• December 10, 2013

Seven Siblings and a Mystery Solved

When I was a student at Baylor University in the late 2000’s, I was lucky to work at one of the campus libraries—the Baylor Collection of Political Materials—an archive that contains a treasure trove of old things and forgotten times. For three and a half years, I spent countless hours sifting through old letters, campaign memorabilia and of course, photographs. I’ve always been drawn to history, especially personal stories. During my time at the archive, I spent over a year cataloging the photos and letters that Penn Jones Jr., a newspaper editor and JFK researcher, sent to his wife during his deployment in World War II.

When I started working at National Geographic, I never imagined that my love of old photographs and family stories might be part of my job. Enter: the Found Tumblr. In early March when my co-worker Web Barr came to me with an idea to start an archival Tumblr, I was more than ready to jump in and help.

To curate “Found” I search National Geographic’s internal archive for photos that strike me as remarkable or extraordinary, and sequence them to reveal a broad glimpse of different eras, moments and people from the past.

Last month I posted an image from 1939 of seven siblings sitting on a fence in Quebec. Much to my surprise, I was contacted by Julia Caron, a CBC radio producer, who was intrigued by the image and wanted to know more. I didn’t have much information to share with her at the time, but a few days later I received an email from Ketsia Houde—the granddaughter of the blond boy second from the right. I immediately connected Caron and Houde, so they could talk more about the family in the photograph.

After talking with Houde, Caron produced a detail-rich radio piece for the CBC profiling the rural area of Quebec that was visited by photographer Howell Walker in 1938, for a May 1939 magazine story called “Gentle Folk Settle Stern Saguenay.”

It brings me joy to experience how the digital era has enabled us to revive history and bring both local and global communities together. Personal narratives endure, even in our rapidly changing society.

Visit CBC’s website to hear the entire radio piece. It’s well worth the listen.

Follow Janna Dotschkal on Twitter and Instagram.

There are 41 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. Mark
    January 5, 2014

    A moment captured in time. Lovely.

    December 20, 2013


  3. Danny Lum
    December 17, 2013

    Old photographs faithfully and honestly captured there and then

  4. Elayne
    December 16, 2013

    I, too, should have been born in 1923 or 1933 rather than 1953…I read a lot of “period books” during war times and and after….

  5. Jared
    December 15, 2013

    I am from Ethiopia, and here you don’t have to look into archives for bare footed kids, hopefully we don’t need 74 years wear one

  6. Eva Quizon Quetulio
    December 12, 2013

    i just love the simplicity of life they had.

  7. Daniel Stutts
    December 11, 2013

    Would Love To HAVE A Copy OF That Photo! not a care in the World!!

  8. Ricardo Chua Cifra
    December 11, 2013

    a PICTURE speaks to us of TIME-MEMORIES and a piece of HISTORY and its a Self Expression to the one holding the Camera

  9. Jeff Grosse
    December 11, 2013

    This picture was taken at L’Anse-Saint-Jean. You can see the Saguenay Fjord on the back. Come to visit us : http://www.lanse-saint-jean.ca

  10. Abel Miller
    December 11, 2013

    Awesome and wonderful!

  11. mona
    December 11, 2013

    i also like old photographs ..n have a curiousity how they look now….they still alive or not …

  12. Swathi Krishnan
    December 11, 2013

    Wow, inspiring… I always believed in old fotographs….

  13. Margaret Burns Reyes
    December 11, 2013

    Hi Ms. Dotschackl,
    Great photo and great story. My father was in a National Geographic photo in 1949. It was a group of boys playing pond hockey in Duluth, Minnesota. My dad is one of the kids in the photo. I know a little about the photo and could get more info if you are interested. Most of the guys in the photo would be about 76 years old today, so many are probably still alive.

  14. Robert C Brooke
    December 10, 2013

    I enjoy viewing old pictures.Have you thought of including pictures that originally appeared in the National Geographic School Bulletin?

