Researching Photographers in Pittsburgh, PA: R. D. Cochran

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"Old Cochran" in Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny cities, 1862-1863, p. 52.
“Old Cochran” in Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny cities, 1862-1863, p. 52.

This entry in a Pittsburgh City Directory made me stop and think about how tough life was back in the day- today too, but even fewer safety nets then like Social Security or food stamps. Manual labor was the only job available for many throughout their lifetime. Poor “Old Cochran”- not even known by his first name, just his age- was still working as a laborer at that point in his life. Still living on his own maybe, but sadly I did not notice other Cochrans nearby on his street. A daughter may have been nearby but we wouldn’t know because she, if even listed, would be under her husband’s name.

OK, that was another Heritage Rambling… on to the topic at hand.

Logo of Cochran [Photography Studio] in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, c1895.
Logo of Cochran [Photography Studio] in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, c1895. (Front)
I came upon the “Old Cochran” entry while looking for a R. D. Cochran, Artistic Photographer in Pittsburgh. Old City Directories are a great way to find family, friends, associates, and neighbors (the “FAN Club”), as well as nearby businesses, for those from times long gone. I have been trying to find a date for the photos discussed in this week’s “Mystery Monday” post:

http://heritageramblings.net/2014/01/20/mystery-monday…-golumb-family/

Since we have a photographer’s name/studio listed on the portraits, finding when the photographer was in business would help to narrow the date range of the photos. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh, PA does not have a listing of photographers (some other cities do have lists that family historians or archivists have compiled). The knowledgeable folks on the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania RootsWeb group suggested  that I search the many City Directories online for Pittsburgh at http://digital.library.pitt.edu/cgi-bin/t/text/text-idx?c=pitttextdir;page=browse;key=date

GOLOMB Family? Pittsburgh PA, c1895? RD Cochran, Photographer- Reverse
GOLOMB Family? Pittsburgh PA, c1895? RD Cochran, Photographer- Reverse (Click to enlarge or for a sharper image.)

There is a search function on the page so I put in “R. D. Cochran” and got 16 hits. I had previously seen a photo of an African-American Civil War soldier posted online that was taken by R. D. Cochran (similar design on the advertisement), so checked the early directories first. My results:

Title: Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny cities, 1863
Publication Info: Pittsburgh, Pa.]: G.H. Thurston, 1863, p. 58

“Cochran, Robert D., of R D Cochran & Co., n Woods’ Run”

Title: Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny cities, 1865-1866, Pittsburgh, PA: G.H. Thurston, 1865
Collection: Historic Pittsburgh City Directories, p.80

“Cochran R. D., of R. D. Cochran & Co., McClure tp”

Title: Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny cities, 1867
Publication Info: Pittsburgh, Pa.]: G.H. Thurston, 1867, p.96

“Cochran R. D. of R. D. Cochran & Co. McClure tp”

Title: Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny cities, 1869-1870
Publication Info: Pittsburgh, Pa.]: G.H. Thurston, 1869, p.100

“Cochran R. D., of R. D. Cochran & Co., res McClure tp”

There are other R. D. Cochrans listed for many later years, mostly in the oil business. I was unable to find the studio listed in the business section of the city directory, but often a business would be required to pay for the privilege of being listed under “Photographers” in the directory, and many were not able to afford the advertising.

So if “R. D. Cochran & Co.” was a photography studio, we may have narrowed the date of the photos. Probably not though, as the Green and Golumb families did not immigrate to the United States until the 1880s, so the time frame is not correct for our image.

I did a US Federal Census search for R. D. Cochran, and found a Robert D. Cochran listed as a steamboat captain in the 1860 census for McCluer Twp, Allegheny, PA- so that might be the “R. D. Cochran & Co” I found in the City Directory in that same township. I searched through other censuses in Allegheny Co. for our photographer, but little luck in finding him or her.

We definitely need more information.

Probably the next step is dating the photos by clothing, hairstyles, and props. There are a number of books available to use for this research, so those will be bedtime reading this week. I also have an email out to a  person who includes the Golomb family on their tree, though they have not posted any photos. But I am really hoping that a cousin will see these photos and remember they have an acid-free storage box with the same photos, with individuals positively identified on them in archival ink. (A family historian’s dream…)

As always, suggestions are appreciated.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) “Old Cochran- lab” may be found in the Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny cities, 1862-1863, p.52, Collection: Historic Pittsburgh City Directories at

http://digital.library.pitt.edu/cgi-bin/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=pitttextdir;cc=pitttextdir;idno=31735038289116;node=31735038289116%3A1.8;frm=frameset;view=image;seq=72;page=root;size=s

Accessed 1/18/2014.

2) The “FAN Club” is a way to help break through brick walls. By researching Friends, Associates, and Neighbors, you may find something about the ancestor you seek. I wish I could give credit to the researcher who originated the acronym, but do not know who came up with it as a quick way to explain what experienced genealogists have been doing for a long time. Researching siblings is another way to break through brick walls- especially helpful if one of the siblings had an unusual name whereas your direct ancestor might have had a common name. Siblings are often listed in obituaries, parent’s names may be on birth or death records, etc.

