Photo Identification Archives | Maureen Taylor | The Photo Detective

Where We Lived

By Maureen Taylor on Monday, August 7th, 2017 in Photo Identification, Photographs. No Comments

One of my favorite books is Jack Larkin’s Where We Lived: Discovering the Places We Once Called Home, (Taunton Press, $40.00). When I pass by an old house I can’t help but wonder about the everyday lives of the original occupants. Larkin lets us peek into that past with gorgeous photographs and fascinating stories.  Houses, schools, […]


Tips for Saving The Life of a Photo

By Maureen Taylor on Tuesday, June 13th, 2017 in Photo Identification. No Comments

At a recent family gathering, I met a woman who was amazed that an unidentified photograph could be a valuable piece of family history and that it could be identified. She looked at me with astonishment and confessed, “Oh no, I threw them out. I wish I’d known.” It’s hard to imagine that this charming […]


A Mystery Photo from the Big Easy

By Maureen Taylor on Tuesday, January 24th, 2017 in Photo Identification, Photographs. No Comments

  Paul Selleck’s picture depicts a man in uniform with a US on his belt buckle. US military service, right?  Wrong.  Selleck’s ancestor, James T. Selleck appears to have never served his country.  So why the uniform?  That’s only part of the mystery. The likely date for this picture is 1893.  Paul thinks it depicts […]


The Life Changing Magic Of NOT Throwing Out Your Family Photos

By Maureen Taylor on Monday, November 28th, 2016 in Photo Identification. No Comments

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 […]


How to Tell Cased Images Apart?

By Maureen Taylor on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016 in Photo Identification. No Comments

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 […]


Who Are These Women? An Update

By Maureen Taylor on Friday, July 8th, 2016 in Orphan Photos, Photo Identification. No Comments

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, […]


Two Small Clues In an Old School Photo

By Maureen Taylor on Thursday, June 9th, 2016 in Photo Identification. No Comments

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 […]


Stop. Look. Listen to Your Family Photos

By Maureen Taylor on Thursday, June 2nd, 2016 in Photo Identification. No Comments

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 […]


A 160-Year-Old Photographic Mystery

By Maureen Taylor on Saturday, March 27th, 2010 in Photo Identification. No Comments

I wrote about early color images in Family Tree Magazine in the March 2010 issue. Here’s a story about Levi Hill, one of photo history’s most intriguing people. He claimed to find a way to make daguerreotypes in color. This is from the Smithsonian Magazine. A 160-Year-Old Photographic Mystery


Lost Pictures: A Picture Mystery in Reverse

By Maureen Taylor on Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 in Photo Identification. No Comments

At a recent conference, David E. Rencher, Chief Genealogical Officer at FamilySearch.org approached me with an interesting dilemma. He has a business receipt for a family picture, but no photograph. It’s a picture mystery in reverse. In the Abraham Rencher Papers at the Wilson Manuscript Library of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill is […]


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