Could the photo I found of a young couple in Council Bluffs, Iowa, possibly be their wedding photo? I don't suppose it was the style, back beyond one hundred years ago, to take engagement pictures. On the other hand, this portrait doesn't include the garb we nowadays expect as wedding attire. Perhaps this couple was simply possessed of a modest approach in how they presented themselves, even for festive events.
We know, for one thing, that their name—at least after marriage—was Mr. and Mrs. Albert Roberts. Not much help on the missus, there. So I went to a few online research resources to help myself. After finding not a few entries for the name Albert Roberts in the vicinity of Council Bluffs, I realized census records might not provide the most helpful clues. A lot can happen over the span of a decade. Not to mention, the only thing we have tying this couple's name to this city is a photography studio. Not the most compelling of reasons to stay in town.
That's when I decided to look for clues in the Council Bluffs newspaper. Of course, while we can try to do such a search cost-free through sites like Chronicling America or the Google News archive, I can also check the websites that provide subscription-based resources. After all, I do have a subscription.
It just so happens that GenealogyBank carries copies of the Council Bluffs newspaper The Daily Nonpariel for the span of time most likely to coincide with the years our Mr. and Mrs. Albert Roberts might have been in town. Today, and for subsequent posts, I'll be sharing what I've found through that newspaper (and its successor publications) related to Albert Roberts, though the links provided will likely only be accessible for those with a current subscription to that website.
As it turns out, there were quite a few mentions of that name in the Council Bluffs newspaper—over thirty entries, in fact—allowing me to capture enough information to build at least a rough sketch of someone's family tree. Whether that family tree belongs to our Albert Roberts is yet to be seen. But we'll give it a go with what we can find. Warning: this might not be easy.
For instance, here are two small entries in The Daily Nonpariel for January, 1900. The first one, published on January 7, states simply,
Born, to Mr. and Mrs. Albert Roberts, January 4, a little daughter.
While that might have placed our couple within a likely time frame, the very next entry I found with that same name may actually knock the first mention out of the running. From the January 11 edition:
The county clerk has granted the privilege to wed to the following young people: Albert Roberts and Hattie Eshelman....
Our only consolation, having just been tipped off about the apparent indicator of double possibilities, is that the first one was for a couple living in Riverton, part of Fremont County, while the second report came from Atlantic, the county seat of Cass County, Iowa. Both locations, however, were considered close enough to Council Bluffs to be reported in that city's newspaper. Thus, not only will we try to sketch a rudimentary family tree from the thirty newspaper entries I've already located, but we'll have to discern which report belongs to which family, as there obviously was more than one Albert Roberts in the area.
In the meantime, the most helpful next step would be to date this photograph, and then extrapolate key dates to watch for, guessing how old the couple might have been in the photo and when each of these two might have been born.
Above: Undated photograph of "Mr. and Mrs. Albert Roberts" from the Sherradan photography studio in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Photograph currently in possession of author until claimed by a direct descendant of the Albert Roberts family.