Orphan Photo Lost and Found: The Little Prince Has a Family

It's the kind of story that leaves us all hoping that a missing piece of our family history will pop up and be reunited with us. Photo orphans sit in antique shops all over the world.  That's what happened with this little fellow. Earl Russell Prince, age 3.  A colleague gave me this image years ago.  If you're part of the orphan photo movement then you know how I felt.  The photo had a name ...    Continue Reading

Got a Photo-Related Question?

I'm working on new lectures and need your help.  Audience feedback is important to those of us that speak before groups.  We need to know what you'd like to learn.  There is sometimes a difference between what I'd like to teach and what the audience would like to hear. Perhaps you've heard one of my lectures and still have a question. Maybe you've read one of my articles and still wonder about something you've read. ...    Continue Reading

The Life Changing Magic Of NOT Throwing Out Your Family Photos

It happened again. Three times in one month.  Enough of all this cleaning to create joy. Let's save family photos by putting names with faces. I meet new people every month and invariably the conversation turns to work. When I mention that I'm known as the Photo Detective, a puzzled look is the response.  "What do you do?" I explain.  Your grandmother (or other relative) gives you a box of family photos some with names ...    Continue Reading

How Does Your Family Tree Grow?

Last Saturday I sat with a small group of children (plus a grandmother and two mothers) to chat about family trees and family history. The kid-sized table in the Children's Department of the Providence Athenaeum, a library with roots back to 1836, was covered with tree cutouts.  All over the table were art supplies--markers, paper, stencils and cookie cutters for tracing.  Yes, cookie cutters!  Little hands not used to drawing can trace the inside of ...    Continue Reading

3 Ways to Save Holiday Family History

Thanksgiving usually means turkey and all the trimmings. I’d like you to think about what else the holiday represents. Family and friends. Holidays are great times to collect family history. At our house the dinner chatter usually turns to family history. Food starts that path to reminiscence. My aunt loved parsnips and pearl onions on her table. We haven’t had those foods since she left us way back in 1981. While her food isn’t part ...    Continue Reading

Photo Stories: Mrs. George Gilbert

  Each photograph captures a story in a single moment. That's a fact. By adding up the details in the picture you can make a new discoveries. It could something about the person in the picture. It might be how the image fits into the context of national, local or family history.  In some cases, it's all three. This new blog column, Photo Stories, introduces pictures from different sources. Some come from my photo collection. Others are from ...    Continue Reading

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

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