By now you've probably come to recognize the picture above which I have included in numerous posts on the Kuck side of my family tree. Written on the back of the photo in non-period ink were the words John and Mary Kuck with son George. No mention on who the fourth person in the photo is. Because of the tragic early death of Mary and five of her seven children, possible ages rule out that the older boy is my 2nd great grandfather George so I assumed he was the one in the dress sitting on father John's lap. The woman on the right looked Swiss to me though I would be hard pressed to define what that means and with the ink on the back informing me that it was my 3rd great grandmother Mayer Meyer Kuck, I accepted it as so. That is until I received the below photo from my new Kuck cousins who descended from Mary's brother-in-law Frederick Kuck. On the back of it is written, in more period looking pencil script, that this is John Kuck's first wife Mary Meyer and as you can tell, these appear to be two completely different people which leaves me with a mystery.
My inclination is to believe the picture above provided by my distant cousin because the writing was much older and the fact that my grandparents who gave me the first picture, have been confused often when referring to this side of the family. Then my cousin had an interesting theory that I hadn't thought about before. Perhaps the first picture is of my 3rd great grandfather John Kuck, his son and my 2nd great grandfather George Kuck, his wife Elizabeth Cogswell Kuck and their only son, my great grandfather Victor Kuck. A three generations of Kuck photo with George's wife thrown in to boot. Intrigued, I flipped back and forth through pictures but eventually created the montage seen below to help me do side by side comparisons with known photos of each on the right and clips from the first photo above on the left.
Starting with the assumption that the baby is my great grandfather Victor and is around two years of age, George would have to be around 29, his wife Elizabeth 23 and John aged 60. I guess I can buy the ages being about right to fit the theory. The pictures of the unknown lady whom I had been told was my 3rd great grandmother Mary Meyer looks very similar to my 2nd great grandmother Elizabeth Cogswell Kuck. However, the deep set eyes (or overhead lighting) of George Kuck in the known photo I have of him does't reflect the eyes of the unknown man in the first photo. The ears do match, definitely the jaw line does to and even the mouth but the eyes just look different. The eyes of the young man look more like those of George's older brother Henry Kuck seen below who would have been 34 years old at the time his first son was 2 years old. The eyes and jawline however don't look the same. I have no picture of his sons or his wife to compare.
So for now, I'm inclined to believe that the only picture of Mary that I had until recently is not of Mary. Whether it is actually of John Kuck's daughter-in-law Elizabeth Cogswell Kuck is up in the air. The good side to all this is the second picture from the top is probably Mary so I still have a picture of her and she is still a mystery to me but more about that in a later post.