The Story Behind the Photo Album 

Long lost and hidden away, this photo album came back into the Cunningham family with an intriguing story. Forty years ago (presumably about 1970) a dealer purchased an antique buffet at auction in Pennsylvania. Hidden in a secret storage compartment, the dealer unexpectedly discovered the photo album. Taking both the buffet and the album to auction in Florida, he sold the album to new owners unrelated to the Cunninghams. 

The new owners could only speculate about the history of the album and its original owners. However, they confirmed that the handwriting on the pages in the album, as well as on the pictures, was there when they acquired it. 

In 2008, the owners decided to sell the photo album, placing it on eBay and selling it to a photo dealer who specialized in civil war photographs. Through a twist of fortune, the eBay advertisement contained many of the names identified in the photo album, making it discoverable by a Google search. The Cunningham family descendants made the connection and acquired the photo album from the very understanding and helpful dealer. As it happens, the purchase occurred in the nick of time. In a matter of a few more days, the photos would have been sold individually and the album would have been forever lost. It was purchased from the dealer by John Cunningham in March of 2008. 

Believing that family history is best preserved and broadened through sharing information, the Cunningham Family now presents its photo album to all. But the story does not end here. Production of this web site occurred due to the hard work and kind collaboration of Mr. Will Brown, who has published the Hyndman Family Photo Album on the internet. It seems that Mr. Cunningham and Mr. Brown share a common family history. Both descend from the family of John and Jean Blair: John Cunningham from their daughter Elizabeth Blair, and Will Brown from their daughter Rebecca Blair. The Blairs were of the town of Articlave, near Coleraine, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, with ties to First Dunboe Presbyterian Church.  Both families somewhat independently emigrated to the United States, settling in Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania in the 1850s. Life went on and generations passed, with the families moving on and losing touch. Through the magic of the internet, these two men reconnected, along with close to a dozen others who share a similar history linked to Mauch Chunk and First Dunboe.  

So then, the publication of this Photo Album represents the collective effort of generations reunited by a common love for family history and a tiny place in Northern Ireland we all called home.

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