Saturday, 25 October 2014

Mehrtens Family Photos

I have two photos in my photo collection which I know to be from the Mehrtens family as they have things written on the back.  One is of Eunice Evelyn Mehrtens aged one.  She was born in 1916.  Her photo has the most information on the back and is a good place to start.

Eunice was the daughter of Robert Mehrtens and Sarah Ann Burgess of Ohoka/Kaiapoi area.

Robert's parents were Jurgen Mehrtens (known as George) and Catherine Dietjin who lived in Ohoka.

They must have been neighbours to my ancestors, the Meng family who were also German.  I'm guessing that they all travelled to the German Church at Oxford and helped each other on their farms and were generally good friends.  I am also guessing that we have many unnamed photos of them in our vast photo collection.  I have managed to find some that match from the one named photo that I have.  This photo was named by my great grandma who was born in 1900.  My Mum has written "Mehrtens Family" on the back.  Could the man be Robert, the father of the young Eunice Mehrtens.  I am unsure however who the two women are.  They look rather young but too young to be his daughters. (update:  This is likely to be Robert with his sisters Anna Maria Mehrtens and Jeanne Catherine Johanna Mehrtens who was a spinster who lived until 29 years old, dying in 1915.  She was a lot younger than the rest of the family)

There was another photo with the same man in it.  What do you think?  Robert Mehrtens had three sisters that lived to adulthood.  His parents lived until they were quite old.  I'm pretty sure now that this is a portrait of Jurgen Mehrtens and his wife Catherine and four children, taken circa 1910.

UPDATE:  Since posting this, my surmising has been proven correct.  The lady in the top right corner has been identified as Anna Margaret Mehrtens born in 1869.  Her brother was Robert Mehrtens (bottom right) and her parents Jurgen and Catherine Mehrtens.  This is exciting stuff!  The lady in the middle appears to be a bit younger than the other two.  Could this be Anna Maria MEHRTENS  born 1875, so what happened to her - appears she died a spinster in 1927?

There was an older sister to Anna Margaret named Catterina Christina MEHRTENS born in 1867.  Could this be the lady on the left.  Highly likely

One of their children was born about 18 years after Anna Margaret.  She was named Jeanne Catherine Johanna MEHRTENS  born in 1885.  I think she may be in the photo with Robert and his other sister Anna Maria above.   Could this photo have been taken not long after Jeanne's passing as they are all wearing black, so circa 1915? There are still a few unanswered questions, so if anyone can identify the people in the photo positively, I would love to hear from you!

The photo below, if you look at the three sisters closely there are similarities, could this be a photo of the three oldest sisters? I'm pretty certain this is them as the girl on the left looks like Anna Margaret, the one on the right like Catterina and the middle one is the youngest of the three Anna Maria.  They are a lot younger here.  There is nothing written on the back of this photo.   Further research needs to be done and a positive identification needed on the photo!

I also have another photo of one of the women in the above photo (who again looks a bit like Anna Margaret), taken even earlier, about early 1880s.  So if anyone is related to this family, please contact me so I can confirm whether these are the correct people!

Please click here to also see my blog on my German photo album which may have photos of the Mehrtens family.  The third photo down could again be Mehrtens related!  Of a young girl standing in a 1870s style dress.

And there is yet another photo which  I feel could be the Mehrtens family as well.  However this is very hard to prove.  This man has the same style of beard as Jurgen Mehrtens when he is older, however his wife doesn't look anything like the old lady sitting next to old Jurgen.  It could be the same person who has changed so much due to old age.  She appears to have lost her teeth in later life.  Could this be them in 1866 after they married.  My ancestors had a similar photo.  Often clothing was hired for photos and this dress is quite unusual.  I may be completely wrong here and this needs documented proof.

Sepia Saturday 250: A hand coloured photo which led to finding old autographs!

Ok, so I'm late late late!  I decided to post this anyway as it was a nice circular story.

In a previous Sepia Saturday (click here for more stories) I have talked about how I managed to name a whole lot of photos in my old albums due to an email from someone wanting help on their family.  One of these photos was a nice hand coloured one of Clara Elizabeth Baker (known as Lizzie Baker).  She was a very pretty woman.  One of the themes for this week was hand colouring and this has been ever so slightly hand coloured in the cheek area and maybe elsewhere as well!

