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Family History

Tips, tricks, and ideas about recording the past so future generations can understand their family history. Learn about great preservation methods, web links, and how to have fun creating your family’s history.

Identifying Unknown Family Photos

Family History By April 25, 2017 Tags: , , , No Comments

Not all of our ancestors were diligent about labeling their photographs. And sometimes, we have to face the difficult task of deciding and deducing who that is next to our great-grandma. But identifying unknown family members in your photos doesn’t have to be such a chore. It may not be the easiest job, but putting in the time can be highly rewarding!

1. Ask family members

A lot of people, surprisingly, skip this step. But if you seek out more distant relatives, they might be able to identify the people in the photos, or at least pass them around to someone who does know. Distant cousins may have that information, or photos of the same people with better labeling. If you don’t know them personally, begin networking with people who share the majority of your family tree–always a good idea when it comes to genealogy.

2. Ask the Internet

When your family members can’t help you, try posting your photos in relevant Facebook groups and other genealogy-related social media circles. It could be that someone recognizes one of your family members through another person in the photo. You can also pin the photos to Pinterest. Make sure to include a possible surname and location to increase the chances of your pins being found.

Because this is not an uncommon problem, some people have created websites specifically for finding ancestors. Upload photos to sites like, Ancestors Lost and Found, and Family Old Photos. Or, you can search photos already on these sites by surname, location, or photographer. You might come across ancestors you recognize.

Finally, try Googling your photos. Upload them right into Google’s image search. You could find the photo or similar photos of your ancestors on the web in no time at all. Plus, you could find other people who are searching for the same ancestor! You might identify your ancestor and expand your family tree this way.

3. Look for clues in the photos

If you have to rely only on your own family tree, find clues in the photo itself. Who did the photo belong to before you had it? That helps narrow down family lines, and can give you limits for the date it was taken. With older photos, you can also determine the age of the card based on how it was printed and the paper used, down to a matter of decades. In the photo itself, try examining the style of clothing to narrow it down further to a decade or even a year. Then, go back to your family tree and start eliminating possible matches based on age, class, and potential year.

This method can be a little tougher, but it’s equally rewarding if you can’t find out these identities from other people.


How did you identify your ancestors from unlabeled photographs? We’d love to learn from you!


Making Sense of Old Handwriting

Family History By April 7, 2017 Tags: , No Comments

There’s something special about seeing records with your ancestors’ handwriting on them. It’s easy to feel a wonderful connection to them, just by seeing or handling an object they once touched. But all too often, you may find yourself struggling to read the handwriting. This is especially frustrating if you’re indexing records, or if this is your only source. While reading old handwriting can be complicated enough to fill an entire college course, here are some of the basics.


Saving Space With Your Genealogy Work

Family History By January 24, 2017 No Comments

As we research our family trees, we all have fragile piles of paper that only we understand. Filing systems we created on the fly, and other lumps of organized chaos. However, every genealogist has to come to grips with organization sooner or later. Looking at all those notes, records, photos, and folders, it’s easy to feel intimidated by the thought of clearing clutter. We’ve compiled some easy tips for helping you save space with your genealogy work.


8 Amazing Family History Apps

Family History By January 20, 2017 No Comments

Not too long ago, genealogists had to crawl through cold, dark archives and musty libraries. Computers came along to ease searches after that, but it’s hard to sit at a desktop for hours on end, too. Now, with tablets and mobile phones, you can build and research your family tree anywhere! Search while sitting in the sun, on the go, or from the comfort of your couch. These great family history apps will…