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Family History and Genealogy Services

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Genealogy Resources

Photographs, Photography,
 and Scanning

Photography, Photographs and Image Collections

  • Ancestor Archive. Ancestor Genealogy Photo Archive is a free genealogy database of family photos containing online vintage photographs. Many of these photos have been submitted by visitors to help in finding your ancestors and surnames. Others were found in antique stores and flea markets, and posted here in hopes of reuniting them with family members. Your ancestors could be among these genealogy photos.
     
  • Ancient Faces. The Ancient Faces site is a place for free sharing of your genealogy work.
     
  • Ancestry's U.S. Family Photo Collection -- c. 1850-2000. This collection of photographs comes from Ancestry customers.  This may be the largest genealogy photo site. Subscription site.
     
  • Archives of the Michigan Digital Collections. Three digital collections are available for searching or browsing: Civil War images, early photograph collection, and former Michigan governors.

  • Archives Photo Database. Welcome to the Wyoming State Archives' online photo database. The Archives’ Historical Photograph Collection includes more than 500,000 images, of subjects from Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain Region.

  • Baldwin, Gordon. Looking at Photographs: A Guide to Technical Terms. Malibu, California: J. Paul Getty Museum in association with British Museum Press, 1991.

  • Braun, Bev Kirschner. Crafting Your Own Heritage Album. Cincinnati; Betterway Books, 2000.
     
  • Brigham Young University Historical Photographs. Provides background to Utah's history, early pioneers, and Mormon settlements.
     
  • British Columbia Archival Information Network. This site is a portal tothe largest and most comprehensive collection of historic photographs for all of British Columbia, and identifies and links dozens of websites with photographic images online.
     
  • California State University, Chico -- Meriam Library Special Collections -- Historic Photographs. The rich visual heritage of northeastern California is documented in over 18.000 historical photographs, many dating from the 19th century and representing a wide variety of early photographic processes.
     
  • Campbell, Starr Hailey. "Finding Family History in Photographs." Everton's Genealoger Helper 61, 1 (January/February 2007): 64-66.

  • Campbell-Slan, Joanna. Scrapbook Storytelling. Cincinnati: Betterway Books, 1999.
     
  • Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum. The railroad was organized in 1861 by a group of Sacramento merchants. This site features photographs of the era of the Central Pacific, including many construction photos, engines, workers, Chinese, bridges, tunnels, etc.
     
  • Civil War Mysteries. Dedicated to the identification of the forgotten images of the American Civil War.
     
  • Civilization Collection. Collected images from around the world at Brigham Young University Library.

  • The Collections of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Online.  Colonial Williamsburg's collections encompass more than 60,000 examples of fine, decorative, mechanical, and folk art. Included are American, British, and Continental ceramics, glass, furniture, textiles, costumes, tools, firearms, numismatics, metals, prints, maps and drawings from the seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, as well as outstanding examples of eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and twentieth-century American folk art.

  • Crawford, William. The Keepers of Light: A History & Working Guide to Early Photographic Processes. Dobbs Ferry, New York: Morgan & Morgan, 1979.

  • Creating Heritage Scrapbooks. Denver, Colorado: Memory Makers, 2002.
     
  • Czech, Kenneth P. Snapshot: American Discovers the Camera. Minneapolis : Lerner Publications, ©1996.
     
  • The Daguerreian Society. A daguerreotype is an early type of photograph in which the image is exposed directly onto a mirror-polished surface of silver bearing a coating of silver halide particles deposited by iodine vapor. Introduced in 1842, the process lasted only about ten years, but it continued as a medium well into the latter half of the 19th century, and is photographic art form today.
     
  • Dalrymple, Priscilla Harris. American Victorian Costume in Early Photographs. New York : Dover, 1991.
     
  • Dating Old Photographs, 1840-1929. Toronto, Ontario; Niagara Falls, New York: Family Chronicle, 2004.
     
