Photo Mysteries

If you read my previous post, you know my husband and I had our own little Christmas miracle this year. Dennis was thrilled with his presents. He was genuinely touched and pronounced the albums the best gift he has ever received. I wrapped the albums individually, so it was fun to see his face when he opened the first but even more fun when he opened the second!

Now that Christmas is over, I’ve been busy scanning and uploading the photos to my Shively tree on Thanks to the FTU class I’m taking, Organize Your Photos: Preserve Your Family’s Pictorial Legacy, I now know how to create a log file of all the photos. (Great class by the way. I highly recommend it.) And thanks to the Practical Archivist, I knew to scan them at 300 dpi and save them as TIF files. Copies of the TIFs are archived on an external hard drive, and I made JPG copies that live in iPhoto on my Mac. Check it out—I’m actually semi-organized!

Daniel Shively

Scanning the first album has presented some challenges, though. Many of the photos are glued in so tightly that it’s almost impossible to take them out without tearing the pages. And I would really like to see the backs of some of the photos for possible clues to identity and dates. For example: Above is a photo identified as Daniel Shively. The handwritten note on the album page says that Daniel was Michael Shively’s (1807-1900) brother. But Michael also had a son named Daniel (1838-1865). I’ve hit a brick wall with Michael (more about that in a future post), and I know nothing about his family other than that they came from West Virginia via Ohio. So is this a picture of the brother or the son? What do you think?


Family Tree Firsts is an ongoing blog series featuring newbie genealogist Nancy Shively of Skiatook, OK. Read all her posts at Family Tree University.

One thought on “Photo Mysteries

  1. I highly recommend the book ” Uncovering Your Ancestry Through Family Photographs” 2nd Ed. by Maureen A. Taylor. ( I bought it from Family Tree Magazine! ) I just got it in the mail yesterday, so I’ve only read the first chapter. It’s fascinating! Like you, I’ve inherited so many family photos, and this book tells you how to date the photo in many ways-like the clothing, background and props, and the signature or mark of the photographer (if there is one). The signature of the photographer is great, if you have it, but she also talks about the way photos were made, and how to date a photo by that. I think your answer to the question of whether Daniel is Michael’s brother or his son, could be advised by this book, as the photo’s appear to be different materials. Then, you’ll have a direction to go in with your research. I’m not a licensed Genealogist, but another piece of advice I read that helped transform my research, was to research all family members-don’t just focus on your research of Michael. Research his 1st wife and her family, and his brother that was given the land grant right next to Michael. Find out why they were given a land grant. There could be clues in the deed, or if they left a Will, that could tell you more about the family. Hopefully I helped! My best advice would be to get that book and to trust me-it’s money well spent when you’re dealing with all those photos!

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