Archive for March, 2012

Photo Genealogy – Part 3

Posted by on Sunday, 11 March, 2012

Old Photo Identification

Four weeks ago we started a series of posts regarding photo genealogy. For those of you who have been following along, you know the background. For those who are just seeing this blog series for the 1st time; I acquired a 19th century photo album of my own family. It has pictures from the 1860s to about 1930. This series of posts have documented what I’ve done to identify at least sme of the people in the photos.

Below are some relevant links to the series of blog posts.

Part 1 contains a detailed overview of the background and family group sheets. Part 2 contains a good portion of how to go about dating and determining who is in the pictures. The other posts are still unidentified photos of people from the album. This post will go through a number of additional images and how to go about identifying them.

The cabinet card below is that of a young man in a sailor’s uniform. An unusual feature in this image was that it was located with a locket of red hair. Since we already knew the family groups involved it wasn’t hard to pinpoint the most likely subject depicted within this photo.
Joseph James Sanders
The photo is almost certainly that of Joseph James Sanders. This was the only son of Joseph Charles Sanders and Mary Agnes Fraher to be in the Navy. The only way to get a good indication of who is in this picture was to have a good understanding and to have done genealogical homework regarding the family.

The next photo has an interesting story. It appears to me to be a picture of a father and son. The man standing is obviously much older than the younger man sitting. Tucked right behind the image in the photo album was an anti-tobacco pledge card from 1903. It just goes to show you that even back in 1903 people must have known smokng wasn’t good for you.
Joseph James Sanders

Joseph James Sanders

The anti-tobacco card was signed by Joseph (James) Sanders on May 19, 1903. He must be the younger man sitting. The facial features seem to match the young man in the sailor uniform to me which is additional confirmation. The older man must be Joseph Charles Sanders, which is Joseph James Sanders father. The ironic thing about the anti-tobacco pledge is that Jospeh James Sanders grandfather John Charles Sanders owned and ran a tobacco shop in New Britain for many years before he died in 1901. With all these common names James, Joseph, John, Charles, Sanders, it’s gets to be almost a tongue twister keeping the family straight.

Above we just used another good method to help identify your old photos. You can gather all the photos which have already been marked or identified. Compare the photos which have been marked to unknown subjects in other photos.

Now let’s look at the picture below. Look closely at the facial features. Pay particular attention to the eyes, nose and ears. The man below appears to be the same man as the man standing in the picture above. If you have pictures which appear to be the same person and you’re not 100% sure who they are, make sure you mark them, print out a copy and put them in a folder (digital and/or hard copy).
Sanders, Fryher - New Britain, Connecticut
Notice the photographers imprint on the photograph. It’s Knight Studio. Knight Studio started operating around 1890 and was in operation until at least 1908. The photographers imprint is a really good aid to date your photographs.

Knowing all that you can know about the potential family members in a photo can pay off when trying to identify likely subjects within a photo. Take the following photo and photographers imprint.
Sanders, Fryher - New Britain, Connecticut
Sanders, Fryher - New Britain, Connecticut
There’s nothing really unusual about the photo or distingusiable. However, the photographers imprint says Sanfrancisco, California. This is very unusual as the home of all the family members in question was New Britiain, Connecticut, which is 3,000 miles away. One family member was known to be in San Francisco for a period of time. Joseph James Sanders (the same as the sailor pictured above) was in San Francisco for a period of time during his time in the Navy. Though not 100% sure, Joseph is the likely person in this photo.

Photo identification is going to be a lot about process of elimination as well as positively identifying the subject in the photo. Some of the photos in this post I’m not 100% sure of the subjects. We’ve gone through s process of elimination and determined the most likely subjects. I’ve been contacting some 2nd cousins of mine who are known to descend from Joseph James Sanders and who’ve had an interest in genealogy. Hopefully they will have a couple of photos of Joesph James Sanders at various ages and then we can be 100% sure.

We’ve covered a few more photos this week and gone through some methods of identification. In two weeks the next and last in this series of posts will be published. It will focus in on some still unidentified photos and the on-going process to identify them. Also don’t forget to look at the Wordless Wednesday posts. These posts will also have photos from this album.

Worldless Wednesday – Sanders Photo Book – Image 47

Posted by on Wednesday, 7 March, 2012

Photo from New Britain, Hartford County, Connecticut. From an album with an inscription including Sanders-Fryher – New Britain, Conn.

Sanders-Fryher Photo Book Image 47

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy – Week 10 – Genealogy Road Trip

Posted by on Tuesday, 6 March, 2012

I don’t know if this would technically be a genealogy road trip but I did meet a number of family members I had not remembered ever seeing before or since. The trip happened many years ago when I was just a young boy.

We all packed in a car or two and drove from Connecticut to Long Island, New York. The exact town and destination I do not remember. We arrived at the house of my dad’s 1st cousin (Buster). I remember the house seemed a little small but I remember the pool in the back yard and another cousin who live right across through the back yard. He also had a pool.

