photograph showcase

Photograph Showcase: The End of My Brown Family Pedigree in Photographs


James Young & Catherine Brown

My Brown family from Scotland has been on my mind, heart, and blog for the last few weeks.  I wrote about my cousin Mary Brown Wood twice – here and here.  I shared a photo of my great-grandaunt Catherine Boles Young here.  Catherine is the great-granddaughter of my 4th great-grandfather Andrew Brown, who I wrote about here.

The more time I spent thinking about my Brown family, the more I found myself wishing for photos that likely don’t exist.

This lovely photo is of my 2nd great-grandparents James Young & Catherine Brown.  Catherine is the granddaughter of Andrew, the first cousin of Mary Brown Wood, and the mother of Catherine Boles Young, or Kate.

Catherine Brown is the end of the line for me when it comes to photographs in my Brown family.  But that wasn’t always the case.  Several years ago now, I reached out to a cousin who shared this and many other family photos with me.  Before contacting him, my photo pedigree ended with my great-grandmother Mary Brown Young, the daughter of James Young & Catherine Brown.  Maybe one day I will find another cousin who can help me push back my photographic pedigree a bit more.  But for now, I am so grateful to have this photo.  It sits atop my piano in a place of honor.


Happy Thursday, I hope you make a fantastic photo discovery today!  If not, I hope you will consider preserving and sharing a precious photo from your collection.



23 thoughts on “Photograph Showcase: The End of My Brown Family Pedigree in Photographs”

  1. A photo pedigree—I’ve never heard that term before. Do you mean how far back in a line you can find a photo? If I did that, some lines would end with my grandparent.

    1. Yes, that is exactly what I mean. 🙂
      FamilySearch even has a special “portrait pedigree” view that is cool. I wrote about it here and there is an image showing what that view looks like:

      Amy, you are often my genealogy reality check and I am grateful. I’m sorry that your genealogy portrait collection is so limited. I understand why that is, and I certainly have branches of my tree that have similar circumstances limiting what knowledge/stories/photos made their way to me, but I frequently get lost in the other areas of my tree and forget how bounteous my genealogy photo blessings really are. Just yesterday I read a thread on twitter from one genealogist lamenting the fact that many genealogists come from happy families and have lots of things to be proud of in their heritage. She pointed out that this “Look what I found/have that helps me remember my beloved (insert person here)!” attitude can cause some people to shy away from genealogy because they have a lot of pain in their heritage. I was especially interested in her personal perspective and feelings because my tree has a pretty equitable representation of both extremes. I share details from both sides of my genealogy aisle – the happy/honored/revered side and the scandalous/painful/abusive side. It is important to me to learn about all of it and allow it, good, bad, and in between, to help me understand myself and my family better. Even so, I hope I have never turned someone else off from learning about their family history when I have focused on the joys. I certainly hope I haven’t ever discouraged you when it comes to something like a photo pedigree. xoxo

      1. Oh, of course not! I just am a bit envious because there are times I just want to know —what did my great-grandfather look like? What did my grandmother look like as a child? And so on! But I enjoy reading the highs and lows in everyone’s family history, and mine is also pretty balanced. My father’s side had the good fortunate to come to the US quite early (at least my direct ancestors), so I feel so fortunate that they were not in Germany in the Nazi era (though many of their and thus my relatives were still there, as you know).

        I certainly didn’t mean to make you feel bad about having joy!! Never, never, never. Write all the joyful things you can. Life has enough sadness.

        (PS—did you see my email thanking you for the footnote post and the thank you note I added to my recent post?)

        1. You didn’t make me feel bad at all! I just love how open you are and instead of just commenting on my photo, you mentioned your reality. Those reminders are important for me and I am grateful that you are so open and honest in your comments. It’s a good kind of reality check. I promise.

