More Web sites and message boards dedicated to photographs are appearing every month. They provide a great opportunity to reconnect with lost pictures and distant relatives or to post your request on a bulletin board for the whole world to see. There are basically four types of Internet-based resources for genealogists interested in photographs:
- Reunion sites: These attempt to reunite photographs found in tag sales and antique shops with their original families. Some charge a fee per image while others consider their mission a public service.
- Family Web pages: One of the ways to locate images online is to enter your family surnames into a search engine to locate family pages. You can easily try this with Family Tree Magazine‘s SuperSearch feature. A friend used a search engine and discovered a photograph of her great-grandfather, his wife and their children posted on a family Web site. She then contacted the creator of the site for additional information and photographs.
- Auctions: You may be able to use online auctions such as eBay at www.ebay.com to purchase items that relate to your family. Enter your surname or a place name and see what happens. You may find not only photographs, but artifacts as well. One genealogist found memorabilia relating to a relative’s business.
- Message boards: Communicating with other people of the same surname via GenForum at genforum.genealogy.com and similar sites can uncover additional genealogical information and photographs. One woman posted a message concerning missing data on a branch of her family. A respondent not only supplied the genealogical data but told her that she owned a photograph album that belonged to the family. Copies of those pictures gave the researcher a new collection of photographs of a branch of her family from the 1870s. (For more on connecting with your kin online, including tips on using GenForum, see The Cousin Connection.)
Maureen A. Taylor, owner and principal of www.ancestralconnections.com, is the author of Uncovering Your Ancestry through Family Photographs (Betterway Books, $18.99). In a regular feature on Family Tree Magazine’s Web site, she helps users identify old family photos.