Every time I visit my parents, I come away with a few more stories from the past and some new information about family members. I've been researching my family now for fourteen years, off and on, but I can still make new discoveries.
This visit to my family home has uncovered what I would term 'real treasure.' It always amuses me that although I have searched through many cardboard boxes of photographs and crawled through the loft space, I can still find something new.
This afternoon, I climbed into the most difficult to get to loft space in the hope of finding something of interest. What I found almost took my breath away. In their original heavy glass frames, I uncovered large photographs of my great granny Grace (Govans) Galloway, her daughter, Nellie, a beautiful coloured wedding photograph of my grandparents, Walter Ballantyne and Hannah Galloway, a large studio photo of Hannah Galloway from around 1924 - 1930 and another of Nellie.
As if that was not enough, on my mother's side of the family I found a very large studio photo in a wonderful wooden frame of my great grandparents, Jeanie Henderson and Alexander Gibson, taken around 1900. I also discovered an exquisite family photograph of my mother when she was about four years of age with her parents Elizabeth Gibson and Matthew Campbell, taken around 1937. This photograph is all hand coloured with the photographers notes on the back as a reminder of the colours to use.
I also uncovered various large studio photographs of myself as a child and my brother as a baby, all of which were highly amusing for my children.
My parents remembered all of these wonderful photographs and knew that they were 'somewhere' in the house! This drives me a bit crazy because they know how much work I've put into finding out information and looking for photographs. No matter. I have them now and between my brother and I, we will make sure the photographs are cleaned and restored as best we can....and put under protective custody for the future!
Being extremely satisfied with my afternoon's work, I sat down with my father. After some time, he announced that he had found another photo several weeks ago (omitting to tell me) and that he'd put it 'somewhere'. This missing photograph wasn't just any old photograph. This is the one photograph that I've been wanting to find for a very long time. You can imagine my distress when my father told me he had given this photo away but couldn't remember who he had given it to...
What is this mystery photograph? To me it is pretty much the ultimate item in my search, a photograph taken in 1932 of a huge group of around 50 children and adults sitting together in front of the houses at Portland Row in Hurlford, Ayrshire. My dad, with a mucky face, is seated in the middle of the front row aged around two.
So many of my dad's Galloway side of the family lived in Portland Row; a collection of miners' cottages with outdoor 'cludgies' and middens. Aunties, uncles, cousins, all lived there often twelve to a house but part of an amazing community. I am thrilled to get this photograph and tonight I'm going to sit with my dad and see how many of the little faces he can remember. Already he has recognised his cousin, John Galloway and his Aunty Bella (Isabella (Docherty) Galloway. I'll post this photo here on my blog as soon as I'm home and can turn on the scanner.
The moral of this tale is that even when your parents say they have no more photos or no more memories to share....don't believe them and keep digging. Happy hunting everyone!