Photo Friday – Watson, Welch, West, & White.

Ethel Wight Collection – Part 97

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.This week, for Photo Friday, I identify the people in five more envelopes from the Ethel Wight Studio Collection[i]. The envelopes contain the names who paid for the photos, not necessarily of the individual portrayed in the image. As such, it is vital to analyze the pictures and information to identify the individual therein.[ii] Ultimately, my goal is to reunite the photos with family members who may have never seen the image.

Myrtle Watson, circa 1935

This negative envelope says, “Miss Myrtle Watson, 74 Winslow St. #405.”

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • Miss Myrtle Watson, Circa 1935

    The 1935 Portland City Directory lists Myrtle L Watson as a clerk at 477 Congress, Room 1109, and residing at 74 Winslow.

  • The 1939 and 1940 Portland City Directories list Myrtle residing at 72 Park Ave. The 1941 Directory lists 72 Park Ave as the Berkeley Apartments. Living there were Napoleon Roy, Samuel Lelansky, and Abraham Bernstein.
  • The 1941 Portland City Directory lists Myrtle living at 47 Revere. Also living at 47 Revere St is Mrs. Mattie A Watson.
  • The 1930 US Census lists Mattie A Watson living with her 22-year-old daughter Myrtle.
  • Maine, U.S., Marriage Index indicates that Myrtle L Watson married John E Neilson on 17 September 1941.
  • Ancestry Trees suggest this is Myrtle Louise Watson, born 28 January 1907. This photo was taken about 1935 when she was about 27 years old.

I am confident this is Myrtle Louise Watson, born 28 January 1907, daughter of Horace Vernon and Martha (Faulkner) Watson, and wife of John Edward Nielson.

Ancestry has 12 public trees that refer to Myrtle Louise Watson. Family Search has profile  LBP4-NQN for Myrtle L Watson. I have uploaded two photos of her to her Family Search Memories. 

Unknown – Surname probably Welch

This negative envelope says, “Mrs. Carl Welch, 28 High St. Portland – #944”


What I discovered while researching,

  • Young Girl, circa 1935, probably related to Carl Welch.

    The 1935 Portland City Directory lists William H Welch (and others) living at 28 High Street with his wife, Anna. He was an agent at 142 High, Room 423.

  • The 1940 US Census lists William Welch, a 32-year-old time clerk with the WPA. He, his wife Ann, and two daughters, Carol and Joan, live with him at the rear of 29 High Street.

    Young Woman, circa 1935, probably related to Carl Welch.
  • Young Woman, circa 1935, probably related to Carl Welch.
  • Find-a-Grave indicates that William Henry Welch was born on 26 September 1907 and married Anna M. Jacobs in 1933. His parents were William Henry Welch (1864-1918) and Maude M. Savage (1872-1937).
  • I found no children or siblings of William named Carl.

Alternate Individuals.

Older man, circa 1935, probably related to Carl Welch.

There was a 31-year-old Carl Truman Welch, married to 27-year-old Marguerite (Pretty), who lived in Mexico, Oxford County, Maine, during the 1940 Census. He lived in Mexico Town in 1935, also. A review of his Ancestry family trees indicated no connection to Portland, Maine. Carl Truman Welch’s parents were George Milton and Elizabeth (Booker) Welch. He had no siblings named William.

Woman, circa 1935, probably related to Carl Welch

There was a 28-year-old Carl Welch, the single son of R. L. and Hattie Welch, who lived in Sanford, York County, Maine, during the 1940 Census.

There was a 27-year-old Carl Welch, the single son of Harold & Ethel Welch, who lived in Sherman, Aroostook County, Maine, in 1940.

I have not identified the individual in these photos, so I’ve only uploaded them to my Flickr photostream.

Esther West, Student, Class of 1939.

The envelope this negative was in says, “Esther West – Dec 1938.”

What I learned about this individual.

  • Esther West, Student, Class of 1939.
    Gorham High School Photo from 1939 Yearbook.

