"Uncle Ed Costlow and Family. My Mother's Brother"

I love this photograph!

It came from a large collection from my great grandmother, Ida (Rhoads) Sears (1900-2002). I appreciate how attentive she was in writing notes on photos to identify people.

On the back of this photo, in her distinctive penmanship, she wrote: "Uncle Ed Costlow and Family. My Mother's Brother."

"Uncle Ed Costlow and Family"

And the back:

Edward (Ed) Costlow was indeed Ida's maternal uncle. He was born on May 25, 1876, in Dunlo, Pennsylvania. He had two sons and three daughters with his wife, Mary (Walsh) Costlow, between the years of 1902 and 1918. Uncle Ed died on June 9, 1945.

Unlce Ed would be my 3rd great uncle.

Genealogy Tip: Carefully examine the backs of photographs for helpful date estimating clues. 

You'll notice the "Place Stamp Here" lettering in the upper right corner of this photo post card. The letters "AZO" also appear with 4 upright pointing triangles.

A very quick google search of "AZO post card" led me to a helpful site. That specific stamp indicator was used between the years of 1904 an 1918 (see photo). This correspond exactly with the approximate ages of the Costlow children.

AZO post card publication information from   playle.com

AZO post card publication information from playle.com

There is some conflicting information in the census records about who Uncle Ed and Aunt Mary's children were. 

To the best of my knowledge they are (with approximate birth years), as follow: Margaret (1902), Willmore (1902), Thomas (1905), Catherine (1908), and Olive (1918).

On the 1910 census Margaret is listed, but Willmore is not. On the 1920 census they are both listed, and the given age for each is 18. Are they twins? Were they born in the same year? It is still a mystery, however, why Willmore was not listed on the 1910 census.

Does the child sitting in Mary's lap look like a boy or girl to you? 

If a boy I would guess this is the three oldest children, with Margaret and Willmore (standing in the back) being either the same or very close in age. That would leave Thomas sitting in Mary's lap.

But, the lap child looks more like a girl to me. And if that is the case I am a little stumped. 

Perhaps Willmore was a nephew or an adoptee who came into the family after 1910? That would leave the three oldest Costlow children being Margaret (1902), Thomas (1905), and Catherine (1908) sitting in her mother's lap.

If that is Catherine in the lap, she appears to be about 2 years old to me. That would place the approximate date of this photograph at about 1910.

But, the most important questions seems to be: How did the photographer get the horse to look perfectly toward the camera?

What do you think?

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