Photo Provenance Project

Photo Provenance Project: Catherine Brown with Four Children

Photo Provenance Project-01


Learn more about this project here.


Today’s photo has the special distinction of being the first known image of James Young, son of James Young & Catherine Brown in my collection!

Young James was born 1 January 1902 in Carluke, Lanark, Scotland.1  Sadly, he died when he was just 7 years and 16 days old on 17 January 1909 in Carluke.2

His cause of death is listed as, “Coloured wire penetrated heel, 16 days before death, suppuration & abscess 8 days after wound, Pyaemia, 6 days before death, syncope suddenly.”3  Gregg shared that the “coloured wire” was a croquet wicket.

Here is the lovely image of Catherine with four of her children:


Catherine Brown b 1874, and children
left to right:  Alexander Brown Douglas Young, James Young, Catherine Brown holding George Vickers Young, Mary Brown Young, photo taken in Scotland


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

Subjects in photo:  Catherine Young nee Brown (b. 1874) and middle four children.  From left, Alexander Young, James Young, George Young (in mother’s arms) and 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. I have the same photo printed from a negative but smaller and there is some writing on the bottom, “Alexander, James, Mother, George, Mary”.  Since it states “Mother” instead of Catherine, I believe that the original photo may have been Mary Costello’s nee Young. The handwriting is not my father’s so do not know which if any of the children wrote this. 

The original photo was taken in Scotland probably in the Lanark area. Since George, the baby, was born in Carnwath, Lanark, Scotland in 1906, this photo must have been taken in 1907.  The house appears to be similar to other photos taken in Scotland. Catherine would be around 33 at this time. 

I find the rubble stone foundation for the house as well as the wide front door, stucco exterior, single window and possibly a thatched roof interesting.  

The original 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 11 October 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!