By Don Taylor
This was a frustrating week for my Photo Identification Project. The first photo I looked at says “Edith Soule” on the back. No other information except that H. M. Smith Photography at 478 Congress Street, Portland, Maine took the photo.
Luckily, Ancestry.Com has an excellent set of Portland City Directories. I found that H. M. Smith Studio was not in the 1890, 1991, or 1892 directories. It was listed at 478 Congress Street from 1893 through 1898. In 1899, at the same address was an S. K. Smith Studio. But in 1900, it too was gone. As such, I date the photo between 1892 and 1898.
Next, I went to Family Search. A Search for Edith Soule in Maine yielded over a thousand results. Search for Edith Soule in Maine exact yielded five results.
- Edith E. Soule – Born 31 July 1915 – Not my Edith.
- Edith Soule – Born 1903 – Too Young to be my Edith
- Edith Soule – Born July 1894 – Again too young to be my Edith
- Edith Soule – Born 1875 – Lived in Somerville, Lincoln County Maine in 1880 with father (Lendon), mother (Nancy), & 2 siblings (Jennie and Rosella)
- Edith Soule – Born 1850 – Probably too old to be my Edith.
There was an Edith M Soule, who resided in Cape Elizabeth and married Frank Eggert on 28 April 1894. Edith was 21 years old and was born in Hallowell. Hallowell and Somerville are only about 17 miles apart, so this is consistent with Edith Soule, born in 1875. It also fits that a photo of her immediately before her marriage would be very possible.
With that information, I felt pretty confident I had found the Edith Soule of my photo. I’m not sure why that search only gave me one Edith Soule with a middle initial and not many more. Because when I searched again without Edith being exact, I received many more candidates. Looking closely at the 1900 Census results killed my confidence. After further research, I realized there were three Edith Soule’s that this could be a photo of:
- Edith M (Soule) Eggert born in April 1873. Her parents were Rufus Soule and Bessie Jones; she married Frank Eggert and lived in South Portland in 1900.
- Edith L. Soule was born on 10 July 1872 in South Portland to Alonza K and Deborah L Soule. In 1900 she was living with her widowed mother, Deborah, in South Portland.
- Edith M. Soule was born in Oct 1876. She worked as an attendant at the State Hospital in Augusta during the 1900 Census. Her parents were Lendon and Nancy.
I’ll post my photo of Edith Soule to Dead Fred.
So, I don’t know which of the three Edith’s this is a photo of. If you have a picture of any of the three Edith’s I’d love to see it and either identify Edith for sure or eliminate one of the three Edith’s I think my photo might be. Please contact me using the form below.