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Readers Respond: Mistaken Identity in Old Photos

By Maureen A. Taylor

Thank you for all your responses to last week’s column on Mistaken Identity. There are a lot of sharp-eyed family photo detectives out there.

I asked you to compare these two men and give me your opinion. You did!

Comparing Faces in Old Family PhotosComparing faces in old family photos

Three differences between the photos

You were right. They are NOT the same man. Here’s why

  • One has brown eyes and the other blue. Sometimes photographers colored in blue eyes to make them appear darker but that is not the case in this pair of images.
  • They have similar hairlines, leading some folks to think they might be the same. This short-cropped look was very popular in the 1880s.
  • Both men were photographed in the 1880s, they just wear different clothing styles. In each decade, there was a variety of available clothing options. The man on the left is dressed more formally and in more expensive options.

Yes, both men have those ears that stick out, but the fact that their ears look alike is coincidence.

It’s easy to see how photo IDs can be challenging. Thank you for participating.

Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor: