Archive for category Photos

Writing a Family History Using Photographs and Other Images

Posted by on Saturday, 11 April, 2015

This post is another in s series of posts about how to write a family history. I’m hoping this series will inspire some of my regular readers to start writing down their family history. You do not need to have completed all research to start writing about your ancestors, you only need to start. In this post, you will find that you really do not need specific photographs of your ancestor, though it certainly helps. I will again be using my ancestor Edwin Banks for this exercise.

For earlier posts in this series see the following;


One of the easiest way to start writing about your ancestors is to take some photographs or other images which have some meaning about your ancestor and start describing it.

Banks Family, Alfred, Edwin, Edward 1850

This depiction is the earliest image known to exist about my ancestor Edwin A Banks. It does not appear to be a photograph nor did it appear to me to be a painting. It must have been some other media. The twin boys Edwin and Edward are standing around their father Alfred. It is not known which boy is which. They boys appear to me to be about three or four years making the image from about 1849 -1850. Notice the buys and their father are dressed in very fine clothes. Being that their father was a tailor in Seneca, Ontario County, New York, one might wonder if Alfred made these fine clothes.

If you have series of images about your ancestor, you can show how your ancestor has grown and aged over time.

Edwin A Banks & Mary Ann McKeown

This photograph of Edwin Alfred Banks is from about 1895 – 1900. You can see how his appearance changes within a matter of five to ten years from this photograph to the next one pictured below. Notice his receding hair line and more pronounced wrinkles in the second photograph.

Edwin A Banks & Mary Ann McKeown

In the photograph above, Edwin A Banks is standing next to his wife Mary Ann McKeown. The date of the photograph is unknown, but is must have occurred prior to May 19. 1909. That is the date which Edwin’s wife died. They are both dressed in what is likely their finest clothes or clothes perhaps borrowed at the photographers they went to. It appears that Edwin and Mary are perhaps in their late 50’s of early sixties which would date the photograph in about 1905.

You can put in a picture of two of your ancestors children.

Minnie Bell Banks 1873 Hartford Connecticut

This photograph is of Minnie Bell Banks from about 1873. Minnie is the oldest of Edwin’s three children (Minnie, Alfred, Charles).

You do not have to have photos or other images with your ancestors in them. Find or take a photo from the place your ancestor lived, even if that place is not the same as today. You can look in old city directories for buildings or street scenes from where your ancestor lived. Perhaps there’s a photograph from the civil war unit your ancestor served in. That’s a great way to introduce your ancestors civil war service.

Fitch's Home for Soldiers Darien Conencticut

The Fitch Home For Soldiers in Darien, Connecticut is where Edwin spent the last part of his life. Edwin was living there when the 1920 United State Census was taken. He died there on July 3, 1921.


1845 New York City Store Front

The image above was depicted in the 1845 New York City Directory. The image does not have any relation to my ancestor Edwin Banks, but it’s just a short walk from where my ancestor Dr. Henry L. Sanders lived. Other buildings shown in the directory have a similar structure and composition. This is the New York City that my ancestor would have known.

1) Depiction of Alfred, Edwin and Edward in possession of author’s mother.
2) Photograph of Edwin and Bank in the possession of the author.
3) 1845 NYC Directory

Mystery Photo Monday – Fox, ODay – New Britain, Connecticut

Posted by on Monday, 30 March, 2015

Welcome to the very first edition of Mystery Photo Monday. We are looking for your photos and want to help see if we can uncover some mystery behind your photo. Is that Great Aunt Tessie with some unknown fellow? Perhaps you don’t know where or when the photo was taken? Each week I will post a photo which has some mystery behind the photo. We will examine the photo and look for clues. If you are interested in having your photo in an upcoming blog post, please email the photo to The photo should be no more then 500mb in size. A scan of both sides of the photo is helpful. Please let us know everything you know about the photo including;

  • Suspected surnames
  • Locations where the suspected surnames were from
  • Where the photo was taken, if known
  • When the photo was taken, if known
  • Size of the photo
  • What type of photo it is, if known
  • Any other pertinent information

Depending upon the number of submissions, it may be a while before your photo can be featured in a blog post.


Surnames: Fox, O’Day
Locations: New Britain, Connecticut
Type of Photo: Tin Type
Size of Photo: 2 3/8″ by 3 1/2″
Date of Photo: About 1890s

Observations: The large hats and dresses seem to suggest this photo was taken in the 1890s. The woman on the right seems to be holding something in her hand, though it’s not detailed enough to make out what it is. She also has a moderate sized broach or pin right at the collar. The woman on the left is wearing some type of necklace but the photo is not detailed enough to make out any details on the necklace. No rings can be seen on either woman, which may suggest that neither woman was married.

Fox, Unknown group, New Britain, Connecticut



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Almost Wordless Wednesday – Doyle, Unknown Group, Bristol, Connecticut

Posted by on Wednesday, 25 March, 2015

I’m trying to identify this image. The photographer is the Gale Studio in Bristol, Connecticut. It is most likely a group of Doyles from Bristol. Here are some questions I have about the photo.

  • When was the photo taken?
  • Who is in the photograph?
  • What is that item pinned to the woman’s dress who is sitting?

If you can help with any of these questions, I would love here a reply.

Doyle, Unknown group, Bristol, Connecticut

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Mystery Monday : School Photo Album About 1888, Revere, Massachusetts

Posted by on Monday, 16 March, 2015

Who are the people in this photo album? What school is it from?

The following photos are from a school photo album from about 1888. One of the photos is almost certainly my ancestor Minnie Isobel Banks. Who the others are or which school this is, I would love to figure out. I don’t know for sure which is Minnie either. All of these photos are mini tin type photos.

If anyone out there can fill in any details, I would love to hear from you.

Cover Photo:
Edwin A Banks & Mary Ann McKeown

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Edwin A Banks & Mary Ann McKeown

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Edwin A Banks & Mary Ann McKeown

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Edwin A Banks & Mary Ann McKeown

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Edwin A Banks & Mary Ann McKeown

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Edwin A Banks & Mary Ann McKeown

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Edwin A Banks & Mary Ann McKeown

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Edwin A Banks & Mary Ann McKeown

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Edwin A Banks & Mary Ann McKeown

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Edwin A Banks & Mary Ann McKeown