Unsolved Mysteries

Here are some Family Items.

Questions  --  But No Answers.


1.  Who are These People?

Mystery Solved!  See below.

These photographs have been handed down through generations in our family.

Today we do not know who these people are.

1.  Couple:  Front   Back     July 17, 1868.  Boston, Massachusetts

2.  Man:  Front   Back     July 17, 1868.  Boston, Massachusetts

We do not know who this couple is.

We have no record of our family living in or near Boston, Massachusetts in 1868 where the photographer was located.

Origin of these photographs:

These photos were kept for many years by Jesse Perry Shore (1877-1950).

They were handed down into our family on his death in 1950.

The mystery:

These photos were taken nine years before Jesse Shore was born.  They were important enough to be given to him, and for him to save them over many years.

He kept many accurate records.  He made a family heritage diagram showing several generations, now in our Family Gallery.  He wrote descriptions on the backs of many photographs, but nothing is recorded on these.

He died before his grandchildren were aware enough to ask about the family.

These photos were probably shared among the family and friends.  Perhaps someday other photos will surface in a family album saved by 'distant' relatives.  We may yet know who these people are.

Then we may learn how their life stories add to our family's rich heritage.

Mystery Solved:  31 March 2017   Click Here


2.  What is Happening Here?

Mystery Solved!  See below.

 What is happening here?

Note the broken glass in the windows and the broken sign.  A policeman and two soldiers are standing guard in front of the building.  It appears to be a bank.

The cardboard border of the photo reads, "Pleasant Recollections".  This seems ironic, because the photo shows a policeman and two soldiers guarding a building with broken windows.

There is no other writing or identification on the photo, front or back.

It was saved by Jesse Perry Shore (1877-1950).  His military service took him to posts in The Philippines, West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, New Jersey, and San Antonio.

In 1905 he was stationed in San Antonio, Texas and in 1912 in west Texas.  In 1916 he was stationed in New Mexico, where the US Army was posted to protect against raids into US towns from across the Mexican border by Pancho Villa's raiders.

On close examination, the soldier on the right appears to be Jesse Shore.

Mystery Solved:  4 June 2014   Click Here


3.  Holy Piece

 Holy Piece

This is a holy piece made of gilded and red felt, hand-sewn.  It has the text "Copyright 1915", a silver holy medal dated 1886 and a piece of gold foil attached, a Madonna and Child, and a paper clipping with Latin text.  It has a loop for attaching a pin or neck loop.

It is oval, 2 inches wide by 2-1/2 inches high.

It was saved by Margaret Ann (Shore) Roberts (1910-2004).  It might have originally belonged to her, or to her mother Anna Agnes (Gaffney) Shore (1872-1946), or to Anna's father James Owen Gaffney (1839-1912) or mother Margaret (O'Reilly) Gaffney (1850-1896).

Margaret Ann Roberts also cared for her elderly aunt Camille (Gaffney) Finegan (1877-1971), who lived in Margaret Ann's home until her death.  Camille had no descendants, and it is possible that this holy piece belonged to her.

Many other holy pieces and books in our family have been identified as to their origin and to whom they belonged.  This one has no writing or context with which to identify it.  For many years, it must have been dear to someone in our family, but now we simply do not know.


4.  Book


Click here to view some pages:   Pages

The book is "Drelincourt on Death". by Charles Drelincourt; translated from French into English by Marius D'Assigny.

It was published in London in 1814.  It contains 560 pages.

Printed in gold leaf on the spine are these words:




The book is worn.  Both covers are detached, the spine is torn, and pages are stained.  Nothing is missing, however:  all pages and covers are complete.

There is no writing inside the book.  The inside front cover has a small spot of sealing wax where a card or paper had been mounted.

The book was kept by Margaret Ann Roberts.  She did extensive research and recording of our family heritage, but how the book came into her possession is not known.


5.  U.S. Army Military Sword (1 of 2)

   U.S. Army Military Sword

Click here for photos:   1  2  3  4  5

This is one of two military swords in the family.

It is complete with its scabbard.

The sword is about 36 inches long.  Its blade is inscribed with the initials "U.S".

Its hilt has an emblem of a U.S. Army shield with crossed flags.  It also has the insignias of crossed swords (Cavalry), cannons (Artillery), and rifles (Infantry), suggesting that it might have been used by an officer of any of these units, or a senior commander of all three.

