This is one of those photographs that people have, but don’t realize they have. Some background.
It belonged to the Adam Kern family of Fort Dodge, Iowa. Adam’s Father was Kaspar Kern, and his Mom was Elisabetha Simon Kern.
With the photograph, they also had a Russian passport. The passport has the following names on it:
Andreas Simon 40
Dated 1908 and issued in Saratov, the passport was used by the Andreas Simon family of Josefstal to travel to Brazil, and then over to Argentina. They traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil aboard SS Würzburg, from Bremen, Germany, arriving October 10, 1908.
It’s interesting to see another family on a passport….namely Kaspar Kern and his wife Elisabeth…even though in this case Elisabeth was the sister of Andreas.
The families traveled to Argentina, probably to meet up with their younger brother Phillip, who had gone to Argentina around 1905.
Kaspar and his wife would make their way to the United States in 1912. Andreas and his children would make their way back to Russia, and then Andreas died in Josefstal Dec 5, 1912.
Phillip would also make his way to the USA, settling in Iowa.
Here is a copy of Philip’s birth/baptism document from Russia.
Philip Simon, born 12 June 1888 (OS) in Josefstal to parents Johannes Simon and Ekaterina Kern. Baptized in parish Church of Josefstal the same day. Godparents are Philip Reier and wife Margareta.
Among the personal effects of Elisabetha (Simon) Kern, was a letter written by Andreas’ wife, Barbara (Berg) Simon, dated December 17, 1912, telling the family that Andreas died in Josefstal on December 4. The letter laments her husbands death and adds that she wonders how she will be able to live now that he is gone. Andreas was 45.
Note on the top of the letter are 3 crosses, the Volga German custom of labeling a letter that announces a death.