Pre-Photography Toolkit

Pre-Photography Toolkit

Just because many of your ancestors lived before the invention of photography doesn't mean there are no pictures of them. Start your search for portraits and descriptions of pre-photography ancestors with these six sources.

Find it on the Web

American Memory Project

<memory.loc.gov>: Search by collection or the entire group of 7 million digitized records.

Getty Research Institute

<www.getty.edu/research/library>: The institute developed The Art and Architecture Thesaurus and The Union List of Artists’ Names. You can search its databases through an online catalog.

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

<www.loc.gov/rr/print>: About half of the division’s holdings are accessible through its online catalog.

Making of America

<moa.umdl.umich.edu>: Search online digitized books and journals from the antebellum period through Reconstruction.

National Portrait Gallery

<www.npg.si.edu>: Search by subject of the painting and then look for biographical data. You can specify the artistic medium you’re looking for — painting, engraving, caricature and others.

Otherdays.com

<www.otherdays.com>: Use this site’s online library of digitized photographs from the Lawrence Collection (1870 to 1910) or its prints and drawings galleries to find scenes of Ireland.

On the Bookshelf

The Ancestry Family Historian’s Address Book by Juliana Szucs Smith (Ancestry)

The Art of Family: Genealogical Artifacts in New England edited by D. Brenton Simons and Peter Benes (New England Historic Genealogical Society)

Finding Images Online: Online User’s Guide to Image Searching in Cyberspace by Paula Berinstein, edited by Susan E. Feldman (Pemberton Press)

Painting and Portrait Making in the American Northeast (Boston University Scholarly Publications)

Organizations & Archives

American Antiquarian Society

185 Salisbury St. Worcester, MA 01609 (508) 755-5221

<www.americanantiquarian.org>: The society has strong collections of 18th- and 19th-century engravings, which you can search online. Researchers must apply to use the collections.

The New York Public Library

Print Collection Humanities and Social Sciences Library Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street New York, NY 10018 (212) 930-0817

<www.nypl.org/research/chss/spe/art/print/print.html>: Learn about the history of printing and search the library’s collection.

Allen County Public Library

900 Webster St. Box 2270 Fort Wayne, IN 46801 (260) 421-1200

<www.acpl.lib.in.us>:

Like most large research libraries, Allen County Public Library has a special department devoted to art research.

American Printing History Association

Box 4922 Grand Central Station New York, NY 10163

<www.printinghistory.org>:

The American Printing History Association promotes the study of the history of printing.
 

From the February 2003 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

 

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