Two Photos to Identify—Can You Help?

I am back…sort of! Still working on my first Goldschmidt posts, but before I dive into that matter, I have two wonderful new photographs to share, thanks to my cousin by marriage, Ulrike Michel.

Ulrike is married to my fourth cousin, once removed, Torsten Michel. Torsten and I are both descended from Bernard Schoenfeld and Rosina Goldmann, my fourth great-grandparents; Torsten’s great-great-grandmother Ziborah Schoenfeld was the sister of my three-times great-grandmother Babetta Schoenfeld, wife of Moritz Seligmann, my three-times great-grandfather.


I’ve not met Torsten, but when we were in Germany, we spent a day with Ulrike in Heidelberg, as I wrote about here. Ulrike is the family historian in their family, and she and I have been in touch for several years now.

Recently Ulrike found and shared with me two photographs. I am particularly excited by this one that Ulrike believes is Babetta Schoenfeld Seligmann:


Here is the only confirmed photograph I had of Babetta, and I do see a definite resemblance.Β  But is it the same woman? Or is it perhaps her sister Ziborah, Torsten’s direct ancestor? What do you think?

The second photo Ulrike sent me is this one.Β  She believes this could be Franziska Seligmann, granddaughter of Moritz Seligmann and Babetta Schoenfeld and my first cousin, three times removed:


Here are the photographs I’d previously found of Franziska:

Franziska Seligmann Michel


Fred Michel and Franziska Seligmann Michel
Courtesy of the Family of Fred and Ilse Michel

Again, there is a definite resemblance, but is it the same woman? What do you think?

One of the mysteries raised by this photograph is why the Michel family would have had a photograph of Babetta’s granddaughter, who lived from 1875-1933.Β  Was it simply because she was Ziborah Schoenfeld’s great-niece?

Or was there a second connection to the Michel family? Franziska married Adolf Michel, and I have no information about his background. But Ulrike is now researching to see if Adolf Michel was related to her husband’s Michel relatives. She and Wolfgang are meeting in a few weeks to compare notes and see whether there is an additional overlap between the Seligmanns, Schoenfelds, and Michels.

I’d love your feedback on the photographs. Let me know what you think.

40 thoughts on “Two Photos to Identify—Can You Help?

  1. Dear Amy, the problem with deciding whether two or more pictures represent the same person lies in the fact that the photos may have been taken many years apart. Indeed I see a definite likeness, but as you said that could be found in other members of the family. Perhaps it would help if you looked a little closer at the ornaments these women were wearing. If you find one that is the same on both pictures, then most likely the persons are identical. Good luck with your research!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I think the older woman could be the same. She dresses so similarly in both photos. As for they younger woman, definitely similar especially the hair style. I bet you do find a double family connection! So common them. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I too see a definite resemblance between the two women, however I am leaning towards not being the same (sisters?) because of the nose. The noses just seem off to me. About Franziska (what a great name) I agree with Peter on the age difference. I would love to see these pictures arranged/posted side by side. If only these treasures had been labeled.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sharon. I agree that it’s hard to be sure with either one especially since some of the photos are too blurry to hone in on the features. Yes, why didn’t people label their photos! (The ones I had previously of Babetta and Franziska were labeled, so those two I am certain about.)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It is unfortunate that in the first one of Babetta her headdress covers her ears. But I still find them to be so similar. Especially striking is the mouth on the right and the very narrow shoulders compared to the size of her head. They seem the same in both photographs.
    Franziska 1 seems to have a much wider mouth than Franziska 2 but there still seems to be a resemblance with the 3rd and 4th photo.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Although the nose looks a bit different in the photos of the first woman, her left bottom lip looks the same to me. By chance do you know the date of the confirmed photo? It almost looks like she’s dressed in mourning attire and maybe a date could lead you to whether Babetta was in mourning?

    The second set of photos is hard to compare as the ages are different. However, based on the first two photos her hair style looks the same. Probably not enough confirmation, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Debi made the same comment I was going to make. I think the older women have the same shaped lower lip that makes me think those two photos are of the same woman. The mouth on the second woman turns up slightly, whereas the photos of Franziska seem to show the corners of her mouth as straight or even a bit down turned in the last photo. It does resemble your other photos of her, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Linda. I am glad you also think they are the same woman in the first two photographs. As for Franziska, I also was surprised to see the smile in that new photo as all the others (assuming it’s is the same woman) had her looking quite stern or sad. But from what I know of her life—that her marriage was not a happy one and ended–perhaps it’s not surprising that she looks unhappy (with her mouth turned down) in the later photographs.


  7. The first 2 pix definitely appear to be the same woman. The same nose and curve of the mouth.
    The second group all look like the same woman, except the fuzzy one is hard to swear by, mouth, nose and eyes appear different.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think the first two photos are of the same woman. Look at the way her bottom lip curls !

    I too see the resemblance with respect to the other photos, but I am less certain.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Tough questions. I do think the second set of images are all of the same woman. But the first two, I couldn’t decide what I thought. One thing that was throwing me off was the glasses. In my family I feel like elderly people generally did not replace their glasses. I can’t decide if her glasses are completely different or not. They look so much darker in the first photo. I’m not much help. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh wow, this is so difficult. BUT I LOVE THESE PIX!!! I do think the first two photos are the same woman. There are too many similarities for them to be sisters, IMO. I read what Amberly wrote. Is there a chance that photo #1 is enhanced? it looks enhanced to me. The other is very faded, so that makes a big difference on how things appear.
    I don’t know about Franziska. The mouth appears different in that photos than in all the others. Wider and less cupidy. BUT the ears are so similar!!!! Sorry, I wish I were more help! Ava? hahaha

    Liked by 1 person

    • Enhanced how? If anything, I reduced it by using Irfanview so it would take up less space. The other is blurrier because I cropped from a bigger photograph to focus just on Babetta.

      As for Franziska, as I answered Sharon above, I think that Franziska’s marriage ended badly and that the later photos show a sadder woman. But it also could be a different person.

      Thanks, Luanne!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I might ask Ava about this one, but I figured these were relatively straightforward and I hoped for a quick answer! But I guess they aren’t as obvious as I’d hoped….

        Liked by 1 person

      • Enhanced like through software making it more clearly defined. Am I right about Franziska’s slightly unique ear shape helping identify her?


      • The ears certainly look similar in all the photos, but I am no ear expert so they look like ordinary ears to me! What is that makes them seem unique to you?

        Liked by 1 person

      • They are definitely “ordinary” as in normal, but distinctive in that the bottom part of the ear or the fleshy part isn’t a lobe that, large or small, is a narrower part from the rest of the ear. Above the lobe part, the ear gets briefly narrower. And then the lobe part is large, but not necessary “lobe-shaped.” So in this tiny way it’s a bit different from many other ears, and I think it helps to identify her, although her mouth looks different in different shots, but I think it’s the expression of the face that also goes a long way toward how wide or bow-shaped the mouth looks in the photos. I guess I’m becoming that ear expert hahahahahahah (not!).

        Liked by 1 person

      • OK, you are an ear expert! I think I know what you mean. Her lobes are almost attached (my mother has fully attached lobes). And they are the same in all four photos. I Googled ear lobe shapes, and they do come in many shapes and sizes. So I think you’re right that the similarity in the ear lobes is fairly good support for them all being of Franziska. I am sure Ava would have an opinion! Thanks, Luanne!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t think I can add anything here Amy; for me, with both women it’s too close to call. They are great photos, and hopefully more information will emerge to help you establish the identities. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Friday's Family History Finds | Empty Branches on the Family Tree

  13. Pingback: What Happened to Adolf Michel? | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

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