The Magic Of Photographs

My father Charles H Moore and his sister Ethel Moore Hunter. Between 1941 and 1943.

My father Charles H Moore and his sister Ethel Moore Hunter. Between 1941 and 1943.

Photographs of people, places, and events can be an exceptional aid in our enjoyment of working on our family history. I have in the past written about some of my finds in family pictures. I am the first to say I have had some great luck with obtaining these photographs. Distant cousins and genealogist have been very kind in assisting me in my search. I am planning to put them together in a family album book. My hope is that they will not be scattered and lost over the expanse of time.

I am still trying to get pictures of ancestors that seemed to have not stood in front of a camera. Perhaps their pictures were thrown out or lost or may be sitting somewhere in an antique shop for sale. My parents seem to have no early pictures. Most likely this was due to hard times and the families needing to spend what little money they had elsewhere. In this digital age, pictures are quick and economical. However I question how many are being printed, which I believe is the best way to preserve them.

Sister and brother. Elzada Moore and Charles H Moore. Elzada was named after her Mother Elzada Dakin who died in 1920.

Sister and brother. Elzada Moore and Charles H Moore. Elzada was named after her Mother Elzada Dakin who died in 1920.

The two pictures above are the earliest pictures I have of my father, Charles Moore. I know they were taken after March 1941 and before Dec. 1943, as he enlisted in the Army in March of 1941 and shipped out to England in Dec. of 1943. He is pictured with two of his sisters. I would never meet Elzada and would only see Ethel toward the end of my father’s life. These are two of the prized pictures in my collection. My hope is to obtain a few more before I print the family album.

The picture below is a mystery photograph. It was given to me a few years ago when I visited the Potter County Historical Society located in Coudersport, Pennsylvania. It is labeled Sylvania School, Costello, Pennsylvania. Not only is the location right it also appears about the right time frame to show my father’s family or even himself. However, while most of the children are named sadly not any of the Moore family. Going left to right in the first row sitting boy number 2 and 3 just say, Boy Moore. In the second row standing the third child is identified only as Moore. For all I know I could be looking at my father, uncles, or at least cousins. Perhaps someday I will cross paths with the person who has all the names.

In this picture you have three boys with the last name of Moore. However no first names are given for them. Most everyone else has a full name. This is a school class in Costello, Pennsylvania.

In this picture you have three boys with the last name of Moore. However no first names are given for them. Most everyone else has a full name. This is a school class in Costello, Pennsylvania.

I will be very busy looking for old family photographs. I still have on my side and my wife’s side of the family uncles and aunts, grandparents, and cousins to hunt down. I will offer this to all of you who have a vast collection of family photographs you should be very thankful for that treasure. I will also say to share what you have. These photographs do no one any benefit by being stored away. It is when we open and share them that the full value of these pictures become realized.

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32 Responses to The Magic Of Photographs

  1. boundforoz says:

    Are you a member of Ancestry ? If you have the names of other people in the school photo you can see if any of them turn up in the Public Trees on Ancestry. You can then contact the owner of the tree and see if they know anything about the photo as it also concerns their family. Sometimes this has worked for me. Good luck. They are lovely photos.

  2. I feel quite inspired to root through old family photographs now. These ones you have of your father are terrific. That’s a good point you make about not having printed copies of photos these days. If something went wrong electronically a huge volume of pictures would be lost. There’s something nice about looking at prints, too, they feel more substantial.

    • chmjr2 says:

      With the ease of digital pictures we all need to take the next step and have them printed up.

      • I think you’re right, it’s a good idea. Your post fired me up and I rummaged around in cupboards today searching for the box of old photos I was sure was in there somewhere. I found it eventually and have been losing myself in its contents. Thank you for the inspiration. 🙂

  3. A great project. I love working on these historic images

  4. I really enjoyed reading your posts!! Pictures can be hard to come by. I do not have any pictures of my parents or grandparents when they were young. Pictures are a treasure. I really like your thoughts on photos, and I love seeing your photos.

  5. family photo books are easy to have printed these days also. Last year I made little photo books for my young grandchildren. They now have pictures of pets, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and it is small enouhg to be carried in a backpack to share if they ever want, or to keep under a pillow for a nighttime reassurance of being loved! One of my cousins put together a marvelous family book last Christmas that has become the cherishec item! I never thought of writing a blog post about it, now that seems like a great idea!

    The first commenter’s idea is a great one I believe. If you are not on ancestry Charles, I will do that for you. Also, the man we met from Tennessee who is an heirloom archaelogist, he has a facebook page where you might display this picture to see if you have anyone who recognizes it. I can get that info for you if you’d like.

