The Brick Walls, 1

As much as I love old photographs per se, my genealogy geek’s heart beats faster when I find some sort of an identification on the photographs and can plunge into genealogy detective work. Unfortunately, some of the names I read are too common and therefore not distinct enough for a clear identificaton. Also a location would help me narrow down the options, and I might have a name but I’m missing any hints to the location where the photo was taken or printed. So, often I end up bit a bunch of names but can do nothing to confirm who exactly they belonged to. A classic genealogy brick wall.

But just in case I’ve missed something important or deciphered the names wrongly, I am going to share these photos with you and ask for your help. Which is why I would like to introduce a new sub-series on my blog which I will call the Brick Walls.

“Alma König, USA”
Wasn’t Alma just gorgeous! So what was Alma’s story? She is wearing a wedding band, so was König her maiden name or married name? What brought her to the USA? A dream she had, a sense of adventure, or did she have relatives there, or was she accompanying her husband? She might be the German immigrant ancestor of someone in the US. I would love to find Alma’s descendants or family.

The above photo was taken in January 1920 in Dessau, Germany. The text is written in the old German hand-writing called kurrent. The first name reads “Adi” which would perhaps be short for Adelheid. Taking into account that letters in kurrent were written differently to how we write them today, I read “Widke” (also tried “Wiske“) as her surname. She was 13 years old when this photo was taken. So her birth year would probably be 1906 (or January 1907 if this is her birthday photo). Unfortunately I found nothing on these names.

“Dear Luis! Sending you a photo, bit don’t be alarmed, it’s meant as fun. Oh please come to Heiden this summer or autumn, I would love to see you! Please write soon I am looking forward. My regards to Mr. Stephan. Best regards, yours Bertha Schläpfer. Are you keeping healthy?” I have not been able to find anything on Miss/Mrs. Bertha Schläpfer from Heiden, Germany.

“Aunt Dora Vogel with husband and little Karl”


Aunt Dora had two more children after her oldest Karl was born. Here she is with Karl, Olga and Paula.


I don’t have a location for this family. This photograph is earliest from the 1910s, judging from Dora’s outfit, and little Karl is about 4-5 years old. So Karl must have been born in the late 1900s according to my math.  I suppose Dora was short for Dorothea. But I don’t know if Vogel was Dora’s maiden name or married name.

I found several similar combinations – mother Dora (or Dorothea Vogel, son Karl), but none of them seems to be this family. There was a Dora Vogel who married a Johann Erbacher in Karlsruhe, Germany, and together they had a son called Hermann Karl Erbacher. But he was born already in 1885 and married in 1913, so he would be too old to be the Karl we are looking for. There was also a Karl Vogel, born to parents Paul Vogel and Dorothea Pauline née Sachs in 1886, who married in 1919. Again, this Karl is not our Karl cause this photo was definitely not taken in 1890 to fit his age. I am not going to list all the options I checked with the help of the records available on Ancestry, there are too many. But none of them matched our family.

If you have any suggestions or comments or corrections that could help me identify the persons in these photos, please let me know. Thank you for stopping by!




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