Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Home Sources: Special Occasion Photos

Photographs are great for what they tell us about our families.  Most of us have the infamous unidentified family photos. In those cases we have to see what the photo itself can tell us.

There are photos taken for various reasons and revolving around all kinds of topics; events, celebrations, milestones, family group photos, etc. Since no one writes why they took a photo on the back of the photograph, sometimes we are lucky enough to be able to figure the "why" out just by studying what is depicted in the photograph.

This is one of those photographs with no identifying information.  But upon closer inspection you can tell that this happy couple is posing with a lot of silver.  One could hypothesis that this might be a picture of them with gifts from their 25th anniversary party.  This is a photograph from a collection of family documents, not of my family, I purchased on eBay. And in that collection is an invitation to a 25th wedding anniversary, course that doesn't mean that the photo and that invitation are from the same event.

The gifts on the table also include greeting cards and even a Western Union Telegram. What I especially like is that next to the telegram is a travel iron that someone gave the couple. It is the item that's in the box. (Side note: Can you imagine being at your anniversary and someone gave you a travel iron?  "Gee, thanks." Well it is partially silver.)

This type of picture might also help you identify family heirlooms that you or another family member have inherited.  I have also seen photos like this where a woman has stood next to a  table of her prized collection. These photos are great and they provide us with some ideas of what our ancestor treasured.

The point is, take out those old photos and start looking at them closely to get clues to family events, homes, anything that will help you  learn more about their lives and even provide ideas for documents to further your research. 


boniourkee said...

Necessity is the mother of invention..........................

Alice Dilts said...

What an excellent point about actually looking closer at the photo to see what is lying there.