Next Steps After Solving a Photo Mystery

By Maureen A. Taylor

What do you do after solving an old-photo mystery? I’m hoping you label the picture on the back using a soft graphite pencil. I’m also hoping you let that photograph take you to a new level of genealogy research.

While the group portrait featured in last week’s blog didn’t end up being Yvette LaGonterie’s relatives, she used the identification of the Reverend Miller’s family to circle back to her own family research.


She used Google to locate information on the house her ancestors lived in at 86 Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn. It’s a fun research twist to use real estate sites to learn more about the places your ancestors lived. The house was new when Anna and Edward Powers raised their family. Today it’s worth nearly $1.5 million.

Real estate sites can provide:

  • current value of an ancestral home
  • the date of construction
  • photographs of the building

Once I have an address for an ancestor, I often use sites like Zillow and Google Maps to locate places where my family lived.


Yvette also sent along a photograph of her grandmother, posed to show off her oversize coat, taken in 1921. It’s a great fashion photo.

Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album