Month: November 2013


Achievement unlocked! With a small collection of photos that my mom gave me to look through and scan from her side of the family, I now have photos of every one of my ancestors five generations back to my great-great grandparents. That’s pretty impressive, at least I think so, compared to my wife’s tree where she has very sporadic photos beyond her grandparents.

A few months back, I was three photos short of having all 30 ancestor’s photos. I recently received a scanned copy of a photo of my great-great grandfather, Carl “Charles” LAST, which filled in one of those three. Then, this weekend, I scanned photos of my great-great grandparents, Johann & Wilomene (RATHKE) THIELKE. One of the photos is labeled “John Thielke” and one is labeled “Grand Pa Thielke. Art’s dad”, with Art being my great-grandfather. He is shown with another older woman in one photo and I can really only assume it’s his wife, Minnie. She has that stereotypical “old, German woman” look to her as do a lot of my German ancestors. I have now added his photo to the Everything I Know About Johann Thielke site, which does feel good.

Click for larger
Click for larger

This doesn’t mean I don’t have any photos beyond the fifth generation, as I definitely do. Sadly, I think getting photos of all 32 of my great-great-great grandparents is an almost impossible feat as I don’t even have names for some of them. The oldest ancestor that I do have a photo for is that of my 4th-great-grandmother, Frances (QUINET) THOMPSON, who was born almost 200 years ago in France in 1817. Who is your oldest ancestor that you have a photo for?

Over the last few months I’ve put together a lot more information about what my grandfather did in World War II. As previous posts mention, he never really talked about the war, not even to my mom. Though, he has kept a lot of items from the war and I guess he was starting to put together a map before he started to have health issues. Sadly, my grandfather passed away on November 1, 2015. I did not get any more time to talk to him about his time in the war, but I’ll never stop researching his service to my country.

Outside of that, I’ve put together a rough history based on letters, notes, photos, and maps that he kept along with some tricky Google searches and Wikipedia. I am posting this for both posterity and to maybe get some searches coming this way to open up more history from other researchers.

This will be an ongoing post as I find and update the information, but I want to get it posted. There is an updates section at the end of the post where I will note what I updated or edited.

I have also recently put this information into a Google Map since they have released the custom map engine for their new map system.

(more…)

So, using the speed and power of the Internet, I come bearing updates. While I didn’t completely solve the original issue, I still don’t know who is in that photo, I did confirm that is it not the Charles & Augusta Last family. But, I also now have a copy of a family photo of the real Last family that I had originally hoped for.

As I said in the original post, I sent the photo off to a Facebook friend that I connected to via a 23andMe Relative Finder connection. She sent it to her mother and family and they also ruled out the photo due to the ages of the children, etc, but then they sent a scanned version of the Last family’s photo. See it here.

Last Family

It’s the best quality scan, mainly because they did it quickly for me. It also turns out that the original photo is in possession of someone in a town in the same county that I live, which I assumed since the family lived there. It also turns out that it’s at the same Senior Apartments that my grandparents are currently living. So, soon I hope to make a visit, bring my FlipPal over there, and get a nice scan for myself.

This family lines up much, much better with the kids.  I definitely see Augusta in this mother’s face. My great-grandmother, Madora, is obviously the one in the back with the big, white bow in her hair. Also, the twins are there on both sides of the front row. I do have to say that I think Charles looks much cooler in this one than the other one, I mean look at that massive mustache. Doing a bit of guessing based on ages, my guess is this photo was taken around 1912-1913.

As for the original photo, I still think it looks strikingly similar to Augusta. It is possible that it is her sister’s family. Or maybe it’s a completely different family. This is the life of a genealogist.

UPDATE: There is an update posted on this mystery photo.

We’ve been doing a bit of cleaning at my grandparent’s  house recently, which has caused us to come across a lot of new family photos from my maternal side. This comes as a double-edged sword as there are some amazing old photos, including a very old photo album filled with late 19th-century, early 20th-century photos, but most of them are not labeled. I hope to spend some time with my grandfather and run a few of them by him, but he may not remember anymore.

There was one neat, large family photo that we found. I had no idea who it was. Then, I noticed a few things on the mother in the photo. She looked strikingly similar to my great-great-grandmother, August (Luedtke) LAST. Though, I only have more recent photos of Augusta and she lived to be 100, so her age changed her appearance quite a lot (as it does to us all.) But, there were certain things about her face in both photos that matched up quite well. Here is a quick comparison image I put together.

Augusta Last Comparison

One of the few things I noticed was her mouth, how both of them are very straight across. Then, I noticed the nose. Both have a bit of a ball on the tip. The last thing I noticed were the ears. Augusta seemed to have ears that landed in the “larger” category and both women also have these. It’s tough to match the eyes as her age has caused some problems around that area, but they do look similar. Her forehead and hairline match up quite well. The only lingering issue is when I look through the list of children I have and try to match them up with the children in the photo. They don’t line up quite right.

Here is the complete family photo with the children listed below. I’ve tagged the children from oldest to youngest based only on how old they look in the photo. Click for larger version.

Possible Last Family - Edited

Family Group Sheet for reference.

  • The couple’s first child was John, born in 1885, whom is probably child #2.
  • Their second child was Emma, born in 1886/1887 whom is probably child #1.
  • Their third child was William, born in 1888, probably child #4.
  • This is where it goes off the rails. Their next children were Ida and Helena, twins born in 1889. I don’t see any twins in the photo and their both recorded as having lived until at least 1969. The next child of that age range would be child #3.
  • The next child would be August, born in 1891, whom may be child #5.
  • The next 3 children either died not long after birth or at a date unknown, Bertha, Charles, and Freida (1893, 1894, 1897) so I assume they’re not in the photo based on this info.
  • That would make child #6, Madora, my great-grandmother, born in 1898. Though, she always had dark hair, but I know hair can change as kids grow, so who knows.
  • #7 and #8 don’t really even line up unless we can work out the previous issues.

I guess the moral of the story is to label your photos. I’ll keep you updated on anything more I figure out. I’ve already sent the photo to some descendants of Helena that I connected to via 23andMe to see if they notice any similarities.