Free Updates

Let us tell you when new posts are added!

Email:

Navigation

Categories
February, 2017 (3)
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 February>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2930311234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627281234
567891011

by Maureen A. Taylor

More Links










# Monday, 26 December 2016
A Year of Passionate Photo Detecting: What Did You Miss?
Posted by Maureen

On this Photo Detective blog, 2016 was a year of early color (and colorized) photos, photo-ID tips and crowd-sourcing. 

If you missed the most-popular posts, don't worry. The links in this 2016 wrap-up will take you them.

Photo Identification Tips

Newspapers
We started the year off right with a big tip. Newspapers solved one woman's photo mystery—they might help with your pictures too. The King family case study shows you how to apply those tips.

Google
I made a breakthrough in my own family history this year. Google helped me locate images of all the ships on which my Civil War ancestor served. Can you say jackpot? Follow my tips and see what you discover.

Group Picture Mysteries
My favorite old photo this year was the group portrait with the girl sleeping (or blinking?) in the second row. Can you spot the clues in this Old Family Gathering photo?

Foreign Images
Captions in a foreign language or pictures taken in an unfamiliar-sounding place can be a research problem. In two columns, Foreign Caption Mystery and Caption Mystery, you can learn more about how how tackle this photo-identification trouble.

Can You Help Solve This Mystery?
Two high school- or college-aged girls are in this picture. The date is about 1910, but who are these young ladies, and where are they?  Read about the clues and see if you can help. 



Coloring the Past
Wherever you stand on the colorizing of photos, you'll find the images pretty neat to look at.

See how the details pop in a Thanksgiving tablescape colorized using Algorithma, an online coloring tool.

The Library of Congress has a very large collection of period color images called Photochroms. They're amazing!  The real scenes of ancestral hometowns will keep you mesmerized for hours.

Thank you for another fantastic year of family photo mysteries! Here's where to find instructions on how to share your mystery photos for possible free analysis on this blog. Can't wait to see what you'll share in 2017!


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

  • Save
    1900-1910 photos | 1910s photos | enhanced images | family reunion | group photos | Photo fun | unusual photos
    Monday, 26 December 2016 20:32:34 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Sunday, 18 December 2016
    Dating Old Family Photos: Clues Under the Christmas Tree
    Posted by Maureen



    There are heaps of clues in this charming old picture of two children admiring their Christmas tree. It's an image from the Library of Congress, whose cataloging record dates it to between 1910 and 1935. That's a pretty big 25-year time frame. 

    Can you spot the clues in this picture? They include:
    • tree ornaments and trimmings
    • children's clothing
    • vintage train set
    • household decorations

    Keep reading for a little more about each clue.

    Tree Trimmings

     

    The glass tree topper in this picture looks a lot like the one my mother always put on our tree. F.W. Woolworth's led the American market by first selling glass ornaments made in Germany and later, ones made in the United States. There is a good chance your ancestors bought their tree trimmings at Woolworth's.

    Tinsel has a long history that dates back to Germany in 1610. By the 20th century, artificial, aluminum-based tree trimmings had replaced natural garland made from cranberries and popcorn. Some were lead-based. The FDA didn't restrict the sales of lead-based tree materials until 1971. 

    Clothing



    Bobbed hairstyles for girls became popular about 1915 and remained in style throughout the estimated time frame for this picture. Dropped-waist dresses for little girls debuted at about the same time, but this outfit has a scalloped hemline. Those were common in the early 1920s.

    Vintage Train Set



    A whole village with "snow"-frosted foliage rests under this tree. It's an electric train set with real street lights. It could belong to the children's father or be a gift for the Christmas shown.

    If you have a toy train collector in your family, show him or her this photo and let's see if they can date the era of this set. The National Toy Train Museum is another resource. Weigh in on this train set on our Facebook page.

    Household Decor

    Similar household decorations could be found in the Sears Catalog, which is digitized on Ancestry.com. (I'll look there for the train, too.) Dating photos based household items is difficult, because families would keep themse items for years. The rug in this house is well-worn with a big spot near the train track, so the curtains and carpet also could be several years old.

    Dating this picture relies on all the clues. The train could be key.

    Count The Clues in Your Own Images

    This image is a good example of how to break a picture down into clues. Establishing the dates for specific clues will not only help you verify the time frame for a picture, it'll also help you tell a holiday tale.


    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

  • Save
    children | Christmas
    Sunday, 18 December 2016 18:53:02 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [3]
    # Sunday, 11 December 2016
    Old-Photo Problem Solving: A Man Named "Christmas"
    Posted by Maureen

    Genealogists groan when they find a Smith, Brown or Taylor (don't I know it!) on their family trees.

    Common-name woes abound, but what about a name that triggers too many search results for a different reason: It's also a holiday. Take the surname Christmas, for instance.

    In searching for holiday-themed photos, I went to the Library of Congress website and started looking for pictures featuring Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Christmas.

    That last one caused the problem. There were plenty of images relating to Dec. 25th but mixed in was a man's portrait titled "Christmas, Joseph." But is this Joseph?



    Let's start with the facts. According to the LOC cataloging record, the C.M. Bell studio of Washington, D.C., made this picture between February 1894 and February 1901. The studio was in business from 1873 to 1916. You can view more images by Bell on the Library of Congress website.

    Along the top left edge of this photo is a negative number:
     


    This young man in a striped silk bowtie has a sparse mustache, suggesting he might be in his late teens or early 20s. The bad areas on the right of the photo are damaged areas of the original negative.

    Now here's where the problem comes in. "Joseph Christmas" is written on the negative envelope. But that label doesn't specify if that's the name of the person pictured, or if this picture was taken for a client named Joseph Christmas. So is this Joseph Christmas or someone else?

    City directories for Washington, D.C., for this period list one Joseph Christmas. A quick Ancestry.com search for the name in 1898 plus or minus five years turns up a few possibilities, but none are a good match to the age of the man in this image. 

    In the 1900 census, there is a Joseph Christmas living in Washington, D.C., and born in Germany in 1838. Could he be a relative if the man pictured?

    It might take a Christmas miracle to solve this mystery, or at least a LOT more searching.

    Have you encountered problems like this in researching your own surname?



    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

  • Save
    1900-1910 photos | Christmas | men
    Sunday, 11 December 2016 21:28:51 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [8]
    # Sunday, 04 December 2016
    Colorized Old Photos Offer Rare Glimpses of Your Ancestors' World
    Posted by Maureen

    Recently a collection of colorized historical images of immigrants at Ellis Island went viral. It's a pretty snazzy group of pictures. And these images are historically accurate: The historians behind this project researched actual colors in use at the time. You can see the photos here.

    Somehow, the color makes the people seem more real. The black-and-white images seem to create a visual distance between us and them.  It's wonderful to have an idea of how our immigrant ancestors dressed and the colors they wore. 

    Did you know that the Library of Congress has a collection that shows our immigrant ancestors' hometowns? Every one of the images in that collection is in color. They're called "photochrom prints".



    Produced between 1890 and 1910 by Photoglob and the Detroit Publishing Co., they feature scenes popular with travelers—more than 6,000 photochrom prints of Europe and the Middle East, and 500 of the United States. Most are 6.5x9 inches.

    I'm in love with the collection. Not only can you time travel to foreign lands, but you can view images of people wearing their native costumes.  Get ready ... hours will go by before you think to look up from your screen!

    The newly reorganized Library of Congress user interface makes it easy to look at collection overviews, view specific collections organized by country or read articles on the topic.

    Let me know what you found out about ancestral homelands by viewing this 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

  • SaveSave
    photochrom
    Sunday, 04 December 2016 21:05:36 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]