Sisters Valeska and Elfriede Wahlländer

These 5 photos came from the same seller on German ebay. At first I thought it’s the same woman in all photos, but at closer look I realised that although they looked similar, those were not photos of one lady. The dedications on the back of some of the photos confirmed it – these are photos of sisters Valeska and Elfriede Wahlländer.

Valeska and Elfriede were the youngest children in the Wahlländer family, 3 years apart in age. They were daughters of a Berlin-based doctor Wilhelm Eduard Louis (Ludwig) Wahlländer and Auguste Charlotte Elisabeth née Fischer. The parents Wilhelm and Auguste married in May 1869 in Berlin.

Elfriede Olga Wahlländer was born on June 30th, 1878, in Berlin. She married Wilhelm Schmidt in Berlin on September 18th, 1899. She was 21 years old at the time; Wilhelm was 4 years her senior. Wilhelm was a lieutenant in the same battalion as Elfriede’s sister Ellen’s husband. The couple moved to Kehl.

On August 1st, 1900, they had their first daughter Edith Elfriede Schmidt. Elfriede’s sister Ellen served as Edith’s godmother. I’ve also found a record from January 21st, 1915, for a daughter Helgart Frohwalde Schmidt. According to Helgart’s birth certificate, she was the couple’s 5th child and 3rd daughter! Helgart’s godmother was none other than Elfriede’s sister Valeska, who at the time was living in Lausanne in Switzerland. I am yet to locate other children of Elfriede and Wilhelm who were born between 1900 and 1915.

Auguste Valeska Wahlländer was the youngest Wahlländer sibling, born on March 14th, 1881, in Berlin. She emigrated to Switzerland during/after WWI and became a Swiss citizen in 1927. Unfortunately I don’t know why she moved or how she spent her days. She didn’t change her surname, so I assume she remained unmarried. She passed away in Rotterdam on June 23rd, 1952.

Other siblings in the Wahlländer family included:

Brother Bruno Edgar Louis Wahlländer, the oldest Wahlländer sibling, was born on February 12th, 1869, in Berlin. He, like his father, became a physician. He was the doctor who declared the time and cause of death of both his parents as can be seen on their death certificates. Father Wilhelm (born in 1840) had passed away in 1900 and mother Auguste (born in 1844) in 1903.

Bruno spent some years in Holborn, London, where he married Alma Marthe Emmi née Koppe in 1911. Bruno returned to Germany shortly after that. Bruno and Alma had four children: Dr. Hasso Eduard Bruno Wahlländer (1911-2008); Inge Wahlländer (1913-1925); Dagmar Godelinde Klodwiga Seidl (1916-1967) and (unknown). Hasso continued the family tradition and became a medical doctor himself.

I found a MyHeritage profile for Bruno with a photo (Click HERE). I enhanced the photos with the MyHeritage photo enhancement and colorisation programme. No doubt that he was Valeska and Elfriede’s brother – look at the same face features!

Sister Anna Maria Ellen Wahlländer was born on October 6th, 1871, as the second oldest Wahlländer sibling. In October 1900, she was 29 years old and she married Reinhard Karl Heinrich von der Heyden in Berlin. Reinhard was a lieutenant and the couple moved to Köln where they had their son Kurt von der Heyden on November 6th, 1906. Like I wrote above, Reinhard and Elfriede’s husband Wilhelm served in the same battalion in Kehl, Germany. This can’t be a coincidence, I wonder how the couples met.

Sister Elsa Hildegard Wahlländer was born on December 25th, 1874. In May 1918 she married Rudolf Johann Josef Friedrich Harlfinger. She was 43 years old at the time and Rudolf was a widower. Elsa passed away on February 8th, 1954, in Marburg. The doctor who declared the time and cause of her death was Dr. Hasso Wahlländer, her brother Bruno’s son.

And then there was the Wahlländer pet dog Schuft, photographed here with Valeska at Christmas 1895.

Somehow these 5 photos have stayed together for more than 125 years but have been lost to history. I would love to reunite them with their family!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s