My father, Keith, left me over 450 photos, and about 20 films. Here are two of my favorite photos from his collection.
These photos are of my father and two of his sisters in Scottish dress. It is interesting they are all wearing different tartan patterns. It would have been nice if they had been photographed in color but they didn’t have that technology back then. None of the patterns remind me of the tartan pattern that my Aunt Eddie shared with me and I discussed in a previous post on Our MacDonald Family Tartans dated February 12, 2010.
My father Keith looks like he is about five years old? If this is true we can speculate that this would be about 1914-1916. He was born in 1910. This means that his grandparents Archie and Mary McDonell who died in 1912 and 1913 would not have been alive when this picture was taken. So they would not have been involved in creating these costumes or even in giving advice. So who was the originator of these costumes? It was probably their father Ronald for my grandmother Grace died in 1911.
Why Dad and his sisters were dressed like this and for what purpose I do not know. It has been a long time since I talked to him about them — over 40+ years. He didn’t really elaborate on the reasons for the photos but he seemed to be very pleased about them. If you look at them closely it looks like a photo session on a stage with curtains around them.
The other interesting aspect of these photos is where were they taken? If it was before 1915 or 1916 then it would have been in International Falls, Minnesota. If they were taken after that date then it would have been in Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada were they moved to. I do not know much about their time in Grand Prairie. I am leaning towards International Falls, Minnesota because they would have been surrounded by their aunts and uncles who were of Scottish descent.
The possibility that there was a Scottish festival of some kind in the area of International Falls might be worth looking at newspapers to see if anything interesting pops up. The costumes are very fancy so something was going on. My Dad and his siblings look like they are enjoying themselves.