Free Updates

Let us tell you when new posts are added!

Email:

Navigation

Categories
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

<February 2011>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
303112345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
272812345
6789101112

by Maureen A. Taylor

More Links










# Monday, February 07, 2011
Baby Picture Week
Posted by Maureen

Last week, Genealogy Insider blogger Diane Haddad, gave birth to a beautiful baby. In honor of this, I'm featuring your ancestral baby photos. Thank you for all the submissions.

estelle baby2.jpg
Kim Dolce sent in this picture of her grandmother Estelle Miller Moore, who was born May 12, 1911, in Riverside, N.J. Estelle looks like she's about to topple over. 

Ben  Adolph babies2.jpg
Linday Bly Holub emailed me this charming picture of her grandfather Benjamin Bly (on the left), born November 1890, in Moberly, Mo., and his baby brother Adolph Bly, born January 1893, in the same town.

Carol Norwood submitted several photos of three generations of baby pictures. Here are two.
norwood2edit.jpg
This is her maternal grandmother, Agnes Catherine Caroline Simon, born in 1896 in Erlangen, Germany. Don't you love her bare feet!

Norwood1edit.jpg

This is Carol's maternal grandfather, Helmuth Dromer, born in Potsdam, Germany in 1900. Small children of both sexes wore dresses. Carol actually owns pictures of his two older sisters, who as toddlers also posed in this dress sitting in this basket.

I've seen many different techniques and devices to photograph babies and small children, but one has to wonder about this basket. Cute, but if you look closely you'll notice the basket is on a pedestal. One false move the this tot is on the floor. 


1890s photos | 1900-1910 photos | children
Monday, February 07, 2011 2:50:32 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, January 31, 2011
A Double Mystery
Posted by Maureen

This week I'm researching a very interesting family photo of two men clowning for the camera. Sandy Forest showed me this image at an event over the weekend and I couldn't stop thinking about it. She's pretty sure about the identity of the man on the left, but the man on the right is a mystery. And why is he holding a spike and wearing an interesting hat? The clues really pile up for this photo, so consider this week's post the first installment of a multi-part series.

sandyforest1.jpg
These two men are probably celebrating something because they are pouring an alcoholic beverage into a glass. That's just another part of the mystery. What's the occasion?

On the left is Felix Forest, a man famous in the family for his height. He stood 6 feet 4 inches. He was much taller than the average man in the late 19th century. The soft stovepipe hat on his head must have really made him stand out in any crowd.

Felix was born in Bonaventure, Quebec, but in the early 1880s, he immigrated to the United States. He moved around a lot. He married in Manchester, N.H., in 1892, spent time in Lewiston, Maine, and then lived in Fall River, Mass., before moving back to Bonaventure.

While I'm adding up the clues and trying to find facts I'll share my favorite part of the picture—the dog at the base of the column. It appears to be a tin cut-out of a little dog. Finding that dog in another photo could identify the photographer and the location.
sandyforest3.jpg
The men meant for this photo to be funny, and the dog is just one more comical addition. It makes me laugh out loud.

Next week, we'll focus on baby pictures. Diane Haddad, the Genealogy Insider blogger, had a baby last weekend, so I thought she'd enjoy a Photo Detective post of ancestral baby pictures. Email me yours to mtaylor@taylorandstrong.com.


Tintypes | unusual clothing | unusual photos
Monday, January 31, 2011 5:07:08 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Monday, January 24, 2011
Preservation Points: Rules to Live By
Posted by Maureen

Contrary to popular thought, it's neither expensive nor time-consuming to preserve your family photos. All it takes is a few rules to live by (and some proper storage items).

Avoid Temperature and Humidity Extremes
While you can't do anything about the weather outside your house, you can somewhat control the interior environment. First, avoid all the problem storage areas such as basements, attics and garages. Not only are those zones subject to temperature and humidity variations, they are usually home to critters that love to eat or nest in paper including your family photos.

Try to manage temperature fluctuations by storing your photos in a spot away from drafts (winter cold can harm as much as summer's heat) and heating systems. The ideal temperature for many photographic materials is 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Humidity can be controlled by the use of a de-humidifier or if your house is too dry in the winter, a humidifier. There is a cheaper alternative. A reusable desiccant container can help. It's a small box that contains an inert substance that attracts and holds water vapor.  When it's saturated (the indicator dot changes color)all you do is bake it in a ventilated oven to dry it out. While I wouldn't put one of these boxes in direct contact with my photos you can use it in closets. The cost is around $13 to $20.. They are available from museum suppliers such as Light Impressions.

