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by Maureen A. Taylor

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# Sunday, December 29, 2013
Photo Tips to Start Your New Year Right
Posted by Maureen

I don't know about you, but I don't make New Year's Resolutions. What I do instead is think of ways to accomplish achievable goals.  Here are few ideas for 2014.

Back Up Your Photo Files
This morning I opened my digital photo organizer of choice, Picasa, and discovered that the new upgrade will automatically back up my photos and keep them private until the user changes the settings. Here's the good news about Picasa. It's free.  Love it or hate it, Picasa is a pretty easy way to organize your digital images. The added back-up feature is a nice addition.


Collaborate with Cousins
This year brought new ways to share and collaborate on family photos.  I've been playing with the features on these three sites. LOVE how easy it is to upload, share and collaborate.

Are you familiar with Flickr.com?  Users get one terabyte of free online storage and the ability to either share images online or keep them completely private. Post a photo on Flickr, create a set and then share it via email with specific individuals. They can comment on the images. 

You can also collaborate using MyHeritage.com. It's a private site that has what I call a "photo dashboard" for each uploaded image that includes file properties and names of individuals you've tagged.  You can share those pictures with family and see their comments on your picture.

FamilySearch.com's new emphasis on adding photographs to family trees is good news for genealogists. All posted photos are publicly searchable, not private. It's free to sign-up and set up a tree.

Review Your Family History with a Relative
In November I spent an afternoon with a cousin going through boxes of material she'd received from a deceased relative. She's a genealogical newbie and didn't know our shared family history.

In this new collection were photos, documents and personal papers that cleared up some of the things I didn't know about her immediate family. It was so much fun to sit with her and explain who was who in the photographs.

I can't wait to do it again! My fingers are crossed that I finally have a cousin that's going to be a genealogical research partner.

Identify One Photo At a Time
Look at your box of photos and pull one out. What do you know about the photo and the people depicted? If it's a mystery photo then follow the chain of clues--photographic method, photographer's work dates, fashion clues and props to set it in a time frame and tell it's story.

It's overwhelming to work on a whole box of photos in one sitting. Start with one and see where it leads.

Don't forget if you need help you can submit the image to this column. Just click the How to Submit Your Photo Link on the left. Every week I tackle a photo mystery.


Solve your family photo mysteries with these books 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
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • Photo fun | photo-research tips | Web sites
    Sunday, December 29, 2013 7:44:26 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, December 23, 2013
    A Look Back at Photo Detecting in 2013
    Posted by Maureen

    It's time for the end of the year round-up just in case you missed one of these columns.  Here are some of my favorites from 2013.

    January

    The Inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln. On March 4, 1865, Lincoln began his second term in office. Photographers were there to capture the crowds standing in the rain.  Perhaps your ancestor was there? 

    I'm a huge fan of Downton Abbey so it was a natural choice to write about the fashions worn on the show in Downton Abbey and Your Family Photos.  The new season starts this January and I can't wait!


    February

    If you've ever walked into an antique shop, spotted an identified photo and thought I'd like to help reunite it with family then you're not alone. Here are some tips on how to do just that in Reuniting Orphan Photos With Family.

    March

    I came back from Who Do You Think You Are Live! in London with a tip for smart phone users.  You can use your phone to look at negatives.  It's an amazing use for the device we all have. Here's how you can do it too.

    April
    How can a husband and wife from unrelated families end up with the same photo of a supposed relative?   Same photo with different identifications. It's a mind-bending mystery in two parts.  Part One and Part Two.

    May
    Two part mysteries are so much fun to work on that I featured another one. This time it was two Italian family photos found in a box with a note. You'll have to read parts one and two to see who's who.

    June
     The nation honored the 150th anniversary of the Battle at Gettysburg.  Burns was 69 at the time he fought as a civilian.  You can read about his remarkable story in John L. Burns, Civil War Sharpshooter.

    July
    A lovely handcolored carte de visite from Charleston, South Carolina is the subject of A Southern Photo Mystery.  Is it Cornelius Webb?  Follow the genealogical bread crumbs to see how it adds up.

    August
    Don't you love when a ancestor puts a name over the head of someone on the front of a photo? The problem in the Marsteller family is that only one person in the group portrait is identified. The rest of the folks are unidentified. Is this a photo of Pennsylvania relatives?  Are they the relatives of the man's father who died suddenly as a young man?  It's another two part mystery.  Looking for a Pennsylvania Connection and The Marsteller Old Photo Mystery

    September
    Photo albums tell a story of friends and family. Here are some tips on how to read your family album. Adding up all the clues in this man's family album led to a photo identification home run--ID's for all three images.

    October
    Spotting a copy in your family collection can be a challenge. In part one I showed how I identified a picture as a copy of an earlier photo and in part two there are tips on what to look for in your own photos.

    November
    A lot of former switchboard operators wrote to me after a picture of women switchboard operators appeared in this space. Ask the women in your family if they worked and interview them about their jobs.  You might be surprised by the stories they tell.

    December
    Here's a classic Irish tale of love and loss in two parts with a few letters and photos too. When a man's wife dies leaving him with several small children. He returns home to Ireland.  The oldest son decides he'd rather live in America and moves back.  His younger brother writes persuasive letters trying to convince his big brother to let him follow him to Massachusetts.  I won't tell you how it ends.  It's a heartbreaking Christmas story.

    Happy Holidays!  Watch this space for new family photo stories in 2014.  It's easy to submit your own photo mystery. Just click the link on the left, How To Submit Your Photo.



