Free Updates

Let us tell you when new posts are added!

Email:

Navigation

Categories
August, 2015 (5)
July, 2015 (4)
June, 2015 (5)
May, 2015 (4)
April, 2015 (4)
March, 2015 (5)
February, 2015 (4)
January, 2015 (4)
December, 2014 (4)
November, 2014 (5)
October, 2014 (4)
September, 2014 (5)
August, 2014 (4)
July, 2014 (4)
June, 2014 (5)
May, 2014 (4)
April, 2014 (4)
March, 2014 (5)
February, 2014 (4)
January, 2014 (4)
December, 2013 (5)
November, 2013 (4)
October, 2013 (4)
September, 2013 (5)
August, 2013 (4)
July, 2013 (4)
June, 2013 (5)
May, 2013 (4)
April, 2013 (5)
March, 2013 (4)
February, 2013 (4)
January, 2013 (4)
December, 2012 (5)
November, 2012 (4)
October, 2012 (5)
September, 2012 (4)
August, 2012 (5)
July, 2012 (5)
June, 2012 (4)
May, 2012 (4)
April, 2012 (5)
March, 2012 (4)
February, 2012 (4)
January, 2012 (5)
December, 2011 (5)
November, 2011 (4)
October, 2011 (5)
September, 2011 (4)
August, 2011 (5)
July, 2011 (5)
June, 2011 (6)
May, 2011 (7)
April, 2011 (4)
March, 2011 (5)
February, 2011 (3)
January, 2011 (5)
December, 2010 (4)
November, 2010 (5)
October, 2010 (4)
September, 2010 (4)
August, 2010 (5)
July, 2010 (4)
June, 2010 (5)
May, 2010 (4)
April, 2010 (4)
March, 2010 (5)
February, 2010 (4)
January, 2010 (4)
December, 2009 (3)
November, 2009 (5)
October, 2009 (4)
September, 2009 (4)
August, 2009 (5)
July, 2009 (4)
June, 2009 (5)
May, 2009 (4)
April, 2009 (5)
March, 2009 (6)
February, 2009 (5)
January, 2009 (5)
December, 2008 (4)
November, 2008 (4)
October, 2008 (6)
September, 2008 (5)
August, 2008 (5)
July, 2008 (4)
June, 2008 (6)
May, 2008 (5)
April, 2008 (5)
March, 2008 (4)
February, 2008 (4)
January, 2008 (5)
December, 2007 (4)
November, 2007 (4)
October, 2007 (6)
September, 2007 (4)
August, 2007 (4)
July, 2007 (5)
June, 2007 (4)
May, 2007 (3)
April, 2007 (2)
March, 2007 (1)

Search

Archives

<September 2015>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
303112345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930123
45678910

by Maureen A. Taylor

More Links










# Monday, August 31, 2015
Foolin' with the Past in Old Photos
Posted by Diane

At historical sites around the country, it's not unusual to see men and women dressed in fashions of the past. The same is true for parades and town anniversary celebrations. 

If you have a photo of a relative in historical garb, it can make you do a pictorial double-take.

Donna Bowman has one in her box of old family photos:



Take a close look at this image. The woman wears 1870s attire, but her hair is out of the 20th century. And it's hard to tell from this digital version, but this is a snapshot, not a typical 1870s card photograph. 

At the woman's side is a man dressed for a different era:



This one is a bit confusing. The tie looks like the 1850s and the tall hat also would fit that period, but that cutaway coat is much later. Historical fashion details can get mixed up when dressing up for a one-time event. Serious re-enactors and museums often will research each detail in an outfit to make it period-appropriate.

So how can we date this snapshot? By this girl in the background and the rest of the crowd watching the action:



Don't you love her bobby socks from the 1950 era? Here's the full image.  It's very likely that the baby in the stroller is still alive today: 



If Donna knows who's in this picture, I'd look in the local papers for a special event to link to this image. Too bad the sign on the front of the stroller isn't facing the camera. 

Do you have any pictorial double-takes in your family collection?



Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now


  • 1850s photos | 1870s photos | 1950s photos
    Monday, August 31, 2015 3:37:14 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Sunday, August 23, 2015
    Proud Mamas in Old Photos: Finding the Clues
    Posted by Maureen



    What's the first thing you see when you look at this picture?  My eye immediately gravitates to the woman and her slight smile.  She's one proud Mama seated with her two children and her husband. 

    Your eye might be drawn to the wicker chairs, the animal skin rug or Dad's crooked tie.  When we look at a family photo our eyes become focused on one detail and then dart all over the image. 

