Ipswich wedding picture turns up in USA

IPSWICH: For nearly three decades a picture hung on the wall of Tom Mathis' home in America hiding a secret link with Ipswich thousands of miles away.

IPSWICH: For nearly three decades a picture hung on the wall of Tom Mathis' home in America hiding a secret link with Ipswich thousands of miles away.

When the landscape picture fell from the wall in the small town of Nebraska it revealed a concealed wedding photo - dating from about the late 1800s and taken by Ipswich photographer WH Earland who worked at 101 St Helen's Street.

But the mystery deepened when Mr Mathis showed the photo to his sister-in-law.

To his amazement she pointed out a teenage boy standing at the back of the shot who bore an uncanny resemblance to him.

He said: “My sister-in-law noticed there was a boy who looked 15 or 16 at the back, you can't really see him very well. He looks identical to me and my identical twin at that age.

“I showed my mum and she actually thought it was me, but obviously it can't be, I am not that old.

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“That is what caught my eye and my attention.”

Even more mysteriously, the landscape picture had been given to Mr Mathis by his ex-wife's mother 28 years ago as a wedding present and fell off the wall around eight years ago.

After delving into his family history the 49-year-old discovered his ancestors had lived in England.

When his father died two years ago an old family friend helped Mr Mathis look into their history discovering his father's descendants had originated from this country.

He added: “I am just curious to find out who the people in the photograph are. I think we must be related to someone in the photo and I am hoping someone in Ipswich can help me figure out who they are.

“We would love to get in touch with their descendants and see if there is any family connection.

“If it is somebody really important to anyone I would be happy to give it back to the family.”

If you can help Mr Mathis solve the mystery please e-mail him at tomjmathis@yahoo.com.

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