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Griffis: Easter bonnets hold clues in photos

Family photographs that are unlabeled present interesting challenges for researchers. Photos that show our ancestors’ fashions and hair styles can be indications of the approximate time that photos were taken.

A helpful website, Style Clues & Clues in Antique Photos, at http://tinyurl.com/yb27gjze, provides links to websites that illustrate such things as women’s clothing, hats, hairstyles, fashion accessories and men’s fashions, broken down by decade from the 1850s to the 1950s.

There are also links to Columbia College of Chicago’s collection of women’s clothing, as well as London’s Victoria and Albert Museums that illustrate clothing trends between 1840 and 1960. Links are also provided to websites showing vintage shoes, eyeglasses, and more.

Do you have a photo of a lady in her Easter bonnet? Perhaps the subject can be guessed, once a time period has been established. (On a personal note, my mother loved pretty hats, and I prize my photos of her wearing some of them. Some unique hats of the 1920s and 1930s are identified at https://tinyurl.com/2sld9f; this website also offers additional hat-related links.)

Albums rescued

Lorine McGinnis Schulze has a collection of more than 80 antique family photo albums of the 1860s to 1880s that she has found at antique auctions, stores, flea markets and garage sales. Whenever she spots an old family album, she can’t resist. “I have to rescue it!”

The index to the photos in her albums (on her website, Lost Faces: Photos of Ancestors), at https://tinyurl.com/yaauh2zw, includes the surnames associated with each album along with a link to the actual album. “The photos are free for you to view and save … for your personal use.” It is possible to conduct a search.

Search on YouTube

FamilyTree.com has posted an interesting blog, at https://tinyurl.com/y7rw37cv, noting that one may find little-known information about a family ancestor or hometown by conducting a search on YouTube.

“You might discover a series of photos or better yet a video … that you didn’t know existed. …This video sharing site started back in February 2005 and there are now thousands of videos and viewed by millions of people.”

Hard-to-read tombstones

Many articles have been written about the importance of not damaging tombstone inscriptions. Genealogist Janine Adams, has suggested an easy way to interpret a carving — using aluminum foil. “Cover a gravestone with foil and rub it (with a sponge) to make the hidden words … almost magically appear.” Read (and see) how she was able to read her great-great-great grandmother’s almost unreadable stone using this method, at https://tinyurl.com/yd8mpsu9.

Passport applications

An article on The Ancestor Hunt website cites “19 Reasons to Research Passport Applications for Genealogy” at https://tinyurl.com/ybtayyy2. For example, an application may include a photograph of the individual, or, perhaps, a physical description, which “may be the only hint of what they looked like.”

The article includes a link to FamilySearch’s free US Passport Applications database.

Queries, as well as a general exchange of genealogical material that readers would like to share, will be printed in the column for free. Contact Joan Griffis by e-mailing JBGriffis@aol.com.

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