Tackling the Godfrey Family Photo

By Maureen A. Taylor

Last week’s column focused on Gwen Prichard’s family photo mystery. This small composite image is a genealogical lock. All Gwen has to do is find the key.


In this case, the key is her family photo collection. Gwen spent last week comparing each face in this picture to possible matches in her collection. She’s well on her way to solving this picture puzzle.

Here’s one of her comparisons. In the second row from the top, on the far left, is a little boy in curls.


Gwen has the original photo in her collection.

boy with chair.jpg

He’s dressed in what appears to be a riding outfit for boys, with a whip in his hand. As Gwen looks at each face, she’s trying to match the date of the composite (mid to late 1860s) with what she knows about the folks in her family pictures:

  • Who’s the right age to be in the picture?
  • Do their facial features match—eyes, noses, mouths and shape of face?

I’m not convinced all the images in this composite were taken at the same time. While she’s working on her family collection, I’m studying each tiny picture for clues.

I’ll be back next week with another update on this fascinating photo.

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

  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album