A very old photograph found in Currituck County last month has become a small mystery for a couple of women, both with Currituck roots.
Anne Burgess Jennings knows old photographs. Since the publication of her book, “Images of America: Currituck County,” detailing Currituck County’s past, she’s become something of a local expert regarding the images that make up the county’s history. That’s why someone handed her a mysterious photo on July 24 while she was standing in a parking lot in Shawboro, Currituck County.
“Harvey Roberts handed me the photo,” recalls Jennings. “It was in the parking lot.”
That is to say that the photo was found on the ground in the parking lot.
The photo is of a young woman. It predates 1880 and it was enough of a curiosity to send Jennings on a hunt.
Jennings went to ancestry.com in an effort to locate possible clues. There was some information on the back of the photograph, so she thought she might find something there.
Then she began to make phone calls around Currituck County. Folks Jennings had dealt with while putting together her book of photographs might be of some help.
Then she was put in touch with Linda Jordan. Jordan lives in Blackwater, Va., just a couple of miles over the state line from Currituck. It seems her family got its start in North Carolina’s oldest county well over 100 years ago.
The photo, Jordan says, bears a strong resemblance to her grandmother’s aunt.
“The lady in the photo is Molly Fulford,” says Jennings. “Molly is a nickname for Mary.”
Jordan is big on genealogy, just as Jennings is, and has her own website. Jennings sent her an email through the site and soon Jordan was looking at a photograph of a young woman who looked a whole lot like Molly Fulford.
Jordan has a photo of Fulford when she was an older woman. She compared the features of the photographs and determined, without a doubt, that they were both of the same woman.
“I’m certain it is her,” says Jordan.
Jennings did a little digging around as well. She determined that the photo was taken by a photographer in Norfolk, Va. It was taken in a photo studio that shut down prior to 1880, dating the photo sometime before that time.
Jordan says her family had moved to Norfolk and opened a business. Her family name in Currituck way back when was Cartwright, a name she says is still known there today.
“My family moved to Virginia in 1847 as far as I can tell,” said Jordan.
The reason Jennings spent several weeks tracking Jordan down was not only to find out a little something about the photo, but also about its owner. Both Jennings and Jordan would like to know who dropped the photo.
For Jordan, the identity of the person who had the photograph could lead her to distant cousins. And with an intense interest in her family’s ancestry, there could be a lot more she can learn about them, and perhaps more photographs would come of the discovery.
“I would love for them to find out who dropped them,” said Jordan.
Jordan says that if the photograph of the young Molly Fulford looks familiar and someone is searching for a lost antique photograph, they can contact her through her website, www.genthreads.com.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” Jordan says of the photo find and the search for tis owner.