This happy occasion has taken a couple months to come to fruition, but it is oh, so satisfying! As you know, when a photo is identified, the full name(s) are listed in the content of a posting. I had always hoped that someone somewhere would be searching for a family member and identify a photo. I have had several people post about their relative having been the photographer named, but this time, I had a great-grandchild indicate that the photo was of their great-grandmother.
This is the Green Fan Album. You may recall that it contains 22 photos dating from the 19th century through the early 20th century. There are several names, including Vincent Joy, Ellen Wachtel Joy, Marilyn Talbot, and Francis Guisinger Von Kaenel. It is Francis that brought about this family reunion.
Iggy found out for us that Francis and her sister Clotilda “Vonnie” Guisinger both married Von Kaenels – Hans Otto and Fred, respectively. This is an amazing story and I won’t even be able to scratch the surface here. Hans Otto and Fred were princes in Switzerland (!!!). At the time the Habsburgs were still in control of Austria-Hungary in the late 19th century, there were numerous insurrections and uprisings, bids for democracy and general unstability. (If you remember your history, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand of Austria was the catalyist for the beginning of the Great War, World War 1. There was significant nationalistic unrest in this area for many years.) Hans Otto and Fred came to America in about 1909 to escape the turmoil, and wound up living in the same neighborhood as the lovely Guisinger sisters. Vonnie and Fred married in 1913 and Francis and Hans married around the same time.
Fred and Vonnie’s child Constance is the grandmother of Kenneth, who I will be sending the Green Fan Album this week. Constance is still alive at age 96, and Kenneth tells me she is sharp as a tack and plays in a band! There are so many stories wrapped up in this album and he believes she will be able to shed some light on who many of the photos portray. I am eager to find out more! Kenneth promised that the family will send us more information about the family and the photos, but also said that he himself is still researching the ties to Europe and the Habsburgs. Apparently, it was a family scandal that Hans Otto and Fred married “common” girls from America, but such uncommonly beautiful ladies they were, how could they have resisted!?