So Many Faces, So Few Names

For those of you who don’t know, I am an avid genealogist. I’ve been interested in genealogy research since I was 14 years old and it is still one of my greatest passions. It takes me a while at times to put all the details of a specific ancestral family or line together as I am a stickler for accuracy. I wont rest till I’ve exhausted all my energy into finding everything on an individual there is to be found, within reach of my resources anyway.

One of the things I am so thankful for in genealogical research, are people who volunteer to do look ups. I’ve often contacted individuals who could get to information I couldn’t and have been overwhelmed by the generosity of souls willing to try and help me in my research. Of course it has made me want to return the favor so I volunteer to do genealogy lookups on various sites and contribute in whatever way I can to helping others find more about their ancestors.

One of the most thrilling things I’ve discovered in my research, is finding a face to put to the name on paper. I have a book of antique family photographs that is one of my most treasured possessions. But I was devastated to find when I went through the process of carefully removing photos in attempts at identification, that only 4 of the nearly 50 photographs had names on the back. There are ways that I’ve narrowed down who might be in these pictures based on photographer information and dating on the back but it’s hard to know for sure. Anyway, I want others to be able to find photographs of their ancestors, if photographs of them exist so I’ve started collecting old photos with valuable information on them.

Yesterday a friend watched Angel Girl for me for a couple hours so I took the time to visit a local antique shop. You should never take kids into an antique shop for obvious reasons so it’s been over 8 months since I made my last trip there. But here are my finds from yesterday:

TEXT ON BACK: Emma Mayensclein

TEXT ON BACK: Goldie, 2615 13th St. N.W. Washington D.C. May 1st 1909

TEXT ON BACK: My little Nieces Bessie & Doris Jordan

TEXT ON BACK: Celia W. Knox 1888

TEXT ON BACK: Papa’s Sister, Aunt Sallie Houston, Died Feb 1932 age 82

Sometimes a photograph is just a wonderful keepsake to find. Other times there is enough information on the back to be very valuable in further research. Perhaps a descendant of Sallie Houston does not know her birth date. If they were to find the information I’ve listed above online they would now know that she was likely born in the year 1850.

So where do I post these photographs and the information they contain? Well besides putting my latest few on this blog, I’ve thought about creating my own web page devoted to the photographs I find. But so far I’ve stuck with simply uploading them to Dead Fred’s Genealogy Photo Archive is “a free, fun photo genealogy research web site devoted to helping you visualize your heritage!”

You can upload photos there of people that you hope someone else will be able to identify or upload photos of people you yourself have identified and hope it will help someone else who is looking. The photo must be of deceased individuals however. It’s a nice service that I hope continues to grow on the web so we can find those photos we desperately hope exist. And the lack of information on these old photographs is why I’m very diligent at writing information on the back of all my photos. We can’t just assume that people will always know when a picture was taken or who is in it. Somehow, that information if not written down either dies with the informant, is distorted or simply forgotten.

Want more great ideas? Visit Works for Me Wednesday

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Comments (10)

TonyaNovember 19th, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Very cool!! We research our own families also. It’s such a challenge. I hope someone comes across this blog and recognizes the names–Bessie, Sallie, Doris, Goldie, Emma and Celia. Those pictures would be a treasure to someone. :cheerful:
Tonyas last blog post..~Then & Now~

DesiNovember 19th, 2008 at 1:17 pm

I love this! It makes me want to go find an antique store and start looking for old photographs. My Dad has boxes of family genealogy…I need to have him do this with all our old family photos too.

Desis last blog post..Snobbery

Mrs. OrganicNovember 19th, 2008 at 1:18 pm

I love seeing the styles from times past. We have a Goldie in our ancestry - same time period.

Mrs. Organics last blog post..Pavlov’s Pee

Memarie LaneNovember 19th, 2008 at 1:40 pm

that’s so neat summer! we have a family page on myheritage, and it’s so neat how all the work people do helps out other families. thanks to community effort, our tree goes back to 1304 and is constantly growing. it would be so neat to have more pictures on there that go further back.

Memarie Lanes last blog post..The Frugal Mindset II

MeganNovember 19th, 2008 at 1:51 pm

Wow. That’s so cool! I’ve never really done any kind of genealogy work before but this makes me want to! Bad!

Megans last blog post..My heart’s music note

LoriNovember 19th, 2008 at 2:15 pm

I didn’t even know there were things like this out there! I have a huge (like 10″ thick) binder w/ my whole maternal geneaology that I inherited when my grandmother died. None of her children wanted it! ANd I got a whole tote full of old pictures. Some even printed on tin! But, I have no idea who most of the people are. I’m going to have to look into getting more info!

Loris last blog post..From Youngest to Oldest

AllysonNovember 19th, 2008 at 5:04 pm

I love family history and old pictures and histories and things like that as well.

My mom went through a phase after her first divorce where she would just toss our family pictures when she felt like it.

Grrrrr. I’m still a little angry about that.

I loved this post, Summer. So interesting!

Allysons last blog post..And The Winners Are……

NatalieNovember 19th, 2008 at 7:50 pm

You are just. So. Cool. Fabulous hobby and idea!

Natalies last blog post..Scriptural Geography

jennifer bowenNovember 19th, 2008 at 8:19 pm

i too love to work on my genealogy and help out others on it as well and well most of my family genealogy for my family well it can befound down there in texas and is a some what well docmanted the family lines that i like to work on theres a lot of them some are dewberry ,tuck,bowen, green, and jones and well miny others but for the family tree lines that well i’m related to are some of the verry well knowed down there in texas and well did take part in well some of the u.s. history and well the genelogy stuff can be lot’s of fun. as for old time photo’s i think thay are realy neet

jennifer bowens last blog new day some more new partys and events to add

BrandyNovember 22nd, 2008 at 4:25 pm

I didn’t know about Dead Fred. My husband and I both love to do genealogy. He will be so excited to learn about that site! Thank you for sharing!

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