The handle and hilt has a built-in whistle which emits a loud, shrill sound when blown into.

The sword's purpose, whether it was used in action or was ceremonial, is not known.  Its original owner is not known.

Does anyone have ideas?


6.  U.S. Army Military Sword (2 of 2)

   U.S. Army Military Sword

Click here for photos:   1  2  3  4  5  6

This is another military sword in the family.

It is complete with its scabbard.

The sword is about 36 inches long.  Its blade is inscribed with the initials "U.S", an emblem of an American eagle with a United States banner and shield, and the word "PROVED".  It was manufactured by Horstmann in Philadelphia, a maker of swords in the Civil War era.

The sword's purpose, whether it was used in action or was ceremonial, is not known.  Its original owner is not known.

Does anyone have ideas?


7.  G.A.R. Woman's Relief Corps Medal

     G.A.R. Woman's Relief Corps Medal

Click here for photos:   Medal   Front (Detail)   Back (Detail)

In 1883 the Woman's Relief Corps organization was founded for women of families who served during the Civil War, in the Grand Army of the Republic.  In later years its membership was further extended as a patriotic service organization for women.

The letters  "F C L"  superimposed and embossed on the bar pin at the top of the ribbon stand for the organization's motto:  Fraternity, Charity, Loyalty.

The medal shows a Goddess of Liberty, a Woman, Children, and a Soldier. They are encircled in a wreath of stars.

This medal has been in our family for generations.  It appears to be old as shown by its patent date on the rear:

  MAY 4. AND
SEPT. 28. 1886.

The flag pin appears to be modern.  It was found inside the box with the medal.

We do not know who was the original owner of the medal.


8.  William Brandenburg's Trial -- for a Game of Hussel Cap

Mystery Solved!  See below.

 1815-1816 Ohio Supreme Court Judgement

William Brandenburg receives a judgement from the Ohio Supreme Court on the matter of allowing a game of "hussel cap" to be played in an "out house" on the premises of his public house.

Today, does anyone know how to play "hussel cap"?

Mystery Solved:  13 June 2009   Click Here


9.  Getting Sidetracked . . . or Getting Lucky?

 Montgomery County, Ohio 1860 Census

In our family today, every one of us is related to Mary Ann Brandenburg (1815-1892):

Everyone in our family is descended from that marriage of Mary Ann Brandenburg and John Shore.  (Or, you're married to someone who is descended from them.)

We know from Mary Ann's correspondence that her father (William Henry Brandenburg) moved the family from Maryland to Ohio in 1835.  They visited other Brandenburg relatives who were already living there, in Montgomery County.

Now check the 1860 census record shown above.

... It's the 1860 US Federal Census of Montgomery County, Ohio.

It shows a "Mary F. Brandenburg" and her family.

Her birthplace is shown as Maryland.  She is age 51, indicating she was born about 1809.

It appears that in 1860 she is a widow.  (Our relative, Mary Ann, was born in 1815 and widowed on March 7, 1861.)

Some of her children's names are the same as in our family:  Jacob, Henry, Sarah, Matthias.

Close.  Not our direct family, but probably 'distant' cousins.

The dates and names are close -- but this is not the Mary Ann Brandenburg who married John Shore, from whom we are directly descended.  But can we be related?

This Mary F. Brandenburg and her children may be our distant cousins, descended from the same Brandenburgs who came from Prussia to America and settled in Maryland in the 1750s.

"Our branch" of the Brandenburg family moved from Maryland to Ohio in 1835, visiting relatives there before settling.  We could be related to this Mary F. Brandenburg and her family, who were in Ohio in the 1860s.

Why would it matter?

... If any of her descendants are alive today, they might have records and letters from our family, perhaps even a family Bible showing our family's heritage.

Here's a question and a challenge ...

When you're exploring your family heritage, and you find a link like this  . . .

Today you might have cousins living right in your area of the country.  They might have stories they've saved, that can show you more of your rich heritage.  You might have some that can help them.  It could be good to 'swap' them, before they become forgotten and lost to a future generation.

Maybe they have been looking for you.  You won't know, until you give it a try.

Enjoy exploring!