Complex image identification often requires examining each piece of a photo story—historical context, family history, and costume history along with a bit of common sense.
Jake Jacoby owns this wonderful image of a group of people onboard a ship. There is a caption, but I’ll share that next week. I’m still working on it.
Jake knows that his grandfather, Joseph M. Jacoby is seated on the far right in the front.
What’s he doing on a ship? Jake thinks he’s welcoming a group of Jewish immigrants from Germany.
I can date the photograph by the hats and other costume clues. The width of this woman’s sleeve and the birds and feathers in the women’s hats suggest that it was taken about 1896 to 1899.
This is the woman standing directly behind Joseph Jacoby.
Joseph’s life is well-documented. He was born in Mobile, Ala. in 1865, and in the 1885 Pensacola, Fla., city directory, he’s working as a clerk at P. Stone. During the period of this photograph, Joseph still lived in Pensacola. He married Esther Myerson on Jan. 4, 1896.
Despite living in Florida, Joseph maintained his ties with family and friends in Mobile. He actually attended temple there. Approximately 60 miles separate the two cities. Jake knows his grandfather traveled between Mobile and Pensacola via wagon.
The big question regarding this photo is, where was it taken? Next week, I’ll be back with some information on the caption and some tips for researching late-19th century passenger lists.
I’m planning a special column for the end of the year. Please send in your photos of family celebrating the holidays in the past. You can email them to me.