    Also, I think your reminder to print pictures is EXTREMELY important. You are right, the elcetric grid could be compromised and poof, no family pictures I am bad not to have done this either! One more thing, that first picture of your father and his sister is so captivating! It is magical!
    Thanks, Helen

    • chmjr2 says:

      I agree the idea about ancestry is a great one and I plan to give it a try. Also the heirloom archaeologist would be worth a try also. The first picture is my father with his sister Ethel. After the family broke up she took him in and raised him and Elzada and one other brother. It is a story I plan to write about some day.

  6. KerryCan says:

    I get all excited about old photos, too. I just met a guy yesterday who said his father used to date my great-aunt (in the 1920s, I guess) in Saranac, NY. He said that he has a photo, if he can find it, of my great-aunt, wearing a fur coat and sitting in the sidecar of his father’s old motorcycle! I only knew this aunt as a very proper, older woman and would LOVE to get my hands on that photo! And I agree with your point about the printing of digital photos–I worry very much about what we’re leaving behind (or not!) when we keep all photos on digital media that will become obsolete.

  7. Sheryl says:

    The pictures of the two siblings are very nice. The clothes they are wearing, and the expressions on their faces, give lots of clues about who they were and their story. When I started doing family history I also was surprised how few photos I could find of some ancestors. Photos seem like such a permanent way of recording an event–yet somehow many seem to vanish over the years.

    • chmjr2 says:

      I think one of the reasons that photographs vanish is that they have no notations on names, places or dates. We have a large box full of pictures from my wife’s parents home in which we have no idea who they are. Thank you for reading my blog and your comment.

  8. LindaNM3 says:

    A photograph of my father that I posted on Ancestry led his oldest daughter by his first marriage to find me. I’d been searching for her for ages but had so little information as our father died when we were young. I have a thousand digital pictures I now want to print!

  9. Jim McKeever says:

    You are so wise to do this, Charles, and future generations will thank you many times over. We have so many old photos that aren’t labeled or only partially so. We also had a couple of ancestors who didn’t like how they looked, and tore themselves out of photos, leaving ragged prints! Thank you for your inspiration and advice.

    • chmjr2 says:

      It is so very easy falling into the trap that we know everyone in the photographs, so why label them? However that knowledge starts to disappear with the next generation. When it comes to tearing our self out of pictures it just proves how funny we can all be.

  10. Michael Harding says:

    I have scores of old photos from my late parents that containing people whose identities are an utter mystery. Perhaps I will post them and see if anyone knows who is who. I also enjoy old pictures because they open the present to the past in a way the narrative cannot. Thanks for sharing your photos and your posts.

    • chmjr2 says:

      If you have older relatives bring those photograph when you go and visit. That is what my wife and I did with the pictures we gathered after cleaning out her parent home. By doing this we were able to identify many pictures. We still have many left over with no clear plan on what to do with them. Thanks for reading my blog and your comment.

  11. Yes – labeling is so very important. Any label is good, but wish some of our family photos were written on the back instead of the front (yes, someone wrote with marker on the front of a hundred year old photo), and recommend not writing so hard with pen that it goes through to the front (guilty). There are special markers for the job. Including dates AND names (in order) is helpful. Many of mine say relationship instead of full name – “Uncle” William in my family could be anyone.

    • chmjr2 says:

      I admit I write on the back. I have pictures 100 years old that thankfully were written who they were on the back by pen and no damage to the front. In my wife’s family the name is Edward, they are everywhere and many close to the same age. We have pictures that say Edward on the back and no idea which one it is. We have shown them to other members of the family and they have in many cases and with great confidence come up with a different Ed for the same picture. Oh well what can one do?

  12. I have been able to tell wonderful stories because of my mother’s special gift of saving pictures of relatives. Her second gift to me was writing on the back of all the old pictures who they were and a comment sometimes thrown in for good measure. Great post.

  13. Pingback: Published by Moore Genealogy: The Magic Of Photographs | GraveSeeker's Diary

  14. Spyro says:

    Your pictures remind me of my Uncles in the uniforms around the same time – similar expressions, or similar feel – can’t quite articulate it – maybe it is that they always seem to be looking directly at you – good luck in your search – thank you.

  15. Beth says:

    It has been a while since your last entry. I have to assume you are still “out and about” looking for more pictures and more links to family members. Hope to see some new posts soon.

  16. “….photographs do no one any benefit by being stored away. It is when we open and share them that the full value of these pictures become realized.” — AMEN!n

  17. rose2852 says:

    I’ve got a few mystery photos like yours!

    • chmjr2 says:

      I think most of us have these photos. I just wish I could find out who they were. It does bother me to think as time goes on they will be forgotten and lost. We all should care enough to make sure people are identified in our pictures. Also if we do not want them find someone in the family who does.

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