How to Tell Cased Images Apart?

After years of working with clients, I expect the question before it's asked.  As soon as someone shows me a picture in a case.  They hand me the image and ask, "What is it?" There is a lot of confusion over the types of images found in nineteenth century cases.  Daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes appear in cases.  It all depends on what type of picture your ancestor requested as well as where they lived and when. Here are ... Continue Reading

5 Must-Have Photo Identification Tools

There are items on my desk within easy reach that I can't live without.  These tools are integral to my work with family photographs.  Here are my five top photo identification tools. A Loupe These small magnifiers come in handy.  This small plastic Kalt Afga loupe is indestructible. It fits in my purse and goes everywhere with me so that I can examine details in pictures. Most photo stores carry them. This isn't my only ... Continue Reading

Who Are These Women? An Update

More than twenty thousand people on social media have viewed these images of the mysterious women in uniform. That's a whole lot of eyes. Thank you for all the leads! Here's the update. The Buildings The United States Army built Spanish Colonial buildings at many of their bases. All had tile roofs and stucco exteriors, however, if you look closely at the details of the structures there are differences. Roof lines vary, as do the ... Continue Reading

Orphan Photos: Cobbler in Franklin, New Hampshire

The details in this picture are plentiful. A man in an apron holding a shoe. Patriotic bunting. A house.   It's so lovely I couldn't resist. I bought it at an antique shop in Franklin, New Hampshire. A sticker on the front of the glass frame says: "Cobbler Shop, West Bow St., Franklin."  Other than that this photo is an orphan. No names or dates. There is nothing like a photo challenge <smile>. Let's see how ... Continue Reading

Searching For Esther Knowles

I don't have a picture of my great grandmother but I'm hoping to find enough records to piece together details of her story. She's my sole nineteenth century transatlantic ancestor. As a genealogist I know that the best chances of discovering more about this woman rest with working from known facts backwards.  The facts of her life are simple. Esther Knowles Taylor died March 12, 1930 at 70 years of age.  She was the mother ... Continue Reading

4th of July Savings

SHOTBOX Here's your chance to save on MY favorite new genealogy tool of the year.  I use my Shotbox to photograph small heirlooms and a lot of pictures. It's a portable photo studio that works with your digital camera or a cell phone.  This is an unbeatable deal. Go to Shotbox and use BUNDLE50 to save 50% on a Deluxe bundle (includes tote, backdrop and SideShot) or SHOTBOX30 to save 30% off the Solo Bundle. ... Continue Reading

Trouble in a Tintype Album: Reading the Clues

It’s no secret that I love working on photo mysteries for clients. My favorite type of photo puzzler is reading the clues in family photo albums. Why?   Well, each one tells a story. Every album reveals details about who put the images in those places, as long as the past hasn’t been tampered with.   That’s the key. Those images have to be in their original order In February 2016, the International Center of Photography posted ... Continue Reading

Who Are These Women in Uniform?

Orphaned mystery photos. There is something so sad about someone's beloved pictures ending up in a pile someplace.  Take these five pictures.  I'm willing to bet that these images documented an important period in a woman's life. She took these images of her friends and colleagues in uniform. The questions add up pretty quickly. Who were they? What branch of the service do their uniforms represent? Where were they photographed? When were they taken? I ... Continue Reading

Two Small Clues In an Old School Photo

Someone took a snapshot of these two women in an unknown setting.  This one picture is part of a set of six images.  Only this one has a recognizable background. They sit on granite stairs engraved with "Class of 1910." The wooden landing has a fluted column in the background and a sandstone pillar decorated with a brass plaque. Unfortunately the plaque is unreadable due to the quality of the picture. Their clothing, hair and ... Continue Reading

Mabel and Edith Bickerton

There is so much to love about this picture. The wallpaper. Their dresses.  Photos often have details that attract our attention but this one has something special. Someone wrote names and date on it!  It's a lost family photo. I'm hoping to reunite it with descendants. Mabel and Edith Bickerton, 1889.  A quick look on gave me the particulars of their lives. They were the children of Charles Bickerton and Louisa Maria Cole.  The ... Continue Reading