Comparing Faces in Old Family Photos

By Maureen A. Taylor

Here they are again. I’m enamored of this photo; it’s a layered puzzle with many clues.

In my first post about it I examined the clothing details and asked for additional information. In the second post, we considered the other couples in the family that married in the 1880s.

William Davis supplied background for the couples and their families.

Henry Wille, married in approximately 1886 in St. Louis, was a probable match for the couple. His parents, John Henry Wille and Bertha Emilie Heitmann, were Catholics from Oldenburg, Germany. German weddings are very formal and brides (and grooms) often wore gloves. John Henry Wille ran a tavern and later helped his son open a grocery.

Henry’s bride Elizabeth Theresa Boedeker also had German roots.

Let’s step back and examine who owned this photo:

William’s cousin remembered this picture hanging in his grandmother Wille’s house, suggesting that this could be someone in either the Wille or the Carrigan family. The Carrigans were Irish. Hanging on the same wall was a beautiful needlepoint tapestry sewn by great-grandmother Theresa.

So does this photo show Henry Wille and Elizabeth Boedecker, or William Isaac Carrigan and Sarah Ann Hutton? For more on the second couple, see 3 Clues to Identify Family In Old Wedding Photos.

Compare the faces:
When presented with a case like this, it would be great to have the photographer’s information (we don’t) or other pictures for comparison. William sent several to see if we could match up the family resemblance.

Here’s a photo of John Wille, son of Henry and Elizabeth, and his wife.

I thought the wife’s nose looked familiar. Here’s a comparison of their faces with the bridal couple. What do you think?

I’m not going to share the detail that confounds the whole thing even further until next time. 🙂

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
  • Save