Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Finding photos of your ancestors and relatives

Why bother finding photographs of your ancestors and relatives?

Isn't the data (births, marriages, death dates and locations) enough?  In short, No!  For me, nothing makes a profile come more alive to me than a photograph of the person.  This is true whether its a profile in my genealogy software, on a blog, on Geni.com or in my Ancestry.com tree.  A photo truly speaks 1000 words.  Maybe more!

Where can you find photographs of your ancestors and relatives?

I often find photographs thru the Ancestry hints at Ancestry.com.  There are often photos uploaded by other members and also in various other Ancestry.com collections like yearbooks.

Many photographs can be found at MyHeritage

At the time of writing this, almost 2 million photos can be found at familysearch.org

Another site with photos that are looking for someone to ID them.  http://www.idaphoto.net/

Another site with photos is http://www.deadfred.com/

Yearbooks are another great way to find a photo of someone.

You can also often find photographs at geni.com and wikitree and other collaborative genealogy sites.

When is the earlier date I will likely find a photograph?

The daguerreoptype was the first widely used type of photography.  It was introduced in 1839.  

Weird (to me) photography sources and trends

In Victorian times, it was common to take a photograph of someone after they were deceased.  This is called post-mortem photograhy.

An interesting article on this can be found here: *warning, dead baby photographs*

Apparently, depending on the state, you can order photographs from the morgue

I have photos (identified or non-identified).  What should I do with them?

Please do not throw out old photos!  There are many sites (all listed above under where to find photos) where you can put digital scans of photos.  Share all photos you find. Even if they aren't important to you, they would be appreciated by someone. Include as much information as you can about who is in the photo, the photo location, how you came to own the photo etc. 

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daguerreotype

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-mortem_photography