Why Maureen Taylor and The Photo Detective® Is Our Top Genealogy Expert

We have a big tip for you that spans decades and generations. If you are into genealogy, history and an archivist, you must have heard about Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective®. As an internationally renowned expert in historic photo identification, preservation, and genealogical research, Maureen has long been our go-to source.


Before sharing one of our favorite tips by Maureen, you will quickly understand who we are raving fans. She is regularly featured in print media and on national TV programs like The Today Show, The View, the Boston Globe, and MSNBC. As the author of 11 books and active blogger, she also is a contributing editor to Family Tree Magazine.




 

Maureen interviews our dear friend, Gary Pageau, who knows the photo imaging industry better and longer than anyone. Bonus. Find out how The Dead Pixel Society got its name.



Credit: excerpt reprinted with permission by Maureen Taylor

The Big Reveal: What Will YOU Discover?


Friday is a big day in my life. It’s a special day set aside for photo consults with clients. I get to peek into your incredible collections and solve mysteries.


Each session starts with a question: “How did you hear of me?”


Some folks have been hanging on to one of my business cards for years waiting for the right moment to reach out. Others find me by searching the web. In other cases, it’s word of mouth.


It doesn’t really matter how they found me, only that they did.


I love a mystery. I’m not particularly fond of mystery books, but put a picture in front of me and it’s an entirely different matter. It borders on obsession.


So you may be wondering why people seek me out for a consult. The answer is…it varies.


It could be a completely unidentified image that is driving someone crazy because it eludes his or her family history connection. For instance, Dorothy knew everyone in her pictures except one. I gave her a research outline to follow. Bingo! Case solved.


It might be an image with a curious prop. One of my clients had a picture of an ancestor with a strange looking musical instrument in the background. A bit of research and a connection with a music historian revealed it was a melodeon. That piece of family history wasn’t written in a census record or a vital record. The picture clues told the story of one man’s fascination with music.


Our ancestors leave us odd packets of images that defied their attempts to identify them. They knew the family name from which those pictures descended but not the names to go with the faces. For one client matching up the images with information in the census finally put names with an envelope of photos, his grandfather left him.


Every consult is a bit different because each of your family stories is unique. While each consult is as unique as your family history, they all share one thing– suggestions on where to look for additional answers. Don’t be surprised if I assign homework too. <smile> Your family history doesn’t stop once the photo is identified or dated, for me the most interesting stories get revealed through putting the pieces together through documentation, research, and image clues.


Let me help you discover a “lost” piece of your family history by looking at your pictures.


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Extreme Genes Profiles ScanMyPhotos

The nation’s authority on all things for genealogy and archivists interviews ScanMyPhotos’ CEO, Mitch Goldstone

Excerpt: Weather Disasters Bring Digitization Front And Center. The recent “bomb cyclone” that hit the Midwest has again illustrated the need for all of us to digitize our photos!

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Episode 276 – Name and Family Changes With DNA Test Results / Natural Disasters & The Loss Of Family Photos
At minute 37, Scott Fisher interviews Mitch Goldstone, CEO and Co-Founder of ScanMyPhotos.com who visits with Fisher about the recent “bomb cyclone” and other natural disasters which are causing thousands to lose their most precious photos.

From the Extreme Genes website: Scott Fisher: Extreme Genes is a natural for Fisher, a Connecticut native, who has been in radio since his youth, and has spent three decades of spare time as a passionate “roots sleuth.” A long-time morning show host, Fisher is the author of “New York City Methodist Marriages, 1785-1893,” Picton Press, 1994. He has also been published in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Journal (April 2004), and Catholic Ancestor, Journal of the Catholic Family History Society of England (June 1996). His ten books on the families of both his and his wife’s ancestors, written over 30 years, fill the better part of a shelf in Fisher’s family room library. Fisher began Extreme Genes in July of 2013 on a single AM/FM station in Salt Lake City. Today the show is heard in dozens of markets across the country and is heard over 500,000 times a month. Fisher is also a national speaker on the subject of family history.

Click here to subscribe to Extreme Genes. Join the newsletter to receive the latest in family history.

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6 Tips To Preserve Old Photos For Future Generations To Enjoy: Expectations vs. Reality

Preserve Old Photos The most popular method for storing old photos is one of the most damaging. That’s right, stuffing a box with photos, negatives, and/or slides and packing it away in the basement is like turning your memories into a ticking time bomb.

 

If you want to keep your photos safe from disaster and away from the ravages of time, then it’s time to properly store them. The following tips will help you preserve old photos so that they will be around for many years to come.

Use care when handling

 

It’s highly recommended to use cotton gloves when handling photos. There are unseen oils and dirt on our hands that could do some serious damage to prints over time. If you can’t use gloves, then delicately handle the photos at the edges when moving them around.

 

You should also keep your preservation project in an area that’s neat and clean, and away from damaging lights, extreme temperatures or humidity, smoke, foods or liquids. Imagine you’re an archivist handling ancient and precious materials—photos require that same kind of delicacy. While you may not see the damage right away, improper handling can wreak havoc on your photos over time.

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While DNA Tests Offer a Peek into Family History, Your Genealogy Efforts are Missing This

family historyAs DNA testing kits become more affordable, the number of unbelievable family history stories surrounding these tests is increasing.

This recent piece written by The New York Times, covers a story on a Bob Hutchinson who used a DNA test to finally get some answers into the family history his mother kept a secret throughout his life. The test uncovered that he was one-eighth sub-Saharan African—a fact his mother never shared with him. From there he uncovered cousins he didn’t know he had and was able to establish a connection with this new found family.

There are countless other stories too—like Alice Collins Plebuch whose DNA test revealed a 100-year-old mystery (instead of the confirmation on her assumed Irish heritage) or Twitter user @MsClark_ who tweeted about the incredible search that led her to the discovery of her real father.

But as remarkable as these stories are, we couldn’t help but notice that something is missing in all them: a lack of background information. Yes, DNA testing is a great way to get some answers into your family history but unless there’s information that sheds light on that history, the only thing you’re left with is the results of the test. This often leaves you with more questions than answers.

The importance of photos in family history 

While there are several ways to uncover more about your roots, we cannot emphasize enough how important photos are to any genealogy project. This should be one of the first steps you take before jumping into the complicated root system that is your past. Why? Because every photo holds another piece of the puzzle. If an individual picture is worth 1,000 words, imagine how many stories you can discover through old print photos from your family’s past.

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Why You Need to Digitize Photos and Preserve Them for Future Generations

digitize photosWhy and How to Digitize Photos For Future Generations. It’s This Easy


As technology continues to advance, the way in which we preserve our history is also changing. From cave drawings to oil paintings and from print photos to Snapchat selfies, it’s important for us to now digitize photos in order to keep them safe for future generations.

But if you need a few reasons why it’s important to digitize photos before it’s too late, then consider the following:



Print photos will eventually succumb to the elements

 

Unless you have your print photos stored in acid-free, archival-quality storage containers and kept in a temperature-controlled room away from sunlight, then your photos are at risk of getting destroyed by the elements. Of course, we definitely recommend doing everything you can to keep your print photos safe, but digitizing them is the only way to truly protect them from the elements.


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