3) The Allegheny County, PA RootsWeb List: http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/index/PAALLEGH

The Allegheny County, PA RootsWebWebsite: http://www.pagenweb.org/~allegheny/index.htm

4) African-American Civil War soldier- Cabinet Card  found at http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/cabinet-card-african-american-soldier . Accessed 1/17/2014.

5) Robert D. Cochran: Source Citation: Year: 1860; Census Place: McClure, Allegheny,Pennsylvania; Roll: M653_1065; Page: 379; Image: 386; Family History Library Film: 805065. Accessed on Ancestry.com 1/18/2014.

 

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Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Mystery Monday- Green or Golumb Family?

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Unknown Children- Green or Cooper Family? Photo taken by R.D. Cochran, "Artistic Photographer" in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Standing: Ann Green, Herman Green sitting on left, Bess Green sitting on right. Photo taken by R.D. Cochran, “Artistic Photographer” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

 

Here are more delightful family pictures, but which family??? And are the photos related, other than being taken at the same photo studio? I answered part of my own questions by working on my FSLOW New Year’s resolution- Find it, Scan it, Label it, Organize it, and Write about it.

This group of photos was in with family treasures from the Green and Cooper families. I have just found notes from 30 years ago that identify the above picture as three of the children of Abraham and Rose (Brave) Green: Ann, Herman, and Bess, taken circa 1895. But why isn’t Estelle, child #2, in the picture with children #1, 3,4?

The back of the photos is charming:

Reverse of photo- Unknown People in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Reverse of photo- Unknown People in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

I especially love the line: “Instantaneous Portraits of Children a successful Specialty.”

Here are two more photos with the same backing:

Unknown Couple with Baby- Green or Cooper Family? Photo taken by R.D. Cochran, "Artistic Photographer" in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Unknown Couple with Baby- Golumb Family? Photo taken by R.D. Cochran, “Artistic Photographer” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Unknown Girls- Green or Cooper Family? Photo taken by R.D. Cochran, "Artistic Photographer" in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Unknown Girls- Green or Golumb Family? Photo taken by R.D. Cochran, “Artistic Photographer” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

These last two photos appear to have been taken at the same place, possibly at the same time- note the chairs. Thirty year-old notes also ask the question- ?Golumb Family? for the image with the couple and baby- no hints for the picture of the two girls.

Could the two girls possibly be the same ones as in in the photo of the three children? Note the long fingers of the older girl in both, and the shorter, wider hands of the younger girl. To me, their facial features are somewhat similar in the other picture, just more mature.

Some old notes from family oral history state the girls in the last photo may be Estelle Green and Ann Green.

Ann Green was born 1885 in Lithuania, and Estelle on board the ship in 1887 that carried her mother and 1 year-old sister Ann to America. Abraham had immigrated ahead of them, as was often done, probably in 1886, and he had established his tailor business before sending for his family. Their next known baby is Bess Dorothy Green- she was born in 1891 in Pittsburgh. One thought was that the baby in the picture with the couple could be Bessie, but the couple just doesn’t look like I think Abraham and Rose would have looked when young, comparing other pictures. And it is strange to only have some of the children in the first and last picture- that would have been fairly unusual.

Another possibility is that the pictures are of the Golumb Family. Sarah Rebecca Green, sister of Abraham, married Louis Golumb (also Louis Golomb, Lewis Golumb, or Lewis Golomb, dear Google search engine), and they lived in Pittsburgh. In the 1900 US Federal Census, Lewis Golumb and Sarah were living with their 4 children, Esther, Rosie, Bessie, and Isadore, born 1894, 1896, 1897, 1899, respectively. Lewis was a painter and paperhanger and had been born in Poland/Russia like his wife. Censuses vary in when each arrived, but the 1900 census states they had been married for 7 years. Could these be photos Sarah sent back to her brother in St. Louis? If so, and again, why only some of the children, not all?

Here is a picture of Sarah Rebecca Green- well, the family thinks it is Sarah:

Probably Sarah Rebecca (Green) Golumb.
Probably Sarah Rebecca (Green) Golumb.

Does she look like a younger version of the woman in the photo with the baby? To me her face is too thin to be the same woman.

So there’s your mystery for today.

I am currently trying to find out when R.D. Cochran had the Pittsburgh “Artistic” photography studio, and that may help to confirm the date of these photos. Looks like we also need to learn when  the Fischer Studio was active in St. Louis, Missouri.

Any other information or ideas would be much appreciated.

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Family oral history.

2) Family photo collection with identification on a very few.

3) Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Pittsburgh Ward 8, Allegheny, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1358; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0129; FHL microfilm: 1241358. Accessed on Ancestry.com on 1/17/2014.

 

 

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Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 

 

Silly Sunday- Joseph Cooper Family in Swimsuits c1912

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From left: Joseph Cooper, son Irving I. Cooper, wife Helen (Cooper) Cooper.
From left: Joseph Cooper, son Irving I. Cooper, wife Helen (Cooper) Cooper.

 

Although probably the height of fashion at the time, these swimsuits do seem pretty silly today. Can you imagine wearing all that Helen had on and trying to float in the water with all that weight from wet clothing???

