52 Ancestors 52 Weeks, Photographs

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 2: Favourite Photo

Well, I decided to move straight onto the second week of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge to try to catch up the eight weeks I have missed.  When I discovered that Week 2 was favourite photo, I knew immediately which photo I wanted to share.


Week 2 – Favourite Photo

C1906 Matheson Family Perth Western Australia
C.1906 Matheson Family Perth Western Australia

Back Row: Ella May, Charles Jardine, Alice Janet, Robert Hilton, Margaret Emily, Walter James Hawkins (Husband of Elizabeth Marion Matheson).

Front Row: Emily Hardisty (Wife of Charles Jardine Matheson) holding son Gordon Charles, Robert holding Thelma, Edith, Marion holding son Arthur, Edith Nelly, and Gladys Gwendoline sitting on the floor.


I received a framed copy of this photo from my maternal grandmother as a wedding present in 1996.  I was in love with it from the minute I opened the present and it still holds a prime position in my home.  She thoughtfully included a photocopy of the photo with the names of everyone written beneath.


This photo shows the family of Robert Matheson and Edith Ford.  The family originated from Bathurst, New South Wales and moved to Western Australia sometime after my great-grandmother, Gladys, was born.  Gladys was born in 1894 and the first evidence I have of the family in Perth is 1903.  It is estimated the photo was taken in late 1906 or early 1907 as the two babies, Arthur and Gordon, were born in April and July respectively.


I was always told that everyone who descended from this family had a copy of this photo, however, recently I found a distant cousin who did not have this photo.  I had always heard her name mentioned in conversation with my grandma and great-aunt but had never met her.  I had to track her down when she sent my grandmother a Christmas card.  I managed to find her number and when we spoke I had to tell her the sad news that we had lost my grandma and her sister within 10 months of each other.  Anyway we got chatting about our mutual genealogy and I mentioned this photo and she was confused – what photo was I talking about.  I had the joy of passing this photo onto her and loved hearing how excited she was seeing it for the first time!


So this photo is a very special one – made more special as Robert Hilton Matheson (middle of back row) was K.I.A. during WWI on 23 May 1918 in France.


Do you have an old family photo like this one?  Tell me about it in the comments.


6 thoughts on “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 2: Favourite Photo

  1. What a beautiful story. I do have some old photos in my treasure chest. I have one photo of my great grandmother at a wedding surrounded by several people I do not know. I have asked several people in my family if anyone knows who these people are surrounding my grandmother. I have yet to find someone who knows who the people are.

    I will be meeting more family members this summer, so I plan on asking around more at that time. Wish me well.

    As usual, the story you shared is darling.

    Warm Regards,

    1. Hi Yvette

      It is so special to have old photos but is heartbreaking when you cannot find out who is in them. I was so blessed with this photo that my grandma provided me with the names, much like a school photo! I hope you can answer the questions for your photo.


  2. Hi Megan!
    What an inspiring story! My wife did have a new experience quite recently about her great-grandmother.

    The story about her grandmother tells that they were from an island of Sweden named Gotland.
    But, when looking at the only photo they got of her great-grandmother, she looks “un-Swedish” and more like she came from Russia or Mongolia (so does my wife)

    My wife has now checked that up and found out she actually came to Sweden a long time ago from Russia but did not want that to be known for some kind of reasons.
    Anyway, a photo can tell you a lot of your history that you did not know about!
    Thanks for your article!

    1. Hi Patrik 

      So glad you enjoyed this post!  So exciting that your wife found out this story about her great-grandmother.  It is amazing what “secrets” you can dig up doing genealogy.  I had a similar story – my grandmother would not share a lot of things about our ancestry when I asked or said she didn’t know.  When I found the convict in the family she said I wondered when you would work that out!  She was ashamed of having descended from convicts yet my generation it’s considered an honour!  Funny how one generation is ashamed and another is excited by the same thing!



  3. That’s a great photo that you received! I have two favorite photos myself. They are of my father’s mother’s family around 1938 and my father’s father’s family from I’m guessing the 1920s. The bonus on my grandmother’s photo is her parents are there. I’ve never seen any pictures of my great grandparents on my father’s side until I received this picture. It was a highlight in my family search, as I’m sure this photo was for you.

    1. Hi Keven

      That is wonderful that you have those photos!  It is great that you got to see your great-grandparents in the photo.  I know the feeling of euphoria when you receive a photo that you have not seen before and it contains people you’ve never met or even had an image of.  Thank you for sharing.



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