'Wouldn't it be wonderful if they could get it back?': Woman on mission to identity people in old photographs
A River Canard, Ont. woman is on a mission to identify several unknown people in a handful of old photographs she said she found in a box inside her attic.
JoJo, as she goes by, said she discovered the pictures and postcards while decluttering her home as part of her New Year’s resolution, noticing many date back to the mid 1940s.
“Who knows, maybe it’s worth something to them,” JoJo said. “And instead of throwing away like some people told me to do, I thought 'Let's see if we can do something first.'”
The 69-year-old said the box of pictures sat untouched in her home since the 1970s when she moved from Wellesley Avenue in Windsor, Ont.
“I thought, ‘Wow, just somebody out there is really looking for these.’ Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they could get it back? And when I opened this one box it, was so wonderful to see this because I thought, ‘Wow,’ and then put myself in their shoes. Maybe their families would like to have these pictures as [momento],” she said.
A woman named Jojo from River Canard, Ont. is on a mission to identify the men and women in a box of old photographs she discovered in her attic in January 2023. (Chris Campbell/CTV News Windsor)JoJo said she appreciated the sentimental value the pictures could possibly carry, and told CTV News Windsor when she was a young girl, she and her family had to flee an abusive father in Quebec, leaving behind childhood pictures and mementos.
“When we came to Ontario, it was a bad situation. We had to run away from Quebec, and we ended up here and I lost everything from my youth,” she said. “Pictures we don't have.”
She explained, “I see this and I think ‘Yeah, wouldn't it be nice to have something?’ And when I see pictures like this, I see smiles. I see happy people and things they've done. They look proud and look happy and that's something I can never get,” she said.
JoJo continued, “But it does my heart good to see and hope that it can be done.”
A woman named Jojo from River Canard, Ont. is on a mission to identify the men and women in a box of old photographs she discovered in her attic in January 2023. (Chris Campbell/CTV News Windsor)
Officials from the Chimczuk Museum in Windsor said people often bring old unknown items in, hoping to solve a mystery.
“That's always very exciting when you find a treasure box full of old stuff,” said curator, Madelyn Della Valle. “We always like getting boxes of pictures and documents. It's kind of like wow, that's our fun here.”
Della Valle suggested there are several ways to approach identifying mysterious pictures, noting names and addresses can go a long way as clues to help solve the unknown.
A woman named Jojo from River Canard, Ont. is on a mission to identify the men and women in a box of old photographs she discovered in her attic in January 2023. (Chris Campbell/CTV News Windsor)“If you find a box in your house and you can find out who lived in that place before you, city directories will often lead you there as long as the house is old enough because now they don't release that kind of information,” Della Valle said. “But in the past, they had no problem telling you who lived there, what they did, and then you can follow paths like that.
Della Valle said there are also military archives and past censuses that could assist.
Della Valle continued, “If you know the people lived who in there beforehand, you can call them up and see what see what information they might have. So, there's all kinds of ways of getting that information. You can be stymied at every turn, of course, depending on if you run into roadblocks, but that's the way we would start.”
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