The People of Pancho

At Play In The Archive

The Wedding of Leo and Margaret

Hello, People.

Can you believe it? In all the photos that I’ve unearthed and scanned, I have yet to come across a definitive wedding picture of my great-grandparents, Franz Georg Leopold Lessiack and Margaret Spielmann Lessiack. I do know that the wedding happened on Wednesday, September 24, 1919 at 237 Palisade Avenue, West Hoboken, NJ, because I found this charming note from the person who officiated.

Here is a scan of the rather magnificent marriage certificate which certifies that, “…Mr. Leo Lessiack of Hamburg, Germany and Bogota, NJ and Miss Margaret B. Spielmann of Vienna, Austria and West Hoboken, NJ were united in MARRIAGE according to the ordinance of GOD and the laws of the state of New Jersey and West Hoboken, NJ on the twenty-fourth day of September in the year of OUR LORD one thousand one hundred and nineteen. Witnesses Miss Lillian Spielmann and Mr. Ernst Spielmann, 237 Palisade Avenue, West Hoboken, NJ.” 

Unfortunately, I can’t make out the name of the pastor who performed the ceremony, nor does the certificate reveal any particular church or denomination. This is interesting mostly in light of my earlier discovery that, prior to emigrating to the United States, Herman, Fanny, Margaret, Ernst, and Hilda Spielmann were all registered with the Jewish community in Vienna, Austria. There is ample evidence that Leo was a cradle German Evangelical Lutheran, so perhaps this non-denominational ceremony was a happy medium for the two families.


The 1920 census shows the Spielmann family living at the same address where the wedding took place — 237 Palisade Avenue — and we have the additional evidence of Ernst Spielmann’s many postcards home from WWI to support that home address. Because the wedding took place in the Spielmann family home, it’s possible that I have seen actual wedding pictures and just not realized it. I’ll be on the lookout from now on.

According to Wikipedia, “West Hoboken was a municipality that existed in Hudson County, New Jersey…from 1861 to 1925. It merged with Union Hill to form Union City on June 1, 1925.” According to Google Maps, here is what 237 Palisade Avenue looks like today.

Credit: Google Maps

Credit: Google Maps

The following images were taken in the year before the wedding, I love how they illustrate the blending of the Lessiack and Spielmann families.

“Bogota, March 17, 1918” on the back. Emma is on the left and Margaret is on the right. I love, love, love the hat. I haven’t definitively identified the gentleman in the middle yet.

“Bogota, March 17, 1918” Note the house number. According to the 1920 census, Bruno Keil and Emma Lessiack Keil lived at 67 Queen Anne Road, next door to Margaret and Leo Lessiack, who lived at 69 Queen Anne Road according to the same census. This must be where Leo and Margaret lived just after they were married in 1919. Margaret shields her eyes from the sun up there on the porch.

“1918” on the front. Emma and Bruno Keil hold their son, Leopold Keil, who was born in New York in 1917 and named after his doting uncle, my great-grandpa Leo. One wonders how apple-dumpling-of-everyone’s-eye Wally felt about the arrival of her baby brother.

“Bogota, March 17, 1918” on the back. Here are Leo and Margaret looking very dapper indeed.

“Bogota, March 17, 1918 on the back. This picture shows so much personality. Note the beautiful wicker baby pram with Leopold peeking out of it.

I assume that Margaret took this photograph.

This picture appears to have been taken on a different day, because Emma’s collar is different. I assume that Margaret took it, because she is not in it. It shows such a wonderful collection of people: Great-grandpa Leo, his soon-to-be-mother-in-law Francizca (Fanny) Spielmann, his sister Emma Lessiack Keil and her husband Bruno. Down in front are Leonor Spielmann, Margaret’s youngest sibling, and Wally Keil.

Until next time, People.

13 comments on “The Wedding of Leo and Margaret

  1. sultanabun
    October 30, 2015

    Oooh, that beautiful pram!
    Lovely, lovely pictures!


    • Pancho
      October 30, 2015

      I feel so lucky to have rescued them all from oblivion. It’s been a huge job (not nearly done) sorting through the boxes, but I’ve learned so much and met so many wonderful people (some of them heretofore unknown relatives) in the process. Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Amy
    October 30, 2015

    What amazing photos from almost 100 years ago. Who took the photos? I didn’t even think people had cameras back then!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pancho
      November 1, 2015

      I don’t know who took them (except the one that I think might have been taken by Margaret, because she’s not in it and would otherwise logically be). I do have two cameras that belonged to my great-grandpa Leo, so it’s possible that they were used, even if he wasn’t the one operating them. He sure did like photographs, for which I’m very grateful.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amy
        November 2, 2015

        Yes, you are—I have no family pictures going back that far except for a very small number of studio shots. Enjoy them!


  3. Su Leslie
    October 30, 2015

    These are wonderful photos. I’m so glad you’ve been able to save them, and to get to know your family via their images. They always seem to me to have so much character in the shots. Cheers, Su.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pancho
      November 1, 2015

      I so totally agree, Su. I feel like I’m getting such a good sense of their personalities.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Joe Hanneman
    October 31, 2015

    Awesome photos! Frozen in time.


    • Pancho
      November 1, 2015

      Truly. I feel so lucky to have them, and to be getting to know my great-grandparents as young people.

      Liked by 1 person

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