I have a similar puzzle to one posed today by Jenna at Desperately Seeking Surnames as she asks, “Who are you Gaines people and why are you in my Grandfather Allen’s photo album?” Instead of Gaines, I am looking at the handsome faces of five young men identified as members of the Shiffbauer family of Arrington, Kansas.
The mystery unveiled at Jamboree when Mom and I showed a group of photos to Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective. We wanted to confirm that the same woman, great-aunt Maud, was pictured in two different images. In one, she is shown with her sister Minnie (my great-grandmother), in the second she is shown with a young man who is identified on the back as Charles Schiffbauer. Instead of one mystery, we found we had two.
The girls’ portait is odd because the handwritten inscription on the back seems to identify a male and a female, yet the photo is of two young girls. What do you think? Is that bit of handwriting along the edge something like “for” or another word? I know that Samuel Nelson Chamblin was Minnie’s brother. Was the photo made for him? It says, for Maud, presumably a copy for Maud in the photo.
Maureen agreed that this portrait is clearly one of the girls from the other photo. They are rather hard to tell apart and very close in age. But why is Maud in this photo with young Charles Schiffbauer in Arrington, Kansas as noted on the back? We know that she married Thomas Saunders and moved to San Leon, Texas. We had never heard about another marriage. Does it look like a graduation photo, or maybe an engagement portrait?
Then we found more photos of the Schiffbauers. A group portrait of five young men and another group picture with Minnie, two Schiffbauer girls and two Schiffbauer boys. More mystery!
I ran an search at Ancestry.com and found a large assortment of Schiffbauers living in Arrington and neighboring towns. Our Maud and Minnie Chamblin lived in nearby Muscotah.
I even found two photos posted on Ancestry by someone who is researching her husband’s family line. They show an older Schiffbauer man. When I wrote to her to tell her about our photos she confirmed the relationship, but when I responded with a request for any information about how these two families might be connected my message went unanswered. I hope that she has just been too busy to reply and that I will soon be learning about a new clue to solve the puzzle.
Kinsel, Minnie. Photograph. Original image. Privately held by Denise Levenick, Pasadena, CA. 2010.
Chamblin, Maude. Photograph. Original image. Privately held by Denise Levenick, Pasadena, CA. 2010.