Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Side by Side
In determining the correct identity of a couple whose photo was labeled only as "Mr. and Mrs. Albert Roberts," there aren't many easily found clues to guide us. Thankfully, an Ancestry.com subscriber and fellow researcher has shared the photo of the Roberts couple from Riverton in Fremont County, Iowa—not far from the Council Bluffs photography studio where the picture I found was taken. We've had a chance to take a look at that family portrait and compare it with the one I found in an antique store in northern California. But I still have my doubts.
Since I first posted the picture here at A Family Tapestry long before the winter holidays, even I had to go back and review what I had found. I checked my notes on candidate one for Albert Roberts, as well as candidate two and candidate three. In the end, I admitted I was partial to the possibility that the right couple was the first couple, Albert and Alice Roberts. But I still wasn't sure.
There are little nagging thoughts, like the one Wendy mentioned yesterday: it would help to have two photos of the subject facing the same direction for the side by side comparison. It's really hard to determine what is hidden by a camera angle.
Another thought is that, of the couple in their younger years, it seemed the one with the darker eyes was the wife, whereas in the subsequent pose, it was the husband. Other aspects had changed as well—for instance, those...ahem...few pounds we all tend to put on, moving from eligible bachelor or young ingenue to married couple, making slender faces look more rounded. And yet other comparisons can lead us astray, such as the detail of the pouf of curly hair framing the face of a woman—indicator of hair quality? Or sign of the hairstyles of the era?
Just to help settle the issue in my mind, one step I take—well, to tell the truth, that I have my computer-graphics-inclined husband take—is to view a side-by-side comparison of the subjects. Sometimes, that helps. In other cases, it doesn't leave us any worse off than we were before. Take a look and see if this helps you move your opinion in one direction or the other. Same woman, different year? Or different women?
Above: Photo on left from Sherradan photography studio in Council Bluffs, Iowa, found in Sonora, California; photo on right courtesy of reader Jim from his family's private collection; side-by-side comparison courtesy Chris Stevens.