Sunday, April 6, 2014

Mrs Austen

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-60993

Is this Anne Austen nee Wilcox?

Auckland Libraries has a database of over 100,000 images called "Heritage Images on Line" - it is a marvelous resource!

A search on it for "Austen" brings up this image of "Mrs Austen".  The image was taken by Herman Schmidt 1872-1959 an Auckland photographer and is dated 1910.

In 1910 Anne Austen was living in Nelson Street, Auckland, at the home of her daughter Mary Jane Ward. She was a widow, aged about 68. 

We have very few images of the Austen family and none of the Captain. Sadly there do not seem to be any family albums. 

We cannot be sure this is Anne but in the photograph she is wearing a small "anchor" brooch - very suitable for the widow of Master Mariner. 

Her calm and lovely face looks like a woman who has lived and loved well. We do hope she is "ours"

And there is a strong family resemblance to descendants of both the Wilcox and Austen families.

A Wilcox descendant

Mary Jane Ward
An Austen descendant

The library's collection of around 26,000 glass plate negatives taken by Schmidt was saved from the attic of a building about to be demolished in Queen Street, Auckland. This may account for the damage to the image.