The Story Behind
A few years ago I wrote The Story Behind. It is an explanation of the photo I use in my branding. I talk about the unidentified little boy in the photo and my instant attachment to him. One of the things I instantly noticed was that the buttons on his shirt are painted gold. To the best of my knowledge, this was only done on uniforms, which lead me to believe that he may have been a drummer boy during the Civil War. I began pouring through myriads of photographs of drummer boys from that era, to no avail.
As badly as I want to be able to identify this young man, I am not sure it will ever happen. I did, however, come across a very unexpected surprise.
An Unidentified Civil War Couple
I honestly couldn't believe what I thought I was seeing. I believed I had found a relative of my unidentified little boy! So I copied it and cropped it down to compare them...
So my search began for facial recognition software or a program that I could compare photos with above and beyond my own observances. Much to my chagrin, I was having a difficult time finding anything that could really help me that wouldn't break the bank. Then I found mention of a Microsoft site called Twins or Not. Even though Microsoft clearly states that "this app is for fun and entertainment purposes only," I decided to give it a shot.
For reference purposes, I felt the need to set up some baselines. I gathered various photos of myself at different ages and both of my parents at different ages. The best comparison was of myself -- one photo of me in my twenties compared to another when I was about four years old. How did I do? The likeness was 70%. (This was the highest rating I received out of all of my comparisons of my own photos and those of my parents.) Then I compared the two photos above and got these results:
The Search Continues
The photo of the couple above was donated to the Library of Congress in 2010 by the Liljenquist family and resides there in the Liljenquist Family Collection. Perfectly aware of what an incredible longshot this was, I reached out to Mr. Liljenquist and was truly delighted to be able to speak briefly with him. Because the photo is unidentified, I am trying to find out where this photo was purchased, which Mr. Liljenquist is graciously going to check for me.
The other step is to get the stack of photos that the little boy in my branding came from. Dad still has them and my hope is that, now that there is a second photo to go on, that just maybe there will be another clue. Even a photo of the older fellow or his wife would be a blessing, as I would then know without a doubt that they are related. Cabinet cards typically have the name of a studio, along with a city and state on them. That would be fantastic!
Stay tuned, because regardless how this turns out, I will provide updates to my progress.
I'm trying little man... I'm trying!