Click Here to Receive New Posts
in Your Inbox

This form does not yet contain any fields.

    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

    Now Available

    Follow Me
    « Family Home Tour Update, in Which Together We Enjoy a “Happy Crappy Day” | Main | Summer Survival Guide for Genealogy Bloggers – What is Your Blog Doing for Summer Vacation? »

    Surname Saturday - Who are the Schiffbauer boys and why are you making mischief in my photos?

    I have a similar puzzle to one posed today by Jenna at Desperately Seeking Surnames as she asks, "Who are you Gaines people and why are you in my Grandfather Allen's photo album?" Instead of Gaines, I am looking at the handsome faces of five young men identified as members of the Shiffbauer family of Arrington, Kansas.

    The mystery unveiled at Jamboree when Mom and I showed a group of photos to Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective. We wanted to confirm that the same woman, great-aunt Maud, was pictured in two different images. In one, she is shown with her sister Minnie (my great-grandmother), in the second she is shown with a young man who is identified on the back as Charles Schiffbauer. Instead of one mystery, we found we had two.

    Mystery #1

    The girls' portait is odd because the handwritten inscription on the back seems to identify a male and a female, yet the photo is of two young girls. What do you think? Is that bit of handwriting along the edge something like "for" or another word? I know that Samuel Nelson Chamblin was Minnie's brother. Was the photo made for him? It says, for Maud, presumably a copy for Maud in the photo.


    Mystery #2

    Maureen agreed that this portrait is clearly one of the girls from the other photo. They are rather hard to tell apart and very close in age. But why is Maud in this photo with young Charles Schiffbauer in Arrington, Kansas as noted on the back? We know that she married Thomas Saunders and moved to San Leon, Texas. We had never heard about another marriage. Does it look like a graduation photo, or maybe an engagement portrait?

    Then we found more photos of the Schiffbauers. A group portrait of five young men and another group picture with Minnie, two Schiffbauer girls and two Schiffbauer boys. More mystery!

    I ran an search at and found a large assortment of Schiffbauers living in Arrington and neighboring towns. Our Maud and Minnie Chamblin lived in nearby Muscotah.

    I even found two photos posted on Ancestry by someone who is researching her husband's family line. They show an older Schiffbauer man. When I wrote to her to tell her about our photos she confirmed the relationship, but when I responded with a request for any information about how these two families might be connected my message went unanswered. I hope that she has just been too busy to reply and that I will soon be learning about a new clue to solve the puzzle.


    Kinsel, Minnie. Photograph. Original image. Privately held by Denise Levenick, Pasadena, CA. 2010.
    Chamblin, Maude. Photograph. Original image. Privately held by Denise Levenick, Pasadena, CA. 2010.


    PrintView Printer Friendly Version

    Reader Comments (4)

    It definitely says "for Maud" at the bottom.

    I am wondering if somehow the "Minnie Kinsel, Nelson Chamblin," etc. lines are not some kind of address, perhaps documenting that Minnie was inscribing the letter at her brother's house or at the very least that they ladies posed for the picture in K.C., while visiting him? If Samuel Nelson Chamblin lived in Kansas City, that is (unless they lived there, too, in which case that doesn't make as much sense). Is this the entire image as it exists now? There is a weird part of a symbol or letter before the "Nelson," and I am just curious if we can establish it being an "S." for Samuel, or something else, like a "c/o," which might tell us something.

    June 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca Fenning

    Good thought, Rebecca. I have looked closely at that bit in front of Nelson. At first, I thought it was "and" but that didn't make sense. Your idea, c/o is promising. Minnie married E.B. Kinsel in Dec 1889, so the picture must have been take after that date. I need to find more dates for Sam and Maud; it may help to pin down the date, at least.

    I sure wish we had the edges that were cut off the print.
    thanks for your ideas. Keep the brain wheels spinning.

    June 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDenise Levenick

    Have you gone sideways with your line? Is it possible that the Schiffbauers are related to your known family through a female - maybe the Schiffbauers' mother? I wish you success with your mysteries!

    June 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

    Tx for the comment, Nancy. I've been looking sideways, and up and down, but so far no luck. Bits may fall into place tho as I keep reading old letters. Just found one from a "Mrs. Schiffbauer"! Now, to figure out who she was.

    June 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDenise Levenick

    PostPost a New Comment

    Enter your information below to add a new comment.
    Author Email (optional):
    Author URL (optional):
    Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
    Find us on Google+