The Psychogenealogist Pic of the Week (#22) - Dorothy Sears (1922-1927)

Every Friday The Psychogenealogist shares a "Pic of the Week." The intent is to encourage thought and imagination about the spaces where psychology, genealogy, and history converge.

This week's photo is of my great aunt, Dorothy Sears. She was born in 1922 and died in 1927 at the early age of 5 years and 4 months. Her cause of death was scarlet fever

Dorothy was the oldest child of my great grandparents, Arthur and Ida (Rhoads) Sears. She was my grandmother's oldest sister. Dorothy died when my grandmother was only a toddler. She was the 3rd great granddaughter (along with my grandmother) of my 5th great grandfather Wilfred Miles (1770-1825).

I love the soulful expression on her face. It strikes me as knowing and confident. Who or what is she looking at off to the side? What is she thinking and feeling?

There is also an inescapable sadness and melancholy as I look at her face and think about all the years she didn't get to live. What would she have become? Would I have known her? How did her death affect the lives of her parents and my extended family at the time? 

Other than knowing that my grandmother had an older sister who died young I never heard stories about Dorothy. And, there is no one alive today who would be able to tell me them first hand.

Dorothy Sears (1922-1927)


As you look at this photo think about the children in your own family tree who died young.

  • Who are they? What are their names?
  • Where were they laid to rest?
  • What stories are told (or not) about their short lives?
  • How are they remembered or forgotten in family lore?
  • How did my family mourn?

Do you have an old photograph or a genealogical story that you would like to share? I am happy to consider guest submissions for possible Pic of the Week or other blog posts in the future. Send an email to for more information.

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