Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Women's History Month 2015: Images of her Life

Library Company of Philadelphia
I love adding images to narratives about female ancestors. Photos help tell a story and they make it more interesting for those who aren't big fans of genealogy (I know it's hard to believe such people exist). But we aren't always so lucky to have inherited photographs to tell that story. So what then?

Think about using images of the place she lived, maps, activities she enjoyed, photos of events. Get creative with how you tell the story of her life. My resource for today is one of my favorite websites, Flickr the Commons.

Now, I didn't say Flickr. Flickr the Commons is a part of Flickr but its goal is to share public domain photos from  the world's institutions.

The tagline for Flickr:The Commons   is “Help us catalog the world’s public photo archives.” While this does describe the social media aspect of The Commons, it is far more than that. The Commons currently has digitized photos from archives around the world including The Royal Library, Denmark;  National Library of Ireland;  the National Archives UK, State Library of Queensland, Australia; National Archives of Norway; as well as United States repositories such as The Library of Congress; Center for Jewish History, NYC; New York Public Library; Library of Virginia and the George Eastman House.

Photos uploaded to The Commons have no known copyright restrictions. Library of Virginia explains the term “no known copyright restrictions” on their website as:

…the Library is unaware of any current copyright restrictions on the works so designated, either because the term of copyright may have expired without being renewed or because no evidence has been found that copyright restrictions apply. The user of the images must understand that the Library of Virginia cannot guarantee that private or commercial use of the images shared on The Commons will not violate the rights of unidentified copyright holders, and the Library cannot be responsible for any liability resulting from the use of these images. (

The Commons provides a way for you to search  photographs that can help to tell the story of an ancestor's military experience, what the place they came from looked like, or even how people dressed during that time. Search by keyword or by institution. There's so much to be found.

To get started, consider searching on an event that took place during your ancestor's lifetime like World War I for example.

Take a look and the find images to tell her story.

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