Free Updates

Let us tell you when new posts are added!

Email:

Navigation

Categories
February, 2017 (3)
January, 2017 (5)
December, 2016 (4)
November, 2016 (4)
October, 2016 (5)
September, 2016 (4)
August, 2016 (4)
July, 2016 (5)
June, 2016 (4)
May, 2016 (5)
April, 2016 (4)
March, 2016 (4)
February, 2016 (4)
January, 2016 (5)
December, 2015 (4)
November, 2015 (5)
October, 2015 (4)
September, 2015 (4)
August, 2015 (5)
July, 2015 (4)
June, 2015 (5)
May, 2015 (4)
April, 2015 (4)
March, 2015 (5)
February, 2015 (4)
January, 2015 (4)
December, 2014 (4)
November, 2014 (5)
October, 2014 (4)
September, 2014 (5)
August, 2014 (4)
July, 2014 (4)
June, 2014 (5)
May, 2014 (4)
April, 2014 (4)
March, 2014 (5)
February, 2014 (4)
January, 2014 (4)
December, 2013 (5)
November, 2013 (4)
October, 2013 (4)
September, 2013 (5)
August, 2013 (4)
July, 2013 (4)
June, 2013 (5)
May, 2013 (4)
April, 2013 (5)
March, 2013 (4)
February, 2013 (4)
January, 2013 (4)
December, 2012 (5)
November, 2012 (4)
October, 2012 (5)
September, 2012 (4)
August, 2012 (5)
July, 2012 (5)
June, 2012 (4)
May, 2012 (4)
April, 2012 (5)
March, 2012 (4)
February, 2012 (4)
January, 2012 (5)
December, 2011 (5)
November, 2011 (4)
October, 2011 (5)
September, 2011 (4)
August, 2011 (5)
July, 2011 (5)
June, 2011 (6)
May, 2011 (7)
April, 2011 (4)
March, 2011 (5)
February, 2011 (3)
January, 2011 (5)
December, 2010 (4)
November, 2010 (5)
October, 2010 (4)
September, 2010 (4)
August, 2010 (5)
July, 2010 (4)
June, 2010 (5)
May, 2010 (4)
April, 2010 (4)
March, 2010 (5)
February, 2010 (4)
January, 2010 (4)
December, 2009 (3)
November, 2009 (5)
October, 2009 (4)
September, 2009 (4)
August, 2009 (5)
July, 2009 (4)
June, 2009 (5)
May, 2009 (4)
April, 2009 (5)
March, 2009 (6)
February, 2009 (5)
January, 2009 (5)
December, 2008 (4)
November, 2008 (4)
October, 2008 (6)
September, 2008 (5)
August, 2008 (5)
July, 2008 (4)
June, 2008 (6)
May, 2008 (5)
April, 2008 (5)
March, 2008 (4)
February, 2008 (4)
January, 2008 (5)
December, 2007 (4)
November, 2007 (4)
October, 2007 (6)
September, 2007 (4)
August, 2007 (4)
July, 2007 (5)
June, 2007 (4)
May, 2007 (3)
April, 2007 (2)
March, 2007 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Search

Archives

<2017 February>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2930311234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627281234
567891011

by Maureen A. Taylor

More Links










# Monday, 25 April 2016
Foreign Photo Caption Mystery
Posted by Maureen



Ownership is a clue to who's in a mystery photo. The problem is while most people know who gave them a picture—such as an aunt, parent or grandparent—but before that, ownership information may be unknown.

Debra Allison can trace the provenance (ownership) of this picture back to her great-grandmother Antoinette "Nettie" Fichter Mader (1856-1938).  Nettie gave the picture to her daughter, and then her granddaughter (who expanded the caption on the back) gave it to Debra.

This photo has a caption on the back that offers ID clues both helpful and frustrating. This week, we'll focus on the front of the photo.

Debra knows that Nettie Fichter immigrated to the US in 1881 and that she brought her nephews August and Phillipp Letzelter with her. She was the youngest member of her family.

