This photo of my great-grandmother, Mary Brown Young, and her siblings while on vacation in Dunoon, Scotland in 1910 is interesting to me for several reasons. The very first thing that jumps out at me is my great-grandmother’s sweet face. Grandma Mary is on the far right. I can always spot her right away in any photo!
Beyond that, there is so much to comment on. First, it appears to be a photograph of a photograph. Second, the automobile seems to be a prop that is both a physical object with depth and seating but also painted to appear as if it is a real car. But am I seeing it correctly?
Third, the writing on the front appears to be Mary’s handwriting labeling everyone and adding “Dunoon Scotland” and “1910” on the left of the photo. Fourth, the photo contains a neighbor, Maggie Dick. Did she go on the trip with them or did both families go together?
My cousin, Gregg, asked Grandma Mary (his aunt) about the photo years ago. He labeled the back:
Gregg’s handwritten label on the back matches what Grandma Mary had written on the front. I don’t know if that was visible to Grandma Mary and Gregg the day they looked at it or if I picked it up more easily from the modern scan and image settings. Either way, both labels are identical. Excellent.
The post-it note below is from Gregg and was written recently, it explains that Grandma Mary gave the information written on the photo. It also poses the question, “I wonder if Maggie Dick became Douglas?”
An excellent question. Gregg knows that I had a hard time riddling out who exactly Maggie Douglas was to our family. You can read about that here. He had some letters from Maggie in the US that he shared with me and I am still trying to figure out what happened to her after about 1918.
I love Gregg’s question, but I could answer it almost immediately with a no. Maggie Douglas was 19 years older than Grandma Mary. The young girl named Maggie Dick beside Mary in this photo is definitely older than Mary, but not 19 years older. I did a little bit of census searching and found a Maggie Dick living in the small town of Carluke in Scotland where Grandma Mary was born. In fact, in 1901, Maggie Dick, then age five, lived on the very street that Grandma Mary was born on in 1903–Chapel Street. If the Maggie Dick in the photo is the same Maggie Dick from the census, then in 1910 at the time of this photo, she would be about 13-14 years old. Catherine would be about 10-11 years old and Mary would be about 6-7 years old.
One last item of interest is the timing of the photograph. Catherine and the children immigrated to America in October of 1910. I wonder if this was one last hurrah in the country of their birth before they left?
Happy Thursday, I hope you are having a wonderful genealogy week! I can’t believe all of the cousin communication that has been flooding my way the last few weeks after my John Costello posts!! It is awesome. xoxo
17 thoughts on “Photograph Showcase: Young Children on Vacation in Dunoon, Scotland”
Just two thoughts. If Maggie was a neighbor she may have been brought along on a family vacation to mind the younger children. And is Dunoon a seaside resort? Lots of seaside resorts in the US had this sort of props in a photographer booth for souvenir photos in the early 20th century. I have one of my grandparents on the caboose of a train taken at Revere Beach in Massachusetts
Yes, that is exactly what I was thinking about Maggie being with them as well! I believe it is a seaside resort area. I just did a quick Google map view of the location when I was analyzing the photo. It is definitely on the coast. Su, another reader, commented about it, she has been there. So I think you are on the right track for sure!
Whoops, I misremembered, she hasn’t been there, but has been near there.
Cool photo. The large building in the background photo doesn’t look particularly Scottish to me — except maybe for the Georgian bits of Edinburgh. I haven’t been to Dunoon, though I have been to Rothesay which is another seaside town further down the Firth of Clyde on the island of Bute. The architecture would be quite similar I suspect, and not particularly Georgian.
I do love how there is a bus or tram in the background photo; I wonder what the location was meant to be?
Thank you, Su! I’m curious about the background as well. I didn’t even try to figure it out though!! Haha.
You probably don’t have as many unlabelled Scottish phots as me. 😂😂
Haha!!! I have about 38 unlabeled Scottish photos, still probably fewer than you, but it felt daunting at first when my cousin mailed them to me to “figure out.” I’ve identified two so far (there were 40 in the original count). Two more are in process of being sorted. I’m chipping away at it!!
I agree—not a real car, just a prop. But where is the labeling on the front that Mary did? I don’t see it! (Disappearing ink?)
Haha! Sorry, it is kind of hard to see, that’s part of why I wondered if Gregg and Grandma Mary could see it. I zoomed in while I was in PhotoShop and could see it all. There is a name near each head and then the 1910 is the most visible, it’s on the far left a bit below the corner. Above the date is the word “Dunoon” but that was VERY difficult to work out. Dunoon is followed by the word Scotland. 🙂
Clearly your eyes (or your computer) are better than mine! I do see the 1910.
I do have a newer Mac with retina display so it might be my computer! 😉
A wonderful photo! I had to enlarge & really look hard, but I also saw their names written closely to each head. I also followed your story about Maggie Douglas. Amazing detective work on your part. Could you suggest a class at the Family History Center in Ogden that would teach how to research. I’m really stuck on my Italian paternal side. Thank you.
Thank you, Nancy! Italian research… I’m afraid I have no experience with Italian research. Maybe start here – https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Italy_Genealogy ? Also, these videos might help – https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Italy_Genealogy_Research_Using_the_Wiki_-_Video_Series
Good luck, Nancy!
Lovely photograph. My suggestion is the whole photograph is a set up from a studio, the prop car and a backdrop as the background doesn’t seem real to me. A possibility it was taken in a studio in Dunoon while on a trip there?
Thank you, Alex. I agree that it looks like a studio photo. Su pointed out that the backdrop certainly isn’t Dunoon so I’m wondering what city is in the background? Seems funny to use another city-scape for a background when Dunoon is a vacation spot. Haha!
Oh probably made to look like something “on the continent” in Europe or something. Or maybe even a more well to do city within the UK. Might not be based on any actual real location, just a painting of nice expensive looking buildings!
Haha! Probably so. 🙂