What I Saw at the National Genealogical Society Conference

By Maureen A. Taylor

Thank you to everyone who stopped by my booth at the National Genealogical Society Conference last week! I looked at a lot of photos and many people promised to send in submissions for this column.

Larae Schraeder showed me two photos. Here’s one of them (I’m still working on the other):


It’s a portrait of the Jeffers Family of Missouri. There is so much to like about this picture.

It was taken circa 1890, based on the women’s peaked shoulder seams.


This was the style for a few years from 1889 to 1892.

The whole family dressed up for this group portrait, likely taken by an itinerant photographer. Look closely at these two details:

  • You can see the temporary wall set up and the edge of the backdrop.


  • In the second closeup, you can see that the backdrop stands on legs and the grass beneath the family’s feet.


The family took their excursion to the photographer very seriously by dressing up for the portrait and posing with solemn expressions.

This photo from the Ralph M. and Nettie Finley Jeffers collection is a family history treasure.

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

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