Ethel Wight Studio – Part 1

Photo Friday
By Don Taylor

I was recently given access to some negatives from the Ethel Wight Studio of Portland, Maine from the 1930s. The photos were identified by the person who paid for the photo, not the person in the photo. So, there is “no guarantee the person in the photo is the same person who paid for the photo.” I’ll add, besides the Studio in Portland, Ethel also had a studio in Old Orchard Beach (Ocean Park) during many of the same years. These two photos probably came from the Portland studio.

I was asked to see what I could do with these photos if I added them to my Photo Identification Project. So, I digitized the negatives and inverted them to positives. I then used the information from the envelopes to determine who the image is most likely to be. As a test, or proof of concept I took a look at two envelopes with three images.

Howard Abildgaard – #667

The envelope says 476 Washington Ave | Portland

The 1930 Census shows Howard P. Abildgaard, son of Emil L and Serine Abildgaard living at 476 Washington Ave.[i] Howard was 18 years old. By the 1940 Census, Paul Howard had married, had a son, and was living at 3 Lennox Street, Portland, ME.[ii] I believe that this photo is of Paul Howard Abildgaard from between 1930 and 1939.

Paul Howard Abildgaard has a Family Search ID of G91G-G6F. I have uploaded the photo to his profile.​​

Margaret Ackerson – #742

The envelope says State St. Hospital | Portland

I was unable to find Margaret Ackerson in Portland, Maine during the 1930 or 1940 Censuses. However, I did find Margaret in the 1936 Portland City directory. She was a student nurse at 62 State and had a residence of 52 State, about two blocks from Mercy Hospital.

Further research found Margaret Ackerson, age 30 living in Bronx, New York during the 1940 Census. She was a Nurse living at a “Nurse’s Home” on Lafayette Avenue. She had lived in Cumberland, Maine in 1935 and had been born in Maine.[iii]

However, further research was not successful in determining Margaret’s parents with certainty. As such, I was not able to positively her. Items I believe I know:

  • Name: Margaret Ackerson
  • 1910 – Born in Maine ?
  • 1935 – Attended Nurse’s school in Portland, Cumberland County, Maine.
  • 1940 – Worked as a nurse 60 hours a week at Hunt’s Point Hospital, and boarded at 1325 Lafayette Ave.

I have added her photos to Dead Fred.

Dig Up Your Relatives at - The Original Genealogy Photo Archive

Final Note

Many thanks to Ethel Wight’s family for access to and permission to use the collection of their great aunt.


[i]  “United States Census, 1930,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 8 October 2020), Howard P Abildgaard in household of Emil L Abildgaard, Portland, Cumberland, Maine, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 85, sheet 8B, line 62, family 187, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 831; FHL microfilm 2,340,566.

[ii] United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 28 February 2020), Paul H Abildgaard, Ward 9, Portland, Portland City, Cumberland, Maine, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 3-117, sheet 8A, line 30, family 161, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 – 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 1476.

[iii] 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012. Census Place: New York, Bronx, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02477; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 3-643


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