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

Making a Match: 6 Tips for Identifying a Face to Make Filing Easier

It’s a rare person that doesn’t own at least one mystery picture and wonders who’s in the photo. When you’re trying to organize your pictures these unknown images are a fly in the ointment. Resist the desire to toss them, by using these tips you might be able to get closer to an answer. Who Do You Look Like? A friend of mine bears an uncanny resemblance to his five other brothers and sisters. They all ... Continue Reading

Wonky Whiskers Contest

Just in time for Father's Day, share your favorite old face-fuzz photo of a grandfather, great-grandfather, or even great-great grandfather. Contest runs from June 6th to June 16th (ends at 11:59 pm EST). So Hurry!! To enter, post your candidate photo to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the following hashtag: #GFMUST16@photodetective The best mustache wins this package: A $50.00 gift card to The Art of Shaving A copy of Hairstyles 1840-1900 (worth $25.00) by Maureen ... Continue Reading

Stop. Look. Listen to Your Family Photos

Stop for a moment and take a look at your boxes and albums of pictures. There is a good chance that at least some of them have writing on the back or in the case of an album, underneath the image. Can you trust that information? Maybe. It depends on who wrote it. Photo captions and oral history are like the game of telephone. At the time the picture was taken someone knew who was ... Continue Reading

Essential Photo Organizing: Down and Dirty Photo Triage in Three Steps

So great aunt Mabel has finally decided that you’re the one. The person meant to care for family heirlooms including all those photos she’s been safe-keeping for the right descendant. You’re happy to have those boxes of pictures but at the same you feel like the figure in Edward Munch’s painting The Scream because of the sheer number of items she’s giving you and time constraints. Grabbing your head isn’t going to help. Edward Munch's  The Scream Neither will listening to your ... Continue Reading

The life-changing magic of tidying up is wrong! (And What you should do instead.)

I recently met this woman who enthusiastically explained how she decluttered her house using the advice offered in Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Sounded great. Sort by category. Feel the joy or discard the rest. She was fired up about how tidy her house looked and how she felt without the mess. Until she go to the part where she had to deal with her family photos. Not just the ones she'd ... Continue Reading

#TreeChallenge Find My Past extends free records until May 31st

Hope you've tried the hints at You can search all 1.8 billion records for free until Midnight May 31st. All you have to do is upload a Gedcom of your family data and let their search engines find hints. How many hints popped up for my family? A lot. I LOVE these hints. My family history research got a lot easier. Every time you share what you've found on social media with the hashtag ... Continue Reading

Take the Find My Past #TreeChallenge

  I'm going to take the challenge and you can too!  I've uploaded a Gedcom file of my family tree to Findmypast to see if I can discover new ancestors with their MyHints feature. From May 23 to 30th, all 1.8 billion records included in the MyHint feature will be available for FREE. This include over 116 million United States Marriages, over 10 million Irish Catholic parish register, and 570 million UK births, marriages, and ... Continue Reading

Orphan Photos and Found Pictures in the News

"You can't save them all." When I mentioned to a friend how painful it is to see an abandoned family photo she reminded me of all the thousands if not millions of images are out there lost to family. She's right. I can't save every photo I see, but my new Instagram account @photodetective is my small part to try to reunite these forgotten photos with relatives. This week two news stories brought attention to ... Continue Reading

Unlocking the Stories in a Box of Photos: One Picture at a Time

I can still remember the cold snowy winter Sunday when Mom took out the cigar boxes full pictures.  I was 8. My sister and I couldn’t wait for her to flip open the lid of the box to reveal its surprises.  One by one she took out a snapshot. She gazed at each one then showed them to us. She then told us who was in each candid and sometimes why the picture was taken.   ... Continue Reading