Here is one more example of what I call front porch pictures family photographs taken outside. The people shown in the above photograph are members of the Holcomb family from Isle LaMotte, Vermont. Sandy, my wife, and I were going through boxes of pictures that we obtained from her parent’s photograph collection. We noticed some had the name, Holcomb. We had no idea who or what these people were in relation to her family.
I started an investigation into the Holcomb family, and one of the first things I did was to speak with Sandy’s cousin Carl Gonya. Carl has spent years researching family history. We were to find out many details of the Holcomb’s, namely how they were related to my wife, Sandy. The people in the above picture are my wife’s 2nd cousins four times removed. I did a little more research and found even more interesting facts.
Cyrus Holcomb is the gentleman sitting on the chair. He is the father to the other people in this photograph. Like many people of his times, Cyrus wore many hats in life. He was for five years the postmaster of Isle LaMotte, Vermont and even served in the Vermont Legislature. But throughout his life he was a carpenter and a fruit farmer, having 700 apple trees in 1882.
The man relaxed on the grass is Dr. Luman Holcomb, a well known local physician. Dr. Luman received his education at the University of Vermont. I read numerous accounts in the newspapers of his time, regarding his many community activities. He was a well-liked and respected doctor who was mourned by many upon his death in 1950.
The lady in the picture with her father and brother is Elma Holcomb Deuel. She was a remarkable lady not only in her time but even by today’s standards. She married George Deuel, a Methodist Minister. Elma went with her husband to the Garrett Biblical Institute and received the same degree as her husband. While not herself a minister Elma would fill in for her husband on occasion. She was an accomplished musician and president of the Women’s Missionary Society. Elma was also a teacher who worked with children of former slaves teaching basic reading and writing skills.
I also found out something interesting about the Holcomb’s. They are my 7th cousins three times removed. That makes my wife and I cousins. I guess with both our family lines going back to the 1600s in America, they were bound to become acquainted. While this was the first time we were to learn that our family lines crossed, I have since found two more common sets of grandparents.
So my advice is to go through some old photographs and do some research. Not just on your direct ancestors but also your cousins. You never know what you will learn.