  • Dead Fred's Genealogy Photo Archive. Lists over 12,500 surnames, over 57,000 records, and has over 650 successful "reunions" of photos and identification of ancestors.
     
  • Digital History. This website was designed and developed to support the teaching of American History in K-12 schools and colleges and is supported by the Department of History and the College of Education at the University of Houston. The site has some great photos relating to Asians, Native Americans, African Americans, and Mexican Americans. Links to many other sites that include digital images are also featured on the home page.
     
  • Edison National Historic Site Historic Photographs. Most of the pictures come from the Edison National Historic site collection of 60,000 images. Photographs of historic machines, inventions, etc. tie in to the time period when your ancestor may have first used them.
     
  • Family Old Photos. Over 26,000 photographs, representing thousands of families. Includes the option to up-load your own photos as well.
     
  • Flickr.com. Flickr provides a place for people from all over the world to upload and share their photography.

  • Flickr - The Commons. Is described as the "world's public photography archives." With contributors including the National Archives, the UK National Archives, The Library of Congress, Jewish Women Archives, National Galleries of Scotland and more, the Commons is a must stop for genealogists looking for historical photos. Best of all, photos in the Commons have "no known copyright restrictions."
     
  • Ford and Nagle. This site not only has photographs, but also Family Bibles, Birth, Baptismal, Communion and Confirmation Certificates.
     
  • The Francis Frith Collection. The collection is a service provided by Britain's largest purveyor of photographic images, mostly photographs of British places, including England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.
     
  • Frisch-Ripley, Karen. Unlocking the Secrets in Old Photographs. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry, Inc., 1991.
     
  • Google Image Search. The search results are specific to photographic images, whether actual photographs, maps, charts and graphics, or textual documents scanned as graphics. This is the largest portal to collections of photos identified on the Internet and is worldwide in scope.
     
  • Haynes, David. Catching Shadows -- A Directory of 19th Century Texas Photographers. Nevada City, California: Carl Mautz Publishing, n.d.

  • Henisch, Heinz K. and Bridget A. The Photographic Experience, 1839-1914: Images and Attitudes. University Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994.

  • Historic Photograph Collection. The Historical Photographic Collection of the Wyoming State Archives is one of the most significant in the region. The approximately 500,000 images are cataloged according to either subject or major collection. The collection encompasses a time period from Wyoming’s territorial days to the present with a representation of photographic processes since the birth of photography in 1839.
     
  • Historic Photographs of the Smithsonian Institution. Consists of 3,000 citations to historic images of the Smithsonian, primarily from the Smithsonian Institution Archives. Types of images include people, buildings, artifacts and specimens, exhibits, expeditions, expositions, and special events, ranging from the Smithson family in the 1700s to the present.
     
  • Historical Photographs. Brigham Young University Library.

  • Ledoux, Denis. The Photo Scribe: A Writing Guide: How to Write the Stories Behind Your Photographs. Lisbon Falls, Maine: Soleil Press, 1998.
     
  • Library of Congress Photo Collection 1840-2000 at Ancestry.com. This database contains a collection of approximately 250,000 public domain photographs and prints. Subscription site.
     
  • Library of Congress: Photos at American Memory. The largest collection of historic photographs on the Internet.
     
  • The Luminous Landscape. Has techniques, essays, tutorials, workshops, galleries, product previews, etc.

  • Mace, O Henry. Collector's Guide to Early Photographs. Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications, 1999.
  • Mayer, Philipp M. Indexing Photographs and Documents, a step-by-step guide to organize and manage files.  FamilyRoots, 2013.