    The 1939 Gorham High School yearbook shows a photo of Esther West, that is the same young woman in the Ethel Wight Collection.

  • I have failed to find her in any other records.

Probable Identification?

There is an Esther West, who, during the 1940 Census, lived with her parents, Oliver and Ida West, in Wells, York County, Maine. (Wells is about 35 miles south of Gorham.) This Esther was 21 years old and born in Maine. She lived in the same house in 1935. She also appears to have lived in Wells during the 1920 and 1930 Censuses. Absent any connection to Gorham, I cannot ascribe this Esther West to my photo.

Another photo package is labeled Oliver West, RFD Wells. That suggests that Oliver West and his family used the Ethel Wight Studio, which makes it very likely that Esther West is the daughter of Oliver & Ida West of Wells, Maine.

I found Esther Emily West in five Ancestry trees (2 private); possibly one of those researchers can confirm this Esther is the same person that graduated from Gorham High School However, without positive identification, I could only upload her photo to Dead Fred[iii].

Probably Oliver West of Wells, Maine, 1945.

The negative envelope says, “Oliver West – Oct 1945.”

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • (Probably) Oliver West of Wells, Maine, 1945, with team of horses pulling a plow.

    This image is a reproduction for Oliver West. Research for Esther West suggested that her father is Oliver West of Wells, Maine. Another photo package included photos for Oliver West of Wells, Maine. As I believe these photos are all related.

  • The 1940 Census indicates Oliver West of Wells was a 56-year-old farmer.

Consequently, I believe this photo is likely of Oliver West of Wells, York County, Maine, plowing his field with two white horses; however, it might show Dewey Crepean, his hired man. Because of the distance from the subject, I have only uploaded this photo here.

This package has four additional photos of trees and trees reflected in the water. No animals or people that I have available. If someone is interested in them, I can send copies.

Althea Grace White, circa 1934.

This negative envelope says, “Miss Althea White, 81 Morning St. #61.”

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • Althea

    1934, 1935, and 1936 Portland City Directories list Mrs. Jennie Goldstein living at 81 Morning Street.

  • The 1930 US Census lists Althea G White, born c. 1919, living with her parents, William C and Ruth E (Wood) White, at 81 Eastern Promenade.
  • The 1934 Portland City Directory lists William C & Ruth E White relocated to New London, Connecticut.
  • Althea Grace White, the daughter of William and Ruth (Wood) White, was born on 3 September 1918 in Portland, Cumberland County, Maine.

I am confident this photo was of her in 1934. She was probably dressed for a party around St. Patrick’s Day based on the clothing, hat, and shoes.

Ancestry has four public trees that refer to Althea Grace White. Family Search does not appear to have a profile for Althea; however, her parents are listed as IDs LTFK-SDQ and
9VJB-S6Q. I have uploaded one photo of her to Dead Fred. I also uploaded two additional pictures of Althea to my Flickr Photostream.


  • There were eight individuals in five photo negative packets this week.
  • I fully identified four of them sufficiently to find them in Ancestry Family Trees.
  • One of those four had family Search profiles, so I uploaded the photos to their Family Search Memories. Two of them did not have Family Search profiles, so I uploaded their pictures to Dead Fred. One was too distant to identify, so I only uploaded it to this blog page.
  • Finally, I failed to identify four individuals; however, I believe they are somehow related to a Carl Welch.

If any of these photos are of your family member, I would love to hear your reaction. Especially if this photo is of a loved one for whom you hadn’t seen this photograph before.

Due to software limitations, the images uploaded to Family Search, Dead Fred, and Flickr have a higher image quality than the images linked here.

For all postings of the Ethel Wight Collection, please see here.


[i] The Wight Studio was in Portland, Maine. Many thanks to Ethel Wight’s family for access to and permission to use the collection of their great aunt.

[ii] These images were converted to positives using a lightbox, a Nikon camera and computer software.

[iii] I have four more photos of Esther West I can provide family members if fully identified.