Mary ALLAN Melrose (1850-1936)’s Photo Album

December 12, 2022

BACKGROUND NOTES from website author Pamela FORSYTH, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

This Page of my website is devoted to:

A PHOTO ALBUM started in 1871 in Northumberland, England by 21-year-old Mary ALLAN (1850-1936). Mary was born at Thornton Park, Northumberland on 13 July 1850, the third child and first daughter of Peter ALLAN (1823-1905) and his wife Sarah SHORT (1824-1902). Her parents were both born in Northumberland and spent their lives there. By the time Mary started her photo album in 1871 the family was living at Wark-on-Tweed where her father was employed as a farm steward. In January 1874 Mary married David MELROSE (1849-1907) and they lived and worked for the rest of their lives in the nearby town of Coldstream, Berwickshire, Scotland.

Mary (m.s. ALLAN) Melrose’s great-grandson, David Melrose of England inherited Mary’s photo album and he has done the work of scanning the fifty photos in the album. He and his second cousin Alison Melrose in Australia, another of Mary’s great-grandchildren, shared the photos with me, Pamela Forsyth, a great-granddaughter of Mary’s sister Margaret (m.s. ALLAN) Brownlees (1853-1897), in the hope that I might be able to help identify some of the people in the album as I also have some photos from the Allan and Melrose families. The three of us have collaborated to try to identify the photos or at least to narrow down and speculate on the possible identities of the friends and family depicted in Mary’s album.

April 15, 1871  is the starting date for Mary’s album but Alison has suggested, from the style of the photographs and the clothing, that Mary had collected a number of photos in the years prior to starting her album. These photos would likely be from the 1860s when the carte de visite photo, approximately 3.25 by 2.25 inches, became very popular. Albums like Mary’s would have many pre-cut spaces where the cartes could be inserted, usually about four per page. There would also be pre-cut spaces to insert the larger cabinet photos that started to gain in popularity in the 1870s.

Most of the photos in the album were not labelled and most of the ones that I have of the family are from a later time period, about 1891 to 1919. However, we have been able to identify some of the people and I have made some guesses and also searched – thank you Google – for information as to the dates the various photo studios were in operation.

Below are a few notes about the studios, With each photo I have included our guesses, speculation about dates, etc.

It appears that Mary continued to add photos throughout the 1870s and 1880s. One that confirms this is Photo #42, the picture of Mary and her husband David MELROSE and their two eldest children. Alison thinks that the photo is a post mortem one of little Peter Allan Melrose who died January 25, 1878 at the age of one year and ten months so this would date the photo fairly precisely to January 1878.

It is likely that the earlier photos are members of the Peter and Sarah ALLAN family of Wark-on-Tweed, – nine children plus a large extended family of uncles, aunts, and cousins –  but some of the later ones will also be of individuals in the MELROSE family. Mary and her husband had eleven children, ten boys and one girl, between 1874 and 1895.

A brief history of Mary’s birth family, her parents and eight siblings, as well as information about her children, is in another section of this website. The link is below:

Peter ALLAN & Sarah SHORT Family of Wark-on-Tweed, Northumberland, England – 1820s to 1950s

OTHER DESCENDANTS OF PETER ALLAN (1823-1905) and SARAH SHORT (1824-1902) – If any other descendants of this couple find this page and have any of the same photos, especially ones that have been identified we would love to hear from you via the “Contact” page on this website!


David Melrose has carefully noted the names and addresses of the photo studios, which in many cases are stamped on the back of the photos. I have noted that on the captions accompanying each photo. I did not find information on all the studios but include a few notes here and also some with individual photos.

John Foster studio of Coldstream, Scotland, This was the most popular choice and probably was the closest studio to where the families lived. Twenty-seven of the fifty photos were taken there. [Numbers 1, 2, 4, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, 33, 37, 39, 41, 42, 43, 47, 48, 49.]

John Foster (1825-1889) was identified with the occupation “Photographic Artist” in Coldstream in the 1861 census. In the 1851 census his occupation was “Boot Closer” so, sometime in the ten year period between these censuses he trained as a photographer and opened his studio. He seems to have remained in this business until his death at age 63 in February 1889. So, this gives a fairly long time period (probably more than 30 years) in which the photos identified as his could have been taken.