  • Milwaukee Neighborhoods: Photos & Maps, 1885-1992. Milwaukee Neighborhoods: Photos and Maps 1885 - 1992 presents images of Milwaukee neighborhoods from the Far Northwest Side to the Far South Side. The selection of images is limited by the current boundaries of the city of Milwaukee. The digital collection provides a visual documentation of the development of the city of Milwaukee from the mid-1880s to the early 1990s. It includes images of residential and industrial facilities, local businesses, historic buildings, churches, and numerous Milwaukee parks. 832 photographs were selected from the collections of the American Geographical Society Library and the Archives Department at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Libraries. The photos of Milwaukee from 1885 and 1895 come from two rare books in the Archives' holdings: Milwaukee and Art Work of Milwaukee. The images of Milwaukee in the 20th century were selected from three extensive photograph collections: Roman Kwasniewski Collection and Dennis Wierzba Collection that are housed in the Archives, and Harold Mayer Collection, located in the American Geographical Society Library at UWM Libraries. The image collection is accompanied by 12 maps of Milwaukee from the holdings of the American Geographical Society Library.
     
  • Minnesota Historical Society Visual Resources Database. Many of the photographs are family oriented.
     
  • Naval Historical Center Online Library of Selected Images. An accessible index to naval and maritime history pictures. If you or an ancestor ever served in the U.S. Navy, this is hte place to find a photograph of the ship. There are also many references to individuals, foreign ships, merchant ships, and more.
     
  • New England -- Brattleboro Historical Society Photo Collection. Features one of the best collections of historic photographs anywhere.  Offering an archive of professionally scanned historical glass plate photos from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Rural and small town American life is portrayed in this superb collection featuring images from New England. Prints of all historic photographs are available for sale.
     
  • New Jersey State Archives Imaged Collections. Portraits of soldiers, historic structures, sites and parks, New Jersey Institutions, and military monuments. Over 3,000 images from their photograph and manuscript collection
  • New York Architecture Images.  Search by area or search by style, architect, type, area or alphabetically.
     
  • New York Public Library Digital Library. There are dozens of collections at this site, representing well over one million scanned documents. The photographs are outstanding and the maps are very useful.
     
  • Nikon School of Photography. Nikon schedules two workshops each year for newbie's as well experienced photographers.
     
  • Oregon Historic Photograph Collections. The collections include thousands of photographs dating to the mid 1800's from the digital collections of the Salem Public Library. With the addition of the statewide photos provided by the Oregon State Archives, the collection is useful for the entire state of Oregon.

  • Palmquist, Peter. Photographers: A Sourcebook for Historical Research. Carl Mautz, 2001.
     
  • Panoramic Pictures 1851-1991 at Ancestry.com. This dataset is made up of approximately 3,760 panoramic photos from throughout the U.S. Subscription site.
     
  • Passenger Ships and Images at Ancestry.com. The illustrations are from photographs, postcards, and artistic renderings. also found is the ship's description -- information such as shipping line, tonnage, dimensions, number of masts and funnels. Not a complete collection. Subscription site.
     
  • Past Faces  - A collection of photos from late 19th Century and early 20th Century periodicals and school yearbooks.
     
  • Penny Postcards. US GenWeb site. Click on the state and then the county.
     
  • The Philadelphia City Archive is one of the country’s largest municipal archives, with an estimated 2 million photographs that date from the late 1800’s. These gorgeous pictures paint a stunning portrait of Philadelphia and its industry, architecture, culture and people. PhillyHistory.org.
     
  • PictureAustralia. Allows you to search many significant online pictorial collections at the same time. Is representation of Australia and New Zealand history.
     
  • Picturing the Family. From the Learning Space. Helpful hints.
     
  • Pols, Robert. Dating Old Photographs. Birmingham, England: Federation of Family History Societies, 1995.
     
  • Pols, Robert. Looking at Old Photographs: Their Dating and Interpretation. Newbury: Countryside Books in associaiton with the Federation of Family History Societies, 1999.
     
  • Professional Baseball Players 1876-2004 at Ancestry.com. This dataset is an index to over 15,000 professional baseball players who played between 1876 and 2004, with pictures for players who played between 1887 and 1938. Subscription site.
     
  • Professional Photographic Studios.

