July 2, 2017

Two gals named Mary

This photo was purchased at Nancy’s Antiques in Mountain View, Arkansas on May 29, 2017. Nancy loves old photos and has lots of them intermingled in displays and in boxes in her store. Since she has so many, she doesn’t usually know where she got a particular photo. This photo captured my attention and won me over because it had a good clue which appears on the back as follows:

Nov 2, 1897  Mary E. Brenner and Mary Frantum

The spelling of the last names were not clear to me, but my husband took a look and came up with these spellings which proved to be accurate. Once I had the correct spellings, I did a search in the FamilySearch.org family tree. I found a few Mary E. Brenners in the family tree in the right date range but nothing conclusive.

I searched for Mary Frantum in the FamilySearch.org tree and found an entry for a Mary Frantum born in 1882 in Pennsylvania and living in Ohio by 1900. This Mary Frantum married Osborn Shively. I still had no conclusive proof this was the same Mary Frantum as the Mary in my photo. Then I noticed that her husband, Osborn, had a picture on his FamilySearch.org profile. The picture was of Osborn and his wife. I compared the woman in the couple picture to the Mary Frantum in my picture. It looked like a possible match, with the couple picture taken later and Mary was thinner.

Next I noticed that Osborn Shively had a previous marriage and the first wife’s name was Lillian Elizabeth Brenner.  Bingo! The maiden name of the other Mary! I looked at Lillian’s family tree in FamilySearch and saw that she had a sister named Mary Edna Brenner, born 1881. The FamilySearch.org profile for Mary Edna Brenner includes a photo of her . One glance at the photo, and she is a ringer for the Mary E. Brenner in my photo! Now I knew who the two Mary’s were, where they lived, and their connection.

The two Mary’s in the photo were about 16 and 15 years of age, based on their FamilySearch profiles.

Next step is to message or email the contributors to each of the Mary’s profiles at FamilySearch.org and see if they are direct descendants of the two Mary’s. I hope so!

In the meantime, I’ll upload the “Two Gals Named Mary” photo to Mary E. Brenner and Mary Frantum’s profile on FamilySearch.org.

UPDATE: I was able to connect with a cousin (twice removed) of Osborn Shively, who was the husband of Mary Frantum and brother-in-law of Mary E. Brenner. Mary Frantum died at the age of 32. Mary Brenner lived until the age of 68 and apparently never married since she is buried under her maiden name. Apparently neither Mary had children. The Marys are buried in Columbiana, Ohio. The photo is being mailed to Evans, Georgia to be treasured by a family member and fellow genealogist. Another happy return!



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