Diane Gould Hall of Michigan Family Trails wrote a post on 3 December explaining how she created her ancestor wall.
I’ve had an ancestor wall for quite a few years – way more than 13 years because I replaced a couple of photos with a montage of my father-in-law after he passed away in May 2002 and the photos had already been up for years.
We also retired and moved twice so the ancestors have been on three different walls in three different houses. However, the wall has looked the same for most of those years.
Like Diane, I had wanted an ancestor wall for some time before I actually got around to creating it. The impetus that finally got me moving was the large wedding portrait of my grandparents in the top right corner. The picture was too big to fit into any albums and it seemed such a shame to have it sit in the closet.
Nana had this picture hanging in her living room for as far back as my memory goes and I believe it was likely hung there when my grandparents moved into the house on Summer Street in the 1920’s.
All of the others photos on the wall are copies with the originals safely tucked into archival albums and back up digitally.
Except for the tri-panel frame on the bottom towards the left corner, the frames are all old and I tried to choose frames that seemed to fit the time period and/or type of life – city, village, farm – that each ancestor lived.
The first time around, as I planned this wall, I laid the photos out on the floor. I purposely wanted a rectangle to fill in wall space. I don’t like hanging pictures so I wasn’t nearly as tidy as Diane in my methods. I measured out the rectangle space on the wall and made small pencil marks at each of the four corners. Then I just used visual perception to eye where to place each picture. If it wasn’t in quite the right place, I was much happier dabbing a bit of spackle to cover the hole and then touching it up with paint afterwards than I would have been creating paper templates and moving them around on the wall. I only filled a handful of picture hanger holes so I saved myself quite a bit of time.
I repeated the same steps each time we moved except I photographed the wall before I took the photos down.
The oldest photos in my tree are of my 4x great grandparents, Thomas and Sarah (Brawn) Adams, both children of Loyalists:
Sarah Brawn, 1786-after 1851 and husband Thomas Adams, 1783-July 1859
The photos were likely taken in the early 1850’s somewhere in New Brunswick, Canada or possibly Calais or Eastport, Maine.
The Stufflebean family is also well represented on the ancestor wall. The oldest photo I have representing this branch is of the family of John C. Williams and wife Louisa Miller, posing with two of their children. Louisa died on 22 June 1883 and based on the children’s ages, this picture was taken in the early 1880’s.
John and Louisa (Miller) Williams & Children
If you don’t have an ancestor wall of your own, but have even a small amount of wall space, consider creating one. I love looking at all the old photos every time I walk by.