Saturday, September 13, 2008

Leila Belle Reynolds

Several years ago I met a second-cousin who was related to me through Benjamin Kingman Curtis. Her ancestor and mine were brother and sister, William Rushmer Curtis and Mary Lavantia Curtis Hobbs. This cousin let me borrow the antique photograph album that originally belonged to her ancestor Mary Lavantia. The album contained 30 Cabinet Card photographs and 21 Carte de Visite style photographs, the kind that were taken during the late 1800's and early 1900's. The antique album was a true goldmine. This is one of the Cabinet Cards that was in the album.

The child in the photo is Leila Belle Reynolds (1887-1981), daughter of George Robert Reynolds and Sarah Ellenor Curtis. She was the oldest child in the family and had four brothers and one sister:
  • George Benjamin 1891-1973
  • Card Lee 1895-1958
  • Villa Philena 1897-1989
  • Wiley Bradley 1898-1953
  • Bennie 1899-?
Before I saw this photograph I didn't know anything about Sarah Ellenor's marriage or who her children were. I also did not know where the family ended up and where they were buried. The only thing I knew was that Sarah Ellenor Curtis married George Reynolds. This picture gave me the clue that I needed to solve the mysteries about this side of the Curtis family. You are probably asking what was so special about this picture that it helped solve several genealogical mysteries? The answer is simple. The bottom of the picture is known as the photographer's imprint, his name and location of his studio. The bottom right corner of the imprint says, "Bird Island, Minn." This told me that Leila Reynolds was actually in Bird Island, Minnesota when this picture was taken of her. I had no idea the family left Idaho and went back east, all the way to Minnesota. That was all I needed, the right location to go looking for records. The records I found and the living descendants that I eventually found was the result of this discovery. All I needed was knowing the right location to go looking for records - in Minnesota no less! Now we know the names George and Sarah's children, grandchildren, and also some living descendants. Plus we have a ton of pictures and documents for this entire branch of the Curtis family. And it all started with this single picture.

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