Friday, June 26, 2009

Putting Names to Faces: Identifying Another Family Portrait

After researching my family's history for 10 years, it surprises me that at times my thinking is so narrowly focused! I came across this family portrait last Fall at my Dad's house and took it home to scan and identify the family. I didn't recognize them as my grandparents or great-grandparents, so I took the large framed portrait to my dad and asked if he knew who they were. He didn't.

I brought up the subject again last week and this time Dad said he recognized the family as a Deines family, but couldn't recall the individual names. I had posted this photo on the wall of a Facebook group called "Volga Germans" hoping someone could help me identify the famly. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that now! What was I thinking?

My grandparents were Volga Germans, those people of German ancestry who immigrated to America from the Volga region of Russia in the late 1800's or early 1900's. My paternal grandmother's maiden name was Koleber and her mother's maiden name was Dietz. Many members of the Dietz family married members of the Deines family. But Dad was pretty sure the unidentified families in the photos I found at his house were friends of his parents. It was while searching through books in my personal library for the identity of another family portrait, that I came across the above photo, along with all the family information. They weren't UNidentified. Their identities were only unknown to ME. And the book I found their portrait in: "Deines Dynasty, Book I", by Brent A. Mai, my father's cousin. I felt so stupid. I knew I had that book about the Deines family. I knew many of the Deineses were distantly related to my ancestors, but I just never thought of looking in that book to identify this family when I scanned their portrait last Fall! I think my brain is getting rusty!
As it turns out, this is the portrait of Georg "David" Deines (1862-1939), his wife Maria Elisabeth Dietz (1861-1944), with children back row left to right: Henry, Lydia, Solomon, Margaret and George, front row left end: Fred, and front row, right end, son David Jr.
Maria Elisabeth Dietz Deines was the daughter of Georg Friedrich Dietz (1830-1891) and Maria Magdalena Mai (1833-1900). They also had a son Georg Daniel Dietz (1852-1932) who is seated in the photo below at left, who had a daughter "Katie" (pictured standing at far left below) who married John "George" Koleber (beside whom she's seated in the photo below right). Katie and George Koleber's daughter was Amalia "Mollie" Koleber, my Grandmother (the young girl in the picture far below)! Mollie Koleber married John Margheim and in 1921 gave birth to my Dad, Ernest Margheim. So the mother in the above portrait is my great, great grandaunt!

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