New Old Photographs

Myrta Hill (1)

For as many years as eBay has been in existence I have been bidding on and purchasing old process photographs with children and dogs.  In recent years these have become a little too pricey for me to win often.  The photograph above is one I recently purchased for a very decent price.  It’s an ambrotype in a pristine Union case.  In the case was a slip of paper that read Myrta Hill and Mrs. R. E. Smith, woohoo!  For me this is the holy grail of photography finds.  I can match the photograph with a family.  After a brief search on Ancestry I found Myrta’s family and was able to contact the owner of their family tree and send them a copy of the photograph.

I love it when that happens.  I love the investigative work that goes into this and I am all too familiar with the feeling of seeing new old photographs of relatives.  Being online with the genealogy community has given me so many opportunities to communicate with relatives that I had no idea existed.  They all are similar minded and very open to sharing what they have.  There have been instances where I have met long-lost cousins with photographs in hand and others that have emailed me diary transcripts from the mid to late 1800’s.

In the past few months, with online connections, I have seen photographs of my father as a baby and my grandparents that I have never seen before.  It’s really a wonderful experience.  With this photograph arriving in the mail I was able to share that experience with a total stranger and that is something that makes searching these little treasures out worthwhile.  I often wonder when I buy one of these what happened to the photograph’s family, especially when there isn’t any identifying information with or on the photo.  Because of the time period of my collection we are going back a few generations and in my mind I know that someone’s estate was cleared out and things put up for auction.  Either there were no family members left, they didn’t realize what was in the auctioned items or they didn’t care.  Sad.

I have been the “keeper” of family photographs forever.  Someone’s household is cleaned out the photographs come to me.  I scan them, put them in chronological order and file the originals away.  I currently have thousands of photographs from all branches of my family as well as Bill’s.  The beauty of this is in the sharing.  Being able to show other family members the photographs they have never seen.  Sharing is a little gift on my part but very often it seems like a big gift to the receiver.  I know, being on the receiving end is wonderful.

Posting will be a bit sporadic for another couple of weeks.  I will be packing up all those photographs and moving them to Rowe (hopefully their final home).  No small feat because moving them can be a real distraction.  I have to just move them and not look at them until I have time.  I expect regular postings to resume once I’m there.  Send positive thoughts for a smooth transition!

4 comments on “New Old Photographs

  1. I have done the same thing. I never get tired of find and discovering the person and stories behind old photographs. When I lived in England I would go to any charity second hand sop I could and rummage threw to find old photos. There are someone’s life story caught in a snap shoot. My mothers’ home burnt down when she was a teenager and they lost all their family photos. Between the different genealogy websites I belong to I have found some of my mothers side of the family old photos that others have posted. I save them and re-post them on my Facebook page for other family to see them. My Aunt, my mothers sister is the only one left alive on that side of the family, and see is beyond thrilled with any photos I find because she has so little memories of her families members prior to the years that the fire burnt all their photos. Thanks for you post, it was enjoyable to read.

  2. chmjr2 says:

    Best of luck in your move. I also enjoy helping people find their family history. You do a great service when you do. Hope you have much luck with your bids and win at a low price.

  3. dca says:

    Good luck with your move. And thanks for being the “kin keeper” in your families, and making history live for others.

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