Sunday, October 14, 2018

Photo Genealogy and My Great-Great Grandmother's Photo

After my grandmother passed away in 2015, my cousin Michael found some photos in her basement.  Many were the originals for photos we had copied earlier.  Some were new (to me).
Fine Family - New Photo

I recognized most of the people in this photo from another photo that I had seen earlier--and for which my grandmother had explained who each person was.
Fine/Chechman Family
My grandmother had told me that the man sitting on the left was her uncle Yosef Wollich, and the woman just behind him was her aunt, Sara Fine Wollich.  The two of them are clearly in the new photo as well.

The girl in the first photo is my grandmother's cousin Chaiky Wollich (who is in the back row on the left in the second photo).  I also write about Chaiky's 1935 Rosh Hashana Card recently.

The boy in the first photo is my grandmother's cousin Moshe, who is the tall man standing in the back row of the second photo.

Chaiky and Moshe are the children of Sara and Yosef.  So the first photo is clearly a photo of their immediate family. But who is the older woman in the first photo?  She's likely either Sara's or Yosef's mother.  But whose?  And when was this photo taken?

I asked a professional.  Ava "Sherlock" Cohn is a professional photo genealogist.  (She's also a Shpikov descendant!)  Her expertise in old photographs and fashion allows her to find details in these photos that us mere mortals wouldn't even think about.  She has a great Facebook page where she talks about some of what she can see in these old photos.

And here's some of what Sherlock Cohn saw in these photos:
So, of the two photos, the older one (which I believe you received recently) was taken circa 1922-1925. People in the photo are from left to right: Yosef Wollich, Sara Fine Wollich, Devora Garber Fine (seated), Cheike Wollich, Moshe Wollich. I do believe the older woman seated is Devora Fine and not Yosef's mother. In comparing this photo to one of Bat-Sheva Fine on your Ancestry tree and also a photograph of Mordecai Fine, Devora's son, I can see a strong resemblance in facial structure and coloring to the woman in the photograph but not to Yosef Wollich. Other notes about this photo: Moshe Wollich, seated to the right on Devora, appears to be about age 5 in this photo. That would put his birth sometime between 1917 and 1920 so I think a little older than your grandmother.  I do not know why Devora's husband is not in the photo since he was still alive. There was obviously another reason for his not being there. He didn't take the photo since it's a studio photograph.

Wait, what??  Devora Garber Fine was my great-great grandmother.  And it seems that I HAVE A PHOTO OF MY GREAT-GREAT GRANDMOTHER!

Devora Garber Fine?!?

I just re-listened to my grandmother's Holocaust testimony.  They asked about her grandparents.  She specifically mentioned that she did not have a photo of her father's father.  And she showed photos of her father's mother and mother's father.  But when she spoke of her mother's mother, she never mentioned not having a photo.  Because she did!  I don't know why this particular photo never left her basement.  But thanks to Ava Cohn, we now know what my great-great grandmother looked like!

Note:  I'm on Twitter.  Follow me (@larasgenealogy).