Friday, March 25, 2011

Owen James McDonnell Leaves for War

Do you remember the old game with two drawings, usually comic book style, and you had to find the changes that had been made from one to the other.  Well, recently I played that game again, but this time with a family photo.  On my first family research trip recounted here the family photo below was shared by my double cousin Mary Margaret.  The event was a family get together to say goodbye to her father, Owen James McDonnell. He had enlisted and was leaving for the War.  Of course, the family wanted wish him Godspeed  so everyone could give him a hug and tell him to be careful.  This photograph records that day.

At first the only person I recognized was the older lady in the dark dress and the flower hat - that was DaDa Mae, my gr. grandmother.  No one else looked familiar, so I asked  Mary Margaret who she could identify?  Instantly she pointed from one to the other and rattled off names, pausing to think at some she didn't know.  I tried to write down the names and identify their location in the photo, but it was a dismal failure.  I needed to find another method. . .

Then I had an inspiration. . . I would print out the photo as large as possible (the original was only 2x4) and ask Mary to write the names on it drawing arrows to each person.  And so she did.  As you can tell, there are still quite a few to still identify by the question mark on their chest or forehead. 

Then I asked, "If your father was going to war, where was your mother when this was taken?"  Why of course. . . she took the photo! 
When I returned home, I put the photo away with others and scanned the new one with all the names to send to my brother.
Months passed.  Then one day, I stopped as I walked through my dining room and for the first time noticed the little 2x4 black and white photo in a back section (barely seen here in a previous post) of "The Pan". Funny, I had never noticed it before.  I paused, thinking of Mary Margaret and pulled it out.  Too bad his wife, wasn't in the photo, I thought.  Then it hit me. . . .  something is wrong with this photo!  Owen James's wife is in this photo.  I ran to my computer to pull up the original and the scan with names.  Sure enough, this was a different photo, and this one had Mary Margaret's mother in it.  As I began to look at the photo more carefully and compare it to the first one I had, I noticed other differences.  A young girl was standing in one and seated in another, some faces are hidden in one and visible in another, some have smiles when before they were somber.  Neither picture is perfect for everyone, but together they are perfect.

Isn't there a commercial like this?  I believe the photo below is the second "take" based on the squirming child who is much calmer in the photo above. Could there be other slightly different photographs from this same family get together?

How many differences can you spot? 

Do you know who took the second photo?

Please note:  If you are a family member who is pictured here and you object to this posting, let me know. and I will remove it immediately.  On the other hand, if you can help identify anyone in this photo, that has a ? on them, I would be very grateful. Corrections are welcome and encouraged.


  1. What a fantastic eye for detail you have! I'm having tons of fun finding the differences. Where is the lady on the left in the dark dress in the second photo? Could she have taken the picture?

  2. If you mean the lady on the far left, I think you are right. The lady in the dark polka dot dress is kneeling in the second photo, so you can't see her dress.

  3. Lisa nailed the lady in the dark dress being missing in the 2nd photo. Most people changed their poses -- even if a little. The little girl in white in the front, engaged in looking at something in photo #1 is smiling adorably at the camera in #2. It's a great photo and I hope no one objects to displayign it.

  4. This game was my favorite part of Highlights when I was a girl - and apparently it still is! Such fun I've had. Mary Margaret's mother must be the woman kneeling on the left.

  5. I'm glad others thought this was fun. I sure did - when I finally discovered that the photos I glanced at were NOT the same.

  6. Hi Margel, It's Julia, Mary Margaret's daughter. I just rediscovered your blog and am having fun reading through everything, mom would be pleased with me! I grew up looking at this photo a hundred times and yes that is my Grandma, Margaret Clancy McDonnell, kneeling on the far left above my grandpa, OJ. I just wish I had paid attention long ago when my mom told me who everyone was. I have that big box of pictures and family history stuff at June's in Rockford so this summer I hope to go through it. She will pass on everything to you.

  7. Julia-
    Did you ever notice that there was more than one photo? It was a fun discovery!
    I am hearing from more McDonnell /Allen relatives who are interested in the family history. I know that would make your mom happy.