    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books 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
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1850s photos | 1860s photos | 1900-1910 photos | Civil War | group photos | hats | men | Military photos | occupational | photo albums
    Monday, December 23, 2013 3:25:32 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, December 16, 2013
    A Gleasure Family Story
    Posted by Maureen

    Last week I wrote about Ben Naylor's letters from the Gleasure Family in Ireland and the photos in the collection. Here's more of the story.

    When Frank Gleasure emigrated to Natick, Mass., about 1900, he left behind a number of younger siblings.

    For several years, his brother Joseph wrote letters imploring his big brother to let him move to America, too. He told of studying so he'd be ready for an office job. His dream was to move closer to his brother and seek his fortune in Massachusetts.

    Joseph Gleasure Litowel2.jpg
    Joseph Gleasure, circa 1905
    On Dec. 13, 1905, Joseph wrote: "I expect you will take me out to America about next March or April. I would not stop here any longer, I am totally sick of it.  If I stopped here any longer I would be getting too old nearly to be taken in an office. I am always thinking of what kind of a job I would get after landing. I would like to be in the Excise or Customs or some job you would be sure of. I think it is easy to get into the Excise or any Government position. Any how, I must till I get over first and then I would know what would be best."
    Two years later, Frank finally agreed that his brother could join him in America. The 21-year-old Joseph arrived in Boston May 10, 1907. He didn't find his dream job in Customs or Excise.  He ended up working on the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad in Boston.

    Not every American dream brought fortune and happiness. Often, immigrants found economic disappointments and tragedy. Only a few months later, Frank had to write to his family and provide sad news. While coupling cars at Boston's South Station on Dec. 19, 1907, Joseph was caught between two cars that collided, killing him instantly.  The newspapers reported that his death was one of two similar incidents that day.

    You can read more about the incident on Ben's blog.

    By searching the letters, Ben found the first mention of a camera. Joseph took the candid pictures featured in last week's posting. In his Dec. 13, 1905, letter he sent his brother Christmas greetings and enclosed a few pictures.

    You can search the Gleasure Letters by using the Blogger search box in the upper left hand corner of the screen.


    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books 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
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1900-1910 photos | Immigrant Photos | Photos from abroad
    Monday, December 16, 2013 5:52:24 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, December 09, 2013
    The Old Man
    Posted by Maureen

    Two years ago, Ben Naylor discovered this photograph of a older gent. Ben is stumped about the man's identity. 

    naylor2The Old Man (2).jpg

    Every photo tells a story and this one is no different. Ben's great-great-grandfather, Irish immigrant George Gleasure (1858-1921), had five children and raised them in Natick, Mass. 

    Frank was the oldest child (born in 1882). In 1896, George's wife suffered a fall and died. George immediately moved his whole family back to Kerry County, Ireland. Frank stayed in Ireland for five years until he was 18, and moved back to Natick in about 1900.

    For the next 60 years, Frank exchanged letters and photographs with his family in Listowel, Kerry County, Ireland. Ben's family didn't know about the letters and images until they were discovered in a trunk when his mother's uncle passed away. You can read these letters on Ben's blog The Gleasure Letters.

    Now back to the photo mystery: There were other images in the trunk including this one captioned "My brother George."

    naylorMy Brother George (2).jpg

    The appearance of the two photos leads me to believe that one of young George's siblings owned a camera.  Both are candid images on roughly cut photo paper glued to heavy paper. Fingerprints are visible on the prints. Perhaps this sibling had a darkroom.

    naylorMy Brother George fingerprint (2).jpg

    The younger George was Frank's younger brother (born 1894).  If he was approximately 10 to 12 years old in the above candid photo, it would've been taken between 1904 and 1906.  There's also a photo of Annie Gleasure, Frank and George's sister (born 1884), taken at about the same time.

    So who's the older man? If the photographer was one of Frank's siblings, the man could be their father, the Irish immigrant George Gleasure. In 1906, he would have been 58. Or it could be Ben's third-great-grandfather Francis Gleasure (1825-1911). In 1906, he was 81. 

    I don't think the man in the first photograph is old enough to be 81, suggesting the image is George Gleasure born 1858. 

    Love his muttonchops! This type of facial hair was very common in the 1880s. Men tended to retain the facial hair of their younger years.

    Ben's family has left him quite a legacy of letters and images to reveal the lives of the people on his family tree.
     


    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books 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
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1900-1910 photos | beards | Immigrant Photos
    Monday, December 09, 2013 5:27:13 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Sunday, December 01, 2013
    Holiday Crafts: Photo Ornaments
    Posted by Maureen

    Are you feeling crafty? It's time for some photo-related holiday crafts.

    Margaret Cole used copies of her family photos as Christmas ornaments:
     
    ColeFamily Tree2 (2).jpg

    Here's how she did it:

    Each photo is 3x4 inches. She printed each image on matte photo paper and to make it sturdy, used photo-safe glue to mount it onto heavy art paper from a 9x12 inch pad cut into 3x4 inch pieces.

    colefront2.jpg

    There's more! On the back of each ornament is family tree information—birth, death and marriage data.

    cole closeup.jpg

    Margaret printed the information from her Ancestry.com family tree using the "publish" format.  She used either the "Person Report-Individual Report" or "Relationship Report-Family Group Sheet." She adjusted the print size to 3x4 inch format and glued it on.

    She added a narrow ribbon to frame each photo and make a loop for hanging.

    Thank you Margaret!

    If you want to see more photo crafts check out my past columns, Photo Crafts From Our Readers and Photo Craft Directions, as well as Family Tree Magazine's Family History Crafts and Gifts Pinterest board.

    You can also order some pretty neat photo-related gifts at Ancestry Games and sites like Snapfish.com.

    I'd love to hear about your photo crafts. You can email me and tell me all about it.


    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books 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
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • holiday | Photo fun
    Sunday, December 01, 2013 6:30:19 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]