The Well-Dressed Couple Again and Solving a Group Photo Mystery

By Maureen A. Taylor

Last week I showed you a picture of an unknown well-dressed couple circa 1905.

Where there’s one unidentified photo there are usually more. That’s true for Amir Evenchik’s collection of images. He owns several other pictures of the same couple taken a few years later. Unfortunately, no one can identify them.

This one has a caption on it, “Henrik with Feige (a nickname for bird in Hebrew) taken in Baden-Baden.” Henrik’s gained a few pounds since the first image. The woman’s suit and hat date this photo closer to 1910. Having a first name for the husband is a great clue, but it doesn’t bring Amir any closer to figuring out their identity.

Since most of his ancestors lived in Poland or Belarus, then why are they in Baden-Baden, Germany? It was a popular tourist location, so perhaps the couple is on vacation, or they may be visiting relatives.

His other unidentified photograph is a group portrait without a single person named.

Figuring out who’s in a big portrait can unlock other photo mysteries in the family. It’s likely that there are other images of these 13 people taken later on. This image dates from the early 1900s.

  • The matriarch of the family is front and center. She’s an elderly woman. She wears an older style dress.
  • Are the two men flanking her her sons, or did the photographer place them on either side of her? At least one of them is likely her son, but it’s possible that both of them are.
  • Working with that assumption, then the women sitting next to those men would be their wives.
  • Are the three women in the back row her daughters? If so, then there are five of her children in this portrait, two men and three women. The woman standing in the center is dressed very fashionably for the circa 1906 period.

  • The children in the picture are the matriarch’s grandchildren.

Solving a picture mystery like this is about breaking the image down into family groups (which children go with which parents), coming up with a series of assumptions, then testing them by looking at your family tree for possibilities. For instance, the youngest grandson sits on the left. He’s likely 8 to 10 years of age. If this picture was taken in 1906, then he was born in approximately 1896 to 1898.

There are plenty of variables in dating fashion from economic status to where the image was taken. The assumptions give you place to start.

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