  • Reilly, James M. Care and Identification of 19th Century Photographic Prints. Rochester: Eastman Kodak Co., 1986.
     
  • San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection. The collection contains more than 250,000 photographs of San Francisco and California scenes ranging from 1850 to the present.
     
  • Severa, Joan L. Dressed for the Photographer: Ordinary Americans and Fashion, 1840-1900. Kent, Ohio : Kent State University Press, ©1995.
     
  • Small-Town America. Presents 12,000 photographs of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as they were captured in stereoscopic views from the 1850s to the 1910s. In addition to showing buildings and street scenes in cities, towns, and villages the photographs show farming, industry, transportation, homes, businesses, local celebrations, natural disasters, people, and costumes. The photographs belong to the Robert N. Dennis Collection of Stereoscopic Views in the Photography Collection, Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints & Photographs at The New York Public Library.

  • Smith, Gary M. and Diana Crisman Smith. "Identify Treasures Now." NGS Magazine 35, 3 (July-September 2009): 54-56.
     
  • Taylor, Maureen Alice Dating Old Photographs 1840-1929. Toronto, Ontario ; Niagara Falls, N.Y. : Family Chronicle, ©2004.

  • Taylor, Maureen Alice. Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles, 1840-1900. [United States]: Picture Perfect Press, 2009.  Genealogist and photo identification/preservation expert reveals information you can learn from family photographs about a person's fashion sense and character. Taylor writes for those interested in using "this handy guide to study the tresses and trims in your ancestral portraits and learn when different hairstyles and facial hair were in vogue." Her analysis of sample photographs from each decade illustrates how people can use "clues of clothing and hairstyles ... [to] discover when those pictures were taken, how old the subjects were at the time, and how wealthy they were." Includes "fast facts" and "fun facts" about hair styles through the 19th century.

  • Taylor, Maureen Alice "Foreign Images." NGS Magazine 36, 4 (October-December 2010): 22-25.

  • Taylor, Maureen Alice "Immigrant Images." Family Tree Magazine (February 2002): 48-53.

  • Taylor, Maureen Alice. The Last Muster: Images of the Revolutionary War Generation. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press], 2010.
     
  • Taylor, Maureen Alice.  More Dating Old Photographs, 1840-1929. Toronto, Ontario; Niagara Falls, New York: Family Chronicle, 2004.

  • Taylor, Maureen Alice "Picture Puzzles." Family Tree Magazine (August 2000): 14-20.

  • Taylor, Maureen Alice. Preserving Your Family Photographs: How to Care for Your Family Photographs - from Daguerreotypes to Digital Imaging. Lexington, Ky: Picture Perfect Press, 2010.

  • Taylor, Maureen Alice Scrapbooking Your Family History. Cincinnati: Betterway Books, 2003.
     
  • Taylor, Maureen Alice Uncovering Your Ancestry through Family Photographs. Cincinnati, Ohio : Betterway Books, ©2000.

  • Taylor, Maureen Alice "Wedding Photos to Have and to Hold," Ancestry Magazine (May/June 2002): 16-22.

  • Taylor, Maureen Alice. Your Family Story in Photographs: Capturing Memories. Provo, Utah: Ancestry Publishing, 2007.

  • Taylor, Maureen Alice "Your Female Ancestors in Photographs," Ancestry Magazine (January/February 2003): 14-19.
     
  • TresureNet Historical Image Collection. The main TreasureNet site is aimed at modern treasure hunters, with maps and other items that can be used to discover gold and silver deposits. The historic images section is a collection of thousands of Civil War, Railroad, and Old West images. Mostly place oriented, these photos contain unique scenes of the Western United States not readily available anywhere else.
     
  • Underhill, Tom. Make Your Photos Zing! : A Step-by-step Guide to the Ultimate Image. Placentia, California: Creative Continuum, ©2002.
     
  • Underhill, Tom. Make Your Photos Really Zing! : Your Second Step-by-step Guide to the Ultimate Image. Brea, California: Creative Continuum, ©2004.
     
