Answer to Quiz #9 - May 24, 2005
How can you tell from this picture
that this couple probably had five or more children?
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The Digital Detective
The Digital Detective
Where, Who.....?
A Case Study in Digital Detective Work
The Database Detective
Photo courtesy of Andrew Yeiser. Click on thumbnail to see larger image
The Database Detective
Correct Answer

This photograph is a cabinet card typical of the 1890s. Cabinet cards from this era are
notable for the ornate photographer's logo that usually appears on the front of the card
below the photograph.

During this period of time couples tended to have children every two years or so, so
that if there are gaps between children in a family, you can be relatively certain that
there were children born in those gaps, but who died at birth or as very young children.
In this photo, there are gaps between the oldest and the middle child and the middle
child and the baby. The back of the photo lists the ages of the children as 1, 5, and 11
years old, so the missing children would have been about 3 and 7 or 8 years old. The
six year gap between the oldest two children could accommodate two additional
children about 7 and 9 years of age.

There is also a possibility of an older child born before the 11 year old who would not
be evident from the photo.  There could have been additional children born later, but
since the baby is about 1 yr old, they would have come along after the picture was

From the photo, we can say that this couple probably had five children.  If the ages of
the children are known, we could predict six.

Checking family pictures for gaps in the ages of the children is a good tool for
matching an unknown family in a picture with families in your tree.  You can check the
photo for the relative ages of the children, and if you know which family is shown, you
can be on the lookout for missing children born in the gaps.  Knowing an approximate
date for a missing child is enough to get a search done at the State Archives or in
church baptismal records.

Two of our readers deserve special mention for their interesting observations. Lois
Maxwell pointed out that the eight pearls on the woman's collar might signify there
were a total of eight children in the family. Gary Reis observed that the couple were
wearing wedding bands.
The Ulmer Family
A Case Study in Database Detective Work
The DNA Detective
The DNA Detective
Congratulations to the following photo detectives who submitted correct answers:

Darnell Brunner                        Toni Conover
Phil Bolian                                Marcia Snyder
June Evans                               Susan Berghan
Eve Gardner                             Debbie Anderson
Jim Hills                                   Merle Farrington

Honorable mentions for the most creative answers go to Lois Maxwell and Gary Reis.

Each winner receives a 10% discount towards the purchase of a book.  
If I have missed anyone who submitted a correct answer, please let me know!
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purchase of the
Forensic Genealogy book.
Contest #9 Results