Discovering who people are in old family photographs.
I have this picture from my great grand parents photo album, but I am not sure who the couple is in the photograph with them. Luckily, they labeled the photograph “Vohres – Lake Worth”. Who were the Vohres? Where they family friends? An aunt and Uncle? Pen Pals?
Since there is no one left alive that might know who the Vohres were, I began to see if I could solve the mystery. I checked my family tree again first, to be sure I didn’t have the name somewhere in there. Not finding it, I decided to see if I could figure it out.
I began with what I knew from the photographs themselves. There are palm trees, and other pictures from the same trip labeled “Palm Springs”, leading me to believe this is Lake Worth, Florida. I do see they had taken two separate trips down there based on who is in the photographs and where the images were in the photo album. The first trip included my great grandfather’s mother Louisa Gille. She lived her whole life in Quincy, Illinois. Her maiden name was Vahle which is similar – a possibility to make note of. But why would the spelling be so far off? Could it be a brother of hers? More on this later.
Another clue is the absence of my great great grandfather. He died in 1934, so my thinking is that this trip was after his death. My great great grandmother died in 1938, so that gives me a time frame of when they Vohres would have lived in Lake Worth, Florida. Also, none of my great grand parent’s kids where on this trip judging by other photographs and group pictures from the trip (they are not in any of them), so it must be later 1930s.
The second trip that they photographed is missing my great great grandmother, but includes my great grandfather’s brother and his wife. There are many more pictures from this trip, including stops on the way down. They labeled this picture as well, but this time as “Voohrees – Lake Worth”. Hmm, same couple, but different spelling.
I searched for records of the Vohres in Lake Worth, Florida during the 1930s and 1940s, but didn’t find much. Mostly alternate spellings came up, and were way off if using soundex.
So I tried Voohrees instead. This time I got many matches with a similar spelling of Voorhees on the 1940 census for Lake Worth, Palm Springs, FL area. But, not knowing their first names made it difficult to figure out if any of the results were these Vohres/Voohrees. I looked to see if any of them might have been born in Illinois, but did not readily find any. No matter, they might not have been born in Illinois, but could have lived there prior to 1934 – a date I’m using as a starting point since again, that is when my grandfather died – so it has to be at least after this date they moved to Florida. That is assuming that they lived in Illinois at all.
I searched the Quincy City Directories and wrote down all the Voorhees, Voorhis, and even a Vohs. I then searched the Lake Worth, Florida City directories. I found Fred and Etta Voorhees in West Palm Beach in 1934, 1936, and 1941. There were no Voorhees or other similar spellings in the Lake Worth section of the directory. So I found Fred and Etta on the 1940 census. They were from New Jersey. There are also no Fred or Etta’s in any of the Quincy directories. Hmm…
Back to the possibility of it being a Vahle. This is not an option because she only had one brother who died in 1936 in Illinois. Knowing that my great grandparents took another trip to visit later than 1938, this is not an option. Plus, I would hope he would know how to spell his mother’s maiden name. Perhaps not though.
Well, I have not solved the mystery of who the Vohres/Voohrees were. Do you have a Voohree in your family tree? Leave a comment about them and maybe we can solve this mystery together.