    Clues. There are many types of evidence in an image from props to people but it's the sum total of them that often results in an identification. In this picture the following details provide a time frame.
    • The wicker chairs.  They were popular props in the 1890s and in the early 20th century.

    • Animal skin rugs. Also common in pictures in the 1890s and persist into the early 20th century and beyond. We have pictures of endless bare-bottomed babies in our family photographed on animal skinned rugs in the mid-20th century.

    • Clothing clues:

    In the 1890s men wore their hair short, their mustaches trimmed and waxed and their collars up.  In the first decade of the 20th century, the majority of young men were clean-shaven.
    Mom's puffy sleeves date from the late 1890s. Her pompadour style puffy hair looks more like the circa 1905 period but this could be a personal preference rather than the current style.  Additional genealogical information is needed to narrowly date this image.
    • The photo imprint. J.W. Sires of Tidioute, Pennsylvania took this picture. Unfortunately, he's not listed in this location in Directory of Pennsylvania Photographers, 1839-1900 by Linda A. Ries and Jay W. Ruby (Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1999). He appears only as of 1890-91, and in a different location.
    Donna Bowman thinks that the father in this photograph is one of her great-grandfather's brothers, but isn't sure. There's one way to narrow down the possibilities: Find the family in the 1900 census. Let's hope her great-grandfather didn't have 12 brothers! 

    The ages of the children in the census would pinpoint a more-specific year for the picture. The babies in this image are 1 to 3 years old. 

    I can't wait to hear back from Donna!


    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now


  • 1890s photos | children | group photos | hairstyles | men | women
    Sunday, August 23, 2015 3:23:14 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Sunday, August 16, 2015
    Facebook and Family Photographs
    Posted by Maureen

    I'm always looking for more family photos, trying to fill in the pictorial blanks in my family tree. There are a LOT of people in my genealogy that fall into that "blank" category. Searching for "new" family pictures means asking distant relatives and trolling the internet.

    There'ss one very popular social media site that can help you locate pictures—Facebook, of course. Here's how to use it to find old family photos:

    First you need a Facebook account. 

    Next, search for groups. There is a Groups area in the left hand column of your Facebook page. It shows you what groups to which you already belong, and if you click the word "Groups" you can search for new ones.  Find the right group page for a family and locale, and you might have genealogical success.



    Genealogist Becky Jamison wrote a nice post on her Grace and Glory blog about how she found images on Facebook. She located a Greene Connections of Pennsylvania Facebook page for individuals with relatives in that area. Recently a picture of students at the Morris Grade School in Gilmore Township in Greene, Pa., appeared.  Bingo! Some of her husband's relatives were in the picture. Read her post and get inspired.

    If you don't find a group that's relevant to your research, consider starting one. It's really easy: 
    • When you begin looking for groups, you'll see a green button on the top of the screen that says, "Create a group." Click that.
    • Name your group
    • Pick members from amongst your friends and family
    • Identify the group as open, closed (as the coordinator of the group you'll have to approve their admission) or secret.  Many of the groups I  belong to are closed. 
    • Start posting a family photo or a local picture depending on the topic of your group. 
    • Ask your members to participate.

    That's about it.  You'll need to check back regularly to see if any new items pop up. It's a good idea to periodically remind members as to the purpose of the group so you don't start getting off topic posts.

    Facebook is a lot more than a social platform, it's also an underutilized genealogy tool.  Let me know what you've found on Facebook.


    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now


  • facebook | Photo fun
    Sunday, August 16, 2015 5:35:15 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Sunday, August 09, 2015
    Three Techniques for Solving a Military Mystery
    Posted by Maureen

    You know the expression, "There's something about a man in uniform." Well I can finish that phrase with "that's so mysterious."  One of the most difficult photo mysteries to solve is a person in a uniform.

    There are a few reasons why that's true. First there were no standardized military uniforms in the nineteenth century. Plus there were uniforms worn at military schools as well. Variables in head to toe attire and gear can make identifying the uniform in a military image a real challenge. You can learn more about solving these types of mysteries in the Family Photo Detective.

    Rebecca Cook owns this photo of her great-grandfather Montgomery Grant Hunter. Not only does she know who's in this picture, she knows how old he is here.




    On the back appears a caption: "age 18."  Since he was born in 1864 in Virginia, that information dates the picture to circa 1882.  He lived in the Virginia-Maryland-District of Columbia area.  Family thinks he was named after two Union generals.

