After a long time away from my blog, my genealogy projects and my other hobbies I finally had the opportunity to work them back into my routine. I decided to do a little exploring at some area shops and spend some time with two of my favorite people, my daughter Kaylee and my son’s girlfriend Jessi. I found a little treasure on one of our stops that day. At least it is a treasure to me. How it managed to end up on a shelf, for sale in this part of the country amazes me.
I love old family photos and it always bothers me to see them end up abandoned at estate sales and shops. I don’t have much in the way of family treasures like old photo albums or framed portraits from generations beyond my grandparents. When I spotted this photo album on the shelf at a local shop here I just had to have it. Even though the family has no connection to mine, or at least as far as I know, I just love looking through it and wondering about the lives of the people whose photos are there.
Some of the pages in the album are torn but in general it is in pretty good shape. When I saw it at the shop, I thought it would be really nice if just one or two of the pictures would happen to have a name on the back of it. As soon as I got it home, I carefully removed all of the photos to check them. I had just about given up, all the photos I had removed up to that point were blank on the back. I even debated about trying to get the rest of them out. Some of them were very difficult to remove and I didn’t want to damage the pockets. Several of them had already been torn, either from use over the years or from people trying to find a name on the photos as it traveled from wherever it had been to the final stop, on display at the shop where I found it.
In the end I kept looking and I finally came upon a photo that had been signed on the back. Thank you “Cousin Carrie”, or at least I think that’s what the name reads. I’ll let you be the judge, just have a look at the picture.
After finding this dated photo, I had hope there might be others so I kept working until I removed every photo from the album. Out of all the photos in the album only two were signed but one of them has made it possible for me to learn all about at least one person in it. The second signed photo in the album is that of Dr. Zachariah Willis Kemp.
Fortunately for me, there is a lot of information about Dr. Kemp out here on the Internet. Others in his family were kind enough to post their family research for me to find. One of these links included a photo of Dr. Kemp later in life than the photo I have in this album but it makes it possible to see that it is absolutely the same man. In the space of 2 or 3 hours I was able to move from having a book full of old cabinet photos of people with no names to knowing a near complete history of at least one man in the album.
Dr. Kemp was born, died and was buried in the same community in the state of Maine. In between he seems to have lived a very successful life. He enjoyed a long, noteworthy, career as an educator. He appears to have had a happy family life, raising 8 children. That fact makes it even more surprising the album has landed into my hands this way. I live a long way from the part of the country where Dr. Kemp lived his life. Odd that it ended up here.