I was playing around near the poolside and the next thing I knew someone had pulled me into the water. I’m pretty sure I was trying to tease someone and he ended up getting the most laughs. It was ok and all in good fun. Later after dinner we all gathered outside onto a porch, perhaps with a small fire going. We played a game of twenty questions trying to solve some type of riddle during that time. What the riddle was or the yes/no questions we asked I don’t remember. I just remember it being a little cold, but hving a lot of fun.

When it was time to go to sleep, we pitched a huge tent. There were two rooms in the tent and it seemed like it could sleep twelve of us or more. Unfortunately it poored that night. I woke up and I was soaking wet. I remember going into the house and ended up sleeping inside.

The next day it was time to leave. The whole trip had been a lot of fun. I got to meet my dad’s cousin. That’s the last time I remember ever going over his house.

Free Genealogy Databases

Posted by on Sunday, 4 March, 2012

Free Family Research and Genealogy Databases

With shows like “Who Do You Think You Are?” and others, there’s been an increase in the number of people looking into their family tree. Some of these shows make it look easy even though they go through the proper family research to dot all the i’s and cross the t’s. I wonder how much family research is done prior to meeting the guest star. My guess would be at leasy 60-80 hours of research in archives, not counting travel time is required by researchers to produce each show. This is just my own guess not based upon any scientific estimation process.

Shows like this make me wonder how many free genealogy databases are out there for you to do real family research? Do these genalogy databases have access to digitalized original records? This post will explore various free genealogy database as well as to go through a process to find genelaogy databases which are of interest to you.

First, there are many subscription based genealoogy databases out there today. Did you know that most of these provide a free trial offer? Each genealogy database listed below has a free trial offer (at least when this post was written they did). If you try these offers back to back, you’ll have more than a month of free access to some of the best geenalogy database out there today. Each has it’s own strengths. These offers are subject to change by the individual website.


No discussion of free genealogy databases would be complete without talking about I know many of you may be saying at this point that ancestry. com is a paid subscription site and you would be correct. However, you can Try FREE with a 14-Day Free Trial. Just remember to can trial if you really don’t want to sign up. Also, there are other ways to use for free. There are always some databases and indexes which are available for free and opens up some databases for short periods of time for free. Local and State Libraries may also have a paid subscription to the library edition of If this is the case, you’ll be able to use for free, you’ll just have to go to the library.


One more major company which has genealogy databases to use for free is They offer a free seven day trial. They offer many of the same data you might get at other subscription website including the census. They also indicate they have a wdie selection of newspapers. As with all paid subscription sites, if you want to use only the free trial period, make sure you cancel the subscription before any charges are made.

One Great Family

One Great Family database is unlike the other major databasese. OneGreatFamily offers a free seven day trial. One great family has a large collection of family trees within it’s databases. It attempts to combine the trees of all of it’s members into one big family tree. This can be a great aid if you’re looking to connect with other researchers.


If you are looking for original military records there’s no better place to go than Fold3. They offer a free seven day trial. This website offers military records from virtually every American War since the Revolutionary War. You can find service records, pension records and more.

World Vital Records

Another major company which has genealogy databases to use for free is They offer a free seven day trial. This database has a wide selection of vital records including birth, marriage and death. As with all paid subscription sites, if you want to use only the free trial period, make sure you cancel the subscription before any charges are made.

Summary of Free Trial Offers – 14 days – 7 days
OneGreatFamily – 7 days
Fold3 – 7 days – 3 days

Family Search

No talk about free genealogy database can be complete without discussing . The Mormons have the largest collection of vital records from everyone around the world. They have these records stored within their climate controlled vaults in Utah. Indexes to many of these records have been put on-line and many more are currently being inded. In addition to the indexes, some of the some of the original images also are displated when you find a record which matches your search criteria and you click on that record.

Heritage Quest

Heritage Quest is another free database which has digital copies of the census records, revolutionary war pension and bounty records and so much more. In order to use Heritage Quest, you’re going to have to find a library which offers it. Here in Connecticut, our state library system has it on-line through and you can use it from the comfort of your own home. You will have to have a libary card from any of the libraries in the state of Connecticut in order to sign in and use it.

Finding other relevant genealogy databases

There’s such an explosion of what you might find on-line in terms of digitalized documents you never know what you might find. Google is a great way to discover what other free information might be out there. For example, I know my wife’s ancestor Joseph Dallas Pool(e) was from Georgia and likely died there. I tried a Google search of “georgia death certificates”. On the first page of the results was a link to Georgia’s Virtual Vault . It turned out to be an on-line database of Georigia Death Certificates from 1919 – 1927. Luckily for me I found my wife’s ancestors death certificate with an on-line digital copy which was free of charge. He was indexed as Dale Pool.

There are a number of ways to structure your query if you’re looking for records for your ancestor. Here are some which have worked for me.

  • {place} birth certificate
  • {place} marriage certificate
  • {place} death certificate
  • {place} newspapers archive

Replace {place} above with the place your ancestor came from. Substitute the place with state, county and town in seperate queries. Sometime the records are at the state level, sometimes at the county and sometimes at the local level. Each search may turn up different records.

Determine what large universaries are lcoated where your ancestor came from. These large universaries often have large digital collections on-line and available to the public for free. More and more records are coming on-line every day.