Saturday, December 15, 2018

Family Photos in an Antique Shop

This past week I attended some training for work up in Syracuse, New York. On the way back a colleague and I stopped for a late lunch in Ithaca, NY; a town she really loved visiting before. I had been through it once or twice but never really spent much time there so I was open to wandering around a bit. 

We stopped into the DeWitt Mall which is an odd assortment of little shops in what appears to be a re-purposed parochial school. My colleague and I wandered independently for a bit. There was a little antique shop that had several shelves of items for sale out in the hallway between stores. As I passed the shelves I saw some little eyes peeping over the edge of a box. 

It was a portrait of a handsome woman, Mrs. Elizabeth Neu Wagner, as noted on the back of the photo. Many of the photos in the box appeared to be from the same family album but none of them were labeled well; not like this one at least. This had a brief genealogy on it. In a small neat print, much like my own, the label reads: 


PROJECT! I had great fun this past year helping a patron at my part time job put a family heirloom back in the right hands. Why not see if I could get this photo to an appropriate family member. 

As soon as I got home last night I sat down and searched for those names on And in less than 10 minutes I had found an Ancestry member who had a robust tree naming all those individuals indicated on the photo with the proper connections between them. The tree had many photos including one of Frederick A. Wagner and Barbara Wagner-Woodams. But the tree did not have a photo of this woman, Elizabeth. Now it will because I contacted the Ancestry member who made that tree and in less than 20 minutes heard back from her. Elizabeth is her husband's 3x great grandmother.

A little poking around and I learned Elizabeth was born in Bavaria, Germany in 1832; no known date of death. She was married to Frederick Wagner. She arrived in the U.S. in about 1855-1860; so probably before she was married...maybe. She has at least 6 children with Frederick; some if not all were born in New Jersey.

It appears as though her great granddaughter Barbara was the last family member to own the photo, at least that is what I assume from the labeling. 

Barbara Ann Wagner-Woodams was born on January 15, 1929 to Alfred Walter Wagner and Barbara Althea Lounsberry in Bradley Beach, New Jersey according to her U.S. Social Security Applications & Claims indexed information on She married William John Woodams on January 12, 1951. She passed away on December 3, 2000. Her husband was from Ithaca, NY. William outlived his wife by 11 years. He died September 14, 2011 and I suspect he passed in Ithaca and that this antique shop purchased a family album in an estate sale or auction or something of that nature.

I am sure there are more Wagner Family photos in that antique shop but they were all mixed in together with thousands of other photos. Some were obviously taken from the same family album though; those could have been images from an album that also contained this woman's photo. Who knows. It would be quite a task to comb through them all. The descendant I tracked down lives in Oregon. I don't think he will be in Ithaca any time soon. Hmm. I wonder if any of the other family photos will make there way into the hands of the right family. Well, I know this one will.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Wagner.

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