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by Maureen A. Taylor

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# Monday, February 13, 2012
Photographs on Who Do You Think You Are?
Posted by Maureen

Every so often, the cameras for Who Do You Think You Are pan across a family photo. Last week, there were two images of Marisa Tomei's ancestors. Instead of being in a family album, they were on a tombstone in Italy.  

How unusual was the practice of putting photographs on tombstones?

Not very. In fact, the first US patent for including photographs on headstones dates from March 11, 1851. It was issued to Solon Jenkins, Jr. of West Cambridge, Mass., for "Securing Daguerreotypes on Monumental Stones" (U.S. Patent No. 7,974). You can view the whole patent file on Google through the Patent database.

If your ancestral headstone once had a daguerreotype it's likely no longer there. Unfortunately, most were pried out of the stones. 

Jay Ruby's book Secure the Shadow: Death and Photography in America (MIT Press, 1995) includes a chapter on memorial photography as it pertains to pictures on gravestones.

If anyone knows of a photographic headstone shown on Findagrave.com, please post the link in the comments below. I'd love to see it.

You can watch the entire Tomei episode online to catch another glimpse of the 20th century photographic headstones. I just wish the series would linger on the pictures for more than a few seconds. As a reader of this column, you know that a picture can contain a lot of family history information!

Next week, I leave for London for the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! event. If you're going to be there, stop by the photo gallery on the second floor and say hi. This will be my fourth year there. I'll report on any interesting photo items upon my return. Cheerio!


Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • unusual photos | unusual surfaces | Videos
    Monday, February 13, 2012 6:24:29 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [11]
    # Monday, March 01, 2010
    The Photo Detective Has Flown the Coop
    Posted by Maureen



    I'm happy to report I'm in London at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live family history show. I'll be presenting a class on “More Than Scraps and Paste: Scrapbooks and Family History,”  and I’ll be back next week with photos and details from this incredible three-day event.
      
    Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the March 5 premiere date of the US version of the television show "Who Do You Think You Are?"  

    Thank you to Kathleen Conway for this bird photo! See our video For more readers' pictures of ancestral family pets.


    Pets | Videos
    Monday, March 01, 2010 6:26:48 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Monday, June 29, 2009
    News from California and Chicago
    Posted by Maureen

    This past weekend I attended the Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree. What an experience! If you've never been, think about attending next year. You'll be glad you did. It was perfect.

    The conference was held at the Marriott at Burbank Airport, a beautiful hotel with great rates. The convention center is connected to the hotel. 

    In the exhibit hall I sat next to Lisa Louise Cooke of GenealogyGems. Lisa scheduled interviews throughout the conference for both her own podcasts and those she produces for Family Tree Magazine. You'll definitely want to listen in.

    Lots of folks who read this blog and my articles in Family Tree Magazine stopped by to say hi and show me pictures. For an upcoming Photo Detective column in the magazine, I wrote about one family's picture of an ancestor in his fraternal organization regalia. The owners came by to show me the original tintype.

    (I'm actually still in California. Since I live in Boston, any trip to the west Coast includes a little vacation time.)

    If you live in the Chicago area, there's an art show over 4th of July weekend at the Flat Iron Building you might be interested in. A couple of weeks ago the show organizers contacted me to ask if they could include two of my video podcasts. Of course I said YES!

    The show is called Salute! and it celebrates patriotism. They'll be showing my video on the history of flags in photographs and one on veterans at Mount Vernon. I wish I could be there. You can see those videos you can watch them on my PhotoDetective channels on YouTube and Vimeo.


    Genealogy events | Videos
    Monday, June 29, 2009 4:40:33 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [3]
    # Monday, March 09, 2009
    Hairstyles!
    Posted by Maureen

    A few months ago, I asked for family photos of interesting hairstyles. I was overwhelmed with the response.

    So many photos presented a problem. How could I present them?  A slide show was the answer. I used Picasa, a free photo organizing tool from Google. I included a musical track just for fun.

    Credits are at the bottom of each slide. There's some additional information as well. If a photo was submitted without a date, I tried to add a date to it. Enjoy!

    (Here's a viewing tip: To watch the slideshow in full-screen mode so the captions are easier to read, look at the bottom gray bar of the video screen and click the rectangle button, located on the right side next to the up arrow button.)


    Look for my ancestral hairstyles article in the May 2009 Family Tree Magazine (on sale now!).
     


    hairstyles | Videos
    Monday, March 09, 2009 12:55:20 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [4]
    # Tuesday, February 10, 2009
    Pets in the Family on YouTube
    Posted by Maureen

    It's not hard to believe that the three installments of this blog on ancestors' adorable pets were among the most read. After all, it's family history from a different perspective—pets in the family. Since this week is the Westminster Dog Show, I thought I'd try a different presentation method for the photos.

    I've received a few more pictures for this album, but instead of posting them individually, I incorporated them into a video.

    I'm going to tweak it some more and see if I can boost the quality. I produced it in high definition but uploading it to YouTube compressed the files resulting in some blurring.

    Just in case you missed the series: 

    Pets in Pictures

    An Album of Ancestors' Family Pets

    Pet Photos: Our Ancestors Loved Their Dogs, Too!

    I'd like to thank everyone who sent in pictures! 

    (For more genealogy videos, see the Family Tree Magazine YouTube channel.)

    BTW—I have a new e-newsletter that lists my speaking schedule,and contains a link to the Photo Detective video podcast. It's absolutely free. Sign up is on my Web site.


    1870s photos | 1880s photos | 1890s photos | 1900-1910 photos | 1910s photos | 1920s photos | candid photos | children | men | Pets | Videos | women
    Tuesday, February 10, 2009 2:13:17 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Friday, August 29, 2008
    Photo Detective Talks Roots on Today
    Posted by Diane

    This isn’t Maureen. I’m Diane from Family Tree Magazine’s Genealogy Insider blog—I'm dropping in to share the video of Maureen’s spots on NBC’s "Today" show this morning, giving tips on how to trace your roots.

    She answers viewer questions in the first spot with Al Roker, and talks about photo research with Meredith Vieira.



    Videos
    Friday, August 29, 2008 7:01:30 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [3]