Who are These Guys? (And Where are They Going?)

A funny thing happened on my way to the 9th Edition of the Smile for the Camera Carnival…  I found a pile of photos with unidentified persons that fit this edition’s theme:

Who Are You – I Really Want To Know? Show us that picture that you found with your family collection or purchased, but have no idea who they might be.

However, as I sorted through the pile, I actually figured out who some of the unknowns were!  In one instance, I had some photographs of some World War I soldiers.  I knew they were not blood relatives, but after rummaging through the photos I realized the gentlemen strongly resembled some older guys in another photo (my great-grandmother’s brothers-in-law).  Since I knew who the old guys were, I performed some “facial recognition” and reasonably concluded who was who (stay tuned for those photos in a future post).  For two other photos, I decided to ask my mother.  I thought I asked once before, but perhaps I didn’t write down her answers.  She identified one unknown boy and half of a pair of unknown men.  But that was just a small portion of several unknowns – there are still many more to identify.  Here’s an interesting one for the carnival:

cimg0095The photo has no identifying markings.  I obtained it while visiting my cousins in Bavaria.  We were searching through boxes of their old, unlabeled photos in an attempt to find one that looked like my great-grandfather, Joseph Bergmeister, who was their ancestor’s first cousin.  It’s debatable if we found one or not, but in the course of our investigation my cousin Emilie found this one.  She reasoned that it must have been taken in the United States because of the English words, so therefore someone in my family may have sent it back to Germany.  Unfortunately, I don’t recognize any of these men. My great-grandfather’s brother, Ignaz, listed his occupation as “driver” in the 1910 Census, but it was for a brewery.  On his World War I draft registration card, he indicates he is a driver for “Rising Sun Brewery” in Manhattan.  So, although he was a driver, I can’t say for sure if the driver is him since I have no photographs of Ignaz.

I have not had the time to investigate further, but if I were the photoMaven, I would probably pursue it this way:

  • What is the approximate date of the photo based on the clues provided by the car (style of the car, the tires, etc)
  • Where was the “Broad Way Garage Livery”?  (I have tried simple Google searches without success.)
  • Can the fashions of these gentlemen offer any clues about the time period?

Who are you guys?  I really want to know!

[Written for the 9th Edition of the Smile for the Camera Carnival: Who are you?]

See some of my other Photo Mysteries.

2 thoughts on “Who are These Guys? (And Where are They Going?)

  1. Now, I’m not a car expert–not by any stretch of the imagination. However I’d have to say judging by the body style–especially the hood–that it’s a Ford Model T circa 1912-1916. In 1917 the hood design appears more rounded and less angular than its predecessors. Here’s a pretty good site that give an annual pictorial history of Ford: http://www.automotivehistoryonline.com/Ford1916.htm
    Assuming that the car was not brand new since it’s a Livery/Garage, and judging by the style of dress, I’d say it was taken somewhere around 1918-1922ish.
    It’s also more than possible that the gentlemen in the photograph are absolute strangers. It’s a pretty candid photo of two businessmen in the backseat of a “cab” in rural America on a nice day–a neat photo to send back home to the relatives of an American automobile. Just my thoughts 🙂

  2. It’s very frustrating not knowing who is in an old photo. One of the best reasons to record grandma and grandpa’s stories – especially on video – is to have them identify who is in the old photos.

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