Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Help Me Return This To Its Rightful Owner

Posted by He Said
Back in my college days, I was taking a photography class, one of many as it was my major (obviously English was NOT!).  During one semester our entire class went down for a week to Tonopah Nevada.  If you have never been there, well, you haven’t missed much.  I can say that we visited the “famous” Mitzpah Hotel, stayed in a shell of a home in the desert which is now owned and refurbished by some Richie Rich who put his heli-pad out there and we visited several underground nuclear test sites.  If I ever get lung cancer it’s because I laid in the dirt that actually was registering on the Geiger counter.  Boy did Peter Goin point out what a stupid move that was.
I had a great time and while most of my fellow photographers took landscape and abandoned building/mining/rock painting photos I hauled around a blow up sex doll I named Helga.  She really got around.  That’s right.  My photo series was called Helga Does Tonopah.  Just a taste for you.
6-15-2010 9;48;31 PM
Ok.  Now that we got the dirty doll out of the way.
While in Tonopah a group of us found it fascinating to enter our fair share of abandoned homes. Don’t think we were alone in this.  These places were a popular hangout for the teenagers of Tonopah, and several in our group were photographing these kids in their “natural” habitat.  On one occasion I thought we were all going to die in a fire because the kids had a “campfire” burning on the second floor.  Not in a fireplace mind you, BUT ON THE WOOD FLOOR!  The ashes could be seen burning through and falling to the first floor.  Ah, to be young again.
So let me get to the point of this blog.
One of the small homes that we poked around in had a small pile of rubbish pushed up into the corner.  I, being the scavenger that I am, always poked and prodded looking for “treasures”.  In this particular house I found one, a small photograph of a girl. This Daguerreotype is framed in metal and in typical folding frame of the time.  Only one side exists as the other broke off at the hinge.  Here is the image of the little girl.  You will notice that her face and gold necklace have been hand painted.
Normally this sort of photo would be untraceable.  But it is what is behind the photo that gives me some clues as to the family. It reads (to the best of my translation ability). 
Jane Hollow Howard Chambers
Jane Hollow born Oct 19 –1858
Jane Hollar Howard Chambers
Jane Hollar born Oct 19 1858
Mother of Edith Gertrude Cain O’Rourke born Jan 2 - 1878
Here is a photograph of the writing that was hidden behind the photo for all these years.  If you have any suggestions as to corrections to my translation, please, let me know.
Please, share this blog with your friends, Facebook, twitter and other friends and help me return this photo to descendants of this family.


  1. Looks more like "Hollar" than "Hollow" to me. Other than that, I got nothin'. OK, wait. Maybe call the Reno Family History Center and see if they can help. Those genealogy nuts are like rabid dogs, they'll trace her back to Moses.

  2. Thanks. I sent a link to them. Of course its a church group. Do you think they will be offended by the blow up sex doll? :D

  3. From my limited experience, only a small number of the volunteers that staff the history center are affiliated with the church. Lots of them are just genealogy nuts who want to help out. Any word back?

  4. I think the Mother Edith was born in Los Angeles. You can get a free 14 day trial on Ancestry.com
    I typed her in and it has a listing for Edith G O'Rourke for her year of birth. There is also a death record in CA for her. Here is the link http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?gl=ROOT_CATEGORY&rank=1&new=1&so=3&MSAV=0&msT=1&gss=ms_f-2&gsfn=edith&gsln=O'Rourke&_81004010=1878&uidh=000I would Follow it and it might trace to the descendants. Good Luck.

  5. California death index. Edith Gertrude Orourke born 2 Jan 1878 Pennsylvania died 24 July 1950 Los Angels county. Mothers maiden name: Hollar Fathers surname: Cain
    1880 Allegheny Penn living with grandparents Johathan Cain, from England Elizabeth Cain 51 from England. Jennie Cain age 17 single born Pa Thomas H Cain 28 single born Pa Edith is 2 born Pa parents same.
    Edith O'rourke is in 1910 and 1920 census Michigan and 1930 Los Angles. Husband is John J 63 born Ill.

    Northern Nevada Genealogical Society in Reno. Good Luck from Arline

  6. Today I was searching the internet for information on my great grandmother Edith Cain O'Rourke. We have a charcoal painting she did in my parents living room. My father Don O'Rourke is the only child of Flora and Harold John O'Rouke ( son of Edith and John O'Rourke) when I discovered your search for a living relative. I am very excited about your discovery as we have very little history of Ediths mother. We have some pictures from her as an adult. I hope you still have the photo. I believe that the photo was in Nevada because Edith Cain had a daughter who lived in Nevada ( my fathers aunt, she never had any children). I have always wanted to know more about the Cain side of the family. Please let me know how to reach you. Carolyn O'Rourke

    1. I must apologies for taking so long to get back to you. I had put it away in a separate place for a move, so safe I couldn't find it. Just this week I found it again. I'm very excited to get this to a family member. You can create an account on about.me and reach email me from http://about.me/gmoyle.

    2. Just viewed your reply I am very excited about the photo. I will do as you said this week. Thanks Carolyn O'Rourke