Possible Thomas Family Photo – Winooski, Vermont

I purchased this vintage “cabinet photo” on eBay from a man in Pennsylvania because the woman in the photo reminded me of my great-great-grandmother Anna Clifford.

Unknown Couple - Winooski, VT c1895

Unknown Couple – Winooski, VT c1895

I only have one photo each of Anna Clifford and her husband Horace Luther Thomas, and both photos were taken in the 1920’s when they were older.  This photo seems to have been taken about 1890-1900.  Anna would have been about 45 or so, and Horace would have been about 50.


At first glance there is a resemblance in both cases, but not so much that it’s a “slam dunk” at all.  The man has the same exact hair style as my grandfather did, with the part on the left, the swoop over the right eye and the exposed patch of forehead by his temple.  The nose is also remarkably similar, as is the cheek/jawline and the distinctive almond-shape of the eyes.  The feature that is most dissimilar is the thickness of the nose between the eyes.  Horace’s nose is very narrow there, and the other man’s is a bit wider.  Obviously, Horace’s eyebrows are very dark in the later photo which is different from the other man’s, and in the bottom photo it looks like Horace’s eyes are perhaps brown, where the man in the top photo looks like he might have hazel or even blue eyes.

Apart from the hairstyle and the wire-rimmed glasses, there’s not a lot that’s exactly the same between the two women.  But as women age their faces can change dramatically, especially during those hard times.  I’ve seen photos taken 10 years apart that you would never believe were the same person.  I have four or five photos of my great-great-grandmother Wilhelmine Winkelmann and she doesn’t like like the same person in any two of them.  At all.

The other factor is, of course, that this photo was taken in Winooski, Vermont which is where Anna and Horace lived for 50 years of their lives.  And it wasn’t exactly a huge town.  My thinking was that there are certain odds of someone looking like Horace, and certain odds of someone looking like Anna, so the odds of people who look like both of them being together are much steeper.  When you calculate the odds of a couple about the right ages who look like Horace and Anna and live in Winooski…  it becomes more improbable still that it’s someone else.

So what do you think?  Personally, I’d give it a reasonable chance of being them.  If it’s not, maybe someone will see this and be able to positively identify these people and we’ll have saved one more couple from being “lost”.


About cthomas1967

Seeking to bring my ancestors out of the shadows of history and into the light. I have always been interested in history, and at a few different times I tried to do a family tree, but wasn't able to do it with the technology that was available then. On a business trip I visited the World War I Museum in Kansas City, MO and it was a very impressive establishment. While I was there I remember thinking, "Didn't my great-grandfather father fight in World War I? And wasn't his brother killed alongside him in some famous battle? I wonder if I can find out where he died." That's what started it all. View all posts by cthomas1967

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