Reader Research Challenge: Can You Find This Woman?

One of the most frustrating things about family photos are having vintage pictures in which the subjects are not identified.

Do you know what is ten times more frustrating? Having a photo signed by the person in it AND dated AND having a photographer’s imprint with location and STILL not being able to find any trace of this person in any record.

I have looked off and on over the years and I’ve never had any success, so I decided to issue a reader’s research challenge.

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the lady who can’t be found:

Since I’ve had no luck identifying her, I’ll share what I think her name says: June Steel (but if you think her first name is something else, please speak up!), but it does begin “Lovingly” and the year is probably 1904, but could be 1907. Either way it’s definitely in the first decade of the 20th century. It’s possible that her name isn’t JUNE, but the Steel part looks straight forward:

Next, we have the photographer’s mark:

The photographer was easily located: Rawls Bros. Studio. In 1907, it was located at 1615 Main Street, Columbia, South Carolina. By 1912, they had moved down a few doors to 1435 Main Street in Columbia.

As for her year of birth, the photo was taken in 1904 (or ’07), and I would estimate this lady is somewhere between her 30s and 50s, so born c1850-1870s. Do you agree?

Now, even if this lady is located, I am sure she was just a friend of someone in the family. The picture was with my Adams side photos and the Adams men from Maine and New Brunswick, Canada in the late 1800s were seafarers and boat builders. This could just be someone they met on a trip. (Yes, I realize that Columbia is in the middle of the state, not on the coast.) I know for a fact that at least one of the Adams men made it all the way to China, so South Carolina was a jaunt down the East Coast.

However, I really, really, really, would LOVE to find this lady in a census or some other record and return the photo to a descendant, if there are any. Therefore, I am hoping that you will test your research skills to see if you will be the one to find her.

Otherwise, I will be sure that Martians dropped her off for the day and she then returned to the spaceship. 🙂

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