The Kadenbach family photo album

Another family treasure has found its way to me – a photo album that used to belong to the family Kadenbach before it ended up on sale on German ebay. Some time in the last 130 years, someone made the effort to glue these photos onto the album pages with some kind of a vintage super-glue. No chance to read what was perhaps once written on them. The glue is so strong that removing the photos would ruin them. On the other hand, it is probably thanks to this super-glue that these family photos have stayed together all these decades and have not be split up and sold separately.

Most of the photos in this photo album are unidentified. But fortunately the photo album holds a few clues as to the identities of the persons, so let’s see what we can find out about them, shall we!

I believe that these are Lina Schiffmann and her father Jakob Schiffmann in this first photo above. The photo was taken in Diez an der Lahn in the early 1890s. Lina Schiffmann was born on January 11th, 1873, in Scheidt. Jakob was married to Lina’s mother Wilhelmine née Müller. Jakob Schiffmann was the superindendent of the silver and lead mining company in Holzappel (Grube Holzappel in Rheinland-Pfalz). Large amounts of lead, silver, zinc and copper were mined at the Grube Holzappel from 1751 to 1952. With up to 800 employees, the mining operation including the ore processing plant near Laurenburg, was the largest employer in the wide area, especially in the 19th century.

Unfortunately I have not found anything on Lina’s parents other than their names nor Lina’s birth entry. I also don’t know if Lina had any siblings.

In the 1890s, Lina married Rudolf Kadenbach and I believe that these are Lina and Rudolf in this photo below.

Rudolf had been born on March 29th, 1871, in Müsen, Westphalia, to parents Julius Kadenbach and Helene née Heinz. Rudolf, like Lina’s father Jakob, had been in the mining business for generations. Rudolf’s father Julius and his father Michael Kadenbach had been in the mining business, supervising the Grube Friedrich in Wissen. Rudolf himself became a superindendent of a mining company in Braunfels.

I found this photo on the internet (Source). It shows the eastern entrance of Grube Florentine in Braunfels in 1905, with the castle of Braunfels in the background. The description says that the Managing Director as well as the superindendent of the mining site, Mr. Kadenbach, can be seen here on the left (the man smoking and smiling). Unfortunately the quality is very poor, so I cannot compare the faces in my photos. Could this have been Rudolf?

Click HERE for source

I believe that Lina and Rudolf had at least 2 daughters: Anna and Helene. Both of their marriage announcements can be found in the photo album.

Anna Kadenbach apparently married one George Sahler from Meerholz in 1920. Meerholz is just 4km away from Niedermittlau. I believe that these are Anna Kadenbach and Georg Sahler in the photo below. I don’t know if Georg and Anna had children. I find nothing else on them unfortunately, not even their marriage entry.

I find one George Sahler living in Niedermittlau in the 1950s, owning an inn at the old railway station of Niedermittlau. A Georg Sahler was also the Chairman of the local “Humour Club” (Humorverein Schwefelholz Niedermittlau e.V.). Although the quality of the photos, published on the website of the Club, is low, I believe that I recognise Georg’s features in them.

The Humour Club of Niedermittlau (Humorverein Schwefelholz Niedermittlau), founded in 1907, was a popular excuse for the local community to gather and enjoy some fun times together, whether it’d be comedy performances or tours or village festivities. The gatherings took place in the local inn “Zur Alten Dorfschänke”. The symbol of the Club were two matches crossed over each other. The sign on the wall says that the performances/games will start at 1:30. It was actually in the same year of 1933 that the Club had to close for it did not fit the Nazi ideology. Perhaps this is a photo of the last gathering before the Club had to close. After WWII, the Club opened its doors again and it still exists today.

Lina and Rudolf’s other daughter Helene Kadenbach was born on April 21st, 1899. She married one sergeant (Unteroffizier) Karl Heinrich Mahr on August 17th, 1918, in Braunfels, just months before the end of WWI. Karl Heinrich Mahr had been born on August 2nd, 1884, to parents Karl and Elisabethe Mahr. Again, I don’t know if the couple had any children or where they settled down after WWI. Karl passed away in January 1952 in Achern. I don’t know when Helene passed away. I also can’t be sure which photo shows Helene and Karl.

These photos were glued on the very first page of the photo album. Could this have been Helene and Karl?

The marriage certificate of Karl and Helene states that Karl’s rank was Sergeant (Unteroffizier). I know nothing about military uniforms or ranks. There are several photos of uniformed gentlemen in the photo album. Which one of them was Karl Mahr?!

