I'd like to revisit the surprise package I received a few weeks ago in the mail! As you may recall, I promised to share it's content, once I've had time to study the photographs from cousin Marty . For today's Friday's Faces From the Past, I thought I would share three photos from the package which may or may not be of Barney Bloomfield.
Who was Barney Bloomfield?
Barney, was my great-great-uncle. He was William's Bloomfield's second to youngest brother, born around 1904. Little is known about uncle Barney. There is only one known family photo where Barney is confirmed to be standing amongst his siblings. The story is that Barney was "a bit slow". I've heard it may have had to do with an accident at birth or his circumcision where he didn't stop bleeding, suggestive of hemophilia. Hemophilia rarely rarely results in mental retardation so I'm not sure of what to make of this story. Barney's parents, Moses and Freida Toby Bloomfield, were first cousins. Such a marriage, can unmask genetic abnormalities which could lead to mental retardation and would better explain, Barney's condition, but we have not been able to confirm any such family illness. In the photo Barney does not look syndromic suggesting he did not have a Down's like syndrome. Another passdown tale, is the story that Moses and Freida Toby also had daughters, but none of them survived passed early childhood years. This story, also suggest some kind of genetic abnormality, but is inconclusive and as of yet, not proven via any documentation.
|Close up of Barney from the family photo. About 16 years old.|
|Label on the back: Barney Bloomfield?|
c.1921 about 17 years old.
Are these three photos of Barney Bloomfield?
The three photos are labeled in the back, with the same handwriting and the same red pen. They all say Barney Bloomfield. One, the formal portrait on the left, has a question mark after the name written in black ink. In the package there are two other formal portraits which look like they were taken in the same studio and at the same time. One is of Joe Bloomfield and the other of Joe and Ben Bloomfield together which I posted last March. These three portraits very much suggests, a special occasion—a high school graduation perhaps. Ben the first to graduated college, graduated in 1925, so he would have graduated high school around 1921. Since Ben left for Rice Institute around 1921, the formal portrait must have been around or before 1921. If this formal portrait, is not Barney, I'm not sure who it would be. It certainly does not look like any of the older siblings who would have been much older by then. If this is Barney, he did grow and fill in some since the family portrait taken a year, at the most two years earlier.
|Label on the back: Barney Bloomfield|
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting up with the Bloomfield family elder, Masse Bloomfield who was visiting the New York City. Masse, born in 1924, is 89 years young. He was my grandmother Ethel's first cousin, and Barney's nephew. I was hoping Masse would give me a conclusive positive identification on these photos. All, I got was: "These could be Barney. Yes, I'd go with Barney." He didn't sound that convince to me. He hesitated because he said he was born after the earlier photos were taken and the later one, was difficult for him to make out. I hung my hopes on Masse who knew Barney personally, but Masse could not say for sure.
Consider this. The Bloomfield brothers, looked remarkably alike. They shared more DNA than most siblings—remember, their parents were first cousins. After studying photos of the brothers for more than three years, I am pretty confident I can tell apart between Aaron, Max, William, Harry, Joe and Ben. Barney has been more elusive because there was only one known photo of him. I must agree with the person who labeled these three photos, that they are not any of the other Bloomfields. Masse was confident this was not his father, Harry. Marty was confident these are not his father, Joe. We are all confident these are not the youngest of the brothers, Ben. Which leaves Barney.
What do you guys think? Is this Barney at different times in his life?
|Label on the back: Barney Bloomfield|