Archive for the ‘photo identification’ Category

National Genealogical Society, Cincinnati, OH

If you happen to be in the Cincinnati area, the National Genealogical Society is having its annual Family History Conference at the Duke Energy Center.  There’s lots of great stuff going on.  I’ll be speaking on Photo Detecting 101 and Searching for Images of the War of 1812 Generation.  There are also tons of other speakers and demonstrations throughout the week.  Come visit my booth and say hi!  I’m also offering photo consultations at the conference rate if you have any photo mysteries you’d like solved.

Hope to see you there!


New Website:

I’m really happy about the changes to my business and I hope you’ll be too. This week I launched a new website, It’s to ask all your photo related questions so go ahead and ask or just fill out the form to join in one of the Ask Maureen tele-seminars. The first webinar is May 17th at 1 pm EST. It’s only open to the first 200 registrants though!

Can’t wait to see your questions!

Announcing the Launch of: Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

In this book I turn my attention to portraits and pictures taken in the Civil War era to help you find wartime stories in your family photo collection. These images, whether it’s a man in uniform or a woman posing with her children, tell the story of your family’s involvement in a critical period of history. If you’re not sure if your photo dates from that timeframe, this book will help you determine when it was taken.

Click on the Book cover above to order your copy today!

Queries and Answers: Misidentified Online Image

Clydette sent me a question with a online component. Someone in her family has posted a picture on a website, but it’s identified incorrectly. She needs to convince her relative that the caption is wrong.

If I were in a similar situation, I’d start by compiling evidence including photographs of the person mentioned in the caption and other pictures of the individual misidentified. That’s a good first step, but if no photos exist building your case can be more difficult. Try answering the following questions:

Were both individuals the same age?
Were they living in the same location? Let’s hope there is a photographer’s imprint on the image.
What are they wearing?
Where was the incorrectly identified picture taken?
Is there anyone still living who knew the person?

If her relative sticks to her story, then Clydette might want to start a blog. Her first posting could debunk the caption.

Lost Pictures: A Picture Mystery in Reverse

At a recent conference, David E. Rencher, Chief Genealogical Officer at approached me with an interesting dilemma. He has a business receipt for a family picture, but no photograph. It’s a picture mystery in reverse.

In the Abraham Rencher Papers at the Wilson Manuscript Library of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill is a receipt from John Gihon’s Photographic Art Gallery at 1024 Chestnut St., Philadelphia. According to the receipt, Gihon’s client, Mr. W. C. Rencher asked to have 12 copies made of carte de visite and paid in advance. Rencher posed for the picture on July 27, 1865. David Rencher told me that William Conway Rencher is the son of Abraham Rencher, brother to Umstead Rencher who is David’s 2nd great-grandfather. With no picture in the family and no photograph in the Rencher papers, David began his search by researching the photographer.

Gihon ( 1839-1878) was a well-known Philadelphia photographer and a frequent contributor to the periodical, Philadelphia Photographer from 1867 to 1878. A bibliography of material about Gihon can be found in William S. Johnson’s Nineteenth-Century Photography: An Annotated Bibliography 1839-1879 (G.K. Hall, 1990). According to Linda A. Ries and Jay W. Ruby’s book, Directory of Pennsylvania Photographers 1839-1900 (Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1999), Gihon was at 1024 Chesnut St. in the following years, 1859-61 and again from 1864-68. David has Gihon’s obituary from the Philadelphia Photographer (November 1878) and even an advertisement for his business. He even knows what Gihon’s building on Chesnut Street looked like. Drawings appeared in The History of Chesnut Street, Philadelphia by Casper Souder, Jr. (King & Baird, 1860). Unfortunately, he has not been successful in locating any large collections of images by Gihon. He’s still a man without a picture.

Despite all his efforts, David is unable to locate this missing picture of his ancestor. If there were 12 copies made, then it’s easy to assume that one of them remained in family hands. David is left with little choice but to continue his search for all family descendants of W. C. Rencher in the hopes that someone has the picture to go with the receipt. That would close the case!

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