Photo Provenance Project

Photo Provenance Project: Isabella McLaren Memorial Card

Photo Provenance Project-01


Learn more about the impetus of this project here.


The subject of today’s post is not a traditional photo, it is two scans of a family artifact, a memorial card for Isabella McLaren.  I had seen a black and white copy of the inside of this item but had never seen the front until just recently.

Isabella McLaren is my 4th great-grandmother.


Isabella Mclaren b 1818 Death Notice Front
Front of Isabella McLaren’s Memorial Card


Isabella Mclaren b 1818 Death Notice Interior
Interior of Isabella McLaren’s Memorial Card


My cousin, Gregg Young, wrote this regarding the provenance of this memorial card:

Subject: Death Notice for Isabella McLaren (1818-1906). 

My relationship: Isabella Boles (nee McLaren) is my 2nd great grandmother 

Information: My Grandmother, Catherine Young (nee Brown) had this notice in her possession.  It subsequently passed to my father and then to me.  

The physical size of the document is about 4 ¼ inches wide and 2 ¾ inches tall.  The front is the solid black card with a lacy black paper glued on that nearly covers the card.  In the center, printed in Gold are the words “Thy Will be Done”.  

The interior is an off white card with the edges and printing in black.  Some water damage has happened, causing a stain along the fold.  


Shared with me by Gregg Young in an email dated 30 July 2019.


For those who may wish to contact Gregg, please comment on this post or send me an email (address on the sidebar) and I will forward your message on to him!



Happy Tuesday, I hope you will consider the family artifacts in your possession.  Do you have any Memorial Cards?  I understand they were quite common in Scotland.  xoxo



5 thoughts on “Photo Provenance Project: Isabella McLaren Memorial Card”

    1. I am wondering the same thing, Amy. My parents were “keepers” (not “hoarders,” there’s a difference) and so I inherited a large number of what I would called memorial cards. The oldest ones are the ones sent out when someone died to let them know when and where the viewing and funeral would be, and usually includes the date of death and the age (years months and days) of the deceased. Most recently I have the things that are given out a funeral. So wondering if these are both memorial cards or if they have different names, or if it makes a difference.

      1. Good question. I’ve been told that if they list funeral details they are a funeral card and if they only list death info they are a memorial card. The more modern items I generally call a funeral program but I live in the US so I’m not sure what the Scottish custom would be now. 🙂

    2. Good question, Amy! I’m certainly not an expert… I think I have two of these little gems. As I understand it, there were two types during this time period – memorial cards that are essentially announcing someone’s death and funeral cards that give the information regarding the funeral’s date, place, and time. I did find this article:

      This blogpost has several cool examples:

      As far as who got them… also not sure. Sorry! 😉

Leave a Reply