Photo Detective: Ancestral Wear-abouts
2/1/2007
Your kin's ethnic dress can tell you where they came from. Here's how to read the clues.

If you have a family photograph of people in unfamiliar attire — such as the outfits on these two women — you might wonder “What in the world?” Instead, ask “Where in the world?” That photo could show your immigrant ancestors dressed in clothing common in their homeland.

Fortunately, you needn't make a trans-Atlantic voyage to figure out the origins of a foreign photograph. Finding your family's homeland based on a picture is easier and cheaper than buying a travel package on Orbitz. The same clues that helped me sort out this photo mystery can lead to breakthroughs in your own immigrant ancestry.