Photo Crafts From Our Ancestors

Photo Crafts From Our Ancestors

So far, no one has answered my call in last week's column for pictures of creative endeavors using family photos, but I found an example of a historic photo craft attached to an email from Candace Fountoulakis. She received this photo from her maternal aunt. It's a lovely piece of...

So far, no one has answered my call in last week’s column for pictures of creative endeavors using family photos, but I found an example of a historic photo craft attached to an email from Candace Fountoulakis. She received this photo from her maternal aunt.

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It’s a lovely piece of needlework, but no one knows the name of the couple in the center. Candace thinks they could be from either the Watts or the Boohler side of her family from Ohio.

This image was taken by the Grand Central Gallery of Omaha, Neb. German immigrant Herman Heyn was the owner of the studio, according to the 1883 city directory for Omaha (available on Ancestry.com). In subsequent years Heyn is at the same address until his photo business becomes James & Co., circa 1900.

Given the style of their clothing, this picture is likely a copy of a much earlier image taken in the 1860s. The couple is dressed in everyday work attire; notice the apron worn by the woman.

Figuring out who they are requires examining family history. Fountoulakis can see who lived in Omaha in the 1880s or 1890s, then look at the birth and death dates of their parents.

A woman created the frame using cross stitch. Don’t jump to the conclusion that this couple is necessarily on a maternal line. During the 19th century, it was customary to call your in-laws Mother and Father as well as your own parents.

Although the identity of this couple is a mystery for now, it’s no secret what happened to Heyn. He later became famous for taking pictures of Native American tribal personages during the Indian Congress of 1898. You can view some of his stunning handcolored pictures on the Library of Congress Flickr site.

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  1. When did Herman Heyn’s come to America,where in Germany from? My Great great grand father Carl Fedder married Heyn 1842/3 from Wischin kreis Kolmar ,Posen ,Germany.My Great grand uncle F.F.Fedder ,1884-1906 Grand Island had a grociery there.