Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can ~ #84 Unknown Couple abt. 1894 (Part II)

unkcoupleUnknown Couple abt. 1894
Photo type: Cabinet Card
Card size: 4 1/4″ x 6 1/2″
Card color: cream
Card edges: plain cut, rounded corners
Border: single thin line
Front imprint: artistic gold print
Back imprint: none
Photographer: O. H. Talbott of South Side Square, Girard, Kansas
Scan: auto adjusted

After publishing last week’s post, several of my readers left comments which led to the necessity to re-think my post and write an update.

The Identity of the Man in the Photograph

My cousin Joe was the first person to comment on my post last week.

As my Mother would say “I swanee” that looks like Quincy Royalty as a young adult. Referring to the portrait taken in Kansas as well. His hair being parted on the other side might be an image reversal, but it sure looks like him.

Joe had me comparing the photo of young John Quincy Royalty (1866-1918) and checking his timeline. The photo on the left is a flipped closeup of John as Joe thought one of the two images may have been a reversed image.


Side by side, do they resemble each other? The identity meter on PicTriev, will compare two faces and show one of four results: from the same person, nearly from the same person, quite look-alike, and from different persons. The comparison of the above two pictures brought back from different person.

Using the similarity meter on PicTriev, I compared the above two pictures and got 78% similarity. This is more or less the same results I obtained using PicMonkey’s fade tool to compare the two overlapping photos. This was not as easy as it appears as the angle to the camera was not the same in the two photos. The positions of the mouth, nose, eyes and hairline are close matches.

The light looking eyes of the couple in the photo made me wonder if the soft tones were showing the true appearance of the couple. Quincy’s eyes appear much darker. If there was an image reversal, it would more likely be the couple photo as Quincy has his part on the same side when photographed in Kansas and in New Mexico.

The Identity of the Woman in the Photograph

Last week I wondered if the woman may have been the same person as the young girl on the left in this photo. The similarity meter showed 42% resemblance. Vera Marie Badertscher of Ancestors in Aprons explained this better than I could.

Irene [surname unknown] (left) and Olive Royalty

I don’t see the resemblance to Irene. Although we can only see one ear in the younger lady, it sticks out slightly, and the woman in the top photo has small, flat-to-the-head ears. The mouth of the younger girl doesn’t look wide enough, either.

Vera brought up some good points about the younger girl and the woman not resembling each other. She also wrote:

I was really struck by what a sweet-looking young man that is. Worth tracking down. Is there a history of that county of Kansas in the late 1800’s-early 1900’s? The young man looks younger than the woman to me. She could almost be his mother.

As mentioned above, Joe thought the man may be John Quincy Royalty. He was a schoolteacher in Kansas before 1900 and there is no known marriage for him. His mother died about 1874 and his stepmother died in 1892 at the age of 62 so Vera’s theory of a mother and her son wouldn’t work.

If not mother–older sister?

Quincy had three sisters who were living around this time. Tillie, Florence, and Olive. The three were married by 1892. Could one of them have traveled to Kansas and had her photo taken with him? Could the photograph have been taken earlier? I used the similarity meter on PicTriev to compare the young woman with Quincy’s sisters.

The similarity meter on PicTriev came up with a 93% match on the young woman and Tillie and same person for the identity. The photo of Tillie (bottom) was taken about 1895. Are they the same woman?

womansmalltilliesmallJust for fun, I compared the unknown man and the unknown woman. They have an 86% resemblance according to this tool. This is even higher than the resemblance between the unknown man and Quincy. The resemblance of the woman with Florence was 66% and with Olive was 69%.

One last thought, is the brooch worn by Tillie above the same as the one worn by the unknown woman on the left? I got out both of my magnifying glasses and had a closer look. They are not the same. The unknown woman’s brooch looks almost like letters and Tillie’s is a bit larger.

magnifyingglassAre the unknown man and woman, brother and sister? Could they be John Quincy and Mathilda J. “Tillie” ROYALTY?

A Little More Help

Luanne Castle of The Family Kalamazoo made some interesting comments about the man’s collar or lack of collar.

So interesting that he wears no collar in that first pic! Would it be because he couldn’t afford a new collar and his old one was ruined or lost or something?

I thought it was more of a trend to not wear the collar.

Hmm, maybe .. . . But I know it was hard for men to get collars sometimes. They always had to budget for them.

Comments like these make me want to learn more about vintage photography and fashion of the times. Luanne has a wonderful collection of old photographs and postcards on her blog. I need to take another (closer) look at hers and mine. You see things differently when you become more interested in learning about them.


More about this collection, how it came to be in my possession,
and links to previous posts in the series can be found here.

Please contact me!
Are you related to a person mentioned in this post? Send an email to
openingdoorsinbrickwalls @ pt.lu or message me on my Facebook page
Opening Doors in Brick Walls.

© 2017, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.






























Author: Cathy Meder-Dempsey

When I’m not doing genealogy and blogging, I spend time riding my racing bike with my husband through the wonderful Luxembourg countryside.

27 thoughts on “Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can ~ #84 Unknown Couple abt. 1894 (Part II)”

    1. You’re welcome, Andy. I found it by accident and am not sure the site is still maintained or even up to date. Other searches turned up face recognition programs which were $$ or the links were no longer working. Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Fascinating! I am struck by the similarity of the two women in images–Tillie and “unknown”. And flabbergasted that I had not even noticed the similarity of the brooches worn by them. Good for you getting to the details.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was really interesting! I’d never heard of that tool before and will have to bookmark it for future use. I am just terrible at these comparisons because I am very suggestible. If you told me they were the same man, I’d believe you. If you told me they weren’t, I’d believe you. And if I thought you wanted the answer to be that they are the same, my brain would focus on the similarities and ignore the differences!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Cathy, thanks for the mention. I think we could all benefit from a diverse knowledge of the time period of these old photos to help in identification. But I know mine is very spotty! I’ve used Twinsornot, but I plan to try the site you suggest!u

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You had me trying out TwinsOrNot before I even began to write this comment. 70% similarity for the men as opposed to the 78% I got on PicTriev. I’ll have to check the women next.
      You’re welcome for the mention, Luanne. I learn so much from comments. I figure not many people may read them and mentioning them in a post brings the attention to them and to the commenter’s blog. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve noticed that the particular photo and particular pose makes a big difference with twins or not. My daughter is Korean and looks a lot like Jenna Ushkowitz from glee. And using shots were they looked particularly like she got a 97% score on twinsornot. Using different photos it was down in the 60s.


      2. I thought it might have something to do with the ladies both having a high collared dress with a brooch. It’s an app to compare for “twins” so it may not have all the facial recognition points programmed.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I would say “no” to whether the 2 men are the same. The head shape is entirely different, and the man on the left has a chin dimple which the one on the right lacks. Their ears and hairline and other features are very similar so you could rule in that they are probably related in some way, just not the same person.

    Liked by 1 person

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