Monday, November 15, 2010

Why a 92 year old photograph is keeping me up at night - Part 1

My insomnia began back in June when I first met my cousin Jean and he brought the existence of the photo to  my attention.  (You can read about that meeting here!)

Jean discovered the photo online on the Indiana Historical Society's website.  It is a panoramic shot of the Brane Family Reunion in 1918 in Marion, Indiana.  Jean had zoomed in on sections of the photo, printed them out and brought them to that first meeting asking if mom or I could identify anyone in it. 

Here is the photo:

(follow this link to see a larger view)

Right away mom could identify four of our ancestors on the right.  Second in from the right is Bessie Howard Brane 1883-1956, on her right is her husband, Charles Fremont Brane 1883-1967, the women next to Charles is his mother and my great-great grandmother Marilla Elma Scott Brane 1862-1948 and the man next to her is her husband and my great-great grandfather, John Thomas Brane 1861-1934. 

But who were the rest of the 62 people in the picture?  I've become obsessed with finding out.

The first thing I did was contact the Indiana Historical Society and asked how I could get a copy of the photograph.  It took a couple of months but finally I had a copy in hand.  Mom took it and had it custom framed and together we developed an idea. 

Benjamin Brane and his sons, Peter, Daniel and  Abraham came to Wabash county, Indiana and were charter members of the United Brethern Church in Lincolnville, Indiana.  That church still exists today. We knew that some Brane family descendants still lived in the area and may still attend that church.  What if we dropped the photo off to the church and let members have a look?  Maybe they could help identify some of the people in the picture?

Find out what happens next  in Part 2 which should be titled How One Old Photograph Brought a Whole Town Together........


  1. What a great story!! Can't wait to hear more.


  2. Oh, this is exciting! I'm looking forward to your follow-up story about this.

  3. I'm intrigued and looking forward to the next instalment.

  4. Gad, do I love a good obsession!! Obsessively waiting!