Solving the Uniform Mystery, Part 2

By Maureen A. Taylor

Finding images using Google Images, like we did in Part 1 of this series, is just one way of locating image matches. I’m still looking for the above uniform, which contains a feathered cap, a sword, sash, and those distinctive crowns on the sleeves. Another reader suggested using Pinterest. A great suggestion.


It’s a social image sharing site and a bookmarking one rolled together. Users collect, i.e. pin, images to boards. When you click on an image on a board it links to a blog post or web page for instance where the original appeared.


It’s a wonderful way to organize web images and information you might want to see again and you can re-share within Pinterest as well.

Remember that just because you find a good piece of information linked to an image doesn’t mean it’s correct. You have to weigh the evidence and the source of that information. If the board re-shares information from a site like the Smithsonian or the Library of Congress for example, then you know that an expert has created that data. Weigh what you find and then use a proof standard for sources to verify.

Use Pinterest as a way to search further for the documentation. Pinning “cites” the sources, but look further to see how that data adds up.

You can also create boards of images from your collection and share those boards with family.

There is a board on Pinterest called Secret Societies—Fraternal…. Joining Pinterest is free. Try it and see if you like it. Family Tree Magazine has a Pinterest page as well!

I have friends who aren’t genealogists who use the site to save home decorating suggestions and recipes. There are a lot of things you can do with Pinterest.

Hmm. Now that I take a closer look at this pin, only the hat is different. This could signify a different rank in the organization.

uniform mystery

Crown on sleeve: Check.

Sash: check

Sword: Check.

Photo identification is all about looking at the pictorial clues then the evidence and always returning to think about it all again.


Perhaps the man in the original blog post is a member of the Knights of Pythias/Freemason’s after all. The image in the link is for sale on Etsy. Does the seller know for sure that the image is of a Freemason or was it a guess?

Let’s keep looking!

Want to become a photo detective? Our Family Photo Detective book will teach readers how to identify and verify people in family photographs by comparing facial features in a collection of photos.

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