I Know This Face…

While viewing some cartes-de-visite (CDV) photo images that I have, I came across the image below. This woman is a relative of some sort, but I don’t know who she is or how she is related. And she haunts me because she has the facial features of women on my mother’s side of the family.

CDV 31CDV 31a

I did a little research on the photographer listed on the back, G. W. Pach, and narrowed down the time frame to 1877-1881 in Long Branch, New Jersey, as that is where my family lived. The New York Historical Society Museum & Library has a finding aid on its website: Guide to the Pach Brothers Portrait Photograph Collection 1867-1947, undated (bulk 1880s-1940s). Since the address listed is 841 Broadway in New York, the date range for this image can only be 1877-1881 because only G. W. Pach is listed.

If this is a woman in my direct line, the only person it could have been is my great grandmother Hannah Mariah Cook Presley. There is only one known photo of Hannah, as an older woman, and it is below.

Hannah Mariah Cook Presley

Hannah was born 15 October 1854 in Atlanticville, Monmouth, New Jersey, the daughter of Jesse V. Cook and Deborah Mahala Tallman. She was the fourth child of 11; she had six sisters. Hannah would have been 23-27 years old at the time the first photo was taken. So, I was wondering if the first photo could possibly be Hannah as a young lady, just married to her husband William Presley (they were married 23 November 1876 in Long Branch, Monmouth, NJ). I put together a composite and asked some of my genealogy friends their opinions.

Hannah Mariah Cook Presley in her later years, on the left. Is that Hannah in her 20s on the right?


Friends thought there was a possibility, but that I should look for some facial recognition software. What I found was a very cool website by Microsoft called “Are you twins?” On the website, you upload two different photos and it calculates the odds that one person is related to the other, with a fun quip underneath. So I subjected the two women above to this test and here are the results:

comparison of two images maybe hannah cook

According to the website, there’s a 78 percent chance that these two women are related. Granted, this is not proof, but it’s fun to test. Just to see how it reacted to two people that are not at all related, I put in a male and a female, unrelated, and it said the chance was only 8 percent. I also tested it with a known distant cousin of mine, Cyndi Ingle of CyndisList.com, and the results were interesting:

liz and cyndi

I don’t know if the CDV above is really Hannah Mariah Cook Presley in her 20’s, but there’s a pretty good chance that it is. That lead me to another photo mystery that I wanted to solve. Hannah’s husband, William Presley, was a member of the New Jersey National Guard from Elizabeth, NJ, during the 1870s. I have one positively identified photo of him in his uniform:

William Presley in the uniform of the New Jersey National Guard.

But while strolling through my photo collection one day, I found a tintype of three men; the one standing resembled William:

Photo 297

So I ran the two images through “Are you twins?” and my guess was correct:

william presley comparison images

While that one is pretty obvious, I still wondered who the other two gents in the image were. So I did more testing and here are the results:

comparison of william and james presley

William Presley on the left; I think this is his father James Presley on the right.

I believe that the gentleman on the right is William Presley’s older brother James Presley.


Now that I’ve seen these men compared this way, I’m beginning to wonder if this might be a photo taken on William and Hannah’s wedding day, 23 November 1876 in Long Branch, Monmouth, NJ. I wonder that because on close inspection it appears that William is wearing a tux of some sort and the other two men are dressed very nicely as well. This may have been the last photo of the three of them taken together, as James the father died 29 August 1877 in Elizabeth, Union, NJ, where he lived–only nine months after his younger son was married.

So I’ve had some fun playing with “Are you twins?” Look through your collection to see if you have some mystery photos that might benefit from this fun website. Just for grins I added a picture of myself and my real sister Sue. I leave you with this image of real siblings:

liz and sue

You can read more about William Presley in my blog post “Funeral Card Friday: William Presley the Deceiver.”

© 2016, Elizabeth Kelley Kerstens, CG. All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply