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Vintage Photos of Places & People



From the Library of Congress, US National Archives and state archives, a map of the United States, outlining each state is accessible online to locate vintage photos from that state. The years begin in 1837, then to the mid-1840s, 1850s and beyond. Not every year is represented but as you move more towards the late 1800s and into the 1900s the number of photos for each year increases.

There are topic titles at the top of the map page. Click on ‘People’ to view the categories of people such as: coal miners, newsboys, teachers, and football players with a number showing how many photos for that category.

The ‘Places’ categories shows each US state with the number of photos. California has over 1,700; Massachusetts with over 1,800 and New York over 4,000 images. Click on a state to view a map with its counties of that state then a thumbnail of each photo with a brief description. Click on the thumbnail to enlarge it. There is any further description below the enlarged photo. You can save the image by doing a ‘screen print’. 

This is a good method to collect photos from archives of occupations, places, scenes, businesses, homes and daily activities your ancestors may have been involved with. It can be difficult to get a photo of your great father if he worked as a coal miner but a similar one in the same state he worked can work just as well to illustrate his occupation.

So write up some places, time periods, occupations related to your family tree then begin the search on this free online site to see what can be found. 

Photos: Lincoln Bench School and yard, near Ontario, Malheur County, Oregon in 1939; the Central High School band in 1943 in front of the Charlotte Court House, in Virginia; and residents out for a ride in Madison, Wis., on North Carroll St. in 1880.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

Finding Orphaned Photos

George Eastman Photo Collection

Public Domain Photos

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