    Research the Photographer
    The photographer was Rice.  That name is barely visible on the dark card stock. There were two photographers named Rice in Washington, D.C. who were uncle and nephew.  Moses Parker Rice and his nephew George W. Rice operated studios in the nation's capital. George left the area in 1881 to join an ill-fated Arctic expedition. The Rice family originally hailed from Nova Scotia and several generations became photographers. The photographer's imprint places Montgomery in Washington, D.C. for this portrait.

    Study Family Information
    I wonder if there are any stories passed amongst his descendants that address his military service. A quick search of Ancestry.com revealed a gravestone for him without any military symbols on it on Find a Grave and information on his medical school training in the Directory of Deceased American Physicians directory. He attended the George Washington Medical School. Creating a timeline of his life before and just after this photograph could offer clues to the uniform.

    Identify the Uniform
    This is the really hard part. There were military schools in Virginia and Maryland. It's a two phase identification problem. First identify which of those schools were founded before 1882 (and had graduating classes) then try to locate pictures of graduates in uniforms.  Given his age, this could be a graduation photo OR an image of him as a freshman in college.  OR he may have enlisted.  The fact that he was in uniform and the photo was taken in DC suggests he was in that area at that time.

    Using Google Images didn't work. That can be a quick shortcut. You upload an image and let the web do the work, but results showed other cabinet cards of men and no matches for the uniform.

    It's going to take time to search each school and then contact their archives/special collections department for examples of the uniforms worn by students in the 1880s. 

    It only takes one match to make this a photo success story.



    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now


  • 1880s photos | Military photos | photo-research tips
    Sunday, August 09, 2015 5:34:27 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Sunday, August 02, 2015
    Double-Checking Photo Clues to Solve a Mystery
    Posted by Maureen

    James Dinan and his wife solved their photo mystery using the resources of the Photo Detective blog archive. You can access it using the navigation on the left.

    Here's the photo they submitted:



    It's a group of men gathered for an outing. They call themselves The Fatal Nine Spot, and the event is a clambake. These types of social occasions were quite popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I actually own a photo of some members of my family posed with watermelons at a clambake circa 1900.



    The Fatal Nine Spot is likely the name of a social organization. Based on the number of men in the image, it was a popular one. There may be a listing for the group in a city directory or a newspaper.

     

    At some point in the 20th century (based on the ink form a ballpoint pen ink, which wasn't available until mid-20th century), a family member circled this man's head and wrote "Grandpa Davis." 

    It's great to have an identity for the person in a photo, but James Dinan's problem was simple: Which Grandpa Davis was depicted? It could be either Robert Washington Davis (b. 1835) or his son William Francis Davis (b.1863).

    For this man to be Robert, he'd need to look like a man in his 60s, so William makes more sense. James thought the picture was taken in the 1890s, when William would be 27 to 37 years of age.

    The clothing clues in this image, such as the shapes of the men's ties and jackets and the hair on their heads and faces, determine a time frame of the late 19th century.



    In the late 1890s, the fashion for men was to be clean-shaven. While older men lagged behind the times, young men generally followed the current fashion. Just about every man in this image sports facial hair. Most wear large mustaches, which were popular in the 1880s. I'd date this photograph to the early 1890s based on that fact. 

    Their jacket lapels and ties are a better match to this era as well. Of course there are varieties of facial hair in every generation. There were mustache- related clubs in the late 19th century as well. We have no idea at this point if these men wore this facial hair as part of their club rules, or if they were just being fashionable.

    The format of the photo also is a clue. Large group portraits mounted on cardstock of this color and size date from the late-19th century as well.

    I'd love to know more about the Fatal Nine Spot club. Here are some tips for researching the group:
    • Use family history information to study resources local to where Grandpa Davis lived.

    • City directories often include information on organizations in the back, near business listings.

    • Newspapers usually include short news bits about events held by local groups.

    • The local historical society may have other photographs of these event or this group. It's possible the clambake was an annual event.

    • Utilize social media by asking followers if they recognize anyone in the photo. There are a LOT of men in this picture. Photographers would photograph the group then offer them the option of purchasing copies. Grandpa Davis did and it's likely other men did as well.

    It's a fabulous summer-time mystery.


    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now


  • 1890s photos | group photos | men
    Sunday, August 02, 2015 2:42:11 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, July 27, 2015
    5 Clues to Solve an Old-Photo Mystery
    Posted by Maureen



    Every old mystery photo is full of clues if you know where to look. Let's break this one down into five steps:

    1. Consider the provenance.
    Phyllis Reakes' first cousin gave her this photograph. Phyllis knows the man sitting on the far right is her great-grandfather, born in 1839. That chain of ownership of this photo helps confirm the man's identity.