The address for John Foster’s home/business was 17 Duns Road (the Old Manse), Coldstream. Occasionally, the address is given as High Street, Coldstream but I think it is probably the same location with a slightly changed address. By the 1891 census another photographer, George Wright Gibson (1860-1951) was operating his photography business from this address. Mr Gibson seemed to continue at this location for some decades afterwards. Many of the family photos from my grandmother’s collection were taken at the Gibson studio.

J. Mackintosh, Kelso is the  studio where photos #7 and #50 were taken. Several members of the ALLAN and MELROSE families lived in the Kelso area. For example:  Peter Allan’s brothers Thomas Allan (1817-1899) and James Allan (1820-1884). Also, Mary Allan’s husband David Melrose (1849-1907) was born at Sprouston, just a couple of miles outside Kelso. His parents and other Melrose family members made their homes there.

James Mackintosh (1807-1876) of Kelso seems to have been primarily a “Carver and Gilder”, as noted in the census, but sometimes also a photographer (according to a Family Tree on Ancestry). His daughters Mary Mackintosh and Margaret (Mackintosh) Lund were working as “artist photographer” and “photographer” in Kelso at the time of the 1881 census. Any photos James Mackintosh took would, of course, have been taken prior to his death in 1876 but it is possible that his daughters continued to operate their family business using his name and photo stock after that date.

COVER of Mary Allan’s Album

Photo albums of the time (1871) were very ornate, leather-bound, and impressive looking like this one. Often, they were displayed prominently in the home for family or guests to view.


Endpaper, inside front cover:

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“Mary Allan, April 15, 1871”  This is the artistic and colourful endpaper that Mary created for her album when she started mounting her collection of photographs. She was to turn 21 that summer and perhaps, as Alison suggested, this album was a 21st birthday present.

Endpaper and first Photo Page:



Photographer: John Foster – Old Manse – Coldstream.  I think this is likely  Peter Allan (1823-1905) in middle age. I am guessing this mainly because it is the first photo in Mary’s album and I thought she would give her father that special place. In my grandmother’s photo album (from the mid 1890s) the first picture is of herself at that time, as owner of the album. Then the next two photos are of her grandparents Peter and Sarah Allan with whom she lived.

The picture below is NOT in Mary ALLAN Melrose’s album but it is one from my grandmother’s album which I know to be Peter Allan (1823-1905). It was taken at the George Gibson studio in Coldstream. I think it was probably taken in the late 1890s or even 1900-1902.  Mr Gibson seems to have taken over the John Foster studio after Mr Foster’s death in 1889. The two photos are likely of the same man. The receding hairline and the style and shape of the beard are similar




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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – High Street – COLDSTREAM, Scotland

The style of this photo – showing the entire person – was characteristic of photos taken in the 1850s and early to mid-1860s. He could be one of Mary’s Allan uncles – there were at least five of them, born between 1817 and 1825.



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Photographer: unknown.

Photos were often taken on special occasions like a 21st birthday so this might have been one of Mary’s brothers at such a time.  Thomas Allan was born in March 1847 so would have been 21 in 1868. Leonard Allan was born in 1848 so would have been 21 in 1869.



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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland

This is probably one of Mary’s sisters, possibly Margaret (1853-1897) who was the one nearest in age to Mary. Margaret was 18 years old in 1871 when Mary started her album. The dress style would fit in with this date or could be a little earlier.



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Photographer: Parisian Photo Co – 75, Princes Street, Edinburgh

See comments with Photo #18 below which appears to have been taken on the same day. The Parisian Photo Co operated at this address from 1887-1914. Perhaps it is a photo of one of Mary’s nieces or nephews.



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Photographer: J.C. PATERSON – Clayport St. & Fencle St. , ALNWICK, England. Probable date – 1860s.



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Photographer: J. MACKINTOSH, KELSO, Scotland

This could be one of Mary’s ALLAN uncles. Two of Peter Allan’s brothers lived near Kelso.  Allan families lived at Sprouston and Morebattle, both close to Kelso, and some of the female members of the family were domestic servants in the Laing household at Tweed Bank, Kelso early in the 20th century. The elder brother,  Thomas ALLAN (1817-1899) and his wife are buried at the Kyloe cemetery. James ALLAN (1820-1884) lived with Thomas and his family at East Kyloe in 1871 but in 1881 he is living with Peter and his family at Wark-on-Tweed. James died at Wark in 1884.



