Thursday, December 21, 2017
Wish There Was a Way
It is no secret that one way to easily obtain the look of old fashioned family photographs is to head to a local antique shop and buy a few hundred-year-old pictures of strangers. Instant heritage. Only...not yours. Just imported.
And yet, how many of us mourn the fact that we are left with relatively little in the way of photographs of our ancestors? There might have been plenty of pictures of our great-grandparents or second greats at the time they were still alive, but where are those photographs now? Surely someone received a copy of those reprints.
The catch is: just as the old family photographs which can be found in the antique shop near me might contain the faces of ancestors who belong to you, you can find similar old photos in a store near you which might have originated in a town near me. Wouldn't it be great if someone could come up with a system to help people reunite with their long-lost family photographs?
Granted, not all photographs were duly labeled with correct—not to mention, complete—names, dates and locations. But even some of the information, if provided, may be enough to bring a photograph back home; witness the puzzle of the mystery photo album I wrote about last year in "A Lost Christmas Greeting." With only a few first names—admittedly, including one as unusual as Penrose—I was able to send that photo collection home, all the way to Ireland.
How many such photographs are languishing in an antique store near you? Are you game to try your hand at reuniting such a treasure with the family who would so thoroughly appreciate receiving it after all these years?
While taking on such a project involves both time and money—not to mention, perseverance and the ability to convincingly play the role of detective—it certainly can be a rewarding effort. Just ask "Far Side," blogger at Forgotten Old Photos, or any one of the bloggers on her blog roll of other researchers with the same goal, such as Emily Ericson of Find Your Family.
I'll certainly be taking up similar projects throughout the upcoming year here on A Family Tapestry, especially after that productive antiquing trip to the California foothills with my good friend Sheri Fenley a couple weeks ago. Those newly-rescued photographs deserve to find their way back home, and I'd love to hasten that process by applying some of the skills I've learned through genealogical research. I know you would, too, whether through your own blog, or through your local genealogical society, or even by getting the word out on your social media site of choice.
If you do decide to try your hand at reuniting old photographs with family members, please share your information with me here. It would be wonderful if we could develop an informal network of such projects, getting the word out so even more people can help us in our labor of love. Those old photographs deserve so much more than just becoming a quaint collectible framed and hung on a stranger's wall.