Buy the Right Materials
When purchasing storage materials look for industry appropriate phrases such as acid- and lignin-free paper/cardboard and non-pvc plastic.  All you really need are some good quality boxes and sleeves that fit that criteria. You can buy materials in art supply stores, from museum storage companies and even from storage stores. Just check the labels for the right terminology. Buy in bulk with a friend and save money.

Scan Once and Store
You should have a digital back-up of your important images. Scan at a minimum of 600 dpi resolution  and 100 percent scale (that's the same dimensions as the original photo, instead of reducing the size) and then put the items in those storage containers. Back-up your digital files using a portable hard drive or an online back-up system such as Mozy.com. Once you've scanned at this resolution, you won't have to scan them again for any projects.

Identify and Label
OK I know this can be an overwhelming task, but take it slow. A picture at a time. Write on the back of a photo—name, date, occasion, and your name and date—or as little as you know. By adding your name and the current date your descendants will always know who labeled the photos.  Labeling tools include a soft lead pencil for paper based prints or a waterproof, fade-proof, quick-drying pen (not a Sharpie) that's safe for resin coated pictures. I like Zig markers. They are widely available in scrapbook, art and office supply stores.

These four basic rules will help you save your pictures so that generations can appreciate them. You can learn more about photo preservation in my book Preserving Your Family Photographs


preserving photos
Monday, January 24, 2011 2:33:30 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, January 17, 2011
In Honor of Martin Luther King Day
Posted by Maureen

I realized today that I don't spend enough time on Flickr. If you're not familiar with it, try it today. It's a wonderful free resource. You can upload picture files, invite comments and share your pictorial heritage.  If you want unlimited uploads and storage, user statistics and more then upload to a Pro account. It's only $24.95 a year.

So who's on Flickr?  Lots of folks including the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian. Smaller public libraries and archives also use Flickr to showcase the images in their collection.

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Day, I searched for image collections appropriate to the occasion.

Black History Album
A lovely group of images including one of Martin Luther King and his wife.

Black History Group
Members of this group share photos and videos and join in discussions

African American Baseball Team courtesy of the Library of Congress
Here's one of the images in the Library of Congress.

Medal of Honor Staff Sgt. Edward A. Carter, Jr. courtesy of the U.S. Army
Even the U.S. Army has a Flickr page!

Next week: Preservation Pointers.

Get ideas for taking, preserving, sharing and analyzing family photos from our Family Photo Essentials CD (now on sale at ShopFamilyTree.com).


1900-1910 photos | african american | men | Military photos | Photo-sharing sites
Monday, January 17, 2011 4:04:10 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
# Monday, January 10, 2011
Time Flies
Posted by Maureen

I couldn't help but use this as the title. It sums up the clues in this week's picture. 

Nance Family Pictureedit.jpg

Look carefully. The man in the photo holds an open pocket watch in his right hand and has a rooster on his lap. It appears he's trying to convey something about time. It's a triple-mystery.

Sarah Swanner and her mother spent some time over the holidays scanning pictures and stumbled across this mystery image. They have no idea who the man is, where his picture was taken, or what the story is.

(An aside on scanning, I recommend setting the resolution at 600 dpi and saving as a tiff, but a 300-dpi tiff file will provide a good quality reproduction. More on scanning next week.)

All Sarah and her mother know is that this image once belonged Walter Nance, who was married to Sarah's great-grand-aunt Evelyn Dantzler. That's a start!

The white card style was extremely popular in the last years of the 1880s and throughout the 1890s. There is room at beneath the image for the photographer to include his studio name, but instead of personalizing the cards, he left it blank. It's an odd photo for a studio or an itinerant photographer.

There were folks who owned their own photo equipment, so I wonder if this isn't an amateur picture—one friend clowning for the other who's taking the picture. 

The rocks in the background are covered in lichen and there is a type of plant growing on the left. Any geologists out there?  Please weigh in on the type of rock. That might help solve the mystery of where this was taken.

I think the image was taken circa 1890. That's based on the type of suit he's wearing and the pin in his tie. Those types of pins were very popular in the late 1880s and early 1890s. Plus men tied their neckties with this particular style knot during that period.

The pin is interesting. Is it just a decorative pin or is it a clue that this man belonged to a fraternal organization?  I'll be looking for something in this shape. Hope to be able to report back next week.  I think it's a fraternal symbol and have some ideas. 

The next step is for Sarah to figure out which relatives and family friends were living in the 1890s period. It's important to remember that this man could be a friend rather than a relative. 

You can preserve your family's photo stories and share them with future generations in the book Family Tree Legacies: Preserving Memories Throughout Time.


1890s photos | men | unusual photos
Monday, January 10, 2011 9:14:04 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, January 03, 2011
First Communion Mystery
Posted by Diane

I can tell that a lot of folks looked at their family photographs last week by the number of emails I received. Scannning, identifying and organizing your photos is a great way to start the new year. Remember to scan at no less than 600 dpi and select Tiff as the format. You can always re-size for various uses.

