Photo Genealogy

This entry was posted by Jim Sanders on Sunday, 12 February, 2012 at

Do you have old photos and not know who is pictured in them? How do you go about trying to find out who is in the picture? A couple of weeks ago I mentioned how a 19th century photo album was sent to me. I was a descendant of the original owner. All but a couple of pictures in the album were unmarked. This series of posts will chronicle what I went through and am still going through to identify the people in the pictures. There are so many pictures in the album and so many different strategies I employed that I will chronicle my progress in a series of posts to this blog. Normally I post something every Sunday. For this series, I will post every other Sunday leaving the other Sunday’s to explore a different topic. Also, as this series of posts are progressing I will post a still unidentified photo from the album on Wordless Wednesdays. This will be for both the weeks I will be posting about the photos as well as the week we will touch upon a different subject.

First, I wanted to preserve the images by scanning all of the and making a digitial copy. This would allow me to share these pictures electronically with family members and friends. Perhaps some family members would be able to identify some of the individuals. Below is just one of the images from the album.

Unknown subject Sanders or Fraher

I wanted a fairly good quality so I scanned them at 300 dpi (dots per inch). I also wanted to preserve the order of the pictures so I named them as sandersphotoalbumXX.jpg. Here XX would equal 01 for the first picture in the album, 02 would be for the second picture, etc.

The book itself had a handwritten note in it which read “Presented to Miss Mary Fryher By Mr. Jos. C. Sanders, New Britain, Conn. Sept. 24/1884”. From this I knew which side of the family many of whom the pictures would be of. Mary Fryher and Joseph Sanders are my great grandparents. They were married on 24-May-1886. This would mean the album was a gift prior to getting married based upon the date in the book. Some of the pictures in the photo album might be friends, but most would likely be family members.

Joseph Sanders - Mary Fryher - Photo Album

Now it was time to review the families that might be involved. In order to provide a good context of the family in question, I’ve provided quite a bit of detail so that we can explore how I was able to identify a number of pictures. Feel free to jump ahead of the family group sheets. The three family group sheets are the parents of Joseph Sanders, the parents of Mary Fraher and last but not least Joseph Sanders and Mary Fraher’s family.

Family of John Charles SANDERS

The parents of Joseph C. Sanders were John Sanders and Mary Clark Tripp. Here is a basic family group sheet of the family.

John Charles SANDERS : Birth: 23-Mar-1833 in England, Marriage: 08-Sep-1861 in New Bedford, Bristol, Massachusetts, USA, Death: 07-Jan 1901-in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA (Parents Henry Lewer Sanders & Barbara Anne Warwick)
+ Mary Clark TRIPP Birth: 21-Aug-1842 in Fairhaven, Bristol, Massachusetts, Death: 11-Apr-1907 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA (Parents James Henry Tripp & Ann J. Clarke)

Children:
1: Henry L. Sanders : Birth: 11-Dec-1862 in New Bedford, Bristol, Massachusetts, USA, Marriage: 05-Apr-1883 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Death: 11-Nov 1944 in Everett, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA
+ Hattie Croteau : Birth 06-Sep-1863

2: Frances Emma Sanders : Birth: 04-Dec-1864 in Fairhaven, Bristol, Massachusetts, USA, Marriage: 28-Dec-1881, Death: 19-Feb-1955 in Fall River, Bristol, Massachusetts, USA
+James B. Parsons : Birth 16-Apr-1864

3: Sarah Abbie Sanders : Birth: 04-Oct-1866 in Suffield, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Marriage: 18-Nov-1885 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Death: 12-Jul 1942 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
+ Frederick A. Otto : Birth 1859

4: Joseph Charles Sanders : Birth: 02-Apr-1868 in Tariffville, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Marriage: 24-May-1886 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Death: 13-May-1946 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
+Mary Agnes Fraher : Birth 12-May-1863)\

5: James Frank Sanders : Birth: 12-Mar-1870 in Tariffville, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Death: 03-Nov-1872 in Tariffville, Hartford, Connecticut, USA

