Sisters in Photos

By Maureen A. Taylor

Two weeks ago I wrote about Suzanne Wood’s photo possibly identified as Eleanor South. It’s well-worn tintype. In the article I suggested that comparing this picture to those of Eleanor’s sisters might help narrow down the identification.

The family has a later photo of Eleanor South Fleming and her husband taken in 1869 (below), as well as images of three of her sisters.

Notice that a nickname for Eleanor was Nelly.

The first two of the images below were taken in the 1860s. Mary South Plew has the same full face as the woman reported to be Eleanor.

Philinda South Schmicka had a much narrower jawline.

The last photo of one of the sisters was taken in 1874. Harriet South Reynolds posed with two of her children.


Comparing these photos of four sisters raises interesting questions about family resemblances. There are often facial features (noses, mouths, ears) in photographs that relatives immediately associate with a certain branch of their family.

I think that the first tintype could be Eleanor a few years before her wedding picture.

Can you see the sisterly resemblance’s between the three women? Comment below and tell me what you see in their faces. Now I want to know if they look like their mother or their father.

Who do you look like? I have the Taylor eyebrows, nose and height.


Solve your family photo mysteries with these books 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
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album