  15. marlyn
    December 10, 2013

    Thats nice…..

    December 10, 2013

    I too love old photographs as well as the stories from old time. I wish I have a time machine to take me to the past

  17. Roy Barlo N. Teves
    December 10, 2013

    it’s amazing, n wonderful

  18. Ann Massey
    December 10, 2013

    I also love NatGeo’s pictures and also its articles. But I have a story for you. We visited our daughter in Israel in 1981 when she volunteered in a kibbutz. She took us to the very small home of friends of hers, and they had shelves on one whole bedroom wall full of NG magazines. The host went straight to the one he wanted to show us. Your mag is awesome.

  19. arturo
    December 10, 2013

    muy bonito chido chidon…

  20. Harry
    December 10, 2013

    I think this is fantastic. The first time I heard of something like this was the pic of the indian girl and then a pic of her years later on one of your anniversary issues.

    Before I continue I have to say, you have to choose which photos are remarkable? Ah, you don’t understand National Geographic. All of them are remarkable and deserve to be shared with the public. National Geographic set the standards for what makes a great photograph. This nothing unremarkable of any of National Geographics photos.

    Getting back to the comment. Things like this, makes National Geographic so much more important today than ever before. I know National Geographic was bringing the world to your doorstep and they did in a fantastic way, but this give you the meat and gravy of those times when the photos were taken.

    • Janna Dotschkal
      December 10, 2013

      Actually, yes, I do have to choose which photos are remarkable! One of the biggest reasons National Geographic is so extraordinary is because of our editors.

      Any of our photographers would agree with me.

      Also, because there are so many wonderful photos to show in our archives, it really does have to be narrowed down at times.

  21. David Quezada
    December 10, 2013

    Soy un amante de las viejas costumbres y estilos de épocas pasadas. siento que me traslado a esos tiempos. es hermoso envolverse en el pasado de una historia aunque sea disfrutando una imagen

  22. Debbie Powers
    December 10, 2013

    Unbelievable! I may be related as well as both those names Houde abd Caron plus the Canada part are linked to my heritage as well and I’ve inherited more photos, will share to piece together.

  23. andri akbar
    December 10, 2013

    very nice,i like pict 🙂

  24. Julie Fergusson
    December 10, 2013


  25. Teacher Roger
    December 10, 2013

    I’d love to hear the program, but it keeps asking me to update adobe flash player (what I have done) and the audio never starts.

  26. Lori Hayward
    December 10, 2013


  27. Genny Calixto-Francisco
    December 10, 2013

    Wow amazing what an old photo could do!!!

  28. agustin jaime niño flores
    December 10, 2013

    libertad, amor y belleza de naturaleza

  29. labea
    December 10, 2013

    Me encantó, y demuestra que tu post es visto por mucha gente. Felicidades.

  30. Kevin
    December 10, 2013

    Wow…the most uninteresting article I’ve read all week.

  31. sardar Qamar
    December 10, 2013

    well interesting story

  32. Rich Davidson
    December 10, 2013

    “digital era brings us together”-please
    see blog pics from around the planet adventure!

  33. Carol Sauvageau
    December 10, 2013

    Thats so cool ! Im from Saguenay and I ´m so going to listen this radio piece like right now haha

  34. Amy DeLair
    December 10, 2013

    How cool! Technology makes the world smaller, but no less intriguing.

  35. rajani jani
    December 10, 2013

    Every photograph has a story but few are lucky to find their loved ones after decades of separation. Beautiful photograph!

  36. elly nababan
    December 10, 2013

    I too love old photographs as well as the stories from old time. I wish I have a time machine to take me to the past

  37. Allan Grafia
    December 10, 2013

    wow.. really,,. makes me smile.. good story..

  38. du
    December 10, 2013

    Love your Pic and you Story

  39. Adao Francisco
    December 10, 2013


  40. Susan Nelson
    December 10, 2013

    I too love old photographs and the stories that go with them. I will definitely listen to the radio piece on CBC.ca

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