Should be easy to figure out who's in this photo, right?  Not so fast.

Debra sent me a page-long chart that included the names of everyone she found who had a family relationship to Nettie. It lists the person's name, their relationship to Nettie, their date and place of birth, date of immigration, marriage and death dates and their place of death. Whew! That's a whole lot of research.

A family would often pose for a group portrait before someone immigrated to create a memento both for the immigrant and for the family left behind. It also was common for family members to pose for a group portrait after the fact to send to the immigrant.



Let's look at who's in the this picture. There's a husband (the mustached man) and wife (the woman next to him). The wife has her hand on the older woman's shoulder. A daughter would do this. The older woman occupies the center, the most important spot in the photo. To our left are three children, two boys and a girl. To our far right is a young man with his hand on his mother's shoulder.

Who might they be? 

According to Debra's chart, Katherine Fichter Letzelter, the mother of August and Phillip, had eight children. There are only four children in this photo, three boys and a girl. Katherine's mother Elisabeth was born in 1814 didn't die until 1888.

The clothing clues in this picture, such as the husband's under-the-collar tie and the wife's jacket-like bodice and pleated hem, suggest a date in the 1880s. The dark cardstock mat was also popular in that time frame.

Take a closer look at the picture. The photographer put a dark dot in the center of each of their eyes. Blue/light colored eyes often paled in pictures so darkening them for portraits was common. It's quite possible that members of this family all had blue eyes.

I'll be back next week with a look at what's on the back of the picture.



Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now


  • 1880s photos | children | group photos | Immigrant Photos
    Monday, 25 April 2016 18:22:25 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Sunday, 17 April 2016
    Caption Mystery for an Old Photo
    Posted by Maureen

    Identifying captions written with good intentions years ago often confuse descendants rather than clarify who's who.

    On the back of this photo found among the things of Roxanne Turpin's mother-in-law is a cryptic note: "Relative of Grandpa (Grande), I think."  The person wrote in ball point ink, which means it was written after 1941, when those types of pens became widely available. It's possible Roxanne's mother-in-law wrote it.



    There is another problem with this image. It's a copy! This is a 20th-century black-and-white print mounted on cardstock. The scratches visible on the image suggest the original was a tintype. 



    Dating the photo relies on the sleeve style. The peaked fabric at the shoulder seam suggests a date circa 1890. The bodice style agrees with this date. The fabric is likely a patterned cotton. It could be a deep color accented by flowers. 

    So who are these folks? It could be a father and two daughters or a daughter (on the left) and her parents. The man in the middle is definitely older. I think the women are his daughters.

    Roxanne thinks the man is either Gottfried Grande (born 1894) or his father Gottlieb Grande (born 1860), both Germans who lived in an area alternately owned by Poland and Russia. She'd like to know where it was taken. Figuring out who's who could reveal that fact.

    Given the clothing date, the man in the middle could be Gottlieb, who'd be in his 30s when the image was taken, although this man does look older than that. 

    Next Steps
    • Roxanne should check her tree for the birth date for Gottfried. The photographed man looks older than someone in his 30s.
    • Who's Gottlieb's mother? Maybe this isn't the Grande family at all, but his mother's side of the family. Did his mother have a sister?
    • Examining the family information should reveal where the family lived in the circa 1890 period. That information could solve the question of where the picture was taken.

    I can't wait to hear an update from Roxanne! 


    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now


  • 1890s photos | Immigrant Photos
    Sunday, 17 April 2016 16:41:45 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [3]
    # Sunday, 10 April 2016
    Round Three: Clues in a Nineteenth Century Family Gathering
    Posted by Maureen

    Heidi Thibodeau is determined to identify the folks in that July group portrait. It's a key to other unidentified photos she may find.

    thibodeau.jpg

    It can take time to solve a photo mystery. The clues stack up, but making that right match often involves re-examining photos in your collection or asking cousins to look for pictures as well. DNA matches are good for picture clues too. The individuals you're genetically related to may have photos relating to your picture mystery.

