Episode 67: Solving Photo Mysteries

On stormy winter afternoons, my Mom would drag out the boxes of family photos and would reminisce about fifty years of family history. My sister and I would pick photos out of the box and ask her to tell us about the people in them. One thing would lead to another. It wasn’t about the pictures. They were the inspiration for her stories. 

Since then, I’ve developed a signature approach to identifying photographs. I’ve used my technique on thousands of photographs over the years. There are simple answers to the who what when where and why of an image but there are deeper inquiries that require us to look out of the frame. Studying the clues is only part of the puzzle. Our family history adds a layer. So does local, state, national, and international history. It’s the intersection of all these things where the magic happens. 

Think about a photo in your family. It doesn’t have to be an old one. You’re probably wondering where to start? I can help with that.

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About Maureen Taylor:

Maureen is a frequent keynote speaker on photo identification, photograph preservation, and family history at historical and genealogical societies, museums, conferences, libraries, and other organizations across the U.S., London and Canada.  She’s the author of several books and hundreds of articles and her television appearances include The View and The Today Show (where she researched and presented a complete family tree for host Meredith Vieira).  She’s been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Better Homes and Gardens, The Boston Globe, Martha Stewart Living, Germany’s top newspaper Der Spiegel, American Spirit, and The New York Times. Maureen was recently a spokesperson and photograph expert for MyHeritage.com, an internationally known family history website and also writes guidebooks, scholarly articles and online columns for such media as Smithsonian.com. Learn more at Maureentaylor.com

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