Identifying Unidentified Photographs

It has been cold January  in NC this year. While the weather is so cold, I enjoy the opportunity to stay inside and focus on my family history projects for a while. One of my ongoing project is attempting to identify all those “unidentified” photographs I have inherited in my role as the family’s historian.

There are a lot of unidentified photos in my office, but I have hopes that one day, I will get them all identified.

Do You Know Us

How about you?  Do you have a pile of photographs of “relatives” you just cannot identify? Not even sure if they are relatives?

I thought so.

May I offer some suggestions?

  • If you know which family the photographs came from, keep them in a group.  For example, I keep all the photographs that came from my paternal Great grandmother Carr together.  I may not know who everyone is, but at least I can be assured they are not my maternal Howard relative.
  • If you received the photographs in a photo album, leave them in there initially.  If the photo album is in bad shape or one of those “magnetic” albums from the 1970′s, take digital photographs of each page before taking the photographs out.  Photo albums can tell a chronological story. Often family groups or groups of friends can be determined by the order the photographs were put into the album.
  • Have as many people as possible in your family to view the photos. E-mail them out to relatives. Don’t forget those more distant relatives! That mystery man in a photo could be a distant who stopped by for a visit once.  While not well known in your family, he could be well known in another family branch.
  • If you know the region or area a set of photographs came from, contact the local historical society and/or genealogical society. You may be able to post the photographs in their newsletter to increase the chances someone will recognize the photo.

Good luck with identifying those unknown photographs! (And stay warm!)

(Oh, and if you recognize the two men in the photograph above, let me know.  I have not idea who they are!)

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