I reunite identified family photos that I find in antique shops and second hand stores with genealogists and family historians. If you see one of your ancestors here and would like to obtain the original, feel free to contact me at familyphotoreunion [ at ] yahoo [ dot ] com. I also accept donations of pre-1927 images to be reunited. I hope you enjoy your visit!
~The Archivist

Monday, October 22, 2012

Have You Heard of Louis Kostello from St. Cloud, Minnesota, Circa 1897-1898?

This 1890s cabinet card photograph is labelled on the back, "Louis Kostello, St. Cloud, Minn."  This is a real puzzler.  I haven't been able to find anyone by that name in Minnesota, or in a general census search.  No Kostellos in that area.  There are a number of Costellos in Stearns County, Minnesota; no Louises, or Lewises, though.

The Directory of Minnesota Photographers website says Guy Alvord was in operation in St. Cloud from 1897 to 1898.

So who was Louis?  Did he change his name?  Leave the area?  Leave the US?  Meet an untimely death?
The fact that I can't find any trace of him, and no possible matches makes me think I'm missing something fundamental.  But what?


  1. Could the name be Kostlau, or some variation of that?

    I found a Louis Kostlau as an 16 year old in St. Cloud Ward 4 in the 1895 Minnesota State Census on Ancestry. He is living with his mother Berthie, age 38, and a brother Otto, age 18.

    In 1900 this Louis is living with his step-father, Gustav Liese, and his mother, Bertha L, in St Cloud, Stearns County, Minnesota. Again this was found on Ancestry.

    Found on FamilySearch in the Minnesota, Deaths and Burials, 1835-1990 is Otto Carl Kostlan's death record. This record gives his parents as Joseph Kostlan and Bertha Staege.

    It does appear that this Louis didn't die until 1926 as he is also listed in the above Minnesota deaths. His information is: Louis Emil Kostlan, age 47, date of death 24 Feb 1926 at St Cloud, Stearns County, Minnesota, with Ada Kostlan listed as wife.

    I don't know if this helps or if it is the same young man or not.

    Hope this helps.

  2. Hi Deborah, That's a great lead. I had another look at the handwriting on the back of the cabinet card. I'm fairly sure the last part of the surname is "ostello" It's written so faintly I don't think a scan would pick it up or I'd post it here for you to have a look at. Now, the first letter could be an "R" and the name Rostello, but I still think it says Kostello. But Louis Kostlau/Kostlan fits so well age-wise... I'll see if I can scan the back and see what you think.

    Thanks for your comment!