Would the real Elizabeth Bell CARNEY please step forward.

Please let me know if you think the two babies featured are the same child.


A serene young mother lovingly holds her baby. Both mother and child have such an endearing look upon their faces.  The woman’s short bangs and small topknot indicate the portrait was taken in the 1890’s. The dress style is also indicative of the 1890’s. The full sleeves appear to be leg-o’-mutton that became popular after 1892. The bodice has a striking number of tucks and pleats set off by a contrasting collar and dark trim.  A pearl and gold pin adds a touch of elegance to the neckband. The baby wears a fine cotton gown.

Is this the same baby I featured in a previous blog about Helena May NICHOLS?   If so, then this woman could be her mother, Elizabeth Bell CARNEY.

Is this the same baby?


Helena May Nichols, 6 1/2 months old. Photographer A.S. Schreckengost, Kittaning and Apollo, PA.

I have copy of the photograph, not the original, so I don’t know if something is written on the reverse side.  The photographer, John J. Garvin, had a studio in Pottsville, Pennsylvania from about 1880-1910. I’m going to use my imagination to explain why this photograph might be Elizabeth Bell CARNEY. In a previous post I included an image that I suspected was Elizabeth CARNEY.   I have reconsidered for the following reasons.

  • Several years ago when I shared information with the owner of these photos, she mentioned that there was one photograph of a mother and a baby. The back of the photograph was labeled “Lizze B. Nichols” (Elizabeth Bell CARNEY NICHOLS used Lizzie as her nickname). Unfortunately, the owner of these photographs is deceased and I did not receive the original. Obviously, I need to find out who has the originals.
  • The time frame fits for this to be a photograph of Helena May NICHOLS (born May 1895), and her mother, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Carney NICHOLS.
  • Helena’s paternal grandfather, Thomas Ackley NICHOLS, lived in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. He died in February 1895, but left his son, Charles Knerr NICHOLS, as guardian of his underage children. Charles and Lizzie may have traveled 250 miles from Apollo, Pennsylvania to manage his father’s affairs or visit family. Lizzie and Helena probably accompanied him, and they had their photograph taken one afternoon while Charles was occupied.

The logical, analytical part of my brain tells me not to jump to conclusions. The romantic side of my brain wants to believe this is Helena and her mother. Of course, until I have conclusive evidence I will apply logic. What do you think dear reader?

© 2017 copyright Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved.





About treeklimber

An interest in history and travel lends itself to a passion for genealogy. The more I research, the more I realize there is to discover. It is a never-ending puzzle.
This entry was posted in My Family Ancestry, Photographs and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Kendra, this is a hard one. Is it the way Helena is propped up in the second picture that her ears look bigger than the baby’s ears in the first photo?

    Liked by 1 person

    • treeklimber says:

      Yes, I rather thought the same. The other two photos that I believe are Helena as a young girl and young woman also show that the ears are a bit larger. Thanks for letting me know your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Amy says:

    I sure wish I could say yes, but babies have such unformed features—their noses are all little small buds that grow into various different sizes and shapes. They all have roundish faces—or most do. I just can’t tell. I once used Ava Cohn (Sherlock Cohn) to help me analyze photos, and she did an amazing job. I was going nuts comparing photos, posting them on my blog and Facebook, and getting nowhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Either Ava Cohn or Maureen Taylor would shed light on your photo mystery! They’re both great.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Val says:

    I’m not good at matching faces but I’m sometimes good with specific parts of a face or anatomy. The baby in the lower photo has the same shape ear as the woman in the upper photo, so maybe the same baby – or a sibling? Also, weirdly, the baby’s ear is very well formed and detailed for a baby!

    Liked by 1 person

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