 

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Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Five Family Photos for Friday- A Green Family Photo Album

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Green Family Photo Album- page 20.
Green Family Photo Album- page 20.

The Green Family- On the Move!

The Green Family Photo Album has so many fun pictures on its pages. Today we are highlighting some with people on the move- or, at least, looking like they are on the move.

Above- some great hats! I wonder if this is a real automobile or a posed picture in a studio. Sadly, we don’t know the names of these people.

Green Family Photo Album- page 7.
Green Family Photo Album- page 7.

We haven’t been able to identify any of the above children on a porch swing, or any of the other beautiful little children.

Green Family Photo Album- page 16.
Green Family Photo Album- page 16.

Another page with people we cannot identify, but a day at the lake and on the move in boats looks like fun!

 

Green Family Photo Album- page 19.
Green Family Photo Album- page 19.

Taking a day off for a picnic, photo, and stroll is another way to get ‘out’ of the city, even if it might be in a local park. That top hat would make a young man look quite dandy strolling down the street. We think the women on the right, both top and bottom, may be Estelle Green.

And we have saved the most perplexing page for last:

Green Family Photo Album- page 36.
Green Family Photo Album- page 36.

We think that the top left picture is, from left, Rose (Brave) Green, Sam Stampfer (her son-in-law, married to daughter Ann Green), and Bess Dorothy Green (Rose’s daughter). Bessie’s daughter had identified the picture of the young woman in glasses as her mother. However, take a look at the photo at the bottom right of the page- the two women sitting almost look like twins! They have different hats so if it was a double exposure, the hats would have needed to be changed. If a double exposure, why only the one woman, not the other? Could they be cousins that look very much like each other? Or were there twins we just didn’t know about in the family? Censuses, family oral history, and other research has never turned up such information. It is one of the most perplexing genealogical puzzles we have ever faced. If anyone out there has any suggestions or knowledge about these people, we would love to hear it!

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Green Family Photo Album

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Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those Places Thursday- WW1 and Citizen Historians

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Reserve Officers Training Corps, Senior Division, Advanced Medical Course class picture. Taken in Ft. Snelling, Minnesota during the course which ran 14 Jun 1923 to 25 July 1923.
Reserve Officers Training Corps, Senior Division, Advanced Medical Course class picture. Taken in Ft. Snelling, Minnesota during the course which ran 14 Jun 1923 to 25 July 1923. Dr. Edward A. McMurray, Sr., is probably in this picture.

 

“That Place” this week could be anywhere on the Western Front (France and Belgium/Flanders) that British troops served in World War I. You can ‘go’ there, in that time and place, just by reading details of everyday life in the trenches- pun intended (sadly), especially for this war.

Genealogists are pretty much Citizen Historians, especially when they publish their work for others to see. They are also Citizen Historians when they participate in crowd-sourcing projects like FamilySearch Indexing and that of the 1940 US Federal Census.

Zooniverse is a crowd sourcing website that offers opportunities now for citizen historians (in the past it has just been science-oriented) to process data that would either be done by a lowly graduate student, or probably not get done at all in these days of little research funding. By using citizens to classify an overwhelming amount of data, scientists, historians, etc., can then do the analysis they were trained to do, and graduate students get a more interesting learning experience than just counting copepods or classifying galaxy shapes for hours on end.

A new Zooniverse project is “Operation War Diary.” One and a half million pages of British unit diaries from World War I have been digitized and put online. The first World War Centenary is coming up-  the war began 28 Jul 1914- and this project will be used to create a detailed index of orders, signals, maps, narrative reports, etc. Names are mentioned as well. The information is currently available online in a browseable format, but when complete, the index will be a boon to family historians, military history buffs, and university historians.

Worried that you won’t get it perfectly correct? No problem- Zooniverse projects, just like FamilySearch, have many persons classify the data. Zooniverse then uses powerful software that can help decide which is the most correct classification. No “Arbitrators” of questionable ability here- the expert historian (or scientist) has the final say of what is really right.

“Operation War Diary” needs our help! The diaries are not going to be transcribed in full. Each page will be classified, and then entries on each page tagged, sometimes with detailed information like a name and why they were mentioned in the diary. There is a tutorial to help get you started, a field guide to explain more of the information on the pages- I highly recommend going through it in detail before starting- and a discussion room if you have questions or want to share your findings. (Other Zooniverse communities that I have participated in have been great fun- and educational too!) The project supports both Mac and Windows platforms- see the “About Us” page for details on what versions of operating system and browsers are needed.

http://www.operationwardiary.org

Remember, you will need to think with British spelling- “The Queen’s English” is ‘favoured’ in these diaries.

World War I is almost a forgotten war since it was so long ago and those who participated are long gone. It was one of the worst wars though, with chemical weapons and new ways to destroy the enemy and our American sons. Help keep the memory of those who served by contributing to this project, whether you have just a few minutes per day or hours to devote to the project. You may even find a rellie mentioned if you have British roots!

PS- If this project doesn’t interest you, Zooniverse has many others available.

 

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Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

[Edited to change name to “Those Places Thursday” to conform to Geneabloggers’ prompts and my previous posts.]