An Unidentified Civil War Couple
Quite some time ago I saved a photo on Pinterest to a private research board where I had pinning photos of drummer boys. I honestly can't remember why I saved this particular photo, but I recently looked at it again.
[Unidentified soldier in Union uniform with unidentified woman] Digital ID: (digital file from original, tonality adjusted) ppmsca 36871 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.36871 Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppmsca-36871 (digital file from original, tonality adjusted) LC-DIG-ppmsca-26871 (digital file from original item) Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
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...
In this enlarged and lightened photo of the little boy, you can clearly see that his buttons had indeed been painted gold. The similarities between these two are stunning to me. The square jaw, the slightly upturned nose, the mouth with downturned corners... not to mention those EYES! But there was something else I noticed; something a lot more subtle. The ears. In both photos, they are facing forward, yet it appears as though the left ear is slightly higher. It could be the angle of the photo, but it is interesting that in both photos, the difference in the measurement between the bottoms of the ear lobes and the jaw line at the chin measure the same.
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:
I was shocked -- these two photographs received a higher likeness rating than two known photos of myself. I am convinced that these two photos are of the same fellow, or at the very least are related!
The Search Continues
I mentioned in The Story Behind that, "There is something more to his haunting gaze...almost like he wants someone to tell his story. I'm trying little man... I'm trying!"
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!