A few weeks ago I received an email from my father’s cousin, the son of my great aunt Nancy Movius nee Champion de Crespigny (1910-2003), offering me the custody of several collections of photographs:

“We have unearthed three Victorian photo albums that my mother seems to have brought from Adelaide with her.  They came to light when we moved out of our house by the seaside, and are filled with deC's and others among our forebears. We are no longer living in space sufficient to store them safely. You should have them for your archive. It would be a shame not to have them preserved and I am happy to ship them to you. Please say you want them and furnish an address.

The three albums have arrived, a most exciting event. They include more than 200 photographs, most of them cartes de visite, with some cabinet cards.

Pages of cartes de visite. Not all the photos are identified.
Cabinet cards of Rose and Frank Beggs

Cartes de visite, first produced in the 1850s, were small photographs. They were usually made of an albumen print, with the thin paper photograph mounted on a thicker paper card. Cabinet cards, of a larger format, date from the 1870s.

One the albums is inscribed “Rose from her brother Loo”. Loo or Loup was the pet name for my great great grandfather Philip Champion de Crespigny (1850-1927). Rose (1858-1937) was his youngest sister. She married Frank Beggs. This album has an index to people in the photos, and my great aunt Nancy has also annotated some of the photographs.

The second album has no inscriptions nor annotations.

The third album has been partly annotated by Nancy, who refers to the album as belonging to Charlotte Frances Champion de Crespigny nee Dana. Charlotte was my third great grandmother, the mother of Philip and Rose.

I think that Rose gave the albums to Nancy, her great niece.

Most of the photographs are new to me. It is marvellous to be able to see photographs of people I had previously only known as names. I look forward to sharing the photographs, and perhaps some of the stories that go with them, in forthcoming posts.

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