6: Anne Clark Sanders : Birth: 19-Feb-1872 in Tariffville, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Marriage: 1889 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Death: Unknown in Unknown
+ John McKnight : Birth May 1868
+ Will Ritner

7: John Leonard Sanders : Birth: 15-Dec-1875 in Tariffville, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Marriage: Unknown, Death:26-Jan-1913 in Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
+Emma Louise Samlow : Birth 25-Mar-1875

8: Herbert Ephraim Sanders : Birth: 09 -Feb-1876 in Tariffville, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Marriage: 27-Aug-1901 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Death: 27-Aug-1960 in Westfield, Hampden, Massachusetts, USA
+ Alice Beach : Birth 01-Feb-1882
+ Gertude E. Stowe : Birth 21-Oct-1880

9: Ada May Sanders : Birth: 24-Jul-1878 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Marriage: 19-Nov-1896, Death:24-May-1955 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
+Joseph T. Suprenant : Birth 14-Oct-1873

10: William Jennings Sanders : Birth: 19-Nov-1880 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Marriage: 27-Nov-1901 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Death: 13-May-1956 in Cheshire, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
+Josephine C. Hahn : Birth 17-Dec-1882

11: Edith Elma Sanders : Birth: 18-Aug-1884 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA : Marriage: 02-Apr-1903 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Death: 04-Jun-1973 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
+Adolph John Wagner : Birth 18-Mar-1878

Family of Patrick FRAHER/FRYHER

The parents of Mary Agnes Fraher/Fryher were Patrick Fraher and Sarah Sayes. Here is a basic family group sheet of the family.

Patrick Fraher : Birth: 1830 in Ireland, Marriage: Abt. 1852 in Ireland, Death: Bet. 1880–1881?
+ Sarah Hayes : Birth: 1834 in Ireland, Death: 27 Sep 1896 in Meriden, New Haven, Connecticut, USA (parents Robert Hales)

Children:
1: James Fraher : Birth: Sep-1853 in Ireland, Marriage: 22-Jan-1883 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Death: 28 Aug 1907 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
+Mary A Barry : Birth: Dec-1865

2: Francis Fraher : Birth: Abt. 1855 in Ireland[, Marriage: unknown, Death Unknown

3: William Fraher : Birth: Mar 1859 in England, Marriage: 24-Mar-1885 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Death: 16-Sep-1901 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
+Spouses: Maria Jones

4: Patrick Fraher : Birth: 1860 in England[, Marriage: Unknown, Death: unknown

5: Michael Fraher : Birth: Abt. 1863 in Essex, New York, USA, Death : apparently died as an infant before 1870

6: Mary Agnes Fraher : May 1863 in Port Henry, Essex, New York, USA, Marriage: 24-May-1886 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Death: 17-May-1933 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
+ Joseph Charles Sanders : Birth :02-Apr-1868

7: John J Fraher : Birth: 01-Aug-1865 in Essex, New York, USA, Marriage: 14 -Jan-1884 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Death: unknown
+ Catherine L Coyle : Birth 1863

8: Sarah Fraher: Birth: 1866 in Massachusetts, USA, Marriage: 02-Oct-1889 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Death: 21-Dec-1937 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
+Julius Schmidt : Birth: Aug-1869

9: Elizabeth B. Fraher: Birth: Jun-1869 in Connecticut, USA, Marriage: 10-Feb-1890 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Death: unknown
+Edward P Coyle : Birth Mar-1869

Family of Joseph Charles SANDERS

Here’s the family of Joseph Charles Sanders and Mary Agnes Fraher

Joseph Charles Sanders : Birth: 02-Apr-1868 in Tariffville, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Marriage: 24-May-1886 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Death: 13-May-1946 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA (parents : John Charles Sanders & Mary Clark Tripp)
+Mary Agnes Fraher Birth: 12-May-1863 in Port Henry, Essex, New York, USA, Death: 17-May-1933 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA (parents : Patrick Fraher & Sarah Hayes)

Children:
1: John C. Sanders : Birth: 26-Jun-1887 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Death: 28-Mar-1923 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA