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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland

This looks like the woman in Photo #4 – in both photos the woman is wearing a similar white-coloured brooch or short necklace. She also looks like one of the girls in the group photo # 13 of Sarah Short Allan and daughters, possibly the girl standing at the right in that photo.



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This also seems to be in the category of a “special occasion” photo – perhaps finishing school or reaching age 18 or 21. It could be one of Mary’s two older brothers (born 1847 and 1848) but the location of Newcastle, rather than Coldstream is a bit surprising, so that might indicate a family member who lived further away.


#10   Probably Sarah (m.s. SHORT) ALLAN (1824-1902)

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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland

If I am correct about photo #13 being Sarah Short and her daughters then this is also Sarah Short as it is clearly the same woman, probably at a somewhat younger age. Probable date:  From the style of her dress and the way the figure is posed  we are guessing the early or mid-1860s, when Sarah would be in her late thirties to mid-forties. Alison thinks that the dress would be made of taffeta.

[a photo of a similarly dessed woman is identified as 1862, on p.4 of “Family Photographs 1860-1945” by Robert Pols.]



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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland

That this is an early photo is indicated by the base of the headrest or “neck clamp” which is visible behind the chair. This item was used to keep the sitter’s head still for the long exposure needed for a clear photo in the early days. As film speeds improved it was no longer necessary. Apparently, it was used as late as the 1870s by some studios but was much more common in the 1850s and early 1860s. In photos of women at the time their voluminous dresses usually covered any sign of the headrest but it can often be noticed in pictures of men. [There was useful information on this in the book “Family Photographs 1860-1945” by Robert Pols.]   But, I still can’t guess who the sitter is.



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Photographer: John Foster – High Street Coldstream.

If this photo is from the 1860s possibilities for the sitters include some of Mary’s cousins, e.g. her Uncle Thomas Allan (1817-1899) had five daughters –  Cecilie (1847-1875), Margaret (b.1849), Mary (b.1852) Eleanor (b.1856) and Elizabeth (b. 1859). Their mother, Mary (m.s. Wilkie) Allan was born about 1823, died 1883, so she could be the woman in this photo.

I also checked on the Short cousins that I know of but only one, Jane Short (b. 1855), would be a possible because all the others in the right age bracket are boys.

Alison thinks that this photo must be from the 1860s or 1850s:  “Just looking at Image #12. I think it is of the earlier date, possibly the late 1850s. The waist of the dress is at the natural line and the sleeves of the woman’s dress widens below a neater fitting top. The V-front of the bodice is evident and all the dresses have a white collar and a  high (relatively!) neckline. That would fit in with your speculation that it may be some of Thomas ALLAN’s five daughters.”

Pam: Also, on taking a second look, it seems that head rests, as used in early photos, may be in use for the woman and the girl on the right (visible behind her feet since her dress does not reach the floor), but not so for the somewhat blurry girl on the left. The small girl has been able to keep still as she is resting her head on the woman’s shoulder.


#13   This photo is probably of Sarah Short ALLAN (1824-1902) and four of her six daughters.

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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland

The woman seated at the far left looks to be Mary (m.s.ALLAN) MELROSE (1850-1936) – comparing her to other known photos of Mary. It this is Mary, then I would guess that the photo is of Sarah (m.s. SHORT) ALLAN (1824-1902) and four of her six daughters.

If that is the case, which are the other three daughters in the photo? The choices are:

  • Margaret (born 1853) moved to Newcastle some time after her marriage in June 1871. She was there by the second quarter of 1873 when her eldest daughter was born. She lived in Newcastle or Gateshead  for the rest of her life.
  • Sarah (born 1858) seems always to have lived at Branxton/Cornhill with her parents, then her widowed brother.
  • Isabella (born 1860) lived in the Cornhill/Branxton area at least until her second marriage in 1887, after which she lived mainly in Edinburgh.
  • Elizabeth/Bessie Ann (born 1863) She was living at Coldstream at age 18, in 1881. Later she worked in Edinburgh but also nearby at Kelso although I don’t have exact dates.
  • Georgina (born 1867) lived at home in Cornhill/Branxton until her marriage in 1894. After that she lived in a few different places – Sunderland in Durham, Alnwick, Northumberland, and by 1909 she was again living near Coldstream. She is unlikely to be in this photo as it seems to be from the early 1870s when she would still be less than seven years old.

