Contest #47 Results - February 5, 2006
1. Where was this photograph taken?
2. About what year was it taken?
(Hint: There is a connection to a previous quiz.)
1. In was probably taken in the Argonne Forest in France.
2. Not too long after Armistice Day, November 11, 1917.

The connection is with the photo featured in Quiz #18
taken in the Argonne Forest. Notice the similar landscape in this week's picture.
The Children and Their Flag
One of the most important clues
to the location of the photo is
the flag the children are holding.
Because the photo is black and
white,the flag resembles several
European flags that have light
colored center stripes with
stripes of two different darker
colors on the outside.  This
places the location of the picture
in Europe.
The Possibilities
Which Way Does the Flag Hang?
The flag pole that can be seen to the left of the flag indicates that the stripes are vertical.
This eliminates Hungary, Luxembourg, Russia, Netherlands, and Yugoslavia. The
remaining possibilities are Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, and Romania. The flags of
these countries have either a white or a yellow stripe in the center.
White or Yellow Stripe?
Several of the older women in the picture are wearing white dresses. The tint of the
white clothes as they appear in the picture does not match the tint of the center stripe
of the flag. It might be that the way the flag is illuminated by the sun causes the stripe
to show up differently in the picture than the dresses, or that the white clothes may
have been bleached, but not the flag.. But considering there are five comparisons that
can be made with white clothing shades, it's probable that the center stripe is not white,
but yellow. The only countries that have flags with vertical stripes with a yellow center
stripe bordered by two different colored stripes are Belgium and Romania.


The flags for Belgium and Romania are very similar. The Belgian flag has a black stripe
to the left, while the Romania flag has a dark blue stripe to the left. It would be difficult
to distinguish dark blue from black in this picture. (In fact I have a hard time
distinguishing dark blue from black clothes when I get dressed in the morning!) The
three stripes in each flag have corresponding proportions. Based only on the flag, the
location is still ambiguous.

The only other photo we've had that was taken in Europe is the one featured in Quiz
#18. It was taken in the Argonne Forest. Noticing the similarity in the landscape in this
week's photo indicates that the photograph was probably taken in
France, and more
specifically in the
Argonne Forest.


Most people who wrote in with a guess got the correct date - right after World War I
or about 1918 - 1920. The only other photo we have from WWI is the picture taken in
the Argonne Forest that was submitted by Dale Niesen and featured in Quiz #18.
Because the children are dressed like orphans, several people guessed that this week's
photo had a connection to Quiz #36, Children of the Battlefield. This was a good guess,
but it does not explain the flag. Because the forest has not had much time to grow back
after it had been denuded of foliage during the war, the photo was probably taken
shortly after Armistice Day, November 11, 1917.

Note also that the children and their teachers are not dressed for cold weather. So the
photo was likely taken in the
spring or summer, 1918 - 1920.

Eva Royal submitted the most complete answer:

Colleen, I was so glad to read your reply.  I was really sweating this one.  I had
searched every imaginable option for a picture like the one in the contest, for clothing
comparisons.  Initially I started from your hint, that this contest had a connection with
a previous contest.  

I looked backward from the ones that I had won.  When I came to the #36 of the
Humistons and the Homestead orphanage, I really looked at that.  The contest picture
was a group of what appears to be mostly girls.  The Homestead at it's peak had just
under 100 students and this picture had around 75 students, plus 5-6 girls in white
(attendants) and an older woman (the matron, Rosa Carmichael) That was my theory in
connecting the current contest and a previous contest.  That would have put the time
frame as 1863-1878.  But the clothing wasn't right

Then, I found the flag and compared it to other world flags.  I created a sample French
flag and sized it the same as the flag in your picture.  When I printed both for
comparison in black and white, that confirmed in my mind that there was no place in
the Civil War Humiston story for a French flag.

At that point I returned to read the rest of the contests to find a connection and did
settle on the #18 of the Argonne forest.  The trees were a positive link, to the
background of your contest.  I have researched quite a lot of the war in the Argonne,
since my father fought in the Aisne Marne, St. Mihiel offensive, and the Meuse
Argonne offensive and came home to live until he was 75.

I also noticed that just behind those massive trees, beside the girl in white, there
appears to be a flat area before the landscape begins.  I wondered if that might be a
river.  There is a distinct log/pole/raised area in the middle.

The two huge trees that the children are on and under, must be some kind of a special
species.  I Googled until I was exhausted trying to place them with a name.  Did you
have any luck in that area? The limbs certainly looked stripped of their leaves.  I
placed the picture in the early spring.  No one is wearing a coat or special covering so
it must have been fairly warm.  If it had been taken in the fall there would at least
have been a few leaves showing on the limbs.

The woman that I initially thought might be a matron has her hand on the head of that
child in an authoritative hold.

I had no idea that it would be so difficult to find photos of children's clothing in 1919-
1920.  These children were all girls as best I can tell and their dresses are what I would
class as uniforms even though they are different colors.  They are collarless, with a
yoke and gathered fronts.  Many of them are belted just below the natural waistline.  
The children have short hair.  Characteristics that fit the WWI-1925 time period

I even considered the reader’s comment in the previous contest of the Bucksport contest
about a sepia picture would have been made earlier than a brighter black and white
photo, which this appears to be of the later time.

