After my Grandma Andrews died, I came across a few old photo albums in her house that I had never seen before, despite visiting her several times to talk about family history. Now I had no one to tell me who was who in the photos. Some I could guess at, but others' names have been lost forever. The only clue I had was the name of the photographer: Smead's Rooms in Bellefontaine, Ohio, but they are long gone, too. Maybe some day I'll make a connection and can once again give names to the nameless.
Some day I'll make it out to Bellefontaine, and I'll figure out who these people are!
There is one face in this particular photo album that has stuck with me ever since the day I learned his name years ago from my grandmother, and that is Cookston Ash. I first came across his face when my grandma pulled an old tintype of him out of a box. She said he was her great-grandfather, the father of her beloved grandmother, Lottie. She didn't know much about him, but she knew he was always sickly and died young. Here he is:
How many of you just hold an old photograph in your hands and stare at the face, begging for them to come to life and share their secrets? You wonder at how many hands that very photograph has passed through, and the thoughts of the person in the picture. How long did they have to sit still for the photo to be taken? Who was there with them? Don't ever let old pictures like the ones above pass into oblivion. The lives of your ancestors are too important to let them be forgotten.