    Two previous blog posts explore the identity of these individuals in particular the man in the center of the image. He's a person that whole family posed around, an elder member of that clan.

    The first post looked at the general evidence of clothing and props to support the 1890 date on the image.

    The second post explored whether or not Bessie Hodgdon was in the image. She could be one of these two girls. Bessie once owned the original.



    Heidi was able to rule out Noah Lord, the girls maternal grandfather, as this man, and wonders if he could be the girls' paternal grandfather William Hodgdon (1821-1902), but there are no pictures of him.

    There is a picture of Bessie and Ella's brother Chester. It would be best to find a photo of any of William's siblings for comparison, but there is a resemblance between the man in the group and this man holding a kettle and pan of potatoes. 
     


    To solve this mystery I'd reach out to anyone else related to William in case one of the descendants has a photo. I'd locate these descendants through the mega genealogy sites like Ancestry.com, MyHeritage.com and FamilySearch.

    Once Heidi is able to identify the man between the two girls, it's possible the rest of the identities will fall into place. It's a lot like falling dominoes—topple one and the rest fall down.



    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now


  • 1890s photos | 4th of July | facial resemblances | family reunion
    Sunday, 10 April 2016 14:34:42 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Sunday, 03 April 2016
    Which Grandmother is It Revisited
    Posted by Maureen

    Three weeks ago I posted about a crayon portrait owned by Joan Klein in Which Grandmother is it? Joan wrote and said she's going to use DNA to locate other information and possibly images.

    DNA can help you connect to other relatives, and it's a good idea to ask about family history "stuff" those matches might own. I've had a number of people tell me that DNA was just the first step. Those new cousins shared pictures and stories that helped solve quite a few family mysteries. 

    A nice email from a reader asked me to revisit the topic and dig a little deeper.



    Could there be other pictures of these women?
    Whether or not an ancestor had a picture taken during their lifetime depended on several factors, like the availability of photography in their area, the family's economic status and whether or not the person liked being photographed. Not every family had a camera.

    While it's true that more photographs were taken in each successive generation, that doesn't mean that more photographs exist of certain relatives. Even if they were taken, it's possible they didn't survive or that they were parceled out to other relatives. Joan is using DNA to try to find more pictures.

    Why does she look uncomfortable?

    In the daguerreotype era, it could take up to 30 minutes to sit for a picture, but by the time this picture was taken, the sitting time was way under a minute. She could feel uncomfortable posing for a picture, or the solemn expression on her face could reflect how seriously she took having a picture taken.

    Is this what she really looked like?
    This crayon portrait rendered by a photographic artist may not accurately represent this woman's appearance. She looks quite young, but that could be an "artistic face-lift." Occasionally I've been shown crayon portraits and the original pictures from which they were created. The biggest difference between the two is the number of lines on someone's face.  Artists wanted their customers to be very happy with the final product.

    It's also possible that this woman's crayon portrait was based on a picture she had taken years earlier.

    Could this be a memorial portrait?
    The short answer is yes, but crayon portraits aren't always memorial pieces. Sometimes couples had them done around the time of their wedding, in other cases men had them made when they'd started a business or reached a milestone. Anniversary portraits were also popular.

    What about the picture of the grandfather?



    Here it is. This picture is either John Gordner (1851-1939) or Charles Carroll Steck (1855-1926), the husbands of the woman shown above. This blue-eyed man could be either.

    The style of this portrait is very different from the one of the mystery grandmother. This was done earlier and by a different artist. The tie, shirt collar and suit combined with the mustache and hair suggest a date from the early 1890s. It's another mystery for Joan to solve. 

    Who do I think the woman in the portrait is? It could be Agnes, who died in 1907, but proof is needed. Fingers crossed that DNA provides Joan with more than genetic cousins.


    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now


  • 1890s photos | 1900-1910 photos | women
    Sunday, 03 April 2016 19:50:12 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]