Like my good friend Lynn from https://lynnswaffles.com who blogs about the old photographs that she finds and researches, I have very much missed visiting Postcard Fairs, Flea Markets, Charity Shops etc. during the lock down this year, so I have taken to looking on eBay more for any interesting old postcards or photographs that might have a name or clue to help me identify and research them further.
A recent lovely find was this old photograph, as below, of a smart young man with the name Francis (possibly J) PARKER written on the front with the date 13th October 1906 – unfortunately there were no clues to the location or a Photographers name.
By studying the photograph closer and seeing his moustache I assumed that he must be aged in his late teens to giving an approximate birth year range of 1886 to 1891 – I therefore looked for all Francis PARKER births within that period with a middle name beginning with J. I found a few and without a photograph location it was difficult to know which one might match.
I then decided on a different research track considering his age that he might have been involved in World War 1 – I searched the Commonwealth War Graves website and Ancestry, but again there were too many Francis PARKER’s to be sure without a location.
My next step was to do a random google search of the name Francis J PARKER and see what might turn up using the middle names John, Joseph, James etc.- on trying Francis James PARKER a match came up a listing on the Ipswich War Memorial website – https://www.ipswichwarmemorial.co.uk/francis-james-parker/
This is a War Memorial project I have been in contact with before when I sent them some old photograph postcards of the Ipswich War Memorial through the years – on examining the entry for Francis James PARKER I could see that he was born in 1890 in Ipswich in Suffolk, which would possibly fit with my date range above and that he had been killed in action on 15th July 1916 aged only 26.
The most amazing thing was that at the bottom of his entry there was a copy of a newspaper report about his death that had a photograph and on closer scrutiny the hair line and moustache appeared to match with the old photograph I had found on eBay.
I immediately contacted Helen at the Ipswich War Memorial project and asked if she though my photograph matched – she replied saying that she had shown it to a colleague and they both believed it was a match to their Francis James PARKER and was delighted to see the lovely old photograph of him.
I also asked Lynn to have a look for me and she agreed that their was a match too which was very much appreciated.
Francis James PARKER is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial in France and on my next visit I will be looking for his name and remembering him.
I have now reunited the photograph with Helen and the Ipswich War Memorial project for them to add to their research and website in due course – it is a fantastic project and please check out their website to see the matching photograph of Francis James PARKER and find out more information about him and his family and also to check out all their other names and research – https://www.ipswichwarmemorial.co.uk/francis-james-parker/
It is a great outcome that I am absolutely thrilled about!!