In July, I wrote a column, Which Immigrant Is It, on a photo submitted by Jeannette Bias.
Last week, another woman contacted me to say that she’s related to Jeanette and is the great-great-granddaughter of Simon (1843-1892) and Mary (1850-1932) Dulas, the couple possibly depicted in this portrait.
Except that this “new” relative doesn’t think the man is Simon. She thinks he could be their son Joseph with whom Mary lived after the death of her husband. Oh boy! The facts in this case make my head hurt.
Here’s the line-up of details. I didn’t originally assign a date to this image because I was hoping for a little more photographic evidence.
- Simon Dulas dies in 1892 when Mary is only 42. This couple looks a lot older than their early to late 40s.
- There is another picture of Mary for comparison.
The image on the left was taken in the early 20th century, probably not long before her death. It is definitely Mary.
On the right is a close-up of the photo from above. Both of these photos appear to be of the same woman, but I wonder. There’s a slight difference around the eyes.
There is yet another positively identified photo of Mary, only this time, she’s posed with her children behind her.
That’s certainly Mary in the front row. Standing directly behind her is her son Joseph (b. 1880). This picture of him confirms that it’s not Joseph in the very first photo in this column. The baby on Mary’s lap is her first grandchild.
So the mystery remains. If the woman in that first photo is Mary then who’s the man standing next to her?
- It’s not a brother. All of her brother’s were still-born infants.
- Could it be Simon’s nephew John (1856-1918)? There are no known pictures of him.
- Could it be Mary’s parents? Johan Glowik (1822-1896) and Elizabeth Staloch (1823-1884) Her father immigrates after his wife’s death.
- Or is it a very old looking Simon?
If only Jeanette had the original of the first photo. Unfortunately, she doesn’t. She obtained a copy from a relative who had gotten a copy from a now unknown other relative. The location of the original cabinet card is now completely a mystery. That’s unfortunate. A photographer’s imprint on the back could tell us where the picture was taken and help date the photo, perhaps clearing up the identity of the folks in it.
At this point I’m leaning towards the couple in the first column and in the first photo in this column being Mary’s parents. That would account for the strong resemblance of the women in all the photos. If that’s the case then the couple posed for a picture around the time of Mary’s mother Elizabeth’s death in 1884. Photos in this time frame could certainly be on white card stock and often featured elaborate painted backdrops of interior scenes.
I’m not completely certain and neither is Jeanette, but it does clear up the age issue. If this couple were Mary’s parents and they posed for a portrait in 1884 then Johan would be 62 and Elizabeth 61. Seems likely.
Any one have any aspirin? This case gave me a headache <smile>.