Friday, July 30, 2010

Lost Photo: Mary Rech

Do you ever wonder, when browsing an antique store, how all of those great vintage photos came to be there?  Did no one want them?  Were they somehow misplaced?  Or were they the unfortunate victims of estate sales?  I've always wondered who these people were and if their descendants would want to claim the photos, if they only knew.  So to hopefully foster such reunions, I'm starting a periodic feature here at Every Man A Quotation called Lost Photos.  When I find an item with at least some basic identifying information to work with, I'll post it here with what further information I can dig up and hopefully a relative will stumble across the blog.

To get this started, I present a photo of young Ms Rech:

Handwritten on the back of the photo are the words "From Mamie [?] Rech to Aunt Mary.  At the age of 12 yrs. old."  Also on the back is the name of the photography studio in rather ornate style: Gale Studio, 136 Main Street, Bristol Connecticut.  This particular item is what's called a cabinet card, the successor to the highly popular carte-de-visite photos of the mid 19th-century.  Printed on thick stock approximately 4 inches by six inches with embossed lettering on the front and reverse, this photo was meant to be displayed in - you guessed it - cabinets.

So enough about the item, and on to the young woman whose image is captured upon it.  A search of quickly revealed a Marie M. Rech, a music store sales lady, living in Bristol, CT in 1910.  Born in 1882 in Connecticut, Marie would have been 12 right around 1894 - when cabinet cards were in their heyday and Gale Studios was in fact located at 136 Main Street in Bristol.  According to the census entry, Marie was living with her mother Elizabeth at 102 Laurel Street in a home they shared with another family - widow Elizabeth Hayland and her widower son-in-law James Davis.  Marie's mother was born in New York about 1860 to French-born parents, while her unnamed father is recorded to have been born in Germany.

Unfortunately, I could find nothing about Marie prior to 1910 nor after that particular census until the 1939 Bristol city directory, which lists Marie as Mary M. Rech living at 141 Prospect Street and working as an office assistant at 124 Main Street.  Living with her at this time was a John J. Urnevich.  Marie/Mary resurfaces again in 1948 at the same address and working the same job, though this time she is sharing her home with a William J. Lamb.  Successive city directories (1949, 1951, and 1952) show no change in here whereabouts or occupation, but in 1953 and 1954 she is no longer listed as an employee.  For the years 1955 and 1956, Marie/Mary is living at 119 Academy Street.

On 25 January 1957, at age 75, Marie departed this life.  The information contained in the Connecticut Death Index declares her to have never been married.  That fact, combined with being the only child of Elizabeth Rech, perhaps explains why her photo ended up in an antique shop in Kentucky and not in the hands of descendants.

If Marie, or Mary, M. Rech of Bristol, CT fits into your family tree please get in touch.

Sources cited
[1910 U.S. Census, Bristol, Hartford County, Connecticut, ED 135, sheet 9B, dwelling 92, family 159, Elizabeth Rech household; National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 130]
[Connecticut Department of Health, Connecticut Death Index, 1949-2001.  Hartfod, CT]
[City directory for Bristol, Plainville, and Terrville; years 1939, 1948-1949, 1951-1956]


  1. Welcome to the Geneabloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "Back to the Homeplace"
    and "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"

  2. Dr. Bill - Thanks for the welcome! I certainly enjoy the stories others in the Geneablog community have shared, and I hope to contribute what I can.

  3. Hi Dave, I'm looking forward to following your blog. On your surnames you have Hart listed. Our your Hart's in Kentucky? I have Hart's in Clark County, Kentucky.


  4. Hi Jenna. Thank you so much for stopping by. My Harts came directly from Ireland to Illinois in the 1850s before moving to Michigan and California in the early 1900s. I don't know of any that came Kentucky way, though my Hart brick wall keeps me from discovering exactly where in Ireland they were from.

  5. Darn it! Oh well I will still enjoy reading you blog! :)