Sunday, April 27, 2014

Raise your hand!

Raise your hand if you’ve seen your mother pregnant!  Okay, that might not be too much of a stretch because many of us have younger siblings or there might be photos showing you how your mother looked as she was great with child.

But how about seeing your grandmother pregnant?  Probably not too common.  And what about your GREAT grandmother?  Raise your hand if you’ve seen that!

Can you see my hand wildly waving?  And can you see the big smile on my face?  Because I think I HAVE seen my great grandmother pregnant and now I’m going to share it with you.

Here’s my great grandparents, Bertha Schwartz and Abraham Gunzendorfer, standing on the porch of a house. 

Bertha Abe c 1895

I haven’t yet figured out if it was their house or just where they were but what a beautiful house!  They look quite at home so I’m imagining it’s their house but for now I’ll just have to be satisfied seeing them there together.

And here’s one of just Bertha by herself.

Bertha in front of house c 1895

But wait!  All of the other photos I have show her as a very small woman with dresses cinched at the waist and this dress looks quite different.  So I had to zoom in closer to check it out and look what I see!

Bertha in front of house c 1895 cropped

She’s pregnant, right?  Or is she just dressed up to go to a costume party as a court jester?  Maybe she’s in her bathrobe or housecoat?  Or maybe she’s not pregnant but just gave birth to a child?

Here’s a photo of Bertha (on left) with an unidentified friend – she has a very tiny waist and wore her dress tightly cinched at the waist.  Not pregnant.

Bertha and friend

So what do you think?  Have we now seen my great grandmother pregnant?  PLEASE SAY YES!


  1. Oh definitely! As for your questions, I could raise my hand only twice.

    1. "Only" twice is good, Wendy. I haven't come up with a photo of my grandmother pregnant but I'm not giving up hope!

  2. You sure have me convinced, Debi! What a great find...although the outfit she is wearing looks unusual--and is she holding something like flowers in her left hand?

    Would love it if you could find more of that story. Perhaps matching up census records near the birth year of her children might yield an address, which could then be cross checked through a local historical society? It certainly is a beautiful house.

  3. Wow! It was so unusual for women to allow themselves to be photographed when pregnant, and you have not only one, but two photographs! Lucky you, Debi.

    Do you have the birth dates/years of her children? Can you tell from census records where they lived? From that information can you use google maps to look at the houses where she might have lived? I was successful in finding the home of my great-great-grandparents that way. (Oh, wait. Jacqui just said almost the same thing, didn't she?) Knowing the house is on a hill (or at least an incline) might help.

    I think her dress is gorgeous with those leg-of-mutton sleeves and the interesting collar/bodice decoration. I wonder if pregnant ladies went out much during that time period. It seems that women didn't write or talk or journal much about their pregnancies in the 1800s, and even into the mid-1900s.

    Thanks for sharing these sweet photographs.

  4. It was my understanding that women did not go out in public when in "the family way" so I doubt they often had a photo taken. You have a rare photo. Super!