Free Updates

Let us tell you when new posts are added!

Email:

Navigation

Categories
April, 2017 (5)
March, 2017 (4)
February, 2017 (4)
January, 2017 (5)
December, 2016 (4)
November, 2016 (4)
October, 2016 (5)
September, 2016 (4)
August, 2016 (4)
July, 2016 (5)
June, 2016 (4)
May, 2016 (5)
April, 2016 (4)
March, 2016 (4)
February, 2016 (4)
January, 2016 (5)
December, 2015 (4)
November, 2015 (5)
October, 2015 (4)
September, 2015 (4)
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

<2017 April>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2627282930311
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30123456

by Maureen A. Taylor

More Links










# Monday, 31 August 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, 31 August 2015 15:37:14 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Sunday, 23 August 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, 23 August 2015 15:23:14 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Sunday, 16 August 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, 16 August 2015 17:35:15 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Sunday, 09 August 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, 09 August 2015 17:34:27 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Sunday, 02 August 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, 02 August 2015 14:42:11 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]