Let's ease into the year by discussing a photo with religious overtones.

Murphy-McHugh.jpg

Beth Hartley submitted this tintype photo with a question: "Is this my great-grandmother or her mother?" Beth's grandmother told her that she thought it depicted one of these two women with a younger brother, but she wasn't sure about the generation.

When you think you know who's in the photo, start with family history. In this case, Beth's great-grandmother Ellen McHugh was born in 1885, while Ellen's mother, Bridget Murphy McHugh, was born in 1855.

Photographic formats often help narrow down the time frame. A tintype is a photograph on a thin sheet of iron; they were popular by the late 1850s. The rounded corners on this image strongly suggest that it once occupied a frame.

Costume provides clues about the occasion. The girl's white dress and veil clearly indicate it's her First Communion. She's even holding a tiny prayer book. It's traditional in Catholic churches to dress girls in white dresses and veils for this event. First Communion dress styles mimic bridal fashions. The details in the white dress are unclear, but the veil suggests a date circa 1890. In this period, bridal veils hung from a small gathering of fabric or flowers on the top of the head. This information definitely rules out Bridget McHugh.

The average age for a First Communion is around 7. So if this photo depicts Ellen, then it was taken in the early 1890s. Ellen had an older brother born in 1883 and a younger brother born in 1887. The youngster standing next to her would be 5-year-old William. 

There are always unanswered questions about photos. In this case, I'd love to know why Ellen's older brother John isn't included in this studio shot.

For more help analyzing old family photos, use Taylor's guide Uncovering Your Ancestry Through Family Photographs (now on sale at ShopFamilyTree.com).
1890s photos | children
Monday, January 03, 2011 2:49:59 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Monday, December 27, 2010
iPad Apps to Try
Posted by Maureen

I've had an iPad for a few months and I suspect that many readers of this blog own one too. I'm always on the look-out for interesting apps. Here are some that I can't wait to try. You can find all of these by visiting the app store on your iPad.

Flickstackr ($1.99)
I can't wait to see if this one lives up to it's tabletpcreview.com review. It connects to Flickr so you can browse photos, but it also lets you create a photo stack of images you want to save while you are looking.

Sort Shots ($4.99)
This photo-organizing app uses tags to quickly sort through images. It also lets you share photos using Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Picasa.

Photobucket (free)
Just like the photo-sharing website photobucket.com, you can search, sort and share images.

Foto Editor (free)
It doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but you'll be able to make quick and simple edits on your photos on Foto Editor.

Impression (free)
This app will let you put an opaque watermark on your image to make it clear who owns the picture.

The two apps I use the most on my iPad are Ancestry.com's app Tree to Go (free) and Blogshelf ($4.99). Blogshelf organizes all my favorite blogs like books on a shelf. I just love it.

Have fun with your new apps and be sure to mention your favorite apps in the comment section below. I can't wait to try out some new ones.

preserving photos | Web sites
Monday, December 27, 2010 6:18:23 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [4]
# Monday, December 20, 2010
Season's Greetings
Posted by Maureen

Thank you to all the readers of this column for another year of photo mysteries! I have a holiday card for you on my Vimeo channel. You can watch this photo become a colorized greeting.
3b46146r.jpg
The photograph, titled "Caught in the Act", is from the Library of Congress. It was taken in 1900. Santa's bag of presents hasn't changed too much—he's carrying dolls and a sailing ship. But I think he's a pretty scary-looking Santa.

I have a holiday habit that drives my family crazy—I take photographs of our Christmas tree. It's a picture time capsule. And I have proof that I'm not the only person who does it: The photo of this tree predates my lifetime.
Christmas 1954.jpg
December 1954 is written in unfamiliar handwriting underneath the image. I'll be watching for that couch and those curtains in other family pictures.  This color photo is in serious need of some color correction. All the reds have taken over the image. That's a pretty typical problem with mid-1950s images. 

Cynthia Cox sent me this image from her family collection. It's also dated 1954.
Christmas Morning 1954.jpg
She labeled it, "Christmas morning at the Robert and Helen Cox Family Residence, Los Angeles." It was taken on Dec. 25. The doll was her gift and the fire truck was for her brother. Thank you for your submission, Cindy!

We've been photographing holiday traditions for generations. Last December, I explored the tradition of posing with Santa

You can use the comment section below to tell me what holiday traditions you photograph.

Happy Holidays!


holiday | unusual photos
Monday, December 20, 2010 4:20:14 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [6]
# Monday, December 13, 2010
Immigrant Clues and Family Stories
Posted by Maureen

Poorescan0002 edit.jpg

Terri Poore and her cousin have a lot of questions about this photo. Who, what, when and where is just the beginning.

