A Veteran’s Day Tribute

My Dad, James William Taylor, Jr., was a man of few words. When you’d ask him a direct question you’d rarely get a full answer. Towards the end of his life he spent a day mentioning 1943. I don't know why. He really didn’t want to talk about it. Like so many of his generation, Dad enlisted in the United States Army during World War II. From October 22, 1942 to February 5, 1946 he ... Continue Reading

What’s New Is Old and Old is New? Women and the Presidency

Hilary Clinton, Geraldine Ferraro, Sarah Palin, and Victoria Woodhull. Woodhull?? You might not know that way back in 1872, The Equal Rights Party nominated her for President on May 10, 1872. That's about half a century before women were awarded the right to vote. According to a Wikepedia article on Woodhull, former slave Frederick Douglass was the choice for Vice-President, but he never acknowledged the nod. Born in 1838, Woodhull was an outspoken advocate of ... Continue Reading

Today Show News

This morning my phone rang and a friend said, "Are you the Maureen Taylor just mentioned on the Today Show?" Uh, yes I replied. I'd missed it! Earlier this year a producer from the Today Show contacted me to ask if I was the genealogist that researched Meredith Vieira's family tree for a segment on the View. Yes, indeed. So for several weeks this spring and summer I shared what I knew about the co-host's ... Continue Reading

Nineteenth Century Waifs

The images are haunting. Children in rags looking bedraggled from living on the streets. Irishman Dr. Thomas Barnardo saw the poverty and neglect in these children's faces and did something about it. He opened his first home for these children in 1870 and by 1905, it's estimated he rescued 60,000 kids. His work continues with Barnardos Charity. Here's an amazing family history fact. Beginning in 1874, Barnardo took pictures of every child that his homes ... Continue Reading

Closet Clutter and Photographs

The other day my daughter was looking for an outfit to wear in a school play so she started digging through my closet. She pulled out a blouse and said, "How old is this?" I looked at it and thought, "It's time to clean the closet." It was practically paleolithic. Looking at that item also made me think about family photos and a common question that lecture attendees ask about ancestor's wearing older clothes. Just ... Continue Reading

Throw Out Your Photos! OMG

I just can't believe it. An article titled Feng Shui Your Photos in the Imperial Valley (CA) News, advises folks to scan all their pictures and discard them. The scanning message is basically sound advice, but only if the author had included a few tidbits about scanning formats and resolution. You should scan images as 600 dpi color tiff's at 100% scale at a minimum. I can't imagine readers actually throwing out their precious pictures ... Continue Reading

Honor Your Mothers on Sunday: Label Your Photographs

If you're looking for a way to honor the women in your family tree start by labeling your photographs. Paper photos can easily be captioned on the back (never write on the front of a photograph) using a soft lead pencil. Those resin-coated images from the 1960s to the present require a Zig marker. I've honored one of my maternal grandmother by writing about her photo and her life. Nana (on the left) died when ... Continue Reading

Wall Street Journal News!

Have you seen the Wall Street Journal today? If not, take a look at the front page of the Weekend Journal section. Journalist Alexandra Alter spent three months alternately interviewing me, my clients and colleagues for a story on my Photo Detective business. I was able to convey to the reporter how important photo history is to every family. Each image is an opportunity to recognize the place of history in our everyday lives. If ... Continue Reading

Nineteenth Century Photography Unmasked!

I can't believe it! This week the long awaited Encyclopedia of Nineteenth Century Photography is finally in print. Several years ago (I've lost count of how many) an editor contacted me about contributing to this two volume set. I complied and then forgot about it. Ever since it arrived on my doorstep the other day I've been leafing through it looking for answers to some of my questions. It includes general entries on photographic methods ... Continue Reading

Watch Maureen on Hallmark Television

That's right. You heard it here first. This week I traveled to New York to tape a segment of New Morning with Timberly Whitfield. They let me talk about my two favorite topics--family photos and family history for kids! I presented Timberly with a family history surprise, but I'm not going to give it away in this post. You'll have to watch it to see her reaction. I couldn't have done it without Ancestry.com and ... Continue Reading