Home » Family History » Favorite Photo: Mistaken Identity

Favorite Photo: Mistaken Identity

Week 2 of #52Ancestors focuses on “Favorite Photo”. My first problem is I don’t have a lot of family photos, and my second is that some may not be shareable for privacy reasons. Plus, how can I pick a favorite? What I can do is pick a photo with a little story behind it.

There is one photo I’ve shared on this blog before but have not given much of an explanation of:

Previously thought to be a picture of Bertha, the identified time points to it being Jennie. Courtesy Deb Thompson Colomy.

My third cousin sent me this picture not long after I began my genealogical journey. Among his mother’s genealogical things, he identified this as being a picture of Bertha Elizabeth Colomy. At the time, I though I could see a little of my grandfather (her son) in the eyebrows. Also, one of Edwin’s youngest grandsons had identified the picture as Bertha. The only mystery at the time was: when was the picture taken?

Eventually I heard of Maureen Taylor, aka The Photo Detective, who was an expert at determining when photos were taken based on hairstyle, clothing, etc. She was going to be at the first Genealogy Event in New York City in October 2012–here was my big chance to find out the date of the picture!

So I made my appointment and got my answer pretty quickly: Maureen said that the picture was taken around 1885. The only problem was: Bertha was only nine years old then; this could not have been her! I wondered if, maybe, this could be Bertha’s mother Jennie, born in 1856. Maureen thought that it was a possibility.

So that’s been my conclusion about this photo. After all, it’s possible that Bertha looked very much like her mother, and I saw that the grand-nephew that had identified her was born after Bertha had died; he would not have known what she looked like firsthand.

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