This is the first of two blogs about six old photos I found in a super Antique shop in Leominster while on holiday in Wales recently, it’s run by Ben Cooper of Bargain Hunt Fame with Stephanie Castell and husband Andrew Gough We didn’t know that until we walked in and saw Ben. Lovely surprise and had a nice chat with him.
After wandering around the large The Secondhand Warehouse and Antiques Centre I found these six old photos, all from American photographers but two had names, so it’s always worth hoping they are all one family and someone somewhere might recognise a face.
This first one below really took my eye because of her middle name Madeleine Larcomb Gentlee, Larcombe spelt with an E is among surnames on my own family tree.
So we know the photo was taken around mid-November 1913 at 130 Cabot Street, Beverly, Massachusetts, USA. It didn’t take me too long to find Madelaine and add her parents and grandparents to her tree.
As you can see below I also was lucky enough to find a few old photos of Madeleine’s ancestors and one of her sons on public trees on Ancestry. No Larcomb surname though.
So I thought I would add great-grandparents to the tree and I might get the surname I wanted to check out. I worked my way through them all yesterday afternoon and would you believe it was the last one of Madeleine’s great grandparents that I added Martha Jane Larcomb. I also managed to add another couple of generations back from her and so far all the Larcomb’s on this tree were born in America not the UK. Worth trying though as you never know!
So back to Madeleine Larcomb Gentlee, she was born on 15 September 1911 in Beverly, Massachusetts, USA, her father, Curtis, was 26, and her mother, Helen, was 23. She had two sons with husband Lendell George Foan Jnr, Lendell George Foan 3rd 1946-2022 (death date of 2022 is on the Find A Grave site with photos of the Foan Memorial for the family) and Curtis Gentlee Foan 1949-1998. Madeleine died on 7 March 1980 in her hometown of Beverly, Essex, Massachusetts, USA she was 68. Her headstone photo is on the US Find A Grave site for the Greenlawn Cemetery, Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA. The Foan Memorial at Greenlawn Cemetery link: Foan Memorial
Madeleine and Lendall‘s two sons both married, eldest son Lendell George Foan 3rd married Loretta and they had two children, a boy named after his father and a girl. The youngest son Curtis Gentlee Foan married Mary Beth and they had five children, one daughter and four sons. I hope Madeleine got to meet them all. All her grandchildren were born in the 1970s so hopefully still alive and also may have married and had children of their own now.
Madeleine’s father Curtis Haskell Gentlee was an interesting character and I found that on the US Find A Grave site a contributor had written a lovely bio about him with photos, here’s one.
Curtis Gentlee was a longtime Thompson family friend and frequent visitor to 547 Essex Street [home of Abby and George Thompson], along with his first wife and their daughter Madeleine (b. September 15, 1911). He was a contemporary of George Thompson, born just 2 years before George, and so I think his coming to visit at 547 Essex Street must have been initiated by a relationship of friendship with George. Curt, as he was called, was interested in the latest technology and was always taking photographs with the latest camera, whether it was moving pictures or still colour photographs. There are very few photos of him because he always seemed to be the one behind the camera. He was also an early adopter of television. By 1948 one million American homes had television sets, and Curt owned one of them. He must have been an entertaining visitor because he also developed an interest in magic and had become an accomplished magician. He was a dapper dresser, judging from the few photos of him that do exist. He probably needed good grooming along with the qualities of social adeptness and showmanship in both his undertaking and his magic endeavours.
From a narrative by Martha Kaiser. Contributor: AN-12 (50067069) US Find A Grave.
On Madeleine’s grandfather’s page on the US Find A Grave site is this bio with a photo:
After adding lots of records to the family it was nice to the above biography of these two family members. I found that Madeleine’s grandfather Samuel had married her mother Helen Frances Delaney on the 20 November 1868 in Beverly, Essex, Massachusetts he was a Shoemaker, listed on the 1870 census. By the time of the 1880 census he was a Sexton, someone who takes care of a Church and its grounds/graveyard. I haven’t found him and his family in the 1890 census but from his Bio above you can see that by 1894 he had established his Undertakers business in Cabot Street, Beverly so by the census of 1900 he was head of a thriving business that his son Curtis inherited and also grandchildren. Maybe being a Sexton had made him realise what the local area needed was a good Funeral Directors. I haven’t found that its still operating but I wonder if it was taken over by another company?
Samuel Augustine Gentlee’s Funeral business was also in Cabot Street, Beverly, Essex the same street where the photo of Madelaine was taken by Mrs Lizzie Mitchell.
These are the four unnamed photos also from American photographers that I bought, are they connected to the same family? Do you recognise anyone? Please do let me know if you do.
Look out for my next blog about the other named old photo that I found with these, also taken by an American photographer, none of the surnames from this family match so far with Madeleine’s family…..coming soon.
Here’s the link to Madeleine’s Public family tree on Ancestry: Madeleine Larcomb Gentlee Family Lynns Waffles
Till next time then………