Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Mustaches My Great-Grandfathers Wore

For Saturday Night Genealogy Fun last night, Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings invited us to find photographs of men in our ancestral families who had facial hair.  I don't have many photographs of my ancestors but was pleased to find that all four of my great-grandfathers had facial hair and that I have photographs of all of them.  Thanks for the genealogy fun, Randy.

This is William Doyle, my father's paternal grandfather.   He was born in 1863 in Northumberland, England, and immigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1870.  He was both a coal miner and a farmer.  He died in 1941. This is wedding photo, taken in 1885.  He lived in Mercer County, Pennsylvania.

He wore a mustache the rest of his life because, the story goes, he'd been kicked in the face by a horse and the mustache covered the scar.  The shape of his mustache changed through the years.

At left is my father's maternal grandfather, Fredrick Gerner.  He was born in Germany in 1848 and immigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1855.  Fred was a farmer and, in later years, was involved with oil prospecting.  He lived in Butler County, Pennsylvania.

Since I have but several photos of Fred, I have no idea how his mustache might have evolved through his life.

He died in 1826, probably with his mustache intact.

My mother's paternal grandfather, Henry Carl Meinzen, at left, was born in Germany in 1837, and immigrated to the U.S. in 1866.  He was a carpenter and wagon-maker as well as a gardener
and shopkeeper.

You can see that his mustache evolved over time, too, just as William Doyle's did.

The photo at left is near the end of Henry's life, in 1926.

Edward Jesse Bickerstaff is my mother's maternal grandfather.  He was born in Jefferson County, Ohio, in 1871.   He was a carpenter by profession.
In every photograph I have of him he is wearing a mustache, though you can see it changed through the years. 

Edward died in 1945.  I believe the photograph at left was taken around the time of his and his wife's 40th anniversary, in 1931.

I've been reading Victoria the Queen by Julia Baird and thought it interesting that 18-year-old Victoria loved her husband Albert's mustache so much that she wanted all the soldiers to wear them.  Oh, to be queen, to be young and in love, and to command any army!  On the other hand, oh, to be free to choose whether or not and how to wear a mustache! 

Thanks for the genealogy fun, Randy.


Copyright ©2018, Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.


  1. My favorites are Henry's and Edward's when they were young. Henry's especially was so crisp and tidy looking. Love the pictures.

    1. Henry and Edward do both look very tidy and well-groomed, don't they? Thank you.

  2. Those are some mighty fine moustaches! I love seeing how styles have changed through the generations. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Melody. I love to see those changes over time, too, especially in individuals as they grow older but also the changes in dress, hairstyles, etc., that evolve over time.


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