Photo Provenance Project

Photo Provenance Project: Catherine Brown with Four Children & Maggie Douglas

Photo Provenance Project-01


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Today’s photo is completely delightful for several reasons.  First, it was likely taken in Montana within the first year of this groups’ arrival in America.  They traveled from Scotland together in October of 1910.  Second, The matching dresses and bows on my great-grandmother and her older sister are adorable!  Third, young George is wearing a kilt and sporran.  Fourth, young Sandy has a toy gun on his belt, I’m guessing that was a treasure for the young lad.  Lastly, Maggie Douglas!!  I worked so hard to find her connection to my family.  I was delighted to see this photo and know that my great-grandmother said this is Maggie.  Seeing the face of someone you fought hard to identify is such a privilege!


Catherine Brown with children and Maggie Douglas
Back l-r:  Catherine Boles Young, Catherine Brown, Maggie Douglas; front l-r: George Vickers Young, Alexander Brown Douglas Young, and Mary Brown Young.  Likely taken in Montana in about 1910-1911.


My cousin, Gregg Young, wrote this regarding the provenance of this family photo:

Subjects in photo:  Catherine Young nee Brown (b. 1874) with her children.  From left, Catherine Young, George Young, Catherine Young nee Brown, Alexander Young, Friend standing behind Mary Young.

My relationship: My paternal grandmother.

Photo Information:  I copied this photo from another photo.  Unfortunately, I do not know who had the original but it is a photo of a photo so some resolution has been lost.  My copy is roughly 5 ½ X 3 ½ inches

The original photo was likely taken in Montana after Catherine, her children, and Maggie arrived in America in late 1910.  Catherine’s oldest son, James is notably not in this photo. He passed away from blood poisoning in 1909 at age seven. From his absence and judging the age of the youngest, George, to be around four or five, I would put this photo around 1910 or 1911.  James’ death was in Carluke, Lanark, Scotland which is a different location than the previous photo with Catherine and her middle four children. This photo was likely taken before 1912 when my father was born as he is not in the photo.

The friend was identified by Mary as Maggie Douglas.  I remember Mary saying “she was always hanging around.” When I asked Mary about the kilt that she was wearing, Mary said, “that was my Dad’s.” 

Young Catherine Young appears in this photo and not in the previous.  My guess is that she was probably attending school when the previous photo was taken. 

The home behind is much different than the previous photo with lap siding and either windows or panels of a different shade in the door.  Note the porch and step made of wood. 

The original photo might have been from a traveling photographer.

Confirmation: I have never met my grandmother as she passed before I was born, however, I have seen numerous photos identified by both my father as well as my aunt Mary Costello (nee Young) with this same main subject.  The ages between the children, the labeling and seeing other photos of the children leave me no doubt of the identity of the subjects in this photo. 



Shared with me by Gregg Young in an email dated 12 October 2019, then additional details in an email dated 4 December 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!