All these considerations and comparisons brought me to my uncertain conclusion that I
entered.  I was very glad to see your email.  

Thanks so much.  These contests have become addictive and so much fun.  They test my
imagination and determination.  I have really learned a lot!

More Info from Another Photo
This week's quiz photo was obtained from Dead Fred, the most popular website for
posting unidentified photos. (See There was a second photo that
was very similar. It appears to be of the same group of children. The writing above the
door is in Dutch (top line) and French (bottom line). Translated, it says "National
Committee for Assistance and Food". This was a relief organization formed by Herbert
Hoover and Emile Franqui in 1914 to deliver supplies to Belgium during World War I.
(See high resolution detail below of writing above door.)
Comité National de Secours et d'Alimentation

With the German army occupying most of the country [at the beginning of WWI], the
population of Belgium was threatened with starvation. American public opinion decided
that America should do something about the fate of our people and a large-scale
demonstration of generosity was launched under the name "C.R.B.- Commission for the
Relief of Belgium". Its chairman was Herbert Hoover.

Funds collected in Belgium and other countries, mostly the United States, were used to
organize a supply of food to Belgium via the Netherlands, which remained neutral
during this war.

Looking for a reliable partner in Belgium, Herbert Hoover remembered Emile Francqui
who had been a formidable opponent during [business] negotiations in China. This led
to the two working closely together and Francqui organizing the "Comité National de
Secours et d'Alimentation" - "Nationaal Hulp en Voedingscomité" (National Relief and
Food Committee) in our country.  This was to take delivery of the food which arrived
from the United States and distribute it among the population. This Committee
continued its work until the end of the war.
French and Dutch in Belgium
Dear Dr. Fitzpatrick,

Thank you for your e-mail.

The picture with the school girls in front of a large building was definitely taken in
Belgium, maybe in Brussels. The reason is that the name of the building is both written
in French and Dutch. Nowadays, only in Brussels both French and Dutch are used on
official buildings. But, during the first quarter of the 20th century (and before), also in
Flanders both languages were written on buildings.

So, there is a very good chance that this picture was taken or in Flanders or in Brussels.

Best regards,

Dirk De Ruyver
webmaster of South-East-Flanders
What Kind of Clubs are the Children Holding?

The girls in the calisthenics class are holding Indian
Clubs and outdoor size Pick-Up Sticks. The girls in the
second row are posing with arm exercise positions.
Thank you for pointing out the fact that the tricolor was
the Belgian with yellow as the center stripe.

Stan Read
Indian Clubs
Misconceptions about Indian clubs abound.
Indian clubs are not bowling pins as some
shops continue to mislabel them, nor are Indian
clubs of Native American origin. In fact, Indian
clubs can be traced to one of the most ancient
weapons in India, the war club, or gada, a
symbol of invincible physical prowess and
worldly power.

Almost every god and goddess of Hindu belief
is depicted holding a war club. Through the
ages, the war club changed in both name and
form. Eventually, its use evolved in India as a
means of physical exercise.

Read more about Indian clubs at:
(Left) An antique Indian club for sale on eBay; (Right)
Three positions for Indian club exercises.
A note from Bill Burrows:

Hi Colleen,

I was transported back to the spring of 1948!!  I devoured the material about the Indian
Clubs.  I attended New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI), graduating High School in
1948.  Each year in the spring, they held a "Jambolaya".  This is the name of a Cajun
dish and I don't know why they took the name for the event.  It was a sort of
sports/exercise demonstration with the public invited.  I was on a team that
demonstrated exercises using Indian Clubs.  I don't believe they have a Jambolaya now
- it's probably not something in which today's cadets would consider participating.  

"Founded in 1891, NMMI is a co-educational, residential, college preparatory high
school and two-year junior college in a military setting, located in Roswell, New

Each participant received a banner with all of our names.  I'm attaching a picture of
it.  The banner is black felt with red letters.  I haven't looked at it in years.  It has
survived these 57 years better than some of the photos of that time.  I wish I had a
picture of the Jambolaya itself.

My father was graduated from the Junior College and commissioned a Lt.  He was on
tap to go into the Regular Army on Nov. 11 but he never had to get on the RR car
because of the Armistice.  His mother (my Grandmother) was the nurse at the NMMI

Thanks for the memories.

All Together
The children in the picture are probably a team of Belgian students who are
members of a sports organization. They are on tour around Belgium and western
France shortly after WWI. The quiz photo was likely taken in the Argonne
Forest. The second group photo was taken in front of the headquarters of the
Comite National de Secours et d'Alimentation, an organization founded in 1914
by Herbert Hoover and Emile Franqui to deliver assistance to Belgium during the
First World War.
Congratulations to Our Winners!

Eva Royal                Dale Niesen
Suzan Farris           Peter St. Wecker    
Stan Read           Karen Godwin Crowe

If your name has been omitted from our list of winners, please let me know.  It was unintentional.
If you enjoy our quizzes, don't forget to order our book!
If you have a picture you'd like us to feature a picture in a future quiz, please
email it to us at If we use it, you will receive a free analysis of
your picture. You will also receive a free
Forensic Genealogy CD or a 10%
discount towards the purchase of the
Forensic Genealogy book.
Contest #47 Results