Another clue could be found in Lina Kadenbach’s death certificate from April 1939. The person to report her death to the authorities was one Wilhelm Kadenbach, a locksmith. Could this have been Lina and Rudolf’s son?

At the time of Lina’s death in April 1939, her husband Rudolf Kadenbach was mentioned to have retired. So it looks like Rudolf outlived his wife. Rudolf’s parents’ family trees have been pretty thoroughly researched and published on FamilySearch. Rudolf’s father Julius Kadenbach was born on January 24th, 1842, in Müsen, to parents Michael Kadenbach and Marie Catharine Schäfer. As I wrote above, Julius was in the mining business as well as Rudolf’s grandfather Michael before him. Rudolf’s mother Helene née Heinz, had been born in 1848 to parents Georg Heinz and Catharine née Weiss. Julius and Helene had gotten married on February 19th, 1871, in Müsen, just a month before their firstborn Rudolf was born on March 29th.

I believe Rudolf Kadenbach had at least two brothers, most probably even 3:

Heinrich Kadenbach was born on November 9th, 1878. He married Regine Wilhelmine née Eisel in October 1912 in Niedershausen. He served in WWI and was wounded. Heinrich was a miner, living at the mining site of Grube Friedrich.

Emil Kadenbach was born on October 14th, 1883. He married Anna Maria Elisabethe née Groos in Dezember 1909 in Frankfurt am Main. Emil was a locomotive heater/locomotive fireman. He also served in WWI. He died in February 1958 in Bad Homburg.

One of the witnesses of Emil and Anna’s marriage was one Ernst Kadenbach, locksmith and 23 years old in 1909 (so born in about 1886), living in the mining complex of Grube Friedrich. So perhaps Rudolf did indeed have 3 brothers.

One of the clearly labelled photos in the photo album is of one Ernst Kadenbach (below). I believe this is Ernst Kadenbach, son of Emil Kadenbach and nephew of Rudolf Kadenbach. Ernst was born on February 27th, 1911, in Gonzenheim which lies about 15 km from Frankfurt. I believe he was named in honour of his other uncle Ernst. If I’m not mistaken, I believe this little boy grew up to become a coal salesman (I mean what else in this dynasty of miners😄). And I also believe he participated in the first Frankfurt process in the 1960s as one of the 6 jurors who together with 3 judges decided on the faith of 22 defendants prosecuted for their Nazi crimes during WWII. I don’t know if the jurors needed to have any knowledge of the law itself or why he was chosen for the task. It would be interesting to know, though!

Here’s a selection of other photos from the found photo album. I’ve not been able to link them directly to the Kadenbachs or Schiffmanns. But some of them hold more obvious clues than others.

One A. Hennemann, who was studying in Clausthal in the winter semester of 1902/03, dedicated this photo of him in the local university fraternity uniform to his grandfather. Clausthal was known for its mining academy (Bergakademie) at the time. This might be the logical link to the Schiffmanns and the Kadenbachs who were all involved in the mining business. But whose son was this A. Hennemann, and who was his grandfather? And where did he end up mining after his graduation?

Although in poor condition, I discovered some familiar faces in this snapshot – two of the men were also photograohed in a WWI uniform. But their identities and their link to the Kadenbachs are a mystery.

A couple from Ploesci / Ploiești in today’s Romania, as found in the Kadenbachs’ photo album. In the mid-19th century the Ploiești region became one of the world’s leading oil extraction and refinery sites. The Mehedințeanu brothers opened the world’s first large refinery in Ploiești in 1856–1857. The oil refinery made the city a target in both world wars.How this lovely couple was linked with the Kadenbachs, I don’t know. Perhaps they were into the oil business too? Or were they a miners’ family too? IThe symbol on the uniform hat, lying on the table, is the miners’ symbol of a hammer and a chisel. The photo was glued on the opposite page of the photo of Lina and Rudolf. I do see some similiarities in the facial feautues of the two men. Perhaps this was another brother of Rudolf?

I could go on and on, but there are altogether 44 photos in this photo album. If you want to see more photos from the photo album, hop over to Instagram and follow me @photoswithoutfamilies or the hashtag #photoswithoutfamilies_kadenbach

If anyone knows the Kadenbachs, or the Schiffmanns, or the Sahlers or the Mahrs, please let me know and we can check the rest of the photos together for familiar faces. I’ll leave you here with an original drawing of the Braunfels Castle by one M. Kadenbach.

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