Friday, 9 May 2014

A picture is worth a thousand words!

You've gone around to the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins gathering photos of family members and ancestors.  But what about the town where your ancestors lived? The roads where they walked to go to church. The store lined Main Street where they may have bought clothing or supplies.  The factories where people worked.  The streetcars they may have rode on.  What kind of entertainment did the town offer, was there a theater? Outside a city there may be a town mill, the school house, the local pub perhaps.  When I looked up some old photographs of Loddiswell, Devon, it was not at all how I had pictured it in my mind. 

Gail Dever at Genealogy à la Carte often posts interesting photos she finds that were taken in and around Montreal, as she searches for photographs of the buildings where her ancestors had businesses. Gail also gets notifications from eBay of new lots of vintage photos, in case one comes up for sale. (Check Gail's blog regularly for more sources for finding them). This reminded me to look for photos of where MY ancestors lived and worked. Many city websites have a database of vintage photographs and postcards of their area.  Also check for photographs of events that occurred at the time your ancestor lived there.
King Street, Kingston, ON

Photographs date from about the mid to most probably the late 1800’s, so what about the years previous to that? There are a few things you can look for that will describe the area where your ancestor lived.  One option is drawings and paintings. There may be some in books about local history.  Also in some of the old directories, they gave a pretty good description of each village or town.

Relevant Links:

Search the Notman Collection of Photographs

Library and Archive Canada Photographs

Streets of Montreal 

Historic Photographs of Glasgow

Historic Photographs of UK

Historic Photographs of Australia 

British Rule in India Photographs

Internet Archive Images on Flickr


  1. Another way to get photos and information is through relatives you met via Ancestry or other on-line connections. I have learned a great deal about my ancestors t as well as my husband's. Also have exchanged many photos with my new family members too.

    1. Good point Cathern. Thank you for mentioning that!


Leave me a note to tell me you were here! Thanks for visiting.
Your email address will not be published.

No time to write a comment? Check the Like button above.

By joining our Facebook group you get other genealogy news from time to time, and you can download pages of links that go with the posts. Use follow buttons at top right under search bar.

Copyright © Genealogy: Beyond the BMD
Division of Dianne at Home