  • U.S. Civil War Photos 1860-1870 at Ancestry.com. This collection of about 6,900 photographs is all dated from around the time of the American Civil War. The original photographs are held by the Library of Congress' Prints and Photographs division. The dataset is searchable by year and/or keywords.
     
  • United States Department of Agriculture Historical Photos.  The USDA collection provides a portrait of rural and small town American life. Most of the photographs on display were taken between 1937 and 1943 during the Farm Security Administration (FSA) era.

  • Upton, Dell. America's Architectural Roots: Ethnic Groups that Built America. Washington, D.C.: Preservation Press, 1987.
     
  • Utah Digital Photograph Collections. The Utah History Research Center is a collaborative effort of both the Utah State Archives and Utah Historical Society.
     
  • Walters, Judith Allison. A Guide to Dating Old Family Photographs. Bothell, Washington: J.A. Walters, 1993.
     
  • Washington State University Digital Collections. An ongoing project to digitize the WSU Historical Photograph Collections, numbering almost 250,000 images.
     
  • Wisconsin Historical Images. The Wisconsin Historical Society's Archives collection include approximately three million photographs, negatives, films, cartoons, lithographs, posters, and ephemeral materials from private, business, and governmental sources.

  • Wonderful World of Albert Kahn. BBC Books, in association with the Musée Albert-Kahn, presents an astonishing collection of early true-colour photographs from around the world to accompany the acclaimed BBC television series.
     
  • World School Photographs. Includes photographs of almost every School in the World. You may find a photo of yourself or at least your classmates.  Enter the name of the school and the year you were there.

  • WPA Photos from the 1930s. The WPA paid professional photographers to document the program and there is a legacy of photographs, many in color, that realistically document that period in our history.

Scanning, Photography and Digital Imaging

  • Bookmarks to Photography Sites.  Many helpful and interesting links.
     
  • Converting VHS Tapes to Digital Format. From About Genealogy.
     
  • DCViews. Everything you want to know about digital cameras.
     
  • DigitalCamera.com. Lists places to buy digital cameras, photo services, security cameras and camera accessories.
     
  • Digital Camera Resource Page. Review of recently released cameras, etc.
     
  • Digital Cameras and Genealogy. The goal of this article is twofold, to make sure that your descendants a hundred years from now can enjoy the pictures you take today, and to make sure that people today can enjoy photographs of their ancestors, taken a hundred years ago.
     
  • Family Photography Tips. Family photography tips include everything from snapping off 20 baby pictures to posing everyone at your family reunion. Photographs of our family are the most valuable memories we have.
     
  • Fletcher, William. Recording Your Family History with Videotape, Audiotape, Suggested Topics and Questions, & Interview Techniques. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1986.
     
  • HP Digital Photography. Everything you need to take, print, and share brilliant photos
     
  • Imaging Resource. Reviews on digital cameras, printers, scanners, software, software, along with some articles on digital photography.
     
  • Indiana University Digital Library.  Digital Imaging Standards.
     
  • Scanning Basics 101 by Wayne Fulton. The purpose is to offer some scanning tips and to explain the basics for photos and documents. It is about the fundamentals of digital images, about the basics to help you get the most from your scanner.
     
  • Steve's Digicams. Digital camera information and news.
     
  • "Transferring 8mm Tape to Digital Video." Ancestry.com article.
     
  • Underhill, Tom. Scanning and Photo Retouching. Placentia, California: Creative Continuum, ©2001.
     
  • Wilhelm Imaging Research. Conducts research on the stability and preservation of traditional and digital color photographs and motion pictures. The company publishes brand name-specific permanence data for desktop and large-format inkjet printers and other digital printing devices. Wilhelm Imaging Research also provides consulting services to museums, archives, and commercial collections on sub-zero cold storage for the very long term preservation of still photographs and motion pictures.