Date of photo??    It is hard to guess the ages of the girls but Mary, seated on the left, is the oldest (born July 1850)  She does not appear to be wearing a wedding ring so the picture would be earlier than her marriage which was Jan 9, 1874. None of the girls is young enough to be Georgina, who would be no more than 6 or 7 years old by that date.

The clothing here is quite different from all the other photos – more casual, with similarly patterned fabric, some with aprons, all with short sleeves, which are featured in none of the other photos.  What might that choice mean?

Alison suggests that the unusual costuming could be related to their dressing for a summer wedding such as that of Margaret Allan which took place June 2, 1871 at Carham Parish Church.



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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland

This woman looks to be one of the girls in photo #13, the one standing at back left, so possibly one of Sarah Short’s daughters and a sister of Mary Allan Melrose. She looks to be wearing the same brooch as Sarah Short Allan is wearing in Photo #10. Or she could be one of Mary’s Allan cousins. Three of her uncle Thomas Allan’s daughters were near in age to Mary – Cecilie Allan born 1847, Margaret Allan born 1849, and Mary Allan born 1852.



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Photographer: YERBURY & STEWART – 3 SO Hanover Street, EDINBURGH, Scotland

Yerbury & Stewart operated at 3 Hanover Street only from 1864-66 but Yerbury alone operated from 3 So Hanover Street from 1869-98. Perhaps one of Mary’s two older brothers? or a cousin?



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Photographer: unknown. Date probably the 1860s judging from the style of the dress.



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Photographer: YERBURY & STEWART – 3 SO Hanover Street, EDINBURGH, Scotland

Yerbury & Stewart operated at 3 Hanover Street only from 1864-66 but Yerbury alone operated from 3 So Hanover Street from 1869-98. Perhaps one of Mary’s two older brothers? or a cousin?



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Photographer: PARISIAN PHOTO Co.  75, Princes Street, EDINBURGH, Scotland

I checked on the Parisian Photo Company in Edinburgh which is the studio where this picture and also Photo #5 , the small child alone, were taken. According to the Google search I did, that company was in business at this address from about 1887-1914 so these two pictures would seem to be from a later date than many of the other photos. The website is  

Could this be the woman in Photo #32 in what looked like an engagement photo? It was also taken in Edinburgh.



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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland

Alison Melrose notes that: “No. 19 is a typical ‘wedding’ pose. Both sitters are fashionably dressed for the mid to late 1870s, the male from the neck/ shirt style and the lapels, and the female from the line of the dress forming a smooth line from neck to hips in the over-skirt which is then caught up at the back  in a ‘bustle’. Any suggestions Pam?”

from Pam: Mary (Allan) Melrose’s two brothers married in the time frame that Alison suggests for this photo so either of them could be a possibility for this picture:

      Thomas Allan (1847-1921) married Isabella Nesbit (of Cornhill parish) on May 11, 1878 in the Glendale district of Northumberland.

       Leonard Allan (1848-1903) married Agnes Logan (of Wark-on-Tweed) on 23 April, 1875 in Glendale district. Glendale includes communities where the Allans lived like Branxton, etc.  I have never seen a picture of either brother but the fact that both brothers and their brides lived in the same area at least makes Coldstream a likely place for their wedding photos.

Does this man look like any of the other unidentified men in Mary’s album?



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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland

 Could this also be Mary Allan Melrose (1850-1936)? At first I thought it might be her and her only daughter (born 1883) but it is noticeable that the carpet and table cloth in the photo are the same as in several pictures above that we thought were from the 1860s or 1870s. An alternative possibility is that the young girl could be Mary’s youngest sister Georgina ALLAN who was seventeen years younger, born in 1867 or Bessie ALLAN, born in 1862/3. These possibilities would make the photo’s date more likely to be in the late 1860s or early 1870s. The woman does not appear to be wearing a wedding ring so it seems more likely that the picture is of Mary, the eldest, and one of the two youngest of the ALLAN sisters.  Also note, by the girl’s feet, what looks like the base of the head clamp used in earlier photos to keep the subject still. Improvements in cameras and film speed meant that this device was not usually in use by the late 1880s.



