Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Why do we have a picture of Mary Collis Taylor Dickins?

When do you think this picture was taken of Mary Collis? My first guess was that it was taken when Mary Ann Moore [Marian DeBarcy] married Charles, Sr. That must have been around 1859. (William was born in 1860.) Mary would have been 13. Did girls put their hair up that early? I wish I could see her pendant better. It looks totally flat. I wonder if it got turned around and what we are looking at is the back of the pendant?

Why would Mary Ann keep this picture of Mary Collis even after she split up with Charles Sr.? The fact that she kept it must mean that it was hers to begin with, which is one reason why I think she commissioned the sitting. Was her early picture (see sidebar) taken at the same time? A girl's day out? Trying to make friends with a [future?] step-child?

Mary Collis Taylor bounced around living with different uncles at different times. In 1851, she lived with her father, Charles & mother, Ann Clarke in Tranmere, Cheshire. In 1861, she lived with Uncle Samuel Taylor at 162 Olive Park in Wavertree. In 1871 she lived with Uncle John Taylor at 51 Hope Street in Everton. In 1881, she was married to Edward Francis Dickins. They are together in 1891 & 1901. Of course we have to take this with a little salt, since the censuses are only a single day's snapsnot in a 10-year period. But, Charles Jr.'s notes say that she lived with Uncle Samuel, so that sounds as if she never did live regularly with Mary Ann & Charles Sr. I wonder why, especially if Mary Ann tried to make friends with Mary Collis as this picture might suggest.

Who has the original photograph? This copy was given me by my cousin. It doesn't have the photographer's stamp on it, so I have no idea whether it was taken in Liverpool, or on a trip they all might have taken together. I might even be able to date it somewhat by the photographer's listing in the directories. If only we knew.

Mary's middle name came from her grandmother, Sophia Collis, who married John Taylor, Esq. A cousin contacted us who had a old transcription of an even older family bible record. His record corroborated what we had researched through wills and censuses and gave us a few more details.

But we still can't locate a marriage record for Charles Taylor and Ann Clarke.

What is it with middle names in this family? In Mary Collis's christening record her mother's name of Anne Clarke appears. In the 1851 census, she has the name Annie Clerk Taylor. In both of these Mary has the middle name"Collis." Why is this so important? In every record we have found Mary shows up as "Mary C." or "Mary Collis" and yet Charles Jr. did not record her middle initial in the family story he provided us.

So it all comes back to the same question; Why do we have a picture of Mary Collis Taylor?

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