I found the above photograph at a local antique shop. I am always intrigued by early interior portraits like this one of Marion Baird. It's as if we've been invited to afternoon tea in Marion's parlor. Naturally, she will keep knitting through our conversation because she's the industrious type and feels that even if she's socializing, she should be doing something productive with her hands.
Someone (perhaps the subject herself) was kind enough to provide a few details about Marion on the reverse of the image:
The photograph was taken by R. Emerson, Halstead. Marion was born October 24, 1803, making her 92 when she was photographed. Does she look 92 to you? I would have guessed she was younger than that.
Upon searching Ancestry and Familysearch for Marion, I encountered a couple of problems, or more accurately, facts that needed to be uncovered before a search could really begin.
1) Where did our photographer operate his studio? I couldn't find a photographer R. Emerson, of Halstead mentioned anywhere, which is fairly unusual. It's our only clue to a location. Is it Halstead, Essex? Halstead in Leicestershire? Kent? Kansas, USA?
2) Is Baird a maiden or married name?
I am inclined to think we're looking overseas in England, seeing as I live in an area with deep British roots. And, I couldn't say why exactly, but I think she was from the UK. I was looking closely at a Marion Baird, born about the right time in Colchester, Essex, who appears not to have married, and was living with her unmarried Reverend brother, Samuel Bawtree Baird in Pattiswick, Essex at the time of the 1891 census. But without a bit more info, it's still only a hunch.
So, who can find me R. Emerson, the photographer, of Halstead?