Found: Four Sisters, Unidentified


Among a stack of ancient family photos, these four sisters were found. No one knows who they are. My mother, hobbyist genealogist, suspects that they could be members of the Pitcher family who traveled from England to Halifax in the 1890/1910 range. For now they remain unidentified.

They have lives buried, somewhere, that someone still remembers, but until then they are nameless, less even than characters in a book.

It is a sadness.

This photograph is creatively intriguing. All four girls, dressed in white with bows in their hair, are wearing lockets of some kind, perhaps identical ones. The girl on the far left looks unhappy (impatient with the slow process of early photography?) and the eldest girl appears to have taken on a caring and even maternal role for her sisters. The two eldest seem to be close in age — were they best of friends, like Jane and Elizabeth Bennett? Did they quarrel? Was the third sister envious at being excluded from the elders’ games and annoyed by the youngest? What sort of parents did they have, what sort of lives did they lead? What occasion does this photograph represent?

To me the placement of the girls, and the void separating the two eldest, could represent the absence of another sibling or parent. It looks like there should be a fifth person. Who? A brother? Another sister? Mother?  

I might have to write about them. Nothing too long. Just a little novella. Between 30 000 and 50 000 words, tops. We’ll see…

Have you ever written a story based on a photograph? Why did it inspire you? Do you have any mystery relatives in old family photo albums?

If you know who these girls are, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT.

2 thoughts on “Found: Four Sisters, Unidentified

  1. This is super mysterious and intriguing!! I feel like we need to break out the old spy gear and look into this! 😉
    So did your mom just stumble upon it in an album or online or a box? TELL ME ALL YOU KNOW. 🙂
    I agree that there is a closeness in appearance between the two eldest girls in dress. But when I look at how old the girls look I don’t know feel there’s a huge age gap between the second youngest and the older ones or the two youngest ones, but that doesn’t mean there couldn’t be a deceased sibling because it only takes 9 months for a baby… Obviously xD I’m filled with curiosity! :3

    • The sad part is I think I still have most of our spy gear. 😉

      We’ve just always had the picture, and yesterday an old stack of them was sitting out. I remember looking at it as a little kid and being told that no one knew who they were. There was one story about a family with four girls being decimated by a disease (scarlett fever, maybe), but we haven’t been able to make a connection yet. My express of curiousity in the photo has got my poor mother off on a genealogical tangent; she has found a family with four girls approximately the right ages with the names Matilda, Susannah, Rebecca, and Mary Stroud (not Pitcher as first thought). We’re still not sure, but when we are I’ll blog about it!

      I’ve started coming up with a fictional story for them in my head, and I would like to write something with local and family interest, but I also want to jump back into my novel… Somehow I’ll have to divide my time between the two.
      Thanks for stopping by, Z. 🙂

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