🇺🇸 Lene Kottal Professional Genealogy Contact Lene Kottal

My Favorite Photograph: The Kottal Family

Lene Dræby Kottal
My Favorite Photograph: The Kottal Family

My favorite photo, at the top of the post, is a photo of my great-grandparents Maximilian Kottal and Anna Maria Söderlund and their children. It was probably taken around his sixtieth birthday in 1937 or her sixtieth birthday in 1940.

It is my favorite photo because it shows all the family members together, and because it sheds a bit of light on a mystery regarding another photo, which has been passed down in my family. The other photo is shown below.

Mystery man! Whose grandfather was he? A Kottal or a Söderlund?

I have always been told that the man in the mystery photo is my great-grandfather Maximilian Kottal. The mystery is that I was contacted by a distant cousin who said that he had been told that the photo shows his grandfather Otto Anselm Söderlund. He was the brother of my great-grandmother Anna Maria Söderlund.

By comparing old Maximilian in the Kottal family photo with the mystery man, it is clear that the two photos do not show the same man. I see similar traits between the mystery man and Anna Maria Söderlund, but I am not convinced that the mystery man is her brother Otto. Otto died at age 35, and I think the mystery man looks older than that.

The wonderful photo of the Kottal family did not solve the mystery, but I now have another working theory, namely that the mystery man is the father of Anna Maria and Otto Anselm Söderlund, my great-great-grandfather Jacob Söderlund. That would explain why both I and my distant cousin have a copy of the same photograph.

This mystery reminded me that we should identify people in photographs by their full name and years of birth and death, if known, and not only as grandfather, because whose grandfather was he?


Lene Dræby Kottal, 1/27/2022 9:50 AM:

Thanks for your comment, Elaine.
I know how you feel. I think that at least in Denmark we don't like to ask elderly family members to write names on photographs, because it signals that we might expect them to not be here for long. Death is a very sensitive subject.

Elaine Jackson, 1/27/2022 8:59 AM:

Oh, how I wish my grandparents had written details on the back of each -or even just some!- of the hundreds of photos they left behind… I have identified some, but so many remain unknown after two decades of research….

Start the discussion...
Type your name