This week’s 52 Ancestors challenge theme was so easy for me: favorite photo. By far, my favorite photo has to be this one of my grandmother, Emma Sarah Cone. That’s her, third from the left. How I received it is one of my favorite genealogy stories as well.
My dad and my grandfather were always into photography. My dad had boxes and stacks of old photographs everywhere. Mainly of objects, landscapes, horses or his favorite subject: me. But, when I asked if he had any old photos of his parents, or perhaps his grandparents, he did not have any. My aunt had some awesome photos that my grandfather had taken of my dad and his siblings and their childhood. But there were none of their grandparents.
Three years ago, I had been reading a collection of stories of genealogists swearing that their ancestors were reaching out beyond the grave to help them with their research. I distinctly remember wishing that my grandmother would help me out in at least finding some more old photos.
Well, Grandmom must have heard me. It was only 3 or 4 days later, I received an email from a woman with the last name of “Cone.” She said she had been looking at Findagrave.com at the memorial page for my great grandfather, Patrick Cone. She had noticed that I had added “flowers” on the page, indicating that I was his great-granddaughter. She was curious, because her husband’s father, Albert A. Cone, was also buried in that plot, and she was not familiar with my name. Her husband, it turns out, is my dad’s first cousin. They had not been in contact for decades! It was exciting, because even though my dad had Alzheimer’s, he remembered his cousin very well.
Mrs. Cone and I exchanged several emails over the next few days. Then she said that she and her husband dug out their mother’s old photo albums, THAT THEY STILL HAD! They did not have a scanner, but they started taking photos with their phone and sent me so many treasures! They had my grandparents’ wedding photo! They sent me photos of my great-Grandmother, Margaret Carney. They sent me images old newspaper clippings of my great grandmother’s relatives in Scranton and letters that she received from her sister, Mary Ann.
But this is the photo I instantly fell in love with. First of all, I was surprised that she had such dark hair! I had always remembered her having gray hair. She looked so young and so vibrant in this photo, with not a care in the world. This photo was one of many that looked like they were all taken at what may have been Atlantic City, NJ. My new found cousins did not know who the other people were in the photos. And the hottie that has his arm around my grandmother in the other photos was definitely not my grandfather. Wow! Grandmom DATED?! Who knew! It looked like such a fun day for my grandmother.
I love these photos! I still feel that this was a big gift from my grandmother, even though she had been gone for over 30 years.
So Grandmom, if you’re still listening… I really would like to find out where in Ireland your father was born. 😉