Free Updates

Let us tell you when new posts are added!

Email:

Navigation

Categories
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 March>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2627281234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930311
2345678

by Maureen A. Taylor

More Links










# Sunday, 29 January 2017
3 Easy Best Practices For the Photos You Take Today
Posted by Maureen

Trust me. Your descendants will thank you if you follow these three best practices. 

Our ancestors didn't take as many pictures as we do today.

They had film cameras or had to go to a studio to document a moment. A photo do-over wasn't as easy as it is today. Bad pictures were a costly mistake.



Our ancestors didn't have cell phone cameras ready for picture taking every second of every day. This is one of the reasons we're not swamped with images from the 1920s, versus the boxes and slide trays we have from our parents' generation. 

Here's what you can do to save your descendants the trouble of going through all your photos.

1. Thoughtfully take pictures of significant people, events and places. Document your life, but imagine you can only take a few pictures not hundreds.

2. Weed out bad and near-duplicate pictures immediately. This is one of my husband's best practices. He takes a lot of pictures, but he deletes droves of them. Out of focus, off-center and multiple images go in the digital trash can. He picks the best one.

3. Print out significant images.  If a picture isn't worth the price of those penny-a-print offers, then is it worth keeping at all?

Vintage albums are making a comeback. Remember what it was like to look at an ancestor's album? Create that same feeling with your family photos by placing them in an acid- and lignin-free album. You can find archival-quality albums through these online suppliers.

Your children and grandchildren will appreciate the time you took to tell your story in pictures.  
SaveSave
photo albums | Photo fun
Sunday, 29 January 2017 16:45:58 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [3]
# Sunday, 22 January 2017
Old Photos: The Secret Ingredient to Discovering Family History
Posted by Maureen

You're probably wondering what I mean by photo clues being the secret ingredient. 

Think of your family history as a recipe.  In my grandmother's terms, that would consist of a pinch of this and a pinch of that. Genealogy is the same way: We look at documents, manuscripts and photographs for information. It's how these things come together that helps you tell the story of your family.

For instance:
  • The details you find in a census record, added to what you learn in an old letter, can tell you who's who in a mystery photo. 
  • Or ... the hat, sleeve or prop in a photo identifies a time period that sends you scurrying for more details on your family's lives in your favorite genealogy database. 
Pictures really are the secret ingredient. Sure, you can test your DNA and find a census record, but photos are a visual link to that data. They enable you to look eye to eye with an ancestor. It causes goosebumps just thinking about it.

Here's how it works: Let's think about sleeves for a second.

   

Look carefully at the design of this sleeve.  The slight fullness at the shoulder and the tight lower sleeve suggest a date of circa 1889.

Now, let's look at the whole image.


Collection of the author
.

This young woman is wearing the latest fashion, from the hair piled on her head to the shape of her bodice and the drape of her skirt. All confirm the date of 1889.

The imprint states that the photographer, A. Marx, had studios in Frankfurt and Hamburg. The photo album prop is a nice touch, but we don't know if it's significant to her family or just a photographer's prop.

If this were your family photo, you'd know the following:
  • It was taken in either Homburg (Hamburg) or Frankfurt.
  • It shows a young woman, likely a teenager.
  • You (might) know who gave it to you.

Each of those clues is part of the recipe, as is the date of the image. You might next research the history of those cities to understand why your ancestor left the area.

You'd also gather what you know about your family history—and determine whether you need to find out more--so you can answer the question: Who's the right age to be this girl living in that part of Germany?

You might know immediately who she could be. Now try to find another picture of her later in life to see if the faces match. 

You can learn more about dating clothing from Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats and Hairstyles 1840-1900. Both available at ShopFamilyTree.com.

That picture might help you tie up a piece of unknown or confusing family history.  It's all in the details of the secret sauce that make family history so fascinating.


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
    1880s photos | sleeves | women
    Sunday, 22 January 2017 19:47:13 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Sunday, 15 January 2017
    On the Web: Breathtaking Panoramic Photos of Ancestors' Towns
    Posted by Maureen

    The next time you need a break, don't book a plane ticket. First take a trip into the past in a panoramic photo. The Library of Congress has quite a collection.

    A panoramic photo can be a single image or a set of pictures aligned together that offer an expansive view of a place. For instance, this lovely view of Paris.



    It's so detailed, you feel like you're there. 