    2. Look at the faces.



    I love looking at these two faces. It appears to be a father and son, who share everything from the shape of their noses to the tilt of their heads when they pose for a picture. 

    3. Add up the genealogical clues.
    Which son is it? Phyllis told me that her great-grandfather had several wives and children. I'd date this photo to the early part of the 20th century based on the women's dresses, circa 1900-1910. A tentative time frame for the image helps determine which son is depicted and allows for possible identities for the rest of the individuals. The woman seated next to the son to our left could be his wife or his father's.

    It's important not to jump to quick conclusions about this picture. Depending on when great-grandfather was married for the last time and the age of his wife, those children could be his. Each identity has to be proven.

    4. Study the clothing details.
    The three young women in the back row wear interesting accessories.



    Two have decorated their dresses with ribbons. This could just be a simple way of accessorizing their outfits, without other significance. The woman in the middle wears a long beaded chain around her neck. This was generally worn with either a watch or a pair of pince nez glasses. Either could be tucked into a waistline pocket.

    5. Study the location.
    Phyllis believes this image was taken in Keiv, Volh, Russia. The studio name isn't on this image, but by reaching out through social media, she might be able to locate other pictures taken in the same area.  It's worth the search to see what turns up.  Photographs have a way of bringing families together. Each of the individuals in the picture likely had descendants. As families grow, these connections are lost. This image might re-connect them.


    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now


  • 1900-1910 photos | eyeglasses | Immigrant Photos | men
    Monday, July 27, 2015 8:41:06 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Sunday, July 19, 2015
    Old Mystery-Photo Success Story: Six Years Later
    Posted by Maureen

    So how long does it take to identify an old mystery photo? Sometimes it happens quickly, sometimes not. It all depends on how many facts you have about a photo and if you can rule out possible subjects. In Michael Boyce's case, it took six years.

    He's determined to bring together Boice/Boyce genealogy with family photos. In 2009, I wrote about this image from his collection in a post called "Family Tall Tales:"



    He initially submitted the photo of the man with a partial missing finger to try to sort out stories in the family  Name changes, migration to the West Coast and a message board contact eventually helped sort out the Boice/Boyce family connections. But what about the man?

    Who was he? John Boice (born 1794) had three brothers, Eli, Jacob and William. Michael Boyce tracked down images of two of the other brothers and was able to rule them out. Last week, he wrote to me and said he'd found a photo of William:
      


    Comparing two images of the same person requires studying the facts of his life and the clues in the image. It helps to put them in a timeline too. The same is true for comparing images of family members. Sometimes there is a striking familial resemblance.

    In the first image, taken in the 1860s, the man is balding. He has a full face. In this new image William is older and has a lot more hair.  Men wore their hair combed front in the late 1860s to early 1870s.

    Can you spot the family features? They both have blue eyes, prominent eyebrows and a down turned mouth. They also share an intense expression.

    Now that Michael's found pictures of all the other brothers he's pretty convinced that the man in the 2009 column is his ancestor John Boice. Through process of elimination and photo comparison it looks like Michael can finally put a name with a face. 

    You can check out all of Michael's Boyce family research on his new family history website.

    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now

  • 1870s photos | hairstyles | men
    Sunday, July 19, 2015 3:16:48 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, July 13, 2015
    Identifying Mystery Photos in an Old Family Album
    Posted by Maureen

    eileen poulin.JPG
    A family photo album opens the door to new genealogy discoveries, but reading the clues in an album isn't always easy. It often comes down to what you know about your family and who's depicted on each album page.

    The most important people to the person who laid out the album are usually at the beginning, especially the first three pages. Those individuals are significant. If you know who they are, it's a lot easier to figure out who else is in the album and who's been left out.

    Adding to the mystery is the fact that many people used their albums as part family photo collection and part scrapbook. You'll often find pictures of famous individuals and friends as well as relatives.

    For Eileen Poulin, the whole question of who's in her great-grandmother Josephine Payeur's album is complicated by the ancestor's four marriages. The album may represent her own family as well as those of her spouses.

    Josephine's family hails from Three Rivers, Quebec, Canada. She was born in Vermont and later moved to Connecticut. She had two children with her first husband and one each with the next two husbands. There were no children from her fourth marriage.

    To analyze who's who in Josephine's album, it's important to study the milestones of Josephine's life—such as her birth and death dates as well as those for each of her husbands and the birth dates of her children. I'd also like to know when they lived in various places. This data provides an outline in which to study the images.