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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland

I think this photo (above) must be of Mary Allan Melrose (1850-1936).  This woman has the small but distinctive cleft in her chin that we see also in Photo #42 which was definitely identified as Mary.  If the girl, who looks to be only three or four years old, is Mary’s only daughter Sarah Short Melrose (1883-1966) the picture would date to about 1886 or 1887. If the photo is an earlier one from the 1860s or early 1870s (looking at the tablecloth, carpet, and chair) it could be Mary and one of her younger sisters. Mary was almost 17 years older than Georgina (b. April 1867) and 13 years older than Elizabeth (Bessie)Ann (born late 1862 or early 1863). If the child is one of Mary’s younger sisters, the photo would date to the late 1860s or early 1870s.

Unknown: How often would a photo studio replace props like tablecloths, chairs and carpet?



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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland

This could be one of Mary’s brothers – Thomas Allan(1847-1921) or Leonard Allan (1848-1903), taken in the 1860s.



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Photographer: A.D. LEWIS -NEWCASTLE-on-TYNE.    According to Christine Hibbert’s website the studio operated from 1873 to 1883.

This is the only photo in Mary’s album which is the same as one that was in my grandmother’s album. The only difference is that mine is sepia-toned instead of the grey/black of this one. However, I am now at a loss as to how to identify the woman! My mother thought that this was her other great-grandmother, Jane Burn (1812-1885) who married Alexander BROWNLEES (1813-1893) of Cornhill-on-Tweed. They were the parents of William Brownlees (1846-1908) who married Margaret Allan (1853-1897). That the photo was taken in Newcastle-on-Tyne seemed to fit though because Jane had two sons and several grandchildren living in Newcastle.

But, it seems unlikely that Mary Allan would have a photo of a woman who was no relation to her but who was her sister Margaret’s mother-in-law. So, now I am thinking that perhaps my mother mixed up her two great-grandmothers, both of whom were dead long before she was born. This is probably another photo of Sarah Short Allan (1824-1902) when she was in her fifties. Her daughter Margaret (1853-1897), son-in-law William Brownlees (1846-1908) and their large family lived in Newcastle and Gateshead during the time that this photo studio operated.



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Photographer: unknown.  We had no guesses about these two children. Could they be Mary’s children or a nephew and niece?



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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland – No guesses!



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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland



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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland



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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland

This looks like the same man as Photo #43.


#29     Probably taken at  LEES HOUSE, COLDSTREAM

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Photographer: D. DAVIDSON – CASTLE Street, DUNSE [Berwickshire, Scotland]
It looks to be Mary Allan (1850-1936), in the back row, third from the left. At the time of her marriage in January 1874 Mary was working as a dairy maid and her address was listed as Lees House, which is the manor house, at Coldstream, belonging at that time, to Sir John Marjoribanks (1830-1884), 3rd baronet of Lees. I think this must be a picture of the household staff at Lees House when Mary Allan was working there prior to her marriage in 1874 – so the picture would likely be from the early 1870s. In the 1871 census Mary was listed as a domestic servant but was living at home with her parents at Wark-on-Tweed. Perhaps she worked at Lees House from  about 1871 til January 1874.

Later, in the 1881 census (taken on the night of April 3rd), her sister Elizabeth (Bessie) Allan (1862-1949) was listed as working at this house. Even though the family was not in residence at that time there were ten servants living and working at the house, including a dairy maid. So, in times when the family was in residence there was probably a larger staff, similar to the size of the group in this photo. Interestingly, in the absence of the owners on the day of the 1881 census,  the  “Head” of household is recorded as a 73-year-old poultry woman named Jessie Hogg who lives in cottage #8. [Since Mary’s maternal grandmother was Mary Hogg, it is possible that Jessie Hogg is some relation to the girls.]

There are some pictures of Lees House online and there is one picture post card of it on my website (in the section on Mary’s sister Elizabeth Ann Allan (1862-1949) on a card sent to my grandmother. It is the distinctive style of the cut stone walls of the house, visible behind the group, and the large windows, which made me start to think that this picture may well have been taken at Lees House where Mary worked.



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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland



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Photographer: CH BRAITHWAITE – Brigte -LEEDS, England



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Photographer: MILLER & ADAMSON, 68 Pleasance, EDINBOROUGH, Scotland

Mr Miller was a photographer in 1874 but I found no info on the years he operated the studio at 68 Pleasance Street, Edinburgh.

Possibly an engagement photo – the ring on her left hand is prominently displayed and the corsage gives the impression of a happy and special occasion.

Could this be the same woman as in Photo#18 with the baby?It was also taken in Edinburgh but at a diffrent studio.