Unfortunately, the original owner of the picture is currently unknown. Terri's cousin received a copy of it years ago and can't remember who gave him the print.

Terri and her cousin believe the folks in the picture are Felix Horvat (1884-1952), his first wife Sophie (1890-1918) and their daughter Anna 1909-1997).  I agree with this identification.

There is a long complicated story about this couple. It's very important to write down the oral history of your family because you never know when all the pieces will link up. This photo is a perfect example of how stories and pictures are a natural match.

First the facts: Sophie's hat in this picture and her coat date the picture. She is very well-dressed in a heavy wool coat, fur collar and an oversize hat known as a toque. Her hat and clothing combined with the birth date of their daughter date this picture to circa 1910. Toques were all the rage at the end of the first decade of the 20th century.

Her husband wears ethnic dress that identifies him as a resident of Croatia. The family lived in Ljubljujana, Croatia.

Now here's where it gets interesting. Family stories relate how this couple met. He was a country boy who worked as a coach driver for a wealthy family—the Bahuneks. Their daughter ran away with the coachman!  Sophie, her husband Felix and their daughter Anna immigrated to the United States in 1911 and lived in West Virginia for a time. The Bahuneks followed their daughter and also immigrated. 

There is a sad twist to this tale. According to family lore, when Sophie gave birth to Terri's grandfather Nicholas in 1912, Sophie's mother was present for the birth. Her mother and the midwife decided she shouldn't have any more children with that "awful man" so they tried to perform a gynecological procedure to prevent more children. 

The Horvat family moved to Michigan, but Sophie was so ill after the childbirth procedure that Felix allowed her family to move her back to West Virginia so they could care for her. He retained the children. In 1918, Sophie likely died from complications related to that botched procedure.

Family stories also relate how immediately following her death, her husband Felix and her father had a knife fight to determine the custody of the children. Felix won. He took the children back to Michigan and eventually married the children's caretaker, also named Sophie.

This photo is the gateway to an amazing family tale. Present in the image is pictorial evidence of the economic difference between the husband and wife. She's very fashionably dressed while he still wears his native dress. She's the city dweller and he's from the country.

Now Terri is trying to piece together the family history and try to locate living relatives.


1900-1910 photos | children | hats | Immigrant Photos
Monday, December 13, 2010 4:47:53 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [2]
# Monday, December 06, 2010
Shipboard Clues, Part 3
Posted by Maureen

This week is another installment of Jake Jacoby's photo of a group in his collection. Two weeks ago in Photo Mysteries, A Clue at a Time, I discussed clothing clues.  Last week in Shipboard Clues, I told you what I knew about the caption and the ship.

Photo mysteries take time to solve. I feel like I'm getting closer. After another conversation with Jake, we came to the conclusion that his grandfather might not be greeting a group of immigrants. It could be another occasion.

I've spent a lot of time calling folks knowledgeable about local history in both Mobile, Ala. and Pensacola, Fla., to learn more about the ship. I'm waiting for news.

Two readers of this column wrote to me:

Genealogist Drew Smith also used the search terms german ship baltimore and found a mention of a German ship named the Baltimore that sank at sea Jan. 24, 1897, en route from London to New York. Thank you, Drew!  I followed this lead and discovered a couple of news stories about it. One was in the New York Times and the other is available through the Kentuckiana Digital Library's database of the Daily Evening Bulletin (Maysville, Ky.). 

That Baltimore was commanded by a Capt. Hillman, but as far as I know, it didn't carry passengers. It sank with its cargo of chalk aboard. I'm excited to find a captain with that surname. Perhaps he also commanded a different ship at some time prior to the sinking. Hillman could be the name in the partially missing caption in Jake's picture.

Rachel Peirce's great-grandfather was a ship's captain, and she still has his books. There was a ship Baltimore listed in List of the Merchant Vessels in the United States, 1896 (p. 217). It appears to have been in Mobile, Ala.

I'm also researching packet steam boats that might have operated between Mobile and Pensacola. Quite a few of these boats used Mobile as a port.

I'll end this week with another picture of Jake's grandfather:

GrandpaJacoby copy.jpg

This was a New Year's Eve affair at the Progress Club in Pensacola. The image was taken in 1894. From  left to right are Charles Levy (seated), Lep Hirshman (standing), Joe Jacoby (seated with cane), Nathan Forcheimer (standing) and Ike Hirshman (seated).

Share your family photo stories with future generations in the book Family Tree Legacies: Preserving Memories Throughout Time. Given with printed photos or a family photo CD, it'll be a treasured holiday gift.


1890s photos | group photos | Immigrant Photos | unusual photos
Monday, December 06, 2010 4:43:37 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]