Anyway, through one of the Baker family contacting me, I have received these beautiful autographs from my Great Grandma (who this blog is named after) Dorothy Wingfield Lord and her sister Elise May Lord (known as May).

They did little paintings and wrote beautiful little sayings that they knew.  Or did they copy these from a book they had?  I'm not quite sure how old autographs worked.  If anyone can comment below on the old hobby of collecting autographs, I would really appreciate it.

Anyway, I received these in the post on a day I had been trying out my new camera.  I had been taking lots of photos of forget-me-nots in my garden.  And what was written about and painted by May Lord all those years ago?  Forget-me-nots!  I was blown away by the coincidence!

So from a hand tinted sepia photo we jump 100 years to a colour photo taken on a modern mirrorless camera, wth a lot of sychronicity along the way!

Sepia Saturday 251: Beards

I'm posting the following photo as part of Sepia Saturday.  Please click here to view more Sepia Saturday photos and stories.

This photo has two men with beards.  But there is a third man in the photo and he obviously wasn't present when the photo was taken, or was deceased.  He has been not so cleverly added into the photo for some reason.  Maybe this is a four generations photo pasted together because one of the generations was not present at the time. 

On the back of the photo is written  "Lena Grandfather"

I'm not sure who Lena is but she may be the little girl in the photo and one of the men may be her Grandfather, or the Grandfather of the person who wrote on the back of the photo.

I have German ancestry and Lena is generally a shortened version of Magdalena.  Maybe this family shot has something to do with my family.  Maybe it is just family friends.  My German ancestors has a lot of German friends after they came to Christchurch, New Zealand.

Whoever this photo is from, it is very interesting.  Again, I just wish my ancestors had written on the backs of their photos!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Sepia Saturday 249: Old Transport and an amazing discovery!

I'm writing about old transport and an amazing discovery for Sepia Saturday 249. Please see click here for more amazing Sepia Saturday stories. The following photo I just obtained a couple of hours ago from V. Baker who is currently one of three people who is helping me with some amazing genealogical discoveries. She sent me this postcard of the Ohoka Store with store transport sitting outside ready to deliver the groceries. The postcard was sent probably between 1913 and about 1919 from Mary Lord nee Meng to her friend Lizzie Baker (Clara Elizabeth Baker nee Harris). Mary was my great great grandmother.

There was a lovely message on the back too:

This postcard is interesting because of the relationship to me but also because of the historic nature of the photo. The Ohoka general store no longer exists. It was in the small town at a time when travelling long distances into Christchurch was not a daily occurance. The local store was much needed, as were the other tradesmen in the Ohoka township. I had heard about this store but had never seen a photo of it before so it is exciting to share it here.

How did I come to receive this postcard? Well, a few day ago I was emailed by a lady looking for her Baker family in Ohoka and she had come across my blog. I am not related to the Baker family but I said I had some Baker photos, taken from about 1915 to the 1920s. I didn't know anything about these Bakers apart from the fact their names were Tom and Lizzie Baker. And I had no idea what Lizzie looked like as a young girl. This lady suggested that it may be Clara Elizabeth Harris and her husband Thomas Henry Baker. I then did some digging and found an amazing photo album online with photos of Lizzie (aka Clara Elizabeth). This album has three of my relations in it as well as photos of Clara Elizabeth Baker who fills my old album from the 1890s and earlier. I found the same photos plus different ones. I managed to name so many of the photos now that it is a huge breakthrough. I have stared at these photos for twenty years, and in the last five years have really tried to do detective work, often without success.

The blog where the album is posted is an excellent one for photo buffs. You should all check it out. I'm blown away by it!  Early New Zealand Photographers and their successors.

Then I got the email of V. Baker, a lovely lady who I have swapped information with and who sent me the postcard. Genealogy is an amazing hobby just for the great people you meet along the way! So I can now confirm most of the photos and it is another mystery solved. Thank goodness for the Internet and other keen genealogists!

Clara Elizabeth Harris