Friday, April 4, 2014

Family Friends Friday: Close Enough to Kin

So I wanted to tell you more about identifying some of the photographs in Aunt Ivy's album with the help of family friends.

In a lot of ways, the people I have interacted with are almost close enough to kin. I mentioned Frances Sizemore as my genealogy mentor and friend. Her husband's great grandfather and my second great-grandmother were siblings, making us...third cousins one generation removed (see this link here for help determining cousin relationships). Frances herself was a first cousin to my dad's first cousin, Inez. But the connection between them was on Inez's father's side while my dad and Inez were cousins on her mother's side. That did not make us blood-related to or cousins in any way, but I will say close enough to kin. I guess you could say we were what is called "fictive kin," a term sometimes used in foster care and adoption. Wikipedia says fictive kinship is a term used by anthropologists and others that are social ties not based on blood or marriage ties. It could be debated that there were marriage ties between Frances and I, but I'm not going to argue the case either way. Frances and I were connected: we corresponded for years, wrote a book together and my young daughters and I even stayed with her on a trip to Kentucky once. I was very saddened when I heard of her passing and can remember reading the letter upstairs in my room and hearing her voice in my head saying, "We're young for such a short time, but old for so long."

Elsie was another cousin of Frances's. My ties with Elsie are even more tenuous but I'm gonna say close enough at this point anyway. The description of the blogging prompt at for Family Friends Friday states that these people "are often not only an important part of our families but also important sources of genealogical information to us as the keepers of the family history." 

And Elsie has been at least that for me. I was delighted to hear of her detailed identification of the following photo found in Aunt Ivy's album.

With the help of her Uncle Frank, Elsie was able to share the following with me:

The one of the three girls was made in 1909.  L to R, they are Allie Church,
Mamie Diuguid, and Jessie Church.  Mamie is Frances' mother and daughter of
George Marshall and Henry Ada Diuguid.  The two Church girls are thought to
be Diuguid cousins from the Calloway County, Kentucky area. In this photo,
Aunt Mamie is wearing a new bracelet that her future husband, Marvin
Freeman, had given her.”

By tracking down family connections, I was able to get the names, the date and wonderful details that went along with the photograph. 

If you have old photographs that are unidentified, I urge you to make it a point to try and find someone who might be able to help. It can be worth the time to discover more family stories and bring them to light. I'll share more of my discoveries in another post. 


  1. It's always so exciting when a photo finally gets identified. One of my problems is that having identified some photos many long years ago I relied on my memory and didn;t write it down straight away. That was a bad mistake to make because now with some of them I really do need to start again in trying to find someone who can identify them.

  2. Yes! It's surprising how you lose details over the years with your own memory! Thanks for your comment and good luck in your future identification projects :)