How to Submit Your Mystery Photo to the Photo Detective

By Allison Dolan

Do you have shoeboxes filled with unidentified family photographs? Let photo historian Maureen A. Taylor lend a hand. You can submit a mystery photograph for Taylor to analyze online in the Photo Detective blog or in Family Tree Magazine‘s print Photo Detective column. See the Photo Detective blog for examples of the kind of information Taylor may be able to provide about your image. Taylor will contact you by e-mail or phone if your submission is chosen for analysis. In that case, Family Tree Magazine may publish the picture and Taylor’s professional analysis containing your name and the names of any relevant deceased ancestors on this blog or in the magazine. Please note that by submitting your image, you grant Family Tree Magazine permission to use it in any and all print, online and promotional materials. How to submit photos by e-mail: Scan the picture in JPG format with a resolution of 300 dpi. If there are markings on the back, scan it as well. Send the images to Taylor as an e-mail attachment to with the words Family Tree Magazine in the subject line. Include the following in the body of the message:

  • Your name and contact information. Taylor may need to ask you more questions about your picture.
  • Any information you have about the image, such as how it came into your possession, who you suspect is pictured and why, the location, etc.
  • Your specific question about the picture.

How to submit photos by postal mail: Make a photographic copy of your image using a scanner or retail photo kiosk, or by visiting a photo services lab. Using a photocopier will result in a poor-quality image that can’t be analyzed. Copy the back, too, if it contains any markings. Type a letter with the bulleted information above. Mail the letter and copied photo to Photo Detective, Family Tree Magazine, 10151 Carver Rd., Blue Ash, OH 45242. DO NOT send your original photograph—photos will not be returned to you. Disclaimers: Many factors come into play in identifying historical photos; therefore, Family Tree Magazine can’t guarantee the accuracy of an analysis. Not every submitted photo will be analyzed. Taylor is unable provide individuals with free private analyses; however, if you are interested in her professional photo services, please visit her Photo Detective Web site.

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