2: Joseph James Sanders : Birth: 21-Nov-1889 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Marriage: 12-Oct-1911 in Wilmington, New Castle, Delaware, USA, Death: 22-Oct-1974 in Geneva, Ontario, New York, USA
+ Margaret Yost : Birth: 06-Aug-1894

3: Frederick H. Sanders : Birth: Jan-1892 in Meriden, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, Death: 19-May-1893 in Meriden, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

4: William Herbert Sanders : Birth: 30-May-1894 in Meriden, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, Marriage: 27-Nov-1927 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Death: 20-Sep-1964 in Newington, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
+ Marion Isabel Laurie : Birth 19-Nov-1899

5: Florence Sanders : Birth: 27-Aug-1896 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Marriage: 24-Jun-1925 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Death: 26-Aug-1981 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
+ Seward Buck

6: Howard Henry Sanders : Birth: 21-Jun-1899, Marriage: unknown, Death: Feb-1967 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
+ Francis Haber

7: Robert Lester Sanders : Birth: 13-Apr-1902, Marriage: 1955 in Elkton, Cecil, Maryland, USA, Death: Mar-1963 in Southington, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
+ Mary Porter

8: Thomas Tripp Sanders : Birth: 14-Jun-1905 in New Britain, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Marriage: unknown, Death: Jan-1965 in Connecticut, USA
+ Aldonna Norkun

Photo Genealogy Resource Materials

To get myself familiar with how to go about trying to determin who was pictured within the photos, I went to my local library to find some resource materials. There are a few really good books which provide detailed information. A couple of these books are;

  • Unlocking the Secrets in Old Photographs by Karen Frisch Ripley
  • Uncovering your Ancestry through Family Photographs by Maureen Taylor

From these books and other resources I consulted, I found it essential to document a few things about each picture. The key elements I chose to document are;

  • Photo number in the order within the book
  • Approximate date of the photo
  • Description of the photo
  • Size of the Photo
  • Type of Photo
  • Possible Subject or Family Group
  • Studio

Now, finally with all the background information laid out and the family groups most likely involved identified it’s time to start looking at some photos. My first strategy employed was to show the photos to family who might have known some of the individuals pictures.

William Alfred Sanders, James Joseph Sanders, ?,  ?

My father thought the two individuals standing were from left to right were William Herbert Sanders (his father) and Joseph James Samders (his uncle). The other two he didn’t identify, possibly other uncles? Unfortunatly, most of the people in the picture were not recognized by my father, his brother or his cousins I showed them to. There were no living relatives from an older generation left.

As you show the photos to your relatives there are at least three distinct possibilities. The first possibility is that they correctly identify one or more of the individuals within the photo. The second possibility is that they do not recognize and can’t identify anyone within the photo. Another possibility also exists is that they incorrectly identify one or more people within the picture. You need to be aware of these as ask your relatives whether they know who is pictured. In my case with the picture above, my dad was fairly certain of the identification of his father and one of his uncles, so I’m confident of two of the individuals.

This next picture is one of the few pictures in the photo book which were marked. It was marked on the back as “Mrs. J Smith 15 Fanen Ave New Haven, CT”.

Sarah (Fraher) Schmidt

Based on the family group sheet of Patrick Fraher and Sarah Hayes, I know this is their daughter Sarah Fraher, who married Julius Schmidt.

This is where I will end this post for this week. I’ve outlined this series of posts, we’ve reviewed the familes in question. Several good reference books were mentioned and we started to look at a few pictures. In two weeks, we will talk about the types of photos, how to put an approximate date on them, photographers imprints and more. Don’t forget to look for the Wordless Wednesday posts. I will post a still unidentified photo from this book. Feel free to leave a reply if you think you know the date or any other details about the photo

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Photo Genealogy Part 2 @ GenealogyBlog
  2. Photo Genealogy – Part 3 @ GenealogyBlog
  3. Photo Genealogy – Part 4 @ GenealogyBlog
  4. Military Monday Mystery – Civil War Veteran Patrick Fraher @ GenealogyBlog

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