Category Archives: Old Photos

Free Websites to Find Ancestor Photos

Wouldn’t you like to find photos of your ancestors?

There are several websites which are free to use that might have photos of one or more of your ancestors.

Dead Fred Genealogy Photo Archive – Dead Fred has been around for quite a while, but for whatever reason doesn’t seem to be very well known. The website is very easy to use and no account is required.

There are five ways to search: Quick Search, Surname Search, Detailed Search, Keyword Search and Mysteries.

A quick look at entries for Adams brought up four pages of hits for various Adams people all over the country. There was even one photo for a Tarbox, which is my 2X great grandmother’s maiden name.

It’s well worth spending some time browsing the website. You might also consider sharing some of your own ancestral photos. It makes for great cousin bait. 🙂

Google Images – Google is certainly a storehouse for all kinds of documents and articles, but this search engine also collects images. I regularly check there for ancestors for whom photographs might exist.

For example, I entered the name of Calvin Segee Adams, my 2X great grandfather. In this case, all the hits are to my own blog and photos, but if a distant cousin didn’t know me and was also descended from Calvin Adams, they would have hit the jackpot.

The only downside to Google images is that you need a single name and/or location. Otherwise, hundreds, if not thousands, of non-relevant hits will probably appear in the results.

FamilySearch – A free account is needed. Many researchers use the FamilySearch Family Tree for hints and sources. Far fewer, I think, check for family photos that might be attached to an ancestor.

Here is the secret to finding the photos. After locating a person of interest in the FamilySearch family tree, look at Memories.

I was surprised to find six photos of my grandfather there because I hadn’t added them. If Memories has a number other than 0, then there is some kind of photo added to the person.

Memories is a section that is growing every day, so it is well worth return visits to see if new items have been added to ancestors in your own family tree.

EBay is the last suggestion. I realize that EBay isn’t free if you purchase an item, but it is certainly free to browse!

One never knows what will be found on EBay and there are hundreds of sellers who post vintage photos in which the subjects ARE identified. Yes, there are many more with no identified people. However, if you already know what an ancestor looked like, you can search vintage photos by location where the photograph was taken. You might be lucky!

EBay has constantly changing inventory so it is well worth the time to visit the website and search for various surnames and places of interest. One of my most treasured items is a photo postcard of the brother of my great grandmother and the family at their summer place on Lake Meddybemps in Maine.

Do you know of other free websites with genealogically related photos? Please leave a comment and share. 🙂

Happy Hunting!

Robbinston, Maine Photo, c1910, Going Home

My 2X great grandmother, Nellie F. (Tarbox) Adams (1856-1927) was born in the small town of Robbinston, Washington, Maine, just south of the big city of Calais, where much of my mother’s paternal family had lived since the 1830s.

Nellie’s father, unlike many men of the time, wasn’t a farmer. He bought up various businesses and ran them.

Although George and Mary Elizabeth (Scripture) Tarbox had originally settled in Robbinston, having migrated north from Newburyport, Massachusetts, they soon moved into Calais. I suspect that their move was precipitated by George’s need to be in Calais often to attend to his business concerns.

Robbinston had a population of just over 1100 residents back in 1860, when Nellie was a little girl. Today, the population is only half that – 575 souls.

EBay is a favorite shopping site for historical photos of the towns in which my ancestors lived.

When I saw the photo above up for sale, I knew I had to buy it and send it back home to its current owners.

Since this house was said to be on “Main Street,” which today is the state highway, I spent a few minutes meandering along the road via Google maps, until I reached today’s street view of the house.

Because I don’t know who owned this house at the turn of the 20th century and the address was only R.F.D. #3, Robbinston, Maine, I had no clues to follow. By the way, R.F.D. is Rural Free Delivery.

Since the photo was taken, the road has been widened considerably and it looks like much of the added roadway came from the front yard of this house.

However, I asked a contact who lives in the Calais area if it would be possible to knock on the door to find out who lives in the house today so this photo can go back home.



Elvira Alzina Parker (1818-1897), Wife of Henry H. Belcher of Lenawee County, OH

Elvira Alzina Parker (181-1897), Wife of Henry H. Belcher

Back of Photo

Elvira Alzina Parker was born 27 November 1818 in New York. Husband Henry H. Belcher was also born in New York in 1815.

By 1840, they had married and moved to Lenawee County, Michigan.

The back of the photo lists Elvira’s children, although son Hiram, 3 months old in the 1850 census, is not included.

I found this photo on EBay and there were several other family photos on sale at the same time, but I only purchased this one of the family matriarch.


  1. Louisa Lucy, born c1840; died 5 August 1909, Hillsdale County, MI; married (1) Myron Warner, who was 30 years older and died between 1870-1880 (2) Hebert Bills, 24 March 1881, Lenawee County, MI. Louisa had one daughter, Libby, but she was not at home in 1880 and may have died young. The Bills haven’t been found in the 1900 census so I don’t know if she had any other children.
  2. Rowena, born c1842; died after 1880; married Enos F. Wood. The Woods had a son and a daughter, but this family hasn’t been found after 1880.
  3. John C., born c1845; died 6 March 1892; married Hester O. Warner, 7 June 1876, Hillsdale County, MI. This couple hasn’t been found after their marriage.
  4. William Henry, born c1847; died 11 September 1895, Hillsdale County, MI; married Mary Matilda Strick, 17 April 1873, Hillsdale County, MI; and lived in Williams County, OH in 1880 and likely into the 1890s. His mother’s photo was taken in Pioneer, Williams County, Ohio in 1890. It appears they had no children.
  5. Sarah Jane, born 1 June 1849; died 30 July 1886, reportedly in Billings, Montana; married George H. Geer, 19 November 1873, Lenawee County, MI. In 1880, the family lived at Fort McKinney, Carbon, Wyoming. They had one son who isn’t found after 1880 and one daughter, Elvira, named for her grandmother.
  6. Hiram, born May 1850; 3 months old in the 1850 census; died 20 January 1906, William County, OH; married Anna M. Orewiler. Elvira was able to visit both sons at once, at Hiram’s family lived right in Pioneer, where she had her picture taken. Hiram and Anna had at least one child who lived to adulthood, daughter Mary.
  7. William Edwin, born 23 June 1858; died 23 December 1941, Lenawee County, MI; married (1) Lucy Geer, 27 June 1875, Lenawee County, MI (2)Frances Dority, 19 August 1880, Hillsdale County, MI. They had five children, but divorced in March 1906.
  8. Azle Oscar, born 14 October 1860; died 10 February 1928, Montcalm county, MI; married Lydia Anne Picking, 9 April 1882, Lenawee County, MI. They had seven children.
  9. George Willard, born 9 August 1862; died 17 October 1922; married Julia Olive Wilson, 19 March 1890, Lenawee County, MI. They had two sons.

As you can see, Elvira has a number of grandchildren, many of whom probably have descendants, too. This neat family photo is going home to one of them.