The heart of any collection of genealogy records are the vintage family photos, drawings, paintings or illustrations that can be gathered. Yes, you have checked with your grandparents, your aunts or cousins and thought that you had assembled all the photos or images available. Numerous times undiscovered images can be found in the most unlikely places.
The online site of eBay is an excellent example. Antique dealers purchase a trunk load of items in an estate sale and sure enough there mixed in are a few to complete albums of family photos, especially the vintage ones.
So always check the eBay site. You can place a surname and / or a home town in the eBay search box to see what is being placed either as an auction item or to buy outright at a set price. Not all photos have a name with them, so it is good to use the hometown name which is more likely to be listed with the studio photographer’s name.
Online another resource for some 24,000 photos is FamilyOldPhotos.com which serves an archive of images of individuals, families, and places where ancestors lived. This site is free to use. On the Home Page is labeled ‘Search Old Photos’ where you can place a certain surname or location. The majority of the photos are submitted to the site by individuals who want to share their own collection of family photos with others who may have a connection. They represent images from the United States and other countries.
The site also has a collection known as ‘Special Sections.’ Here are some really interesting photos. They range from school photos, airplanes, police departments, yearbooks, animals, fairs, cemeteries, vehicles, military, railroads, ships, businesses, colleges, institutions and sports. Many of these images come from old postcards, books or collections that the developers of the website have added to the site.
Another method to view what is available on FamilyOldPhotos is by browsing the surnames listed. This is especially useful when a surname can have spelling variations. For example there is Griffith, Griffiths, Griffen, Griffin and Griffeth; so each section should be checked.
Numerous images have a description with each one, offering a date and location and any other details. If an image is located of interest there is a way on the site to contact the person who submitted the image. It might hook you up with a distance cousin. Also many of the images submitted come from people who have found the images at a flea market or garage sales and are not related to the person in the photo. They are hoping they can reunite the photos with a family member.
You can submit photos, yearbook images, postcards, etc. you have to the site to share and see if anyone contacts you for a match.
So look though what the FamilyOldPhotos site as well as eBay has to offer. Recheck every few months since new images continue to be submitted.
The image above is one of my unknowns – a daguerreotype – from the Bixler family collection of PA or MD – taken between 1860 and 1865.< Return To Blog