Organizing a family reunion: Part Three

Constance Boucher -young woman600 cropped_3My cousin Connie recently sent me a photo of a young woman and asked me if I thought it might show her grandmother (and my great-great-aunt) Constance Boucher Burch (1887–1977). I’m inclined to think it does, given the provenance as well as the (rather unscientific) fact that this young woman has a family look: in features and coloring she reminds me of my grandmother Pauline Glidden Bell (1903–1968). (Click on images to expand them.)

During the war_2Aunt Conky – as my grandmother called her – was the youngest of William Boucher Jr.’s twenty-three children. My great-grandmother, Pauline Boucher Glidden (1875–1964), was twelve years older than Conky, but the six children between these two sisters died young, unmarried, or without offspring, so the two families were actually pretty close, despite the age difference. Almost twenty years ago, I visited Baltimore and met two of Conky’s daughters – Constance Burch Plummer (1914–2002) and Phyllis Burch Mollett Barry (1920–2001) – and they reminisced about my grandparents (shown above with my mother), remarking that Fred and Pauline Bell had more or less disappeared from sight once they moved from Baltimore to the Green Spring Valley, just a few miles outside the city.

Bell and Burch cards_Constance Constance Plummer cardThe two families were on visiting terms, at least: I found calling cards from Aunt Conky and Cousin Risque and Cousin Constance Plummer among my mother’s papers, cards that came with my parents’ wedding presents.

Family of Louis Claude Burch and Constance Marie Boucher_2

Connie has another family photo, and this one clearly identifies the family of Louis Claude Burch (1881–1946) and Constance Marie Boucher: from rear center, standing, Charles Augustin Burch (1913–2001) and Constance Plummer, leaning against Aunt Conky’s armchair; Francis Boucher “Bill” Burch (1918–1987), leaning against Uncle Claude’s armchair, with John Walter Burch (1925–2007) on their father’s knee; and (seated in front) Louis Claude Burch Jr. (1917–1993), Phyllis Barry, and Bill’s twin Josephine Burch Morrow (1918–1946).

So is the handsome young woman of ca. 1910, with the pronounced chin dimple, also the stern matron of ca. 1928, with her hat drooping over her facial features – and that strong chin? It’s interesting to see my grandmother’s features in relation to Aunt Conky’s, a physiognomy that recurred two generations later in my sister Meg.

Burch family photographs courtesy of Constance Burch McGrain; Bell photo and cards from author’s collection

The series continues here.

About Scott C. Steward

Scott C. Steward was the founding editor at Vita Brevis; he served as NEHGS Editor-in-Chief 2013-2022. He is the author, co-author, or editor of genealogies of the Ayer, Le Roy, Lowell, Saltonstall, Thorndike, and Winthrop families. His articles have appeared in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, NEXUS, New England Ancestors, American Ancestors, and The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, and he has written book reviews for the Register, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.

5 thoughts on “Organizing a family reunion: Part Three

  1. Photo identification has been one benefit of a private family group my cousins have created on a popular social media platform. “Membership” in our group is open to descendants of our common immigrant Norwegian ancestors. Many of us cousins have old photos of people we don’t recognize, but it almost never fails that, when we post these photos to the group, some other cousin can identify them or knows someone who can. Often they have a copy of the same photo but with a label on the back. Another plus is that we can easily share the photos with other cousins who want a copy.

      1. My great, great, great, grandfather is William Esprit Boucher of Baltimore. I have an oil painting of him, his Masonic documents and pendant. I also have another oil painting of his son, with a violin his father crafted. I have the family history of his voyage to the US an marriage. If anyone is interestedI can send photos.

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