught my eye. That's when I literally yelled, "The Doll!"

I ran upstairs and got my Grandma's favorite childhood doll-a true "china doll" that she had refinished to look brand new, because it was falling apart. (I remember Grandma showing it to me after it had been fixed because she was so happy with how it turned out.) Although I never noticed it back then, when we were unpacking all of Grandma's things and I was taking her doll into our house, I noticed a beautiful gold necklace hanging around the doll's neck.
     Once I got upstairs, I compared the photo and the actual doll. There was no doubt-the necklace was the same! What a great thing to find! It appeared that Grandma had the clasp soldiered so it wouldn't come off, and the rest of the necklace hung down her doll's back so it would look like a 'doll-sized necklace' from the front. The only difference was that Amelia was wearing some type of clasp in the front that looked like a cameo-possibly a locket.
     It's amazing to me that Amelia DORMAN Lyons-who was my Grandma's Grandma-wore the same necklace over 120 years ago, when this photo was taken. (I'm estimating that this photo was made around 1890, based on her short lifetime, the photographer, and her clothing). Amelia died when she was only 19ys old-when my Grandma's mother, Luella, was around two years old. Tragically, Luella never knew her beautiful mother. My Grandma never knew her Grandma. So, Grandma's favorite childhood doll wore her Grandma's necklace. My understanding, although I don't know anything specific, was that my Grandma had a very difficult childhood. I imagine this doll "saw" a lot, and was very loved! I can't imagine, but I think that having her doll wear that necklace was a way for her to be close to the Grandma she never knew but really wished was there.

I am in no way affiliated with FamilyTree products, or Maureen A Taylor.(However, Maureen A Taylor is my hero!) I bought 'FamilyTree's' Uncovering Your Ancestry through Family Photographs, 2nd Edition, c.2005, F+W Publications, Inc., 4700 East Galbraith Road, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45236. ISBN-13: 978-1-55870-724-5, Edited by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack. Quote on pp.7, recorded 2 Feb 2011, by Cheryl V. Jones.

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