Sarah Ann Goodwin


Old lady in chair, next door to Deam’s (Mrs. Knapp)
Source: Lilly Library, Frank M. Hohenberger Photograph Collection

This one was a puzzle. A fun puzzle. From Hohenberger’s title, I knew Mrs. Knapp’s neighbors were the Deam family. One of the preceding photos in the set was of someone Hohenberger identified as Alberta Deam. Another photo showed an interior from the Deam home, with cabinets full of stacked papers and an open botanical specimen displayed on a desk. Knowing what I do of Hohenberger, the study likely belonged to a locally important botanist. So I searched for botanists named Deam and came up with Charles Deam. From there, I was able to figure out that the family was living in Indianapolis at the time of the 1910 census and that the daughter Hohenberger photographed was named Roberta.

This photo was taken in 1913, so there was a good chance the Deams and Mrs. Knapp were neighbors in 1910. And they were. I found Mrs. Knapp listed in the 1910 census, living at 304 Burgess Avenue. The Deams lived at 318 Burgess Avenue. The 1913 city directory for Indianapolis confirms that both families were living in the same homes in that year.

So with that, I give you Mrs. Sarah Ann Knapp, neé Goodwin, born 5 April 1831 and died 19 March 1915. This photo was taken, then, just two years before her death.

I’m delighted that I was able to properly identify her. It would have haunted me if I hadn’t. I mean, just look at that face! She is fabulous. And I’ve no doubt she’d be more than capable of haunting anyone she pleased.

(ETA: I added this to the genealogy category, because while these are not my ancestors, the research strategies are the same I’d use in identifying my own family members.)

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