Photos from a Life : Anna Gaberil (1857-1916)




Anna Gaberil  at 16 (1857-1916)

I found some interesting photos at Antiques at the Barn yesterday. Only bought four of them, all of which included images of this woman. There were a couple of her husband, and one of her two grandchildren, Lucille and Lillian. 

I sat in a very warm little room picking through these photos and some interesting ephemera, like a very small notebook with an accounting of Barn Expenses for 1950. Each time they filled the truck up with gas it cost $1.45. I don’t think the notebook had anything to do with this family, but that sort of thing is interesting to me. 

The information written on the photos is a little confusing. I’m going to just transcribe it here since I know some of my readers are also interested in these things.

On the back of this photo in pencil: “Mother age 16. Born June 8, 1857-died June 17 1916. Anna Gaberil. Took 1873.”  In pen : “My grandmother Lucille and Lil.”



This one is fairly faded and in reality it’s sepia toned, but more details show up in black and white. I’ll bet it’s shortly after they were married, but it’s undated.

Written in pencil: “Mrs. Anna Wilcox, (street address) Modesto, CA. Mother & Father DD. Grandpa 1842-1918 – J.B. Gaberil. Grandma 1857-1916 Anna Gaberil.” And in pen: “Grandfather and grandmother Lucille & LIllian.”

At first I thought that Anna WIlcox was maybe Anna Gaberil’s maiden name, but after transcribing all of these notes, I realize that this image was sent as a postcard to Anna Gaberil’s daughter, Anna Wilcox, at some point.”


Another undated shot, but I think it fits here in the sequence. Wow, she’s been working hard.

On the back in pencil: “Anna Gaberil 1857-1916. Grandmother.”

So maybe Lucille or Lillian wrote the pencil notes.


My favorite of the shots. Anna seems to be thinking about the passage of time in this one. Or maybe that’s just me adding a layer. She’s in her fifties here, since she died just after turning 59.

Love the smiles on Christine and Lucille. 

On the back in blue pen: “Christine is wearing the Waltham watch I have with chain. In a sle of watch, the case isn’t the deal – it’s the works- could be worth up to $300.”

On the back in a different pen: “Christine – Anna Mother” (Anna is written above the word mother, but I think it’s the woman on the right, who would be Anna’s daughter and Christine’s sister, I’m guessing.”

“Grandmother Gaberil – Lillian 5”

“Grandmother Gaberil, Anna Wilcox …. Lillian”

I went to the census record and can’t find Anna Gaberil or her husband James B. Gaberil. The photos are all marked with the imprint of the photography firm Carver in Vandalia, MO, but I’m guessing that someone had these photos mounted there long after they were taken, because I found a reference to the studio opening in 1914. There are some listings for people by the surname Gaberil in Merced County, which is next to Stanislaus County, CA (where Modesto is located.)

There are references to several people by the name Anna Wilcox in California, none listed in Modesto. 

I don’t subscribe to the paid genealogy sites, so if anyone who does is curious, do your best and I’d love to know. The photos were purchased in northeastern Los Angeles County, outside of Lancaster.  I’ll bet that copies exist elsewhere, since it looks like these were made to give to family members. A pioneering genealogist!



6 thoughts on “Photos from a Life : Anna Gaberil (1857-1916)

  1. Bernice says:

    What wonderful photos and piecing together a bit of history! A great find indeed. I love the different time periods of Anna’s life. In the third picture she looks distressed – or tired. And I do agree in the last picture she does seem to be thinking about something. Maybe on how well her life turned out. I like how the last picture has some sun light coming into the room.

  2. Sundry says:

    It looks like they were having a good day in the last shot. Family time.

  3. Bernice says:

    I really like that last picture – maybe 3 generations of women?

  4. Hi, I can add a little info about that photo by Carver Studio in Vandalia. I see why it would be confusing to see that the studio was opened in 1914. I can help clarify that. That studio that was opened in 1914 was my grandfather, WC Carver. Before that, my great grandfather, T B Carver had a photography studio in the late 1800’s, so that photo was taken by TB Carver, not the (later) WC Carver Studio. It’s fun to see some of my great grandfather’s work occasionally appearing on the web these days! Kevin Gourley, Austin, TX

    • Sundry says:

      Thank you so much for commenting, Kevin! I am fascinated by early photographers and photos. What an amazing gift they gave their early clients. We have only a few photos of our family from the early 1900s.

      Did your grandfather travel at all with his camera? Where was his studio located?

      • Sorry I don’t have a lot of details about them. Both my grandfather and great grandfather’s studios were in Vandalia. Not sure if they travelled with their cameras. I never knew my great grandfather, and my grandfather died when I was little. I wish I could ask my mother more about them, but she passed away in 2005. I occasionally do a search online to see if anyone mentions their studios, since old photos have the studio name embossed on their matts. I have run across several of their photos that way, which is always fascinating to me. Some people mistakenly identify TB Carver as FB Carver because his earlier studio name embossing used a cursive script that made the T look like an F. But both identify their studio location as Vandalia (Missouri). I am also fascinated in this because I am also a pro photographer, so I guess it’s “in my blood”.

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