Sunday, April 29, 2012

That house in England image – I can't stop thinking of it!

In the prior post, I was looking at the "macro" mystery house in England. I had some clues, but I didn't have a high resolution image to take a closer look at. I asked cousin Sharon to rescan the original image of the house and two men plus some close ups of specific spots I had questions on. I thank her for helping out by taking the time to rescan. I'm coming closer to solving the mystery of who are those men and whose house is it anyway?

Sharon also corrected what was really written on the image: "Will Porteous Home (England)." By adding "Will" makes a big difference from what I had before. This identifies one of the men in the picture as great-great grandfather William Dennis Portas, but didn't point out which one. I'll get to that later with a little more sleuthing. This just might be the first good picture of William Dennis I have seen.

This picture must have been taken sometime before 1875 because William Dennis, wife Elizabeth, daughter Jane and grandson John William Marshall along with great-great uncle John R. Vamplew, emigrated from England to Lake County, Illinois and then finally settling in Garfield, Kansas. 

One mystery is solved... those white things that looked like a person bending over doing garden work actually turns out to be clothes drying on the hedge!

The web-looking black thing on the brick between the window and door is still a mystery, but the picture of great-great grandparents James and Anne Vamplew shows it is a vine. If this is the same house as the one the two men are at, then the black web-looking thing is a vine.

On further examination of the doorway of either house, I noticed the bricks are the same. Giving the angles of the pictures, there seems to be a doubt, but when you look closer, you can see they are the same. Count the bricks down from the inside corner of the door, the colors match up layer for layer.

I have concluded I have the same house. I'm still not sure of whose it is?

This dark image of a bearded man with a cigar could very well be my great-great grandfather William D. I wish I had a better image. I'll have to look in the picture box for the original so I can rescan it in high resolution.  I found it some years ago. Back then I had a strong feeling it was him, but had nothing to substantiate it. The picture was taken in Illinois or Kansas. 

Hard to see the hat in the left image. It sure looks real similar to the one worn by the man on the left in the other picture. It has a rounded top and thin brim. 

Other things I noticed are the collar of the coat and how the left side of his coat buttons close to the collar – in both images; the sleeve looks a little big for the arm in both pictures; there is a horizontal pocket flap on both images. Like I said before, I don't think he kept up with the styles of the day and he probably had that coat for many years including in England. 

Now compare the noses and creases on the cheeks, really similar especially his left cheek. Barely seen is his right eyebrow – kind of straight high arch which looks similar in both pictures. The beards are pretty much the same length and the color variances are close giving the different angles of the faces in the pictures. I really think we are looking at the same person!

One more thing, the other man on the far right. I believe he could be Will's brother Richard who lived not to far away. Richard was a few years younger. These men do look like brothers – their noses and eyebrows are similar. Richard would be the likely one since another brother lived a distance away and not sure he could be around for a photo which doesn't seem like a "planned" formal picture.

I have recently been in contact with a descendant of Richard's. Alan lives in Horncastle just up the road from Tumby and Mareham le Fen the area where William lived. I have sent him the image of the house and hopefully between him and his sister, they can identify the second man.

Let's hope that soon all the questions will be answered and I can stop thinking about the two men and a house in England!


  1. Welcome to Geneabloggers :) I love the name of your blog. And you have some wonderful pictures!! Keep sharing!

  2. You are my first comment! This is exciting. Thank you for looking.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Hi there

    We just found your blog, about 30 years ago my husband purchased some family bibles, from a Lincolnshire Auction House, which he used to do work for. Today we have been clearing out and decided to research the names in the bibles, one belonged to:
    Gertie Vamplew of Tumby Woodside
    Dated: Jan 5th 1903

    Inside are newspaper clippings relating to the obituary of John R Vamplew, who's information matches your blogs information.

    We then have a second bible, belonging to Jacob Vamplugh (on researching we think it's vamplew) of Ashby Puerourm (which is in North Lincolnshire) dated May 24th 1846.

    The third bible which came with the other two, unfortunately un-named, has in the back in pencil Uncle George Died January 12th 1942. Oddly this one looks the oldest of the three bibles.

    We thought you would be interested in hearing about these due to your family history and Blog, if you are interested we could always scan the newspaper clippings and forward to an email address. One of them goes briefly into the type of man John Vamplew was.

    Roger And Tanya Hall

    1. I don't know if you received my replies just after you sent this one. Yes, these are my VAMPLEWs. John R. Vamplew is my g-great uncle who migrated to US and settled in Kansas in the late 1870s. Jacob is a 4x great uncle. The Vamplew name has been spelled more ways than we have Sundays. Gertie is the daughter of George W. and Anna (Shaw) Vamplew. I'm not sure who wrote about "Uncle George," or who he would have been. He isn't George W. who died 1948, but it could be a date mistake on my or that person's part.

      I am interested in these bibles and would be happy to get scans of whatever you find -- digital images will also work, too. I would also like to go a step further and ask if you were interested in selling all three to me as they are with the stuff in them, I would appreciate it very much.