Sentimental Saturday – My Sister’s Christening

I am posting photos each week from my collection and offering an explanation of what I know about the picture.

Well, my sister is having a birthday in the upcoming week so I thought I would share a photo from a (much) earlier time in her life.

Yours Truly with my parents Anne (O'Neill) and Lewis Hadden and my sister Lou-Anne on the day of Lou-Anne's christening

Yours Truly with my parents Anne (O’Neill) and Lewis Hadden and my sister Lou-Anne on the day of Lou-Anne’s christening

This photo is from the day of my sister Lou-Anne’s christening but I don’t know if it was taken before or after the trip to the church. The gown she was wearing gives away the occasion and it was the christening gown we all wore.

In the photo, Yours Truly is seated, and smiling, beside my parents Anne (O’Neill) and Lewis Hadden. My mother is holding my sister Lou-Anne, who doesn’t seem to be having a good time. The photo was taken by an unknown person in the living room of our family home at 189 Pickering Street in Toronto, Ontario.

It was a happy occasion for my parents who had experienced the death of a son, my brother Brian, the year before Lou-Anne was born. My brother Stephen died when Lou-Anne was just three months old and he is not in the family photo. I suspect that Stephen may have been too ill to be included. Based on those observations, I think this photo was taken in late November or early December 1958.

In the large mirror behind us, on the right, you can see image of a guest smiling. The person’s face is partially blocked by a decidedly 1950s lampshade but I think it is my aunt Mary (Raponi) O’Neill who was married to my mother’s brother.

I like this photo as it shows just how 1950s our house decor was and because I can’t stop thinking about how valuable some of the furnishing might be today, cherished by decorators looking for that retro look.

The Christening Tradition – Or Ted’s Great Christening Adventure

Recently, while attempting to organize old family photos, well, at least get them all together and safely stored in one place, I was simultaneously taking the time to scan photos that I knew I had not converted into an electronic format.

I love family photos. They capture moments, usually important moments, of family gathering and celebrations like birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc. 

A few of the photos that I scanned really caught my attention as one of the main subjects in the photos was my wife’s father, Carl Wagner, wearing his army uniform and holding an infant. On the reverse side of the photos, notes about the photos had been written by Ellen’s mother, Tess (Olive Theresa Evelyn (nee Latimer) Wagner). The photos were from Ellen’s oldest brother Ted’s christening. That Ted (formally Carl Edward Wagner) was christened came as no surprise but rather it was the generations of family members who attended the christening that fascinated me.



In the photo above, Ted as an infant is being held by his great grandfather, Rev. Louis Henry Wagner in front of the church in which the christening took place. Unfortunately the name of the church is not identified. 

Tess’ note on the reverse of the photo offers much to the family history. She wrote, “Baby Carl 15 weeks old! Great Grandfather Wagner christened him this Day! This is the church too. Grandfather 86 years old and he had christened wee Carl, his father Carl and Grandfather Louis Wagner! Grandfather Wagner was so proud to do this!”

Grandfather Louis Wagner, referred to in the note is not present in any of the christening photos. It is probable that he was unable to attend the christening as he lived in Saskatchewan, Canada at the time and the christening took place likely in London, Ontario.

Two additional photos from the same family celebration were of special interest but needed a bit of research to identify the family members depicted. In the photo below, the reverse side of the photo noted that ‘Baby Carl’ or Ted was with “Great Great Aunt Alma and Adolph.”



Well, following some digging I learned that Great Grandaunt Alma was Margarette Otilla Alma Bean, the half-sister of Great Grandfather Rev. Louis Henry Wagner. Their mother, Margaret Hailer had married Daniel Bean (Biehn) following the death of her first husband Rev. Jacob Wagner. Adolph was Alma’s son Paul Adolph Bender, making him Ted’s first cousin twice removed. Alma’s husband and Adolph’s father, Alfred C. Bender is also in the photo, standing on the left.

Finally, here is a photo which is described by Tess Wagner as “4 Generations – Grandfather, Father, Great Aunt Florence, Baby Carl.”



It was the Great Aunt Florence reference that had me puzzled. After some digging, I learned that ‘Great Aunt Florence” was Margaret Florence Wagner who married Norval Laverne Knetchel. ‘Florence’ was Rev. Louis Henry Wagner’s daughter from his second marriage. Louis had married Sarah Lodema Moyer in 1889 following the death of his first wife Mary Staebler in 1887.

I do love old family photos and the moments they capture!