Saturday, January 8, 2011
Even when historic context does not exist, individual photographs can still speak to us. That's the case with the photo shown above. It is a picture of an adult male, taken at (or maybe duplicated at) the photography shop of Howard Baker, 66 West Main Street, Battle Creek, Michigan. It's not until you turn the photograph over that it becomes more interesting. The caption states simply, "This is my husband, Howard Baker."
I also searched the 1900 census to see if the couple are listed in battle creek with a one year old son. I found a listing for John Howard Baker with wife Mary Luella Baker and son John Howard Baker. Howard Baker also has his single sister-in-law living in his household, Kate Anderson who is listed as a dress maker. Maybe Mary Luella's maiden name is Anderson.
Since the 1900 hundred census asked how many years each individual had been married, and their answer was 11 years, Mary Luella would have been single in the 1880 census. She should be approximately 14 years old at the time. There is a very promising match. I have the 1880 census four Henry Anderson and his wife Mary with a daughter name Luella (b. circa 1866) and a daughter named Kate (b. circa 1868) living in Calhoun County, Michigan. It appears we have a match!
Going forward, I checked the 1920 census and find the household of J. Howard Baker. Luella and his son are still living, and we now have a sister-in-law named Blanche McFarland living in the household. She appears to be the right age to be Luella's sister Kate.
Looking at the marriage records of Calhoun County on the Family Search site, it is apparent that we do have a match, but Blanche's age should be 63 not 53 in the record above. She would be an older sister of Luella.
See ... all of this came from just one little old photograph ...