I was connected with the current owner of this antique photo album, Cori Henderson, by our mutual Facebook friend, Sandra Doggett. Cori had purchased this album in 1995 at a sale at El Paso, Arkansas. It tugged at her heart and she bought it hoping to someday return it to the family. She stored it in a ziploc bag and it moved with her to Texas and back to Arkansas. She recently pulled it out hoping to figure out something about the people pictured. I estimate that the photos were taken from the 1890’s through 1920’s, but could use a second opinion on that. None of the 36 photos have identification. Most of them were made professionally by photographers in Hollansburg and Greenville, Ohio.
One possible clue: I examined with a magnifying glass the solo photo of the woman above. She is wearing a neck pin that appears to spell Alora or Nora.
Another clue: In the album, on paper rather than photo backing, there is a picture of a man with the name A. A. Irelan. It says Harrison TP (township) at the bottom. Harrison Township is located in Darke County, Ohio where most of the photos in the old album were taken. It appears to be a very good pencil drawing of him. I’ve gone to Ancestry.com and searched for A.A. Irelan and found the same portrait in a family tree. His name is Aaron Abel Irelan. He was born about 1818 in Hollansburg, Ohio according to that family tree. There is another photo posted to the same ancestry.com family tree picturing four generations…A.A. Irelan, Son Norman Tillson Irelan, Grandson James Eugene Irelan, and great-grandson (baby) Aaron Gaar Irelan all of whom are now deceased. Here is a link to that photo: ancestry.com. A man pictured in one of the other photos in the old album has a resemblance to James Eugene Irelan in the four-generation photo. Could this be an Irelan family album?
Also in the album is a 1920 clipping of an obituary for Daniel Russel Beanblossom of Ohio. I do not know if he was friend, acquaintance, or family of the people pictured in the album.
UPDATE: This case went straight from “Cold Case” to “Mystery Solved.” This website, returnthephotos.com, helped solve the mystery. Back in Hollansburg, Ohio, the Aaron Abel Irelan home, built in 1885, is still standing and is owned by a lady whose grandson curiously asked, “Who built this house?” This got his grandma, Tess, hunting to find out some information. She learned that the house was built by Aaron Abel Irelan. She got in contact with the great-great granddaughter of Mr. Irelan. In her research, Tess did a google search using Aaron Abel Irelan and Hollansburg Ohio and found this website. She commented on the post and then gave me the email contact with the GGGranddaughter, Kay, who lives about an hour away from Hollansburg. Kay looked at the photos and identified her great-grandmother Cora, daughter of A.A. Irelan. Kay has an interest in genealogy and is excited about the photo album. All we have to do now is arrange the delivery of the photo album.
Mission accomplished! Photo album delivered by Renee to descendant Kay at the home of Tess and Jim Hall who own the former A.A. Irelan homestead in Hollansburg, Ohio.