Introducing the Glassmire Brothers

You gotta love a librarian! James Jeffrey of the Western History/Genealogy Collection of the Denver Public Library bought a couple of pictures and sent them to me. He also mailed me a page from the 1860 Federal Census of Pennsylvania listing the family. Thank you, James!   On the surface, they are simple carte des…

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Why Do People Love Old Photos?

Why do people love old photos? That was the question a vendor at a local outdoor market asked me.  Her question was in reply to my inquiry about the price of a photo on her table. She then told me that she’d recently been in someone’s house where there was an entire wall of old…

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Let’s Stop Trashing Family Photos

A few weeks ago, my daughter went on a photo hunting expedition with me. Rhode Island is full of tiny antique shops tucked into old buildings. On this particular afternoon we were in an old mill that wandered over the landscape. The smell of mold was in the air. I’d found good things here before.…

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Finding a Home for the Hollenbergs

On a recent trip to Burlington, Iowa, I drove through the town of Roseville, Illinois. Right in the middle of town was an antique store.   It was lovely. Clean and well organized. “Do you have any photographs?” I asked. “Hmm, I’m not sure. I have trouble keeping them in the store. They get bought as…

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Find “Missing” Family Photos on Instagram

Orphaned photos that once had a family now sit forgotten or discarded in antique shops, in boxes at tag/yard sales or online at eBay. They are being sold as instant ancestors for the asking. If you’re like me then it’s hard to walk away from an image with a name or one with identification clues.…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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