The first time I started looking for the family of an orphaned photograph, I got lucky right out of the gate. I found this very handsome gentleman in an antique shop in Chamblee, Georgia, and there was enough information on the back of the photograph to start my search.
My first instinct was to begin searching Ancestry.com, even though that isn’t always my starting point these days. I looked around in the census data and started scratching down some notes, not really sure what the process should be. Then – and this has never happened since – I decided to click on the “Pictures” link and the very first thing to pop up was an image identical to the one I had bought !! Looking closer, I saw that the image was not quite as clear as mine, and appeared to be from a newspaper clipping. Still, it gave me information about the owner of the photo, and I was ready to make contact.
I was a bit hesitant about it, though. How would a person react to getting an e-mail from someone they did not know? In this day and age, there are so many scams out there, and I, for one, would not be eager to respond to someone offering to give me something for nothing. So I worded the e-mail as carefully as I could, with reassurances that all I wanted was to get the photo back into the hands of family, and hit “Send.”
Before the end of the day, I had a reply !! And not just any reply … the gentleman who responded was the great-grandson of the man in the photograph, and shared his name !! He was very excited to see the photo, and so happy about the opportunity to have the original. The next day, I went to work, bundled up the photograph, and fired it off ! Since then, I have learned that Mr. Chatfield was a prominent politician, and that he has descendants who now live in Colorado.
We still don’t know how this photograph landed in the Atlanta area, but I’m awfully glad it did. This process is addicting, and Mr. Chatfield’s photo is the one that really kicked it off for me.
NOTE: If you are related to Mr. Chatfield, I’d love to hear from you. The original photograph has been sent to his family, but I am certainly willing to share a scan, if you like.