          But I was so interested in that other genealogist’s perspective. I can’t relate to her exact feelings because the worst things in my tree are removed by at least one generation (yep, plenty of stuff I’ve never mentioned…), so I have never experienced her sense of not fitting in with the rest of the “happy genealogists” like she has. Your comment just reminded me of her point that we should remember that others have different experiences with their research and discoveries. It’s something I think I approach with at least some balance, but I want to be aware of what she is saying. You know, trying to grow. 😉

          And YES! But it came on a day when I didn’t have time to respond and then it got buried under so many other emails and I forgot! Sorry, still struggling with actual life balance over here. I’m so glad that my tips were helpful for you. ❤️

          1. People say those things about social media also. That they get depressed looking at photos of everyone smiling and having fun. I mean—really? Everyone has bad days—they just don’t post their frowning faces on Facebook! And even when I am having a bad day, I enjoy seeing other people’s happy photos. To each his/her own, I guess!

            1. I totally agree with you on this! I know some people who get really caught up in comparing themselves to others and then they suffer. I’m like you, I want to hear the happy and good. If someone needs to talk about a struggle, I’m happy to listen and support, but social media isn’t the place for whining about nonsense. 😉

              1. Although you do see some people doing just that—whining about things like traffic or bad food at a restaurant or whatever. I just let it all slip-slide away and focus on the cute babies and cats and dogs, the genealogy stuff, and some of the political stuff. Being the mother of two grown daughters, I’ve become pretty good at tuning out whining!

                1. That is a perfect attitude. I worry about our poor young adults who have grown up in the Social Media age – they seem to be very affected by, well, everything on there.

  2. Photo pedigree! Yes, I love that notion. I can see mine on Ancestry, and the branches I don’t have going back to greats, at least, make me sad!
    I love this photo, by the way. Her skirt!

  3. I have at least one photo of each of my grandparents and great-grandparents and of 5 of the 16 great-great-grandparents. That’s about as far as I can get with my photo pedigree. Happy Thursday, Amberly.

    1. Thank you, Cathy! That is pretty good compared to some trees I’ve worked on. I feel very fortunate that I have been able to track down so many photos. I even made a recent 4th great grandmother photo find. I don’t have a photo of her daughter that I descend from, but I now have one of her. A real unexpected treasure!

        1. Yes! I was not expecting that at all!! Especially because she was an immigrant and so far back. But she had a really long life, a wealthy daughter, and a son who wrote a biography and included the photo – I think that was the necessary recipe that led to my discovery. I’m really not expecting to duplicate it, but sooooo happy it happened this time!

  4. The picture of James and Catherine is great! Here’s wishing you continued photographic discoveries that push your pedigree back to further generations.

    1. Thank you! I hope I will find some more photos as well. It’s always such a treat to find that first photo of an ancestor. This past year I found one for a fourth great grandmother that I was definitely not expecting to ever find! I don’t have one for her daughter that I descend from – so I skip a generation there.

  5. Lovely photo, and so amazing to have.

    I have photos of three of my grandparents as children/teenagers, but beyond that, it’s very haphazard. I do have a very cherished photo of five generations of my mother’s maternal line. It shows my uncle, grandmother, great grandfather, great great grandmother and an elderly woman who is most likely my 2x great grandmother’s mother-in-law, though not my 2x great grandfather’s mother (who died when he was a child). My mum remembers going to visit the very old lady when she was a child, which I think is very cool.

    We have lots more photos of the Big T’s family, including some of his Polish ancestors before they came to NZ, and one of his 2x great grandparents who were born in Lanarkshire in the 1820s, and came to NZ in the 1850s.

    1. Those five generation photos are so special. We have a few of our children. My hubby had a lot of grandparents alive when he was born – I want to say 17 but that sounds excessive, I would need his help to double check the number but he’s not here right now. So there are several with him as a baby and then a few of his great grandparents were alive when our kiddos were born so a few of our kids with 5 generations.

      1. That’s so cool. I had one set of great grandparents alive when I was a kid, so I have a few four generation photos, but neither the Big T nor the boy child have anything like that.

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