Thank you to everyone who participated in last week’s oldest wedding photo competition. All the entries were fantastic and captured the beauty and significance of the person’s special day. The oldest entry was from 1846!
With over 40 photos received, participation was above our expectations. It was great to see the lives of your families and the rich history brought to life with the stories that accompanied them.
A piece of family history can be found in a library book.
As a young girl, I spent a lot of time at the iconic New York Public Library – with those stone lions out front - working on school projects. I once found a book I needed and opened it. Out fell an old-fashioned photo postcard with my grandfather’s picture on it.
He was in the army and had sent the card, with a message, to his sister. She had likely stuck it in the book and forgotten about it, until I found it decades later.
I wasn’t a genealogist then, and in what I now believe was a misguided act of responsibility, I put the card back in the book. Perhaps the owner would come looking for it?
When I got home, I told my family about it, and everyone said I should have brought it home. Fortunately, we found a copy at another relative’s home much later.
Have you ever had to clear out the home of a deceased relative or had to help move an elderly relative to a retirement or nursing home?
Checking the dusty corners of a large home, or even a small apartment, can produce family treasures that would otherwise be lost forever.
Photographs are a great inspiration to see family similarities from past and present.
Argentine photographer Irina Werning's photography series - "Back to the Future" - shows us a new way to explore and preserve photographic memories.
Like many of us, Irina loves old photographs and preserving family memories. In a way to document the present family, she take an older photograph from childhood or from the past, and replicates it with the same people years later.
Together, the two photos show family history coming alive in the present, and is a great way to link memories from our childhood to adulthood.
Have you ever tried to give a recent photo a vintage look or emulate an old family photograph? If so, share the photograph or link to your photo in the comments section below, or share on our Facebook page, Twitter or Google +.
One of my favorite blogs is The Signal, the digital preservation blog of the Library of Congress. A hot topic there centers on personal digital archiving, and much of that relates to family history and genealogy.
The LOC’s Mike Ashenfelder, who writes online articles about personal digital archiving, digital preservation leaders and developments in digital preservation, writes on preserving personal genealogical collections in a digital age.
The popularity of genealogy websites and TV shows is rapidly growing, mainly because the Internet has made it so convenient to access family history information. Almost everything can be done through the computer now. Before the digital age, genealogical research was not only laborious and time consuming, it also resulted in boxes of documents: photos, charts, letters, copies of records and more. Online genealogy has replaced all that paper with digital files. But the trade-off for the ease of finding and gathering the stuff is the challenge of preserving it.
About genealogical databases, Ashenfelder writes:
that relational databases are the engines that drive digital genealogy. Databases make it possible to quickly search through enormous quantities of records, find the person you’re looking for and discover related people and events. And when institutions collaborate and share databases, statistical information becomes enriched.
And, considering some demographics of family history aficionados, digital estate planning now a popular topic. What happens to our digital possessions after we die? And what can we do to preserve them? Getting your digital affairs in order offers much practical information.
In the back of a high closet shelf, in the basement, in your attic, you have some kind of a container.
It may be an old metal box that held cookies a lifetime ago, an old shoebox or hatbox, a modern plastic container with a snap-on lid, or even a handy-dandy sealed plastic bag stuck in a drawer.
The contents may include dried flowers, holiday and life-cycle event cards, and many old photographs. If this is your personal collection, you'll likely know who the people were and when the image was taken. That's good.
However, these treasured possessions may have belonged to your great-grandmother. She, if you are very fortunate, may have written lightly in pencil on the back. The lady in the strange hat is Cousin Helen, you learn, but you've never heard of anyone with that name.
If you are even luckier, the inscription may indicate that it's a holiday gift from "your dear brother in London." You've never heard of anyone who had a brother in London.
If your relative was somewhat obsessive, he or she may have recorded the names, dates and places on each photograph. In this case, your genealogy colleagues around the world will congratulate you on your good fortune!
Before the holidays we offered you the chance to win a digital camera by sharing with us your favorite holiday memory or photo.
We received many beautiful photos and touching stories and it's been really difficult choosing a winner.
We decided to divide the competition into two categories - pictures and stories - and choose a winner from each.
I recently found an old family photo of one of my ancestors and noticed a striking similarity with a living relative.
When looking at old ancestral photos, I've always had a sense of familiarity. I notice a certain family resemblance to living relatives, such as their physical features or just their facial expressions.
Photographer Ulric Collette's "genetic portraits" takes this concept to a new level. Ulric merges photos of relatives and shows how alike some family members look.
MyHeritage's look-alike meter helps people answer that age-old question as to whether they look more like their mother or father.
Have you found an old family photo and noticed a resemblance between those in the photo and your living relatives?
Let us know in the comments below.
This is a valuable talent in the family history field, as some of us can immediately recognize people in photographs or remember the names of relatives at reunions or large family weddings.
A new study - and online test - developed by researchers at Washington University (St. Louis, Missouri) will help you learn how good your memory is in relation to others. They are inviting the world to participate in the online experiment.
The 10-minute test can be taken from a computer, smartphone, iPad and other mobile device. It's part of a “crowd-sourcing” science trend, using the Internet to gather research data while allowing participants to learn something about themselves.
I just took it and my rough-estimate score result was 108, meaning that I correctly identified 86% of the name-face pairs.
This is a guest post by Ava Cohn - known as Sherlock Cohn, The Photo Genealogist - who writes The Photo Genealogist blog*
Sometimes it takes more than the proverbial village to solve a mystery.
This is the tale of three cities, of a mystery photograph and of how an intricate web of relationships helped a family researcher learn more about a lost branch. Perhaps it can serve as an example of how similar mysteries can be solved in your family.
This story starts in Hampshire, Illinois, where I met Michele Halt after one of my talks on old photographs. She showed me a photo of a proud and distinguished soldier in full regalia. Who was he? The photo came from a family album passed down to the females in Michele’s Radley family for over 100 years. Each time the album changed owners, new photos were added.
Michele’s grandmother’s great-aunt, Maggie Radley Mole, started the meticulous family photo album. There was only one problem - Maggie knew everyone in the photos so she never labeled or identified them - nor did any of the album inheritors label their photos. Only one person was identified and he wasn’t the soldier.
This is a guest post by James L. Tanner*
Nothing can do more to make your family history come alive than finding old family photographs and you might be surprised at where those photographs can be found.
Photographs of individuals and families became popular in the mid-1800s and since that time it is estimated that as many as 3.5 trillion photos have been taken. Obviously, only a very, very few of these trillions of photos are even vaguely interesting to you as a genealogist or family historian, but there are enough photos out there that you may wish to make an effort to see if any photos of your ancestral family members or the places they lived may have escaped your notice.