Sunday, November 18, 2012

Investigative Genealogy: Welcome to Finding Jayne

This blog is about a photo album.

I discovered this photo album many years ago in an antique shop.  I don't quite remember when or where. At the time, I was searching for pictures from the turn of the century because I had this idea for a novel and photo albums were needed in order to provide some visual inspiration.

I have always loved this particular photo album.  Some of the images are stunningly beautiful.  And the thing that struck me about the pictures is that they showed people doing what people do today in pictures.  We haven't changed that much.

About a month ago, the Civil Wars, the Grammy-winning folk/pop duo, announced a contest to make a video for their song "20 Years."  I decided to enter the contest and make that photo album I discovered so many years ago the star of the video.  Actually, the photo album isn't the star, but the person who put the album together, who wrote delicately in the margins---she is the star.  Her name was Jayne Bartlett Kerr.  This video was going to be her story set to the music of the Civil Wars.

I am pleased with the video.  But I realized there was so much more to Jayne Bartlett Kerr than I could explore in a 3 minute song. There are pictures that still need to be seen.

Stories that still need to be told.

Mysteries that need to be uncovered.

Those faded pictures do hold some amazing stories, to be sure.   I have done some preliminary research on Jayne Bartlett Kerr's life.  My aim:  to learn as much as possible about this woman and her time.  The photo album will be my guide.

As I digitize and preserve every page, I will share what I find with you.

Hopefully, you will join me on this journey.  Where it will take us and what we will find, I have not a clue.

But such is the nature of mysteries.