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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland

The style of dress also looks like the early 1860s. It may be another picture of Mary’s mother Sarah SHORT Allan (1824-1902). The cap gives her a diffrent look but the face seems similar to Photo #10.



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Photographer: Wm. TOWERT – 31 St. Patrick Square, EDINBURGH, Scotland

Towert Studio operated at this address from 1865-73.



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Photographer: Wm. TOWERT – 31 St. Patrick Square, EDINBURGH, Scotland

Towert Studio operated at this address from 1865-73.



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Photographer: unknown

#36 reverse

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Written on reverse of Photo #36: “For Miss Allan – Sailed the ship Zealandia 9th Oct, 1872. [ A friend in the Edmonton Branch of the Alberta Genealogy  Society was able to figure out the handwriting and determined that the name of  the ship was the Zealandia which launched in 1869 or 1870 and continued to sail at least until 1903. It seemed to travel mostly between New Zealand ports and to Australia.] Follow-up: any Allans (or other family) at the time who moved to New Zealand or Australia?



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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland

Could this be Mary’s daughter Sarah Short Melrose (1883-1966) and the brother who was only two years older than her, Andrew Melrose (1881-1942)? Dressing children in tartan outfits was popular in Victorian times but this young boy does not appear to be too pleased about it.



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Photographer: Wm. TOWERT – 31 St. Patrick Square, EDINBURGH, Scotland

Towert Studio operated at this address from 1865-73.



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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland

We think that this is Mary’s husband DAVID MELROSE (1849-1907). He looks very like the man in Photo #42 who has been identified as David.



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Photographer: HOWIE JUNr- 60 Princes Street, Edinburgh (est. 1839)

Howie  operated at this address from 1864-67.



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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland


#42    Mary ALLAN (1850-1936) and her husband David MELROSE (1849-1907) with their two oldest children – Richard Melrose (1874-1920) and Peter Allan Melrose (1876-1878). As Alison Melrose has noted – this is probably a post mortem photo of little Peter who died Jan 25, 1878, which would date this photo to shortly after the death. Post mortem photos were very popular with the Victorians and even into the early 20th century, as a way to remember and honour the deceased family member.

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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland



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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland

This looks like the same man as Photo #28.



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Photographer: F. LINDSLEY – NO 3 Market – SUNDERLAND, England



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Photographer: Wm. TOWERT -31 St. Patrick Square, EDINBURGH, Scotland

Towert Studio operated at this address from 1865-73.



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Photographer: M. SZARKOWSKI – 51, Victoria Street,  WINDSOR, England

This photo is a real mystery – none of the family members I have researched lived in Windsor or anywhere near there. In one of the books I read about old photo albums it was noted that people often included non-family members in their albums, such as prominent contemporaries like actors, writers, and politicians, so I wondered if this might have been someone like that. A Google image search did not yield anything useful.


#47        This photo and #48 seem to be the same but since the photographer’s address on the reverse is slightly different it may be that the copies were obtained at different times and Mary intended to give one to someone else but both ended up in her album.

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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland


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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – COLDSTREAM, Scotland



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Photographer: JOHN FOSTER – Old Manse- COLDSTREAM, Scotland



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Photographer: MACINTOSH & Co. – KELSO, Scotland



In analyzing this photo collection Alison Melrose has shared the expertise she gained from her career as a museum curator who worked extensively with nineteenth century photographs and costumes. In addition, I consulted a few books that are useful for trying to sort out old family photos:

Family Photographs 1860-1945 by Robert Pols, Public Record Office Publications, Richmond, Surrey, [UK] c2002, 166 pages.

Tracing your Ancestors through Family Photographs, a complete guide for family and local historians by Jayne Shrimpton, Pen & Sword Books Ltd., Barnsley, South Yorkshire, c2014, 212 pages

Family Photo Detective, Learn how to find Genealogy clues in old photos and solve Family Photo Mysteries by Maureen A. Taylor. Cincinnati, Ohio, Family Tree Books, c2013, 175 pages.



SARAH SHORT  -late 1890s (from her granddaughter Isabella Brownlees’ album)
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Probably Sarah Short Allan in the 1860s.
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Probably also Sarah Short Allan, perhaps in the 1850s? It and the one above show the same high forehead and slightly sunken or hooded eyes
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Probably Sarah Short Allan and four of her daughters – possibly early or mid-1870s.