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How often have you came across a photograph in your collection and the people in it don’t seem familiar. You interview family members and they do not recall who it is either. Who are these mystery people? When was this picture taken? Where was it taken? The book “Family Photo Detective” by Maureen A. Taylor is a great resource for learning how to find genealogy clues in old photos and solve family photo mysteries.
I recently checked this book out from the Portsmouth Public Library and after flitted through the pages I found it to be more than just the typical fluff filled book filled with common-sense advice such as reading the back of the picture or to interview living relatives. This text delves into the technical aspects of photography and print to provide the reader with information that helps limit the scope of their search as well as detailed information in how to preserve priceless heirlooms. The book does not stop at merely analyzing the photographs but expands into contextual clues including letters, stamps, family records, hair and clothing styles, all of which help to estimate a date and location and ultimately, hopefully, help identify those in the photograph.
This book is an excellent desk reference for those that are interested in photo preservation, genealogy, and anyone who really wants to find who who that mystery person is staring back at them in the picture from long ago.
“When my husband’s cousin passed away, two old photo albums were given to us. Most of the pictures were labeled. This picture was loose and stuck inside of one of the albums. It was not labeled. This is a beautiful family picture and we would love to know who they are. The cousin’s name was Roberta Wrightsel and her parent’s were Ralph Victor Wrightsel and Hazel Dell Huffman. This picture could be on either the Huffman or Wrightsel side. If you recognize any of them, please let us know! Thank you.”
“The photo was found in my father’s trunk after his passing. His family has a direct connection to Scioto county with my great-great-grandfather, great-grandfather, and grandfather being from the area. I’m told that Thomas Katon, my great-great-grandfather, is listed as the county’s first blacksmith. The Katon name has been spelled Caton, Keton, and finally Cayton…..there may even be some other spellings that I haven’t run across yet.
The photo has an embossed matte with the name Harris’ Art Gallery, Portsmouth. If I could find the time that the Harris Art Gallery/Photo Studio was in operation, I might be able to narrow the time frame, but I haven’t been able to find the right Portsmouth records yet. The type of clothing design may also help. The apparel seems to be before the 1900’s and suggests even Victorian collars, etc.—possibly 1880-90’s. I have both aunts and uncles from that time frame so I can’t narrow the search from that standpoint. If anyone recognizes either of these faces from this or other photos, I would appreciate a name…….my source for such information is gone.
I would be willing to share digital copies or computer printed images with anyone interested. I can be contacted by snail mail at
24477 Dixie Highway, Perrysburg, Ohio, 43551
or e-mail at email@example.com
WebAdmin Note: The Harris Art Gallery in Portsmouth was in operation circa 1903 as evidenced by the 1903 Photo Era Magazine where the gallery was an award winner. There are also several references to this establishment in the Portsmouth Public Library Digital Collection. Research of Portsmouth City Directories for this time period would help establish it’s location and time-frame.
“This photo that has a notation on the back “Miss Moore’s 6th Grade Class”. I am guessing that it may be of a group of students in the Valley School District (Lucasville). I would guess from the dress that it was taken in the early 1930s. I am hoping that someone will be able to identify persons in this photo.”
Donald H. Caudill
This photo has been identified as Miss Rawley’s 6th grade class. I am guessing that the class is in the Valley School district in the 1930s. If anyone can give a clue, I would appreciate hearing from them. Donald H. Caudill
These two unidentified pictures belonged to my Great-grandfather Edwin Godwin Turner (1872-1952), who lived most of his life in Scioto Co., OH. Edwin G. Turner was the son of Martin Slocum Turner and Emaline (Rose) Turner. His grandparents were Joseph and Aurilla (Slocum) Turner AND Simon S. and Mary (Griffith) Rose. All of these lived in Scioto Co., OH. It is believed that these pictures might be of Edwin G. Turner’s grandparents. Any information on these pictures would be greatly appreciated.
“I would guess that the church (in the background) might be the Old Methodist Church in West Portsmouth. The third from the right is Abraham Doll, and I think the second from the right is his brother, my great-great-grandfather, Peter G. Doll.” If you know any of the people in this photo, please email
WebAdmin Note: “Mrs. Rosemary Crabtree recognized the photo (above), posted in the last edition of SCCOGS News. She said it was taken at the Bethany Baptist Church in Rushtown – which is still standing.It is a photo of the members of the Robinson Post GAR. She said she knew that Abraham Doll was in that Post but had info that Peter was in the Bailey Post at Portsmouth, but he could have transferred maybe.” The below Google Streetview image displays that unique stained-glass window and door that is exhibited in the above photograph.
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