Monday, July 15, 2013

Mystery Monday - A New Home For Calder Baynard Willingham

Calder Baynard Willingham
With some inspiration I've received after reading posts from The Organized Genealogist Discussion Group (OGDG) on facebook, I finally started to scan a folder of photos that had found their way to me after a family member had died.  I scanned each picture, cleaning it up as necessary in Photoshop, then saved each photo in the appropriate family group surname folder on my laptop, listing the photo by last name, first name, and any date or place information.

Things were going well until I came across this picture.  Thankfully, someone had written the name of the individual on the back and a note that my Great Uncle Calder Vaughan had been named for Calder Willingham, the gentleman in the picture.  It was all great information except that Calder Willingham was not a relative of mine although he might have been a cousin of Calder Vaughan's mother.  The picture was in fairly good condition, and I knew I wanted to try and pass it on to a Willingham relative.

My first stop was to check for Ancestry.com family trees that listed Calder Willingham.  I did find several trees listing a Calder Baynard Willingham who had lived in Macon, Georgia, the town where the photographer was located.  Unfortunately none of the owners of the trees had any type of profile information so there was no way to contact the owners to see if s/he wanted the photograph.

I then posted a request for suggestions as to how to get this photo to a suitable owner, using the OGDG facebook page.  Within an hour I had several helpful suggestions including checking findagrave.com for an obituary, uploading the picture to deadfred.com, and checking message boards on rootsweb.com.

FindAGrave.com, interestingly enough, lists six people named Calder Willingham, two of whom are buried in Macon, Georgia.    I've posted a message to the person who created the memorial page for the Calder Willingham of Macon, Georgia, who seemed to have been alive during the time the picture was taken.  

As for message boards, I found a number of family trees with a Calder Baynard Willingham on both rootsweb.com and Ancestry.com.  Following a suggestion from a OGDG post, I've added a "post-em note" to the five rootsweb.com trees, asking if the tree owner would like the photo.  I've also started a new thread on Ancestry's Willingham message board, asking if someone would like the photo.  

Finally, I've been trying to upload a copy of the photo to several sites mentioned in Cyndi's List.

To date, I've had two responses to all my feelers, one from a person no more related to Calder Willingham than I am, the other from someone who felt he could get the photo to some Willingham relatives though I haven't received a mailing address so that I can relay the photograph.  Perhaps this post will bring a response from a person who would like this photo.

Maybe before too long Mr. Willingham's photo will find a new home.  This whole experience has really been, to paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, about the journey rather than the destination. as I've learned some new ways to think outside the box.

UPDATE: In November of 2014, I received a response from a direct descendant of Calder Willingham. Finally that old phone has a new home.

10 comments:

  1. Judith, I accidentally deleted your comment instead of posting it, also losing your e-mail address. Would you please resubmit so I can send you the information you requested.

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  2. This is a wonderful article! I also have photos that I'd like to pass along to their families. Could you send me a link to the Facebook group that you use? I tried searching for it and had no luck. Thanks so much! Judith

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  3. Calder Baynard Willingham was my Great Great Grandfather. He was born 2-29-1852 and died 10-26-1908. I would love an opportunity to speak to you about the photo. He and his father, Benjamin Lawton Willingham owned Willingham Cotton in Macon. They were originally from Allendale, SC and resided at our families plantation (still standing) called Gravel Hill. I would love to learn more about the photo.

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    1. He was my Great Great Grandfather too! I am the great grandchild of his son Alfred Ross Willingham.

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    2. He was my gg grandfather too. My great grandparents Alfred Ross And Katherine Coleman Willingham are buried in Rose Hill Macon, Ga . In the same plot are my grand parents , Katherine Willingham Carmichael and R J Carmichael, my parents, Katherine Carmichael Oliver,and Lee P, Oliver, Jr, and my husband Charles A. Discher , Jr. There are several,other Willinghams buried in Rose Hill on the same avenue. It had been refers to as "Willingham Row" on the Rose Hill Rambles.

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  4. Is he not related to Penelope Willingham 1811-1970, who was the wife of Edmund Kennedy Camp 1804-1848?

    They were the grandparents of Georgia and Frances Camp, wives of Albert Bell Vaughan.

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    1. There is a chance that Penelope and the father of Calder Baynard were brothers or cousins, or maybe not. Since I had not been able to find a definite relationship, I decided to send the picture on to someone who had a clear line back to Calder Baynard Willingham. Are you related to the Camp, Vaughan, or Willingham families?

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    2. I am descended from John Caldwell Vaughan, who is Albert Bell Vaughan Jr's brother. Annie Bell Vaughn is the daughter of John Caldwell Vaughan and Emma Rogers. Annie was my grandmother.

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    3. Calder B Willingham was my maternal great grandfather's brother. He and his younger brother B. E. Willingham Sr cofounded Willingham Cotton Mills in Macon, Ga. The business closed in the early 1970's. Thank you for your thoughtfulness. My younger brother named his son Calder Willingham Stewart

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  5. Hi Mary, I'm not sure if you still have this photo, but my grandfather, who grew up in Georgia, was named Calder Baynard Jr. His father was Calder Baynard Sr. I'm believe they were named after the man in the photo. I have heard of Benjamin Willingham, who owned the cotton mills, before from my uncle. My grandfather and great grandfather must have been named after his brother.

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