Are These My Great-Uncles?

As I wrote about here, while in Denver, I visited Temple Emanuel where the confirmation class photographs of my grandmother Eva Schoenthal and of her brothers Gerson and Harold were posted on the wall.  It was easy for me to find my grandmother in her class photograph as I knew her face well.  But it was more difficult to identify which boys in the other two class photographs were my great-uncles.

When I got home, I asked my father and also compared the one photograph I have of Gerson and several photographs I have of Harold to see if I could pick out Gerson and Harold in the confirmation class photographs.  Now I think I have, but I’d be interested in whether others agree with me.  My father said he really has no memory of Gerson, but agreed with me as to which boy was Harold.

This is Gerson’s class photograph.

Temple Emanuel 1908 confirmation class with Gerson Schoenthal

Temple Emanuel 1908 confirmation class with Gerson Schoenthal

And this is the only photograph I have of Gerson as an adult:

Dad Uncle Gerson Eva

Here are some closer shots of the faces of the boys in that class:


20160524_170007605_iOS 20160524_170011278_iOS

I think Gerson is the tall boy in the center of the top row (first boy on the left in the bottom photograph and the boy to the far right in the top photograph: same boy).  The one photograph I have of Gerson is of terrible quality, but there is something about the shape of the head and the ears that seems most similar to the boy in the middle.  Do you agree?

Here is Harold’s class photograph:


And here are closeups of the boys in that photo:

20160524_165837031_iOS 20160524_165844844_iOS

I think Harold is the first boy on the left in the top picture.  Here are some other photographs of Harold as a young man:

Hilda (Katzenstein) Schoenthal, Eva Schoenthal Cohen, Eva Hilda Cohen, and Harold Schoenthal

Hilda (Katzenstein) Schoenthal, Eva Schoenthal Cohen, Eva Hilda Cohen, and Harold Schoenthal

Harold Schoenthal

Harold Schoenthal


Again, the ears, the shape of the head, and the mouth seem most similar to the boy on the top left of the first photograph of closeups above.  Do you agree?

It would have been so much easier if they had listed the students in the order in which they were standing instead of alphabetically!


25 thoughts on “Are These My Great-Uncles?

  1. Hmmm, I was going to say the boy on the right in the top photograph for Gerson – the nose on the one you identified seems too thin to me. I would agree with Harold, though. Don’t you just hate not being able to identify people?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, this is a challenge. The head shape and ears are similar, and I think you are right about Harold. When I look at the boy in Gerson’s class photo, the one in the back and on the far left, he strikes me as similar to the adult version of Gerson. I have similar issues trying to match people in old photos that were not labeled.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I didn’t read any further until I examined the photos so that I wouldn’t be persuaded by what you say. The boy you chose was my first glance choice, but the more I examined the photos, the more I came to believe he is the boy on the farther right (our right, their left). But your guess is probably better than mine. And the more I look at all of these photos, the more confused I get. This always happens to me. There are only a few people who always look distinctive enough that I recognize in all their old photos. So many really are very very difficult as they seem to change from photo to photo.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the input, everyone. I am now more confused than before! I don’t even know if you all are talking about the same boy since some people say “on the left” to mean as we look at the photo and some say “on the left” meaning on the left of the person standing in the photo. I added one more photo and clarified my text (I hope). I still am inclined to think Gerson is the tall boy in the middle of the top row.


  5. Hi Amy, No comment on Gerson, but I think Harold resembles the middle boy
    in the photo above the one showing him as a young man with the ladies. The hairline
    and the eyebrows.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Shirley. It’s amazing how everyone can see things so differently. I can see why you think it’s that boy, but I think Harold had much fuller lips than that boy.


  6. Wow. I’m not sure. Have you tried a facial recognition software? Not the fancy kind, just the simple ones in iphoto or the like? I’m surprised at how accurate they are. I have a pretty bad headache today so I couldn’t handle scrolling back and forth to form an opinion of any value. I wonder if you could find a yearbook photo to help. Have you checked the Ancestry yearbooks? Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

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