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The Glass Plate Negatives - part 13

This is the last post in a series about my journey to discover the identity of a family pictured in plate glass negatives from the early 1900's. To start at the beginning go here.

Picture courtesy of Paul Holbrook. Used with permission.

I still can't believe we found them. Our mystery family are the Treadwells of Bridgeport, CT. And though we have so many answers, some questions remain.

I'm relieved that I'm not still going through pages of census records for the Bronx. And I'm so thankful that I was able to connect with Paul Holbrook and look forward to partnering with him on other adventures in historic research. I am grateful that the seller of the negatives got back in touch with Paul and we were able to get so much information that led us to the Treadwell family.

Here is more of what I learned:

Searching online led me to a family tree that had early pictures of Elberton and Laura Treadwell.

We never saw him in the plate glass negatives owned by Paul H, yet here he is, the father of Gerrie and Laura Ione, and the husband of Laura.

Picture accessed on

I believe it is Elberton who took most of the pictures that have appeared in this blog series.

And here is the mother, Laura, in her younger years. Meet a young Laura Josephine Whitney.

Picture accessed on

I found another picture of Gerrie.

Picture accessed on

These pictures are of Laura Ione, Gerrie's younger sister. She grew into a beautiful young woman.

Picture on left is courtesy of Paul Holbrook, picture on right was found on

I did an online search for records and was able to piece together a family tree.

Gerrie and Ione both married and they each had two children.

And GUESS WHAT?! I was able to get in touch with one of the grandchildren! A grandson of Laura Ione Treadwell, the little girl in the pictures. He had no pictures of his grandmother as a child. He shared that his great uncle, Gerrie Treadwell, performed as a magician. I found this was confirmed as another distant relative contacted me and said the same. That would explain the picture of John's 'beheading'!

I was more than happy to share Paul Holbrook's negatives and digital images that preserved some family history with a descendant of the Treadwell family.

I found out that to the best of their knowledge, the family was not Jewish, so that may not be a shofar, but a powder horn hanging above the organ in one of the pictures.

Paul Holbrook continues to rescue old pictures and negatives that don’t have a home. He develops and publishes them so they can never be lost. I am hoping to begin another series of history detective posts based on Paul's rescued photographs. Paul’s work is so important for preservation purposes, and also for adding a layer to American history that you won't find in history books - images of every day people in the 1800's and 1900's in every day settings. There is still so much we can learn!

Thank you so much for sharing this journey with me. I hope you will continue to follow my blog for more stories and adventures into the past. I will also post tips for researching your own family history in future posts.

I end the glass plate negative series with Leta. The beautiful woman sitting with her head against Laura Treadwell, evidence of their seemingly close relationship and leaning out the window, her eyes bright.

Picture above and below are courtesy of Paul Holbrook. Used with permission.

Leta is still a mystery.

Another story waiting to be told.

145 views4 comments


A very entertaining read! It's strange, isn't it, how a particular family's story can possess you?


Felisa Allison
Felisa Allison
Jun 09, 2019

I loved reading this. Thank you for sharing!

I hope you are able to find out more about lovely Leta.


Thank you, m.knegjes! I fixed the family tree.

I'm so glad you enjoyed the posts on the photos. I can't wait to find more things to research about the past.


Wondeful story, I enjoyed reading how you found the ‘needle’! I will follow your blog and hopefully you’ll find more families from Holbrooke’s photo’s. And maybe you’ll find out who was Letta?

I think you made a little mistake in the family tree? You gave Gerrie’s son Francis his grandfathers date for his birth and death. And did Ione and her husband have twins that died the same year?

Good luck with your next research and greetings from the Netherlands.

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