So, it has been a while since I posted. Life gets busy, doesn’t it? And while I was busy, things were happening out there in Old Photo Reunion Land.
This success story began back in January 2013. I found a couple of photographs online from a seller at Etsy.com. They were interesting, so I thought I would buy them and see what I could find out.
The first is a photograph of a young woman identified as “Mary Evelyn (Hammond) Latter” and the other is of a girl identified as “Nellie Latter.”
The first one seemed specific enough that I should be able to find her, and I did. On FamilySearch.com, I found a Mary Evelyn Hammond married to Norman James Latter, and additional research yielded more information on Norman than on Mary. According to U.S. Census forms, Norman was born in 1887 in Ontario, Canada, and by 1900, he was living in Los Angeles, California. I found his draft registration for WWI, and a death notice from May 1961.
I also noted that this particular Etsy seller had a photo of a little boy named Charles William Latter, but it had already been sold. Nonetheless, I thought the name may be a clue. I found him in a 1930 Census for Los Angeles. The household listing showed Norman J. Latter, age 42, a plumber, who had arrived in the U.S. from Canada in 1895 – must be our guy! According to the Census, his parents were both from England. His wife was listed as Mary E. Latter (yay! Mary Evelyn), age 30, born in Missouri, and their two children were listed as Norman Latter, age 6, and Charles W. Latter, age 5 (the other photo – I’m on a roll!), both born in California. In the 1940 Census, all four were living at 6423 Elgin Street in Los Angeles.
When I searched for Nellie Latter (in the second photo), I found a listing for her in the 1895 and 1896 Los Angeles City Directories, and it listed her as a dressmaker, living at 1415 Barbee, with a “Miss Rose Latter,” also a dressmaker. Unfortunately, that house number no longer shows up in a Google Earth search, and I didn’t have any real luck with a quick search of the U.S. Census for 1900.
I was able to find a few birth listings for the children and grandchildren of Norman and Mary Evelyn, but most of the information came to a roadblock or two when trying to find living relatives. After a couple of days, I decided to post an inquiry on Ancestry.com, and see what happened. Then, I waited.
And waited ….
And then life stuff happened, and I wasn’t really thinking about it anymore, except when I boxed up these old photos when we moved. It became one among many in a whole roomful of “one day when our new office is set up” boxes.
Then, in late March 2014, I got an e-mail from a woman named Peggy, who identified herself as one of Mary Evelyn and Norman Latter’s four granddaughters. After digging around in the “office” (nope – still not set up yet), I put my hands on the photos and e-mailed Peggy to let her know I had found them. She and I e-mailed back and forth a few times, and she was able to give me a little more family history.
Peggy told me that her father, Mary and Norman’s older son, was an avid photographer in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. We both wondered if this picture of Mary was one that he had taken. Peggy was also able to tell me that Nellie (the girl in the second photo) was Norman Sr.’s sister, one of two unmarried sisters. Apparently, both sisters – Nellie and Mabel – lived in Highland Park, California, and Peggy remembered them as wonderful ladies. The family still owns some of their bedroom furniture, and Peggy herself has two beautiful ostrich feather fans given to the girls by someone who owned an ostrich farm near Highland Park. There were also brothers, but Peggy did not know them well or have a lot of information on them at the time.
Mary had siblings as well – her brother, Paul, met and married a French woman, Marie, during WWI, and they lived in Oxnard, California. Mary also had a sister, Elsie, who married a man named Clair Barnum, and they lived in San Francisco before retiring to Seaside, Oregon.
Peggy was gracious enough to send me some of her own family photos, including this one of Norman, Mabel and Nellie:
And this one of “Big Grandma”:
Peggy was able to share with me some further information on Mary, Norman, their children, and grandchildren. If anyone is interested in contacting Peggy for a little family research, get in touch with me here, and I will put you in contact with Peggy.
With all apologies to W.P. Kinsella – author of “Shoeless Joe,” which became the film “Field of Dreams”- I guess if you ask it, they will come … eventually.