Friday, November 6, 2015

In Honor of Facial Hair

It is now "No Shave November", where men choose to do away with their razor and grow a manly beard. In honor of this month dedicated to not shaving. this post is dedicated to the facial hair of my ancestors. The style of mustaches and beards, I'm confident, is a sign of the time and location your ancestors lived. I wish I could say I was an expert at the styles of facial hair of various times and locations, but all I can do is post the photos of my grandfathers of varying degrees of "great" as samples.

First, neither my father nor my two grandfathers wore a mustache or beard. At least no photos exist of them wearing one. Of my great-grandfathers, I only have one photo of Thomas Doran and in this photo, he did not have facial hair. My other three great-grandfathers all had beards and/or mustaches. Of my eight great-great-grandfathers, I only have photos of two of them and they both had mustaches and beards.

First up is my great-grandfather, Johan Anton "August" Menke. His moustache was pretty low-key but respectable.

 He didn't appear to change the style from his younger years through his elder years.

Next is my great-grandfather, Charles Miller.

When younger, his mustache seemed pretty standard but as he progressed in age, it seemed to become a bit more styled.

Next is my great-great-grandfather, Hugh Kelly. I only have one photo of him.

In it, he sports a pretty standard but respectable van dyke.

Next up is my great-grandfather Aloys Panther.
 He skipped the mustache and went with an Abe Lincoln-style beard sans mustache.

Finally, my inspiration for this post is my great-great-grandfather, Benedict Bixenman. I have several photos of him and in every one, he sports a full beard and mustache. Based on the progression of the beard as he aged, it appears to me that he never trimmed the beard.

In the first formal photo I have of him, his facial hair is neatly trimmed and professional looking. In each progressive photo, it is longer and more straggly.

Until the photo of him as a middle-aged man and the last one in his final years where his beard has progressed to what I describe as genuine "crazy man" beard. I'm very sure he was a wonderful man with a good heart. You can see it in his eyes. But that beard! Talk about impressive!



  1. Matt, I like this look at the men in the family. I might get to work on a post of my own - giving you credit for the idea and a link to yours of course. I have been meaning to comment on your posts, don't think I have yet, but my maiden name is Menke. They are from Hanover, Germany, immigrated first to Ohio then on to Nebraska. I don't recognize names you mention, but I think the time frame is about the same. My blog is "The Old Trunk in the Attic".

    1. Laura, thank you for the comment. I noticed some clicks coming my way from your blog and I was wondering how our Menkes could be related. I know I'm related to a branch of the Menke family in Nebraska but I haven't found a connection to yours yet. Please visit my Link page in the upper-right corner of my blog and visit my main link page. You'll find my email address there. Please drop me an email and we can try to see if we can connect our Menke families.