Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Side by Side, Maybe Not . . .

There was another possibility, in the puzzle of the true identity of the groom in that wedding photo I found in a northern California antique shop. Adolph Brockmanthe one identified in both the photo I found and a very different wedding photo sent to me by Brockman descendant Jeffhad married Verna Nieman (or Neiman, depending on the source of the documentation). Like Adolph, Verna came from a large Nebraska family. In fact, if you recall the picture of the wedding party from yesterday's post, two of Verna's siblings were likely in her photograph.

One of the siblings we are not sure about, as the photo, provided by Jeff, left a question mark for the sister's first name, but according to the 1910 census entry for Verna's family, that sister might have been either Nancy or Mary.

The other sibling was Verna's older brother Frank.

In my conversations with Jeff about the possibility of a mistaken labeling of the photo I found, he had a suggestion for the now-unidentified groom in that picture. Since it turned out that Frank soon married his brother-in-law Adolph's sister Mathilda, the thinking might have been that this was the true identity of the couple. As it turned out that Adolph Brockman and Verna "Niemann" were married on Thursday, June 15, 1911 and, according to Jeff, their siblings Frank Nieman and Mathilda Brockman followed suit only a few months afterwards, it might seem logical to assume that was the cause of the switched identities in the photos.

But when we put pictures side by side from about the same time frame, I start to lose my enthusiasm for such a convenient hypothesis. See for yourself what I mean. Here, below, on the left is our mystery man, labeled in the California photo as Adolph Brockman. On the right is the photo of Frank Nieman, at least as he was listed in the photo of the wedding party from Jeff's family photograph collection. I don't think, in the course of only a few months, that Frank's appearance would have changed quite that muchif at all.

Above: Side by side comparison arranged, courtesy of Chris Stevens, from the misidentified photograph labeled Adolph Brockman found in Sonora, California (on the left) and the picture labeled "Frank Nieman" (on the right) from a copy of the original Brockman wedding photograph taken in Nebraska, provided by family member Jeff in Oregon. Even if taking into consideration that hairstyles do change over time, features of each man's face seem too different to conclude that they were one and the same person.

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