    Panoramic photographers sought the highest building with the best view. The puzzle in these pictures is often trying to determine exactly where they stood. Maps and other images offer helpful clues.

    For a number of years I've researched a local Rhode Island photographer, Francis Hacker. Imagine my surprise to discover that he shot a series of five images of the Washington D.C. Mall from the Smithsonian Castle. Now I want to know exactly how he came to be the photographer of this lovely set. You can view it here.




    The 1879 image captures a Washington, D.C., much different from the one we know today. Many of the familiar monuments haven't been built yet. Look closely at the center of this picture.  Recognize the landmark?



    You guessed it: That tower is the Washington Monument under construction.

    Search for panoramic images of your ancestor's hometown (or your own) at the Library of Congress website by entering the name of the city or town and panorama in the search box on the home page. Choose Photos, Prints, Drawings from the dropdown menu.

    On the search results page, look to the left for filters that let you narrow your results by date and location. Tell me what you find.

    Panoramic pictures exist from the 1840s and theyre still popular today. All you have to do is select the panoramic feature on your camera (or in the camera app in your mobile device).  Hacker and his contemporaries would be amazed.


    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


  • 1870s photos | panoramic photos
    Sunday, 15 January 2017 21:43:50 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Sunday, 08 January 2017
    The Most Important Question To Ask Cousins About Old Photos
    Posted by Maureen

    Way back in the 1990s, Roma Bennett's cousin gave her this photo. 



    At the time her cousin told her she didn't know anything about this tintype. Hmmm. In my experience, people usually know something about a picture, but they don't know they know it until you ask the right question.

    The most important question to ask about an image is:

    Who owned this photo before you did?

    This may seem like a teeny-weeny question, but the answer will set you on the right branch of the family to make the identification.

    In Roma's case, how she's related to that cousin is important. The photo could be from their mutual family tree, or from an unrelated branch on her cousin's other parent's side. 

    There can be a lot of unknowns with a photo, starting with who's in it.  Most individuals remember where they originally saw the picture (on a grandparent's mantel), where they found it (in a deceased person's things), or who gave it to them.

    I hope it's not too late for Roma to ask her cousin that question. 

    Photo Clues

    Roma's picture is a tintype that's seen it's share of wear and tear and has darkened over time. I've tweaked it using photo-editing software to better see the details.

    The woman's skirt with all those layers of ruffles and her neck scarf suggest a date of about 1878.

    The props and backdrop don't help much to refine the date. Painted backdrops were popular in this period. The fringed chair first appeared in studios in the 1860s and remained a fixture for a couple of decades. The cloth-covered table was common in pictures beginning in the 1840s.

    This young couple were either married or siblings. The hand on the shoulder is a symbol of a close relationship. 

    After reaching out to her cousin, Roma could look at her family tree for marriages in the 1878 period. It should help narrow down the possibilities of who's in the picture. Maybe her cousin has other pictures of this couple later in life.  


    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
    1870s photos | Tintypes
    Sunday, 08 January 2017 16:37:29 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Sunday, 01 January 2017
    Why I Love Old Photos (And You Should, Too!)
    Posted by Maureen

    Happy New Year! 

    babies008.jpg
    Collection of the author, 1898
    .

    It's that time of year for resolutions. If you feel you need to make one, here's an easy one that's simple to keep—but very important: Take care of your photos.

    Investing in a few of the right kind of storage containers, archival-quality acid- and lignin-free boxes, will keep your images around for the next generation. You can find archival storage materials at these online suppliers.

    Here are three reasons why I love old photos:
    • Each one tells a story. The people and places depicted in each one are a part of your family tale. Decipher the clues and find out more about your ancestors.
    • Each one is a time portal. I love time travel plots in stories, don't you?  Every old photo takes us into a different time and place. There's history in those pictures. Forget wishing for a time machine, you have that already. It's an old picture.
    • Each one is an artifact.  Your old photos are ancestral artifacts just like furniture and silver.  Learning more about the history of those images offers insights into how much they cost and their importance to your relatives.

    You can learn more about your old family photos by following this blog. Every week brings a new tip, technique or identification example.  If you love old photos too, tell me why by adding a comment. It's great to hear from you.



    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
    holiday | organizations | photo albums | Photo fun
    Sunday, 01 January 2017 17:24:51 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]