52 Ancestors: Favourite Photo

What a prompt! Now, I received a new laptop for Christmas (lucky me) and currently all my files from my old one exist in potentia courtesy of my OneDrive or my Dropbox and I haven’t actually sorted anything out yet. So there’s a kick up the bum …

My all-time favourite photo I have shared on more than one occasion: me, my brother Alex, my mum, my gran and my great-gran.

I mean, how can you say no to that face?? (And those green velveteen shorts? Oh my!)

But I think the photo that sparked everything for me, that really urged me to dig in to my family history is probably this one:

My mother’s father, Ellis Howard Adams. I suppose it spoke to me in different ways. Yes, he was American. Yes, he was a soldier. Yes, he was wholly absent from my life and the majority of my mum’s. I suppose he represented things that had barely squirmed in my early-teen brain regarding the lure of the other, the unknowable, the gold-tinged mythos of … America. To small-village-raised me, there was a lot going on.

I have delved into his life a little – I await the release of the 1950 US census in April 2022 with impatience (along with the 1921 UK census in the same year) and some of those gold-tinged mysteries may have been dulled a little but this photo – and Ellis himself – hold a special place in my research.


  1. And what an interesting photo that is of your grandfather! Soldier dressed in his Class B’s in front of cows. That’s not a normal soldier photo! :-D. What darling boys, too. The resemblances between the ladies is amazing, even knowing they are related. C’mon 1950 census!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had no idea that was his Class B uniform! Ha yes, well the field behind him is called “Cow Down”. At the time my grandmother met Ellis, she and her parents lived in a cottage on top of a hill in the middle of nowhere and she used to walk down into town to work at a flax mill. There was a barracks in the town that housed US soldiers for a while. I assume he went for a *ahem* visit and she managed to get a pic of him. Which I’m glad of as this is the only picture I’ve seen of him! Even his living family (nephews/nieces) don’t have any! And yes – it’s the hair. I call it Hurcombe hair as it seems prevalent in my great-grandmother’s family. A lot of the ladies have it. But they do all look very similar in those 3 generations!


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