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22 Feb 2009

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Mystery Vintage Photos

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This is the place for Mystery Nebraska Vintage Photos

Photos in this section are in need of being identified. Please contact the submitter if you can help identify people in the photos presented here. To submit a photo for this section, please follow the instructions on the link listed below.

To submit an article, contact Connie Snyder


Mystery woman photo was found in the house of Marion Isabelle Faulkner Birk (wife of Arthur Delancy Birk, Sr.). All I know about the mystery lady in the photo is that she was someone important to my family because when my grandmother Marion died my father (Art, Jr.) and his uncle (Claude Faulkner)-Marion's brother, cleaned out her house and threw away mounds of various papers and at least a box or more of family photos because they didn't recognize who the people were! I still haven't forgiven them for that. My father told me they only threw away items or photos that they did not recognize. Unfortunately, both my uncle and father have passed away, and no one else in the family knows who she is either!

When thinking of my various family members living in Nebraska in the 19th century, I came up with a group of POSSIBLE identities for this tough pioneer woman:

Maria Magdalena (Mary Magdalene!) "Helen" Van Esser Simons, who immigrated with her husband & children to NE from Belgium in 1893. They owned and ran a cattle/sheep ranch near Whitney, in Dawes Co. It is still in the family - belonging to one of Helen's son's descendants, Dale Brown.

A female relative of Elsie Bryant Bailey? I've been told that Elsie's photograph is framed and on the wall of the Dawes Co. Historical Museum.

Elsie's mother Sarah Reynolds Bryant? A transplant from Illinois, along with her niece Lucinda Isabelle Rause(n) Faulkner.

Perhaps the mother-in-law of Mary Simons Renshaw (Helen's daughter)? The Renshaw's had been in the NW part of the state for many years and I believe were ranchers.

An ancestor of Dale Brown's wife, maiden name Rasher? The Rashers were also pioneer settlers & ranchers in Dawes Co.

A member of the Reynolds family? Another of Sarah Reynolds Bryant's family, nephew William Henry Reynolds, lived in Dawes Co. & served as a 3 term state senator, Dawes Co. clerk, postmaster, and Chadron Mayor.

Or, sadly, she may be none of the above. Thank you for giving her some notoriety; at least there's hope that someone will recognize her.

Submitted Oct. 2006 Karen Birk Weatherford
a North Platte native living in South Carolina 


I have recently come into possession of a photo in good condition of two young women in their "Sunday best," hats, ties, lacy blouses. Penciled on the back of the photo is "Mother" so one of the women is either my grandmother, Ida May (Campbell) Ball, born 1888, or my great grandmother, Jane Rose (Thomalla) Campbell, born 1866 or possibly both since there are two females in the picture. On the bottom of the face of the photo card is printed "ELLINGSON" and "Cambridge, Nebraska," which is in Furnas County. I see from your website that ELLINGSON Studio Co. is listed as being in McCook in Red Willow County. Anyway for what it is worth, here is my two cents worth about ELLINGSON Photography. 

I received at the same time another very old sepia photo in poor condition of several folks on the front porch of a building. One of the females has an "X" penciled in above her image in the photo. The only identification on this picture are the barely legible words "Cambridge Nebraska" penciled on the back of the photo card. The photographer is not identified
Submitted by Susan Archer


York County Collection [East]

Lancaster Co Photos

Denton Community Historical Society



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I have an old picture taken in Burt County, NE about 1914. It is a large group of children with four adults taken beside a white building--that I think is a church. The children seem to be dressed in their Sunday best and the ladies are wearing hats. My mother is in it (1906-1996) but I know nothing else about the picture. Submitted by Maxine Whitman


Unknown man
This studio photo was in my grandmother's photo album. As far as I know we had no family in Nebraska. It is labeled W. G. Walker, Photographer, St. Paul, Neb. I will give it to anyone who can identify it. Submitted by Joyce Brown  


Unknown Tintype - Meyers or Boop
I would like to send you an unknown tintype photograph that I found recently in a box of my Grandparent's things. (Frank & Lilly Meyers of Hendley NE). In checking the family history, I found it could be one of six ancestors who were in the Civil War -- one of my great-grandfather's brothers: Isaac S. Meyers (1845-1918), or Aaron F. Meyers (1844-1925); OR my GG-grandfather, Jacob Boop (1826-1904); his brother, George Boop (1818-1878), or one of George's two sons: John (1842-1898), or William (1846-?). Submitted by Marilyn May Cozza


I have been trying to place the time that the Dvorak Blacknik Photography Studio in Fremont, NE was in business. I found them on the census.  STUDIO LOGO

Dvorak & Blacknik are listed together on the 1920 Census (Fremont; Wd 1, Platte Co., NE - T625/R986/P97A Taken 2 Jan 1920). It appears from the info on the census that the studio's name ‘Dvorak Blacknik’ is actually the last name of two Photographer’s.

Emmanuel J. Blacknick (name as spelled on the census) age 30 years and 7 mos. b. SD. Both of Emmanuel’s parents were born in Austria. He was single. His occupation is listed as Photographer. Emmanuel is listed as the 1st head of household. 

The 2nd head of household is Joseph A. Dvorak (looks like Bvorak). Joseph's wife's name was Anna and they had four children (Anna M., Joseph E., Helen and Robert). Joseph was 40 years and 9 mos. old, his wife Anna was 36 years and 8 mos. old. Both Joseph and Anna were born in Austria. Their two older children were born in Illinois, the two younger in South Dakota. Their youngest child was 4 yrs and 9 mos. old. That would probably mean they had moved to Fremont from South Dakota during the previous 5 years before the census was taken.

Joseph immigrated to the U.S. in 1885; Anna in 1889. The year of naturalization for Joseph was 1919, it lists Anna’s year of naturalization as ‘don’t know’. Joseph and Anna’s daughter Anna M. is working as a teacher in public school. Joseph's occupation is listed as photographer.

As for the logo photo... I only have one photo from their studio - the picture is in great shape - the logo is just okay. It looks like Blacknik may have ran the studio alone, at least for a while, since the logo appears to have only Blacknik's name. It could be that Dvorak's name has rubbed off over the years. There were some smudges around the logo area. If you get any more info that might help me with this Photographer please let me know. They made a charcoal photo of my Gr-uncle Jesse Barton. We have little info on him - I hope to form a time line to determine when he might have had the photo taken. Submitted by Cec Barton-Murrah

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