With the COVID-19 virus, putting almost all of our older people are in isolation in their homes or the aged care facilities, our team at The Macleay River Historical Society and Museum thought that looking through old photos and trying to put names to faces might be something to help wile away some of the hours of the day.
We're launching the campaign to "put names to the faces" for the Angus McNeil Photographic Collection... and we desperately, need the memory of the older members of the Macleay Valley community.
Even if it's just to say "that looks like a Hudson or that looks like a Clarke" that would be fantastic. Because then museum researchers can get members of that family to review the photo.
The names of these lost ancestors are now "The Macleay Valleys' Most Wanted".
The McNeil Collection has some 33,000 plate glass negatives of past ancestors of the Macleay Valley, going back as far as 1890s. Most people of Kempsey and the surrounding area are well aware of this McNeil photos treasure-trove. Many of the plate glass negatives had "Surnames" scratched into the base and the society has been working for 40 plus years trying to get names to faces.
The society now has "all" those photos uploaded into the computer system, anyone can punch in a surname and all the photos with that surname will come up to be viewed.
The projects McNeil Photo Identification Officer Ellen Brown will be wearing gloves when loading the photocopier and will take all necessary precautions when delivering the identification sheets.
While the museum is closed to the public, one or two museum staff will still be on hand.
Please ring the museum on 02 6562 7572 or Ellen on 02 6581 1728 leave name, address and phone number. Also give surnames you are associated with, such as your family surname name and maiden name. Or people you grew up with in your local community you might recognise.
If you have an elderly mum, dad or other elderly family member please ring them and encourage them to get involved.
We can deliver copies to family so they can help them go through the photos and help write down names of who they thing people in the photos are. Even a "that looks like a Henry or a Hudson would be a huge help.
Ellen has already shown family photos to elderly family members and during the identification of some photo's, people can easily see family resemblance of older generations of the family.
As in the two photos below, the fst is a photo of great Uncle Colin Farrell known to everyone as "Coggie Farrell" born in the 1910s. The second photo is of Collin "Coggie" Whilssusen who was born some 50 years later.
We quickly saw Colin "Coggie Whilshusen" had a striking resemblance to his Great Uncle Colin "Coggie" Farrell. Coggie junior now realises "why" he got tagged with the same nick name as his great Uncle.
Photo of Coggie Farrell and Coggie Whilshusen. Please definitely put these two photos in, it is crucial it goes with the story
Kempsey Museum is currently closed to the public, but will still be able to answer enquiries via telephone, email or Facebook. If you require assistance with home schooling topics, family or local history research, historical photographs or books on history please contact us on the above numbers.
- Contact Kempsey Museum on museum on 02 6562 7572 or Ellen on 02 6581 1728.