I love this column. Brian Nichols wrote for help. He’s looking for an 1887 wedding picture. Here’s his story:
My great-grandfather was a traveling cigar salesman from St. Louis. On December 7, 1887 my great-grandmother, Adelia, left her family’s farm in Wisconsin and eloped to Canton, South Dakota Territories with great-grandpa Frank A. Nichols. Two years later, Frank left Adelia and their son, then disapeared from family history. Adelia kept Frank’s last name and the wedding certificate but removed their pictures, which presumably have been destroyed. We’re hoping to find the plates or copies of those pictures. The family knows of no other existing photos and dear great-grandma never spoke about her husband again..other than to tell their son that Frank died in St. Louis a few years after he left them. (we managed to find Frank’s death certificate and discovered that he died from injuries received during what was later named “the Great Cylone of St Louis and East St. Louis”).
A more time intensive search involves contacting historical societies in the area in which the person lived and if all else fails try reverse genealogy. That’s when you research the family forward in time rather than backwards. You’re looking for living descendants. In this case, Brian would look for living collateral descendants of Frank A. Nichols, i.e. his siblings.
Do you have a “lost photo?” I’d love to share your story and help you find it.