What are the odds? I wondered that question as I flipped through a very old, leather-bound photo album purchased from a collector in Ohio. What are the odds that I would come into possession of a Treutel/Krosch family photo album stretching back 150 years, from a person in another state whom I’ve never met? The chance would seem very small indeed.
We’ve already outlined some of the wonderful finds from this photo album, including the cartes de visite showing Philipp Treutel, his wife Henrietta and his mother-in-law, Christiana Krosch. Those photos were fun and easy, because they were labeled with names by a relative long ago. Now comes the hard part: determining the identities of many faces with no names. It is certainly possible that all of the suppositions below are inaccurate. Without the aid of original photo captions or relatives who might recognize the people, we can only make educated guesses.
Philipp Treutel (1833-1891) had a long face and prominent mustache, which matched well with a number of unlabeled photos in the album. Could he be the stranger in those images? One was even a wedding photo, but I was a bit skeptical that the album could include a studio photo from the 1850s.
a wedding photo, but I was a bit skeptical that the album could include a studio photo from the 1850s.
The other image shows a man with three young women, presumably his daughters. We know Philipp and Henrietta Treutel had three daughters: Adeline, born in November 1859; Lisetta, born in April 1861; and Emma, born in February 1877. The youngest girl in this photo appears to be 6 or 7, which would put the year at about 1883. That was some eight years before Philipp’s untimely death from influenza.
We have no photos in our collection that show Adeline (Treutel) Moody (1859-1928), who married William Jones Moody in 1883 and eventually settled near Vesper, Wisconsin; or Lisetta (Treutel) Moody (1861-1931), who married Lewis Winfield Moody in 1887 and settled at Plainfield, Wisconsin. Since the little girl in the photo could be Emma Treutel, we created a photo series to evaluate resemblance.
We next examined the wedding portrait that could show Philipp Treutel and Henrietta (Krosch) Treutel. We don’t know their wedding year, but it was likely around 1857 or 1858. Below is a photo series comparing the bride to later photos of Henrietta Treutel. Again, there is a resemblance, but no other clues to help in the determination.
We can see family resemblance in many of our album images, so we’re on the right track. But to make judgments with confidence, we need more photos from the Treutel and Krosch families. There are other faces in this old album that we will review in another post, including possible youth photos of Walter Treutel and his brother Henry A. Treutel.
2 thoughts on “Photo Detective: Faces in a Very Old Family Album”
You are a good photo detective, Joe!
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Thanks, Lavinia! I hope I’m on the right track.
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