Photo Consultation Options

When you hold a photo in your hands, you’re looking at a precious piece of your family history. Whether you know a little bit about that picture or nothing at all, I can help you tell the story of that image and the others in your collection too.  

Your family photos reveal details about your family history.  They show us ancestral life from birth to death that goes beyond a simple date for the image.  A cute baby photo without a name could be your grandfather.  A couple with certain props can represent a wedding. An ordinary snapshot could be the last photo ever taken of a relative.  You won’t know unless you take the next step and sign up for a private photo consult.

During the course of a photo consultation, I look at your photos and discuss what you know about the pictures in question.  It’s often a deep dive into your family history.Together we discover and discuss the clues in the photograph and look at connections to your family history.

Frankly, I never know where a photo consult is going to go.  It depends on the pictures. The pictures drive the inquiry. The clues of who, what, when and where direct our research. It’s possible that the answers to those questions add up to a reveal about why your ancestors posed for that picture.

As a former curator and a photo focused genealogist there are people I’ve met who might have that one bit of information you need to answer a question. As a family historian and former reference librarian that works on photos from all over the world it’s necessary for me to know how to dig up data. A colleague once called me a creative problem solver.

Three Consultation Options

  1. a single-photo consult
  2. a three-photo consult
  3. or a custom quote with volume discount, if you want to discuss all of your mystery photos in one extended session.

How It Works

First select the option you want–one, three, or many.  If it is 1 to 6 images you’ll be prompted to upload images and to add what you know about the picture/s.  

  • Single image consults are conducted via phone on Wednesday mornings ET
  • Three or more image consults are either via phone or video chat. You choose when you sign up.  Friday mornings are for these consults ET.  On video calls, Maureen will share your images on her screen. 
  • More than 6?  No problem.  Reach out to Maureen for an estimate and details 

If you have a high-resolution digital scan that’s best, that way I can see all the details. But if all you have is a scan of a photocopy you can upload that. I have tools that can sometimes enhance images to make them more visible. 

Next add what you know about the image referring to them as image 1, 2, or 3.  

If you have an online family tree it’s helpful to invite me to see it by sending me an email invitation to view it through the site you use. There are usually instructions on the major genealogy sites about how to share links. Once I receive your images, I’ll start on the research using my entire library of resources plus my 40years of experience. I like to see the back of the image as well if there is additional information on it. The front and back of the same image count as one picture. It’s best if you email the scans of the back to me directly rather than use the uploader. Once you’ve signed up for a slot, uploaded your images, and paid you will receive a confirmation email for the consultation. Check your spam/junk folders if you do not receive this confirmation. The confirmation email will have call-in details for telephone consults. Video links are sent separately.

As part of your consultation, I often make suggestions about further research. While it’s possible to date a picture, there is always information not known about the people, places, or family connections. It’s necessary to track down that missing information to tell the story of the image.

We will talk through the photo problems and discuss a list of additional questions that need answers. I often share a list of people and resources to help.  Together we’ll develop a research plan.

“The combination of Maureen’s photo identification expertise and genealogy experience make her a valuable resource. Add to this her enthusiasm to help and it makes working with her a pleasure.”
Joe Chabot, Waltham, Massachusetts

I’d love to help you solve your photo mysteries. You can sign up for a single image consult, a triple image consult or ask for a volume discount. I really want you to put names on those photographs so if you have a lot of images, there is a discount on more than 6 images.

1 Photo

  • 1 Photo
  • Audio Recording

$40.00Select options

3 Photos

  • 3 Photos
  • Video or Audio Recording

$97.00Select options

7+ Photos

  • More than 6 Photos
  • Video or Audio Recording
  • Volume Discount

Read more

About Maureen

I love photos! That’s no secret. I’ve spent my career looking at pictures and studying their details. Never met a picture I didn’t love. They are all special in their own way.I’ve been recognized for my expertise by the New York Times, Better Homes and Gardens, The Boston Globe and the Wall Street Journal, who claimed I was the “nation’s foremost historical photo detective.”

For 20 years I’ve written for Family Tree Magazine on photo mysteries. That’s one a week for a total of close to a thousand images not counting those written for the columns in print magazines, such as American Spirit (the DAR magazine),, and others.

I’ve written or contributed to more than 30 books. When I tell you that photographs are my passion, I have the proof.


Do I need to take notes?

All consults are recorded. Single photo consults are audio only. Consults of three or more images can be shared via video call. Maureen uses Zoom.

Can another relative join me?

Absolutely!  You can share your confirmation information with them. I suggest it not be more than 2 other people live on the call though. 

Can I share a consult?

Yes, as long as you’ve worked out how to split the time. It is o.k for you and another relative/friend to sign up for a consult. 

What Do I Need?

On the day of the consult, be ready to discuss your family history with group sheets or your genealogy software.  

What equipment do I need?

A phone for the call (you’ll be provided with a call in number) or a stable internet connection for video calls (you’ll be sent a link).  Since during video calls you’ll be chatting face to face, a webcam is a bonus. 

What about international images?

Maureen has expertise working with images taken around the world. 

Will I be able to ask questions?

Absolutely!  Questions are encouraged.