Day 6 – You Can’t Judge a Book (or a person) by the Cover (or the picture!)

Today’s Family History Connection Experiment activity challenges us to look at past photos and share the stories with family.

For me, just choosing which pictures to share is the challenge!! I am blessed to come from a family of prolific picture-takers. (Not so sure I’d use the term “photographer” – that implies a certain level of competence!!) A quick count of photographs on my computer is about 50,000. And that doesn’t count those on my phone, my Google Drive, and those boxes of yet to be scanned photos!!

So, I decided to share a few photos related to my maternal great-grandfather, Sigmund Lichtenthal. I chose him for a reason. Sigmund is the subject of my current research project – tracing his company through inception and growth followed by the loss of the business during the Holocaust and his lifelong quest for reparations.

I formed an opinion of the man I never met as I looked at pictures, recalled stories my mother told, and examined documents. Some of my research confirmed the “personality” I had created in my mind and others refuted it.

While looking at the following images, allow yourself to form an opinion of who you think my great-grandfather was and what he might have been like.

What I enjoy most about family history is collecting and sharing the stories of our ancestors. Sometimes the stories are inspiring. Other times they take a nasty turn. As Sigmund’s story unfolds to me, I am finding a little of both. One thing I will share at this point is how my opinion of him has changed throughout my research. Based on what I knew before embarking on this project, my opinion was that he was pretty full of himself, rather imposing and a little scary. I was quite surprised to learn from his 1946 Naturalization certificate, that Sigmund was only 5′ 3″ inches tall. Not exactly the “larger than life” figure I had created in my mind.

What conclusions have you drawn about your ancestors? Share with me on my Facebook page or by leaving a comment on this post.

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