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Historical Photos – The Times of Your Ancestors

Life Magazine LogoThe essence of photos is that they help capture a moment in time. That piece of an event, a person, a location is forever ‘frozen’ in time with just a photograph. Before the wide-spread use of photos in the 1860s, there were some daguerreotypes, but for the most part those historical moments were expressed by illustrations, artwork and drawings.

One of the most famous sources for photos was Life Magazine. Combining with the Google search engine, millions of photos and illustrations are online and sorted by decades to offer a rich variety of those moments in history. Not just an instant for a country or the world, but most assuredly important elements in our ancestors’ lives.

Looking just at the ones from the Life Magazine sources the variety is numerous. Examining the section for the American Civil War of the 1860s produces 150 images. Photos of the trains used to transport soldiers and goods, scenes of battles, hospitals for the wounded and portraits of regular soldiers or ones of generals provider a real sense of witnessing what happened.

In the 1870s images reflex the expansion into the American West. Many images show Native Indians and frontier towns. Also the latest in fashion and styles popular in the eastern states is referenced. New building construction and the newest inventions are also documented.

With the turn of the 20th century, the news-makers are shown as well as the newest transportation vehicle, the automobile. With the 1910s the war to end all war, World War I, is showcased with 202 images.

Just using the images available through Google search engine is enormous. Placing in the search engine the phrase “America 1835” produces some 769,000 images, maps, illustrations, maps, drawings relating to 1835 in America. Even placing “England 1820” in the search produces over a million results. All put together, those images help the researcher better understand a certain historical period and how their ancestors may have lived.

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