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ANCESTORS

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Photographs << Family Records <<

| Go to the Photographs Introduction |

Photographs Guide

Family Records-
Photographs
What's in Them Where to Find Them How to Use Them***

Almost always include:

  • Images of people, places, objects and/or pets important to your ancestors

    May also include:
  • Names, dates, places and comments about events depicted written on the back or in margins
  • Clothing, props, backgrounds, and other visible clues about the people and timing of the photo
  • Photo processing clues to help you narrow the timeframe
  • Photographer's imprint

  • Family records of all types are generally found using the same tactics. These listed here apply to journals, photos, Bibles, as well as other family records:

  • In your own home - attics, closets, basements, bookshelves, etc.
  • In the homes of your known relatives
  • In the possession of distant cousins located through research
  • In libraries, archives, genealogical and historical societies, and other specialized collections
  • In antique shops, used book stores and flea markets, especially near the residence of the subject
  • Through websites designed to reunite diaries, photos, Bibles and other memorabilia with the families from which they were separated

    "See the list of recommended family records links for specialized websites for particular record types."

  • To learn what your ancestors looked like and see if there is a family resemblance
  • To possibly find names of family members, neighbors and others who interacted with your family
  • To find clues about where your ancestors lived and/or traveled - or where distant cousins may have settled
  • To possibly find other details, such as wedding dates or house addresses from notes or clues in the photo
  • To put your ancestor's life into context time- and history-wise
  • To find other clues about your family - for instance, a popular Victorian pose of someone leaning on a book usually meant that person was literate, and hints that education was important to the family
  • To illustrate a family or personal history you are writing

  • *** Please share your suggestions for other uses of information found in family records here

    For more information on these important records, be sure to catch the Family Records episode of Ancestors on your local PBS station.

     
     
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