Uncovering Your Ancestry through Family Photographs

Front Cover, Uncovering Your Ancestry through Family Photographs by Maureen Taylor, 2000.

Front Cover, Uncovering Your Ancestry through Family Photographs: How to Identify, Interpret, and Preserve Your Family's Visual Heritage by Maureen Taylor, 2000. GGA Image ID # 15bfbe5e48

Table of Contents


Bringing the Past to Life

  • Compiling a Visual History
  • How to Get Started
  • A Few Rules to Follow

Cased Images: Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes and Tintypes

  • Daguerreotypes
  • Ambrotypes
  • Tintypes
  • How to Identify a Cased Image
  • Dating a Cased Image

Paper Prints and Negatives

  • Talbotypes: The First Paper Print
  • Card Photographs
  • Candid Photography
  • Negatives
  • Dating Paper Prints
  • Tax Stamps

Color Photographs

  • Hand-coloring
  • Retouching
  • Color Photography

Looking for Clues

  • Family Resemblances
  • Props and Backdrops
  • Internal Information
  • Case Study: Internal Details

Identifying the Photographer

  • Photographer's Imprint
  • Researching a Photographer
  • Internet Sites
  • Case Study: Tracking the Manchester Brothers

Images From Birth to Death

  • Portraits
  • Checklist of Photographs Usually Found in Family Collections

Identifying Costume

  • Dating a Photograph Using Costume Clues
  • Case Study: Alice McDuff

Talking With Relatives

  • Oral Interviews
  • Case Study: Bessette Family

Library Research for Photographs

  • Patent Deposit Libraries
  • Research Resources On-line
  • What Can You Do From Home?
  • Building A Home Library

Building a Family Collection

  • Plan a Family Reunion
  • Friends and Printed Sources
  • On-line Sources
  • Labeling Your Images

Putting All the Clues Together: Two Case Studies

  • Case Study: Galli/Mumt/Richards Family Photograph Collection
  • Case Study: A Family Photo Mystery Remains


  • Appendix A: Timeline of Photographic History
  • Appendix B: Important Addresses
  • Appendix C: Conference Lectures
  • Appendix D: Web Sites of Interest
  • Appendix E: Magazines and Catalogs To Help You Date Costume and Interior Photos
  • Appendix F: Worksheets,


Sources of Information About Photographers


Back Cover, Uncovering Your Ancestry through Family Photographs by Maureen Taylor, 2000.

Back Cover, Uncovering Your Ancestry through Family Photographs by Maureen Taylor, 2000. GGA Image ID # 15bfd916a4

From the Back Cover

This photo was originally identified through oral tradition as Mary (Sparks) Munn who died in 1852. Here's what the techniques and tips contained in this book revealed:


A similar image found in another relative's collection contained the photographer's imprint of I.H. Stoddard of Ansonia, Connecticut.


The image is a carte de visite, a type of photograph that was introduced in the United States in 1859.


The image is part of a series of similar usages of members of a particular family group.


By conducting library research it was discovered that the photographer was in
business in that location from 1869-1870.


Clues such as hairstyle, type of accessories and clothing details can help date tlie photograph.

Result: When all of this research was compared to a genealogy of the family, it was concluded that the image was of Mary Louise (Munn) Tyrrell who was born in 1839.

Unlock the precious stories and ancestral information hidden within the details of your family photos. In this illuminating guide, genealogical photo expert Maureen Taylor shows you how to gain this in-depth perspective on your family's special history, step by step.

Using Taylor's proven methods of analysis and interpretation, you will glean a wealth of facts from every photo as you learn how to:

  • Identify and verify the people in your photos, using details such as poses, props and print material to determine dates and places
  • Locate additional family photographs to build your own visual history collection
  • Create worksheets for every photo that confirm and validate your findings
  • Expand your genealogical skills to include a working knowledge of the resources related to photo research

With Uncovering Your Ancestry through family Photographs, your photos will reveal more about your genealogy than ever before. Take this guide and watch your ancestors' cherished images spring to life with detail and accuracy.

About the Author

Maureen A. Taylor, a genealogist and photo historian, has written three books on genealogy and numerous articles for Daguerrian Annual, The New England Historical And Genealogical Register, Rhode Island History, Rhode Island Roots and the Computer Genealogist. Taylor lectures on photography and genealogy at conferences around the country.

Library of Congress Catalog Record

  • Personal name: Taylor, Maureen Alice.
  • Main title: Uncovering your ancestry through family photographs / Maureen A. Taylor.
  • Edition: 1st ed.
  • Published/Created: Cincinnati, Ohio : Betterway Books, c2000.
  • Description: 145 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.
  • ISBN: 1558705279 (alk. paper)
  • LC classification: CS14 .T39 2000
  • LC Subjects: Genealogy. Portrait photography--History.
  • Notes: Includes bibliographical references (p. 128-132) and index.
  • LCCN: 99051778
  • Dewey class no.: 929/.1/072
  • Type of material: Book

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