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.
There is something simultaneously serene and ghostly about the woman in this photograph. It is labeled "Rosana Cochran" and appears to be from the mid to late 1800s. The back of the photo notes the photographer as A.N. Stauffer from Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania. This came from a random lot of vintage photography off of eBay.
Here is the back of this photograph:
I hate the thought of a family photo like this ending up in a dumpster or landfill somewhere. I know nothing about it other than what you see here. I'm on a quest to return it to a descendant or other relative.
I did a quick Ancestry search for the name and location. I found several records for a Rosana Cochran (and variant spellings) in Pennsylvania in the mid to late 1800s. I came across one user who had a photo attached to a "Rosannah Cochran" in their family tree. The city was listed as Indiana, Pennsylvania, and her lifespan was listed as 1832-1892.
Here is a side by side comparison of the two photos:
Both Mount Pleasant and Indiana are cities outside of Pittsburgh, PA. The timing of the second woman's life seems to fit the age of the first woman. It is uncanny how similar their hairlines and parts are. If this is the same woman I would guess the second one is older than the first.
These look like the same woman to me. If all I had were the photographs I would place my confidence level at about 70%, pretty sure but not a slam dunk.
The circumstantial evidence, if accurate, however, is strong. Considering that I would my confidence level up to 90%. I put the question to The Psychogenealogist Facebook Group and here is what they had to say:
I have an inquiry into the man who posted the second photo into his tree. I will keep you posted! In the mean time, what do you think?
- Who is this woman?
- What is her story?
- What do you think and feel when you come across old photos of people and families that have to connection to you?
- Is this woman as unhappy as she looks?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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