    The next step is to place each of the images in to a time frame based on the usual clues of clothing, photographer's work dates and photographic format. For instance, she submitted a picture from the album (above). It's a lovely photo of a young woman posed with a puppy. Remarkably, the puppy stood still for the picture. The young woman smiles for the camera.

    Two fashion clues immediately place the photo in a time frame: puffy sleeves and an asymmetrical hat with high plumes. These date the picture to the late 1890s. If we estimate the woman's age at about 20, she would've born sometime in the late 1870s. Elaine can match that picture with her outline of people and facts. Unfortunately, there's no photographer's information on the picture to further narrow the possibilities.

    I'd love to know more about the album and see the first pages to help Elaine figure out the story behind it and the woman who created it.


    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now


  • 1890s photos | dogs | women
    Monday, July 13, 2015 3:51:18 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, July 06, 2015
    Triple Tintype Mystery
    Posted by Maureen

    Most of us feel lucky to have one picture of an ancestor, but imagine finding three images of an identical person in family photos and not knowing who he is. Obviously this man was important to someone in Kyndahl Carlson's family. This triple mystery appears in a family photo album.

    Here are the three pictures:






    In this image, he's posed between two men. The two men each rest a hand on his shoulder showing a close relationship. Kyndahl has no idea who they are. One could be the young man's father and the other a brother or they could be other relatives. 

    The young man wears a suit from the 1860s, with a velvet collar and wide lapels. The other two men also wear suits from the 1860s, but the tie on the man on the right suggests a date of circa 1870. There was a market for second-hand clothing, so it's possible that the young man's suit is a hand-me-down.

    He wears the same watch fob in both images.



    The man on the left has light blue eyes. A few weeks ago I wrote about Spotting Light Colored Eyes. This could be an identification clue if there are family stories about this man and his blue eyes.

    The final tintype is very interesting!



    In this image, the same young man is posed with pants tucked into boots, no jacket, a fiddle, a pipe and an old hat. He's ready to perform. Is he really a performer, or was this arranged by the photographer? Fiddlers often tucked their pants into their boots and wore hats, but not necessarily this style.

    When faced with three images of the same person, it's helpful to arrange them in a timeline. In this case, that's difficult since all three images were taken around the same time. He doesn't age from picture to picture.  Here's the order that I think makes sense:



    A side-by-side timeline of images often reveals details overlooked when examining the images individually. What's apparent from this collage is the expression on his face. He's a solemn person with no smile and sad eyes. 

    Carlson's family lived in Maine, Wisconsin, Montana, South Dakota, Oregon and Idaho. The young man's identification depends in part on his branch of the family. At this point, that's unclear. I'd start by figuring out the following:
    • He's a teen. Who in Carlson's tree was in his mid-teens around 1870?
    • Does he look like anyone else in family photos? There could be another picture of him at an older age. He has a slim nose, a small mouth with narrow eyes and thin brows. Watch for men with similar features and facial shape.

    I'm hoping these additional details help Carlson figure out an identity.


    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now


  • 1860s photos | 1870s photos | hats | men | unusual clothing | unusual photos
    Monday, July 06, 2015 6:05:40 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, June 29, 2015
    Our Ancestors' Fourth of July Celebrations
    Posted by Maureen


     
    How did your ancestral town celebrate the Fourth of July? In this image by John Lewis Krimmel, the citizens of Philadelphia honor the day in 1819.

    Researching Fourth of July celebrations in historical newspapers published in your ancestral hometowns can tell you how your family marked the occasion. I learned that in my city, the day started with cannon fire at dawn. Later in the day, a balloon ascension was held in the downtown.

    Providence, RI, was well known for featuring balloon ascensions on Independence Day. In the first such ascension, in 1800, the passengers in the basket were a dog and a cat. Local celebrity Prof. James K. Allen and his son experimented with balloons in Providence before and after the Civil War. During the war, the Allens flew surveillance balloons for the Union Army, under the command of Gen. Ambrose Burnside.

    Each generation celebrated the Fourth of July differently.

    In this Library of Congress print from circa 1875, families gather for picnics. Today, July Fourth fireworks, parades and concerts are common activities.

    Patriotic symbols like flags often appear in family photos. Count the stars in the flags to pinpoint a time frame for the image.  The number of stars changed throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries as new states joined the union.

    One of my favorite photos featuring patriotic symbolism is a stereograph of Fontanella Weller. Her father posed her as Columbia in 1876.

    If you want to learn more about how and why we celebrate the 4th of July, Peter de Bolla's The Fourth of July (2007) is an good read. 

    Happy 4th of July!


    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now


  • 4th of July | patriotic
    Monday, June 29, 2015 3:23:03 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]