Photo Provenance Project

Photo Provenance Project: Isabella McLaren & Catherine Boles

Photo Provenance Project-01


Learn more about the impetus of this project here.


The subject of today’s post is this lovely photo of Isabella McLaren, her daughter Catherine Boles, and three unknown subjects.  Isabella McLaren is my 4th great-grandmother and Catherine Boles is my 3rd great-grandmother.  This photo was shared with me by my cousin, Gregg Young.  I originally wrote about this photo here.


Great Grandma Brown (1)
Great Grandma, Isabella McLaren and Grandma Brown, Catherine Boles, in Scotland


Gregg wrote this regarding the provenance of this family photo:

Subjects in photo:  Isabella McLaren (1818-1906) on left and Catherine McIntyre Boles (abt 1845-1925) on the far right. The two children in the photo, as well as the woman who is hard to make out in the doorway, are unknown. 

My relationship: Isabella Boles (nee McLaren) is my 2nd great grandmother and Catherine McIntyre Brown (nee Boles) is my great grandmother.

Photo Information: My Grandmother, Catherine Young (nee Brown) had a number of glass negatives.  These came into my father’s possession after her death. In about the late 1960s, I contact printed the negatives and this photo was one.  There was no writing at the bottom of the photo at this time.

My father didn’t know who these subjects were.  I showed a number of photos to my Aunt Mary Costello (nee Young).  I believe that she wrote on the bottom of the photo to identify the subjects, her grandmother and great grandmother.

I do not know when the photo was taken, however dry plate glass negatives were invented in 1870.  

I do not know who took the photo.  It may possibly be a photographer passing through the neighborhood.

The photo that is displayed in the Photographic Showcase has been touched up to get rid of scratches that were on the glass negative and subsequent photo. 

Confirmation: No one other than my aunt has identified the people in this photo however another photo in the collection provided by a cousin in Scotland has the same subject, Isabella McLaren wearing nearly the same outfit and bonnet. She has identified the subject as the same, Isabella McLaren.  The two photos are different, but there is no denying that the subject is the same.


Shared with me by Gregg Young in an email dated 27 July 2019.


The other photo of Isabella McLaren that Gregg refers to is this one:

Isabella Boles

A different cousin shared this photo with me.  I wrote about it here.


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 Monday, I hope it’s a wonderful week filled with genealogy opportunities!!  xoxo