Lydia or Pauline

Last month I wrote a short biography of Pauline Kirsch, half-sister of my great-grandmother, Martha Kirsch. I posted a cropped photograph of Pauline emailed to me by my Aunt Phyllis Reakes (you can view the original uncropped photo of Pauline and her sister, Lydia, and her father, Samuel, here or at the bottom of this post).

I recently got in touch with the family of Lydia Kirsch Adler, the other young woman in the original photo. The comment was made that Pauline looks exactly like a photograph of Lydia on her wedding day. Because sisters often look the same, I thought nothing of it. But, after comparing the posted photo of Pauline and the wedding photo of Lydia, I now believe the description on the back of the above photo (scroll down for scan) mixed the sisters up. I also think Lydia appears to be wearing the same locket or pendant in both photos.

First photo of Lydia Kirsch Adler on her wedding day, Winnipeg, July 12, 1913, courtesy of L. Alexander; second photo of either Pauline or Lydia Kirsch, around 1907, Russia, courtesy of P. Reakes

The identification of the sisters comes from the back of the photo.

Scanned photo emailed to P. Reakes (original source unknown, though the handwritten text suggests the original photo belongs to the Rempel family, or was from a descendant of Julia Kirsch)

As an archivist, I have worked on several family photo albums and know how difficult it can be to identify related people in photos, especially sisters. But, in my opinion, the wedding photo looks less like the young woman on right and I now think that the young woman on the right is Pauline. The description might also be correct, however, if we read it in reference to their father (“My Grandpa/picture taken in Russia with 2 of mothers sister/Pauline left/Lydia right”). Pauline is then standing to the left and Lydia to the right.

From left to right: Lydia Adler, Samuel Kirsch, Pauline Adler; photograph taken around 1907 in Russia; scan courtesy of P. Reakes

One thought on “Lydia or Pauline

  1. Teresa March 12, 2021 / 11:42 pm

    I agree with your assessment…what a lovely old family photo!!


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