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by Maureen A. Taylor

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# Sunday, 24 January 2016
Old Photos in Print: A Collection of Tips
Posted by Maureen

One of the first tips for finding images (photographs, engravings, and paintings) of your ancestors is to start at home and branch out from there.  Those images could be hiding in plain sight on everything from passports to licenses.

You're probably wondering when you can expect to find pictures of  relatives on those records. For instance, a common question is, "when were pictures first included in school yearbooks?"

Use this handy guide to when various types of family history documents began to include pictures.

Newspapers and Books
Long before pictures appeared in print, editors hired artists to turn  photographs into engravings. You can find examples in early family histories and local histories. Civil War newspapers and magazines featured engravings of famous folks and battlefield scenes many based on photographs. 

Photomechanical engravings that looked more like the original photographs appeared in 1880, and actual photos appeared in papers around 1919.

Yearbooks
In the mid-19th century, class books at Ivy League colleges contained actual images, carte des visite and cabinet cards. It wasn't until around 1919 that mass-produced yearbooks with photographs were common. Check school archives and local historical societies for copies.

Immigration Paperwork
If your great-grandparents liked to travel outside the country, it's possible to find their pictures in a passport created after about 1918. For more information on passports see the National Archives website.

If your immigrant ancestor applied for citizenship and received it after July 1, 1929, his or her naturalization papers will include a photo.

Drivers' Licenses
New York city issued the first paper drivers licenses to chauffeurs in 1910. You can view these licenses in "The Evolution of the New York Driver's License."

There's more information on how to locate other ancestral picture sources in Searching for Family History Photos How to Get Them Now!


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 | 1880s photos | 1910s photos | Civil War | Immigrant Photos | newspapers | school photos
    Sunday, 24 January 2016 18:06:10 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, 18 January 2016
    Research Family Photographers in Old Newspapers
    Posted by Maureen

    The name and address of a photo studio usually found on a card photograph contains clues to help you learn more about when and where a picture was taken. That information can narrow a time frame for a family photograph.

    While city directories are a standard resource for leaning more about when a studio was in business at a particular address, don't overlook using newspapers as a source. A directory features names, addresses and sometimes advertisements, but an article can give you more details about their business.

    Here are a few reasons to look at the news.

    Historical Obituaries
    An obituary will mention details about a photo studio that you won't necessarily find in a directory such as why a studio opened to what happened after the owner died. You might find facts about when the photographer moved to the area in which your ancestor lived or if the studio traveled the countryside looking for customers. These little bits of information provide a span of dates that you can narrow further by looking at clothing clues and your family history information.

    Advertisements
    A specific word in the imprint can refer to a particular type or style of picture. For instance, gem referred to tiny tintypes about the size of your thumbnail, but later in the nineteenth century the word also referred to tiny paper photographs on card stock. Following a photographer in advertisements can give you a date for the first time that studio offered that service.  If you're curious about how much your ancestors paid for a picture look at the ads. In the Louisville Daily Courier for June 9, 1858 you'll find several ads for studios offering ambrotypes (a picture on glass) with prices ranging from a quarter to fifty cents.

    Articles
    News reports can take the form of a history of a particular business to profiles of the owners. When looking for information on the Manchester Brothers studio of Providence, RI using GenealogyBank.com, "Holiday Notices" in the Providence Evening Press for December 15, 1875 popped up in a search. This piece mentioned local shops  to visit for Christmas gifts including Manchester Brothers photographs and images on porcelain. 

    Newspaper Databases

    Digital newspaper archives exist in many forms from huge databases on Ancestry.com, GenealogyBank.com and Newspapers.com which all require a membership to the free database offered by the Library of Congress, Chronicling America.

    • Start with a specific search then broaden it if you don't find results. Narrow the time frame using advanced search features and quotation marks around keywords.

    Also look for statewide newspaper resources like the California Digital Newspaper database mentioned in last week's post on the King Family. Start by searching "digital newspaper archive" and the name of the town in which the photographer operated.
    • If you don't find a newspaper for the appropriate town, try contacting the local historical society or public library to see if they have newspapers in their holdings.

    Pay It Forward

    If you blog or participate in social media, publish your research online so that other genealogists can find it. There is no comprehensive publication for all photographers, so your research is really important.  It can spare another genealogist from starting their search from scratch.

    You'll find more tips on researching family photographs in The Family Photo Detective. 


    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


  • ambrotype | newspapers
    Monday, 18 January 2016 15:41:28 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Sunday, 10 January 2016
    King Family Photo Clues Found in a Newspaper
    Posted by Maureen

    Last week's blog post featured three King family photos in Mary Roddy's collection. They lived in Amador, California and Douglas, Alaska.

    The photos proved that two branches of the family stayed in touch despite the distance. Alice Devlin King and her maid of honor Mary Jane Fields were more than cousins. They were friends.

    Alice, her husband Nick, and their children including daughter Sadie moved to Douglas, Alaska seeking new opportunities.  The two photos depicted here suggest that mother and daughter came back to California for a visit. But when? 

    likely Sadie King, circa 1900


    Alice King, circa 1900


    Historical newspapers revealed when the family visited, how long they stayed and who came for a visit. The proof was in print.

    Small town newspapers featured a lot more than national and local news. They published news of the members of their community as well as visitors.  You guessed it!  The visiting family made the news not once, but twice.


    The Amador Ledger (April 20, 1900) published a short bit about Amador news section: "A grand farewell reception was tendered to Mrs. Nicholas King and family on Tuesday evening at Fallon's hall. They departed for their home in Alaska this morning." You can view the newspaper in it's entirety through the California Digital Newspaper Project.

    The Daily Alaska Dispatch (Juneau, Alaska) published a notice when the King family returned to Douglas. " Mrs. King, Miss Sadie King and the children returned from a six months visit in California, on the Cottage City last night." You can read this article if you're a subscriber to GenealogyBank.com

    Mary Roddy is a lucky genealogist. She has a narrow six month time frame for those two pictures. Mother and daughter posed for pictures to share with their relatives.  

    The circa date I placed near those two photos can now become a definite date of 1900. 

    Reading historical newspapers can reveal more about your family history than you might realize. In Mary's case, it dated two photos in her collection. Digital newspaper collections make it easy to locate unexpected family history discoveries.  Take a minute to search for your relatives in the news and let me know what you find. 




    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 | newspapers | unusual photos
    Sunday, 10 January 2016 22:39:17 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]