Photographs, Place, Image, Object

Who is in the Photo?

A couple of months ago my mum found a box of old photos.  As the keeper of all things ancestral, she handed them over to me.  What a find!  There were many photos I had never seen before and mostly of my dad.  I had never seen photos of him as a child and the finds in this box were delightful.  However, I found many photos I could not identify who is in the photo.

I asked dad – after all the majority in this box were his.  He remembered some but as he is suffers with dementia there were many he couldn’t.  I scanned them and emailed them to some of his English cousins who were able to fill in some of the gaps.  However, many remain elusive.

The below photo has me totally intrigued but the connection to the family is unknown.


Orphan Picture, St. Catherine's Convalescent Home, Penn, Wolverhampton, Bennett Clark


There was nothing written on the back but my daughter and I deciphered the embossed writing on the bottom right – Bennett Clark, Wolverhampton.  I immediately went to Google to find out information about the photographer.  I came upon this website with information about Bennett Clark:


Bennett Clark was Wolverhampton’s best known local photgrapher.  His studio, operated by himself and then, under his name, by W.E. Hart, was active for more than 60 years, from the end of the nineteenth century to the 1960s.


I scanned the photo and emailed it to the website to see if they could further enlighten me about this picture.  They responded very quickly and were impressed with the quality of the photo I have, as it is the best they have seen.  They provided me with a couple of links to information with one site having a copy of the same photo.   The other site discussed St, Catherine’s Convalescent Home, Penn, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire.

In 1873 Miss Sparrow established a convalescent home for woman and children. Initially only children from the Wolverhampton and Staffordshire General Hospital were admitted. In 1885 Miss Sparrow presented the home to the hospital “on condition that it be used as a convalescent home for women and children”. The home was called St. Catherine’s Convalescent Home and a ladies committee were appointed to supervise it.


I still do not know what relationship this photo has to our family.  My cousins in England are unable to help either.  I do know that a couple of my great aunt’s went into service quite young with one becoming the housekeeper for a doctor.  Is it possible that one of them is in this photo?   Or is one of the ill children a family member?  I wonder if I will ever know who is in the photo?


I have since written a post about another photo I found in this box – Who is in the photo?

Have you got photos in your collection that you cannot identify?  What do you do to try to find out who is in the photo?  Please comment below and give me your suggestions!


16 thoughts on “Who is in the Photo?

  1. Wow! What a fascinating post and website.
    I love these types of old photos, they carry so much history.

    Unfortunately I have moved around a lot and all close family members have already passed on. Wolverhampton is not so far from my original home and I love the history of the region, the ‘black country’ 🙂

    I have often wondered about the history of my family but never knew how to go about it, now that I’ve come across your website it has once again given me the inspiration to attempt to trace my ancestry.

    Awesome; definitely one fo the bookmarks.

    Thanks for sharing. I look forward to more of your articles.

    All the best,


    1. Hi ASG

      I am so glad my website has inspired you to look at your family history!  I love bringing people to this wonderful hobby.  The old photos are always exciting as you try to unravel the who, what, where, when.   Have you returned to Wolverhampton to look around your original home town?  If so, do you know the location where this photo was taken?  



  2. My mom was adopted, and when I signed up for, they hooked me up with close relatives on both her father and mother’s side. it’s been absolutely fascinating to learn more about my biological family, and I’ve even met one member (soon to be a few more). I’m grateful for this site for helping me navigate how to use Ancestry!

    1. Hi Penelope

      I am so glad you’ve been able to connect with your biological family as a result of joining It must be so rewarding to find out that side of yourself! Thank you for your lovely comments about my site.


      1. It’s been a trip because I’ve always just identified with my dad’s side of the family, who are all Italians. But this other side, my mom’s side, is all Mormon, and they’ve kept track of their massive families over the years. There are literally all these old timey photos of women and men who look like my mom!

        1. Hi Penelope

          Wow! So jealous. Italians and Mormons are well known for their family-centric cultures and would keep good records. I have boxes of photos with no idea who half of the people are. By the time my grandmother came to live with me over 10 years ago she was legally blind and couldn’t always see who was in the photo. I’ve asked mum but she doesn’t know a lot of them either. As for dad’s I have identified some and had some help from him and his elderly cousins but many are still a mystery.


  3. Geneology is fascinating! We have unidentified photos as well….there’s something intriguing about learning the backstories of all those folks who lived their lives then…just like we are now.

    1. Hi Terri

      I know – genealogy is such an amazing hobby – you never know which way it will take you. Old photos fascinate me – who were these people? What did they do? Where were they from? So many questions! I one day hope to find out the answer to the questions for this photo.


  4. First of all, I love the format of this blog. I wish I had it. Secondly, genealogy is important to me. Sadly, it was not important to my parents and those before. I wouldn’t even have a clue where to start. My great grandmothers and grandmothers are deceased so they can no longer tell me anything. Sad.

    1. Hi Lane

      Thank you for your lovely comments on my blog – I love it too. It is sad that your family never talked about your ancestry but that doesn’t mean you can’t find information out about them. I have met many people online through and other websites such as Facebook groups who are researching the same people. From these, I have made connections with relatives, some close cousins, other distant ones. I have received photographs of family members I had never seen before. I even met my mum’s cousin and uncle earlier this year for the first time – mum has never met them – all through posting requests for information on internet forums. It can be done so don’t feel discouraged because you don’t have an immediate link to them. You probably know a lot more than you give yourself credit. Anyhow if there is anything I can do to assist you in your genealogy feel free to ask!


  5. Hi Megan, I am glad I found your website. It is enthralling at the same time nostalgic to read on such topics as I am too a big fan of “ancestral stories”. In fact, I am the “Records Keeper” of the family. It just gives me immense joy whenever I keep memorabilia and certificates of my family and past relatives. Like you, I even have a Genealogy software to document everything. It was tough retracing but the challenge is very fulfilling once you find a piece of the family history puzzle. The picture you shared is amazing. I remember collecting old pictures of my mom and I can’t help but feel happy as she resembled, not me nor my sister, but my daughter. They look like twins. Oh boy, I’ve got tons of stories of old pictures. For me, though they represent the past, seeing them in the present just brings them alive. Soon our pictures now will be the past, and our generation is blessed that we have the means to capture everything for the future generations to see. Thanks Megan for this. =)

    1. Hi JR

      It is always good to hear from another genealogist who is the family record keeper and gets excited about photos and old documents. It is a thrill that only we crazy genealogists understand! I am really glad you are enjoying my site as much as I am enjoying writing for it. Please come back regularly to read more as I release it.


  6. This is such an awesome site you have created! This is something that I’ve always been interested in getting into but never knew where to start! Thanks so much for sharing about your journey and the interesting photo! I loved reading!

    1. Hi Jen

      Thank you, I am so glad you are enjoying my site. This photo has me intrigued. I would love nothing more than to have someone read my blog who knows the answer to the questions of who is in the photo. I’m glad I’ve inspired you to start thinking about your history.


  7. I always liked to find out my history, but never put the effort into trying. I always liked looking at old photos and trying to figure out who they were. I never had anyway to trace them, but have been thinking about joining especially when I see old photos like this one.

    1. Hi Fred

      Genealogy does require some effort but what often starts out as a small hobby balloons into an obsession, hence my blog! is a great place to start on your journey as you can start at the beginning by building a tree online and gradually fill in the missing pieces. I have written a post – An Introduction to – that you may find helpful. Let me know how you go!


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