Thursday, August 13, 2015

Family Treasure: Hidden Photos

My great Aunt Kathleen Coyle kept a small framed photo beside her bed. The black and white photograph shows her mother, Mary Josephine Mullane Coyle, on the roof of their building in New York City. I knew the photo because my maternal grandmother had copies of the photos taken the same day.

The photo was taken in the mid-1920s. I decided to take the back off the photo in hopes there was a date on the back. There wasn’t. However…

There were more photos behind the main photo. They are black and white and not the clearest photos ever taken.

1.    Lillian Coyle, Daniel Mullane & Marguerite Coyle
a.    Lillian & Marguerite Coyle were daughters of Mary Josephine. They are with their Uncle Daniel Mullane. It was taken when the sisters visited Ireland after their mother’s death in 1927.

2.    Kathleen Coyle
a.    Kathleen herself as a girl.

3.    Marion Coyle McCall
a.    Another one of the Coyle sisters.

In all Kathleen had photos of her mother, her mother’s uncle & and three of her four sisters. I don’t know why they were hidden behind her mother’s photo. There was nothing secret about these people. It was a nice surprise to find them. I scanned the photos and put them back where they have been for many years.


  1. Colleen, what a nice surprise and a bit of a treasure chest for you! Since I myself like to leave old photos behind the new ones, one explanation I can offer is that we want to have the old photos available in a place we know we'll find them easily if needed. Also leaving them in the frame keeps them safe. Perhaps that's what was going through the mind of your great aunt?

  2. Very nice. You're lucky to have found something like this. I personally have almost no record of my family (I literally only have two photos of my mother and nothing of extended family). Treasure them!

  3. Colleen, such a lovely surprise! How clever of your great-aunt Kathleen to have put them there. I love that you scanned the photos and then returned them to their secret spot.


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