Sunday, February 21, 2016

What does this say?

I’m always amazed when I look and look and look at something and then one day, something new pops up out of the blue.  This picture is the newest example. 

Rebecca_Louis_Joseph_Bertha Schwartz

The adorable young girl is my great grandmother, Bertha “Birdie” Schwartz, with her parents, Louis and Rebecca (Steen) Schwartz, and older brother, Joseph Schwartz.  Birdie looks to be about 5 years old here so I would guess this photo to be from about 1877 or so.

I found the photo after cleaning out my parents’ storage unit four years ago and surprising even myself, immediately scanned it.  I’m normally not that organized but for some reason, I felt compelled to get it done right away.  Phew.

My husband has been dabbling in matting and framing and is always happy to frame whatever gem I find and want framed.  So I put this photo, along with some other things, into a pile on the dining room table for framing at a later time.  My guess is that in a moment of cleaning the house and needing to clean off the dining room table for guests, the pile of things to be framed was stashed away and try as we might, we couldn’t remember where we’d put them.  Come on, you know you’ve done this, too.

Finally, last week my husband was cleaning out a closet and there it was!  Not somewhere we would have ever guessed (getting old sure sucks) but it didn’t matter, the missing items were no longer missing!  So he brought them back out so I could tell him how I wanted things matted and framed.

And then I turned over the picture and saw this.  How did I not remember that it was there?

Rebecca_Louis_Joseph_Bertha Schwartz back

So what does it say?  Is it an address?  Name?  Both?  I really, really think this could be a clue to Louis’ family that he left behind in Shildberg, Prussia when he left home in about 1851.  And since I know virtually nothing about that family, I hope my hunch is right.



  1. I see "Amsterdam" and "Holland" in there. Yes, probably an address, or at least an indication of where and when the photo was taken.

  2. I also see Amsterdam and Holland. The name looks like Jaiinbaum??

  3. Nice!!! That looks like a HUGE clue. You might try a Facebook group to help you decipher it? Best wishes!

  4. Hr. (meaning Heer similar to our MR.)
    Hr. L. Faijnbaum
    Amsterdam 8 (Holland)
    Amstel 14

    I speak etc Dutch no guessing here

  5. Hello from Germany! I came across your blog through the site 'Geneabloggers'.
    What I read is this:

    Abs.: [German, abbreviation for Absender = sender]
    Dr. L. Grünbaum
    Amsterdam E (Holland)
    Amstel 14

    My understanding is that Dr. L. Grünbaum sent this photo apparently to your parents and he gave his address on the back. Amstel still is a street in Amsterdam. He probably owned the original photo and had a copy made which he sent off.

    One can see that this is a copy of the original photo because of the photopaper. Around 1877 the popular format for photos was a so called 'Carte-de-Visite (cdv)' or a 'Cabinetcard'. Your photo is none of them. On the back of your photo one can see a logo, the paper's name: Agfa Lupex

    I am by far no expert in that. I am just interested in old photos such as 'Carte-de-Visite', also in conjunction with genealogy. I did a quick google search. At the website of the 'museum-digital, sachsen-anhalt', the 'Industrie- and Filmmuseum Wolfen' lists the photopaper Agfa Lupex beeing produced from 1927 up until mid 1960.

    I found a blog which lists different photopaper logos for Agfa and also gives a certain timeframe. To me, it looks as if your photopaper was used around wartime WWII. I think this is not thorough enough and hopefully you or another reader can come up with a better dating of your photo. In that way you could narrow down your search options for Amsterdam. Or maybe you already know of a Grünbaum family? I keep my fingers crossed!

    By the way, Grünbaum could be Groenenboom/Groenboom in Dutch. Translating the familyname from German, it would mean 'green tree'.

    Well, I hope this was of help. Good luck and cheers!
    Susanna Rosalie from Berlin

  6. One question: Which Shildberg/Schildberg in Prussia are you referring to?

    There are several places at different locations in former Prussia, nowadays Germany or Poland. Are you familiar with the website of It is a great tool to find a location in Eastern Europe, and it is free of charge.