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by Maureen A. Taylor

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# Monday, April 09, 2012
A Double Mystery: Twins in the Family
Posted by Maureen


This cute-as-a-button toddler duo is a big family history problem for Laura Cook. Who are they?

The cabinet card was once owned by her paternal grandmother—a trail of ownership that at least eliminates her mother's family from consideration.

Laura asked her father if he could remember any twins in his family, and he didn't. However, in his confirmation Bible appeared a mention to his cousins Catherine and Dorothy Scheuerman.

Laura asked me, "Could this photograph depict the Scheuerman girls, born in 1918?" Here's how the evidence stacks up.

Dark-colored cabinet card mats—brown and green—were usually common in the 1880s, not in the early 20th century. In the circa-1920 period, photographs usually appear in an enclosure. 

Props can also help date an image. In this case, the grass on the floor and the faux wall that the children are posed with could be from the 1880s as well.

The style of the interlocking initials of this photographer's imprint also suggests a time frame. The presence of gold stamped letters on an image can place the picture in the late 1880s to early 1890s.


Laura can use city directories and census records to research the business dates for the photographer, who according to this imprint, was based in Baltimore, Md. She also can type the name of the photographer and the city into Google to see if any hits pop up. An alternative would be to see if the Baltimore Public Library has a directory of photographers.

The identically dressed pair are likely twins, but sometimes cousins would dress their similarly aged children alike and pose them for a picture. 

There is a lot more research to be done. I'd start with the photographer's work dates and then focus on children born in the family at the time, likely during the 1880s. 

Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1880s photos | children
    Monday, April 09, 2012 7:02:06 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [3]
    Friday, April 13, 2012 8:14:54 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
    The name of the photographer seems to read Mueller's. When typing that in to Google, Frederick W. Mueller pops up. He was an inventor, builder and photographer. There is a little bit of info on him at the Maryland Historical Society at this link. This might be your guy.

    The 1890 Maryland Directory shows the address of 515 S Broadway to be that of Andrew Mueller of Mueller Bros Jewelers and Henry Flickenshildt, a photographer. In the 1900 census, Andrew Mueller and son Frederick W Mueller are living at 515 S. Broadway. Frederick is listed as an optican. Perhaps Frederick worked with Flickenshildt at his family's home/business. By the 1910 census, Fredrick is listed as an apprentice watch maker still at his father's home on 515 South Broadway, and the family was at the same address in 1880 with son Frederick being 1 year of age. Certainly more info to be found for Mueller, but I think this is a safe bet as to your photographer (at least the owner of the company).

    Thoughts on the twins: I've always been told that twins follow the mother's line. Perhaps one of the girls in the photo is the mother of the twins who were born circa 1918. If this photo was taken in the late 1880s early 1890s, then the timeframe would be possible.Because of the very close similarity in appearance, I doubt they are cousins. Not impossible, but I don't think very likely.

    Good luck!
    Friday, April 13, 2012 10:01:17 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
    Me, again,

    Here is the title of a book that might be more helpful: Maryland Photographers 1839-1900 by Ross J Kelbaugh. I read a post by someone else about Henry Flickenshildt and how he worked at 515 S Broadway in Baltimore (same address from your photo). Following the Mueller family, and Frederick W specifically, did not lead me to any info that would corroborate my hunch as to him being your photographer. By 1910, Henry Flickenshildt was no longer working as a photographer (at least he was not listed as one on the census like he was in 1900), so maybe this narrows your timeframe somewhat. It seems the Muellers are not living at 515 S Broadway in 1920.

    Interestingly, Katherine and Dorothy Sheuerman lived on North Broadway in 1930. Their parents were Harry and Katherine Sheuerman. As I suggested before, perhaps their mother (Katherine) was one of the twins in the picture.

    Anyway, I had fun poking around. Off to do some work.

    Good luck!

    Angela Kraft-
    Leaves of Heritage Genealogy
    "Let's shake some history from your family tree!" sm
    Tuesday, May 15, 2012 8:51:35 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
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